WWF at 50

If you ever get the chance to sift through Max Nicholson’s archive (which, I’ll grant you, seems a little unlikely), it’s something quite astounding. Throughout his long life, which spanned pretty much the entire 20th century, ornithologist, author and administrator Nicholson had a hand in organising or leading dozens of environmental initiatives and organizations, several of which sit right up there at the forefront of the modern conservation movement. When it came to organisation and leadership, Nicholson was quite simply second to none: he was instrumental in setting up the Oxford Bird Census in 1927 (which provided the foundation for

Is the panda really endangered?

Weird isn’t it, but we still don’t know how many giant pandas there are. So it’s time for another census of this curious beast. The final figure, when it comes in a few years time, is really rather important. For it’s this estimate that will inform where the giant panda sits on the IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species and this matters to a lot of very influential people. Last week, for example, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (the most powerful man on earth?) confirmed the imminent arrival of giant pandas to Edinburgh Zoo, trading on the pull that their Red