Oddity advocacy

If your thinking ‘what on earth is that?’ then this is for you. No it is not a walking pine cone, or some sort of evolutionary joke, it is a pangolin, one of my all time favourite creatures and a perfect illustration of my point.

Whenever people ask me what my favourite animal is I usually say ‘Pangolin’ and the response I get from about 90% of people is a blank expression. I have become known amongst my friends and colleagues as ‘eccentric’ namely because I spend a fair bit of time sending photos to them of caecelians and binturongs.

The ‘charismatic mega fauna’ such as tigers and polar bears have historically gotten much publicity, although they are very important in fundraising campaigns and conservation organisations do some great work conserving whole ecosystems, let’s not forget about the other species. The weird and wonderful, the odd and the ugly (often highly endangered) creatures than many people may not have even heard of.

I started a tumblr blog focusing on beautiful images and especially the weird and wonderful creatures that (hopefully) people may not have heard of. But an interesting thing I found was that many of the species I had never heard of are critically endangered.

Please also check out the below small sample below of the many species which are going extinct without (many of) us noticing.

My Top 5 critically endangered animals you may have never heard of

5.  Atlantic Goliath Grouper – one of the most critically endangered fish species in the world










4. Red-crowned roof turtle, just one of many species of freshwater turtle in dangerous decline, critically endangered.

3. Cuban greater funnel eared bat, critically endangered less than 100 mature individuals in the wild

2. Santa Caterina’s guinea pig, critically endangered, about 40-60 individuals left

IUCN meeting: 100 most critically endangered species

1. Madagascar Pochard, critically endangered, less than 20 individuals left in the wild. This species is the rarest duck in the world.

Thanks for reading and why not have a look yourself there are hundreds of critically endangered species out there and they all need our help!

Thanks for reading,

p.s. I am well aware that I have not covered invertebrates in this post, but I thought better than trying to squeeze them in I would devote a whole future post to them..


A world of waste..

So, what’s in the news? Oh yeah, Tesco and it’s first ever published waste stats – 30,000 tonnes of waste in the last 6 months. Yep, you heard correctly just 6 months.

Friends of the Earth have stated that much food waste could feed 800 hundred people for life. It seems so fundamentally wrong to me that the developed world is struggling against a growing obesity problem (no pun intended) whilst millions in the developing world are dying of starvation. Isn’t there a better way?

With so many homeless shelters and food banks can’t they just give the food away? In used to work for a local Bakers on Saturday’s when I was at school, and at the end of the day we easily filled two skips with bread, cakes etc. I asked why the owners did not give it away to a homeless shelter and was told that the shelter could not accept it due to health and safety. But how much truth is there in that? I had a quick browse, and could not find much. Some organisations DO give their food waste away to the needy, one of the first was PRET A Manger, who provide meals to many UK charities each day (as long as they collect it).

In his book ‘Waste’ Tristram Stuart states that many supermarkets and large retailers believe that giving away food waste will undermine their profits and that customers like to see well stocked shelves. Which puts paid to my next question – why not manage stock better? Order less and make more accurate predications for stock ordering? Apparently it is a cardinal sin for a supermarket to run out of something.

Some are better than others, Waitrose for example use much of their food waste to produce energy by anaerobic digestion, they also give food away according to their website.

But it is easy to point the finger at the supermarkets. But much blame lies with the consumer, the BBC state that family waste about £700.00 worth of food each year each! Which sounds crazy to me considering how much people complain about the cost of food (a lot in my experience).

Many people seem to think that food waste is not a big issue, ‘it’s non-toxic and just rots away on landfills right?’ Wrong. Anyone who has a compost heap knows that it needs turning to properly decompose. Food waste in landfill produces harmful methane, a big contributor to global warming, so we all need to do out bit to stop food waste.

Top Tips for reducing food waste

1. Arrange your food in the fridge in date order, i.e. expiring soonest at the front so you eat this first

2. Show our freezer some love

3. Just because its not tip top does not mean its not fit for anything. I can’t tell you how much softening fruit I have made into delicious cakes, pudding, jams, jellies of smoothies!

4. Stop buying (often obscure) foods you don’t eat (we all do it).

5. Pets, I often give vegetables that are a bit past their best to my Rabbit or Guinea Pigs but make sure to check it’s ok for them to eat first.

6. if you have the space start a compost heap or failing that make sure you recycle food waste

7. Donate to one of the wonderful organisations working to recycle food waste to the needy such as Love Food Hate Waste, Fareshare, or Foodcycle.

Thanks for reading


Image source – Recycle now

A picture is worth a thousand words? – modern day collection

Mother’s little headful


Like many other people, I am a subscriber to the BBC Wildlife Magazine and just received my annual Wildlife Photographer of the year portfolio, beautiful as always. Now they say a picture is worth a thousand words, but, which words?

Victorian gentlemen naturalists such as Charles Darwin, collected, eggs, insects and animals which were stuffed, and this fascination for the natural world still persists today, but- thank goodness- in a more sustainable form.

Humans seem to be obsessed with collection, whether it’s collecting money, cars, clothes, stamps, and this translates to the natural world too. Twitchers collect bird sightings, photographers collect images, moments in time, and the more difficult the moment to capture or the rarer the bird, the greater the accolade.

But wildlife photography seems to be evolving, its not only about capturing that perfect moment, or that elusive creature anymore. The photos in the portfolio that comes through my door every year are getting more political, more evocative.

The categories give you an intimate insight into the animal’s world and behaviour, whether it is up close and personal with sparring jaguar or the exhaustion of a noddy tern caught in a spiders web after a long migration. The beautiful images show the animals in the context of their environment and more often than not are highly endangered, coincidence, I don’t think so.

This competition can be a real chance to inform and educate as well as bring wonder at the natural world. Often a least photo will usually feature a polar bear, the poster child of global warming. A couple of years ago, many of the photos featured oiled birds, this year, an Amur leopard and cubs the most critically endangered big cat and a gruesome scene of ivory poaching.

So, enjoy the photographs, yes, marvel at the nature world, yes, but we should not be complacent, these amazing images highlight the beauty if the natural world, are we are it’s keepers. If we fail to conserve, protect and respect, these wonders will be gone, and in the not too distant future.

For a sneak peak of this years entrants and winners, please follow this link http://bbc.in/19GfXyK

Thanks for reading,


Photo credit Udayan Rao Pawar

#conservation #wildlife photography