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Let's stay together

Lovers’ day is reputedly named after one or more of the early Christian martyrs named Valentine – pretty apt, as we are all martyrs to the unstoppable Valentine’s Day marketing machine nowadays. But hey, let’s not get too cynical, it’s a day for remembering love, passion and friendship, which can’t be bad.

 

Times like these, it’s good to look to a different source for inspiration, and what better than the natural world to get you in the mood for love…

 

Cut to the chase. How do you show you’re attracted to someone? Play hard to get, nuzzle close, strut your best dance moves, or stick like glue? And what’s the best way to your heart? Tasty meal, gorgeous gift, or undivided attention?

 

Maybe the animals and our scientists can show us a thing or two at the Love in the Natural World event here at the Museum on Sunday. It promises to be a really enjoyable blind date experiment with nature. Come along to the Attenborough Studio and join us, it’s free. (There’s a late morning and early afternoon session.)

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While you’re here at the Museum, have a peek around the dazzling Vault gallery and see which jewels can really impress.

 

On the theme of natural love and animal attraction, here are a few things to ponder:

  • apparently some of the most faithful animals are voles and penguins
  • the male deep-sea angler fish gets so attached to his female mate, his mouth literally fuses with her skin and their bloodstreams merge
  • how romantic snowdrops can be - for places to see them, try BBC Countryfile's 5 best snowdrop gardens or Valentine's Day Snowdrop Walk at Keswick
  • bonobos are the only non-human animal to indulge in pretty much every kind of sexual behaviour and orientation - l'll leave this to your imagination.

 

Easy Tiger

 

It’s also Chinese New Year on Sunday and the start of the Year of the Tiger. That Valentine's Day and Chinese New Year coincide is rare, and bodes well. It means the entire year is going to be filled with passion and great love.

 

tigers-mating.jpgThis is significant because the most critically endangered of all our tigers is the South Chinese (Amoy) tiger. There could be fewer than 30 left in the wild... The United Nations has put the tiger at the top of its list of 'most important’ endangered animals to be saved in 2010.


There was a recent heartening news story from the Telegraph about a very romantic couple of these tigers breeding on a South African reserve, called Tigerwoods and Madonna (pictured here in a loved-up state). The aim is to relocate them in China at some point. Tigerwoods has fathered 7 cubs so far. Long may you mate! Reportedly tigers only pair for a few days during mating, while the female is fertile. But in that time, if the male is unchallenged, they can mate up to 100 times. Blimey.

 

The main Chinese New Year celebrations in London’s Trafalgar Square are on 21 February, but there will be festivities starting this Sunday in Chinatown. Enjoy.

 

 

Picture: 'Tigerwoods mounting Madonna' © Save China's Tigers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike