Last week OceanCare published the report UNDER PRESSURE – The need to protect Whales and Dolphins in European Waters. As the editor of this report and a contributor to three of the chapters, I would like to encourage anyone interested in the threats facing cetaceans in Europe to read it and to take heed of the recommendations. Action is needed now to protect many species and populations from the threats of climate change, chemical pollution, noise pollution, bycatch, plastic pollution, disease and hunting.
Happy to have helped Mark Simmonds OBE from the University of Bristol and the Humane Society International draft this letter which has been signed by hundreds of cetacean experts. In it, we call for quicker action to prevent the extinction of many cetacean populations and species. For more information, please read the letter here.
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In 2018 I received a small grant from Wild Animal Initiative to carry out some research into predator controls and how they affect animal welfare. Wild Animal Initiative subsequently funded the publication of an article I wrote on this topic and I am pleased to announce that this has now been published in the journal Animals and it is available here. The title of the article is “Animal Welfare in Predator Control: Lessons from Land and Sea. How the Management of Terrestrial and Marine Mammals Impacts Wild Animal Welfare in Human–Wildlife Conflict Scenarios in Europe.” I am very grateful to WAI for their financial support and to Mark Simmonds for his helpful comments and suggestions during the writing of the article.
Last week was a busy week at the World Marine Mammal Conference in Barcelona. On Sunday 8th December Mark Simmonds and I ran the Predator Controls: Lessons from Land to Sea Workshop. With expert speakers on human-wildlife conflict, we opened up an interesting discussion about the similarities between how terrestrial and marine predators are managed. Thank you to all those who attended the workshop and to our speakers: Carlos Bautista (Institute of Nature Conservation, Polish Academy of Sciences), Diederik van Liere (Institute for Coexistence with Wildlife), Santiago Palazón (Fauna and Flora Service, Generalitat de Catalunya) and Andrew Trites (University of British Colombia).
On Thursday 12th December Mark gave our presentation on the same topic (Predator Controls) which was open to all conference attendees. Stay tuned for more news on this topic as I am hoping to publish an article about it soon!
I felt very privileged during the conference to be rubbing shoulders with so many interesting people who dedicate themselves to learning more about marine mammals and ensuring that species are protected and that they have a future in this ever-changing world. The climate emergency is going to bring many challenges to many species and individual animals and I hope that the work being done by scientists and conservation advocates will help slow the inevitable negative impacts. As an animal welfare scientist I would like to see more focus on individual animals and their welfare at conferences such as the WMMC. Karen Stockin from Massey University gave an excellent talk on the importance of welfare in conservation science and I hope that her words will inspire many to think about how they carry out and report their studies.
Congratulations to everyone who was involved in organising the conference and to everyone who presented their work. It was a huge success!