sacred ibis

Cumbrian zoo and owner fined for bird escapes

A zoo in Cumbria and its owner has been fined by magistrates courts for allowing Sacred Ibis birds to escape. They were convicted under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 Sec. 14(1). The Sacred Ibis is an exotic bird species that is a known risk to UK bird populations if it becomes established in the wild. The South Lakes Wild Animal Park Ltd (SLWAP) of Dalton-in-Furness, and its owner David Stanley Gill, 53yrs, were both convicted of three counts of allow the bird to fly freely outside the park. The zoo was fined £5000 plus £370 costs and David Gill was fined £2000 plus £870 costs. The case arises from a series…

Balearic-Shearwater-Spain_Credit-Ric_Guerreiro

Hundreds of important sites for nature threatened with destruction

More than 350 of the planet’s most important sites for nature are threatened with being lost forever according to a new report by BirdLife International. Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) are places of international significance for the conservation of the world’s birds and other nature, with over twelve thousand identified worldwide. IBAs are the largest and most comprehensive global network of important sites for nature conservation. Now, 356 of these – known as ‘IBAs in Danger’ – have been identified in 122 countries and territories as being in imminent danger of being lost. About half of these are legally protected, which highlights the importance of improving the management effectiveness…

Allen-Lambert

Gamekeeper guilty of killing 11 birds of prey

A gamekeeper at a Norfolk shooting estate has been found guilty by magistrates of killing 11 birds of prey and possessing pesticides used to make poisoned baits for the birds.  Allen Lambert, 65, has also pleaded guilty at a previous hearing to 5 charges of illegal storage and use of pesticides and possession of 9 dead buzzards. Lambert has worked for the Stody estate in Norfolk who operates the land as a shooting estate. Lamert was found guilty on Wednesday at Norwich Magistrates’ Court and will return there on 6th November for sentencing. The charges he was found guilty of included the killing 10 buzzards and a sparrowhawk and possession of associated pesticides…

Warnings of extinctions on International Vulture Awareness Day

The world’s biggest conservation Partnership – BirdLife International – has announced that vultures have rapidly become one of the most threatened families of birds on the planet. In a bid to stop this important family of birds slipping towards extinction in Europe and Africa, they have launched a global campaign asking for public support to Stop Vulture Poisoning Now. Following recent catastrophic declines of vultures in Asia that left landscapes littered with carcasses, vultures in Europe and Africa may be set to follow unless we act now – warn conservationists from BirdLife International. Vultures are important and essential for our health: “Vultures play a fundamental role that no other birds…

Critically endangered Mascarene Petrel discovered at sea and unique image captured of bird with its egg

An expedition to find the Critically Endangered Mascarene Petrel at sea has returned with new information on one of the world’s least-known seabirds. Incredibly they have photographed a female bird where the egg is an obvious protrusion in the contour of her underbody. This is thought to be the first record of any bird photographed in flight with an obvious egg inside the body. The sighting has given new insight into the timing of the breeding season of the species which will help with future searches for its breeding grounds on Réunion Island, the only known place for the species in the world. The search for the elusive petrel is…

First ever illustrated world bird classification published

Lynx Edicíons and BirdLife International have published the first ever Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. The checklist classification uses new criteria and recognises 462 new species which were previously treated as ‘races’ of other forms. The new total of 4,549 non-passerines implies that previous classifications have undersold avian diversity at the species level by as much as 10%. As a result today the world has 46 ‘new’ species of parrot, 36 ‘new’ hummingbirds and 26 ‘new’ owls. The work uses new criteria for determining which taxa qualify as species. These criteria are intended to create a level playing field, by which all bird species can be assessed…

One tenth of bird species flying under the conservation radar

More than 350 newly recognised bird species have been assessed by BirdLife International for the first time on behalf of The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Worryingly, more than 25% of these newly recognised birds have been listed as threatened on the IUCN Red List – compared with 13% of all birds – making them urgent priorities for conservation action. The first of a two-part comprehensive taxonomic review has focussed on non-passerine birds – such as birds of prey, seabirds, waterbirds and owls – and has led to the recognition of 361 new species, that were previously treated as ‘races’ of other forms The new total of 4,472 non-passerines…

