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BBC Wildlife Magazine

BBC Wildlife Magazine April 2019

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.

My only encounter with humpback whales thus far has been a very distant view of water spouts and tail flukes, which left me wondering how brilliant it would be to see them up close. Wildlife photographer Tony Wu has given me that awe-inspiring moment with his amazing photographs, which you can see in our photo story on p66. Photographing wildlife on land is difficult enough, but how much more so underwater, when you have so many complications with lighting, keeping your camera (and yourself) steady, and your enormous subjects in the frame. Tony’s years of experience show in images you won’t see anywhere else. His respect for the animals is evident in the care he takes to be unobtrusive, so the humpbacks carry on their daily lives undisturbed by his presence. These giant…

1 min.
the people behind our stories

SUZI ESZTERHAS Suzi photographed muriquis in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest. “These gorgeous monkeys are some of the most unique primates on Earth,” she says, “but they are barely hanging on and need the world’s attention to survive.” See p18 KAREN B STRIER Primatologist Karen has been studying muriquis in Brazil since 1983. “I fell in love with them from the start,” she says. “Saving these peaceful primates from extinction became my purpose.” See p18 ISLA HODGSON Through her PhD research, Isla saw how human relationships are key to the raptor-grouse debate. “I spent the next three years immersing myself in the lives of those on both sides of the conflict,” she says. See p28 REBECCA PITMAN Conservationist Rebecca feels the natural world should be accessible to those with visual impairments. “Everybody should be able to enjoy the outdoors,”…

4 min.
wild month

1 | RABBITS Spring has sprung Anyone who grew up with the tales of Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny is likely to have a sneaking admiration for their naughtiness and joie de vivre . But Beatrix Potter’s stories have a darker side, too – some of the characters’ relatives ended up in pies. For wild rabbits in Britain, this is closer to the reality: the odds are that their life will be nasty, brutish and short. Studies have shown that 70–95 per cent of rabbits perish in their first few months. Kits born early, during the first flush of spring, have the best chance of seeing out the year. Young rabbits face danger in all directions, including from buzzards in the air, and from foxes, polecats, badgers, stoats and even tiny weasels on the…

3 min.
mike dilger’s wildlife watching

Taking a stroll in a wet lowland or floodplain meadow is like stepping back in time to a halcyon pre-mechanised and pre-war era, when farmers worked their wildlife-filled lands by hand. Once an expansive feature across lowland Britain, this special and specialised habitat now has to be actively sought out, as only a tiny fraction has survived across the huge swathes of modern Britain’s intensively farmed countryside. Usually found adjacent to rivers and streams, these wet meadows are characterised by moist, deep soils that are neither particularly acid nor lime-rich, but crucially tend to seasonally flood, particularly during the winter months. This periodic inundation results in the deposition of a fine alluvial silt, which then acts as a natural fertiliser when the waters finally recede in spring. Originally wet woodland, floodplain meadows…

1 min.
species to look out for

Marsh marigold Looking like a buttercup on steroids, kingcup or marsh marigold adds a brilliant splash of gold to any wet grassland between March and July. Equally distinctive for its fleshy, kidney-shaped leaves, this once abundant plant has continued to decline considerably as farmland has been drained. Cuckooflower Also named lady’s smock, this pale pink member of the cabbage family (right) is common and widespread in damp grasslands and along roadsides, ditches and riverbanks. The name cuckooflower derives from it supposedly flowering along with the return of our first cuckoos. Fritillary With its purple-and-white-chequered drooping bells, the snake’s head fritillary has to be one of the most distinctive and darkly glamorous of all our wild flowers. Growing in profusion at just a few key locations, Easter is generally the time to catch up with this…

1 min.
choice locations

1 Lower Derwent Valley, in North Yorkshire, is a long, linear national nature reserve along the River Derwent. The flood meadows support a rich diversity of plants and outstanding populations of both breeding and wintering birds. 2 Ouse Washes, in Cambridgeshire, is famed for its overwintering swans and breeding waders in the summer. Most of this RSPB reserve’s grassland is still managed in the traditional way. 3 Pixey and Yarnton Meads, in Oxfordshire, is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and forms part of the larger Oxford Meads. Hay cutting is now mimicked mechanically to ensure the floral interest remains. 4 Cricklade North Meadow is a national nature reserve in Wiltshire and has been managed by the townspeople of Cricklade for hundreds of years. It is famous for having around 80 per cent…