Two major conservation stories also emerged this month. Australia began a shark cull, sparked by a surfer being killed by a shark. This led to a massive international outcry with celebrities and conservation organisations pointing out the pointlessness of killing creatures which rarely kill humans and also migrate across international boundaries – all of which makes a cull both ineffective and needless. Read Sky’s report on the shark cull here.
The other worldwide conservation issue concerned Japan’s annual dolphin slaughter in Taiji. This involves rounding up hundreds of dolphins and then netting them into a shallow cove while the decision is made whether to kill the animals for food or take them into captivity. Conservationists point out the cruelty in trapping and killing these intelligent, sentient creatures and also highlight the fact that they are not needed as a source of food. This practice received international attention when it was the subject of the 2009 Oscar-nominated film The Cove. As expected there was a massive international protest over this practice, although the Japanese authorities appear reluctant to take any action to limit the dolphin slaughter, let alone abolish it. Many media outlets such as the BBC and the Guardian reported on this.
On the 10th of January the Daily Mail reported that Britain was becoming a nation of ‘fish phobics’ with four kinds of seafood included in the nation’s top ten ‘most feared foods’ – read the full story here.
The year began with terrible weather spreading across the UK. The south and south west bore the brunt of this with people in many areas being told to stay away from the coast due to the raging seas and the risk of being swept out to sea. The Independent reported on this here, while the Daily Mail reported that the sea destroyed a centuries old natural archway off the coast of Portland here.