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Cornwall's famous lifesaving dog Bilbo dies

Steve Jamieson describes Bilbo as his "best friend". Credit: ITV News

Cornwall's famous canine lifeguard Bilbo has died at the age of 12.

Owned by Sennen lifeguard Steve Jamieson, Bilbo the Newfoundland became a familiar sight patrolling the beach, and is credited with helping to save at least three lives.

Beachgoers grew to love Bilbo, and thousands signed a petition when a by-law banning dogs from Sennen beach in the summer meant he could no longer carry out his duties.

He became a lifeguarding icon, being taken to schools across the region to promote sea safety. Mr Jamieson announced the death of his beloved pet in an emotional tribute on Facebook.

Just to let you know that my lovely, lovely Bilbo/Best Friend/Saviour, slipped his moorings late this afternoon and has sailed off without me. RIP Bilbo, Gwynver supreme 2003-2015.

– Steve Jamieson

Rare West African monkey born in Devon

The baby has yet to be named. Credit: Paignton Zoo

A rare monkey from an endangered species has been born at Paignton Zoo.

The male cherry-crowned mangabey was born in the early hours of last Sunday, and has been seen spending time with his mother Kibibi, father Yengo and brother Kumba.

His species his native to tropical West Africa, where it lives in large groups of up to 25. Cherry-crowned mangabeys are endangered by deforestation and the bushmeat trade, but also live in protected areas, including the Omo Forest Reserve in Nigeria, where Paignton Zoo supports a conservation project.

The baby has spending time with his family. Credit: Paignton Zoo


Baby donkey meets huge shire horse on Dartmoor

Uncle Buster the shire horse meets the newest addition at the Miniature Pony Centre Credit: Miniature Pony Centre

The newest addition to the family at the Miniature Pony Centre on Dartmoor has come face to face with it's much larger cousin.

The tiny donkey is just a week old but staff at the centre say he's full of energy and is running rings around his mother.

When he was introduced to resident shire horse Buster, he wasted no time in running up to say hello.

Plymouth scientists discover new beetle

Scientists from Plymouth University have discovered a new species of beetle in South Africa.

The Capelatus Prykei is so different from other types of beetle, it’s been put in it’s own category.

The study shows that the insect is so isolated, it’s under threat and conservation agencies need to take action.

The newly discovered beetle: Capelatus prykei Credit: Plymouth University

Capelatus prykei immediately looks odd, quite unlike any previously known diving beetle.

This beetle’s a real evolutionary relic, which only seems to have survived in a very small area close to Cape Town, probably because this region has had a relatively stable climate over the last few million years.

– Dr David Bilton, Reader in Aquatic Biology at Plymouth University

Plymouth divers' close encounter with a dolphin named Clet

Three divers from the National Marine Aquarium were joined by a special visitor at Firestone Bay in Plymouth Sound - a bottlenose dolphin named Clet.

The divers had been monitoring the growth of seagrass when the popular dolphin circled the team and seemed friendly and inquisitive about what they were doing. Rachel Cole managed to capture on film the few minutes that Clet was with them.

Clet is unusual as he’s a solitary male who roams between Brittany, France and the Isle of Mull in Scotland. He was sighted in Dorset a couple of weeks ago, and in Torbay and Dartmouth more recently.

"I turned around and saw a huge silhouette of what I thought was a seal. It was only when Clet turned and I saw the dorsal fin that I knew it was him! He has joined me on a dive in Brixham before so I was ecstatic to see him again, especially on the first team dive with my work colleagues!”

– Rachel Cole, Community Seagrass Initiative


RSPCA reports rise in cruelty cases in the South West

Complaints to the RSPCA increased in 2014 Credit: Sean Dempsey/PA Archive

The RSPCA says its figures for 2014 show that cruelty complaints in the South West and Central England have gone up once again.

The charity investigated 28,800 complaints in the South West and central England in 2014 compared to 28,573 in 2013. More than 3,500 of these involved alleged deliberate and often violent cruelty being inflicted upon animals.

It is extremely concerning that we are still receiving so many complaints about animals being deliberately caused to suffer.

Most of the complaints we receive involve animals being neglected or not receiving the right care and often we can put that right by offering welfare advice. However, it is shocking that in 2014 people are still being deliberately cruel in what can be disturbingly inventive ways.

– John Grant, RSPCA superintendent

Cute picture alert: Baby mongooses born at Exmoor Zoo

Mumbles and Wiggles are now being looked after by keepers

Two yellow Mongooses have been born at Exmoor Zoo.

Keepers had to intervene to save the lives of Mumbles and Wiggles -as they've been called - after their mum ran out of milk and could no longer care for them.

The only two previous litters born at the zoo died in similar circumstances but on this occasion the zoo wasn't going to let that happen and took the decision to step in to hand rear the pair.

The Mongooses will become part of Exmoor Zoo's educational programme where children can get the opportunity to interact with wild animals and learn about the preservation of their natural habitats.

Lynn Reynolds from Exmoor Zoo told us this:

"That's my spot!" Crocodile tussles with terrapin at Paignton Zoo

This terrapin refused to budge Credit: Abigail Hewings / Paignton Zoo.

A crocodile at Paignton Zoo found an effective way of resolving the problem when he found somebody sat in his favourite spot.

The West African dwarf crocodile simply sat on top of his companion - a red-eared terrapin.

The photograph captures the quietly-determined tussle as the two battled it out for space under one of the heat lamps.

We have multiple basking spots in the enclosure to prevent competition and allow plenty of choice, so why they decided to climb over each other, I don’t know!

– Mike Bungard, curator of Lower Vertebrates and Invertebrates

The pair live in the Zoo’s Reptile Tropics exhibit and are usually on good terms.

Dartmoor saving endangered butterfly

Dartmoor has become a strong habitat for the species.

Dartmoor is being credited with saving a rare butterfly from extinction.

The High Brown Fritillary was classed as critically endangered last year, but has seen a 180% increase since, as the moor has become its stronghold - helped by last year's warm spring.

The High Brown Fritillary has increased in numbers by almost 200%. Credit: Butterfly Conservation
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