Just got back from the live internet interview with Sir David Attenborough…! If you were watching maybe some of your questions made it to the man himself? Don’t worry if you missed it, the highlights will be up on the website soon, and in the meantime, try out the Attenborough quiz!
During the evening, viewers were able to vote on their favourite Attenborough moment…and as suspected, the moment mountain gorillas took him in as one of their own came very high!
Archive for May, 2011
Springwatch is back on the BBC tonight and their website is all up to date packed with beautiful photos, webcams and things for you to do in your area! This year, they’re holed up in the RSPB’s Ynys-hir nature reserve in Ceredigion, Mid Wales. So this year they’re close to mountains, woodlands, saltmarsh, reedbeds, heath and rivers…plenty of habitats to discover Welsh wildlife!
No lilos to be found here, it’s London Zoo’s new enclosure for their penguin Humboldt and Macaroni colonies! The zoo’s original penguin pool, a 1934 Grade I listed building, can no longer be used due to the concrete floor being very bad for the penguin’s health. Instead, their new pool includes a special breeding area and small pool for chicks to learn how to swim.
There are often problems where wildlife and humans’ paths cross…so Slovakian conservationists are going to great lengths to learn how we can live together. The bear population there has thrived but this also means they’re wandering out of their normal forest life and instead raiding people’s bins for food! But these brown bears who have lost the natural fear of humans are providing useful information. Scientists capture bears mid-raid, tranquilise them then fit them with a GPS collar to track their every move. The bears aren’t harmed and the batteries last for four years, giving the scientists invaluable information on what attracts them to the cities in the first place.
Eden are continuing their celebration of Sir David Attenborough’s 85th birthday with a live Q&A session with the man himself…and you can join in! If you have a burning question for Sir David about his many decades of wildlife exploration, add it to Eden’s website (or tweet to @Eden_TV) and maybe you’ll get your answer! Ben Fogle, another Eden explorer and adventurer will be putting the questions to him next Tuesday 31st May and it will be streamed live on their website.
It’s not only the Chinese Year of the Rabbit…but tomorrow brings Rabbit Awareness Week!
So it’s sad news that a recent study has found these inquisitive little creatures are getting a rather bad deal. In Britain, they are the third most popular pet, after cats and dogs, yet the RSPCA and other animal welfare organisations estimate around 75% of the two million pet rabbits are badly treated. Many people were unsure about what their pet actually needs in terms of exercise, food and social interactions. Many pets languish outside in hutches that are too small for them with nothing to stimulate their intelligent and inquisitive minds. If you consider the longest jump recorded by a rabbit is 10ft, most cramped hutches are far too small for these animals.
Photo : Andrew Linscott/Alamy
This beautiful little rodent is the Red-crested tree rat…and this is the first time it’s been seen since 1898. Very little is known about this elusive mammal…so it’s all the more surprising that its recent appearance was so bold! This creature just ambled up to two biologists in North Colombia and happily posed for photos.
Hopefully the species is thriving hidden in the El Dorado nature reserve and maybe we’ll have more sightings!
Photo : EPA/ProAves
The RSPB are encouraging people to help their local wildlife…by providing mud! After such a hot and dry Spring so far, some birds are finding it hard to build their nests without the necessary mud. Swallows and martins use mud to build delicate nests and without the sticky mud, the nests are liable to dry out and fall from the wall, often with the chicks inside.
To help, the RSPB suggest putting mud in a shallow container such as a bin lid or creating muddy patches at the edges of ponds or borders.
The New Scientist has an interesting article suggesting humans aren’t the only species to have fun. Animal behaviourist, Jonathan Balcombe thinks animals are not just driven by instinct and can feel pleasure, comfort and joy. His new book, Exultant Ark, contains examples from across the animal kingdom including this little Pika foraging for food. Studies on captive animls have shown how animals prefer to forage for food than simply eating food provided for them in a foodbowl. Jonathan also argues that scratching provides the pleasure of relief and anyone who’s ever watched their pet enjoy a good scratching session would probably agree!
Photo : Bill Meikle
Harbour seals can use just their whiskers to detect the fattest fish when swimming underwater. They sense the differences in the wake left by the fish which helps determine their size and shape…and therefore the best prey to go for!
Scientists in Cologne Zoo set up an experiment with paddles to mimic the disturbance created by fish. Henry the seal, wearing headphones and a mask to limit his senses, then swam up to one of the two boxes to get a fish reward. They found he could tell the size and shape of the paddle used proving how useful their whiskers are!