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Herpetological Symposium

logoManchester Museum is proud to be hosting the British Herpetological Society’s 2015 symposium, incorporating their AGM and a number of herpetological talks. This is the first time the BHS has held an AGM outside London and this particular event is open to both non-members and BHS members, which now total over 600.

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Established in 1947, the British Herpetological Society is one of the most prestigious herpetological societies in the world, with their journal ranked as one of the leading scientific publications devoted to herpetology. Via publications, specialist committees and meetings, the society actively supports the conservation of native British species, field studies and conservation management work worldwide, scientific research, and the responsible captive breeding and maintenance of reptile and amphibian species.

They also actively support the exchange of knowledge and expertise between enthusiasts and herpetologists both in the UK and around the world, so this particular event is aimed at just that. Joining us on the day we have one of our very own Professors from the Faculty of Life Sciences, Richard Preziosi, and the Curator of lower vertebrates and vertebrates at Chester Zoo, Dr Gerardo Garcia, who will both be talking about their herpetological research and conservation work.

IMG_1729Attendees will also not only have the opportunity to visit our recently reinterpreted vivarium  exhibits, but during my talk they will also have the chance to see first hand many rare and endangered amphibians normally kept behind the scenes at the museum.

Join us for a day of herpetology, next Saturday, the 28th March. Admission is free.


The Green Machine

Recently Tara and I experienced ‘The Green Machine’ – no, not a new environmentally-friendly Aston Martin :), but a wonderful supplier of the most amazing aquatic plants, and the UK specialist in Aquascaping.

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The Green Machine is an aquatics store based in Cheshire that supplies high end, state of the art, aquariums and related equipment. We found it to be full of beautiful displays and a very cool place to visit. From the minute we walked through the door we were inspired by what we saw, and we also found the staff to be absolutely brilliant – so friendly and knowledgeable about the subject, we would definitely describe them as real experts in aquascaping. Its an amazing place.

Tropica plants

Top quality Tropica plants available at The Green Machine. (c) Andrew Gray

As well as being able to give some excellent practical advice in the most modern aquarium and aquatic plant keeping techniques, they also provide everything from the best quality aquariums, lighting, etc, as well a truly amazing selection of top quality aquatic plants.

Aquascaping itself is creating a small, totally natural, section of tropical riverbank within the confines of your own home. The vision of these guys is to change the face of aquatics in the UK into it becoming more of an art form. The emphasis of that art being the beautiful landscape seen within the aquarium, that is totally in harmony with nature. After visiting The Green Machine, we feel sure they are well on their way to achieving their vision.



Treasure Tibet

Nanorana pleskei; Tibetan Frog

Nanorana sp (c) Todd Pierson, kind permission of for frogblogmanchester.com

The evolution of Tibetan frogs belonging to the genus Nanorana parallels the geological changes that have occurred in the area, and thus adapted many millions of years ago to be able to survive in cold, high altitude, oxygen-poor conditions. Tibet itself, its flora and fauna, its landscapes, and particularly its people, with their unique spiritual culture, are distinctly special.

Tibet was declared independent from China over 100 years ago, but what effects Tibet today started with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army invading it in 1950. Hundreds of thousands of Monks, Nuns and civilians were imprisoned or killed for wearing traditional hairstyles and clothing, engaging in traditional song or dance, or voicing their religious beliefs. Any related rituals were strictly prohibited and anything representing the cultural identity of the Tibetan people was eradicated.

438March 10th is an important date for Tibetans, for on March 10th, 1959, thousands of Tibetans in Tibet rose up against China’s occupation of their country that had begun some 10 years previously. The uprising failed with huge loss of life, and the Dalai Lama was forced to escape into exile. Since that day, the anniversary of what became known as the Tibetan National Uprising has been marked by Tibetans in exile and – very often – by Tibetans in Tibet.

tibetan_1735964cThe Tibetan National Flag is now a symbol of freedom and resistance. It is still banned in Tibet today, but hundreds were defiantly flown throughout Tibet in the 2008 uprising, to amplify the people’s call for freedom. The flag is something that unites all Tibetans in their desire to help bring change on the ground inside Tibet.

So far, China has killed an estimated 1 million Tibetans, with 250,000 killed in prisons and labour camps. Their persecution continues. If you would like to help, then maybe you too would like to show your support for freedom and justice for Tibet and express solidarity with Tibetans inside Tibet by participating in the Tibet Freedom March and Rally this Saturday in London, or perhaps at one of the other events listed HERE.