Join the Puffarazzi to help protect and conserve the threatened “clowns of the sea”

Puffin, credit Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

One of the most famous bird charity’s in the UK, RSPB (the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds), has launched its latest citizen science photography project – Puffarazzi. Continue reading

Notre-Dame: the animals that inspired this famous landmark’s stone gargoyles

notre-dame-paris-france-notre-dame-tourism-2

©Visualhunt.com

On 16 April, news broke that one of the most famous landmarks in France, Notre-Dame Cathedral, was being engulfed by a huge blaze. In less than 24 hours parts of the 850-year-old’s Gothic structure, including the spire and parts of its original wooden roof, had been destroyed and collapsed. Notre-Dame is home to a number of sculptures including more than 100 gargoyles. But what are these unusual looking, animal-like stone creatures?

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Invertebrates: just creatures without skeletons?

StockSnap_SLQQ4XD1BZWhen you ask someone to name an animal, most people will say a type of furry mammal, feathery bird or scaly reptile. However, did you know that most of the animals that live on Earth are actually invertebrates. But what are invertebrates?

What are invertebrates? Continue reading

The world’s largest amphibian makes London debut

Chinese giant salamander arrives at ZSL London Zoo (3)

© ZSL London Zoo

This unusual looking creature hasn’t had the easiest start in life. It is one of the most Critically Endangered amphibian’s in the world, but was discovered in a cereal box by UK Border Force agents as someone attempted to illegally smuggle him and three others into the country. Today, this Chinese giant salamander Continue reading

10 fascinating facts about peacocks

blue and green peacock

Photo by NAUSHIL ANSARI on Pexels.com

Many people refer to these majestic creatures as peacocks but did you know that is actually the name for the male of the species? These birds are called peafowl with the males known as peacocks and the females being peahens. Here are ten more fascinating facts about these incredible birds…

1) Peacocks fan out their lengthy feathered trains, which can measure up to 2.2 metres long, to attract the females. Their “eye-spots” are called ocelli.

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Celebrating World Wildlife Day 2019

Since 2013, the 3 March has been recognised as UN World Wildlife Day – a day in which the world’s wild animals and plants are celebrated with the aim of raising awareness of their existence, the benefits of conservation efforts and, quite often, the risks these animals are facing.

photo of a turtle underwater

Photo by Belle Co on Pexels.com

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Zoo offers tug of war with a lion

Last week, video footage emerged of a local rugby team playing tug of war with a lion at Dartmoor Zoo in Devon, UK.

close up portrait of lion

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Marketed as “human vs beast”, visitors as young as eight-years-old are given the opportunity to pull a rope running underneath a gate into the enclosure of a big cat, which has a chunk of meat attached to the other end, enticing the animal to bite and pull back. The ‘experience’ costs £15 per person although it is not advertised on the zoo’s website raising animal welfare concerns. Continue reading

Saving the endangered ibis four young birds at a time

This week four endangered northern bald ibis, who were bred at ZSL London Zoo, were safely transported to Spain. This is where they will soon be released as part of a special conservation project, which is helping reintroduce these unique looking birds to Europe.

Northern bald ibis 3 (c) ZSL London Zoo

ZSL London Zoo

The quartet – who were lovingly nicknamed Iris, Indigo, Igor and Ivan by the zoo’s keepers – hatched last year. On 20 February, they travelled to Southern Spain’s Jerez Zoo where they will learn how to be wild before being released in Andalucia.

The species vanished from Europe almost 300 years ago. It’s now believed that there are just 600 northern bald ibis left in the world, reduced to one small part of Morocco (and two breeding pairs in Syria) where they are threatened by habitat loss, hunters and pesticides.

“We’re really hopeful that they’ll go on to breed in the wild – ultimately securing the future of the species” said Paul Atkin, ZSL London Zoo’s bird keeper.

To find out more about the northern bald ibis, head to birdlife.org

Jane: My review

I have always been a huge admirer of the inspirational primatologist that is Dr Jane Goodall. And over the years, I have been lucky enough to meet her on several occasions after being invited to her annual Roots & Shoots ceremonies in London – one of which I was honoured with the role of presenting the prizes alongside her on stage.

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R&S 2013

So when I discovered that National Geographic had made a documentary about her using footage from her first expeditions to Gombe in Africa during the 1960s, I couldn’t have been more excited to watch it.

In it, she talks about what she saw when she looked into a chimpanzees eyes. I remember the first time I truly looked into a chimpanzees eyes. It was at the UK’s primate sanctuary, called Monkey World in Dorset. It was the most incredible experience – watching him stare back at me, analysing every part of what he saw. But I felt this deep sadness in my heart. I felt like I could burst into tears at the thought of what humans are doing to our unique planet; harming these beautiful and intelligent animals by destroying the parts of the forest that they call home.

Jane made such revolutionary discoveries during her time in Africa. To think that she was the first human to have been truly accepted by a group of wild chimpanzees, the likes of whom most probably would have never encountered a human before, was remarkable. Seeing all of the newspaper clippings, from outlets breaking her wonderful story, made me think ” wow, what a time it must have been – for her, for women, for the whole world.”
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The story of Flo and Flint, albeit incredibly sad, is a prime example that animals are sentient beings. They have feelings. They care and love one another just like we humans do, and equally have the capacity to grieve for family losses.

Watching the documentary, it was incredible to see how close she became with all the animals – not just the chimpanzees. Her passion for raising awareness of the threats chimpanzees are facing in the wild is clearer than clear. Since October 1986, she hasn’t spent more than three consecutive weeks in any one place. Applauding her for her hard work and dedication would be a severe understatement.

She is an inspiration. She is a role model. She is the real-life Dr Dolittle.

Get ready for National Mammal Week!

This year’s National Mammal Week launches this Saturday. Organised by the Mammal Society, the week long event takes place every year during the last week of October and aims to raise awareness of the challenges mammals in Britain are currently facing.

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woodlandtrust.org.uk

Although details of 2018’s events have yet to be revealed, last year there was plenty for wildlife champions to get involved in. This included recording mammal sightings and submitting them to the Mammal Society to assist with their conservation research (which can be done through a simple app called Mammal Tracker).

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woodlandtrust.org.uk

To find out what’s going on near you during National Mammal Week visit mammal.org.uk/national-mammal-week/ or follow the Mammal Society on Facebook.