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Beaches & the New Big Five!

This week whilst researching earth optimism stories we couldn't pick between two to cover and so we have a double feature!! So here we have a mini review of both sea turtle nesting success and a new global photography project.

As many parts of the northern hemisphere move into the summer nesting season for wildlife, there have been some surprising reports from sea turtle biologists. As less people are able to travel and use outdoor spaces, such as the sandy beaches of Thailand and Florida that are usually swamped with people, the turtles that like to nest in these habitats have been able to arrive undisturbed! Reports from Thailand have counted the greatest number of nests in two decades made by critically endangered leatherback turtles. These oceanic wanderers can cross entire oceans between breeding cycles and are in real danger of becoming extinct so a bumper nesting season may really benefit the future security of the species. In Florida also, huge increases in nesting turtles have already been noted with conservationists suggesting further nesting success across wide areas. Another bonus for the turtles is that reduced numbers of people means less light pollution to confuse hatching baby turtles trying to find light glinting on the sea and so it is expected that more hatchlings will make it to the water! Alongside this unexpected bonus for turtles, less beach traffic is also predicted to boost breeding shore birds, particularly for sensitive species such as the rare snowy plover. So although this means less beach time for us, at least someone is having fun in the sun!

Leatherback turtle nest site, Wikimedia commons

Moving away from the oceans to land based conservation optimism, a new exciting photography project is underway! The "African big five" is a commonly used term to describe some of the most exciting species to spot on safari, however this term is loaded and was originally coined by trophy hunters to describe the biggest and most difficult animals to hunt and kill... In light of the unwelcome origins of this term, a conservation minded group of photographers, film makers, charity organisations and conservationists have started a movement to create the #NewBig5 ( This exciting new initiative aims to explore the public's favourite animals across the world! The idea is that a new list is created based on the top five species we all like (alive!) and perhaps if we are lucky enough, to photograph. This new project serves as a wonderful appreciation of our favourite species and shows how as a global community we are moving away from killing animals for sport towards appreciating them as living creatures in their own right. Which species would make your #NewBig5 list?

Our favourite local five: Irish hare, red squirrel, grey seal, little egret and swallow

©Lawrence Eagling

Other positive news you might like to check out:

Rewilding: Beavers settle into life in Norfolk

Citizen science: Scientists need you! Fun ways to keep active and help scientific projects across the world!


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