November 4th, 2018

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Who would want to kill a lion?

Who would want to kill a lion? Inside the minds of trophy hunters

From the dentist who felled Cecil the lion to the woman who shot a goat on Islay, keen hunters are happy to fork out small fortunes to kill wildlife. But why do they do it – and what is the true cost of their obsession?

The most elephants that Ron Thomson has ever killed by himself, in one go, is 32. It took him about 15 minutes. Growing up in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, Thomson began hunting as a teenager and quickly became expert. From 1959, he worked as a national parks ranger and was regularly called on to kill animals that came into conflict with man. “It was a great thrill to me, to be very honest,” he says by phone from Kenton-on-Sea, the small coastal town in South Africa where he lives. “Some people enjoy hunting just as much as other people abhor it. I happened to enjoy it.”

Now 79, Thomson has not shot an elephant for decades, and he struggles to find an open-minded audience for his stories of having, in his own words, “by far hunted more than any other man alive”. Today there are people who hunt, and many more people who feel a deep-seated aversion to it; for whom the image of an animal slain by man – regardless of species, motive, legal status or even historical context – is nothing but repellent.

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Wild boar sighted near Barcelona city centre looking for food

Wild boar sighted near Barcelona city centre looking for food

The animals, usually resident in nearby hills, are venturing close to the Sagrada Família

The wild boar that roam the hills above Barcelona are becoming ever more daring in their search for food.

While for some time they have been a familiar sight in the neighbourhoods adjacent to the thickly wooded hills, they have now been spotted in areas closer to the city centre.

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Global hunger for soybeans destroying Brazil's Cerrado savanna

Global hunger for soybeans 'destroying Brazil's Cerrado savanna'

Brazil's highly biodiverse Cerrado is being destroyed for soybean production, conservationists say.
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'The most intellectual creature to ever walk Earth is destroying its only home'

'The most intellectual creature to ever walk Earth is destroying its only home' | Jane Goodall

Introducing the Guardian’s new series The Age of Extinction, the renowned primatologist describes the dramatic vanishing of wildlife she has witnessed in her lifetime – and how we can all play a vital role in halting its destruction

During my years studying chimpanzees in Gombe national park in Tanzania I experienced the magic of the rainforest. I learned how all life is interconnected, how each species, no matter how insignificant it may seem, has a role to play in the rich tapestry of life – known today as biodiversity. Even the loss of one thread can have a ripple effect and result in major damage to the whole.

I left Gombe in 1986 when I realised how fast chimpanzee habitat was being destroyed and how their numbers were declining. I visited six chimpanzee range states and learned a great deal about the rate of deforestation as a result of foreign corporations (timber, oil and mining) and population growth in communities in and around chimpanzee habitat, so that more land was needed for expanding villages, agriculture and grazing livestock.

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Stop biodiversity loss or we could face our own extinction, warns UN

Stop biodiversity loss or we could face our own extinction

The world has two years to secure a deal for nature to halt a ‘silent killer’ as dangerous as climate change, says biodiversity chief

The world must thrash out a new deal for nature in the next two years or humanity could be the first species to document our own extinction, warns the United Nation’s biodiversity chief.

Ahead of a key international conference to discuss the collapse of ecosystems, Cristiana Pașca Palmer said people in all countries need to put pressure on their governments to draw up ambitious global targets by 2020 to protect the insects, birds, plants and mammals that are vital for global food production, clean water and carbon sequestration.

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Joseph Stiglitz: 'America should be a warning to other countries'

Joseph Stiglitz: 'America should be a warning to other countries'

Ahead of his Australian visit, renowned economist warns of the triple threat of rising inequality, the undermining of democracy and climate change

It was a stark message from a Nobel-prize winning economist.

“We were a very different country 40 years ago,” he said. “The downhill slide has been pretty fast. America, I think, should be an important warning to other countries not to take for granted their institutions. I worry that things in the United States could get much worse.”

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