Last year’s infestation of bark beetles was said to have been the biggest to hit Czech forests in 200 years. This year could prove even worse. Among those hard hit is Krkonoše National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve site. Park officials estimate 20 percent more trees will need to be felled in the battle against the relentless bug.
The Czech Environment Ministry is up in arms over a decision by the Central Institute for Supervision and Testing in Agriculture allowing farmers to use a highly toxic rat poison in fields, orchards, meadows and vineyards. They claim it will “harm all living things in the vicinity”, a warning that has made the agriculture minister break off his holiday and come back to Prague for emergency talks.
Keeping global warming well below the 2º Celsius target can be achieved only by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from all sectors, including land and food, according to a new United Nations report. Among other things, it outlines dire warnings about the effects of global eating habits and farming practices.
A new study carried out by an international team of scientists, including experts from Palacký University in Olomouc, has ascertained that animals are not responding fast enough to the changing environmental conditions. The alarming findings have been published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature Communications.
Statistics show that the number of collisions with animals on Czech roads has increased markedly in recent years. What is more, experts warn that the real figure is actually much higher, due to the limited scope of available statistics. The main reasons include high numbers of deer and current agriculture policy, but potentially also the impact of drought.
In the Czech Republic, as in many other countries, veterinarians have long faced the same problem: a shortage of dog blood, necessary in case of urgent transfusions. To address the issue, a group of volunteers founded Red Paw (Červená tlapka), the country’s first such registry. Since its May launch, they have already registered more than 400 potential dog donors.
For the first time in history, Prague is hosting the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting, an annual conference focused on environmental conservation, the impact of tourism and research cooperation on the White Continent. The event is attended by representatives of 29 countries, which are jointly tasked with taking care of Antarctica. I asked Pavel Kapler, manager of the Czech Johann Gregor Mendel Antarctic base, how come the Czech Republic is one of them.
Once a common species in the Czech Republic, the European ground squirrel, also known as the souslik, has become increasingly rare over the past decades. While in the past ground squirrels were exterminated as pests, today conservationists are trying to protect existing colonies and reintroduce them into suitable habitats. I discussed the sousliks with Hannah Findlay, a young British woman based in Moravia who works as a researcher for the Czech NGO Alka Wildlife. I started by asking her what made its numbers dwindle in the first place:
More than half of the Czech Republic has been hit by exceptional or extreme drought and the situation is likely to get even worse within the next few days. According to the project InterSucho, which is mapping the current state of drought in the Czech Republic, some 63 percent of the country’s territory is currently affected, including the whole of Bohemia and northeast Moravia.