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A round up of the top countryside, conservation, wildlife and forestry stories as chosen by the CJS Team.


A new champion for the White-clawed crayfish - Buglife

MP for Darlington, Jenny Chapman, is championing one of the UK’s most threatened species – the White-clawed crayfish. 

Numbers of White-clawed crayfish in England and Wales have plummeted since the 1970s due to declining water quality in our rivers and streams, and the spread of invasive non-native crayfish such as the North American Signal crayfish.  Signal crayfish compete with our native crayfish for food and habitat, and spread a disease – known as crayfish plague – which is fatal to the White-clawed crayfish.

The Species Champions Project partners Members of Parliament from England with wildlife organisations to bring political support to the protection and promotion of threatened wildlife. Each MP becomes a ‘Species Champion’, adopting their own species.


HWDT announces first Corporate Partner: The Majestic Line - HWDT

The Majestic Line's three vessels in Oban Bay (image: HWDT)The Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust has launched a new way for businesses to help secure the future of western Scotland’s whales and dolphins, and to protect the Hebrides’ globally important marine environment, with its first partner of this kind being Dunoon-based The Majestic Line.

The Majestic Line's three vessels in Oban Bay (image: HWDT)

“We’re pleased to announce our first Corporate Partner, The Majestic Line, which shares our commitment to the Hebridean marine environment and its wildlife." said Gemma Paterson, Head of Major Gifts at HWDT. "This new initiative offers businesses an opportunity to get involved and support our research, education work, and engagement with local communities, whilst demonstrating genuine environmental awareness and responsibility."

The Majestic Line’s fleet of beautiful vessels (pictured) operates from Oban and offers exclusive cruises within the Hebrides, regularly encountering iconic marine wildlife. The company has been working with HWDT for several years, contributing to its research by reporting sightings of cetaceans and by ensuring it operates responsibly around marine wildlife.


Government steps up the fight against waste criminals - Environment Agency

Fight to tackle scourge of waste crime takes another step forward today as Michael Gove announces a comprehensive review to beef up the government’s approach.

Waste criminals act illegally to evade landfill tax, undercut responsible waste disposal businesses, operate illegal waste sites, export waste illegally and fly-tip - blighting communities with bad smells, fly infestations and fires.

Their activity cost the English economy more than £600 million in 2015 and the review announced by the Environment Secretary today is the next step in the government’s ongoing work to tackle the crime - which is already a serious offence with tough penalties.

A Call for Evidence launched today (10 June) will enable a wide group of people to have their say on ways to crack-down further on Organised Crime Groups (OCGs), who profit from waste crime.


Your park is award-winning, but what about your people? - Green Flag Awards

Your park is already a winner. But what about your staff and volunteers? Don't they deserve to be celebrated too?

It's the people that really make a place special, and that's why nominations are now open for our Green Flag Award Employee of the Year and Green Flag Award Volunteer of the Year awards.

  • Green Flag Award Employee of the Year

This award is open to nominate employees who have been involved in one of the UK's Green Flag Award winning sites.

  • Green Flag Award Volunteer of the Year

This award category is open to nominate volunteers who have been involved in one of the UK's Green Flag Award winning sites.  To be eligible, the volunteer must be endorsed by the organisation for which they volunteer.

Good luck with your nominations - we look forward to celebrating the amazing things your staff and volunteers are achieving.

Completed nominations to be received by 22 June.


Initial results of Orkney trapping trial revealed - RSPB
The results of the trapping trial designed to help inform plans to remove stoats from Orkney in order to protect Orkney’s internationally important wildlife were revealed today (Tuesday 12 June).

The Orkney Native Wildlife Project carried out the trial as part of the nine month development phase that was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the work to optimise technical aspects of the planned eradication. This will be the world’s largest stoat eradication to date and a first for Europe, so it was important to test some elements of the methodology to ensure it will be successful and to investigate differences in stoat behaviour in Orkney.

In December 2017, lethal humane traps were positioned at three trial sites west of Kirkwall. In order to determine their effectiveness, a range of trap types and trap housings and a range of habitats were tested. The traps were then checked eight times between mid-December and the end of February with number, gender and trap location of each stoat caught being recorded.

