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OU on the BBC: Saving Species: Series 3, Episode 13

Updated Tuesday, 27th November 2012

The string of sausages lichen, wildlife in Turkmenistan, and hen harriers are the focus for Saving Species this week.

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Bukharan markhor (Capra falconeri heptneri) Creative commons image Icon Markhor - Highland Wildlife Park, Scotland / Vince O'Sullivan / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 under Creative-Commons license A Bukharan markhor (Capra falconeri heptneri) A very unusual species features in this week's programme: Brett Westwood travels to the Brecon Beacons to see the string of sausages lichen, Usnea articulata.

While it is very noticeable in the countryside as it hangs from tree branches as long thin strands like uncombed and sparse straggly hair, its name comes from swellings that occur along the strands at intervals which give the appearance of sausages.

Having declined due to industrial pollution, this lichen is now being spotted more regularly in locations in south Wales and there are hopes its fortunes are improving as it spreads east.

Mark Day has been to Turkmenistan this year as part of an international group of scientists invited by the Turkmenistan government to take part in expeditions and an international science conference to explore the Koytendag Nature Reserve.

The Koytendag Nature Reserve (formerly known as the Kugitang Nature Reserve, established in 1986) is located in the Lebap province.

The globally endangered markhor, a large wild mountain goat, is found in the reserve.

The hope is that by exploring the area and its wildlife, and through international co-operation, the area will gain worldwide recognition and protection for its unique landscapes and the wealth of rare plants and animals found in Koytendag, as well as bringing benefits to local communities through tourism.

Amongst the high peaks, deep canyons and gorges Mark enjoys the sight of different species of vultures wheeling overhead and discovers important botanical sources of mulberry, wild almonds and pistachios.

Also in the programme:

Listen to Saving Species

Note: Saving Species won't be broadcast at its usual time this week. You can listen to this episode on BBC Radio 4 at 9:00pm on Thursday 29 November 2012. More information and a link to listen again can be found on the Radio 4 website.

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