Welcome to the Conservation Blog

Welcome to the brand new Conservation Blog, an independent website curated by conservation scientists that seeks to highlight conservation research from around the world in a positive and informative way.

A little positivity…

Climate change soils in Mongolia
Climate change soils in Mongolia

Lets face it, the media can get us down at the best of times and especially when it comes to conservation. Poaching, climate change, and the destruction of habitats are frequently in the media. A common complaint is that a lot of time is spent highlighting the problems, but not enough time offering practical solutions.

It is vital we recognise the major environmental and developmental challenges that we are facing globally. The 10th ‘state of the planet’ report revealed that wildlife populations worldwide have declined by 52% since 1970. These species are fundamental to the ecosystems that sustain life on Earth. By taking more than nature can replenish, we are jeopardizing our own future. Their decline is an indicator of the damage we are doing to our ecosystems. It is a grave warning that we must not ignore.

Scary? Yes.

However, negative news is not always an effective way of engaging with the general public, motivating policy makers or promoting change. It often results in the opposite, leaving us feeling helpless and demotivated.

Community conservation. Credit, Poverty and Environment Fund (PEF)

The conservation community needs to show that the task of limiting or reversing the damage to our environment is not an impossible one. The state of nature report highlights examples of how we can do just that; unfortunately the media, in favour of the scary stuff, largely overlooked those examples.  We need to shout about success stories of conservation and build upon failures so that others may be able to learn from these experiences for a more effective conservation.

There is a wealth of innovative and exciting new research around the world that aims to halt the decline of species and their habitats whilst empowering local stakeholders to ensure the projects long-term sustainability.  This work should be better shared and made easily accessible to the general public, other researchers and policy makers.

The Pink Pigeon 

pink pigeon (Columba mayeri)
pink pigeon (Columba mayeri)

The pink pigeon is one such example of an unlikely conservation success story, undergoing an almost miraculous recovery thanks to a sustained and intensive management plan. Found only in Mauritius, the population dropped to 16 in 1980 and down further to 10 in 1991 due to habitat loss and non-native predators such as rats eating their eggs. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) listed them as critically endangered on their Red List; hopes for their recovery were slim.

Conservation organisations responded with a captive breeding and reintroduction programme that was supported by the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation (MWF). 30 years of support and ongoing habitat management from both international and local conservation organisations, led to success. The population increased from a seemingly unviable 10 individuals, to over 400 wild birds in 2005.

Ongoing threats from continued habitat degradation, predators and wildlife disease still threatening the pink pigeon’s survival. However, management continues to support this species into recovery and in 2006, the IUCN were able to down list the species from critically endangered to endangered. The pink pigeon has survived disease, predation, habitat loss and is our logo to remind us all of what can be done with positivity, the right resources, cooperation and of course, lots of hard work.

Our promise to you

We aim to write blogs that tell you about exciting new research, insights into the outcomes of recent conservation events, share informative and inspiring resources, and encourage you to get involved in the conversation via our social media platforms. We are especially interested in learning about original research that has the potential to make a big difference to the conservation world. Let’s fill social media with positive examples, or at the very least, constructive criticism!

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This is new to us and our site has just gone live, so we appreciate your patience and support in identifying any issues.

Stephanie Brittain