Chthonic Wildlife Ramblings

Pandas and Bamboo: A recent dietary specialisation?

Brendan Moyle Feb 11, 2019

Giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) eat bamboo and not much else. This in evolutionary terms is odd. It’s odd in part because the panda has a short gut typical of carnivores. And it still possesses many of the genes associated with a carnivorous lifestyle. This is largely due to belonging to the bear family Ursidae. This is a group of animals … Read More

The bacterial jungle of your car

Brendan Moyle Feb 04, 2019

A recent article on car cleanliness described the bacteria that abound on car interior-surfaces. The results were shocking, with the headline announcing steering wheels had on average four times the amount of bacteria that public toilets did.  It inspired some to clean their cars . Nonetheless I confess I felt no surprise reading this. This is one of my … Read More

The Soy of Travel

Brendan Moyle Jan 31, 2019

Long ago I made my first trip to China. China was a different place then. Hotels were sort of modernising, but weren’t quite there. In Beijing we used to be put up in the delightfully awful Friendship Hotel. Pipes were affixed to wall interiors, odd noises were common, and concrete was everywhere. I think the mattresses might have been made … Read More

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Trading tiger and rhino products: Conservation Threat or Innovation?

Brendan Moyle Nov 03, 2018

China recently opted to end its 25 year ban on the domestic trade in tiger and rhino parts. These products were banned from use in 1993 and mention of their application in TCM was removed from official publications. This was done mostly under pressure from Western governments and NGOs, who saw this legal trade as a threat to wild populations … Read More

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Our secret urban wildlife: Big Spiders

Brendan Moyle Aug 27, 2018

Middle child was having breakfast when a big spider scuttled across the floor, heading for the table. It was a rare sight. One of our native tunnel-web spiders. It was out of its tunnel and out in daylight (it is normally nocturnal). This is the second occasion I’ve noticed one of these spiders inside our house. This is really not … Read More

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Reflections of a science blogger

Brendan Moyle Jul 05, 2018

It is the tenth anniversary of the Science Media Centre. That also means I have been blogging here since 2009. This was not the first blogging platform I used. I originally started in the Opera blog community. Opera shutdown their blog service in March 2014 as what was supposed to be a support community for their browser users took … Read More

Our secret urban wildlife: Giant centipedes

Brendan Moyle Jun 12, 2018

One thing I like about returning to NZ from places like China, is being around nature again. We live in one of the few parts of the world, and certainly the developed world, where wildlife is sometimes not just at our doorsteps, but also inside as well. Urban Forests Some of this is down to our urban forests. Our urban … Read More

Aotearoa Bike Challenge 2018

Brendan Moyle Mar 02, 2018

It’s been a harder challenge for me this year. I injured myself with a lumbar strain and have had to avoid strenuous exercise for most of the month. While I still ended up with a lot of rides, I was down in both distance and number compared to last year. And certainly none of the big rides I managed in … Read More

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A sad and tragic end

Brendan Moyle Feb 06, 2018

I got home on Monday night and my notifications on my phone exploded. Esmond Martin was dead. Murdered in his Nairobi home. For those of us who knew him, the shock spread through the conservation community. The news was picked up by more news sources in the next 24 hours. By Tuesday morning the NZ Herald was … Read More

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Ending Trophy Hunting of Elephants: Is this a Conservation Success?

Brendan Moyle Nov 23, 2017

Following a wave of popular outrage, the US government appears to be backtracking on the decision to allow the import elephant hunting trophies. Nonetheless, despite the support of celebrities and Animal Rights groups like the HSUS, it is not obvious this will help conserve elephants.  Sadly I don’t host popular talk shows or star in movies. I do research … Read More

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