SEEN a rabbit in the UK? Then tell the scientists.

The BBC reports that biologists want the public to report sightings of rabbits and hares as part of a conservation effort. Apparently the bunnies are easier to spot in spring when vegetation is low and the breeding season is under way.

The Mammal Society says that hares may be declining in parts of the UK, while rabbits have been hit by myxomatosis and other viral diseases.

Dr Fiona Mathews, senior lecturer in mammalian biology said: “We have very poor information on rabbits and hares - and it's important to know if numbers are going up or down.”

--------------------------------------------

How about this for an epic journey? The Daily Express relates the story of an eight month old kitten which sneaked inside a shipping container in Egypt and survived 17 days without food and water until it was found 3,000 miles later in Herefordshire.

The Express says the ginger tom, which has been named Sinbad, managed to get into the back of a lorry in Alexandria port . The sealed container was put on a ferry and sailed across the Mediterranean Sea before going by road through Europe.

Sinbad was finally found when the lorry arrived at the warehouse of Mediterranean Linen in Moreton-on-Lugg, in Hereford.

Staff heard desperate mews coming from inside the vehicle and found the cat had made itself a bed in a box of linen.

--------------------------------------------

A recent poll, outlined in the Daily Mail, claims that the hardest word in the English language for foreigners to pronounce is 'Worcestershire'. Other words which caused difficulty included 'specific', 'squirrel', 'brewery' and 'edited'.

--------------------------------------------

We seem to have some very clever scientists here in the UK. An article in The Independent informs us that boffins at Durham University have deciphered the secrets of gibbon 'speech'.

The apes use a range of more than 450 different calls to talk to their companions.

Dr Esther Clarke commented that the research is so significant that it could provide clues on the evolution of human speech and also suggests that other animal species could speak a more precise language than has been previously thought.

--------------------------------------------

They seem to be a pretty glum lot in the Surrey village of Ash, according to the Daily Mirror. Their annual 'fun day' has been scrapped by the parish council because, says the paper, not enough people want to have a laugh.

A spokesman for the council said there are ‘no plans in place’ to stage a fun day because last year’s attendance was only 1,000 people and it was not worth the time and effort.

--------------------------------------------

Second World War memorabilia continues to attract plenty of interest in the UK. The Daily Telegraph reports that the uniform of Herman Goering, who founded the Gestapo and was commander of the German air force is for sale for £85,000.

John Cabello, of Devon-Parade Antiques, Plymouth, where the uniform is being sold, said: “Goering was hugely overweight and had a tendency to perspire a lot. That would explain the profusion of sweat in the tunic.

“The stress levels on the tunic's folds coupled with the strain on the broaches of the tunic show it was worn by someone overweight.

“This also proves it was worn for a long, long time by someone who was fat enough to cause it to stretch and wear over a period of time.”

Mr Cabello said he bought the item at auction from a Swiss collector. The outfit was made by the Viennese tailor, Tiller, who was known to have made uniforms for the Nazis during the war.

--------------------------------------------

Not sure this applies to our cats, but you never know – the Daily Mail reports on a survey which claims that the average pet spends 21 hours a week watching TV.

Indeed, some owners admit they spend hours watching the box with their animals and even leave it on when they are out to keep them company.

The survey, by Virgin Media, also revealed that almost two thirds of goldfish owners, 63 per cent, even confess to putting the tank in sight of the TV so their fish can watch it for more than three and a half hours a day. 

Reference list:

The Express (www.express.co.uk)

Daily Mail (www.dailymail.co.uk)

Daily Mirror (www.mirror.co.uk)

Daily Telegraph (www.telegraph co.uk)

BBC (www.bbc.co.uk)

The Independent (www.independent.co.uk)