Magazine article Geographical

In Brief

Magazine article Geographical

In Brief

Article excerpt


Despite making headway in some areas, the overall quality of our environment is deteriorating, says a European Environment Agency report. While we have had some success at phasing out CFCs; reducing sulphur dioxide emissions, volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxide; and reducing air pollution and river pollution, there are still plenty of problems to tackle. These include summer smog, soil erosion, insufficient recycling, noise levels, the loss of biodiversity, the increasing use of chemicals and the threat to health from air pollution and increased radiation.


Europe's biggest bird of prey is returning to the Alps, a century after vanishing from the area. Two three-month-old lammergeiers are being reintroduced into a cave specially prepared for them on a 2,000-metre-high cliff. The elder, called Republic 13, comes from an aviary in Haute Savoie, France, while the younger, Doran, grew up in a zoo in Dortmund, Germany.

The programme to reintroduce the lammergeier began at the end of the 1970s, when scientists successfully bred chicks from captive birds in Austria, In 1987, birds bred in Haute Savoie were released and were later seen hundreds of kilometres from their new home. Ten years later, Phoenix Alp Action was the first bird to be born free since the disappearance of the species from the area. The Agency for the Study and Management of the Environment, which is in charge of the reintroduction programme, is hoping the new pair may in time produce offspring. A total of 86 birds have now been released at five Alpine sites, making this the largest project ever to restore a species that has disappeared.


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