In the first few days of 2016 came the depressing news that a female orca had been found washed ashore dead on the Hebridean island of Tiree off the west coast of Scotland.
Researchers at Cambridge University may have discovered a solution to the huge plastic pollution problem that the world faces, and it comes in the form of a small caterpillar.
Experiments involving small moth larvae (Galleria mellonella), which eat wax in bee hives, have revealed that they can also eat their way through plastic bags! The larvae then break down the chemical bonds of plastic in the similar way to digesting beeswax.
An oil pipeline has leaked into the home waters of one of the most endangered populations of beluga whales.
Alaska's Cook Inlet population, near Anchorage, is thought to number around 340 individuals. They were listed as endangered by the US federal government in 2008 and over 3,000 square miles of their home was protected as critical habitat in 2011. Once thought to number as many as 1300 whales, the population declined dramatically by nearly 50% in the mid-90s.
A scientist has recorded a species of plankton consuming plastic microfibre, showing how the lives of even the smallest creatures in the oceans are being impacted by human waste.
Plankton are a prey of several species of large baleen whales as well as many other creatures. While the impact of larger pieces of plastic on wildlife are more obvious to see, this was the first time Dr Richard Kirby had recorded on film this type of waste being consumed by plankton.
A sick Cuvier's beaked whale that was euthanized after stranding on a beach in southwestern Norway, had thirty plastic bags and other waste in its stomach. The discovery was made during an necropsy of the whale by a team from the University of Bergen.
Controversy continues to surround plans by the Port Authority of Cromarty Firth, Scotland to transfer millions of tonnes of crude oil between ships anchored near the mouth of the Firth.
Ryan is an amazing young man. With hundreds of millions of items of plastic entering circulation every year, and over 80% of it reportedly never recycled, it’s no wonder we have a major plastic pollution issue on our hands. Ryan decided to do something about this from the age of just three. Now aged seven, Ryan has sorted recyclables that have been donated by friends, family, neighbours each week and makes regular trips to the local recycling center in Orange County, California. So far, he has recycled over 200,000 bottles and cans and donated lots of money to charity.
Like most of the Moray Firth in Scotland, the WDC Shorewatch site at Nairn is stunning. We were enjoying the views over the sandy beach and across 5 miles of sea to the entrance of the Cromarty Firth, hoping to catch a glimpse of the world famous Moray Firth dolphins, or maybe a whale, when 'Baldie man' appeared.
Hundreds of protesters gathered over the weekend in Nairn to campaign against new plans for ship-to-ship oil transfers in the Moray Firth.
Groups from both sides of the Firth, including WDC, met at Nairn central beach to voice their opposition to Cromarty Firth Port Authority’s request for a licence to begin the transfer millions of tonnes of crude oil at sea.
WDC believes that these oil transfers would pose serious risk to wildlife in the area, and the resident population of bottlenose dolphins in particular.