Weekly Roundup 26/10/14

This week the weather has got colder and autumn has undoubtedly arrived as the long nights draw in. See what news stories have sprung up this week amongst the seasonal fungus.

English Egg Collector Convicted in Bulgaria

Earlier this week an English egg collector who now is a resident of Bulgaria was convicted for egg collecting offences. Jan Frederick Ross, formerly of Greater Manchester is known to have previous convictions for egg collecting and moved to Bulgaria following this. A raid on his home discovered 16 birds eggs including one from the rare Griffon Vulture; a species whose population levels looks bleak at only 60 breeding pairs. Moreover detailed diaries and photographs were found, which revealed over a thousand potentially illegally collected birds eggs. Many of these were also rare breeding birds with few breeding pairs in Bulgaria. Rare breeding species can be particularly vulnerable to egg collectors and the hobby can have serious implications for conservation. Ross received a £2,000 fine and a suspended six month prison sentence.

For More Information:

http://www.wildlifeextra.com/go/news/egg-collector-convicted.html

http://www.rspb.org.uk/community/ourwork/b/investigations/archive/2014/10/22/bedlam-in-bulgaria.aspx

http://www.rspb.org.uk/forprofessionals/policy/wildbirdslaw/wildbirdcrime/egg_collection.aspx

Prozac may Harm our Birds

Our increased consumption of the antidepressant Prozac may be harming starling populations as it enters the food chain. Ecologist Dr Kathryn Arnold from the University of York claims that birds are passively ingesting Prozac from earthworms living in sewage works. Antidepressants often end up being excreted almost unchanged from when they are ingested and thus earthworms living in the sewage can end up containing Prozac. Dr Arnold fed starlings earthworms containing the same concentration of Prozac as those found at the sewage works. What she found was that the starlings suffered from a major loss of appetite as well as a decreased libido. The loss of appetite is particularly worrying as it means they are less likely to survive the winter nights.

For More Information:

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/oct/21/prozac-may-be-harming-bird-populations-study-suggests

Legal Action Launched to Stop Capture of Beavers

Friends of the Earth have launched a legal campaign to attempt to prevent the government from capturing the family of beavers living in Devon. The environmental charity have sent a pre-action protocol letter to Natural England which will force them to release more details about the licence they issued. Thought to be the first wild beavers living in England for centuries, DEFRA plans on trapping and relocating the beavers as they believe there is a possibility of the beavers spreading disease. They also claim that the beavers are a non-native and thus an invasive species. However FoE have countered this argument with the claim that as Britain was the natural habitat of beavers before they were hunted to extinction, that means they are protected under European law.

For More Information: http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_round_up/2607927/foe_sues_to_keep_devons_wild_beavers_free.html

http://www.foe.co.uk/act/keep-devons-beavers-wild

New Toad Species Identified in the UK

The toads on the Island of Jersey have been found to be genetically different to those on mainland UK. Jersey is the only Channel Island to have toads, and it has been proven that experts suspicions about the larger toads were right. Not only do the toads on Jersey prefer different habitats to their English counterparts, they are also more genetically different than humans are from Chimpanzees. The new species has been named as the Western Common Toad (bufo spinosus) and is also found in western France, Iberia and North Africa. As a result of these findings the new species will need a tailored conservation programme to ensure their continued survival on Jersey.

For More Information:

http://www.arc-trust.org/news/latest-news/toads-in-jersey http://www.wildlifeextra.com/go/news/jersey-toad-279.html

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Emily Stewart
Owner of Inspirewildlife - a site dedicated to sharing positive conservation news stories from around the world. Zoo Management Graduate from University of Chester
Emily Stewart

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