Blog about animals
Selected the best cow in Germany
Fishing ban proposed near Rockall after rare scientific finds
Life and death on the riverbank
Baboon shot dead after escaping from Knowsley Safari Park
Birdwatch: Peregrine falcon
Iceland's fin whales are endangered. Stop this bloody cull
The pitfalls of elderly dog insurance
Valley where Edward Carpenter, gay rights campaigner and socialist, walked
Green groups warn government of national parks hunting backlash
Demand for ivory destabilising central Africa
Dog walker found neighbour trampled by cows, inquest hears
Cat stands for election in Mexican city
I hear some hip cat's running for mayor in Mexico. That gives me an idea
Wader chick fever grips birds and spotters alike
Philippines destroys five tonnes of elephant tusks
The Dwyfor is surely one of the loveliest of Welsh rivers
New to nature No 107: Typhochlaena costae
How to beat the midges this summer
Controversial herring gull cull gets green light
Whaling's day in court is a sea change for conservation
Australia censures Japan for 'scientific' whaling
The young red deer stags were on their hind legs boxing, just like hares
Our garden's blackbirds started their nest-building early this year
UK wildlife and nature hit hard by erratic weather
  Green groups warn government of national parks hunting backlash
Environmental groups have forecast a huge public backlash to proposed logging, shooting and prospecting within national parks, after the government backed away from adding federal oversight to conservation areas.

The Greens put forward an amendment to a government bill on protecting water tables from coal seam gas drilling that would have given the commonwealth greater power to protect national parks.

Under the current the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, the federal government can intervene only if an endangered species, heritage area or place of "national significance" is affected by development.

It is understood a proposal by federal environment minister Tony Burke to include a national parks trigger was rejected at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday night.

A spokesperson for Burke said that the government supports its bill "as it stands" and that separate 2011 proposals, which would have brought most national parks under the commonwealth's remit, were "still under consideration".

Environmentalists have pushed for greater federal involvement in national parks due to their dismay at pro-development decisions made by state governments.

Last year, the New South Wales government said it would open up 77 of its national parks and reserves to amateur hunters to shoot feral animals, despite concerns over the safety to people.

The Queensland government is conducting a review of all protected areas put aside since 2002, with a view to allow logging in certain parks, while the Victorian government has introduced 99-year private leases for tourism development in all of its national parks.

Lyndon Schneiders, national campaign director of the Wilderness Society, said that the public was strongly against the erosion of national parks.

"Millions of people use national parks," he said. "Governments that are driving these changes to realise commercial opportunities don't really realise they are biting their constituents. Most people out there can't really believe what is happening is real and that it is being allowed to happen. The backlash is already there and it's only going to get bigger.

"The individual impacts of each development are bad, but what's most disturbing is that there is now a section of politics that has decided that national parks aren't worth it. This is a lost opportunity because the states have shown they can't be trusted. We've encouraged the government to do something on this for three years, but they've dragged their heels and now they are barely functioning. This is a skirmish in what will be a much longer debate around nature conservation. We are at a crossroads moment about how we best protect national parks and other areas."

Matt Ruchel, executive director of the Victorian National Parks Association, said he was "disappointed" by the lack of federal oversight.

"If the states go feral and undermine the integrity of national parks, who else will provide the checks and balances but the federal government?" he asked.

"National parks are the cornerstone of conservation. They are well respected by the Australian community, they are a major draw card every day of the year, they clean air and water and draw carbon from the atmosphere.

"Up until recently, protecting national parks was a bipartisan issue. I don't understand why there's been a shift away from that approach. It's deeply concerning."
'Wild' animals in travelling circuses benefit no one
The intoxicated world of the spotted flycatcher
Fishing quotas can be redistributed to favour smaller vessels high court
Madagascar battling worst locust plague since 1950s
A broody sparrow meets his match
Climate change is happening too quickly for species to adapt
The weird and wonderful world of the naked mole rat
Australian woman seriously injured during Spanish bull run
Spain's endangered Iberian lynx brought back from brink of extinction
One man and his sniffer dog help tackle Germany's hidden drug problem
The hotel that only takes dogs
T rex tooth found embedded in prey, restoring dinosaur's reputation
Bog cotton covers the summer Peak District moors in snow
Lifelike after death: the intricacies of a taxidermist's craft
The six-spot burnet moths complete their transformation
Research on animals in UK rises by 8% to exceed 4m procedures
Animal testing it's time to talk about it again
A pair of lithe animals are tumbling across the grass within feet of me
New to nature no 109: Anochetus hohenbergiae
England's ceremonial mayors eschew fur to support animal rights
Birdwatch: Corn bunting
Madrid declares war on plague of raccoon and parrot invaders
Snow leopards and wild yaks becoming 'fashion victims'
Horn seizure prompts rhinos warning
Threatened seabirds 'neglected' in plans for Scottish marine protected areas
Los Angeles campgrounds closed after plague-infected squirrel found
Only when I look down at the last second do I see it. I recoil instinctively
China's wine boom of little profit to giant pandas and small farmers
Let's not martyr the white-throated needletail to the anti-wind cause
Grasshopper breeder up for design award and educating western palates
Spanish national park could lose Unesco status over illegal boreholes
Dog mauls boy at primary school in Northern Ireland
Our dog walks are punctuated by the corn bunting's jingling ringtone
End in sight for painful branding of semi-wild moorland ponies
New to nature No 108: Carlia decora
Penguins support gorillas as biscuit makers respond to palm oil threat
Measuring carbon age in ivory could help combat poaching, study shows
How to survive a seagull attack
A walk by the river triggers memories of a bygone age
Whales flee from military sonar leading to mass strandings, research shows
Down among the grass stems, a ball of recently hatched orb-web spiderlings
Owen Paterson vows to rid England of bovine TB with badger culls
Gassing of badgers considered in plan to eradicate TB in cattle
Visitors to the Pamplona bull run have blood on their hands
Bats: they've never had it so good
These dew ponds have been on the Downs possibly since medieval times
Australian bushman claims to have footage of legendary night parrot
Secret badger shoots pose 'a risk to public safety'
Cheshire police seize dog believed to have killed Pomeranian
Whale watching season is back - but how close is too close?
Plan to ban wild animals in travelling circuses 'goes too far'
Morrissey donates Channel 4 payout to Peta campaign against foie gras
Visit Statistics