Dipping a Toe into the Natural History of Crete

A week ago, I begrudgingly returned home from a spur of the moment family holiday in Crete – a part of Europe I had yet to visit which, in retrospect, turned out to be rather beautiful. The week marked by blissful temperatures, great food, a lively local culture and numerous excursions on foot to investigate…

An hour in the company of aliens

Britain’s cities have served as the epicentre for countless invasions over the years. Landing sites, if you would, where species from far-flung destinations – East Asia, North America and closer to home, in Europe – gain first a toe-hold before beginning their creeping advance across the land. Here, in the city, the wheels of countless…

The exotic heart of London

Hailing from the North East of England, to me, a visit to London is much like a visit to a dystopian future. One where geographical boundaries blur and species which naturally should never have encountered one another, stand cheek by jowl in an odd assemblage of the tropical and tenacious. From squirrels, birds and fish…

Compassionate Conservation or admirable ignorance?

Compassionate Conservation is proposed as a “growing international movement that seeks to build the welfare of individual animals into conservation practice. Achieved by promoting change, acceptance and education to reduce intended or unintentional harm to wildlife”. Its core principals are built around the assertation that, in our quest to conserve vulnerable species, humans should refrain…

Top 10 Facts: Surprising UK Non-Natives

American Bullfrog Lithobates catesbeianus. Around twice the length of our native Common Frog, American Bullfrogs are most often identified by their loud, deep calls. Deemed a risk to British wildlife due to their tendency to prey on everything from small mammals and ducklings to other amphibians, Bullfrogs may also spread Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis – a form of Chytrid…

Half-Penny: aliens and interlopers

There are many words used to describe species which, through human intervention, have found themselves existing far outside of their historic, natural range. Terms such as invasives, aliens, invasive aliens and nonindigenous species are quite familiar; while a glance at social media often reveals myriad more unflattering phrases: pest, nuisance, menace, vermin – I particularly loathe…