The park's newest resident

The parks newest resident has just been spotted in the park. It is a small brown deer that was seen by a local resident (Helen) who was walking her dog. She watched it for 5 or so minutes while it was grazing in the area of former prefab housing, adjacent to the health centre on Dad’s Lane. Given the description it is likely to be Muntjac Deer. These are surprisingly common around the city, and all though not native, they do not cause a lot of damage. In high numbers they are a pest to woodlands though.

The probably species involved, Reeves Muntjac (Muntiacus reevesi), was introduced into the UK in Woburn Safari Park in 1926. It is now found everywhere and is thought to be the commonest species in England, recently extending its range up to the Scottish borders and into Wales. They are surprising confiding species and not too concerned by humans. Keep your eyes peeled.

A Muntjac deer (copyright Pratheepps) used under the Wiki-images license.

The Big Nature Debate

Follow the big nature debate that the Natural History Museum, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Zoological Society of London and International Year of Biodiversity-UK are running.  You can blog (only 250-500 words) on one or more of the topics listed below – or indeed feel free to propose a biodiversity topic of your own. We need a flow of new blogs, and contributions to the debate, up to the live streaming of the Big Debate itself on 7 October.
The Big Nature Debate site is a focus for discussion on the issues around biodiversity in the weeks leading up to Nagoya. The area will act as a portal directing visitors to relevant content and will have forums in which visitors can participate and exchange views with experts in the field. The Big Nature Blog is central to the site, where we are asking people with expert knowledge to contribute blog posts that will help to share their views and opinions with an interested audience with varying levels of knowledge. The posts will offer fact and opinion from a personal view point, widening the horizons of those who read them, while remaining clear and easy to follow.

Blog and forum topics
1. What is biodiversity and why is it important?
2. What do you see as the main threats to biodiversity?
3. What, do you see as the single biggest threat facing biodiversity today?
4. What’s the importance of now? Is biodiversity in crisis? How can we tell?
5. How is biodiversity linked to the way we live? And what can we do to reduce the impact of our lifestyles?
6. What actions do you think are needed now to stem global biodiversity loss?
7. What’s the bigger priority, the economic situation or protecting biodiversity?
8. Should governments subsidise business and food production to protect biodiversity?
9. Is overfishing a problem, and if so, what should be done about it?
10. What should be done to promote the awareness of the importance of biodiversity?
11. How far do you think local and national government should include biodiversity in their plans?
12. What role do forests, woodlands and other ecosystems play in supporting biodiversity?
13. What is the impact of climate change on biodiversity?
14. What is genetic diversity and do we need it?
15. How do you think GM crops might affect our futures?
16. How important is it to protect traditional knowledge and practices in farming?
17. What do you think the world might look like in 2050?
18. What can we as individuals do to influence governments to take action?                           
19. What can we do as individuals to support biodiversity?
20. What would you like to see happen at Nagoya?
21. What do you think can be achieved after Nagoya?

We will be blogging on this shortly but in the meantime get Twittering and remember to use the hashtag #naturedb8.