Michael McCarthy

Michael McCarthy, formerly the Independent’s longstanding Environment Editor, now its Environment Columnist, is one of Britain’s leading writers on the environment and the natural world. He has won a string of awards for his work, including Environment Journalist of the Year (three times) and Specialist Writer of the Year in the British Press Awards in 2001. In 2007 he was awarded the Medal of the RSPB for “Outstanding Services to Conservation,” in 2010 he was awarded the Silver Medal of the Zoological Society of London, and in 2011 the Dilys Breeze Medal of the British Trust for Ornithology. In 2009 McCarthy published Say Goodbye To The Cuckoo (John Murray), a study of Britain’s declining migrant birds.

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I’d never seen a great grey shrike before, and I couldn’t get over its beauty

Nature notes: It stood out against the muddy green of the heather, the russet of the bracken

Kenyan game rangers with the carcass of an elephant killed by poachers

Elephant Appeal: China - the front line of a hideous slaughter

Chinese demand daily raises the price on the head of the African Elephant

A small charity needs all the help it can get in protecting Africa’s elephants

Over the last five years poaching has exploded, driven by the booming demand for ivory

The okapi is a national symbol in Congo

Nature Studies: Animals are also victims of war - and in Congo, that means the beautiful okapi

For ages, it was just a myth; soon, it may be just a memory. The okapi, the "forest giraffe" from the Congo - that gentle, fascinating beast known to Western science only since 1901 - is now threatened with extinction. War, illegal hunting and habitat destruction are going to do for it.

Nature Studies: Could we one day see pine martens in the woods of southern England?

With its sinuous, long-tailed elegance, Martes martes is ravishingly attractive

Nature Studies: Scotland rules the roost as home of summer birds

The willow warbler is leaving England behind and reappearing up North

Nature Studies: We’ve cleaned up most of our rivers – but what about the rest?

Chalk rivers in particular are being hard hit by a subtle form of pollution

Steatoda nobilis or false widow spider

False widow spiders: We're caught in a web of panic

If you believe the media, they're everywhere. The truth isn't half so terrifying

Nature Studies: My unexpected first encounter with The Prince in the forest

I was taken aback by its size and its exquisite, fresh aniseed fragrance

The holy grail of British moths is a real bolt from the blue

As a Lepidoptera lover I have longed to see it for years without success

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