BBC Wildlife Magazine

50 REASONS TO BE Cheerful IN 2021

1 SEAL CELEBRATIONS

The grey seals at Norfolk’s Blakeney National Nature Reserve have had another strong year. The first pup was spotted there in 1988, and the site has since flourished to become the biggest colony in England. The number of young has burgeoned from just 25 in 2001 to a whopping 3,399 in 2019, a result of low levels of disturbance and mortality during the first key weeks of life, and lack of natural predators. Autumn 2020 again predicted about 4,000 new arrivals – so many that rangers are having to change the way they count. nationaltrust.org.uk

2 TENERIFE A TOP SITE FOR WHALES

In February 2021, the pristine waters of Franja Marina Teno-Rasca, south Tenerife, are set to become Europe’s first Whale Heritage Site. The area has long been popular with whale-watchers, boasting 28 species of cetacean, including a resident population of short-finned pilot whales. Whale Heritage Site status is granted to outstanding destinations where cetaceans are embraced through the cultural, economic, social and political lives of their associated communities, and where people and cetaceans co-exist in an authentic and respectful way. whaleheritagesites.org; worldanimalprotection.org.uk

3 VERGE VICTORIES

 More than 700 species of wildflower  grow on the UK’s road verges. And where there are wildflowers, there is wildlife. In 2013, Plantlife launched its Road Verges Campaign to push for this undervalued habitat to be better managed for nature. “We saw a real surge in support for the campaign in 2020 – citizens and councils are recognising that ‘messier’ verges are desirable for biodiversity,” says Plantlife’s Archie Thomas. “Our verge management guidelines have been widely adopted by councils from Dorset to Burnley, and we fully envisage the campaign to accelerate into 2021.” plantlife.org.uk

4 LANDSCAPES THAT FEEL A MILLION DOLLARS

You can do a lot of good with $30 million. The Endangered Landscapes Programme (ELP), with funding from the Arcadia Fund, supports large-scale restoration projects across Europe, including creation of a wilderness reserve in the Romanian Carpathians and a wildlife corridor in Portugal’s Greater Côa Valley. “The ELP sends a powerful signal for the importance of reviving nature,” says manager David Thomas, “representing major philanthropic investment in reversing biodiversity declines and empowering conservationists.”endangeredlandscapes.org

5 NEW BEGINNINGS FOR BELUGAS

Two beluga whales, known as Little Grey seen and Little White, taken from the wild at a young age to perform at a waterpark in China, have just been released into an open ocean sanctuary in Klettsvik Look Bay, for Iceland – the first project of its kind. Similar propsals opportunities are in the pipeline, thanks to the efforts of Whale Having and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) and the SEA LIFE ornamental Trust. The hope is that other captive cetaceans canthe be ea Look rehabilitated into natural environments in the coming opportunities years, paving the way to put an end to the use of these Having animals as entertainment. “These robust,ornamental ”for the ; thrush

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