Exotics, endemics & Europe as 2016 approaches?

We hear of laudable endeavours about saving exotic species, such as the polar bear, tiger, orang utan for example (there are other offers available) and that is absolutely commendable as the big and colourful high profile species attract equally colourful and high profile characters championing their cause and we could apply the addage of any publicity is good publicity &c.

Here in the UK we too have iconic species that experts underpinned with science offer are on the verge of extinction.  The Scottish Wildcat is one such species?  Recent studies have shown that Wildcats can control predators such as stoats, pine martens and polecats rather than grouse and other gamebirds as once believed and promoted.  The Scottish Government’s conservation agency Scottish Natural Heritage commissioned a survey and scoping analysis in 2014 to consider how best to address the continuing decline of the iconic species.  See Louise Ramsay’s account “Saving Scotland’s Highland Tiger” via Ecologist.  It is a tale of two halves, challenges and opportunities?

geograph-2680464-by-Peter-Trimming

Recent arrival, ‘Fergus’, seen at the British Wildlife Centre, Newchapel, Surrey.  © Copyright Peter Trimming and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Factor in also that this year we’ve heard much about the loss of biodiversity and habitat destruction, might we suppose that this was a continuing trend from 2013 (and previously) when many of the large membership NGOs collaboratively published the damming State of Nature report?  Given the apparent inertia in terms of address of the issues and the recommendations complicated by distractions like changing climate patterns and wholesale floods sweeping the UK in recent times then one might wonder as peripheral debates about UK EU membership and the referendum on the horizon, what it might mean for nature conservation, so ….

Would we be better in or out of the European Union in terms of protecting the natural environment?

In 2015 a number of reports were published by the European Environment Agency, some of these post provision of data by members states in 2013 under the Birds (2009/147/EC) and the Habitats (92/43/EEC) directives.

State of nature in the EU  The page provides a link to the report and annexes.

The State of Nature in the EU is the glossy EC version, those above are lengthy texts and graphical data.

Something to ponder, to ‘mull’ over as we prepare to see out the old and bring in the new year?

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