Hedgehogs now a rare garden sight as British populations continue to decline

GR: Worth noting that even in developed countries with slowing population growth, wildlife decline continues. In Britain, many people do small things to make their gardens more wildlife friendly. However, habitat loss and farming continue to cut carrying capacity for most wildlife species. Hedgehog and other species’ declines are accelerating, suggesting that many wildlife populations are no longer self-sustaining and are falling toward extinction. The Guardian story below includes ideas and links for steps to take to support wildlife. Unfortunately, it does not mention the big step, human population control. Without drastic efforts to cut our needs and begin returning the land and seas to their natural state, most of Earth’s wildlife species will disappear (more on human population impact).

Britain’s hedgehog population has dropped from an estimated 30 million in the 1950s to fewer than one million today. Photograph: Rebecca Cole/Alamy

“The plight of the hedgehog in Britain appears to be worsening, with a new survey revealing a further decline in garden sightings.

“The spiky creature was once a common sight, with the population estimated at 30 million in the 1950s. But that has plummeted to fewer than one million today, with a third of this loss thought to have taken place in the past decade.

“The latest survey, conducted with more than 2,600 people by BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine, found that 51% of people did not see a hedgehog at all in 2016, up from 48% in 2015. Just 12% saw a hedgehog regularly.

“The poll’s result is in line with an in-depth analysis in 2015 by the People’s Trust for Endangered Species which found urban populations of hedgehogs had fallen by up to a third since 2000 and rural populations had declined by at least a half. Results from a citizen science survey run by the RSPB in June 2016 also revealed a falling number of sightings.

“The decline is not entirely understood but the main factors are thought to be the loss of their habitat in Britain’s towns and countryside – where farming has intensified – as well as road deaths. The fragmentation of habitat is also a problem as hedgehogs roam up to a mile every night to look for food and mates. A possible rise in badger numbers, which can eat hedgehogs, has also been suggested as a possible cause.” –Damian Carrington (More: Hedgehogs now a rare garden sight as British populations continue to decline | Environment | The Guardian.)

The Other Wolverine Who Rivaled X-Men for Fame – Defenders of Wildlife Blog

Wolverine. By Robert Carleton.

GR:  The pointless killing of this special individual from a rare species indicates just how total is our threat to nature.

M56 never made it to the silver screen, but he fascinated millions, trekking hundreds of miles and bringing much-needed attention to the plight of wolverines.

Source: The Other Wolverine Who Rivaled X-Men for Fame – Defenders of Wildlife Blog

“His movements were first recorded in Wyoming in 2008. He took off in 2009, heading south for hundreds of miles. He traveled across inhospitable lands looking for a place he might fit in and finally settled in Colorado. He wandered around Colorado for years, then headed north once again, possibly up to Montana. He trekked east across flat lands and found himself in North Dakota.

“This is no tale of a wandering, fugitive human, following some wanderlust or trying to find a job. This is M56. He’s a wolverine, the largest (and arguably the toughest) member of the weasel family. These fearless scavengers are incredible — they can drive grizzly bears and wolves away from carcasses, and have been documented climbing 5,000 vertical feet in the middle of winter in less than two hours. M56 was an ambassador for his species, captivating the entire state of Colorado with hope of a reestablished wolverine population, and inspiring all who learned of his immense travels and ability to traverse unlikely habitat. Sadly, wolverine M56’s remarkable life and unbelievable journey ended a few weeks ago near Alexander, North Dakota, where he was killed by a ranch hand who didn’t recognize what M56 was and thought he could threaten livestock.”

What does the Paris agreement mean for the world’s other 8 million species?

“The word “biodiversity” is employed once in the Paris agreement’s 32 pages. “Forests” appears a few times, but “oceans”, like biodiversity, scores just a single appearance. There is no mention of extinction. Wildlife, coral reefs, birds, frogs, orchids, polar bears and pikas never show up anywhere in the document.

“This is hardly surprising: the landmark agreement in Paris – the boldest yet to tackle climate change (which is saying something, but not nearly enough) – was contrived by one species for the benefit of one species. It was never meant to directly address the undeniable impacts of global warming on the world’s eight million or so other species – most of them still unnamed. But many experts say this doesn’t mean biodiversity won’t benefit from the agreement – especially if the 196 participants actually follow through on their pledges and up their ambition quickly.”  From: www.theguardian.com

GR:  Noncommercial wildlife, wildlife habitat, and soils are suffering from neglect and outright exploitation while under the care of our farmers, ranchers, governments, and land-use agencies.  It’s sad that nature has no way to protect itself from an egocentric species like ours.


Human Population Answers

Earth’s Human Population Problem

Book--Over Pop 2

Click the book to read online.

I learned about human population as mathematical relationships between migration, birth rates, and death rates. As I started my academic career, I continued to use the numbers, the formulas and projections to discuss population. My students learned about population growth, but the numbers didn’t create much excitement.  [Click here for current numbers.]

In the years since I began lecturing about population, injuries to Earth’s ecosystems have spread around the planet. We no longer need math to see what will come; it’s visible everywhere. This book, “Over,” illustrates the human impact on nature with a set of magnificent photographs. In sequence, the photographs first show how we are damaging the planet and then they show the beauty that can be ours if we want to fight for it.

The beautifully written essays that accompany the photos discuss the consequences of feeding the 10 billion or more people the United Nations projects will be alive by this century’s end.  The authors explain that producing enough food will require conversion of the Earth into a factory farm for humans.

The writers point out that reducing our birth rate will not require any form of coercion.  Evidence from developed countries clearly shows that with education and access to birth control, women freely choose to have fewer children.

The chart below shows that the most recent world population projections by the United Nations sets the probable number of people alive in 2100 (the solid red median line) at 11.3 billion.  The needs of that many people will crush the life out of the Earth.

UN 2015 World Pop Projections for 2100

The writers do not attempt to describe the future that someone born this year (2015) will face when the year 2100 arrives.  Will that elderly person be living on a food-factory planet still dominated by the growth objectives of corporations and countries, or will they be living in a beautiful world they helped save?  Will they be unsure of the future?  If the Earth has become a human food factory by 2100, will population and artificial food sources continue to rise, or will businesses find new ways to grow and profit from a static supply of workers and consumers?

Answers:  Responding to the Population Problem

Click this link to follow the population and immigration news.

For the past 50 years, our leaders have done almost nothing to slow population growth.  There have been a few national programs (see the review in Wikipedia), but certainly no real successes.  Looking at the photos in the book, the inaction seems irresponsible, an incredible failure.  It will take the utmost pressure from all of us to make our governments form strategies to reduce population.  I don’t know what we can do about the universal growth imperative of our businesses, but that is a key problem that we must solve.  For a first step, I hope you will go to the Global Population Speak Out website and choose one of the ways to help communicate the seriousness of the population problem.  You might also wish to check on the population control programs by the Center for Biological Diversity.


  • Title:  Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot
  • Authors: Tom ButlerMusimbi Kanyoro, William N. Ryerson, Eileen Crist
  • Hardcover: 330 pages
  • Publisher: Goff Books (February 17, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 978-1939621238