M’s (Maxwell Knight) Spectre: The Frightened Face of Nature

During the 1960s Maxwell Knight – the real-life “M” – was working on a manuscript entitled The Frightened Face of Nature, snatching brief moments to record his thoughts on how man had treated nature so unfairly for the first fifty years of the twentieth century. The manuscript documented Knight’s greatest fears that, time was running out for nature and that its greatest threat was man’s destructive revolution and the reverse of evolution.

“By all means let man use his great powers to invent new devices; let him give of his best to see that all shall benefit from his genius in curing, healing, and housing those in want. But do not suggest that this can only be done by destroying what is fine to look at or listen to, whether in the arts or nature.

If human brains can find means of defying space, improving means of communication and bouncing pictures off satellites, surely he can also discover ways in which these things can be done without destruction – for destruction first is the cry of mad revolution and is the reverse of evolution.”

– Maxwell Knight

The manuscript was kept under lock and key and it remained a secret until 2015 when the (hitherto unpublished) manuscript was discovered inside M’s personal filing cabinet…

Copyright: see acknowledgements

The Vanishing: Europe’s farmland birds

The Head of Conservation for BirdLife Europe & Central Asia explains how intensive agriculture has made farmland birds one of the most threatened bird groups in Europe:  ‘Once upon a time, they were all around us,’ laments Iván Ramírez  – ‘sights and sounds as familiar as the dusky skies their flocks danced in or the…

About World Wildlife Day 2017

Half of world’s #wildlife was lost in past 40 years. Habit loss, over-exploitation, poaching & trafficking are main threats #YouthVoices #WWD2017 “The UN World Wildlife Day (WWD) is the global celebration of the many beautiful and varied forms of wild animals and plants on our planet as well as an occasion to raise awareness of…

Book update: A day’s research in London

John and Margaret Cooper joined Simon King to visit The Linnean Society (Piccadilly) and peruse their Maxwell Knight archive. Then, on to the Natural History Museum (South Kensington) to see The Maxwell Knight Library. In the evening, returning back to The Linnean Society for Founder’s Day. Thanks to everyone who helped make the day productive…

Gorilla Pathology and Health, 1st Edition

John E Cooper is a member of a husband and wife team, from the United Kingdom. He and his wife Margaret (a lawyer, who is a contributor to this book and the forthcoming natural history book about Maxwell Knight) travel widely and lecture together in many countries. They have spent nearly twenty years living overseas,…

Did you know Maxwell Knight?

Did you know Maxwell Knight? #Nature #Conservation #BBCNaturalHistory #MI5 @NHM_London @wwf_uk @ZSLconservation https://t.co/gmvWcj9BjY pic.twitter.com/3hNBWLo5oc — Simon King (@SimonHKing) October 14, 2016 //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js If you knew Maxwell Knight or have been influenced by him please share your story with us (it will not appear on this blog (or in the book) without your approval).

Are butterflies slipping through our fingers?

The results for this year’s Big Butterfly Count are in and conservationists are already ‘scratching their heads,’ reports Butterfly Conservation. Over 38,000 counts were apparently completed and an almost unbelievable 396,138 butterflies were counted and – despite favourable weather conditions – 2016 will be a year where ‘common species saw their numbers collapse over summer.’ ‘Gatekeeper, Comma and…