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BBC Wildlife Magazine

BBC Wildlife Magazine

July 2021

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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Country:
United Kingdom
Language:
English
Publisher:
Immediate Media Company London Limited
Frequency:
Monthly
R 78,68
R 575,04
13 Issues

in this issue

1 min
untreated sewage a major source of microplastics found in rivers

Untreated sewage is a significant source of microplastic pollution that is plaguing our rivers, and ultimately our seas, according to ongoing research on the River Tame in north-west England. “Our research has found that channel beds in urban and semi-urban rivers can be very heavily contaminated with microplastics, because untreated wastewaters are routinely discharged into low river flows that are incapable of dispersing the microplastics downstream,” says Jamie Woodward of Manchester University’s Department of Geography. These can remain until the next high-water carries them away. Of the 14 sites sampled, microplastic pollution ranged from 2,400-138,400 particles per kilogram of riverbed sediment. Woodward’s study, published in Nature Sustainability, suggested that wastewater treatment works were efficient at removing larger microplastic particles and so those that were found in the riverbed were most likely to…

1 min
how to breed a regent honeyeater in captivity

Breeding regent honeyeaters in captivity is not straightforward. When it comes to their breeding season, the keeper team at Taronga keeps close watch on the males and listens to their calls to work out when they’re ready to find a mate. The birds’ diet is then altered to mimic changes that take place naturally in the wild in order to create the right conditions for the female to want to nest. Providing the right nesting materials is something of an art – regent honeyeaters use spiderwebs as an adhesive but will reject all but the freshest webs. “I’ve seen keepers who earn AU$80,000 a year walking around the zoo with a twig collecting spiderwebs,” says Michael Shiels, supervisor of the bird team at Taronga Zoo Sydney. Once the nest has been built…

1 min
spot the signs: disturbed seals

• If a seal is looking directly at you, on land or in the water, it is aware of your presence. Its fight or flight response has been activated. Remain quiet and back off to avoid it moving away. • If a seal is moving from its resting place, it has been spooked, its stress levels have increased, its rest has been disrupted and its energy wasted. Move away slowly and quietly. • If a seal is making for the water, it is fleeing. Stampeding seals are likely to be injured. Move away immediately. • A big ‘crash dive‘ shows a seal is distressed. If you come across one at sea, stay calm and keep moving. • Stay out of sight. Seals in the sea close to shore may want to haul out. Find out…

1 min
what is it?

SHIELDBUG EGGS If it sometimes feels like emojis are taking over the world, maybe they are. And here, perhaps, are their breeding grounds. Either that, or we are looking at the next generation of moustachioed Belgian detectives. The reality is no less delightful. This is a brood of shieldbug eggs stuck fast to the underside of a leaf. Through their transparent shells, the embryos within are apparently having a good old gander at the world into which they are soon to emerge. Which, let’s face it, would be enough to put a wide-eyed and slightly bemused expression on anybody’s face.…

10 min
the lost voice

Conservation biologist Ross Crates was in the midst of designing a new monitoring programme for the Critically Endangered regent honeyeater when he realised that something was seriously up with the way this Australian songbird was expressing itself. As he and his colleagues in the Difficult Bird Research Group at the Australian National University toured regent breeding sites around New South Wales, Crates became aware of individual birds whose songs just didn’t sound right. Rather than singing their own songs, these regent males were making calls belonging to other species of bird. Crates began recording the songs of every wild male regent honeyeater he came across. He was struck by what he found. “It wasn’t just one or two individuals singing weird songs. It’s a decent proportion of the wild population,” says the…

9 min
do not disturb

Sue Sayer is founder and director of Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust. Her passion for seals began more than 20 years ago, when she answered an advert in the local paper for somebody to help on a monitoring project. That day, Sayer learned something that was to change her life: that every seal has got a unique fur pattern. “As soon as I knew that, I could start answering questions,” she says. Was that three seals she was watching in the bay? Or the same one bobbing up three times? Sayer initially thought her own seal colony consisted of about 30 individuals. She now estimates more than 800 pass through. The intervening 20 years has taught Sayer many things about seals – not least just how sensitive they are to human disturbance. Holiday…