Controversial bee project buzzing with success

A bee re-introduction plan in Kent which led to outrage in Sweden appears to be working as researchers discover workers in the fields – a sure sign of the queen bees having bred. There has been a number of failed attempts at reintroducing the short-haired bumblebee to Kent in this year it may have finally been successful. It appears that it has been no easy task for the team to bring back the short-haired bumble bee to Dungeness and the Romney Marshes with attempts to introduce the species from New Zealand failing and at least two previous attempts to introduce queen bees from Sweden also having failed. However 2014 appears to…

Global Re-introductions case studies published

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has released the latest volume of case studies involving the re-introduction of endangered species. The 298 page book is available to download free of charge in pdf format. It covers 236 re-introduction programmes and is the 4th in a series from the Reintroduction Specialists Group. The book is Global Re-Introduction Perspective: 2013. The 236 projects examined spans the globe and include a wide range of different re-introduction projects. From the re-planting of mangrove swamps to the re-wilding of orang-utans the book records the level of succeed that was accomplished or the current level of success. One of the projects in the…

Cheetahs return after 100 year absence

For the first time in over 100 years wild cheetahs are roaming the Free State wilderness in South Africa thanks to a re-introduction programme. The first 2 cheetahs – both males – have been released by The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), in partnership with Laohu Valley Reserve and Amakhala Game Reserve. Free State has been alone in South Africa in not having wild cheetahs on any of its land. The last wild cheetah raced across the plains over 100 years ago when the country was still under colonial rule. Throughout the entire country it is estimated that there is less than 1000 cheetahs in the wild and they are classed…

No cheetahs for India

The Indian courts have ruled that the proposed cheetah introduction programme in India can not go ahead. This will please many conservationists who don’t believe that the move is the correct one. The plan was put on hold because no consultation had taken place with the National Board for Wildlife (NBW) which is a statutory body for the enforcement of the wildlife law.  Wildlife experts questioned suitability of African cheetahs for India. Many wildlife experts in India had questioned the feasibility of the plan to introduce African cheetahs into India to replace the ones lost by hunting. The African cheetah is a different species to the original Asian cheetah and apart from being genetically different it is also behaviourally different. There were also…

Anger growing over Swedish bee imports

It may have been a good news story for British conservationists with the proposed re-introduction of the short-haired bumblebee to Kent. But there is growing anger in Sweden that their population of the species may be put under risk by the project. It’s not just locals who are concerned about the British scientists heading out this weekend to start the collection of 100 queen bees. Important conservationists from Skane are concerned over the plans and some have claimed that there has been no local consultation over the plans. Skania region Environmental Director is quoted as saying “If they succeed, we will barely have any left” (google translated) in the daily newspaper DN.se. Annelie Johansson, Environmental Director at the…

From Sweden with buzz

A precious cargo will soon be on the way from Sweden to the UK over the next couple of weeks. At the weekend a team of bee specialists are buzzing of to Sweden to collect 100 queen bees of the species Bombus subterraneus as part of plans to re-establish the species in the UK. Bombus subterraneus or the short-haired bumblebee went extinct in the UK in 1988 after suffering 60 years of declines. Now conservationists hope to re-establish the species  at the RSPB’s Dungeness reserve later this spring. [pullquote]Bees play a vital role in the countryside and the loss of the short-haired bumblebee serves as a stark reminder that many of…

Beavers breed in Scotland for first time in 400 years

Beavers breed in Scotland for first time in 400 years

There’s celebrations going on north of the border as confirmation comes that beavers which were reintroduced to the UK last year have bred and kits – beaver cubs – appear to be doing well. The best part of the news is that the two kits are from different family groups and that would indicate that conditions in the Knapdale Forest are ideal for the beaver population. Eleven beavers – three family groups –  were introduced to Knapdale Forest as part of the Scottish Beaver Trial and were bought in from Norway.  The project manager of the Scottish Beaver Trial, which is a partnership between the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland…

Reestablishing dragonflies

Dragonflies and damselflies are amazing creatures. They can keep me occupied for ages on a hot summer afternoon as they buzz around ponds and wetlands after their prey. If you see a diverse and active pond community then you know the local environment is doing well. The wildlife Trust are currently trying to re-establish a dragonfly back into its former habitats around Cumbria and this will be the first time that an attempt has been made in the UK to re-establish a dragonfly population. If it works then we could see attempts to re-establish these wonderful insects back into their former homes all across the country. The attempt is being…

Butterfly returns home to Hertfordshire

It’s always great to hear news about wildlife returning back to a location that they once inhabited and as National Insect Week comes to a close this is a great story about the returning of a butterfly. For the first time in 8 years the small blue – Britain’s smallest butterfly – has been spotted back at a nature reserve in Hertfordshire. Aldbury Nowers Nature Reserve has had a lot of work done to it recently in order to help butterflies. Management of the land has included bringing in sheep to keep the grasses under control in a more natural way and the planting of wildflowers that specifically target butterfly…