FAQs - BBC Nature Frequently Asked Questions

We hope you enjoy our site and understand you may have some questions. Please check through our FAQs below to see if there is already an answer to your query.

If you have a general query about the BBC please look at the About the BBC website or the help pages.

If you have a complaint about the BBC, our programmes or services, please send it via the central BBC Complaints site.

Why are some video clips not working?

There are three possible reasons for this:

If you are outside of the UK, unfortunately not all of our clips are available internationally due to copyright restrictions and co-producer funding requirements. We are busy working to make more available throughout the year but unfortunately cannot give specific details about if and when particular clips will become internationally available.

If you were trying to view a clip on our site on an iOS device then unfortunately it will not play. We are aware of this problem and we are working on a solution but we cannot give specific details of when a fix will be released.

The reason could also be that you do not have an up-to-date Flash plug-in that is required if browsing our clips in Firefox and Chrome in Windows 7.

What's this site for?

We aim to give you access to some of the best natural history content in the world - whether that's from the BBC archive, from tonight's TV and radio or right now from the field. We hope you find the content entertaining and informative and enjoy exploring the amazing diversity of the natural world.

You seem to be missing a lot of species - what about this one?

We are not trying to be encyclopaedic - others are much better placed to provide this service.

Our purpose is to help you explore the natural world through BBC content: because we don't have content about the majority of the world's species we don't have a page for the majority of species.

How can I buy a DVD or CD of BBC content?

If you would like to purchase a DVD or CD of BBC content, please visit http://720p.fr/faqs/tv_dvd to help you find commercially available BBC programming from online suppliers.

How can I get permission to use a clip from a BBC programme?

Companies that wish to use extracts from a BBC programme commercially should contact BBC Motion Gallery, run by our commercial sister company BBC Worldwide or call them on: +44 (0)208 433 2861

For personal use, please visit the BBC Worldwide website.

If you're a school teacher and wish to purchase BBC programmes for educational purposes, or if you want copies of BBC programmes for use in education and training environments in higher education, companies and public bodies, please contact BBC Active with your request.

How can I get permission to use pictures from the BBC Nature website?

If you are looking to use one of the images on our pages, please check the copyright information on the image. We buy licences for most of the images on our pages and do not own the copyright for them so you will have to contact the stills library cited in the bottom corner of the image.

If there is no information in the bottom corner, this usually means that the BBC owns the copyright for the image. The BBC's photo library team deals with requests for BBC copyright images held within the archive. If you are looking to reuse images in a non-BBC context you will be required to sign our terms of trade and all research and reuse will be chargeable.

If you are enquiring about an image that you have seen on a BBC news website story, please email the In Pictures team.

For enquiries relating to TV footage and 'screen grabs', please email BBC Motion Gallery

How can I get permission to use music from a nature programme?

Please note the BBC can only help with requests for BBC-commissioned music. Please e-mail the Music Licensing Department or call +44 (0)208 433 1707.

How can I contact David Attenborough?

Unfortunately we cannot pass on any messages to David Attenborough.

How do I get a job/ work experience in natural history at the BBC?

For job vacancies, please visit the BBC Careers site.

If you have experience in production, add your CV to the BBC's Production Talent database.

For work experience opportunities, please visit the BBC's work experience site.

If you are a company that can provide specialist skills, please visit the BBC preferred suppliers web page.

Can you help me identify this animal/tell me more about this animal?

Unfortunately we do not have the resources to answer the high volume of wildlife queries we receive each day. However, if you have a photo of the plant or animal in question, try uploading your image to the iSpot website, an external site run by the Open University, to see if someone there can help you.

For bird-related queries, try asking on the RSPB wildlife question forum.

For insect/invertebrate queries, try contacting Buglife, The Invertebrate Conservation Trust.

For mammal queries, try contacting The Mammal Society.

Please note that the BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

How do I contact the Springwatch/ Autumnwatch/ Winterwatch team?

Email the Springwatch team.

Email the Autumnwatch team.

Email the Winterwatch team.

Why doesn't the Summer of Wildlife Handbook download?

If you are experiencing difficulties, please email the Summer of Wildlife team.

How do I submit my nature ideas to the BBC?

