Schools are back – hurrah!

Bowdleflode News No. 28 – September 2020

The Bowdleflode Wildlife Project continues apace and it is wonderful to have schoolchildren back at their desks around the world. We look forward to them adding their Creative Creatures to the ever expanding online Bowdleflode Safari Park. As ever we have very exciting wildlife news…read on…..  

First Clone of Endangered Przewalski’s Horse

Gulls on a shingle beach with the sea in the background

Last month, the first successfully cloned endangered Przewalski’s horse was born in a veterinary facility in Texas, San Diego Zoo Global announced.  The horse was cloned from DNA of a male Przewalski’s horse cryopreserved by the zoo in 1980.

Przewalski’s horses are “critically endangered” animals that are found in Mongolia.  They’re considered the last species of “truly wild horses” and are “distant cousins” of the modern day domestic horses. Once extinct in the wild, and while intensive breeding programs have helped to revive the species and reintroduce them into the grasslands of China and Mongolia, nearly all can be traced back to 12 Przewalski’s horses that were born in the wild, San Diego Zoo said in its press release.

The successful cloning of DNA collected over 40 years is meant to introduce key generic diversity into the species that could benefit its survival.  The cloned horse will eventually be relocated to San Diego Zoo Safari Park and integrated into a herd of other Przewalski’s horses for breeding.

The cloned Przewalski’s horse has been named Kurt after Dr. Kurt Benirschke, the creator of the San Diego Zoo Global Frozen Zoo, which has been collecting and preserving genetic material of endangered animals since 1975.

A remarkable achievement in biotechnology indeed! 

But Chichester Harbour are intervening with their ingenious plans to save the terns!  Their ecologist, Peter Hughes, had the brainwave of creating artificial rafting nests, made out of recycled materials and layers of shingle and sand to mimic their natural habitat.  In previous years there has been no breeding success from the whole of the harbour but the addition of these rafts has shown considerable results.  The first raft last year saw 9 pairs of common terns rear 20 young and this year with a second raft – 35 pairs!  It just goes to show that small interventions in the right place can have a significant impact.  The same hope hasn’t extended to the little terns as yet, but the Harbour is hopeful that with decoys that these rare sea birds will eventually follow suit.

World’s loneliest elephant gets green light on new life

After a four-year long campaign, Kaavan the elephant will have a chance to find companionship and better health. Kaavan became a cause celebre for animal rights campaigners around the world. Dubbed the worlds loneliest elephant, he has finally been given medical approval to travel and leave the Islamabad zoo he has called home for 35 years.

The overweight elephant will most likely be taken to Cambodia, where it is hoped he will find companionship and better conditions.  The Marghazar Zoo, Islamabad was closed in May after Pakistan’s high court ruled its conditions were abysmal and the result of negligence.  Since then Kaavan has been living on his own in a small enclosure since losing his partner in 2012.  He was rescued after a worldwide campaign, which began in 2016 and was supported by celebrities including US singer Cher.

Why Autumn is a fine time for UK Wildlife

With travel restrictions in place and more and more of us choosing the Great British Staycation instead, don’t be disillusioned that you are missing out on exotic adventures abroad – for there really is no place like home!  The British landscape has its fair share of extraordinary wildlife from our back gardens, public parks to coastlines and real wilderness – there is so much to discover.

For those that like their thrills with some splash, you need not fly to the Galapagos to leap in the water with large fish.  Try Penzance for swimming with blue sharks.  These three-metre beauties look captivating and have a curious disposition. They migrate across the Atlantic to our seas for summer and autumn to scoff mackerel and squid.  If you prefer your nature with fewer teeth, then Autumn is a fine time to see seal pups in Pembrokeshire, red deer rutting in much of England, Wales and southern Scotland, bats, crabs inhabit warm rockpools and red admiral butterflies holiday here from North Africa!  We have the world’s fastest animal in the peregrine falcon and we are home to the Golden Eagle.  We also have minke whales, humpback whales and sperm whales.  Let’s not dismiss our stunning landscape too – the mountains of north Wales, Land’s End and the Western Isles, the Highlands of Scotland and Outer Hebrides, to name a few…, all incredible and abundant locations.

With so many twitchers, walkers, anglers and birdwatchers alike, all members of the National Trust, the Wildlife Trusts, the RSPB it’s no doubt we are a nation of animal and wildlife lovers and with good reason.  If you’re wondering what to do this September why not venture out more and explore what Great Britain has to offer!

Bowdleflode of the Month

Meet Mr Squak Nibbler Tig
 
Created by Lily, Year 5 & 6 Arts Award Group, Funtington Primary

 

This month our Bowdleflode feature has been created by Lily at Funtington Primary! Mr Squak Nibbler Tig is half tiger, mountain lion, half rabbit and half bird.  The different colours represent each animal.  Mr Squak has a diet of meat/carrots, as well as insects. He inhabits mountain peaks where nobody has seen or rarely go.  This creature is fierce and has something of an attitude!