New report supports species re-introductions

New book: “Tooth and Claw: living alongside Britain’s predators”

Factsheet from the National Children’s Bureau underlines importance of “wild play”

Industrial wind turbine development to end in French rural and wild areas

New report supports species re-introductions

Daily Telegraph 29/11/07

Bringing back animals which were hunted to extinction in Britain - including the wolf, lynx, beaver and wild boar - would not be difficult, according to a new report. The animals could be brought back to live free in the wild without posing any great threat to people, crops or the environment, it is claimed. The report from the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit at Oxford University (WCRU) said while further work needed to be done on their impact, there was no obvious reason to block their return. The animals roaming free in remote areas would enhance the natural environment and as a bonus they could form the basis of a multi-million pound tourist industry.

The possibility of the animals' return is raised in the State of Britain's Mammals report for 2007 Mammals Trust UK, which looks at the challenges wildlife will face in the 21st century. Professor David Macdonald and Dr Dawn Burnham, from the WCRU identified a range of factors including climate change, the spread of infectious diseases, agricultural and forestry practices, and human activity which will all combine to put increasing pressure on the UK's fragile wildlife populations.

Studies surrounding the reintroduction of the wolf to Scotland, where it was hunted to extinction in the 18th century, found that highland farmers were the most likely to be affected because they would lose livestock. But they were not absolutely opposed to the wolf's return as it was 'restoring the balance of nature and preserving Scotland's heritage'. They recognised the value of wildlife tourism and knew they would be compensated if they lost sheep to predation. The studies had found that 1,000 square kilometres could support 25 wolves and that they would keep down deer populations and save the expensive cost of regular culls in Caledonian pine forests.

Daily Telegraph

New book: “Tooth and Claw: living alongside Britain’s predators”

Tooth and Claw, November 2007

Against a backdrop of stunning imagery, this ground-breaking photo-documentary by Peter Cairns & Mark Hamblin reveals how we really feel about Britain’s predators and intriguingly, why?

In modern Britain, predators mean vastly different things to different people. For some, they are a spectacle of the natural world and key to the ecological integrity of our countryside. For others, they are an inconvenience, a drain on rural businesses and strike at the very heart of our sense of control over nature. Predators have always been hostages to our attitudes and today, as many predators claw their way back into our lives, our feelings towards them reflect a rapidly changing relationship with nature. The fact that predators must kill to survive forces us to make value-judgements about whether a particular predator is a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ animal. Such judgements are often short on biological fact and are influenced by myth, culture, economics and pure emotion.

Tooth & Claw was conceived by professional conservation photographers Peter Cairns and Mark Hamblin who have spent three years documenting those areas where increasingly, predators are coming into contact with our own activities and what this means to the people involved. Tooth & Claw has spoken to farmers, gamekeepers, researchers, biologists and tourism operators both in Britain and in mainland Europe. Moreover, thousands of contributors to the project’s web site have allowed the authors a fascinating insight into our often extreme views on fox hunting, cats, bird of prey persecution and even the potential return of wolves to Britain’s wild areas.

Tooth & Claw will engage, inspire and inform anyone with an interest in the future of the British countryside. Ultimately, Tooth & Claw asks searching questions of all of us. It reveals our inconsistencies, our prejudices and above all, humbles us, reminding us of our own place in nature…as the most powerful predator of all.

Subscribers/members of Endorsing Partners can order signed copies from at a discount of 20% from RRP (£25)

Factsheet from the National Children’s Bureau underlines importance of “wild play”

National Children’s Bureau November 2007

Although the term is used broadly in this factsheet, the majority of natural environments in the UK are semi-natural, i.e. influenced by human activity to a greater or lesser extent. However, they are qualitatively different to built environments and share common features of ‘naturalness’ or ‘wildness’ with regard to children’s play: open to the elements (weather conditions, fresh air, water, earth etc.); containing growing vegetation, which may (or not) be managed; presence of wild animals; and a degree of psychological freedom from overt adult associations.

Through playing in wild spaces, children can encounter and experience fear, disgust, disappointment and anger as well as delight, fascination, satisfaction and contentment. Moore and Wong (1997) illustrate how a diverse natural landscape encourages diverse physical movement in children’s play: Balancing, chasing, climbing, crawling, dodging, hanging, hopping, jumping, leaping, rocking, rolling,running, sliding, spinning, squirming, swinging, tumbling, twirling, twisting were all part of children’s movements in a natural playground. Lack of early natural play experiences and/or learnt responses from cautious adults, however, can break the biophilia connection; resulting in children developing irrational aversions to nature. This in turn can have a negative influence on children’s subsequent attitudes, emotions and behaviours within natural environment.

National Children's Bureau

Industrial wind turbine development to end in French rural and wild areas

Cambrian News 8 November 2007

The Sustainable Environment Federation (FED), with the heritage and countryside associations who demonstrated in Paris on October 6 against industrial wind energy, are pleased by President Sarkozy’s redirection of French policy concerning wind turbines and renewable energy. In his comments at the closure of the “Grenelle de l’environnement”, the president of the republic announced the end of the “rush” that has characterized French policy on wind turbines up to now and that ultimately means degradation of the environment. New wind turbines will be installed first in brownfields and far from emblematic locales. In an improvisation that was not in the prepared text provided to the press, M. Sarkozy turned to José-Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, and added : “Frankly, when I see some European countries, it doesn’t make me envious”. The president of the republic also announced acceleration of research into energies of the future.

This new policy marks the end of industrial wind turbine installations in rural and wild areas. This is a relief for the 800 villages and 52 departments represented in the October 6 demonstration. It is also a powerful contribution to the image of France and shows Europe that an energy policy can reconcile the fight against global warming and respect for the countryside and every life.

Aberystwyth Today