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Britain and Ireland's moths ‘on the move’
Intensive agriculture, artificial light and climate change are driving moth populations to other parts of Britain.

Landmark publication shows patterns of change in moth populations

Intensive agriculture, artificial light and climate change are driving moth populations to other parts of Britain and Ireland, according to new research.

A study by researchers in Britain and Ireland also found that other moths have colonised Britain, or have spread northwards to become abundant and widespread.

Their results are revealed in the newly-published Atlas of Britain and Ireland’s Larger Moths - the first publication to trace the distribution of all larger moths of Britain, Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands in forensic detail.


Lead researcher on the Atlas, Dr Zoë Randle said: “The Atlas of Britain and Ireland’s Larger Moths is a landmark publication and a treasure trove to be mined to help us understand the patterns of change in Britain and Ireland’s moths. 
 
“The data used to produce the atlas has been collected by moth recorders (citizen scientists) who are united in their love, passion and interest in moths. It’s incredible what a movement of individuals can achieve as a community. We’re very grateful to everyone who has contributed their moth records, without them, we could not have published this book.”
 
The Atlas confirms that, in recent decades, some moth species have been lost entirely, including the Brighton wainscot and orange upperwing. There are also serious concerns for others, including the speckled footman, pale shining brown and stout dart, which have not been recently recorded.

Meanwhile, other moths have colonised Britain (such as the Clifden nonpareil and black-spotted chestnut) or spread rapidly north to be more widespread and abundant than they were previously.


In general, however, the abundance of moths have declined by as much as 34 per cent over the period 1970-2016. This is compared with only 11 per cent which have increased significantly.

Dr Randle continued: “Moths are indicators of the health of our environment, the declines reported are concerning, especially when you consider the potential knock-on effects for other creatures such as bats and birds that rely on moths and their caterpillars as a food source. 


“Moths also have an important role as pollinators of wildflowers and garden plants, they could be considered to be the bees of the night-time. Ultimately, we need to understand and value other species and the benefits they bring to our lives and the perils we face if we don’t.”

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Cats Protection launches Christmas animation

News Story 1
 Leading feline charity Cats Protection has launched a heartwarming Christmas animation to raise awareness of the important work it does. The animation is based on a true story of a kitten that went missing earlier this year. Freezing cold and hungry, the kitten was dumped in a box on a roadside and somehow became separated from her brother and sisters.


Thankfully there is a happy end to this tail, and Libby - now named Misty - was eventually reunited with her littermates. Misty’s owner, Amy Smith, said: “Misty has settled amazingly well into our home, she has found a best friend in my daughter Lily and likes to follow her around the house. She also loves to chase bugs in the garden. We feel very lucky to have her.” 

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WSAVA launches certificate programme focusing on companion animals in One Health

The first certificate programme focusing specifically on the role of companion animals in One Health has been launched by the One Health Committee (OHC) of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA).

The online programme, which is free of charge for WSAVA members, has been developed in recognition of the growing impact of companion animals in human society. Pet ownership is becoming more popular globally, and this has increased the implications for One Health, regarding the human-companion animal bond. The WSAVA OHC hopes that this course will bridge the knowledge gap between veterinary surgeons and human physicians. New modules are being added weekly, with a total of 20 modules expected to be available by early 2020.