Category Archives: conservation

Biologist argues that we don’t need to save endangered species because extinction is “natural”

UPDATE: Apparently Pyron has rethought his position, saying that he “failed to make his views sufficiently clear and coherent” and “succumbed to a temptation to sensationalize parts of my argument.” He also faults himself for not running the piece by his George Washington University colleagues, which is pretty much inexcusable given its message. His mea […]

Count birds, save birds! Citizen science needs you! #Autumnwatch

by Matthew Cobb The BBC TV programme Autumnwatch has teamed up with Zooniverse to analyse photographic records of seabirds on cliffs from around the UK. This is something that machines are very poor at, and humans can do easily. The idea is to calculate how many of different birds are based on cliffs around the […]

Ajax, the kea conservation dog

Reader Mike Hannah, a professor of paleontology and evolution at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand, sent me a link to this short (3½ minute) film about a man named Corey and his dog Ajax, who’s been trained to sniff out underground kea nests (he wears a muzzle). It’s all in the cause of conservation, […]

Theresa May scraps Tory pledge to ban sales of ivory in the UK

I’ve had people defend Prime Minister Theresa May on this site when I called her “odious”. That was in reference to her plan to bring back the filthy sport of fox hunting in Britain. Okay, if you don’t think that’s odious, how about her new scrapping of a Tory pledge to ban ivory trade in the UK? […]

EPA advisory panel gutted of scientists, to be replaced by people from regulated industries

This is the kind of stuff the Science March was designed to prevent. As yesterday’s New York Times reported, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, whose name encapsulates its mission, has just dismissed five or more members of its scientific review board, the Board of Science Counselors (BSC). The BSC’s job is to review and vet […]

The link between evolution and conservation: the case of the bumblebee

by Matthew Cobb This brief animated video was made by my final year student, Izzy Taylor, as part of her Zoology degree. It’s all her own work. She needs comments from viewers, so I’d be very grateful if you could spend 7 minutes having a quick look, and then posting your views – suggestions, criticisms, plaudits […]

Stop the gratuitous slaughter of Alaska’s wildlife

According to the Dodo, the Sierra Club, and other sites, the U.S. House of Representatives just voted to overturn a prior ban on hunting in the wildlife refuges of Alaska. The resolution allows hunters to enter dens and slaughter entire families of bears and wolves, as well as to lure animals with food and shoot them […]

Joel Sartore’s photos of (mostly) endangered species

The readers’ wildlife tank is emptying (send in your good photos, please), so today I’ll repost some of the superb work of National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore (yes, the magazine’s content is going downhill, but the photos are and have always been the best part). Sartore took a year off to help his wife during a […]

Standing Rock: Has the news about the pipeline protests been slanted?

To answer the title question first, my response is “I don’t know.” Most of what I’ve learned about the dispute between the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and the government and private companies over the Dakota Access Pipeline has come from social media, which has been universally sympathetic to the Sioux. They, and other sympathizers and Native Americans, are […]

Artificial selection in action: African elephants are losing their tusks

Reader John O’Neall called my attention to a new article in The Independent about the continuing slaughter of African elephants for their ivory tusks.  This is a form of artificial selection—the elephants targeted are those with the largest tusks—that has a predictable result given that artificial selection on a trait almost never fails: An increasing number of […]