Seas of Plastic

A wise man once said that “humanity is like an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty”. But just how dirty have the Earth’s oceans become? Greenpeace hit the headlines in London a few weeks ago, as activists placed a striking sculpture – “Plasticide” – outside…

Ivory: Power and Poaching in Africa

Something slightly different today – a book review. But I’ve not reviewed a book since…well, I can’t remember… So let’s start with a quote to get us going: “The elephant is the most harassed of all African mammals…Its reduction in numbers is still progressing, and special measures may become necessary in order to save it from extinction” Perhaps…

Ol Pejeta & The Wonderful World of Rhinos (and Chimps!)

From six o’clock on Thursday, several hundred people gathered at the Royal Institute of Great Britain in London’s Mayfair for an event organised by UK-based charity, Helping Rhinos. The evening, “Wonderful World of Rhinos”, was in aid of the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in central Kenya, a reserve officially established in 2004, and now home to the last three…

Saving the Iberian Lynx

We’ve already seen how invasive species, introduced into ecosystems by humans, pushed the kakapo and black robin to the edge of extinction in New Zealand. We’ve seen how the destruction of tropic rainforest for palm oil cultivation is endangering orang-utans, tigers, elephants and other fauna in Malaysia and Indonesia. Through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries,…

Conservation Success Story II

For last week’s Conservation Success Story, we looked at the black robin, whose recovery from the brink of extinction was a quite remarkable feat of endurance, both from the robins themselves and the team of New Zealand conservationists who worked day and night through the 1980s to sustain a healthy population. While we’re over in…

All Things Pangolin

In case you didn’t know, 18 February 2017 was World Pangolin Day.  But what are pangolins? And why do they get a whole day all to themselves? To find out, I made my way to the Zoological Society of London’s (ZSL) seminar – “Saving Pangolins: Earth’s Most Trafficked Wild Mammals”. Here’s the speakers: From right to…

Monday’s Conservation Success Story

For the first of The PBD’s “Conservation Success Stories”, we head 12,000 miles from the UK, to New Zealand. The country is home to some of the world’s most remarkable birds – the kakapo, the kiwi, the takahē, the now-extinct moa. But this piece concerns one of New Zealand’s much smaller but no less endearing species…

How Can You Mitigate Palm Oil’s Environmental Impact?

Explosive growth in palm oil plantations in tropical regions is a real problem.  It’s not particularly new. Short-term economic policies pursued by Southeast Asian governments in the 1970s began the trend, and massive demand increases since then have reaped an environmental whirlwind.  Palm oil plantations now cover over 27 million hectares of the Earth’s surface….

On the Front Line of Rhino Conservation

The threats facing the world’s remaining rhinos are as real as ever. For the people working to protect them, that means danger is never too far away. Last week (20 February ’17), a group of armed men breached security at the Fundimvelo Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal Province. They proceeded to violently…

A Heavy Issue: Threats to Africa’s Elephants & How You Can Help

The largest living land animal: the African elephant, Loxodonta Africana; now listed as “vulnerable” by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature).  This mother and calf were part of a 20-strong herd that I filmed and photographed in September 2016 in the Madikwe Reserve, on the South Africa-Botswana border.   The Problem That should probably…