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The Gap Year Blog

The Gap Year Blog


Images of lava sliding down steep volcanoes are so frightening that many have made movies about them. Pompeii, Dante’s Peak or Joe Versus the Volcano all evoke horrifying pictures of deadly natural disasters.

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Tim Blackburn is a Professor of Invasion Biology- and in many ways the job that goes with the title is just as cool as it sounds. Currently teaching at UCL his research focuses on alien species of birds, so when it comes to all things feathered, this guy is your man. His resume also includes directing the Institute of Zoology (ZSL), along with numerous credits in the field of macroecology. Here are some of his words of wisdom on all things invasive and zoological.

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The proposed road through Nairobi National Park threatens the eco-systems in Kenya’s most fragile national park. The small park is significant in terms of wildlife and for the tourism industry; the loss of habitat and increased human presence could threaten the continued success of the park.

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Sea turtles are one of the most ancient species of marine life and scientists estimate they have been around for about 110 million years. Swimming with turtles is on many bucket lists but with their habitat being destroyed and their eco systems are being decimated by overfishing 6 out of 7 species are now endangered. This makes seeing them in the wild ever more challenging but luckily here are 5 protected areas to see these elusive animals:

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Can you guess the correct estimate for each of these great ape populations?

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When you think about adventuring off to the Far East, Taiwan might not be the first thing that pops into your mind. A small island off the east coast of China, it is often overlooked in favour of its larger and better known neighbours. However Taiwan is rich in both culture and nature and is perfect for anyone looking to visit the less-well trodden routes in East Asia.

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Last month Hawaii passed a bill banning certain types of sunscreen which are harmful to marine life. In this article we look at why the ban marks such a significant step in the direction of environmental protection, and why we should all be opting for eco-friendly sunscreen.

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Vultures have historically been portrayed as vermin. These birds of prey feed by scavenging on decaying carcasses. The vulture’s physical appearance is also nothing to be desired - they are labelled as the ‘ugly duckling’ of the animal kingdom, and do not exactly possess the ‘cute’ characteristics of other endangered species such as tigers and pandas.

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Summer is here again and the all-important sunshine brings along the promise of a favourite global past time: Festivals. However the environmental impact of thousands of people camping near music stages constructed and transported specially for purpose can be huge.

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Every year on the 8th of June is World Oceans Day, a day not just for celebrating our oceans but also for working together to find a way to protect them. It was first celebrated unofficially in 1992 at the UN Conference on Environment and Development but since 2002 it has been an annual event celebrated across the globe.

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