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Happy Feet!

Bowdleflode News No. 52 – September 2022

Happy Feet!

Baby rhino following its mother through the bush with it nose millimetres from her back leg.

Keepers in San Diego watch anxiously

Lucas, an African penguin at San Diego Zoo has been fitted with orthopedic footwear to help him deal with a degenerative foot condition.

San Diego Wildlife Alliance reported that the 4-year-old penguin has lesions on his feet from a chronic condition known as bumblefoot, which covers a range of avian foot problems.  If left untreated, bumblefoot could lead to sepsis and death by infection.

The zoo’s wildlife care specialists turned to an organisation called Thera-Paw, who are known for their rehabilitative and assistive products for animals with special needs. Thera-Paw created custom shoes made of neoprene and rubber which are designed to prevent pressure sores from developing when Lucas stands and walks. 

African penguin populations have plummeted and are now listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, with less than 42,000 individuals remaining today.  Habitat loss, over-fishing, and coastal development are all taking a toll, resulting in the rapid decline.

First UK sighting of rare sea slug

Polar Bear on whale

A Babakina nudibranch sea slug (courtesy Kymm Sandum)

Last month, Seasearch scuba diver Allen Murray documented the first confirmed UK sighting of the multi-coloured Babakina anadoni (sea slug) off the Scilly Isles, and now another specimen has been spotted off western Cornwall.

Local snorkeller Kymm Sandum photographed and video’ed the exotic sea slug, though she was hesitant to reveal the exact location in case it put it at risk. She told Cornwall Live that its bright colour scheme had caught her eye when she looked up from the stalked jellyfish she had been watching, although at first she had thought it must be a discarded fishing lure.

Kymm says : “I was totally stunned when I saw it and thought what a great find. It wasn’t until I got home that I found out it was quite an important find.”

Before this sighting, Babakina anadoni, a member of the Aeolid family, has only been recorded a few times, along Spain’s west coast and further south in the Atlantic, according to Cornwall Wildlife Trust.  Its marine conservation officer Matt Slater, who also co-ordinates the Seasearch programme for Cornwall and the Scilly Isles, described the 2cm nudibranch as “one of the prettiest sea slugs I’ve seen”.

The nudibranch (NEW-dih-bronk) might seem an unlikely canvas for Mother Nature to express her wildest indulgences of color and form.  But these shell-less mollusks, part of the sea slug family, bear some of the most fascinating shapes, sumptuous hues, and intricate patterns of any animal.  There are more than 2,000 known species of nudibranch, and new ones are being identified almost daily. They are found throughout the world’s oceans, but are most abundant in shallow, tropical waters. Their scientific name, Nudibranchia, means naked gills, and describes the feathery gills and horns that most wear on their backs.

Hampshire’s new coastal path routes open

A view across the water – Portsmouth’s spinnaker tower just visible

If you’re dreaming of far away adventures or exotic explorations but your wallet is just giving you “that’s not gonna happen” vibes, and the flight chaos is stressing you out, then look no further than our UK shores.

That’s right, it is possible to have the time of your life without even leaving the UK.  There is so much to do in our own stomping ground, you actually don’t have to leave to have a good time!

And here’s some good news for the active holiday makers out there – there are two brand-spanking new walking routes on the South Coast for keen walkers to get mileage out their boots!
Two coastal paths have opened from Calshot to Gosport and Gosport to Portsmouth, forming the first complete trails of what will become the world’s longest continuous walking route – the England Coast Path.

So get those boots laced up, because it’s going to become a big one.  The two new paths that are now open to the public stretch over 52 miles, running along the banks of the Solent, which is the perfect spot for chilling, paddling and exploring the ton of wildlife surrounding the areas, as well as fields of never-ending green.  Perfect backdrops for keen photographers!  And way into the future when the full walk is complete, it will stretch a ridiculous 2,700 miles. That’s some trek!

Bowdleflode of the Month

This month’s Bowdleflode has been created by Nesline Naisabu, aged 13 from
Greta Rowe Primary School, Kenya

Meet… COLOBUS MONKEY!

Colobus monkey is native to rainforests where they thrive and feast on eucalyptus leaves,
berries, fruits, carrots and cabbage.
They are very strong and energetic creatures who love to play, and can display a gentle side too.


Thank you Nesline for your wonderful creation !

👏 👏⠀