Court orders police investigation into bird charity

Intense lobbying by a hunting group in Malta has led to the magistrates court ordering police to investigate international wild bird charity Birdlife. The case involves Birdlife volunteers who handled protected species after rescuing them. Police had previously investigated the case and dropped the investigation quickly. In October 2012 6 volunteers from Birdlife were photographed for an article in local media about rescuing injured and shoot birds. The birds that had been photographed were protected species and handlers needed special licenses to disturb the species. A complaint was made to the police who investigated the situation and decided that as no crime was intended and the volunteers where trying to…

UK courts give conditional discharge to trader of endangered species

Teeside Crown Court  has given a taxidermist who traded illegally in endangered bird species a conditional discharge and a £300 fine. Lee Yafano, 41 years of Glenfield Drive, Middlesbrough, traded stuffed birds of prey on ebay and claimed that the items came with the required permits. Officers from the National Wildlife Crimes Unit and Cleveland Police monitored ebay and monitored a seller, Yafano, who was selling species covered by CITES Annex A species which required a permit – Article 10 – for trade to take place. Yafano knew about the requirements but intentionally ignored the needs for permits Police raided Yafanos home on 12th November 2012 and discovered a live…

Gannets spot easy pickings from 11km away

The impact of trawlers and their waste on seabird populations appear to be much larger than previously thought. A study by the University of Exeter highlights that the ‘footprint’ of a trawler is as large as 11km radius. This footprint influences the foraging behaviour of seabirds as they now associate trawlers with easy-pickings. Using GPS the marine researchers from Exeter discovered that the northern gannet changed their behaviour in the presence of large boats and particularly trawlers. Scientists at the Centre for Ecology and Conservation at the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus in Cornwall and the Coastal & Marine Centre at University College Cork analysed GPS tracking data from 74…

$200 to reduce albatross deaths by 95%

A $200 device that can be fitted to trawlers has been demonstrated to reduce albatross by-catch deaths by 95% and scientists are now calling for the devices to be made mandatory. The bird scarring lines also reduce by-catch deaths of other birds by between 73% and 95% during the winter months. A research paper published in Animal Conservation show how successful a simple bird-scaring line attached to trawlers can be to prevent birds from becoming entangled in nets and cables. The study used data collected from trawl fisheries in the South African  deep-water hake trawl fishery. In 2004, 9300 birds died in the fishery including 7,200 albatrosses. The researchers then…

Suspended sentence for falconer guilty of cruelty

The former manager of Barn at Beal’s bird of prey centre near Berwick has been sentenced to nine weeks suspended prison sentence, 150 hours of community service and banned from owning birds for 10 years.  Thomas Burford, 22, was found guilty of sustained cruelty of birds in his care by Newcastle magistrates. Burford took over the running of the Barn at Beal’s in March last year after training as a falconer. But his defence stated that it soon became too much responsibility and care of the birds suffered. Burford pleaded guilty to the nine charges of cruelty including cruelty to barn owls and European eagle owls. Burford had studied animal management…

Investigating Asia’s biggest animal fair

Gajendra Moksha, also called The Liberation of Gajendra, is a Puranic legend from the 8th Skandha of Bhagavad Purana, one of the most sacred books in Hinduism. It is one of the famous exploits of Lord Vishnu wherein Lord Vishnu came down to earth to protect Gajendra, the Elephant, from the clutches of Makara, the Crocodile, and awarded him moksha or salvation. This is the ancient legend that lies behind the world famous Sonepur Animal Fair held at Harihar Kshetra on the occasion of Kartik Purnima in Bihar every year (Jain,2014). TRAFFIC conducted a survey of the Fair in November-December 2013 and found startling information about the illegal animal trade.…

