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Oceans and land
Somerset police dog praised for successfully tracking suspect
On the track to the moors
Initiative to improve sustainable fish labelling unveiled
Protection of grey wolves may be ended by Obama administration
RSPCA comes under fire for badger cull protests
The rain released from the parched ground that glorious earthy perfume
May's diverse wildlife finds hedgerows the perfect home
The pink-footed geese seemed restless, as if uncertain what they were doing
Study links insecticide use to invertebrate die-offs
Has the internet killed the Loch Ness monster?
Waitrose pledges to source all seafood from independently certified providers
It's the first time I've heard the chiffchaff's song this year
Edinburgh zoo's pandas help boost visitor numbers by 51%
Their bombastic majesties begin the nectar frenzy
Pandas have saved Edinburgh zoo from extinction but what for?
Insecticide spraying will be expanded to control pest caterpillar
This is the EU's best chance in a decade to reduce fish discards
Fish company investigated after salmon farm pollutes Scottish loch
Poachers kill 26 elephants at central African world heritage site
New to nature No 103: Tinkerbella nana
Sand martins dig tunnels in the dunes
World's tallest dam approved by Chinese environmental officials
Justin Bieber 'owes thousands' after leaving monkey hanging in Germany
A brief stillness before the damselfly's short life on the wing would begin
  Are some animals more worth saving than others?
Supporters of wildlife can feel preyed upon. Your direct debits can be subsumed by dormice regeneration, big game protection and salmon advocacy. But who needs help most?

Conservation charities (aka big international NGOs or Bingos) are also between a rock and a hard place. While the Nature Conservancy in the US, one of the world's biggest conservation charities, commits to protecting nature and the full variety of life, its director, respected ecologist Peter Kareiva, criticises the "biodiversity meme". Biodiversity is all about saving the places with the most species. Kareiva and other critics (fellow heretics, if you like) argue that not all species merit the same level of attention. They analyse which systems and species are most important to humans and likely to be successful in the future.

This "so-what-if-we-lose-a-few-species?" approach is based on arresting research, such as that by conservation scientist Dan Simberloff, who discovered that the loss of the chestnut tree, which once covered 40-50% of eastern North America, didn't seem to have any measurable impact. Meanwhile the Californian condor, saved from extinction at great expense, can only live a "managed existence" it is simply too hard (and expensive) to protect its wild habitat.

If this sounds unfriendly toward struggling species, I'd like to welcome the reintroduced, formerly extinct short-haired bumble bee, a British staple driven to extinction by loss of its flower-meadow habitat 25 years ago. It's now back in Kent thanks to a niche bumblebee community in Sweden and dedicated scientists.

If we'd opted just to save apex species, the bumblebee story wouldn't have had such a happy ending. Conservationists may have only concerned themselves with honeybees, which pollinate in huge gangs and are often cited as the most important pollinators. But this would have been hasty: bumblebees are vital in the UK, as they work longer days, and in rain, and have various tongue lengths, so they can pollinate all manner of crops. A decline in their populations must have reduced pollination services. So although it's hard to say how much the reintroduction of the short-haired bumblebee has cost, it's just a drop in the ocean compared to finding a way of hand-pollinating the crops that bees and other insects pollinate for free to the tune of $14.2bn per annum across Europe. Being a friend of nature is never straightforward.
Japanese firm stops selling endangered whale pet treats
Comment of the week: why rewilding 'the wild' isn't so wacky
Humaneness of badger cull to be judged on noise of dying animals
Jean-Jacques Annaud: 'People who make films are in danger every day'
An oystercatcher rises surreptitiously, suggesting that it has a nest nearby
Short-haired bumblebee queens hoped to boost UK population
Badger vaccination 'would be cheaper to implement than cull'
Atlantic puffin population is in danger, scientists warn
Jellyfish surge in Mediterranean threatens environment and tourists
Lord's Resistance Army funded by elephant poaching, report finds
Why did dinosaurs evolve feathers?
Why the celebrity status of badgers is a problem
'Badger-friendly' milk to be sold in just three UK supermarkets
Labour fails in attempt to stop badger cull with Commons vote
Orange tip butterflies are so fragile, yet survive violent rainstorms intact
A cetti's warbler bursts into violent exclamation
Tammy the anteater to greet fans in London Zoo late-night walkabouts
Cod stocks recover after years of overfishing
Are some animals more worth saving than others?
Thai police discover 14 albino lions in warehouse near Bangkok
White lion breeding at UK wildlife parks linked to 'canned hunting'
Is the rise in antibiotic use on farms a threat to humans?
Stop using birdsong apps, nature reserve tells visitors
Cheetahs 'more powerful than a motorbike'
Meet Ming, the panda who left China to boost Britain's wartime morale
Badger cull activists can 'bend the rules' during protests, say police
RSPB accused of hypocrisy for killing hundreds of birds on its reserves
Wolf walking in Cumbria: the new leaders of the pack
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Marine Harvest agrees to limit pesticides and seal killings
Schmallenberg vaccine available to UK farmers this summer
Cat wars break out in New Zealand
Racing pigeon sold for record £260,000
Most UK species in decline, wildlife stocktake shows
Hedgehogs are disappearing fast gardeners to the rescue
I've often seen bees infested with mites, but rarely one so heavily laden
Government licensed secret buzzard egg destruction, documents reveal
Hedgehogs have everything they need in this garden
China reports rise in humans encountering wild Siberian tigers
New to nature special: the top 10 new species
Zoo keeper mauled by tiger 'broke safety rules'
Industry, fires and poachers shrink Sumatran tigers' last stronghold
The swift is a bird that screams of the Earth's intricate interconnectedness
Tiger that killed zoo worker 'dragged her into its enclosure'
Culls risk illegally exterminating badgers, animal expert warns
Counting the cost: fears badger cull could worsen bovine TB crisis
My manifesto for rewilding the world
Ban Ki-moon to warn UN security council of dangers of wildlife trafficking
Beaver kills man in Belarus
GM 'hybrid' fish pose threat to natural populations, scientists warn
The beaver from Belarus and other deadly animals
Ants in Germany repeatedly ring woman's doorbell
A nightly procession of pheasants, ducks, deer and badgers in the garden
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