The national furore over the planned badger cull is gaining momentum, and there are serious concerns on all sides that peaceful protest and objection might spill over into violent confrontation. While all this is happening, another cull is quietly going ahead: that of 100 wild boar in the Forest of Dean.
CGO Ecology has been instructed by Scottish environmental consultancy IKM Consulting Ltd (Grangemouth, Stirlingshire) to perform a reptile survey of the Waverley Line (Borders Rail) project in September 2012.
CGO Ecology has just been instructed by IKM Consulting Ltd to perform a reptile survey on the 50km route of the former Waverley Line railway from Edinburgh to Tweedbank. This major project, led by BAM Nuttall Ltd working for Railtrack, will see the long-awaited re-opening of this iconic route. Served by Edinburgh Waverley station, and eventually running to Carlisle, the Waverley Line was closed in the Beeching Axe of the late 1960s.
As we enter late summer, the 'Asian hornet' Vespa velutina reaches its most active time of year, and this is likely to be the year they reach Britain. As part of the 'GB rapid response protocol', Defra's Non-Native Species Secretariat (NNSS) has issued a species alert for V. velutina, including posters and fact sheets. Already widespread in western France, it is anticipated soon in southern England.
Summer usually presents an unpredictable time for CGO Ecology’s business diary. The bulk of season-specific work we do is in the spring, and the nature and volume of work during the rest of the year is more variable.
Buglife, the Invertebrate Conservation Trust, has reported that England's largest population of freshwater pearl mussels (Margaritifera margaritifera) has been devastated by lowered water levels.
The UK's statutory nature conservation organisations have announced the commencement of the 6th 'Quinquennial Review' (QQR) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (WCA).
Do reptiles live on floodplains? It is a question I have often asked myself, and usually concluded that the answer is largely 'no.' The obvious exception is the grass snake, a highy mobile species, at home in agricultural and managed landscapes, and a good swimmer.
An open letter to Justin McCracken, Chief Executive of the Health Protection Agency, in response to their press release "County walking? Think snakes..." (23/5/12):
(First published on 18/4/12 on the ARGUK website www.arguk.org)
Recent media attention has highlighted the impact of current drought conditions on natterjack toad breeding success. Natterjack breeding ponds are typically shallow sandy pools which dry up in some years. This is good for keeping predators in check, but with several consecutive dry winters and springs, it poses a serious threat to breeding success.