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Posts Tagged ‘wildlife photography’

This fortnight’s photo(s) of choice are a set of night shots by photographer Martin Dohrn that I spotted on the BBC Wildlife Magazine website. He’s taken some really interesting thermal images and beautiful after-dark shots of African wildlife that give an unique view of life in the bush. Check them out here.

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This fortnight’s highlight is a collection of photos by the Smithsonian Institute taken by scientists using camera-traps. Camera-traps are an important tool in zoology research nowadays. Essentially a camera-trap is an infra-red (or, less usually, pressure pad) triggered camera (sometimes pair of cameras) set up across a trail or at a place where the target animal is likely to pass (such as a scent-marking point, salt lick, or waterhole) that takes a photo automatically when an animal breaks the infra-red beam (or stands on the pressure pad). They allow scientists to see rare and cryptic (camouflaged) animals, to make population estimations of animals in dense habitat such as rainforests where you don’t usually see the animals, and to prove that certain species are present or using particular habitats. And as a nice bonus, you get some interesting and beautiful photos of some of the rarer and more secretive animals on our planet.

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Following the Madagascar theme of the currently running BBC documentary (Wed BBC2 8pm), today’s photo is a video clip of one of Madagascar’s unique animals, the streaked tenrec Hemicentetes semispinosus.

Tenrecs are Madagascar’s equivalent of a hedgehog or a shrew. Among the streaked tenrec’s strange quirks are the fact that it keeps its family together by communicating using specialised quills (see the clip below) – and it needs to, because tenrecs have the highest number of offspring in one litter of any mammal… up to 32 babies all at once!

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I’ve been catching up today on the BBC’s latest documentary series ‘Madagascar’ on iplayer. As the name suggests, David Attenborough is exploring the island of Madagascar in a three-part series.

As usual with the BBC the episode is full of beautiful photography with sweeping vistas and rare species. 80% of Madagascar’s plant and animal species are endemic – meaning they are not found anywhere else in the world – including the 80 species of lemur inhabiting Madagascar’s various ecosystems, and some really weird and wonderful looking bugs and reptiles such as the pygmy chameleon who is the world’s smallest reptile and is about the size of a passing ant.

I also always enjoy the BBC’s ‘behind the scenes’ sections that explain how the wildlife photographers got their footage – it’s incredible the lengths these men and women go to, and what they will put themselves through, to get a 30 seconds recording of a rare animal performing some behaviour never previously seen.

Highly recommended series – watch it if you can.

BBC2 – Madagascar

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This week the BBC website has focussed on 10 endangered UK animal and lichen species that have been given English common (ie non-Latin) names, that were suggesed by the British public in an open competition. My favourite has to be the ‘blue pepper pot beetle’, which is a fantastically appropriate name – and rather more catchy than it’s previous single moniker ‘Cryptocephalus punctiger’. Have a look at the beautiful photos at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-10666353

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