Top of the agenda for conservation news this week was the plight of the rock hopper penguins of Tristan da Cunha.
Despite its location in a remote part of the South Atlantic, Tristan is in fact part of the UK – it is one of the UK Overseas Territories. Many of these territories are outposts for threatened species but their isolation makes conservation work very difficult.
News broke early in the week that ship had run aground and leaking oil was affecting the internationally important population of rockhopper penguins.
The story was featured at home in the Telegraph, the Mirror, the Sun, Times and Independent and RSPB conservation scientist Richard Cuthbert was interviewed on the Today programme about the situation. The story was then picked up across the world featuring in the New York Times and the Washington Post amongst others.
Another international environment story with a UK link this week was the news that a report commissioned by RSPB and ActionAid has found that African biofuels could produce six times as much carbon emissions as fossil fuels.
“We are not going to let this land go even if it means shedding blood," said a local resident of the Dakatcha Woodlands in Kenya on the BBC World Service. The area is threatened with destruction to make way for a massive jatropha plantation. Jatropha is used to make biofuels which are being championed by the UK and other European governments as an alternative renewable fuel.
"The proposed biofuel plantation will devastate the woodlands, driving the globally threatened Clarke's weaver bird to extinction and depriving thousands of local people of their livelihoods," the RSPB’s Helen Byron told BBC Online.
The story was also featured in the Telegraph.
Spring has very definitely sprung in our countryside and RSPB conservation director Mark Avery joined Radio 2’s Simon Mayo on Wednesday to talk about seasonal birdsong to listen out for.
And one youngster who has a special affinity with birds is ten year-old Emmanuel Adam. The RSPB’s Val Osborne spoke to the Mirror this week about why a jackdaw has taken a particular liking to him and perches happily on his shoulder.
“Jackdaws are incredibly clever and do become humanised very quickly,” she explained.
The issue of farming and the decline of farmland birds has always been a heated one, so it was no surprise that the topic caused heated debate between the RSPB’s Mark Avery and NFU president Peter Kendall this week. The two took park in an online debate for the Farmers Guardian on Monday in which Mark declared, “The RSPB loves farmers to bits!” and hailed farmland conservation success stories including cirl buntings, stone curlews and corncrakes.