A total of 41 stoats were caught across the three sites.  The main finding was that the density of stoats in these three trial areas appears to be high compared to other islands around the world where stoat densities have been estimated during eradications. This is the first time that an indication of the abundance of stoats in Orkney has been available.

A subset of the trials will continue in the same areas over the summer to gain data on bait preference and the number of stoats caught in different seasons to help make the density estimates more accurate and get an understanding of whether the habitat and gender data is similar between seasons.

Click through for the results 


The loss of a parent is the most common cause of brood failure in blue tits - Max Planck Institute for Ornithology

Complete brood failure in blue tits is almost always associated with the sudden and permanent disappearance of one of the parents. Peter Santema and Bart Kempenaers from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen show in their study that the remaining parent substantially increased its effort to raise at least some of the chicks, which turned out to be successful in two thirds of the nests. Single parent males generally do worse, probably because they are not able to keep their chicks warm. 

Blue tits lay up to 15 eggs. Finding enough food means a lot of work for the parents. (© Julius Kramer)Blue tits lay up to 15 eggs. Finding enough food means a lot of work for the parents. (© Julius Kramer)

Apart from being a popular garden feeder visitor, blue tits have been the focus of much research on the causes and consequences of variation in reproductive success. Blue tits typically lay between 8-15 eggs, of which a varying number of young will survive to leave the nest. In some nests, however, all the offspring die before they are old enough to leave the nest. Finding out what causes these cases of complete brood mortality has proven challenging. Therefore, Peter Santema and Bart Kempenaers from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen equipped all adult blue tits in their study site with a tiny, passive integrated transponder. They also designed nestboxes with a built-in, automated monitoring system that recorded every visit of a transpondered bird throughout the entire year. With this system, they could analyse all parental visits of 277 nestboxes and determine when a parent was last present at the nest. In case of sudden parental disappearance, they also measured how often the remaining parent visited, both before and after the disappearance of its partner.

Of the 684 nests analysed over seven years, 13 percent suffered complete brood failure. The researchers found that in almost all of these nests, one of the parents had disappeared while the young were still alive.

Read the full article (freely available for a limited time): Santema P, Kempenaers B. Complete brood failure in an altricial bird is almost always associated with the sudden and permanent disappearance of a parent. J Anim Ecol. 2018;00:1–12. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2656.12848


British mammals’ fight for survival - The Mammal Society

Red Squirrel by Malcolm WelchAlmost one in five of British mammal species face a high risk of extinction, according to the first comprehensive review of their populations for more than 20 years launched today by The Mammal Society and Natural England.

Red Squirrel by Malcolm Welch

The red squirrel, wildcat and the grey long-eared bat are all listed as facing severe threats to their survival.

The review – commissioned by Natural England working in partnership with Scottish Natural Heritage and Natural Resources Wales – also found other mammals such as the hedgehog and water vole have seen their populations decline by up to 66% over the past 20 years.

Climate change, loss of habitat, use of pesticides and road deaths are all putting pressure on some of the best loved and most recognisable of Britain’s 58 terrestrial mammals, whose current status, historical and recent population trends, threats, and future prospects have all been assessed in the review. The work will prioritise conservation actions and also sets an agenda for future research efforts.

Prof Fiona Mathews, Mammal Society Chair and professor of Environmental Biology at the University of Sussex, said: “This is happening on our own doorstep so it falls upon all of us to try and do what we can to ensure that our threatened species do not go the way of the lynx, wolf and elk and disappear from our shores forever.”

The Mammal Society is now calling for more research to be carried out urgently to get a clearer and more accurate picture of Britain’s mammal populations. For many species, including common animals such as rabbits and moles, very little information is available.

Prof Mathews, lead author of the Review of the Population and Conservation Status of British Mammals, said: “The report highlights an urgent requirement for more research to assess population densities in key habitats because at present, uncertainty levels are unacceptably high. It is possible that declines in many species are being overlooked because a lack of robust evidence precludes assessment. There is also an urgent need to quantify precisely the scale of declines in species such as the hedgehog, rabbit, water vole and grey long-eared bat. Effective and evidence-based strategies for mammal conservation and management must be developed before it is too late.”


