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May 2011

Swallowed By The Jungle

Tue 31st May 2011 (0 comments)
Ta Som

Ta Som

In the forests of north-western Cambodia lies one of South-East Asia's most important archaeological sites, the magnificent ruins of the once thriving Angkor Civilisation. Dominating this part of the world from the 9th to the 15th century, ruler after ruler made their mark by erecting monumental structures as their capital in the heart of the jungle.

Thought to have supported up to a million people in it's prime, the Angkor region not only covers a vast area of more than 400 square kilometres, but also demonstrates significant advances in society for the time, from complex irrigation systems to the building of the world's largest religious building (even today), the glorious temple of Angkor Wat.

Having Outstanding Universal Value

Fri 27th May 2011 (0 comments)
Pyramids of Giza, Egypt

Pyramids of Giza,

All around the world, there are areas which have been deemed so important to the planet that they are protected with a listing as a World Heritage Site. The World Heritage Convention ensures that both historic, man-made sites and unique natural areas are safe from being lost from the world forever. Today, there are more than 900 listed sites found all around the world including 704 cultural and 180 natural areas.

Historic monuments like the ancient Pyramids of Giza and China's Great Wall, and biologically unique regions such as The Serengeti in Africa and the Great Barrier Reef on Australia's east coast, are some of the most famously listed sites. There are however many, many more and here are just a handful:

Cats - The Epitome Of Beauty

Tue 24th May 2011 (0 comments)
Cat Goddess Bast

Cat Goddess Bast

As is the case with numerous other domestic animals, Cats have played their role as Human companions for thousands of years. Domestic Cats are thought to have originated from the African Wild Cats, with the oldest breed widely believed to be the Abyssinian which was traded on the banks of the River Nile in Ancient Egyptian times.

The Egyptians believed that domestic Cats were protected by Bast, the daughter of Ra, who was either represented as a woman with a Cat's head or as a Cat. Many thought that Cat's depicted the epitome of beauty, with woman often wearing make-up (particularly around their eyes) to give them a mysterious cat-like appearance.

Spotting British Summer Birds

Fri 20th May 2011 (0 comments)
Pied Avocet

Pied Avocet

The warmer summer months mean that the British countryside is once again alive with activity from the animal kingdom. A number of species of bird in particular, can be seen throughout the country during the summer, either staying here for the duration to breed or simply stopping off to rest from their long migrations. Their distinctive appearance and indeed their songs, makes these birds a delight to try and spot.

Name: Avocet
Size: 41cm (16in)
Found: Suffolk, Norfolk, Devon
Habitat: Marshes and estuaries
Distinctive Feature: Long upturned beak

The Luxury Of Fungus

Tue 17th May 2011 (0 comments)
A Black Truffle

A Black Truffle

Truffles are best known as one of the most prestigious and luxurious food items on the planet, but what are these rare delicacies that demand such a handsome price on the market? Well, there are hundreds of different truffle species that are found growing in mild climates in parts of France, Italy, Croatia and Slovenia, along with a limited number of other locations around the world including parts of the USA.

A member of the fungus family, truffles most commonly reach their harvesting peak between autumn and spring when they are ideally hunted for under the cover of night. Truffles can vary in size and appearance depending on the species, and they can also differ quite distinctively in their taste and aroma too, in relation to which tree root species they grew on. Some truffles can grow to be quite large, and although it is rare, these often sell for six figure sums.

Fishing For A Sustainable Supper

Fri 13th May 2011 (0 comments)
Fishing Boat

Fishing Boat

It is estimated that around 80% of European fish stocks are over-fished, causing enormous declines in population numbers throughout European waters. Although the fishing itself is a big part of the problem, it is also the methods used to harvest certain species that cause damage to both their population numbers, and surrounding eco-systems. This is most obvious with methods such as dredging and long-line fishing which either tear up the seabed or kill other animals that get caught in nets and on hooks.

Seabirds are particularly affected by this but many other species also rely on fish as a stable food source. We are taking fish out of the sea more quickly than it can be replenished, but product labelling can often lack the information you need to make a choice about the sustainability of the fish (sometimes you don't even know where the fish was caught, let alone how). Here are our top tips on which species can be eaten sustainably, and also those that should be completely avoided due to their vulnerability.

The Masters Of Natural Camouflage

Tue 10th May 2011 (0 comments)
A Chameleon

A Chameleon

The ability to blend into their surrounding environment is vital for the survival of numerous animal species around the world. Camouflage is one of nature's best defences as it allows animals to go completely unseen in their natural habitats, both helping to protect them from being eaten by predators and allowing them to sneak up on potential prey, without being spotted.

There are a number of ways that animals have used camouflage to adapt to their surrounding environments, with the most common example being that of some Chameleons having the ability to actually change colour. Most species though have evolved to have certain colourations and markings or even a special body shape, that help them to blend into their surroundings and here are some of nature's finest examples:

The Seven Natural Wonders Of The World

Fri 6th May 2011 (0 comments)
Aurora Borealis

Aurora Borealis

Our Planet is unique amongst others in our Solar System, and on it, Mother Nature has really made her mark. There is beauty all around us, no matter where we happen to be in the world, but there are definitely some places that are simply breathtaking. So please enjoy the beauty and wonder of The Seven Natural Wonders Of The World:

Aurora Borealis
Also commonly known as the Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis are spectacular displays in the skies which are created by natural light produced at the Earth's poles. Although the Southern Lights do exist, their displays are far less mesmerising than those of the Northern Lights. They are most commonly seen between the months of March and April, and September and October, in places that are relatively close to the North Pole.

Termites Have A Taste For Cash

Tue 3rd May 2011 (0 comments)
Giant Northern Termite

Giant Northern

A bank in India has been found guilty of laxity after Termites were found to have munched their way through thousands of pounds worth of cash in one of the bank's vaults. The branch of the State Bank of India is in Uttar Pradesh in the north of the sub-continent, and is said to be an old building known to be a haven for Termites.

According to a BBC report, it had already been brought to the attention of the management that Termites were making their way through furniture and paperwork. Consequently, the Termites are thought to have eaten through around 10 million rupees in cash, which is the equivalent of about £137,000.