Happy New Year!
Bowdleflode News No. 32 – January 2021
After a very unsettled 2020 it is still very difficult for any government to decide the best policy to curb the spread of the Covid 19 virus. Now that medical science has so brilliantly developed vaccines in record time the disease may soon be more controlled. How does this affect the animal kingdom?
With less aircraft flying and less cars on roads there must be a bit less pollution, and this, together with the public becoming more and more aware of recycling, as well as many nations realising the value of their wildlife, could lead to improvements for nature and wild animals.. Let’s hope so!
But Planet Earth is warming and everyone must make an ongoing effort to live a ‘greener’ life if the planet is to survive.
Our Bowdleflode project will continue to help to educate young people to think CONSERVATION as well as CREATIVITY. Wishing all our followers a VERY HAPPY HEALTHY and PEACEFUL 2021. Read on as we reflect on some of the positive news from last year…
New Pangolin Protection Plan
The Maharashtra forest department is set to be the first state in India to have a dedicated action plan for conservation of pangolins – the world’s most trafficked animal. Pangolins are listed in Schedule I of India’s Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972, giving them the highest degree of protection.
The state gave the green light for a proposal to form a study group to prepare a five-year conservation action plan. The committee will look into topics such as population estimation, distribution, habitat protection and most importantly, illicit trafficking hotspots. People eat pangolin meat, their scales are valuable in the international market, and are kept by some as a sign of good luck or for superstitions allegedly involving witchcraft.
Unlike tigers and leopards, these are species that have never been in focus despite having a huge ecological role. There are as many as 200,000 pangolins being killed each year for the trade. The rate in which poaching has been recorded across India is concerning and highlights the urgent need for bold action to secure a future for an animal who we know so little about. The action plan is a vital first step in halting the illegal trade and securing their persistence in the wild.
Back from the very brink of extinction
- A captive-breeding and reintroduction program has helped boost the wild population of the black stilt or kakī (Himantopus novaezelandiae). The stilt is a critically endangered wading bird from New Zealand, and its population has grown by 30% over the past year. The programme released 104 captive-bred birds into the wild last year.
- After their rescue from a vanishing stream in northern Chile (Atacama Desert), the last known 14 Loa water frogs (Telmatobius dankoi) produced 200 tadpoles in October.
- Burmese roofed turtles (Batagur trivittata), once considered extinct, were reared in captivity in Myanmar. The captive population grew to nearly 1,000 turtles and the species is now in little danger of biological extinction.
Up pup and away!
The grey seals at the UK’s Norfolk’s Blakeney National Nature Reserve have had another record strong year. The first pup was spotted there in 1988, and the site has since thrived to become the biggest colony in England. The number of young has flourished from just 25 in 2001 to 3,399 in 2019, a result of low levels of disturbance and mortality during the first key weeks of life, and lack of natural predators. Autumn 2020 predicted about 4,000 new arrivals – so many that rangers are having to change the way they count!
Bowdleflode of the Month
Created by FREDDY from Castle Hill Primary School, Chessington, UK
This month we shine our spotlight on Freddy’s creation of RHINOJORIGER!
A RHINOJORIGER can measure anything from as little as 5cm all the way up to 70 cm, and weigh around 15-20 kg. They are black and scaly with a 1metre wingspan and 90cm tail. Its tongue can also measure up to 1 metre. (The male is bigger than the female).
RHINOJORIGER’s diet consists of honey only. They are clever, gentle and harmless, but will kill rats and octopuses.