Smarter Science for a Better World

Feral ringbeck parakeet in Amsterdam

Global consultancy and education

Focused on increasing harmony between humans, wildlife and our shared environments by combining science, passion and common sense

That includes critter assistance, such as helping you live with urban foxes or monk parakeets.

Skype: SmarterScience

+44 (0)75 1826 1184

+44 (0)2392 824 845

Contact by e-mail

Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn Email

cool smile Hi there. Cool that you're stopping by. Below are some recent headlines as well as general information, optimized for small screens. There is lots more on the main site, but that content is not optimized for viewing on small screens. Click here for the main site.

Recent headlines

Is it over for our habitat?

DATE: 5 October 2015
It sure looks like it. I have stopped posting these headlines because it made me depressed. We appear to be at the brink of the planet's sixth mass extinction. This one is man-made, wrote wrote Matthew Wills of the University of Bath recently. (Read the rest of the story.)

Today, the IUCN reported that one third of the world's cacti are facing extinction. (Read the rest of the story.) It goes on and on. Our habitat is collapsing. Yet when I talk about this to people, at best they seem to see it as something that is happening in some faraway galaxy and has nothing to do with them.

Humans are the least intelligent species on the planet. The fact that we don't see that speaks for itself. No other species destroys its own habitat.

Oops, shot the wrong one

DATE: 20 August 2015
One of the dangers of trying to get rid of "pests" is killing the wrong animals. Such as shooting one of the only 300 left of a highly endangered species on which a lot of money just got spent to move them to another location in an attempt to preserve them. Read the rest of the story.

How to recycle polystyrene

DATE: 10 August 2015
With the aid of the solvent that's used in chewing gum, say researchers. The industry is interested. Read the rest of the story.

Shipping waste around the world

DATE: 5 August 2015
In the UK, UKIP is protesting against against the fact that the county Hampshire ships some of its waste paper all the way to China to be recycled there. UKIP has a point. This is nuts. And it is unlikely that Hampshire is the only British county that does this. Read the rest of the story.

Humane wildlife deterrence in the UK

DATE: 29 July 2015
John Bryant (Tonbridge, Kent) deals with foxes, rodents, birds and other animals in an animal-friendly way. Fox-a-gon treats foxes in a fox-friendly manner that works and for example fox-proofs schools.

Amphibians R us - and they are dying

DATE: 27 July 2015
That we have a worldwide amphibian crisis may mean that the end of the human species is nearer than we thought.Read more about this.

I stumbled upon the problems with the Dutch fire salamanders through some coincidence. When I started reading up, I realised that it is a far bigger issue than I thought. This is not about a frog less here and a salamander less there. It is about us running around like headless chickens.

I contacted Salamander Energy, frog, Joshua Klein, and Tim Leberecht and asked for their views. Global engineering firm ARCADIS was already aware of the issue. I also got in touch with Toad Footware, Frog Education and Frog Bikes. The first responses are in and I am looking forward to seeing how the other companies are stepping up to the plate.

UK breaks ban on bee-killing pesticide

DATE: 24 July 2015
The editorial in The Independent concludes "Rather like entering the National Lottery but in reverse, then, the benefits of these pesticides are relatively modest. Yet the potential loss from a devastating and irreparable reduction in the bee population – already possibly threatened by disease – is truly “life changing” for humanity – for the worse. Neonics, as they have become known, are simply not worth it." It's being called a scandal. Sign the petition on Avaaz, on Greenpeace or 38 degrees Read the rest of the article.

World seabird populations in catastrophic decline

DATE: 11 July 2015
"staggering 70 per cent drop over the last 60 years, according to new international research. This means around 230 million seabirds have disappeared across the globe since the 1950s." Read the rest of the article.

Rats probably dream just like we do

DATE: 29 June 2015
"When we dream, we work out the problems and anxieties we come across in our waking hours. But according to a recent study from University College London, humans may not be the only ones who do this." Read the rest of the article.

Rhesus monkeys break free in the US

DATE: 28 June 2015
Thirty rhesus macaques escaped after a break-in. "Puerto Rico has long struggled with controlling wild monkeys that descended from escaped research monkeys." Read the rest of the article.

"Immigrant" corals may come to the rescue

DATE: 26 June 2015
"Relocating coral larvae to reefs at greater risk from warming oceans could prevent bleaching and mass die-offs, study finds". Interestingly, now the term "immigrant" is used, instead of "invasive", "intruding" or "alien". Why not simply "other" or "from other areas"? Or, in this case, "from warmer areas"? Read the rest of the article.

Dealing with cruelty against animals

DATE: 26 June 2015
Breaking the chain is the name of the RSPCA's online program with resources aimed at young persons. Read more about it. The RSPCA also helps Youth Offending Teams, fostering and adoption agencies, foster parents, social workers, family workers and teachers in other ways, for example by training them. Read more about it.

PAWedu has an online course for English-speaking offenders from all over the world. It costs 25 dollars, which goes to animal welfare organizations. The course can count toward count-appointed education. Check with your court or probation officer. Read more about it.

Norwegian highway for bees

DATE: 25 June 2015
It started with a few flowerpots. Read the rest of the article.

Don’t endanger the owls

DATE: 25 June 2015
This is an interactive game that "engages students and reinforces the key concepts of safe laboratory practices." It's taught by Rice University, offered through EDX, and starts on 3 May 2016. Read more about it.

