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BBC Wildlife Magazine

BBC Wildlife Magazine May 2018

BBC Wildlife Magazine is a celebration of the natural world, featuring all the latest discoveries, news and views on wildlife, conservation and environmental issues. With strong broadcasting links, authoritative journalism and award-winning photography, BBC Wildlife Magazine is essential reading for anyone with a passion for wildlife who wants to understand, experience and enjoy nature more.

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United Kingdom
Immediate Media Company London Limited
13 Issues

in this issue

1 min.

The powerful image above is of a southern white rhino from South Africa that has been sedated to keep it calm. It has been relocated and is about to be released into the wild in the Okavango Delta, Botswana, where it is hoped it will be safe from the poachers that are decimating the species in other parts of Africa. The picture, taken by renowned photographer and conservationist, Neil Aldridge, has recently won first prize in the Environment section of the World Press Photo contest 2018. More of Neil’s images highlighting the work of Rhino Conservation Botswana can be seen in our photo story on p80. We first talked about featuring Neil’s work on rhinos back in 2016, but it has taken until now for all the elements to come together to…

1 min.

DAWN SCOTT Ecology lecturer Dawn is studying the interactions between garden mammals. “Providing food for wildlife may be having some interesting side effects on their social dynamics,” she says. See p22 LOUISE TICKLE Writer Louise researched citizen science projects for this month’s Talking Point and was mesmerised by Penguin Watch data. “Egg, chick, adult, adult, adult, egg, egg… I’m still counting,” she says. See p32 JENNY DALTRY Jenny has been removing invasive rats from Caribbean islands since the mid-1990s. She says, “This new project to save Redonda’s unique wildlife is an altogether much greater challenge.” See p48…

1 min.
bee movies

“WITHOUT NECTAR TOP-UPS, A FLYING BUMBLEBEE WOULD CONK OUT IN JUST 40 MINUTES.” Shakespeare and Darwin called them “humblebees”. Whatever the origins of this quaint name, bumblebees have long unfairly played second fiddle to their honey-producing relatives. “Furry-bodied flying barrels” is the affectionate description favoured by expert Richard Comont in his recent book Bumblebees (Bloomsbury). Debunking the myth that these plump insects ought not to be capable of flight, he adds: “They’re not graceful… but they’re definitely airborne.” The myth arose because of a physicist’s mistaken assumption that bumblebees flap their wings only up and down; in fact, their motion is more like that of a helicopter. It is true, though, that our most teddybear-like bees must work incredibly hard to get into the air. Their muscle-packed thorax powers 200 wingbeats a…

3 min.
uk highlights

• WHITETHROAT SCRATCHY SERENADE Rapid bursts of scratchy warbling coming from hedgerows or overgrown nettle beds this month are often whitethroats. A singing male can be skulking, but wait patiently and you should eventually see him climb to a prominent sunny perch, typically on a hawthorn, bramble or cow parsley flowerhead. You might also see the song flight, in which he sings while rising straight up into the air or darting between cover. FIND OUT MORE Listen to whitethroats on Tweet of the Day: https://bbc.in/1xtpOHC • PEARL-BORDERED FRITILLARY SPRING JEWELS Peer at the underside of this butterfly’s hindwing, and you’ll see the necklace of pearls for which it is named. Confusingly, there’s another species – the small pearl-bordered fritillary – though that flies slightly later, usually peaking in June. Both are scarce, found only in isolated…

1 min.
also look out for…

UP WITH THE LARKS Skylarks start pouring out their song from still-dark skies, and many other passerines also sing well before dawn. Just half an hour after sunup, the volume is already dying down. To experience it for yourself join one of the many early-morning birdsong walks taking place during May. LIVING WITH MAMMALS This annual spring survey by the People’s Trust for Endangered Species asks people to pick a green space within 200m of a building, and note any signs of the mammals that visit. Records from Scotland and northern England are particularly welcome. Submit your findings online at www.ptes.org/lwm GROWING UP May sees lots of commotion around fox earths, where the boisterous youngsters will be romping outside, especially at dawn and dusk. By mid-May cubs born in March should weigh around 2kg and…

3 min.
hidden britain

There seems to be almost nothing to them: a gauzy hint of life, a diaphanous spectre on the periphery of your vision as you stroll by a river. Unless you’re an angler, mayflies tend to flutter by unnoticed, and what’s more, most of the 51 British species are tiny, with a body length fewer than 15mm. Their winged life is short too – a matter of hours to a few days. This month the green drake is on the wing. Not only is it the biggest British species, it also lives longest, so is the one most likely to be noticed – its visibility is what gives mayflies their name. Over a healthy river on a languid spring evening, green drakes can form incredible dancing flocks as the females waft their…