The second tallest bird, after the Ostrich, the Emu is found in Australia. While its range covers most of the mainland, its close cousins which lived on the islands around Australia are all extinct.

They have soft brown feathers and cannot fly, though they can run at speeds of 30 miles per hour.

They can survive weeks without eating, and drink infrequently (though they drink a lot when they do drink).

Eggs hatch after 8 weeks, and young are fully grown at around 6 months, though they usually stay with the unit until the next breeding season.

While overall there are enough to list this species as least concern, it is not as rosy everywhere, with the Tasmanian Emu dying out in around 1800.

There are 3 currently surviving subspecies with 3 others extinct.

Their population lies between 625,000 and 725,000

Below is our usual roundup of articles on this species, unfortunately, given the length of the name, it is likely to appear within other names. Below this, you will find any links to aid in seeing this animal (as we make them)

Indo-Pacific finless porpoise

Indo-Pacific Finless dolphin

 They are found in most of the Indian Ocean, as well as the tropical and subtropical Pacific from Indonesia north to the Taiwan Strait. Overlapping with this species in the Taiwan Strait and replacing it northwards is the East Asian finless porpoise.

They are one of the species protected by the Sundarbans national park, which lies between India and Bangladesh.

Growing to 2.3m at most, and with a weight of up to 72kg (most individuals are far, far, smaller). They eat a wide range of foods from fish and crustations to vegetation such as leaves and rice, and eggs that have been deposited on these leaves.

Red wolf

Red wolves

Red wolves have varied a bit about whether they should be classed as their own species or a subspecies of the grey wolf, however it has now been settled that they are separate for quite some time.

Size-wise it lies midway between a grey wolf and a coyote. Indeed, despite its serious danger of extinction, it is often missing from the endangered list. It has at various times been suggested to be a cross between the wolf and the coyote, or been a subspecies of the wolf.

It has been listed as critically endangered since 1996 by the IUCN, yet the same species is not listed in the CITES appendices of endangered species.

If or when we write any articles on this subject, they will appear below

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Fire on ship carrying cars has been blamed on electric cars – is this true? While it is not clear, it is not particularly likely, and it should not make you fear electric cars

A total of 3000 cars caught fire on the ship, but where did the fire start?

The ship was 199m long and started on the ship while it was on route from Germany to Egypt. It caught fire off the coast of Holland. Of the 3000 cars, 350 of the cars are Mercedes and 25 were electric.

The fire has not been good, and one person has died as a result. However, what is clear is that a large number of media sources have blamed the electric cars before anyone has worked out what is happening.

With cars driving around at speed, the risk of a fire is never going to be zero, but as a proportion of fires in the UK you are 17 times less likely to have one in an electric car

Continue reading “Fire on ship carrying cars has been blamed on electric cars – is this true? While it is not clear, it is not particularly likely, and it should not make you fear electric cars”

Chris Packham was awarded £90,000, so?

I wonder what proportion of the country would recognize the name Chris Packham? He has been one of the lead presenters for the BBCs natural history unit for decades. Why is people like this important? Without people like this, all sorts of threats to our world, including things like climate change would be less well known in the public.

Photos taken at the rally after the People’s Walk for Wildlife, at Richmond Terrace, Whitehall, London on Saturday 22nd September 2018. Credit Gary Knight

These people are essential for disseminating information which might allow us to deal with these challenges without leaving a dystopian world to our children. Naturalists are important, as they give us the knowledge to deal with many problems far cheaper than any manmade solution.

Continue reading “Chris Packham was awarded £90,000, so?”

If the US beef industry is deploying tricks similar to fossil fuels and smoking to delay action, what should we do?

It is, unfortunately, a fact, that meat eaters create a significant extra quantity of carbon released into the air. How much? Well this varies from place to place, and product to product.

While many think that grass fed beef is good for the environment, the methane emissions swing this badly

There are an increasingly large number of people who are recognizing this issue. Now while some will argue that without the meat industry, much of the UK farmland would be built on, and that this would be disastrous for the environment are missing the point. We live on an island, and as such it is in our own best interests to make sure that the worlds ice sheets do not melt.