Tree Champion to expand England's woodland - Defra

Sir William Worsley has been appointed to bolster planting rates and grow green spaces.

A new Tree Champion to drive forward planting rates and prevent the unnecessary felling of street trees has been appointed today by Environment Secretary Michael Gove.

Sir William Worsley, current Chair of the National Forest Company, has been tasked with setting a bold direction for the country’s forests and woodlands over the next 25 years and supporting the Government’s manifesto commitments to plant 11 million trees, plus a further one million in our towns and cities.

Alongside the Government’s recently-launched review into National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Champion will help to improve the environment for the next generation and make the ambitions of our 25 Year Environment Plan a reality.

He will bring together mayors, city leaders and other key players across local government to prevent the unnecessary felling of street trees – alongside supporting the introduction of a new duty for councils to properly consult with communities before they cut down trees.


Clever bees can identify different flowers by patterns of scent - University of Bristol

A captive bumblebee walks across the surface of an artificial flower, working out the pattern of scent that has been made by placing peppermint oil in some of the holes. Image credit: Dave Lawson, University of BristolNew research led by scientists from the University of Bristol and Queen Mary University of London has revealed that bumblebees can tell flowers apart by patterns of scent.

Flowers have lots of different patterns on their surfaces that help to guide bees and other pollinators towards the flower’s nectar, speeding up pollination.

A captive bumblebee walks across the surface of an artificial flower, working out the pattern of scent that has been made by placing peppermint oil in some of the holes.

Image credit: Dave Lawson, University of Bristol

These patterns include visual signals like lines pointing to the centre of the flower, or colour differences.

Flowers are also known to have different patterns of scent across their surface, and so a visiting bee might find that the centre of the flower smells differently to the edge of the petals.

This new research, published today in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B shows that bumblebees can tell flowers apart by how scent is arranged on their surface.

Lead author Dr Dave Lawson, from the University of Bristol’s School of Biological Sciences, said: “If you look at a flower with a microscope, you can often see that the cells that produce the flower’s scent are arranged in patterns. By creating artificial flowers that have identical scents arranged in different patterns, we are able to show that this patterning might be a signal to a bee. For a flower, it’s not just smelling nice that’s important, but also where you put the scent in the first place.”

The study also shows that once bees had learnt how a pattern of scent was arranged on a flower, they then preferred to visit unscented flowers that had a similar arrangement of visual spots on their surface.

Read the paper: David A. Lawson, Lars Chittka, Heather M. Whitney, Sean A. Rands Bumblebees distinguish floral scent patterns, and can transfer these to corresponding visual patterns Proc. R. Soc. B DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2018.0661. 


Sociable animals will make compromises to remain with their group - University of Glasgow

Fish will forego their own temperature preferences in order to remain part of a group, according to a new study.

The research, led by the University of Glasgow and published today in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, found that an individual fish was more likely to associate with a group of fish if they were located in waters closer to the individual’s own preferred temperature.

The study also found that, at colder temperatures, fish that were more social deviated most strongly from their preferred temperature in order to spend more time within a group.

Group living is widespread among species because it helps animals find food, avoid predators and reproduce. This is despite animals within a group each having their own environmental preferences and requirements.

Access the paper: B. Cooper, B. Adriaenssens, S. S. Killen Individual variation in the compromise between social group membership and exposure to preferred temperatures Proc. R. Soc. B DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2018.0884


Dormouse day 2018 - PTES

Today, Thursday 14 June 2018, we are releasing hazel dormice into a woodland in Warwickshire in partnership with Warwickshire Wildlife Trust and others.

Dormouse in hand (photo credit: Bev Lewis)Today’s release follows last year’s reintroduction, which took place in June 2017 near Wappenbury. This was the first phase of the wider Dunsmore Living Landscape Scheme – a project coordinated by the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust and supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Today’s reintroduction is the second phase of this wider landscape project, which aims to one day connect the two separate dormouse populations, creating a dormouse stronghold in Warwickshire. 