For news story ideas, please visit the 'Have Your Say' section of the BBC News website with any story ideas. Enquiries via this route are dealt with by a dedicated team who can pass your story to the appropriate journalist.

How to submit online and Red Button ideas.

How to submit television programme ideas.

How to submit radio programme ideas.

How can I add our nature activities & events to Things to Do?

If you are a not-for-profit organisation that runs nature activities involving active participation, please visit the Things to Do activity maker page for more information on how you can register.

Walruses and aardvarks - why don't you link to everything?

There are a couple of reasons why we might not provide a link to a particular taxon - the most likely reason is that we simply don't have any content about it. If we don't have any information, we aren't linking to it.

The other reason is that some species - such as walruses and aardvarks are the only living representative species in their genus and family (or order in the case of aardvarks). This means that we don't have anything to say about their genus, family etc and so don't have a page about them.

Why does your map look funny?

All maps are a compromise, they have at least one sort of distortion; this is because maps are projections of a sphere on to a plane.

We are using the Robinson projection - this projection has the disadvantage of being heavily distorted near the poles (the distortions elsewhere are much less severe) but importantly has the advantage of providing a good representation of the surface area. (Many projections don't seek to preserve the surface area which is why Greenland can appear to be the same size as Africa).

Where are you getting your species distribution data?

The data is sourced from WWF's Wildfinder, more information on which can be found on the Wildfinder site.

WWF, in turn, sourced the data from here:

AMNH Amphibian Database for amphibians

EMBL Database for reptiles

Sibley and Monroe for birds

Wilson and Reeder for mammals

Modifications to these lists have been made, by WWF, at the suggestion of regional and taxonomic experts.

What about the information on adaptations, where's that from?

We are making extensive use of ETHAN (Evolutionary Trees and Natural History Ontology) as used by the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology's Animal Diversity Web to provide us with information about the adaptations and behaviours associated with each species.

The species distribution data looks wrong to me - what's going on?

The maps show a set of ecoregions in which the species occurs, not a precise range map for the species.

The database only records the presence or absence of each species in each ecoregion. This means that even if a species is only found in one location within an ecoregion the entire region will be highlighted. This will typically overestimate the geographic range for a species.

What does the Conservation Status mean?

The IUCN Red List evaluates the extinction risk of thousands of species and subspecies around the world.

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (also know as the IUCN Red List or Red Data List) is recognised as the world's most authoritative inventory of the global conservation status of plant and animal species.

Species are classified in nine groups, based on criteria such as rate of decline, population size, area of geographic distribution, and degree of population and distribution fragmentation.

• Extinct (EX) - No individuals remaining

• Extinct in the Wild (EW) - Known only to survive in captivity, or as a naturalised population outside its historic range

• Critically Endangered (CR) - Extremely high risk of extinction in the wild

• Endangered (EN) - Very high risk of extinction in the wild

• Vulnerable (VU) - High risk of extinction in the wild

• Near Threatened (NT) - Likely to become endangered in the near future

• Least Concern (LC) - Lowest risk. Does not qualify for a more at risk category. Widespread and abundant taxa are included in this category

• Data Deficient (DD) - Not enough data to make an assessment of its risk of extinction

• Not Evaluated (NE) - Has not yet been evaluated against the criteria

The term 'threatened' is a grouping of: Critically Endangered, Endangered, and Vulnerable.

Why is the BBC using Wikipedia?

We know that many people would like to find out more about the natural world, and background information about the species, habitats and adaptations we cover is one of the key things that people expect to find on our pages.

However, we feel that we provide best value to the licence fee payer by concentrating our resources on providing great original content and making it easy to find that content on the web.

By incorporating content from Wikipedia we can offer good quality background information across the breadth of natural history content, while focusing on bringing unique content online.

Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation Licence, which means not only is there no licensing cost to the licence fee payer for this text, but it is also freely available to all our users to use and share in turn. At the BBC we are not only using the content that is already published on Wikipedia, but also improving those articles and creating new ones where none exist. This should improve bbc.co.uk, Wikipedia and any other site that uses Wikipedia.

What if I find some content that's inaccurate from Wikipedia?

