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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
#181: Describe your first memorable experience exploring and spending time in nature. Were you in awe? Or were you not impressed? Would you rather spend time in the forest or the city?
I’ve been thinking about this for at least 20 minutes and, quite sadly, have to admit that I can’t think of a single time where I’ve explored/spent a substantial amount of time (not even half an hour!) just taking in nature. I do remember when I was younger spending time lying on the grass, watching the butterflies flitting around our huge buddleia tree in the garden but I’m guessing that doesn’t count. Although I do remember how enchanting it was to watch them – sounds silly but they do have a mysterious way of moving and just being.
That said, I would love nothing more to go to somewhere like Borneo (Orangutans), Rwanda (Gorillas), Uganda (Chimpanzees), or even on an African Safari (Giraffes, Elephants, Lions etc) where I could simply sit and watch the wild animals live their lives. I can imagine that is an absolutely incredible thing to witness!