Conservation News

Expanding national parks not enough to protect nature, say scientists

‘Urgent’ coordinated action to tackle overconsumption, farming subsidies and the climate crisis also needed to halt biodiversity loss

Expanding national parks and protected areas will not be enough to halt the destruction of nature, warn leading scientists, who say urgent action on overconsumption, harmful subsidies and the climate crisis is also required to halt biodiversity loss.

Governments are expected to commit to a Paris-style agreement for nature at Cop15 in Kunming, China, later this year, with targets that include protecting at least 30% of the oceans and land by 2030.

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Cutting the food chain? The controversial plan to turn zooplankton into fish oil

A budding industry that aims to catch zooplankton for health supplements and fish food has scientists fearing that its effects on marine ecosystems could be devastating

‘It’s mind-boggling’: the hidden cost of our obsession with fish oil pills

A few times a day, off the Faroe Islands’ coast, the crew of the Jákup Sverri marine survey ship test the water, measuring its salinity, temperature and oxygen at different sea depths. But they also look for something else.

Durita Sørensen, a laboratory technician, holds up the contents of a special net to demonstrate. If the water is greenish, it contains a lot of phytoplankton, the plants at the base of the oceanic food chain. But if it is red or brown, as in Sørensen’s net, the haul is one rung higher up the ladder: zooplankton. “This is calanus, or Calanus finmarchicus,” she says, indicating the tiny red creatures. “This is what they are interested in making fish oil [from] as a food supplement for humans.”

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‘We started eating them’: what do you do with an invasive army of crayfish clones?

It’s been dubbed the perfect invader, but the marbled crayfish may offer a sustainable food source and even help prevent disease

Small, bluish-grey and speckled, it would be easy to overlook the marbled crayfish. Except for the fact it is likely to be coming to a pond or river near you soon – if it is not already there. The all-female freshwater crustacean has become a focus of fascination for scientists in recent years, due to its unique ability among decapods – the family that includes shrimps, crabs and lobsters – to clone itself and quickly adapt to new environments, as well as the fact that it has spread exponentially.

The marbled crayfish was first recognised in 1995, when a biology student bought a bag of crayfish – sold to him as “Texas crayfish” – from American traders at a pet fair in Frankfurt. After becoming a burden to their new owner due to their inexplicably rapid rate of reproduction, he distributed them to friends who, in turn, dumped them in rivers, lakes and toilets, from where they spread rapidly, throughout Germany, much of mainland Europe and most profusely, the island of Madagascar, home to unique but extremely delicate freshwater ecosystems.

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Finland, Sweden and Norway to cull wolf population

Conservation groups appeal to EU to take action against slaughter they allege flouts rules

Finland is joining Sweden and Norway in culling wolves this winter to control their population, as conservation groups appeal to the European Union to take action against the slaughter.

Hunters in Sweden have already shot dead most of their annual target of 27 wolves, while Finland is to authorise the killing of 20 wolves in its first “population management cull” for seven years.

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Thank you for giving generously to the Guardian and Observer charity appeal

This weekend is the last chance to donate to our 2021 appeal supporting those on the frontline of the climate emergency

In this year’s Guardian and Observer charity appeal we have supported communities and individuals hit hardest by the climate emergency, people who have seen their lives upended and livelihoods lost by extreme weather. It’s a topical issue, and not going away – and there is still time to donate: so far we have raised over £800,000.

Our appeal is shaped by vivid stories of climate emergency: floods, drought and wildfires; from reindeer killed by unnatural arctic heat to chronic crop failure by the shores of Lake Victoria. At its heart, however, lies inequality and poverty: the stark truth is the countries least responsible for global emissions have by far suffered worst from climate-induced disasters.

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