Everybody is welcome to edit Wikipedia, and we are very keen to encourage experts among our users to contribute in this way. Links are displayed on every page that incorporates Wikipedia content, to edit entries please go to Wikipedia and edit the article there.

What happens if somebody decides to vandalise content on Wikipedia deliberately?

Our first resort is to rely on Wikipedia's own community and conventions which have generally proved robust in their response to vandalism. The Wikipedia policy on vandalism can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_vandalism. However, if it comes to our attention, for example via a user complaint, that there is a persistent problem with offensive or defamatory content being included from Wikipedia on any of our pages, we also have the option of suspending the inclusion of that information on the page in question until we're satisfied that the problem has been resolved. In the unlikely event that you have spotted something offensive please contact us and let us know.

What natural history programmes are on the TV and radio?

A full list of BBC programmes, those currently available on iPlayer, those coming up in the next 7 days and podcasts are available on the Science & Nature Programmes page.

Where's your API?

Our website is our API - you can access the site as RDF/XML or RSS. For more information please see feeds and data.

What's the banner image of?

Here is a list of all the banner images we have used across our site:


• Birds: Scarlet Macaw feathers

• Amphibians: Northern Leopard Frog, Ontario, Canada

• Mammals: Jackal Fur

• Reptiles: Alligator scales

• Cartilaginous Fishes: Whale Shark skin

• Star Fish: Red starfishes, Mexico, Sea of Cortez, Baja California, La Paz

• Ray-finned Fishes: Spotted scorpionfish

• Spiders: A house spider sitting in a bathroom sink, London

• Insects: Wasp Eye

• Sea Urchins: Red and purple urchins

• Corals and sea anemones: Various types of coral in an aquarium at London Zoo

• Cephalopods: Reef Octopus Suckers

• Lobsters: Regal slipper lobster

• Millipedes: Giant Millipede Shell

• Polychaete Worms: Fan worm, Gozo, Malta

• Lobe-finned fishes: Prehistoric Coelacanth digital illustration of a fish that was believed to have become extinct during the Cretaceous Period. Specimens have recently been found in Indonesia.

• Barnacles: Barnacles from Bucks Mill beach, Devon, UK

• Mollusca: Giant African landsnail.

• Animals: Herd of wildebeest on a field, Tanzania

• Chordates: Cat X-Ray.

• Arthropods: Caterpillar larva of death's head hawk moth feeding on potato foliage, Camargue, France

• Jellyfish: Red starfishes, Asteroidea, Mexico, Sea of Cortez, Baja California, La Paz

• Lampreys: Sea lamprey close up of disk-shaped mouth with horny teeth, Europe

• Whales: Bryde's whale with throat pleats expanded after feeding on baitball of Sardines off Baja California, Mexico, Eastern Pacific Ocean

• Plants: Close-up of leaf vein structure in Fig leaf, Dorset, UK

• Fungi: Close up of gills of the Field mushroom in Dorset, England

• Chromista: Giant Kelp close up with detail of floats. Catalina Island, California, USA


• Adapted to extremes: Polar bear resting in blizzard, Churchill, Manitoba, Canada

• Animal intelligence: Hooded Crow trying to open a bottle, Liminka Finland May

• Behavioural pattern: Wildebeest herd

• Communication and senses: Common cuttlefish

• Ecosystem roles: Wasp beetle on an Ox-eye daisy flower

• Feeding habits: Schooling bigeye jacks

• Life cycle: Agile frog developing embryo Italy

• Locomotion: Bottlenose dolphins jumping at sunset, Caribbean

• Morphology: Close-up of shells of snails

• Predation strategy: Crocodile Teeth

• Reproduction strategy: Frog Spawn

• Social behaviour: Honey Bees

• Survival strategy: Yellow pygmy seahorse camouflaged amongst coral, Indo-pacific


• Terrestrial: Rock Formations in Zhang Jia Jie National Park' It's in Hunan Province, China

• Freshwater: Forest in Skate Creek, Washington, USA

• Marine: Coral reef scenic from Raja Empat, Indonesia


• Penwith peninsula, Cornwall, UK

Wildlife Finder

• Tropical ladybird on leaf, Tambopata National Reserve, Amazonia, Peru

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