Dormouse in hand (photo credit: Bev Lewis)

Dormouse decline: Sadly hazel dormice have become extinct from 17 English counties since the end of the 19th century, with populations thought to have fallen by a third since 2000 – a rate of decline equivalent to 55% over 25 years. Loss of woodland and hedgerow habitat, as well as changes to traditional countryside management practices, are all factors which have caused this decline. Reintroductions play an important role in the long-term conservation of this endangered species and are part of the Species Recovery Programme supported by Natural England. This is our 27th dormouse reintroduction. Over the last 25 years, more than 900 dormice have been released at 23 different sites.

Today’s reintroduction: Ian White, Dormouse & Training Officer explains: “Our annual reintroduction programme has been running since 1993. Since then over 900 dormice have been released into woodlands in 12 English counties where they once existed, in an effort to rebuild lost populations. This year’s reintroduction is the second phase of a wider landscape project we started in Warwickshire last year, so we hope that by returning to the same county (albeit to a different woodland) that we can connect the two populations in the future, creating a larger, self-sustaining population which we hope will help bring this species back from the brink.”


March of the micros - Butterfly Conservation

Musotima nitidalis - Les HillAn increasing number of new moth species are arriving and settling in the UK as a result of the global reach of the horticultural trade and the changing climate, moth experts today revealed. 

Musotima nitidalis - Les Hill

Almost 30 new species of pyralid moth have been recorded in the UK in the last 30 years with eight becoming established residents, wildlife publisher Atropos and charity Butterfly Conservation said. 

Pyralid moths include some of the largest and most distinctive of the 1,600 species of micro-moths found in the UK. Around 900 species of generally larger and better known macro–moths are also found here.

 The North Sea and English Channel provide a natural barrier to many potential colonising species, but the horticultural trade can provide a route into the UK with moth eggs, caterpillars or even pupae hitching a ride on imported plants. Climate change is also altering conditions enabling moths to take advantage of habitats in new areas.  This recent increase in new species comes at a time when many of the UK’s moths are in decline as a result of habitat loss and agricultural intensification. 


 The National Bug Vote Results - Buglife

Eucera lonigcornis (c) Steven FalkBuglife are excited to announce the results of the recent National Bug Vote and are pleased to note there appears to have been no electoral malpractice or hanging chads. Bees proved extremely popular wining the contest in two of the four home nations and runners-up in the others.

Eucera lonigcornis (c) Steven Falk

Interestingly in the three home nations where parliamentary champions have come forward for a wide range of species the winner has a parliamentary champion, though there is no suggestion of political interference in the vote.

In England the vote was comfortably won by the Long-horned bee which won over a third of the total votes cast. Perhaps the biggest surprise was the Seven-spot ladybird languishing in third place having been strongly fancied to win over the first few days of voting.


Large fenced reserves an effective way to bring wolves back to Scotland - University of Sussex

Research, led by the University of Sussex and the University of Kent, indicates that for wolves to be effective at directly reducing red deer numbers and allowing nature to recover in the Scottish Highlands they may need to be reintroduced to very large fenced reserve.

A fenced area, which would also help limit encounters with residents, farmers and workers in the Scottish Highlands, would give the reintroduced grey wolf the opportunity to achieve the high population densities (e.g. 80 wolves per 1,000 km2) required to directly reduce the very high red deer numbers that are currently create an over-grazing problem in the Highlands.
The current high red deer densities (up to 40 deer/km2) are preventing tree regeneration and ecosystem restoration in parts of Scotland, with more than one-third of all native woodlands in an unfavourable condition because of herbivore impacts.

Access the paper: Bull, J. W., Ejrnæs, R. , Macdonald, D. W., Svenning, J. and Sandom, C. J. (2018), Fences can support restoration in human-dominated ecosystems when rewilding with large predators. Restor Ecol. . doi:10.1111/rec.12830


Red squirrels born in zoo given new home at Silent Valley - Ulster Wildlife

Red squirrels born last year at Belfast Zoo (c) J LeesTwo red squirrels born in Belfast Zoo have been released into Silent Valley Mountain Park, as part of a nationwide scheme to boost numbers of this much-loved but endangered mammal.

