Jane: My review

I have always been a huge admirer of the inspirational primatologist that is Dr Jane Goodall. And over the years, I have been lucky enough to meet her on several occasions

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R&S 2013

after being invited to her annual Roots & Shoots ceremonies in London – one of which I was honoured with the role of presenting the prizes alongside her on stage.

So when I discovered that National Geographic had made a documentary about her using footage from her first expeditions to Gombe in Africa during the 1960s, I couldn’t have been more excited to watch it.

In it, she talks about what she saw when she looked into a chimpanzees eyes. I remember the first time I truly looked into a chimpanzees eyes. It was at the UK’s primate sanctuary, called Monkey World in Dorset. It was the most incredible experience – watching him stare back at me, analysing every part of what he saw. But I felt this deep sadness in my heart. I felt like I could burst into tears at the thought of what humans are doing to our unique planet; harming these beautiful and intelligent animals by destroying the parts of the forest that they call home.

Jane made such revolutionary discoveries during her time in Africa. To think that she was the first human to have been truly accepted by a group of wild chimpanzees, the likes of whom most probably would have never encountered a human before, was remarkable. Seeing all of the newspaper clippings, from outlets breaking her wonderful story, made me think ” wow, what a time it must have been – for her, for women, for the whole world.”
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The story of Flo and Flint, albeit incredibly sad, is a prime example that animals are sentient beings. They have feelings. They care and love one another just like we humans do, and equally have the capacity to grieve for family losses.

Watching the documentary, it was incredible to see how close she became with all the animals – not just the chimpanzees. Her passion for raising awareness of the threats chimpanzees are facing in the wild is clearer than clear. Since October 1986, she hasn’t spent more than three consecutive weeks in any one place. Applauding her for her hard work and dedication would be a severe understatement.

She is an inspiration. She is a role model. She is the real-life Dr Dolittle.

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Get ready for National Mammal Week!

This year’s National Mammal Week launches this Saturday. Organised by the Mammal Society, the week long event takes place every year during the last week of October and aims to raise awareness of the challenges mammals in Britain are currently facing.

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woodlandtrust.org.uk

Although details of 2018’s events have yet to be revealed, last year there was plenty for wildlife champions to get involved in. This included recording mammal sightings and submitting them to the Mammal Society to assist with their conservation research (which can be done through a simple app called Mammal Tracker).

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woodlandtrust.org.uk

To find out what’s going on near you during National Mammal Week visit mammal.org.uk/national-mammal-week/ or follow the Mammal Society on Facebook.

Sensational species Saturday: the mighty mountain gorilla

These incredible creatures can only be found in two parts of Africa – the rainy, cold mountain forests of Virunga Volcanoes and the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

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wwf-congobasin.org

Much of their habitat has been lost to make way for farms and homes. Weighing up to 180kg, these mighty mammals are rarely poached by humans but this doesn’t mean that they don’t get caught up in traps and snares, that have been set up to catch other animals such as buffalo or antelope. Since they’re so similar to us, they can also catch human illnesses – even the common cold.

It’s not all bad news however as since 2010, these creatures have experienced an

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iucnredlist.org

increase of 25%. This is thanks to intensive conservation work, which focusses on helping locals and gorillas live along side one another in harmony. For example, the International Gorilla Conservation Programme, along with WWF, helped reduce the locals need to enter into the gorilla’s habitats along with promoting eco-tourism projects to help these locals earn a living from gorilla conservation. The most recent count revealed that there are more than 600 individuals living in the wild.

 

 

 

ZSL welcomes baby tamandua!

On 31 May, London Zoo announced that they’d recently had a surprise arrival at the zoo. Meet Poco – the tiny tamandua.

Tamandua baby (c) ZSL London Zoo 1

Tamandua baby (c) ZSL London Zoo

Poco was born to proud parents Ria and Tobi (who only moved to the zoo last October as a hopeful companion). Keepers welcomed the newborn’s arrival, which took place just five months after the pair of tamanduas had been introduced. The cute Easter arrival clung to Ria’s fur but now, at two months old, Poco is beginning to venture away to explore the Rainforest Life home.

Tamanduas are nocturnal creatures, native to South America. Part of the anteater family, these mammals are impressive climbers and have tongues that can grow up to 40cm long. This species has very small eyes and poor vision, so relies on its hearing and strong sense of smell.

Tamandua baby (c) ZSL London Zoo 2

Tamandua baby (c) ZSL London Zoo

Get involved in the Great British Bee Count 2018

This year at Dennis Publishing, the company is supporting The Bumblebee Conservation Trust – a UK based charity dedicated to reversing the dramatic decline in the bumblebee population by ensuring the country is filled with suitable habitats rich in colourful wildflowers.

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uksafari.com @2009 Rosemary Lehan

Bumblebees are vital in the survival of the planet. These small striped creatures, along with other insects, are responsible for pollinating more than 80% of the crops grown for humans to eat – that’s around 400 different types of plants, including fruits, vegetables and nuts. However, our wild bee population still faces many threats from intensive farming, habitat loss and climate change.

On 17 May, Friends of the Earth launched their fifth annual Great British Bee Count. They’re encouraging the public to identify and record all of the different species of bee they spot until 30 June – of which approximately 270 have been recorded in Great Britain. To help with telling the different bees apart, Friends of the Earth have published a handy identification guide, which can be found here.

Nature: Exploring my forte

My writing career began at one of the most famous wildlife and nature titles in the world… National Geographic Kids. Now, among other pages, I’m the sole writer of the Animals and the Environment page for The Week Junior and have never been happier to provide content on such a wonderful topic that is so close to my heart.

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Every week, I research and pitch stories suitable for the Animals and the Environment section of the magazine, but since we are limited to the number of stories we can feature, many amazing tales go untold. So each week, I’m planning on sharing my favourite wildlife story to spread awareness and, overall, joy when it comes to the wonderful world of nature.

A plot of earth

#51: You’re given a plot of land and have the financial resources to do what you please. What’s the plan?

Well, it of course all depends on where this plot of land is and how big it is! That said, I’d love to build an animal sanctuary/rehabilitation centre for endangered animals (inspired by the incredible primate sanctuary that is Monkey World). A pretty obvious answer when it comes from someone who works for a National Geographic product, right! But truthfully, something needs to be done about our endangered animals that continue to be poached and evicted from their natural habitats. It’s a shame but I think people don’t realise how serious the situation is – once they’re gone, that’s it!

There’s tonnes of ways you can help save the endangered animals:

EDGE: Evolutionary Distinct & Globally Endangered!

Care 2 petition: signing your names on these is easy and free to do!

Born Free: adopt an animal today for just £2.50 a month (that’s one less coffee a week – easy!)