Farewell Species #1…. :(

The Morrison government in Australia has formally recognised the extinction of a small island rodent, the Bramble Cay melomys. The first known demise of a mammal because of human-induced climate change. Disgusting news.

It’s not a big, iconic or ‘sexy’ species and therefore it won’t get much coverage in the media. But hold on to your hats, because guys this is seriously important.

The extinction of the Bramble Cay melomys is understood to be the first mammal killed off by human-led climate change.

Image credit: Queensland Government

The limited range of the animal, living on a five-hectare island less than three meters high, left it vulnerable to climate change. However, its 2008 so called “recovery plan”, drawn up when numbers were likely down to just dozens of individuals, downplayed the imminent and eventual risks.

“The likely consequences of climate change, including sea-level rise and increase in the frequency and intensity of tropical storms, are unlikely to have any major impact on the survival of the Bramble Cay melomys in the life of this plan,” the five-year scheme stated.

And we laaaaughed and laughed (OR NOT!!!)…..

The federal policy director for the Wilderness Society, Tim Beshara, said preparation for the plan was limited, and it was never reviewed at its completion in 2013 – but why the hell not?!

“The Bramble Cay melomys was a little brown rat,” Mr Beshara said. “But it was our little brown rat and it was our responsibility to make sure it persisted. And we failed.”

Call me a pessimist, but my gut tells me this will be the first of many species to go extinct due to our undiscriminating behavior. We seriously need to buckle up and push our conservation efforts forward, with a more COLLABORATIVE approach. Easier said then done with little government backing, I’m aware…

 

Information taken from: https://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/our-little-brown-rat-first-climate-change-caused-mammal-extinction-20190219-p50yry.html

A Coral For Help…

I was reading a recent BBC news article earlier today about the desperate situation at Maya Beach in Thailand. A once idyllic and flourishing beach that became littered and ecologically damaged due to it being a popular tourist destination. A huge increase in tourists was subsequent to the filming at Maya Beach of the feature film ‘The Beach’ during the mid 90’s. A huge conservation effort, including a total shutdown of the beach itself and the surrounding bay, has lead to the local ecology starting to recover. Yay!

But this got me thinking… (always dangerous..)

Perhaps the Maya Beach recovery is a sign that Thailand is turning a page in its effort to preserve its precious natural resources. But for a nation so dependent on tourists and their cash, it could also just be proof of how grim a situation has to get before enforced action to help the local biodiversity. The total area experiencing coral reef damage in Thailand has increased from 30% to 77% in just one decade! Staggering.

Dr Thon Thamrongnawasawat, a marine scientist from Kasetsart University (who studied Maya Bay and the area for 40 years and was hired by the ministry to survey the environmental damage and lead the rehabilitation) blames polluted water (most often released by beachfront hotels) and plastic waste dumped into the ocean as the main causes of damage to coral reefs in this area.

mayabay2Figure.1. This satellite image shows the huge conservation efforts put in place to save Maya Beach and the wildlife that inhabits there.

Globally, coral reef health is declining at an unprecedented rate and tourism plays its part in this. So in the spirit of this article, I feel it necessary to highlight the need for better responsible tourism at vulnerable habitat spots and I cant help but feel this boils down to three key things. Education, research and of course, funding.

 

Information source and BBC news article: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-sh/the_beach_nobody_can_touch

Squirrel and Chill…

I know … I know…. these guys are bad for the environment and pushed out our native red squirrels, but you have to agree they’re cute!! They’re so friendly in London compared to Devon squirrels – it’s nuts!… (sorry..) Not my most exhilarating post yet, I agree… but hope is in the air for tomorrow’s post! … Trust me on this one… (crowd goes wild..)

I Thought he Was a Fun-gi…

100% unapologetic about the title. A beautiful rendition of a classic four-year-old’s joke… Masterful. What do you mean “no”?… I was proud of that one!

London Wildlife Challenge day: We all lost count weeks ago, Tooby…

I spotted these lads on my daily commute to Turnham Green tube station. I believe them to be ‘Honey Fungus’ Armillaria mellea… Although they’re rather beautiful, these guys are a real pest, attacking the roots of woody plants, often leading to the death of the innocent host plant (such as the tree pictured here)… Bloody nightmare if you ask me…

‘Seal’ it With a Kiss…

Happy #NationalSealDay – time to celebrate all things about British seals. Did you know that the UK enjoys 40% of the world’s population of grey seals? How bloody cute are these blubbery babas!!! Sadly, seals are considered an issue for aquaculture businesses, particularly in Scotland. Although the government denies a ‘seal cull’, they have licensed the shooting of over 1300 seals!!!….. All smells a bit fishy to me… 😦 Time to further protect  these beautiful animals, me thinks. sealday

It’s Time… **Drum Roll**

A truly powerful video by a naturalist I love and trust since he correctly identified an enormous beetle that flew into my face (a good day, made better). Now is the time to find solutions to the problems and help our precious and yet severely depleted wildlife get back on track.