Richard Collins

Seychelles warblers are on the verge of extinction

The ‘slings and arrows of outrageous Fortune’ wear us down eventually but, when it comes to longevity, they’re not the only players. Our body cells have their own agendas; they decide when it’s time “to shuffle off this mortal coil”, writes Richard Collins

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Do animals which pose a threat to people and livestock have to be exterminated?

Brown bears disappeared from Ireland about 4,000 years ago; we don’t know why but it’s unlikely that our Bronze Age ancestors exterminated them. 

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We must protect red pandas

ACCORDING to Sandra Molloy of Dublin Zoo, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature has changed the “threat status” of the red panda from vulnerable to endangered.

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Revolutionary petrels in Dublin

A sound sculpture staged at Dublin’s GPO Witness History Visitor Centre is entitled ‘Women of 1916 — Stormy Petrel/Guardeall’, writes Richard Collins

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The survival rate of lapwing chicks is alarmingly low

A farmer, walking his fields at this time of year, might come upon a clutch of four little eggs, their pointed ends arranged neatly together in a scrape on the ground, writes Richard Collins

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Long-distance Neolithic immigrant

How did red deer get to the Outer Hebrides and Orkney? Deer swim across rivers but they can’t tackle wide sea channels.

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Listen out for the bittern boom

‘A bhunnán bhuí, is é mo léan do luí, is do chnámha sínte tar éis do ghrinn.’

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Miniature doves found in the sun

ON JUNE 20, 1631, ‘Barbary’ pirates raided Baltimore, taking 107 men, women, and children into slavery. It was the largest such raid on an Irish or British settlement since Viking times, writes Richard Collins

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Blasket islander was spot on about long-finned pilot whale

SOME 350 pilot whales frequent the deep food-rich waters between Tenerife and La Gomera, writes Richard Collins.

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Ibis gradually winging its way to Ireland

In 1996, Pat Smiddy and Oran O’Sullivan predicted that the little egret would soon breed in Ireland. A year later, a dozen pairs nested at a heronry in County Waterford.

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Gorillas in the mix for genetics

GORILLAS, chimpanzees and humans had a common ancestor about eight million years ago.

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Jaw-dropping fears for sharks

Sharks and rays are in the news, writes Richard Collins

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The Adélie penguins of Antarctica in great danger

Up to 150,000 Adélie penguins have ‘gone missing’ from a colony in Antarctica since a huge iceberg disrupted their access to the sea, writes Richard Collins

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The lost lions of Ethiopia

Emperor Haile Selassie, ‘the conquering lion of the tribe of Judah’ and a direct descendant of Solomon, was an animal lover. Lions were taken from the wild in Ethiopia for his private menagerie.

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The birds of Kilbeggan do battle every evening

Each evening, two avian armies descend on the village of Kilbeggan to confront each other, writes Richard Collins 

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Zika and aedes are a deadly duo

THE sudden rise in certain birth abnormalities in warm countries may be caused by Zika virus infection, writes Richard Collins

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Snakes alive! Huge worms seen in Scotland

A recent tabloid headline ran ‘Giant worms the size of snakes are discovered by scientists on abandoned Scottish island’, Richard Collins

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Think ‘King Kong’ only existed in the movies. Well, think again.

The first King Kong film was released in 1933. A reworked version of Beauty and the Beast, it became a special effects and animation classic. Nature columnist Richard Collins reminds us, however, that the King Kong of the big screen is very much rooted in a species of giant ape that may have walked the earth as recently as 100,000 years ago.   

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Orcas begin to target dolphins

KILLER WHALES, or ‘orcas’, visit our shores from time to time but only one pod seems to be resident in Irish waters. 

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Konrad Gessner: Quincentennial of great naturalist

The violent events of Verdun, the Battle of the Somme and the Easter Rising, will be remembered in 2016, writes Richard Collins

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Conservationist will fly with swans from Siberia to Britain on motorised parachute

Bewick’s swans breed in Arctic Russia but spend the winter in western Europe. Some visit Ireland. 

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