short haired bumblebeeScientists had struggled to find the trigger for so-called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) that has wiped out an estimated 10 million beehives in the USA, worth $2 billion, over the past six years. Suspects have included pesticides, disease-bearing parasites and poor nutrition. But in a first-of-its-kind study published in the journal PLOS ONE, scientists at the University of Maryland and the US Department of Agriculture have identified a witch’s brew of pesticides and fungicides contaminating pollen that bees collect to feed their hives. The findings break new ground on why large numbers of bees are dying though they do not identify the specific cause of CCD, where an entire beehive dies at once. when fed contaminated pollen, colonies have a serious decline in their ability to resist a parasite that causes Colony Collapse Disorder. More here on Treehugger

When it comes to sneaking reptiles onto airplanes, animal smugglers can sure get creative. But instead of adding insult to injury by stuffing them in his underwear, or packing them by the dozens into suitcases — one man in China took a decidedly fast-foodier approach in an attempt to get a turtle on board. He disguised it as a hamburger. According to the South China Morning Post, a man named Li was stopped as he passed through security at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport after screeners noticed “odd protrusions” in a bag purporting to contain a burger from KFC. Upon closer inspection however, authorities noticed what appeared to be the legs of animal emerging from a wrapped-up sandwiched inside.

BMW has lifted the curtain to show the world its new electric car, the BMW i3. It was designed from the ground up to be electric (with a range-extended version to be also available), allowing engineers and designers to free themselves from the constraints of gasoline-powered vehicles and optimize everything for the electric powertrain.

Researchers at UCLA have developed a new kind of see-through solar cell that could be used on windows, car sunroofs, smartphone displays and other transparent surfaces to harvest energy from the sun. First developed in 2012, the researchers have now almost doubled the efficiency of this technology getting it even closer to commercial viability.

SGPCMU Daily reports that Secret Garden Party chief Freddie Fellowes has commented on the decision to cancel Clean Bandit’s Sunday night set at his festival. Initially it was reported that this had been at the request of headliner Regina Spektor, though that was seemingly not the case. Fellowes told CMU: “After such an amazing, life affirming and love filled party in the garden I am very sorry and sad to read the commentaries online regarding Regina Spektor and Clean Bandit. It’s even more regrettable, as they are based on a misunderstanding. Quite simply, the events did not happen as reported online and I am here to set the record straight”. He continued: “Regina Spektor was not aware of the decision to ask Clean Bandit to step down. We made the decision ourselves. The reason we took this awful choice was based on the duty of honour we undertook once we booked Regina to headline Sunday night. Namely, as an artist who performs on grand piano we owe it to her and her festival audience to ensure that her performance is presented in the manner and quality we all deserve”. Finally, he concluded: “Regrettably, despite all advance planning and consultation, unexpected meteorological conditions on the day meant we wouldn’t be able to fulfil our obligation without taking the drastic steps of having to ask Clean Bandit to step down. Both Regina Spektor and Clean Bandit have a long history of support from us at the SGP (both dating back to almost the very first years) and we are sincerely sorry that one of them had to be asked to give way to the other. This wasn’t a situation we ever thought would arise and a position I’d never want to put one of our artists in”.

Cuadrilla Resources have begun test drilling in Balcombe in West Sussex, despite huge local opposition. The fracking company plans to move next to Clifton, between Preston and Blackpool – close to the Springfields nuclear fuel plant. Centrica, owner of British Gas, has brought a 25% stake in the fracking company’s shale gas fields. Vanessa Vine from Frack Free Sussex said that whilst the first battle to stop  fracking has been lost, they would not be giving up.

Toxic poisons and other chemicals in our bodies depend on social status and wealth – poorer people tend to have chemicals associated with activities such as smoking – those with money suffer from toxins from sun screen and eating fish!

badgersA vaccine for Badger TB is ‘six years away’ according to researchers. UK farmers blame badgers for spreading bovine TB: Defra have said an oral vaccine may be available for 2019 but scientists say this is a best case scenario, 5,000 badgers are set to be culled in Gloucestershire and West Somerset, despite wide spread protests.

Its seems the RSPCA, the British animal and wildlife charity, has been given unprecedented access to the Police National Computer to follow up wildlife crimes. Other agencies granted access include the Civil Aviation Authority, the Food Standards Agency and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.  The RSPCA has been criticised for being to aggressive in pursuing prosecutions for illegal activities such as fox hunting.

The UK’s driest summer for 250 years has pushed up visits to the English seaside dramatically. Eastbourne has seen its hotel bookings double, Bournemouth is up 119% and Torquay in Devon has seen a 81% rise.7

bluefin-tunaHundreds of species of fish and precious coastal habitats around Britain are in danger, scientists and conservationists have warned, because the government has not responded properly to plans for a network of marine conservation zones around the UK. This failure, they say, could blight our seas for decades. The Observer says that a government statement on the proposals is due in a few weeks’ time, but signs are that it will be muted and inadequate and will fail to save marine habitats from further devastation. “At a stroke the government could rescue its damaged reputation on green issues, yet there is a high risk that it will squander it and the seas will continue their downward spiral for years to come,” said Callum Roberts, professor of marine conservation at York University.

Thousand horses have died on Britain’s racecourses since 2007, according to records kept by an animal rights organisation. Animal Aid’s “Death Watch” list reached the 1,000 mark late last month when a seven-year-old gelding, Hired Hand, was destroyed at Bangor-on-Dee, Clwyd, after being injured in a race.An analysis of Animal Aid’s figures shows that the racecourses where most horses have died since the list was started are: Cheltenham (47), Sedgefield (44), Market Rasen (40), Newton Abbot (32) and Aintree (31). However the true number of deaths is suspected to be significantly higher. The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) confirmed in response to a recent parliamentary question that there were 162 more equine fatalities over the past three years than Animal Aid has recorded.

The most persistent and frequent polluters of England’s rivers and beaches are the nation’s 10 biggest water companies, an Observerinvestigation has revealed. The companies, which are responsible for treating waste water and delivering clean supplies, have been punished for more than 1,000 incidents in the past nine years, but fined a total of only £3.5m. The revelations have raised concern that the financial penalties are far too low to change the behaviour of an industry that generates billions of pounds in profits and shareholder dividends. The charge is backed by the Sentencing Council for England and Wales, which is proposing major hikes in penalties.

Slumped across a bleak landscape, skinny and exhausted, an  image of a polar bear which had collapsed and died after finding no suitable sea ice to hunt seals on, is shocking. Scientist Ian Stirling found the dead bear in southern Svalbard on an Arctic cruise, just months after it was last tracked by the Norwegian Polar Institute. The animal had travelled hundreds of miles in search of sea ice in which to catch its food, but found none.

By |2016-11-01T15:04:32+00:00August 6th, 2013|AGF Blog|