A Battle on the Ocean Bed

The potential opening of sea cucumber fishing in Galápagos has scientists and conservationists surprised and concerned after news leaked of a July 10 agreement that would allow the collection of 500,000 of the creatures, considered vital to the marine environment. PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons

The potential opening of sea cucumber fishing in Galápagos has scientists and conservationists surprised and concerned after news leaked of a July 10 agreement that would allow the collection of 500,000 of the creatures, considered vital to the marine environment. PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons

Sea cucumbers are in the news – again. The marine creature has been talked about as an adjunct treatment for those undergoing chemotherapy. They have also been tipped as a “wonder ingredient” in cosmetics. Not to forget the sea cucumber capsule industry, Asian cuisines that consider it a delicacy, and its place in the underground market of aphrodisiac market. This time around, the news isn’t good.

Continue reading

Join the Big Butterfly Count

By spending just 15 minutes counting butterflies, you’ll be taking part in the world’s biggest butterfly survey and helping protect these precious insects. PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons

By spending just 15 minutes counting butterflies, you’ll be taking part in the world’s biggest butterfly survey and helping protect these precious insects. PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons

Butterflies aren’t just a beautiful sight, fluttering between flower heads on a sunny summer’s day, they are crucial indicators of the health of our environment. Alas the majority of UK butterflies and moths are still in major decline, they need constant monitoring and protecting. You can help do just that by taking part in Butterfly Conservation’s annual Big Butterfly Count.

Continue reading

Should Animal Deaths Worry You?

Dead starfish line the shore of the German island of Sylt. Mass wildlife die-offs have been interpreted as omens of an impending environmental collapse. PHOTOGRAPH BY DANIEL FRIEDERICHS

Dead starfish line the shore of the German island of Sylt. Mass wildlife die-offs have been interpreted as omens of an impending environmental collapse. PHOTOGRAPH BY DANIEL FRIEDERICHS

Mass-mortality events are sudden, unusual crashes in a population. If you think that you are hearing about them more often these days, you’re probably right. (Elizabeth Kolbert described frog and bat die-offs in a 2009 article; her subsequent book won a Pulitzer Prize recently.) Even mass-mortality experts struggle to parse whether we’re witnessing a genuine epidemic (more properly, an epizootic) of these events. They have also raised another possibility: that we are in the throes of what one researcher called an “epidemic of awareness” of spooky wildlife deaths.

Continue reading