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Feature

Health, disease, and wildlife conservation in the Pacific Islands

Mention “disease” or “death” in a conversation, and the listener will typically cringe, wince, and turn away in disgust. Yet disease and death are part and parcel of life as we know it and play an important role in wildlife conservation, particularly for threatened and endangered species. Like humans, wildlife die from various causes, including infectious disease and non-communicable causes of death such as predation or poisonings.

Feature

What’s in the Genes: The molecular age of avian malaria

When we think about malaria, we immediately think of human beings—people in the tropics being bitten by mosquitoes, and getting consumed by malaria afterward. We rarely make a mental connection between malaria and birds, yet malaria parasites influence virtually all aspects of their avian hosts’ lives. I have been studying the effects malarial infection can have on bird populations, in susceptible ecosystems like the Hawaii archipelago.

Perspective

Day out with a herder

Lessons for ecosystem management can be learnt from local communities that have been dependent on a particular landscape for many generations. They care about it since it is their life-line.

Interview

Nigel Collar

His love for birds eventually took him to the world of threatened bustards, perhaps a far cry from the doctorate degree in English Literature that he received from the University of East Anglia. For the last four decades since then, he has worked extensively on numerous conservation projects to protect bustards and other birds all over the world.

Feature

Mountaintops in the sky

Walking along a narrow strip of forest and ducking overhanging branches covered in a thick layer of moss, I took a rattling breath that filled my lungs with water droplets. Heading up the misty mountains without adequate warm clothing was not one of my better decisions. As I peered ahead into the lightening gloom, I could see the trees were thinning out. One last duck, and there was the view I wanted: rolling grassland. Kilometres of gently undulating grassy slopes, the occasional lone tree, and forest clumps in the valleys between mountains.