Red squirrels born last year at Belfast Zoo (c) J Lees

Silent Valley Mountain Park was selected as the release site due to the ongoing efforts of the Mourne Heritage Trust, Ulster Wildlife, and NI Water to enhance woodland in the area, and to keep it free from the invasive non-native grey squirrel – the main reason for the reds decline.

The squirrels will live temporarily in a soft release pen in order to help them adapt to their new surroundings. The pen was donated by The Woodland Trust, along with one thousand native broadleaved trees to increase the woodland habitat that these squirrels will call home. 

Additional feeders have been provided through Ulster Wildlife’s ‘Red Squirrels United’ project to support the squirrels while they get used to living in the wild. The female captive-bred squirrels will be joined by two wild males relocated from Kilbroney Park under permission and licensing from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency and Forestry Service NI. This will allow the new red squirrel population to grow and flourish in their new home. 


First white-tailed eagle chick in Orkney for over 140 years - RSPB
Hatched in Hoy

A white-tailed eagle chick has successfully hatched in Orkney for the first time in over 140 years, RSPB Scotland has announced. One chick has been seen, however local RSPB Scotland staff believe from watching the parents’ behaviour that there may be two.

Also known as sea eagles it’s been five years since these birds reappeared in Orkney after an absence of 95 years. The species were wiped out in the UK when the last bird was shot on Shetland in 1918, and it’s thanks to a reintroduction programme begun in the 1970s that the birds are once again found in Scotland.

A pair have been seen in Hoy every year since 2013 but nesting attempts in 2015 and 2016 were both unsuccessful, a common occurrence for young birds. It’s thought to be the parents’ first year and nesting attempt together, with a female from previous years pairing up with a new male.

Lee Shields, RSPB Scotland’s Hoy Warden said: “It’s fantastic that the eggs laid in spring have hatched, the first successful breeding season here since the 19th century. This breeding attempt is still at the early stages, with young often in the nest for up to 14 weeks. Everybody was so excited when the first pair arrived and we’ve been keeping our fingers crossed for this ever since. We were hugely disappointed when a previous pair abandoned the territory last year, so to have at least one chick now is even more special.


Human disturbance creates a more nocturnal natural world - University of California, Berkeley

A new study published in Science finds that mammals are becoming more nocturnal in response to human activity. 

Human activity is causing the planet’s mammals to flee daylight for the protection of night, according to a new study from UC Berkeley.

The study, published today in the journal Science, and supported in part by the National Science Foundation, represents the first effort to quantify the global effects of human activity on the daily activity patterns of wildlife. Its results highlight the powerful and widespread process by which animals alter their behavior alongside people: human disturbance is creating a more nocturnal natural world.

Fox drinking water in an urban area at night, surrounded by houses.(Photo by Jamie Hall.)“Catastrophic losses in wildlife populations and habitats as a result of human activity are well documented, but the subtler ways in which we affect animal behavior are more difficult to detect and quantify,” said Berkeley PhD candidate and study lead author Kaitlyn Gaynor.

This study represents the first effort to quantify the global effects of human activity on the daily activity patterns of wildlife. Photo by Jamie Hall.

Gaynor, along with co-authors Justin Brashares and Cheryl Hojnowski of UC Berkeley, and Neil Carter of Boise State University, applied a meta-analysis approach, using data for 62 species across six continents to look for global shifts in the timing of daily activity of mammals in response to humans. These data were collected by various approaches, including remotely triggered cameras, GPS and radio collars, and direct observation. For each species in each study site, the authors quantified the difference in animal nocturnality under low and high human disturbance.

On average, mammals were 1.36 times more nocturnal in response to human disturbance. This means that an animal that naturally split its activity evenly between the day and night increased its nighttime activity to 68% around people. This finding was consistent across carnivore and herbivore species of all body sizes greater than 1 kg (small mammals were not included in the study). The pattern also held across different types of human disturbance, including activities such as hunting, hiking, mountain biking, and infrastructure such as roads, residential settlement, and agriculture.