Continue reading “If the US beef industry is deploying tricks similar to fossil fuels and smoking to delay action, what should we do?”

aaa Lake Turkana and its national parks

Lake Turkana and its national parks

Lake Turkana is a lake with 3 rivers entering it (no rivers leave, it evaporates) . It lies in the eastern part of the great rift valley. The three parks are  Sibiloi National Park, the South Island and the Central Island National Parks, covering a total area of 161,485 hectares located within the Lake Turkana basin whose total surface area is 7 million ha. The lake is the most saline in africa which means little can survive in its waters.

This area is not the largest protected zone, as it only covers around 700 square miles. The island parks are the breeding habitats of the Nile crocodile, the hippopotamus amphibious and several snake species. The lake is an important flyway passage and stopover for palaeartic migrant birds. Over the dry grasslands ranges a frail population of grazing mammals and predators. The grazers are chiefly Grevy’s zebra, Burchell’s zebra, the beisa oryx, Grant’s gazelle, the topi and the reticulated giraffe. They are hunted by the lion and the cheetah. Elephants and the black rhinoceroses are no longer seen. Closer to the dust is the cushioned gerbil (Gerbillus pulvinatus)

aaa Semuc Champey, Guatemala

Semuc Champey, Guatemala

A small reserve in Guatemala, lying deep in the forest, this place consists of a natural 300m limestone bridge. The Cahabon river passes under this bridge, whille above there are a series of stepped turquoise pools which visitors can swim in.

However, this is merely a tranquil place to pause, and lies deep in the rainforest

As this image shows the area is still largely forested, Semuc Champey lies in the middle of the screen

A variety of wildlife frequents the site and the surrounding rainforest. Varying from a wide range of bright birds such as toucans and humming birds, to howler monkeys which are often around the entrance to the site.

Should being sued be a sign you are doing the right thing?

Mongabay, one of the best websites about the natural world, has had one of its writers sued. This happened after the reporter in question reported on illegal deforestation by a Peruvian cacao company.

For this company, it appears that this is a decision that they have taken, having sued several other outfits in recent times. The suit has been thrown out. The company had also sued the 4 members of the local environment ministry, including the one which lead the prosecution of the company. This suit has been lost, but the company is appealing.

This sounds like extreme wrong-doing. If you are prosecuted and found guilty, clearly those who prosecuted are right.

Increasingly, companies that are involved in illegal acts will sue anyone who uncovers it – wrongful judgements can move them forwards, and even if not, the court process can keep everyone tied up for years – if anything survives of the forest at the end of that, it is surprising. The judgement for the original crime of destroying forest, was clear and final with 3 sentenced to prison for the “crime of illegal trafficking of timber forest products and aggravated obstruction of justice”. They also had to pay fines of over $4 million.

Unfortunately, despite overwhelming evidence all of the sentences were overturned by the supreme court – freeing the way for the attack on Mongabay. Indeed, 4 days after the original publication a notarized letter arrived requesting the article be corrected – in particular, claiming false claims were made in the article. Mongabay Latam published an article refuting each point in turn. Some of the points were absurd, with the company complaining about the turn deforestation being used – as they had not been found guilty of this. More foolishly, despite forest destruction being deforestation by definition, the website had only quoted one of the officials prosecuting.

This back and forth continued, but suffice to say their arguments are stupid: talking about logging and deforestation are completely interchangeable.

Stupid moves in court must be publicized, as only ridicule and financial loss will force companies like this to behave.

Thankfully, this website is not a big enough thorn to have to face similar suits, but that may come.

The British government claims that 30% of of UK land is set aside for nature; what rubbish

At the current time 26% of the UK is designated as a national park, area of outstanding beauty or other form of protected area. However, to claim that this whole area is set aside for nature, is absurd. British national parks, unlike African ones still have human habitation within them.

Continue reading “The British government claims that 30% of of UK land is set aside for nature; what rubbish”
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