Ibis to make wildlife history

Bowdleflode News No. 48 – May 2022

Ibis about to breed in UK

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

Ibis in the wild

The glossy ibis, which is native to Mediterranean countries, is expected to make wildlife history by breeding in the UK this year for the very first time.  It’s due to Britain’s warming climate, according to the Met Office and RSPB.

Extremely dry conditions in the south of Spain and Portugal, and mild winter temperatures here have already encouraged large number of the birds – a distant relative of storks and herons – to spend the winter here.

Birdwatchers are anticipating this could lead to the first nesting in the UK of a wetland bird found mainly in the Mediterranean.  The glossy ibis is a bird which is largely found in extensive wetlands in warmer climes.  One of the world’s most widespread birds, they can be found from southern and eastern Europe through central and southern Asia to Australia, across Africa and also in the Atlantic and Caribbean region of the Americas.

In common with a number of wetland birds the glossy ibis has to be able to cope with occasional periods of drought, a strategy that may force a shift to new locations should existing areas become unsuitable.  Last winter Spain experienced extremely dry weather which encouraged a large number of glossy ibises to disperse north to the UK where they encountered milder-than-average winter conditions – if they remain, they may well see it as a good place to nest. 

Weird Fish close to Extinction

One of the very few sawfish left

There are lots of strange fish in the sea, but the Sawfish has to be one of the strangest!
It is so named because the very front of it looks like an old-fashioned saw.  With just five different species in the world, they are all very close to extinction from over fishing.

They exist in warm, shallow, coastal waters in the tropics and sub-tropics, but that’s part of the reason why they’re on the brink.  As coastal dwellers, they’re extremely likely to be caught by fishermen and as they’re difficult to handle they don’t get thrown back into the sea.

Prof Nick Dulvy of Simon Fraser University (SFU) in British Columbia, Canada says that the plight of the sawfish is helping us to document the first cases of a wide-ranging marine fish being driven to local and global extinction by overfishing.

Of the five species, three are cited as critically endangered, while two are listed as endangered, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. Once widespread but are now presumed extinct in 55 nations according to SFU.

There are 18 countries where at least one species of sawfish is missing, and 28 more where two species have disappeared. The list of countries where sawfish are extinct now includes China, Iraq, Haiti, Japan, Timor-Leste, El Salvador, Taiwan, Djibouti and Brunei.

A sawfish tangled in fishing net

The US and Australia seem to be the last strongholds for the species, regarded as “lifeboat nations,” where sawfish are better protected. There are also eight countries where urgent action could make a big contribution to saving the species through conservation efforts.  They are Cuba, Tanzania, Colombia, Madagascar, Panama, Brazil, Mexico and Sri Lanka.

Bowdleflodes Penpal Scheme

The Bowdleflodes Project is excited to announce that we are now able to offer penpal links with children from Greta Rowe Primary School (Mount Kenya), Africa. 

Greta Rowe School was established in 2011 by Jane Moile, a teacher. Before the school was set up children were trekking perilous conditions, in some cases claiming lives, in order to obtain an education. With the encouragement of her husband, James, Jane followed her passion and started the school to save lives. Fighting against tough processes, the couple donated their own less-than-half-acre piece of land to establish the school. Now the school caters for over 50 children, providing a holistic environment to encourage their personal growth and education.

This is a wonderful opportunity or project for your own children or classroom to participate in and explore the cultures of people in other parts of the world. Having an international penpal brings huge benefits to students including honing their reading and writing skills, sparking their curiosity and  increasing their compassion and understanding of cultural differences.  If you would like to know more or find out how to get linked to the school please email us at hello@bowdleflodes.com.

Bowdleflode of the Month

This month’s Bowdleflode has been created by Alex Moile from Great Rowe School in Kenya



“Alex’s Grass Rhino lives in the plains area and the forest. They are very strong and dangerous creatures to encounter and they have a diet of grass only!”

Thank you Alex for your wonderful creation and addition to our Wildlife Park!

👏 👏⠀