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British Wildlife is the leading natural history magazine in the UK, providing essential reading for both enthusiast and professional naturalists and wildlife conservationists. Published eight times a year, British Wildlife bridges the gap between popular writing and scientific literature through a combination of long-form articles, regular columns and reports, book reviews and letters.

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This Week in Biodiversity News – 1st December 2021

Hana Ketley
Hana Ketley

Critically endangered royal turtles have been released back into the wild in Cambodia. These 51 individuals are part of a drive to bolster the wild population, which was thought to be extinct two decades ago. There are hopes that the increasing number of adults in the wild will allow the species to begin to breed and that the number of annual nests will increase in the next few years.

Nature Restoration Fund awards £5m to projects tackling biodiversity loss and climate change across Scotland. NatureScot announced that this fund will be shared between 54 projects to restore nature, safeguard wildlife and tackle the causes of climate change. Those involved in these projects include RSPB Scotland, who are working to remove invasive rhododendron from the Atlantic rainforest of the Morvern peninsula; Forestry and Land Scotland, who are enhancing black grouse habitats in Craig Dhu; and St Andrews Links Trust, who are leading the West Sands dune restoration programme.

The extinction of megafauna may have triggered a rise in wildfires. A new study has found that the extinction of ancient grazing megafauna, such as the woolly mammoth and the giant ground sloth, may have played a role in the increase of fires over 10,000 years ago. The loss of these species had significant impacts on the environments they inhabited, leaving more grass and dead leaves as fuel for fires, leading to a cascade of consequences.

Anglers work to protect water voles on the River Gade. Together with Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust, a group of anglers are working to improve the habitat for this endangered species along a 350 metre stretch of the river at Croxley Hall Fisheries. The project entails removing fallen and over-shading trees to encourage plants to grow. It is hoped that this will create more diversity in the habitat, benefit a number of species, including kingfishers, bats and invertebrates.

Birdsong soundscapes are getting quieter. Annual bird monitoring data from European and American bird surveys in over 200,000 sites was translated into soundscapes by combining them with sound recordings for individual species. The results of this study by researchers at the University of East Anglia show a clear and continuous fall in the acoustic diversity and intensity of soundscapes across Europe and North America over the past 25 years.