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BBC Wildlife Magazine

BBC Wildlife Magazine October 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.
the big issues

For many of us, a love of nature began as children, when we became smitten by kittens such as those indisputable leaders of the gang on our cover this issue (p52). But a passion for the natural world isn’t all about watching animals, and this month we’ve turned our attention to a number of the more pressing issues. In Colombia, shade-grown-coffee producers are tackling the impact of farming on precious habitats (p66); closer to home, Bristol Zoological Society is exploring new ways to care for animals in captivity (p40); the ivory trade rears its ugly head again, with hippos increasingly becoming the victims (p32); while the mental health benefits of a love of nature are the focus of this month’s Talking Point (p48). Please do write in to let us know your…

1 min.
the people behind our stories

NATHALIE PETTORELLI Conservation biologist Nathalie looks at the role of social media in keeping an eye on the expanding ranges of various species in Britain. “The UK is such an incredible nation for citizen science,” she says. See p28 JOE HARKNESS Author of Bird Therapy, Joe explores the benefits of birdwatching for our mental health. “Birds are consistent in a way that people rarely are, and we can all learn from their freedom and simplicity,” he says. See p48 KARINE AIGNER Wildlife photographer Karine followed a family of bobcats for several months on a Texas ranch. “I became a fixture to them,” she says. “This was an extremely weird and unique opportunity.” See p52 DEBORAH MEADEN Dragon’s Den businesswoman Deborah talks about her affection for adders. “As a child, I was desperate to see one,” she says.…

1 min.
in focus

Winning smile Resembling the extravagant face paint of a Mardi Gras reveller, the luminous green and coral bands that surround a bridled parrotfish’s mouth provided the inspiration for this species’ name. Found in tropical waters, from the Red Sea to French Polynesia, individuals tend to lead a solitary existence. They feed along outer reefs – sometimes in very shallow water – using their strong teeth to scrape away algae from rocks. Picture perfect Celebrating the work of amateur and professional photographers, as well as UK biodiversity, the British Wildlife Photography Awards marked its 10th anniversary this year. This other-worldly image of a grey seal off the Isle of Coll, Inner Hebrides, secured Alex Mustard the title of overall winner in the Coast and Marine category. “Seals in England are used to divers and…

4 min.
wild month

1 | PINK-FOOTED GOOSE Flocks away Ninety per cent of the world’s pink-footed geese – about 375,000 birds – visit Britain every year. Seasonal refugees from Iceland and Greenland, they begin flocking to northern Scotland in October, then spread south to the Solway Firth, Lancashire and North Norfolk, staying until March. Here the living is easy, thanks to our milder winters and fields full of potatoes and sugar beet, which ‘pink feets’ love. At dusk, as regular as clockwork, their vast skeins head out to the safety of fox-free coastal mudflats to roost, returning inland at dawn to feed. Richard Mabey described the daily spectacle in one of his 2008 columns for BBC Wildlife Magazine: “The endless scrolls of birds, the ebb and flow of that ancient cackle, that celestial static, fill the…

3 min.
mike dilger’s wildlife watching

The thin, brown line where land meets sea has drawn beachgoers of every age since time immemorial. It offers an enticing insight into that watery world few of us will ever have the opportunity to explore. Representing a very visual marker of the tide’s highest point, strandlines aren’t just places to discover an immense variety of marine treasures, but also represent food and shelter for creatures such as sand hoppers, seaweed flies and all their attendant predators. Essentially composed of debris that has been brought ashore by waves, before then being left by the ebbing tide, the bulk of most strandlines around the UK’s coast consist of detached or broken-up seaweed. Within this matted and tangled mass of gently rotting algae, items such as seashells, egg cases and marine mammal bones…

1 min.
species to look out for

Common whelk egg case Known as ‘sea wash balls’, these spongy masses of common whelk eggs are regularly encountered along strandlines. Gathering together to spawn, each individual whelk will lay about 1,000 eggs in a small lens-shaped pouch, before adhering it to others to produce the distinctive spherical ball. Only the first eggs in each pouch generally survive, as they succeed by devouring their siblings. Common cuttlefish bone Like their octopus cousins, cuttlefish are soft-bodied, but differ due to the presence of an internal bone, which is used to control buoyancy. They breed just once before dying and frequently only the bone survives long enough to reach the strandline. Collected bones, composed of calcium carbonate, often become a dietary supplement for pet budgies. Slipper limpets Originating from North America, slipper limpets are now locally abundant…