Florida black bears targeted again

DATE: 24 June 2015
"The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission voted to reopen a trophy hunt on the Florida black bear", with one brave dissenter. This subspecies of the American black bear was only just taken off the state’s threatened species list. Read the rest of the article, read more about it here, in the Miami Herald and also see this Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation page.

The Florida Black Bear & Wildlife Conservation Festival will take place on 10 October 2015, however. Read more about it.

UK announces new research into improving the health of (production) animals

DATE: 24 June 2015
The BBSRC is one of the UK's seven Research Councils. It has an annual budget of close to 500 million pounds (484 millions in 2013-2014) and is funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. It has just awarded grants to 6 new research projects to improve the health and welfare of animals that are part of the bioeconomy. Five more new UK projects are starting up in this field, all part of the EU program Animal Health and Welfare ERA-Net (ANIHWA). Read the rest of the article.

Bans on plastic microbeads in beauty products

DATE: 22 June 2015
Microplastics not only pollute the oceans but also many lakes and can travel up the food pyramid, through ingestion. Read the rest of the article.

Britain deporting foreign nurses?

DATE: 22 June 2015
"Up to 3,365 nurses currently working in Britain are likely to be affected by a policy which says migrants from outside Europe must earn £35,000 or more if they are to be allowed to stay on after six years working here. Nurses rarely receive such salaries – particularly not within six years of starting work in the NHS." Most of the rest of the population of Britain does not make that much either. Read the rest of the article.

Get close to sealife around Portsmouth, Hampshire, UK

DATE: 18 June 2015
Two tours are being organised that lets photographers step into a kayak and take them to areas where seals tend to bask in the sun. It costs 35 pounds. The dates are Sunday 12th July from 2.30pm until 5.30pm and Saturday 22nd August from 10am until 1pm. Read the rest of the article.

Super-sized cows, milk lakes and butter mountains

DATE: 1 April 2015
"average milk production from Holstein dairy cows, which have been labelled 'udders on legs', has risen by 55 per cent" Read the rest of the article.

Millions to be spent on killing squirrels

DATE: 3 January 2015
"Landowners are to be paid millions of pounds of public money to cull grey squirrels" and "The money could be used to buy warfarin to poison them, or for buying traps so they can be trapped and shot." Read the rest of the article.

Cats, goats, wild boars, raccoons, beavers and many other animals invading Europe

DATE: 5 September 2012
"71 mammal species have invaded Europe since Neolithic times" To be precise: "Alien mammals have been introduced into Europe on at least 740 occasions, the study found. For 635 of those, the researchers could reconstruct the date of introduction."

"The data shows a dramatic increase in invasion rate since the beginning of the 20th Century, which is still ongoing" and "The demand for exotic pets is driving many of the introductions, say the researchers. Some species are also being introduced so they can be hunted." Read the rest of the article.

Bald eagle bounces back after decades of persecution

DATE: 20 June 2002
"At one Wyoming ranch, for example, eagles were systematically shot for their perceived threat to livestock." and "Just when it was finally benefiting from legal protections, the bald eagle took a heavy blow from DDT, a pesticide" Read the rest of the article.


Food for thought


We humans do not own the planet. We share it. Yet we spend so much effort on fighting other animals that have as much right to live on this planet as we have. This does not only concern ants, mosquitoes, rats and mice.

We consider parrots, wolves, cormorants, foxes, armadillos, bears, gulls, possums, rabbits, wallabies and many other species our enemies. We target and kill them. If we feel it sounds better, we talk about a cull instead of killing.

We’ve stolen so many animals out of their natural surroundings. We didn’t care if they lost their mate or their offspring through our actions. We didn’t know it if the species mated for life. We put those animals in our homes, buildings, circuses and zoos.

Nowadays, we protect some species internationally no, but treat them as pests when they escape from their forced confinements. Occasionally, we try to eradicate one species that we don’t like only to find out that we are harming a species we happen to cherish.

Stop for a moment. What if bears had ruled the planet? Imagine that a group of bears caught you in a net or in a trap, and placed you in a cage in a cave that is home to the bears that now own you. What if the cave bears we drove to extinction 25,000 years ago had made caves and holes all over the planet and ruthlessly destroyed the habitats of some species, and encroached on the habitats of others?

Where would we live? We would be forced to fit in among the bears somehow. We wouldn’t have a choice in the matter and if some of the bears caught us and kept us in cages, there would be little we could do about it.

Wouldn’t it be so much nicer for all of us if we learned how to get along more peacefully and acted with more consideration?

This is not about a fairytale lalaland. This is not about stopping change. Change is inherent to nature. Nature evolves constantly. This is about our everyday reality and making sure we have a world in which there is room for everyone, including our own offspring.

We too are animals. We're mammals. Everything we do that has the potential to harm other animals has the potential of harming us too. And everything we do that is detrimental to other mammals is not likely to do us much good either.

That's why we must follow a holistic approach. Holistic means that we also look at the whole instead of considering individual components as if they are separate and isolated from the whole.

Thanks for reading and enjoy your day! smile

Pup of a nine-banded armadillo

Smarter Science for a Better World

Global consultancy and education

Focused on increasing harmony between humans, wildlife and our shared environments by combining science, passion and common sense

Skype: SmarterScience

+44 (0)75 1826 1184

+44 (0)2392 824 845

Contact by e-mail

Follow @smarterscience