James Russell

Last week I had the pleasure to finally visit an island I had long wanted to survey. My perverse reward was finding not one but two species of rats inhabiting the island….

Wildlife

The islands of Ipipiri (the Bay of Islands) were cleared of invasive rodents and mustelids in 2009. Since then, there have been over 50 incursions of predators to the island group. The Department of Conservation invited myself and others to visit the islands last week in anticipation of another bumper summer of cat, rat and…

Changing Planet

For the last three years I have been travelling and collaborating across Brazil to increase awareness of the role of invasive alien species. As my trip to the Pantanal comes to an end so too does this time working in Brazil. On the last morning with Projeto Tamanduá we wake early to capture a giant…

Changing Planet

There are a lot of birds in the Pantanal. When I say a lot, I mean there are more bird species at this farm (Pousada Aguapé) than the entirety of my home country New Zealand. Its over 40 degrees centigrade every day and all the sane mammals, including myself, are hiding from the heat. Except…

Changing Planet

My work in Brazil focuses on invasive species on islands, but to see a different side of conservation I have joined the Projeto Tamanduá 2017 course in the Pantanal. The Pantanal is the largest wetland in the world with the highest concentration of species in the Americas. There are an estimated 1,000 bird, 400 fish…

Wildlife

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Like all science, invasion biology depends on clear and strict definitions. The concept of a native invasive species therefore sounds implausible, but is exactly what I have found on Fernando de Noronha. Without consistent definitions, scientists can talk at odds over one another, not realising they are talking about different things. Examples of important distinctions…

Changing Planet

Monitoring of biodiversity is a challenge, but visiting Ducke reserve in the Amazon I am able to see one of the gold standards for long-term biodiversity research. Satellite images reveal an oddly square 10 x 10 km forest block just to the north-east of Manaus. Here lies the Ducke scientific reserve owned by the National…

Changing Planet

The Amazon is not typically a place one thinks of as insular, but the Parque Nacional de Anavilhanas in Brazil has over 400 islands in the Rio Negro. My visit to the national park coincided with the end of the dry season, when the river is at its lowest – up to a staggering 10…

Changing Planet

Rakiura / Stewart Island is the southern-most inhabited point of New Zealand. Here, islanders carve out an existence for themselves among the harsh but beautiful environment. I was visiting to understand how the community feels about proposals to eradicate introduced mammalian predators from the entirety of the island – Predator Free Rakiura. The eradication of…

Wildlife

Plans to manage pest species are becoming increasingly larger in scale and ambition. The outcomes of such programmes can have just as important impacts on the resident human communities as the plant and animal communities. Today in New Zealand protests and arrests took place outside the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary, after a legal appeal to prevent…

Wildlife

Last summer after visiting Great Mercury Island I had the brief opportunity to visit nearby Slipper Island off the coast of the Coromandel. With only a weekend on the island, I set out to perform a ‘bioblitz’ terrestrial fauna survey. I was particularly intrigued about reports of Polynesian rats on the island, as this rat…

Wildlife

St Kilda is a remote island group in the North Atlantic off the coast of Scotland. Having made it to Scotland, and then the Outer Hebrides, it made sense to hop one more island to what was once the very edge of the world. After the Island Invasives 2017 conference which brought me this far,…

Wildlife

This month two major invasive species meetings are being held in Britain. First is the Island Invasives conference in Dundee, and later in the month a symposium on the macroecology of alien species. Each meeting will give a unique perspective on the science and management of invasive alien species around the world. The Island Invasives…

Changing Planet