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April 2011

The Wonders Of Carnivorous Plants

Fri 29th April 2011 (1 comment)
Cape Sundew

Cape Sundew

Every animal on Earth depends on plants in one way or another in order to successfully survive in it's surrounding environment - whether that is herbivores nibbling on them or Cheetahs using the long grasses to hide in, or even just relying on the oxygen that plants release into the air. There are plants however, that actually depend on the digestion of animals in order to gain the necessary nutrients that they need to survive.

Of the more than 250,000 flowering plant species found all around the world, 630 of them are known carnivores. Generally found in warm, acidic bogs where there is constant moisture along with plenty of sunlight, carnivorous plants thrive in these low-nutrient soils and have little competition for growing space from other species. Although these wet, sunny bogs are their preferred habitats, a number of carnivorous plants are also found along desert outskirts and on limestone cliffs.

The Mammalian Mother

Tue 26th April 2011 (0 comments)
Elephant Calf With Mum

Elephant Calf
With Mum

The main thing that sets mammals apart from all the other animal groups, is the fact that the females of each mammalian species have mammary glands. These organs are found only amongst mammals and they produce milk with which the female can feed her young, giving them the best possible start in life. The young suckle on the teats/nipples of their mother in order to consume this nutritious feast.

However, these milk-producing glands can often mean that the offspring of mammals are much more vulnerable at birth than those of other animal groups, as they rely more heavily on the care and protection of their mother. Some baby mammals are in fact so underdeveloped at birth, that they are born hairless and blind and are often dependent on their parents (mainly mum) for a significant amount of time.

The Giant Of The Forest

Fri 22nd April 2011 (0 comments)
Fog in the Forest

Fog in the Forest

In August 2006, a Coast Redwood known as Hyperion was named as the world's tallest tree after having been measured at standing at 115.52m in height. This enormous Coast Redwood (also known as the Giant Redwood and the California Redwood) was found in the Redwood National Park in northern California, in an area that is now protected from logging thanks to it's listing as a World Heritage Site in 1980.

Coast Redwoods occur along the North American Pacific coastline, mainly in northern California and in the coastal region of south-west Oregon. Coast Redwoods need environments with lots of rain and are subjected to up to 100 inches a year in some parts of their natural range. Although having once thought to have occupied an area of more than 2 million acres, the Coast Redwoods are today confined to a small 470 mile long strip of the Pacific coast.

Reducing Your Carbon Footprint

Tue 19th April 2011 (0 comments)
Industrial Pollution

Industrial Pollution

One of the most distinctive features of our living planet is the invisible blanket of gases that surrounds it, preventing the Earth from losing all of it's heat. However, since the beginning of the industrial revolution 200 years ago and the mass burning of fossil fuels, a much larger amount of carbon dioxide makes up this layer and is causing our planet to now warm-up very quickly.

Despite having had this layer of greenhouse gases for thousands of years, temperatures here have remained fairly constant at an average of -15 degrees Centigrade. Today however, with higher levels of greenhouse gases adding to this layer, more heat from the sun is trapped within it, with the average temperature in the UK now having risen to around 15 degrees Centigrade.

What Is The IUCN?

Fri 15th April 2011 (0 comments)
Rare Amur Leopard

Rare Amur Leopard

In our modern world where the conservation of our surrounding environment is becoming more and more vital, global conservation networks are expanding to try and make people aware of what is going on, and what needs to be done to try and fix it. But, when organisations such as the IUCN are mentioned, how many of us really know anything about them?

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) is the world's largest global environmental network, established in 1948 to help to provide practical solutions to the bigger environmental challenges that we are facing. It was founded by governments, foundations and large corporations and has become a leading authority on the environment and sustainable development today.

Attracting Butterflies To Your Garden

Tue 12th April 2011 (0 comments)
Large White Butterfly

Large White

Insects like Bees and Butterflies are vital to the survival of numerous plant species around the world. But, in recent years particularly, the numbers of Bees has been rapidly declining meaning that fewer plants will be spreading throughout their habitats, and less food will therefore be available.

These Insects are known as pollinators as they inadvertently spread the pollen from one plant to another whilst feeding on the sweet nectar, allowing these plants to reproduce. In fact, many plants produce beautifully scented and colourful flowers just to attract these useful Insects to them.

The Volcanic Seven Summits

Fri 8th April 2011 (0 comments)
Volcanic 7 Summits

Volcanic 7 Summits

It was once volcanoes that shaped our planet, but today, many of the world's largest volcanoes lie extinct. Their fertile slopes are home to unique animals and plants that are found no-where else on Earth including some species that are only found in very specific areas and only at certain altitudes.

The largest volcanoes on each of the continents are known as the Volcanic Seven Summits, and although there has been some dispute over the years as to which countries they lie in, they are a popular challenge for climbers. Disagreements have also come about over the classification of what you would call a true volcano, so here are the highest:

Hope For The Tigers Of India

Tue 5th April 2011 (0 comments)
Ranthambore Tiger

Ranthambore Tiger

In a recent report, the Indian government has stated that the number of Tigers living on the sub-continent has risen by 20% over the past three years. The latest census was the first Tiger census to be conducted throughout the whole of India, as in 2007, some areas were still vastly inaccessible, and therefore areas such as the swampy Sundarbans simply could not be included in the count.

Today however, better technologies make these challenges easier to overcome as 70 Tigers were recorded inhabiting the Sundarbans in the latest count. When the Tiger census was conducted in 2007, 1,411 Tigers were recorded, a figure which has risen to 1,706 today. Although this is obviously an incredibly positive step, there are great concerns about their constantly shrinking habitats as half of the world's Tigers are found in India.

A Tall Tail Of A Tiny Giraffe!

Fri 1st April 2011 (0 comments)
A Young Male

A Young Male

In the 21st century, we very much believe that every large animal has been discovered but even in the past couple of years, new mammals are still being recorded by experts from around the world. This morning, scientists have confirmed that they have discovered a new subspecies of Giraffe in a thorny and rarely visited area of the Kruger National Park.

Giraffes are well-known to be the world's tallest animals but this latest discovery has put a spanner in the works. The elusive Pygmy Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis pygmaea) was snapped by a ranger surveying the region earlier in the week. A herd of nine individuals was spotted grazing beneath a young acacia tree, including males, females and two young calves. The tallest of the males measured just 156 cm tall.