“While we expected to find a trend towards increased wildlife nocturnality around people, we were surprised by the consistency of the results around the world,” said Gaynor. “Animals responded strongly to all types of human disturbance, regardless of whether people actually posed a direct threat, suggesting that our presence alone is enough to disrupt their natural patterns of behavior.”
Access the paper: Kaitlyn M. Gaynor, Cheryl E. Hojnowski, Neil H. Carter, Justin S. Brashares.  The influence of human disturbance on wildlife nocturnality. Science 15 Jun 2018 : 1232-1235 DOI: 10.1126/science.aar7121


Cornwall Wildlife Trust maps Cornish Hedges - Cornwall Wildlife Trust

Cornish hedges have been an intrinsic part of Cornwall’s landscape for thousands of years, and with an estimated 30,000 miles of hedges in Cornwall creating a map of the entire network was a huge undertaking, but it has now been done by Cornwall Wildlife Trust.

Using advances in technology and satellite imagery, ERCCIS (Environmental Records Centre for Cornwall and Isles of Scilly), Cornwall’s local environmental record centre, has now identified hedge features across the Cornish landscape and mapped them, which is vital in ensuring their protection and sustainable management for years to come. They have also launched a new mobile app Online Recording Kernow and Scilly - ‘ORKS’ to enable local people to take part in this important work, which can be downloaded from Google Play or iTunes

Davidstow (image: Bob Wyatt via Cornwall Wildlife Trust)Davidstow (image: Bob Wyatt via Cornwall Wildlife Trust)

The Hedge Map will provide a wealth of information for research, conservation and sustainable management of our wildlife and habitats. It will provide an understanding of how different species use habitats and interact with the wider landscape and help protect isolated populations.

The ORKS app will enable everyone to share sightings of flora and fauna along their local hedgerows. This information and photographs can then be used for conservation and research.

Unlike the classic English Hedgerow, which is protected under UK law not only as a habitat, but also, in its function as a wildlife corridor. Cornish Hedges are not protected, which means they are at risk from destruction and development.


SNH urges new developments ‘Get green from the ground up’ - Scottish Natural Heritage

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) is launching a ground-breaking new approach that makes nature a key factor at the ‘idea stage’ of successful building projects.

To inspire developers on the benefits of nature from the outset, SNH is launching its innovative approach - Planning for Great Places. The aim is to help Scotland become the best place to live, work and visit, by directing development to where it is needed, and is the best fit.

Mike Cantlay, Chair of SNH said: “We know that living and working in great places brings huge benefits for physical and mental health.  But in some areas, there is little or no opportunity to access the fundamentals of nature – grass, trees, bees and insects.

“Getting green from the ground up is a crucial way that developments can support communities for generations to come. It can make for beautiful places to live, work and visit, as well as being great for business.

“SNH has a pivotal role here, and key to our fresh approach will be talking to and supporting development interests as early as possible. We want to understand aspirations and challenges at the ideas stage, and before planning applications are in place. Working together, we can build capacity to look after nature, and make the most of the opportunities it offers.”


Scotland delivers nearly 80% of UK new planting - Forestry Commission Scotland

A marked increase in the yearly tree planting figures has been described as “very encouraging” by Rural Affairs Secretary Fergus Ewing.
Figures just released today show that 7,100 hectares of new woodland was planted during 2017/18, a rise of 2,300 hectares from the previous year. This means that Scotland was responsible for 78% of new woodland creation in the UK last year.
Around 60 per cent is ‘productive’ planting – specifically aimed at growing sustainable timber. This is the highest level since 2000, and is crucial in supporting the sustainable growth of Scotland’s home-grown timber processors, who have been investing heavily in recent years in places such as the extended Norbord plant at Dalcross near Inverness.  
The new planting figures would have been higher but extreme winter weather delayed over 800 hectares of planting until later in the year, too late to be included in the reporting period. 
In spite of this large rise, the annual target of planting 10,000 hectares each year has not been reached. However, plans and approvals already made for more tree planting in 2018 suggest that figures will be higher still for the current year.


New figures show increase in animal rescues by RSPCA Cymru in ‘exceptionally busy year- RSPCA

RSPCA Cymru officers rescued almost 23 animals each and every day in 2017, as new figures – for RSPCA Week – highlight the breadth of the charity’s frontline work.

The new data, launched today (14 June) within the RSPCA’s Annual Summary for Wales, shows the RSPCA inspectorate rescued 8,220 animals – including pets, farm animals and wildlife – throughout 2017.

