Wolves, Bears and white tailed eagles are making great comebacks across Europe and other species are also doing well

Wolf numbers have increased by 1800% since the 1970s with a total of over 17,000 now inhabiting the continent. Bears started from a less precarious place, but have still increased by 44% over the same period

While wolves were missing for some time from France, they are well and truly back and we who share the space must recognize that and adapt

Among herbivores, beavers are one of the big success story (and unlike many of the others are living in the UK once again in large numbers in a series of populations from Devon right up to Scotland.

EU blocks uplifting the Hippopotamus to an Appendix 1 endangered animal from an Appendix 2

Hippopotamus populations have declined by 30-50% over the last decade. This is an animal which is moving fast in the direction of extinction, yet despite a plea from 10 african countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Gabon, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo) to move them to appendix 1 has been blocked.

Hippopotamus are often easy to find on Safari, as they are usually found in the few deep pools and rivers that exist. They can be very dangerous if you are between them and the water, and roam widely in and out of protected reserves. This is the most common view for people who visit a national park
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Emperor penguins listed as endangered by the USA

Under the Biden administration in the USA, science is not ignored. There were a handful of animals that were listed as endangered in the rest of the world, but the listing was not changed in the USA because of the political impact. Thankfully, that time is at least over at the current time. The Emperor penguins are obviously threatened by global warming given there uses of extreme areas of the Antarctic.

Emperor penguins face extinction by the end of the century, because of the destruction of their habitat

The population that was filmed for the popular film “March of the Penguin” has halved in size in the last 50 years. These sorts of issues are predicted to lead to a 99% reduction in population by the end of the century, should these changes not lead to the total extinction.

Could we increase the yields of wheat 600 times through vertical farming?

Vertical farming is a new concept. By growing crops indoors under lights, the crops grow far faster and so can be harvested multiple times a year. Furthermore, by using artificial lights it is possible to have many layers of food.

At the current time, indoor vertical farms only work for expensive fast growing plants, but this will change if electricity prices fall significantly
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Brazil has enough unutilized cattle pastureland, to allow soy cultivation to increase by a third without any further deforestation

There is a constant tug of war, between developed countries which are encouraging developing countries to continue to protect their wildernesses, and the developing countries wish to be able to develop – to lift their citizens out of poverty.

Soy, remaining rainforest and cat

Granted, the majority of deforestation does not benefit the people on the ground, but it does not stop politicians in these countries arguing that those in the west cannot stop development by demanding conservation of ecosystems.

However, the amount of land that has been deforested in Brazil, is far in excess of what is needed for cattle pasture and experts have calculated that Brazil (the worlds number one Soy producer, and biggest beef exporter) could increase the amount of land used to grow Soy by a third without cutting one extra tree down.

We can only hope that with the election of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the unregulated deforestation will stop. There is a great deal of space in Brazil for intensifying agriculture, which would allow a significant increase in productivity and goods coming from the agriculture lands, without cutting down any more rainforest.

Of course, this is partly a matter of survival. While some people on the ground in Brazil may wish to cut down more rainforest in order to have more cropland, the more forest is cut down, the less rain the remaining forest produces.

Wolves continue their spread in France, now department of Lot

The most recent estimate, puts the French wolf population on about 620 in the country. They have recently moved into the department of Lot which lies just a few miles north of Toulouse.

wolves are now spreading in France, and without a huge effort the animal is back to stay. This is the first photo of a wild wolf in northern France since 1913

Given the growing population of wolves in France, it would be ridiculous to kill these wolves, as others will replace them pretty quickly.

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49% of the worlds bird species are in decline and 1 in 8 are at risk of extinction

There are many mammal species that are threatened with extinction, with 73% of species facing pressure as a result of agriculture expansion. These are two of the most endangered.

There are also 187 bird species that have been confirmed to have vanished from the wild since 1500.

Perhaps one of the rare positive stories in the report said that more than 20 bird species would have gone extinct in the last 30 years without the work of conservationists.]

Many of these bird species are essential for ecosystem health, so their continued decline will have a significant impact on virtually every ecosystem around the world – and may cause the collapse of some.

Linking bear and wolf populations across Europe is the best way to preserve them longterm – is this possible?

The Pyrennes in the south west of France, and the corresponding area across the border, are a wonderful area of wilderness. There are currently about 64 bears living in this area. So where are we on the road to recovery?

Were the the entire Pyrennes mountains wild, it is thought that these mountains could support 600 bears. However, this area is not an area that is set aside for wilderness – there is a whole population of humans living in these mountains (almost 700,000 people live here).

It is thought that the bear population of the Pyrennes could potentially get to 250 in its current form.

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Could the Platypus go extinct soon?

The Platypus was such a wierd looking animal, many of the original scientists that studied specimens sent back to the UK, looked for sewing marks – they believed that it must be several creatures joined together. Even 20 years after its discovery, scientists were still arguing about whether it was real. The anatomist Robert Knox claimed if was a “freak imposture”, and that ”the scientific [community] felt inclined to class this rare production of nature with eastern mermaids and other works of art.” This was not only due to its weird appearance, but several other fake animals that had come to light in recent times.

Yet it was not,

A wild Platypus

To be sure, it is a mammal which perhaps stretches the definition more than most. It lays eggs, has a ducks beak, but feeds its young on milk. It is one of the many oddities that live in Australia.

Unfortunately it is facing local extinction, in many places across its range, and has lost a quarter of its range in the last 30 years..

This is a species that could quietly slip towards extinction without being noticed – being shy, nocturnal and not splashing, they are rarely seen. Most people who do not see one, might suggest that they simply did not get lucky.

There are a range of threats that are pushing them towards extinction. Water extraction from rivers and creeks, the building of dams and weirs, as well as river bank erosion. Increasing regularity of droughts also threaten their long-term survival as their homes become too shallow – allowing feral cats and foes to attack them.

They are capable of living alongside humans – the video above is in the Suburbs of a city, but as pollution increases they often disappear.

The lead author of the study concludes that the Platypus is not facing complete extinction, but local extinction in many different parts of Australia.

Chimpanzee and Gorilla seen spending extended periods together in the wild

Chimpanzees and Gorillas share much of the forests of central and Western Africa. It is therefore not surprising that they might meet from time to time.

As babies, all sorts of creatures spend time together. In Gombe stream the Jane Goodall study documented Chimpanzees and baboons playing together as young.

Wild Gorilla and Chimpanzee feeding in the same tree at the same time
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