Vultures under threat – Europe ignores Asian lessons

Europe has failed to take notice of the Asian experience with the cattle drug Diclofenac as it becomes more widely available on the continent. Used to treat animals for inflammation and other diseases vultures are unable to break down the chemical and die from renal failure. The impact of the drug was quick and devastating with vulture populations in India during the 1980’s running at millions of birds to barely a few thousand remaining by the late 1990’s. Despite the drug being banned by India in March 2006, Nepal in August 2006 and Pakistan in late 2006 the drug has been authorised for use in Spain where 80% of European vultures…

National Wildlife Crime Unit issues alert to bird owners

The UK National Wildlife Crime Unit has issued an alert to bird owners and breeders of an increase in thefts of canaries, finches and Budgerigars. Breeders and bird exhibitors in the Midlands and the South of England are being targeted by criminal gangs looking for easy pickings. Wildlife crime offers high rewards with minimum risks and low sentences. Over the last 2 years theft of birds which can be valued at thousands of pounds each have been increasing. A recent pate of thefts have occurred in in the last few months and over 40 burglaries have taken place. At particular risk are owners in Milton Keynes, Southampton, Woking, Margate and…

The price of repeated wildlife crime in Britain – £200

Britain’s most convicted bird egg collector has appeared in court for the 10th time for keeping protected wild bird eggs. The sentence handed out by magistrates was a £200 fine and £300 in costs. Yet again British magistrates have chosen to ignore the on-going threat to wildlife and the impact of wildlife crime on wild species. Gregory Peter Wheal (50yrs) of Vinecote Road, Coventry appeared before magistrates on 3rd March 2014 for keeping 4 birds eggs. The eggs were discovered by police who were at Wheal’s home on another unrelated matter in September 2013. The eggs belonged to  two guillemot, one razorbill and a mute swan. Wheal is well-known locally for…

Scotland prepares for natures homecoming

Wildlife experts are hoping for a record number of birds, insects, mammals and fish species to return to their spring home in Dumfries & Galloway this year. And to celebrate Homecoming Scotland 2014, the region’s Wild Spring Festival (taking place from 5 April to 5 May) is offering over 100 family-friendly events where participants could discover some of these species. Many of the events are free and most hosted by local wildlife guides and experts. Wildlife watchers are being encouraged to look out for 39 bird, insect, mammal and fish species returning from their wintering quarters to Dumfries & Galloway this spring, one of the biggest wildlife homecomings in Scotland.…

UK Garden wildlife health watch launches

  Britain’s largest survey of the health of garden wildlife has begun today and lead partners are calling for people to report on the condition of their garden wildlife at the web site of the Garden Wildlife Health project. The aim of the project is to  gain a better understanding of the diseases that threaten native wildlife. The Garden Wildlife Health project is being run by a partnership of the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), British Trust for Ornithology (BTO),  Froglife and Royal Society for Protection of Birds (RSPB). The survey is aimed at the full spectrum of wildlife that is regularly seen in people’s gardens including mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds.…

Keep calm and carry on…. feeding the birds

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has revealed that they are taking increasing numbers of telephone calls from the public concerned that no birds are coming to their feeders. RSPB experts though say don’t panic and carry on putting out small amounts of food. With such a good natural harvest this year together with the mild weather for the time of year, birds and other wildlife that would normally come to gardens to feed have no need of extra food. There are still fruit and berries on the trees and the ground is soft enough for birds to find insects and worms. Once the cold weather sets…

Conservation Grade beats Organic for helping birds

Shoppers who want to help farmland birds when buying their Christmas vegetables this year should look out for Conservation Grade produce rather than organic. A new study by University of Southampton has shown that farms awarded Conservation Grade status are better for farmland birds than fully organic farms. The study shows that threatened farmland birds are likely to survive the winter better on conventional farms with specially designed wildlife habitats than on organic farms without. Conservation Grade farms require farmers to put in place measures to manage and establish specific habitats for wildlife. Comparing three different farming methods the researchers found that farmland birds survived the winter months better on…