Toxic ‘forever chemicals’ found in British otters
Toxic “forever chemicals” used in non-stick saucepans and food packaging have been found in otters across England and Wales, according to a study. The substances, called PFASs, are also used in waterproof clothing, stain resistant products and fire retardants. The chemicals are linked to pregnancy complications, liver disease, cancer and other illnesses. Scientists say concentrations of these compounds in otters are a guide to levels of pollution in the environment. The substances can leach out from products, getting into drains and sewage treatment works – from which they can then escape and contaminate the environment more widely.
RSPB calls for emergency shooting ban during bird flu outbreak
The RSPB has called for an emergency shooting ban after an “unprecedented” outbreak of bird flu that has left wildfowl populations in “catastrophic decline”. Migratory geese that overwinter on the Solway Firth, which stretches between Scotland and Cumbria, are being hardest hit, with a 38% decline in the Svalbard barnacle goose breeding population from winter last year.
While these are protected species and not subject to hunting, experts argue that pressure from wildfowlers on nearby, legal quarry species can have an impact. Shoots nearby can cause stress, scaring the birds into the air where they use up vital energy. Some estimates suggest the UK is facing the worst outbreak of avian influenza on record. Latest population counts of the Svalbard breeding population show a drop in numbers from 43,703 in November last year to 27,133 in this month’s counts.
Secret location of butterfly previously extinct in England revealed
The secret location of butterflies previously extinct in England for more than 40 years has been revealed. The chequered skipper was always scarce but died out in 1976 due to changes to woodland management. In 2018 Belgian adults were released in a part of the 200 sq miles (518 sq km) now identified as Fineshade Woods. Dr Dan Hoare, of Butterfly Conservation, said he was “delighted to be able to reveal their location”.
Stranded otter cub rescued on Shetland after trying to join puppy for walk
A little otter cub has been rescued on Shetland after trying to join a family and their puppy on their daily walk. Magnus Sandison and his family were walking on Whalsay with their Golden Retriever pup on Sunday when the adorable little cub approached and began to follow them. Clearly distressed the family quickly realised this was not normal behaviour. Sadly, it seems it had been abandoned by its mother and after hearing that the little cub had been heard crying for help the previous night, the quick-thinking islander helped catch it.