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  1. Kevin Ashford

Observatory opens at Dyfi Valley nature reserve

A wildlife observatory has officially opened today at the Cors Dyfi Nature Reserve in Powys.

It will offer visitors a 360-degree panoramic view of the Dyfi Valley.

The observatory, which is part of the Dyfi Osprey Project, already attracts 40,000 visitors a year and there are hopes the new facility will boost numbers further.

Pictures: New Dyfi Valley wildlife observatory opens

The new observatory cost £1.4m - funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Communities and Nature and Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust.
Visitors to the observatory on the Cors Dyfi reserve can get a 360-degree panoramic view of the Dyfi Valley in Mid Wales.
The reserve is home to the Dyfi Osprey Project, which attracts 40,000 visitors per year.

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New wildlife observatory a 'world class facility'

A brand new observatory opening today on Cors Dyfi, home of the Dyfi Osprey Project, has been called a 'world class facility.'

Visitors will get a 360 degree panoramic view of the Dyfi Valley, allowing them to experience the ecosystem from a totally new perspective.

We now have a world class facility that will enable us to connect people with wildlife like never before in Wales. It takes forward our vision of enhancing people's relationship with nature and learning about the natural world around us.

The 360 Observatory takes wildlife watching and learning to a higher level, quite literally.

– Emyr Evans, 360 Project Manager

360 degree observatory opens on Cors Dyfi reserve

The new 360 degree observatory will provide fantastic views of the ospreys over the Dyfi Valley. Credit: Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust

A brand new 360 observatory is opening later today on the Cors Dyfi reserve, home of the Dyfi Osprey Project.

It will provide a full 360 degree panoramic view of the Dyfi Valley with the Pumlumon Mountains and Snowdonia National Park.

The £1.4 million project was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Communities and Nature, and Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust.

It has also been supported by thousands of volunteer hours and has created four jobs for the Dyfi Valley.

The Dyfi Osprey Project, only open in the summer months, brings in 40,000 visitors a year, and up to £350,000 to the local economy.

The new Observatory will be open for 12 months a year and it is hoped will bring added visitors and value to the area.

Damsels in distress

Damselflies and Dragonflies flourish in clean water. Credit: Glandwr Cymru

Glandwr Cymru, the Canal & River Trust in Wales is warning the wettest winter on record could have had a lasting impact on populations of damselflies and dragonflies.

It says fluctuating river levels and fast currents are known to wash away larva (or nymphs).

As larva live underwater for up to three years, our unprecedented floods may have a long-term effect on dragonfly populations.

Dragonflies' ancestors were around before dinosaurs. Credit: Glandwr Cymru

The Trust is asking people to help monitor the insects as part of its annual Great Nature Watch, which launches today

Gannets pictured in flight at Grassholm Island

Scientists from the University of Exeter have captured some incredible footage of what it's like to fly with the UK's largest seabird.

Researchers working in the RSPB's Grassholm Island nature reserve in Pembrokeshire attached miniature cameras to some of the gannets nesting there to produce these amazing pictures.

Footage courtesy of the University of Exeter.

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Rare shark spotted off Pembrokeshire coast

The thresher shark leaps from the water surrounded by a pod of dolphins Credit: Richard Crossen for Sea Trust

A rare thresher shark estimated to be around four metres in length has been spotted leaping out of the water half a mile off Milford Haven.

The photograph was taken by a group of researchers who were observing a large pod of dolphins many of which were with their calves.

Thresher sharks are extremely rare in UK waters with just six sightings in 2012 and two in 2011.

The researchers from Sea Trust believe the shark was feeding on the Mackerel the dolphins were feeding on but admitted baby dolphins may also feature on the diet of a shark of that size.

'Rare dolphin species' makes home off Bardsey Island

The Risso’s dolphin breed is large and grey with a blunt nose, and is described by experts as 'shy' Credit: Whale and Dolphin Conservation

Researchers say a rare dolphin species has made its home off the Welsh coast.

The Whale and Dolphin Conservation society says a small number of Risso's dolphins have been returning regularly to live and breed in the sea off Bardsey Island in North Wales.

Chris Butler Stroud, chief executive of WDC, said: "This new research underlines that this is a small population and that the waters of North Wales are important for it.

"We must do everything in our power now to make sure that this small group survives."

Funding 'will help tackle pressures' on wildlife

Despite conservation successes in recent years, Welsh wildlife is declining as the number of pressures it faces continues to rise.

This funding will help to tackle these pressures by enabling us to better understand how we can operate effectively in a modern world while sustaining a resilient and healthy environment in Wales. Good management of our ecosystems is essential, as it not only benefits the environment, but can help make us more resilient to climate change and extreme weather events such as flooding.

Wales is blessed with some of the most beautiful and unique wildlife in the UK and is really important that we take action to protect it now so that we, and our future generations, can it enjoy it for many years to come.

– Alun Davies, Natural Resources Minister

£1.5m Welsh Govt funding to help protect wildlife

Earlier this week, the Welsh Government was challenged to act to stem the decline of wildlife. Credit: PA

Wales' Natural Resources Minister Alun Davies has announced £1.5m funding to help protect wildlife here.

The investment will help "to deliver healthy ecosystems and make Wales' natural environment more resilient to climate change."

This week, a report from a group of 25 wildlife organisations warned that Wales' wildlife is "at crisis point" with more than one in 10 of all the species assessed under threat of extinction.

The Welsh Government says this funding "aims to address a number of issues set out in the report and will help protect Wales's precious natural environment."

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