More rescues were completed by the RSPCA over the year than in both 2016 and 2015, with the figure marking a 7.6% increase on the previous calendar year. RSPCA say the new data demonstrates the “invaluable, tireless and never-ending” nature of the emergency work delivered by the inspectorate 24 hours-per-day.

Rescues completed by the charity include 4,919 wild animals. That figure incorporates hundreds of Manx shearwater rescued in West Wales following stormy weather conditions; with one of the saved seabirds featured as the cover star for this year’s Annual Summary.


Forest Schools for All - Sylva Foundation

Forest Schools for All is a bold new education project for Sylva Foundation, in partnership with the Forest School Association, and The Ernest Cook Trust, which is also the main funder of the project. The three leading environmental education organisations have come together with the ultimate aim of increasing and sustaining access to Forest Schools for all children in England.

Launch of Forest Schools for All (image: Sylva)For the next two years we will develop and test new approaches across three countries—Buckinghamshire, Gloucestershire, and Oxfordshire—with a view to rolling these out at national scale with more partners, support, and funding.

Celebrating the announcement of ‘Forest Schools for All’ during a Forest School session at the Sylva Wood Centre: Simon Gould (Director of Learning, Ernest Cook Trust), Jen Hurst (Education Manager, Sylva Foundation) and Sarah Lawfull (Director, Forest School Association).

Sylva Foundation Chief Executive, Gabriel Hemery, said “This project builds on the past ten years of Sylva Foundation’s innovative forest education projects, in particular work to support woodland management in Forest Schools thanks to funding from the Patsy Wood Trust.” He continued “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the Forest School Association, and especially grateful to The Ernest Cook Trust for agreeing, not only to fund the project, but to act as a main partner.” 


£5 billion investment by water companies to benefit the natural environment - Defra

The Environment Secretary Michael Gove has challenged water companies to increase investment and improve environmental outcomes by 2025.

The ambitious measures set out by the Environment Agency in the Water Industry National Environment Programme (WINEP) will see up to £5 billion of investment by water companies in the natural environment through 2020 to 2025.  This will help tackle some of the biggest challenges facing the water environment, from the spread of invasive species and low flows to the effects of chemical and nutrient pollution.

Environment Secretary, Michael Gove said: "I want water companies to invest in the long term future of our environment. It is right that the Environment Agency is challenging water companies to go further. This significant investment will help tackle some of the biggest challenges facing the natural environment. It will help to improve our waterways, increase biodiversity and combat non-native invasive species. This will support our goal to leave the environment in a better state for future generations."


Eggs removed from eagle nest in south Highlands - Police Scotland

Police Scotland is appealing for assistance from the public after a golden eagle nest was disturbed in the Badenoch and Strathspey area.

It is believed that someone has climbed to the nest in the Kincraig area and has stolen eagle eggs from within it.

The incident was reported to police on Monday, June 11

Wildlife crime officer Constable Daniel Sutherland said: "We can confirm that after having visited the nest, the tree has been climbed  and the eggs stolen from within the nest. We are working with the landowners who are supportive of wildlife and are extremely disappointed that eagles nesting on their ground have suffered at the hands of egg collectors. It is frustrating that once again criminals believe they can get away with thieving from the nests of this iconic species in the Highlands. Stealing from the nest of a wild bird is illegal and anyone found to be involved in egg collecting will be robustly dealt with. I appeal to anyone that maybe aware of anyone involved in this incident or the criminal business of egg collecting to report the circumstances to police on 101, quoting incident NM1843/18  or alternatively to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."


Scientific Publications
Philip Warren, Tom Hornby & David Baines (2018) Comparing call-playback to an observation-only method to survey Grey Partridge Perdix perdix on hill farms in northern England, Bird Study, DOI: 10.1080/00063657.2018.1475466


Wood, K.A., Newth, J.L., Hilton, G.M. et al. Has winter body condition varied with population size in a long-distance migrant, the Bewick’s Swan (Cygnus columbianus bewickii)? Eur J Wildl Res (2018) 64: 38. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10344-018-1200-3 

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