Posts

The elephant in the conservationist's room: human population

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Today is Earth Day - a time to take a step back and celebrate how awesome the world is and the fabulous things that environmentalists are doing to help save the planet.  It's a day filled with happiness, inspiration and compassion towards other living things. So what better day for our article to be released on conservationists' incessant failure to talk about the devastating effects of human population growth, density and size than on Earth Day?!


Laura Kehoe and I write in the latest Journal of Population and Sustainability (pages 53-67) about the curious lack of research conducted on how human population size, growth and density can affect biodiversity.  We note that the topic of human population and its adverse effects is not shunned by economics, politics or health researchers, so we find it strange that conservationists would avoid studying this crucial area.

We suggest that possibly one reason for this dearth of research by conservationists is because they still find the…

A rare good news story for wildlife - interviews with Sky & BBC

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New research published in Oryx and part-funded by WWF finds a previously-undiscovered wildlife haven in eastern Myanmar.  And what's more, the indigenous Karen people appear to be acting as environmental stewards for this biodiversity!  I was interviewed by Sky News and BBC 5 Live about this awesome discovery.


Click the photo below to listen to my BBC 5 live interview (starts at around 26 mins in)


BBC Radio Manchester interview on pandas, pangolins & tigers!

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Just been on BBC Radio Manchester talking about pandas, tigers and pangolins. I was on right after the song Hot Chocolate's "You Sexy Thing" so I had to listen to that directly before being interviewed haha. You can hear me from 35 mins in by clicking on this link.



SciComm interview with Dr Mike

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Yesterday I was interviewed for a #SciComm blog where I talked about how I got into conservation, gave some advice for aspiring conservationists and tried to explain the complex topic of human-wildlife conflict.

You can check out the interview here.



Can religion affect how we act towards the environment?

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From my latest BBC Earth article

You might think that being religious would make you more likely to care about the natural world. But the truth is not so simple.

Eight out of 10 people around the world consider themselves religious. That figure shows that, while in many countries religion is not as dominant as it once was, it still has a huge influence on us.

What does that mean for the environmental movement? Does a belief in God or the supernatural make people more or less likely to take care of animals and the environment?

It is easy to make up stories to answer this question. You might say that many religions push the idea that the world will soon come to an end, in which case surely they encourage a "let it burn" ethos: what does it matter if the rainforest gets cut down, if the Rapture is next week? But just as plausibly, you might point out that many religions are big on kindness, and some such as Jainism even forbid killing animals. This should nudge their followers towa…

Is the UK tough enough on criminals that illegally trade wildlife?

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Illegal wildlife trade s a hot topic at the moment – and rightly so. It threatens the extinction of many species as diverse as sharks, pangolins and tigers. It sometimes seems that not a week goes by without hearing of poached rhinos in South Africa or elephants in Tanzania.
So what is the UK doing to tackle illegal wildlife trade?
We should be proud that we’re already leading the way in many respects. The Government funds work internationally to stop the poaching, stop the trafficking and stop the buying of illegal wildlife products. Funded projects have included training Border Forces in the Horn of Africa on wildlife trade and improving wildlife forensics across Africa to increase the number of successful convictions.



WWF’s work at Heathrow Airport Border Force © WWF-UK / James Morgan

The UK has also hosted an international conference international conference on illegal wildlife trade back in 2014, which resulted in the Buckingham Palace Declaration that 41 countries adopted. Just re…

Tigers, pandas & elephants, oh my!

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It's been a busy few days at the end of 2016.   A couple of days ago I was interviewed by BBC Breakfast and ITV to talk about the wildlife conservation success stories of 2016, and then yesterday Sky News interviewed me about the Chinese domestic ivory ban.  You can watch the videos here: