Category Archives: Nature

Plants adapt to climate change

Writes Andrew C Revkin of the International Herald Tribune:

Many Arctic plant species have readily adjusted to big climate changes, repeatedly re-colonizing the rugged islands of Norway’s remote Svalbard archipelago through 20,000 years of warm and cool spells since the frigid peak of the last ice age, researchers say.

Is this nature taking a step in the right direction, or just a curious anomaly? Read the full article here.

Slightly sick ad

I’ve just seen an ad on UKTV for Oasis, a fruity soft drink produced by Coca-Cola.

It sees a herd of wildebeest stampede across the plains for the watering hole. When they arrive, one sniffs at the mucky liquid and the voice-over/interior monologue goes something like: “What? We came all this way across Africa to drink this muck? How could it possibly get any worse?”

At which point a crocodile leaps from the water and sinks its teeth into one of the wildebeest.

As the herd flees, the weird little man who seems to be the main figure in the ad campaign appears and starts chugging down a bottle of Oasis. While the slogan “Oasis: for people who don’t like water” comes on screen, the croc drags the kicking animal into the water while the dying wildebeest says “This is exactly what happened to Alan last year”.

I don’t like it.

The narration is mildly amusing I suppose, but the fact that some goofball is messing around on screen swigging from a bottle of juice while an animal is dragged to its death is wrong.

That’s right. I like animals more than most people.

Big cats to bow out

The game may be up for wild tigers.

According to a report in the June issue of BioScience, the animals now occupy only 7% of their traditional territories, with the areas known to be occupied by the big cats down 41% in the past 10 years. The felines once roamed from the Caspian Sea to Indonesia.

The study, compiled by 16 co-authors including Dr Eric Dinerstein of the World Wildlife Fund, says: “While the tiger as a wile species will most likely not go extinct with the next half-century, its current trajectory is catastrophic. If this trend continues, the current range will shrink even further, and wile populations will disappear from many more places, or dwindle to the point of ecological extinction.”

There are about 5,000 tigers — all of which require a lot of territory — left in the wild, their numbers having been hit by the trade in body parts for medicine as well as humans moving into the animals’ habitat.

The report recommends the establishment of large conservation areas linked by wildlife corridors, as is the case in north-west India and southern Nepal.


Fast fact: in 2004, the tiger was voted the world’s favourite animal in a poll for the Animal Planet television channel. It beat the dog into second place.