Wild Travel

The latest edition of the 6-times-a-year Wild Travel is out now, with my column explaining how you and other animals can get through the winter.

But after reminding myself of what I wrote I always enjoy thumbing through the fantastic images and interesting words of the rest of the magazine.

There is a feature on wildlife in Canada with  polar bears at Churchill, grizzlies at Yellowknife and orcas off Vancouver Island – or why not go further north and see bowhead whales?

There is also a very good article by Kate Wilson on a subject close to my own heart – marine protected areas.  We are doing terribly around our own coasts and the article makes the very sound point that ‘the key to sustainable use of our seas is a network of protected areas over a range of habitats’.  And we need those protected areas to give real protection to marine wildlife – not be a green fig leaf.



I’m off to Bristol today (not exactly Canada is it?) to meet up with the folk from BBC Wildlife magazineand then on Thursday and Friday I’ll be in Stamford (even less Canada-like) at the New Networks for Nature event where I’m on a panel of ‘experts’ (see definition) discussing whether the British like nature. What might come up do you think – hen harriers, the National Trust and wildlife, ruddy ducks, badgers, foxes?



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7 Replies to “Wild Travel”

  1. Question for the panel at NN4N (which won’t be addressed or published on this blog?)
    Is it environmentally friendly to create wildlife jamborees, to attract people to travel to, in inaccessible places like Rutland water creating more greenhouse gasses.
    This gives plenty of opportunity for jokes like public transport and planting trees to offset...

    Just a thought.

    1. Is it environmentally friendly to promote flying to canada to see bears, orcas and bowheads which can be seen a boat ride away from the UK around scandinavia and svalbard? I've grappled with this ethical dilemma for the last 10 years but in that period I've flown more than most and am off to Kamchatka next year. I've tried to cut down, eschewed getting a big world list and only go to the bird fair every few years. Lets face it, it has become an orgy of bird oriented retail therapy, in the same way as most bird/nature magazines of this kind which foster the urge to burn as much carbon asap.

      Perhaps the hypothesis in this article is part of the explanation why we can't resolve these issues ourselves let alone as a society. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/human-intelligence-peaked-thousands-of-years-ago-and-weve-been-on-an-intellectual-and-emotional-decline-ever-since-8307101.html

      1. Phil - thanks for the comment. It clearly isn't environmentally friendly to fly to Canada to do anything. Nor is it environmentally friendly to eat meat. Nor is it environmentally friendly to buy any goods with any carbon footprint and which have caused any rainforest destruction. The solution to this would be to have individual carbon budgets where each individual chose which environmentally unfriendly things to do with their share of world resources. Your point is a real one, and your answer shows that you too are grappling with it.

  2. On the question of whether the British like nature I tend to agree with Chris Packham who I seem to recall described us as having become zoophobic (not afraid of zoos, but afriad of animals). Most of western Europe (including France, Switzerland, Italy and Spain) now has free roaming wolves, including across areas far more populous than parts of the UK, but propose their reintroduction here and people balk at the perceived risk (note wolf attacks on humans are vanishingly rare in Europe in the last 800 years). Similarly we get our knickers in a twist about a few dozen wild boar escapees and the "risk to dog walkers", yet in France they estimate they have perhaps one million wild boar and nobody worries. Our impoverished ecology has left us afraid of predators or indeed anything "wild" (see objections to beavers and boar) because they have become unknown to us. Peter Matthiessen reflected in his book the snow leopard on the different feel of a landscape still inhabited by a complete natural fauna versus one left devoid of its keystone species, mountains and woods that felt abandoned. Meanwhile without "proper" carnivores we now fret about eagles or foxes as a threat to our welfare!

  3. Hugh, that last bit about Peter Matthiessen reminds me of an article someone wrote were they said "the ambient sound of the countryside is nothing but chainsaw,shotgun blasts and yapping hounds".

  4. I hadn't heard of the term 'zoophobic', before but I agree, Chris Packham is right.

    Do the British like nature ? I think lots of Britons like what they perceive to be nature. Many people like the idea that they like nature and they also rather like to be seen by others to like nature. Sadly this regard for nature is far to often conditional on nature not being inconvenient. The moment that nature becomes an inconvenience, it is instantly regarded as a disposable commodity and assumes very little importance behind perceived self-interest.
    I'm not sure we are any better or worse than other developed nations, people are people and stupidity and greed are the same the world over.

  5. "Is it environmentally friendly to create wildlife jamborees, to attract people to travel ..."

    But it's an open can of worms for all conservation Charidees. On the one hand they wring the other one about climate change, on the other hand they will survive with gert difficulty unless people travel and visit. Thereby creating the biggest carbon footprint they have to reduce.

    Nevertheless - because of the heavy taxation on motor fuel, alcohol and tobacco which funds everything which underpins society in UK Ltd, it is clearly my patriotic duty to drive, drink and smoke as much as possible. In the unlikely event of me having anything left over to live on, I will donate it to conservation Charidees so they can afford the salaries of the people who organise the jamborees I won't be attending.


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