Episode 94: African Big Game with Steve Scott

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Hunting in Africa is on the bucket list of many hunters. But for many, that dream might seem very distant. Almost impossible. But as you will see in this conversation with Steve Scott, a veteran hunter, TV host, and producer of television hunting shows, this doesn’t have to be the case.

Problems caused by the pandemic and related travel restrictions made the prices of hunts in Africa hit rock bottom. This combined with the progressive rollout of vaccines means that now might be the best time to fulfil your dream and book your bucket list hunt in Africa.

Episode 93: The Amazon Rainforest with Alex Lees

The Amazon rainforest is the largest and most biodiverse tropical rainforest in the world. It represents over half of the remaining rainforests. It is home to countless species of insects, birds, amphibians, reptiles and mammals. Not to mention the fish. Unfortunately, as we all can read and hear in the news, it is subject to unrelenting exploitation and destruction.

I decided that my podcast would never be complete without talking about the Amazon. So, it was my great pleasure to sit down with Dr Alex Lees who is a Senior Lecturer in Conservation Biology in the Department of Natural Sciences at Manchester Metropolitan University. Alex spent a long time in the Amazon while working on various scientific projects. He has a deep understanding of the Amazon ecology as well as the land use issues which underlie the progressive destruction of this unique ecological system.

Episode 92: Upland Ecology with Cathy Mayne

In recent episodes, I have presented a whole host of views and opinions regarding rewilding, land management, and the need to change the way we coexist with nature. In this episode, we continue on that path, but with a guest, Dr Cathy Mayne, who has a particularly interesting perspective. That perspective might not be entirely aligned with the usual rewilding approach, but it is very well thought out, balanced and realistic.

Cathy is an ecologist with vast experience in environmental management. She has a deep knowledge of the challenges and opportunities in land management. She also has a strong background in deer management and is a hunter herself. Currently, she is the Principal Ecologist at the Mountain Environment Services consultancy.

This episode is an absolute must for anyone interested in nature conservation, rewilding, and sustainable living. Cathy, without a doubt, is one of a kind and I am sure that our conversation will be as fascinating and informative for you as it was for me.

Episode 88: Rewilding Scotland with Peter Cairns

Peter Cairns is the executive director of the environmental charity Scotland: The Big Picture, the first organisation in Scotland wholly dedicated to championing rewilding. We started our conversation by discussing the controversy surrounding the term rewilding. Since rewilding (for want of a better, less controversial, term) is of great interest to me, the discussion started to flow from there.

After that, we discussed a wide range of related socio-economic and environmental issues. Finally, we ended up examining individual species that had been extirpated. Some of them, like beavers, have since been reintroduced. Others, like lynx, could be reintroduced in the future. And wolves… yes we talked about wolves too. But don’t worry, this conversation wasn’t about some fantasies. I feel like we had a very reasonable and balanced discussion. Check it out and let me know what you think in the comments.

Episode 87: Irish Whale and Dolphin Group with Pádraig Whooley

I have wanted to record an episode about the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) and their work for quite a while now. Their excellent website, with a database where you can report sightings and strandings, was even mentioned in one of my vlogs. So today, it is my pleasure to bring you my conversation with IWDG’s Sightings Officer Pádraig Whooley.

We started with discussing at length IWDG origins and their current work. After that, we dug deep into a whole host of interesting topics related to cetaceans, starting with a discussion about cetacean species that can be observed and encountered in our local waters. That conversation included some interesting facts about how to behave in the presence of a whale and about the rules and regulations around it. We discussed whale watching techniques and the required equipment. We also talked about the unpleasant issue of whale strandings. And of course, I did not forget to discuss cetacean evolution, a personal favourite of mine.

This is an amazing episode and if you have any level of interest in whales or dolphins you will, without a doubt, find it deeply interesting.

Episode 69: The Impact of COVID-19 on Wildlife Conservation with Adam Hart

Professor Adam Hart was our guest on the podcast not long ago, in episode 66. However, given the unusual situation we are going through globally, we decided to get together again just a few weeks later. The reason is to discuss the devastating effect the COVID-19 pandemic is having on wildlife conservation. Major sources of funding for conservation, like tourism and hunting, have dried-up overnight. And with the general turmoil and uncertainty, conservation enforcement has been weakened and poaching is on the rise. We also explore the idea of a connection between the coronavirus and biodiversity loss.

If you care about wildlife and conservation you should definitely listen to this episode, learn about the situation and see if, and how, you can help.

Episode 68: Rewilding, Wolves and Biodiversity with Pádraic Fogarty

Pádraic is well known to my podcast listeners. He was our guest in episodes 20 and 35. And in episode 62 I talked with Patrick Cross about his work inspired by Pádraic’s book.

There have been many things I have wanted to talk to Pádraic about since our last podcast, which was a year and a half ago. So today I am pleased to bring you another conversation with Pádraic. We talk about rewilding, reintroduction of wolves and lynx and, last but not least, if there is a connection between the coronavirus and biodiversity loss.

Episode 66: African Wildlife Conservation with Adam Hart

The issue of African wildlife conservation is very complex and difficult. There are many factors that have to be considered, some of them are literally a matter of life and death. All that immersed in a highly emotional atmosphere. This subject is infinitely interesting to me. So, today I am delighted to bring you my conversation with biologist, broadcaster, academic and author, Professor Adam Hart. During the podcast, we discuss the elephant situation in Botswana, the role of rural communities in wildlife management and the highly emotional subject of trophy hunting.

Episode 62: Whittled Away, a Photography Series, with Patrick Cross

We have talked about the book “Whittled Away – Ireland’s Vanishing Nature” twice already. In episode 20 our guest was the author, Pádraic Fogarty, who was also featured in episode 35 where I brought you the recording of his talk under the same title as the book.

Today I talk with Patrick Cross about his photographic project based on that book. We also talk about photography (the outdoors flavour), human impact on the environment and natural history.