The BBC reports a new study that looks at lifespan in wild mammals shows that females live substantially longer than males. The research finds that, on average, females live 18.6% longer than males from the same species. This is much larger than the well-studied difference between men and women, which is around 8%.
The BBC reports researchers are investigating how many hedgehogs are killed on our roads in a bid to help the UK’s declining population. A Nottingham Trent University team will also study whether tunnels under roads could reduce the number of deaths. Experts believe the animals are struggling with lost habitats, increased competition and traffic. Researchers hope this study could help stop the creatures’ decline and provide guidance for planners and developers.
THE TIMES reports the best way to protect Britain’s wildlife would be to focus on safeguarding the hedgehog, house sparrow and brown trout, according to a radical plan.
After a scientific report last year found that 41% of UK species studied had declined over the past 50 years, the think tank ResPublica says wildlife protection needs a new approach. It is proposing the creation of a wildlife regulator with legal powers to help just three “bellwether” species — one each from the land, the air and the rivers.
Sparrow photo by Stewart Black and trout photo by UnconventionalEmma both under Creative Commons.
Photo of short snouted seahorse (one of two UK species) by prilfish under creative commons.
Portsmouth News reports the stretch of water between the Isle of Wight and the mainland has been identified as one of five spots in the UK to benefit from a £2.5m project funded by Natural England and the EU. Seahorses, native oysters, stalked jellyfish and seagrass are among the wildlife that will be protected by the new Recreation Remedies scheme.
Tim Ferrero from the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust welcomed the news. He said: ‘Seagrass beds are an immensely important type of habitat for both people and wildlife.
THE GUARDIAN reports the world must eradicate pesticide use, prioritise nature-based farming methods and urgently reduce water, light and noise pollution to save plummeting insect populations, according to a new “roadmap to insect recovery” compiled by experts.
The call to action by more than 70 scientists from across the planet advocates immediate action on human stress factors to insects which include habitat loss and fragmentation, the climate crisis, pollution, over-harvesting and invasive species.
The GUARDIAN reports …. a warm welcome? Britain’s milder weather is attracting exotic guests. While we may celebrate their arrival now it should also alert us to what’s ahead. Mediterranean egrets balancing on the backs of cows, multicoloured moths the size of a human hand, and impossibly exotic bee-eaters hawking for insects under English skies. All are here as a direct consequence of the climate crisis, which has allowed continental European species to extend their ranges northwards, and then make the leap across the Channel to gain a foothold in southern Britain.
THE TELEGRAPH reports tossing apple cores out of the car window could be destroying Britain’s last wild apple trees, experts have warned. Researchers from the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh said they had discovered trees which have sprouted from supermarket varieties growing along the verges of motorways.
And genetic studies of crab apple trees – Britain’s last wild variety – show that in some areas more than half are now hybrids, after cross-pollinating with domesticated varieties.
Photo by Stacy Spensley under creative commons.
THE GUARDIAN reports half of the nation’s farmland needs to be transformed into woodlands and natural habitat to fight the climate crisis and restore wildlife, according to a former chief scientific adviser to the UK government.
Prof Sir Ian Boyd said such a change could mean the amount of cattle and sheep would fall by 90%, with farmers instead being paid for storing carbon dioxide, helping prevent floods and providing beautiful landscapes where people could boost their health and wellbeing. Boyd said the public were subsidising the livestock industry to produce huge environmental damage.
The INDEPENDENT reports more jet-skiers, kayakers, boat-trippers and drones are alarming dolphins and seals. Wildlife experts have celebrated “extraordinary” sightings of Scottish bottlenose dolphins off the Yorkshire coast – thought to be the farthest south that they have ever been spotted on the UK’s east coast. They have also discovered a seal “commuting” between the Isle of Man and Cornwall to have pups and search for food. But the discoveries – among the success stories for UK marine life in 2019 – were marred by finding that a greater number of jet skiers, kayakers and boat-trippers, as well as drones, were causing the marine mammals to panic.
inews reports the pine martens live in forests or pockets of forestland, meaning the improvement is only being felt in these areas. Red squirrel numbers have rebounded significantly in parts of the UK in the past decade after years of decline, a new study finds.
The increase in red squirrel numbers has occurred in forested areas, hand in hand with growing pine marten populations, researchers say. That’s because the pine martens are eating the grey squirrels that have largely driven away the red squirrels over the years.