‘Watch what you eat – it’s driving elephants, jaguar, bees and bison to extinction’

New book claims modern diets to blame for disappearance of Earth’s species as farmers lobby to use toxic herbicide

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JUST about every meal people eat is contributing to an alarming decline in the world’s wildlife species, experts have warned.

The claim comes in a new book, backed by Absolutely Fabulous star Joanna Lumley, that predicts two-thirds of species will be extinct within three years thanks to modern farming.

British farmers are lobbying to be allowed to continue using herbicides suspected of being linked to cancer, but have dismissed concerns that they are contributing to the worldwide crisis. Continue reading

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Superstars of screen and science battle to save endangered lions

Virginia McKenna and Stephen Hawking call on David Cameron to ban importation of body parts

Virginia McKenna led the march on Downing Street

VIRGINIA McKENNA OBE, the iconic Born Free star, Braveheart actor James Cosmo and Professor Stephen Hawking have joined forces to call on Britain’s Prime Minister to ban the importation of lion “trophies” — in an effort to save the world’s last big cats from being wiped out by hunters.

McKenna said: “I refuse to believe our Government will not act,” as she led a rally of up to 1,000 people at Downing Street.

The veteran actress and campaigner, who with her husband Bill Travers founded the charity Born Free, handed in a letter to David Cameron, also signed by Professor Hawking, Cosmo and a host of other celebrities, politicians and charity leaders. Continue reading

Pressure on auction houses for ivory sales ban

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Campaigners staged a protest outside Christie’s auctioneers in London

LEADING auction houses are coming under pressure to end sales of ivory, as conservationists are stepping up the battle to have the trade outlawed in Britain.

Dozens of campaigners staged a protest outside Christie’s auctioneers in London, calling for an end to all ivory trade, which they say is speeding the extinction of elephants.

Supporters of the Action for Elephants group rallied, waved placards and handed out leaflets to publicise the role that ivory sales in the UK play in allowing poaching to continue. Continue reading

Global stampede for elephants and rhinos

Tens of thousands of people worldwide call for action against China to halt to the massacre of wildlife heading for extinction

THERE is a sensational creature on this Earth. It discovers water sources and nurtures waterholes that allow other animals to also thrive, even in dry seasons; it enriches forests by tearing down old trees and ploughing nutrients back into the soil, giving life to all creatures great and small; spreads plant seeds, and it creates woodland clearings to let sunlight penetrate in, regenerating growth cycles. In short, this animal is pivotal to the ecosystems on which swathes of land masses depend.

Further, it is highly intelligent and sensitive, with complex and wide family bonds; it demonstrably experiences a host of emotions, from love, attachment and happiness to alarm, grief, and fear. Herd members have highly developed communications systems that remain a mystery to human beings.

This amazing creature – the elephant – even earns an income for its host countries, through binocular-toting tourists anxious to catch a glimpse of it – and to shoot it through a camera lens.

Yet humans are rapidly wiping it out.
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The final roar: Cecil’s tragedy must mark a turning point

Outrage at lion’s murder must spur us into halting the decline in the ‘crown jewels’ of Africa and the natural world

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Cecil, who has come to represent what the world loves about wildlife

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AS WALTER PALMER raised his fatal bow and arrow, did he look into the eyes of the lion he was about to murder? Did he consider, even for a second, his minuscule significance in the world compared with that of the innocent, gentle creature whose life he intended to steal?

It’s doubtful he can have done, because if he had, even without knowing his target was one of the most revered animals in Africa, he would have understood in a flash the moral repulsiveness of his actions. Continue reading

Chick or tweet: the birds we are honoured with

TWO years ago, I started keeping occasional notes on the birds we saw in our garden. I don’t claim to be anything but a complete amateur in bird-watching or that my records are comprehensive. But they are a snapshot of the wonderful, soul-enriching observations of life that is, thankfully, still hanging on in our ever-shrinking green corners and hedgerows. Our garden is only a modest one, in a medium-sized town, but I am still impressed by the life cycles it harbours.

I dedicate this post to builders across Britain of housing estates, trunk roads and airport runways, pro-HS2 campaigners, office block developers, concrete layers, Natural England – which wants to allow the annihilation of robins’, pied wagtails’ and starlings’ nests and eggs – and all other determined destroyers of hedgerows and wildlife habitats. Continue reading