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BBC Wildlife Magazine

BBC Wildlife Magazine February 2020

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.
without whom...

As we were putting this issue to bed, we learned of the passing of one of BBC Wildlife’s most celebrated former contributors. David Bellamy was the face and voice of nature for those of us raised in the 1970s and 80s. He introduced us to endless wonders of the natural world, from exotic jungles to the ends of our gardens. We didn’t just want to watch him, we wanted to be him. Any time we found ourselves in the wild, we’d burst into impressions of the charismatic botanist. We pay tribute on page 40. You may not know that Bellamy was once imprisoned, though his incarceration was mercifully brief. If only the same could be said for the scientists in Iran jailed as spies while working to protect the rare Asiatic…

1 min.
the people behind our stories

ALICE LIPSCOMBE›SOUTHWELL Science writer Alice reports on the latest plastic extraction technology that is attempting to clean up our waters. “It’s clear that we cannot continue living our lives as we always have done,” she says. See p32 BEN GARROD Biologist and BBC presenter Ben reveals some of the extraordinary ways in which skin is key to an animal’s success. “The vertebrate integument is a wonder of evolution and adaptation,” he says. See p54 RICHARD MABEY In the race to offset carbon emissions through reforestation, nature writer Richard shares his view. “Our automatic reflex to the need for more trees is that humans must deliberately plant them within a decade,” he says. See p66 LEON MOORE Tour guide Leon hopes he can make a difference to the protection of birds and other wildlife in Guyana by verifying…

1 min.
in focus

Starstruck It may appear to be hurtling down a celestial wormhole, but – perhaps disappointingly – this nudibranch is merely cruising a frond of kelp off Gulen, Norway. These hardy marine molluscs don’t mind the sub-zero temperatures and lack of sunlight that accompany a Norwegian winter, even blooming here at this time of year. “Life blossoming in the dark” is what photographer Alex Mustard hoped to convey in this unearthly image, created by layering 80 long-exposure shots. Stately pile Framed by the blossom of a pink trumpet tree is the tallest flying bird in South America. The jabiru stands at 1.4m, with a 2.8m wingspan (second on the continent only to the condor). Those females suitably wowed by the male’s nest of sticks will alight nearby, but can often be rejected by their…

4 min.
wild month

1 | SCARLET ELF-CUP Fruits of the forest The naturalist Nick Baker, who writes our Hidden Britain column (see page 21), has compared them to split billiard balls. They can also resemble carelessly discarded pieces of satsuma peel. But they’re a different type of fruit altogether – the fruiting bodies of a beautiful fungus called the scarlet elf-cup. One of its many other traditional names was fairy bath, and it is not hard to see why superstitious folk might imagine pixies taking a dip in these mysterious little ‘hot tubs’ lying on the woodland floor. Scarlet elf-cup is a common and widespread species you can find from late autumn through to spring, but most sightings come in February and March, when the smooth inner surfaces of this eye-catching fungus seem to glow amid…

3 min.
mike dilger’s wildlife watching

With winter reluctant to give up its vice-like grip on proceedings, woodlands can be eerily quiet in February. But if you do decide to go down to the woods today, you may be in for a big surprise. And, counterintuitively, it may well be sprung in places where trees are conspicuous by their absence – in glades or along rides. Glades are open areas that may well initially have been created by natural processes such as fires, storms or tree falls, before then being kept clear by the action of browsing animals. Rides, by contrast, have a more anthropogenic origin. Frequently linear by design, they were originally established to allow a means of entry into the wood for harvesting timber. A key feature distinguishing a ride from a footpath is width.…

1 min.
species to look out for

Lesser celandine One of the first heralds of spring, the lesser celandine has glossy, star-shaped yellow flowers that seemingly float atop a low bed of heart-shaped dark green leaves. Look for it along woodland rides from February onwards, when it’s an important nectar source for pollinators emerging from hibernation. The petals only tend to unfurl in direct sunlight, and seem to track the sun across the sky like miniature satellite dishes. Sweet violet Varying in colour, with blue, pink, yellow and even white forms, sweet violet is our only fragrant member of the Viola genus. It’s also the earliest of all violets to flower and can be found sprouting in discreet tufts along woodland rides and hedge banks from February until May. Reeves’s muntjac First introduced into the grounds of Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire in…