50|50 Episode 19 Season 8: 13 August 2017
In die spervuur: Flamingos
There is nothing quite as vivid as the bright pink of a flamingo’s feathers. Nature has so many triumphs of genius and the pink in the flamingos’ feathers is certainly one of these. The colour is caused by the pigments in the algae and invertebrates these upside-down feeding birds consume, and if a flamingo were to stop eating food containing carotenoid pigments, its new feathers would begin to grow in a more faded colour. The flamingo may be flamboyant, but unfortunately like so many water birds they too are “In die Spervuur”.
Sea-bed mining: scraping the bottom of the barrel
Out feature story this week takes us on a rather sobering underwater expedition into the dark world of seabed phosphate mining. The deep ocean floor, admittedly, is not a habitat we generally give much thought to. But in mankind’s quest for resources and mineral wealth, companies have now turned to this relatively unexplored region, and its phosphates they’re after, a resource in relatively limited supply on Earth. Is the supply of phosphates really so limited that it’s worth scraping our ocean bed completely bare? With our global seas, sea life and climate already in serious trouble, this action certainly seems like a bridge too far. Bertus went to see if he could get to the bottom of this matter.
It’s Playtime in the VF studio tonight, as a whole host of hilarious creatures show us their more lively sides. A Secretary bird plays a game of catch the feather, a pair of hyenas play-fight over a stick, while a goshawk shows us how to hitch-hike like a pro!