Dr Claire Whittle is a farm vet, Nuffield scholar, but above all, a dung beetle enthusiast.
In the UK, there are 60 species of dung beetle, which fall into the categories of ‘dwellers’, ‘stealers’ and ‘tunnellers’. Each beetle plays a vital part in breaking down dung, improving soil health, suppressing pests, and even reducing greenhouse gas emissions and flood risk.
A recent study showed that many of our dung beetle species are in serious trouble, with almost 50% categorised as scarce or threatened nationally. A key cause of this? Agricultural practices that damage the fragile dung biome.
In the podcast, Claire explains the important role dung beetles can play in preventative care, crucial in a world of ever-increasing drug resistance. She explains how dung beetles are vital to a return to homeostasis and ecological health on farms, and what farmers can do to help these critical critters.
“An ecosystem is interacting organisms, and how they interact with their environment. And for me, that's exactly what a farm is. ”