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Environmental, Photography, Wildlife
Lockdown, thankfully, beginning to end, gave me the opportunity to focus my photography a little closer to home. One project I’ve wanted to do for a while is to document some of the new life in Castletown. As you might know, any photography that involves wild birds at or nears their nests is illegal under the Wildlife act 1976. So, I contacted the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and filled out an application form and became licensed under the act.

For anyone thinking of going down the route. The process is simple enough. Fill in the application form and submit. It is almost certain that you will get a follow-up call for the national parks and Wildlife Service regarding the purpose and process you intend to use. 

The whole process was straightforward and the people involved were extremely helpful

The gallery below is the result 


Environmental, Ireland, Travel
This mini-project started about two years ago when I walked into a shop that I used to visit as a child in the early 1970’s. To my amazement, it had not changed one bit in the intervening 40 odd years, including the lady who worked in the shop. I grabbed my camera and took a few images. Anyway, it stated me on a path to find similar shops around the country and the collection is growing – very slowly. This shops are disappearing forever and there are very few left! From a combined Pub & shop in Athy to a little  hardware shop in Macroom with a tame Robin, and a “general store” in Roscommon selling carbolic soap, the shops, the people and their stories are  what make me want to look for more of these before they disappear. If  anyone knows of similar traditional shops still in operation, I would really appreciate a heads up.


This is a really positive story from Africa. One of our closest relations, the mountain gorillas have been under serious threat due to habitat loss, war and the market for so called bush meat.

I was luck enough to get to see these magnificent animals in Uganda in 2008 in the Bwindi impenetrable forest in south western Uganda. Its an extremely well run operation.  For a $500 permit fee, you get a guide, armed protection and about 45 minutes contact time with the gorillas.

On our trip, it took about 5 hours on foot to get to where the gorillas were feeding that day and this is at extreme elevations and is very tough.  But… worth all the effort. We met a group of about 25 individuals from a big silverback to very small juveniles.

Some shots from the trip

Juvenile Gorrila     Juvenile Gorrila

WWF – Press Release – Dramatic Increase in Population of Critically Endangered Mountain Gorillas Confirmed by Census


This is yet another series of images from the Guardian and a good follow-up to the St. Petersburg Tiger summit. The core of the problem is how you deal with local poverty and official corruption and create a value for the tiger alive against the Tiger dead!

Two more shots from my trip to Khana. 


The image on the right is a typical scene in the National parks. The park rangers even without mobiles or radios always know where the tigers are going to be!  In the case of Khana, the owners of the jeeps are all locals aided with a grant to buy the jeeps. In addition you are not allowed into the park unless you use the local drivers and a ranger, also a local.

It gives these guys and their families a real incentive to keep the tigers alive!

Inside Burma’s illegal trade in tigers | Environment |


This is largely a press release by the WWF on the lengthly Tiger summit that has just finished. This is probably the poor tigers last hope for survival. The good news is that all 13 so called “Tiger Countries” participated and a number of well known celebs have jumped on the bandwagon to aid publicity.

The reality is that unless  people living in the tiger ranges make more money by saving the tiger than by poaching, the survival of this magnificent cat will remain in doubt.

A few years ago, I had the privilege to visit India and spend a week in Khana, one of the better national parks. What struck me in particular about Khana was how the park involved local people in all aspects and ensured that the maximum number  were making a living from Tiger tourism.

This is a shot from that trip – this was taken from the back of an elephant.



Oh… – the press release is available  here:

WWF – Press Release – Historic Tiger Summit Closes With Plans to Secure More Financial Backing


This is a great series of 17 images from the guardian that highlight the ongoing battle to save the Rhino in South Africa. The sad thing in this battle is that the threat to the rhino comes from a desire for posessions and not from habitat loss or competition for food.  There is big demand from Rhino horn all over Asia for use in herbal medicine as an aphrodisiac.

The scale of the problem is highlighted by the WWF, where they reckon that the growth in poaching has gone from circa 36 Rhinos in all of africa in 2005 to 144 in South Africa & Zimbabwe alone.

Africa’s bloody war to save its rhino | Environment |


This is a very interesting article on a company in the US that havs figured out a way to generate electricity directly from trees.  The technique takes advantage of an acidity difference between the trees and the soil – the greater the difference the greater the voltage output. Now, all I need is  a way to hook my camera & flash to a tree….. See the full article here: A Light in the Forest | Conservation Magazine.

For anyone wishing to follow the details of the home project by Yann Arthus Bertrand -there is now a free iPhone app to do just that. Just search the app store for home project and install. Enjoy Gerry

Are we getting it wrong? Almost everything I read today focuses on climate change and global warming and our efforts to control our nett carbon output. But…. I think our focus is in the wrong place! Let me explain. In 1970, the world population was approx 4 billion, today its roughtly 7 billion. Thats nearly a doubling of the population and I believe that population growth is the real problem we need to focus on, global warming is merely a symptom. I have yet to see a single public figure green or otherwise mention this particular engine of global warming, instead we focus on carbon emissions, replacements for oil and coal – anywhere but at the true source of the problem. One of the big difficulties is that any real attempt to control the world population will require drastic changes to the way international co-operation works, never mind the problem of getting organisations like the Catholic Church to promote the idea of birth control. However, the implications of doing nothing are pretty dramatic. Uncontrolled population growth in the natural world usualy results in an abrupt and nasty correction to reset the number back to a sustainable level. We do not have to look at the natural world; The mayan culture of South America existed aroung 2000 bc to 1500 bc. and a number of theories about their dissapearance relates to resource depletion. One theory postulates that extensive forest clearance resulted in an extended drought. The general population took this as a sign that the rulers fell out of favour with the gods and revolted, ending that civilization. Links and background