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BBC Wildlife Magazine

BBC Wildlife Magazine March 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.
childhood hero...

Back when I was still young enough to blow out the candles on my cake in one puff, I counted among my heroes Roald Dahl’s titular Fantastic Mr Fox . The way he, ahem, outfoxed those beastly humans always curried favour with me. Ever since, I’ve always felt lightly dusted by magic whenever I’ve come upon an urban fox. That unexpected wild encounter is made all the more special when you live in a city. And yet even as recently as when I first read Dahl’s vulpine volume, foxes weren’t a common sight in many of our cities. We celebrate their continuing success on page 42. As I get older, I’m increasingly amazed at the changes since I was a pup. Schools have changed wholesale, for example. But could they do…

1 min.
the people behind our stories

SUE WATT Writer Sue visited a rescue centre in Zimbabwe to learn more about the plight of pangolins. “In 16 years of travelling to Africa, I’d never spotted a pangolin before,” she says. “I was mesmerised by them.” See p34 LOUISE TICKLE Is teaching children outdoors a good idea? How would it work? Journalist Louise went to find out. “Research on outside learning showed primary school children experienced an overall increase in their well-being,” she says. See p50 ALEJANDRO PRIETO Though just 2km across, the island of San Pedro Mártir proved a worthy subject for photographer Alejandro. “For me, this island is synonymous with wildlife,” he says. “It is as it should be – unchanged by humans.” See p68 ELLEN HUSAIN Wildlife film-maker Ellen takes a look at the culinary capabilities of animals: “Humans cook things –…

1 min.
in focus

Sleeping cutie You’d be hard-pushed to picture a cosier scene than that of this pair of red squirrels curled up, one on top of the other, in a drey (or nest) lined with lichen and pine needles. These bushy-tailed, rufous rodents construct their dreys at the intersections of tree branches, or make use of existing cavities (this one is housed within a nestbox). During colder months, solitary individuals may share their carefully constructed homes with other reds in the neighbourhood, snuggling down together amid the foliage. Ant attack Smaller insects are no match for this eye-catching tiger beetle ( Calochroa octonotata ), which uses its large mandibles to make quick work of prey. But sometimes its dinner has the audacity to fight back. After latching onto the beetle’s leg, this tenacious red weaver…

4 min.
wild month

1 | MOUNTAIN HARE Flying fur The first of March heralds spring, meteorologically speaking, with astronomical spring (the vernal equinox) falling on Friday 20 March. Yet this changeable month is usually snowier than December – remember 2018’s Beast from the East? Undeterred, hares are already breeding, so that their first litter of the season will be born in time for the sudden flush of fresh greenery. All three species found in the British Isles – the mountain, Irish and brown – are preoccupied with bringing the next generation into the world. And that means fur will fly. Despite controversial culls of mountain hares in the Scottish Highlands, which have led to drastic population declines, to see them boxing in snow is still a unique spectacle. “The onset of breeding is dictated by the male…

3 min.
mike dilger’s wildlife watching

When it comes to the natural world, there is much lamenting as to what we have already lost – the UK was described as being among the “most nature-depleted countries in the world” in the 2016 State of Nature report. However, there is one particular type of green space that continues to punch well above its wildlife weight – the humble garden. Offering a year-round welcome mat to the nation’s nature, Britain’s gardens now number an estimated 24 million. And though each individual garden might be little more than the real-estate equivalent of a postage stamp, together they form the most enormous quilted blanket, thought to be similar in area to one-fifth of Wales. They represent that vital link in the chain connecting urban green spaces with nature reserves and the…

1 min.
species to look out for

Common frog A combination of smooth skin and a dark, oval pupil surrounded by a pale-yellow iris distinguishes this amphibian from the only other possible ‘confusion’ species – the common toad. Having arrived at their spawning ponds en masse, the male frogs start competing intensely for females. This has to be one of the best annual garden wildlife spectacles. Dark-bordered bee-fly The fat, furry body, long proboscis and dark-brown leading edge to the wings immediately identify this smart little fly. A bee mimic, it is in fact a sheep in wolf’s clothing. You often spot it on the first warm days of spring, feeding from low-growing flowers such as primrose. Buff-tailed bumblebee This is an abundant species found in gardens across much of the UK. Usually one of the first bumblebees to emerge in spring,…