Capuchin rhinoceros or a strange creature living in the depths of wells. Even Prague is a colorful natural jungle, claims zoologist Ondřej Sedláček
Was this work new for you as a co-author? Other?
Certainly. I’m a scientist and a conservationist, so I ended up in a genre that’s not entirely my own. On the other hand, this film is made in a slightly different way than classic films, so I learned a lot. And I hope I sold what I had to sell as a biologist.
Is there anything in the book that didn’t make it into the movie, and vice versa?
There are a lot of things in the book that didn’t make it into the movie. The film format can capture different emotions and the like, but it’s hard to put things in thereype of long-term development of communities or mycorrhiza, which is simply the coexistence of fungi and plants, so important for the functioning of plants.
There are a lot of facts in the book, the stories are complete, with ssheer detail. There are botanical and zoological chapters, on which they are still found Jan Albert Šturma, Petr Šípek and David Storch. It’s probably best to go to the cinema first and then read the book.
What is the strangest Prague animal?
Petr Šípek, for example, describes the blind crustacean, which is such a strange crustacean, which probably survives in deep wells. It is an animal that none of us will see. Me neither. But he is really special.
Surprisingly, we can find, for example, a capuchin rhinoceros in the capital. I mean the bug…
Yes, it is bound by its development to decaying biomass, so we can find it in composts, for example. Gardeners should be careful about that they did not scatter on the flower beds. A relatively well-known compost is in the botanical garden Na Slupi, which is right in the center of the city. It’s an amazing bug.
Where could we see our biggest hornet beetle at dusk?
It turns out that there are many places in Prague. Othe truth is abundant in Petřín. There is such a little place where you can observe it at dusk on warm June days. It ends sometime in early July.
What does the Prague Bizarre section discuss in your book?
They are such Prague oddities. With the book, we also wanted to reach teenagers, in whom we can see the future generation of conservationists. And you know that nature protection is not done just by sticking a sign somewhere and letting it all be… On the contrary. A lot of plants are tied to specific places, such as peeing areas around pubs. So we tried to describe these bizarre habitats in the book.
Cities are referred to as large heat islands. But cities can also be islands of several other significant ones. Which ones?
It doesn’t seem like it, but every person, every household, the whole city does whole heat. This means that cities are on average several degrees warmer than the surrounding countryside. JThis is very noticeable in winter, to which animals and plants naturally react. Nowadays, it is not at all unusual to find a blooming dandelion in mid-January. Or birds that migrate in the surrounding countryside spend the winter here.
Video Planet Prague (Jan Hošek, 2022) – Teaser CZ
At the same time, cities can be on an island in the surrounding countryside. We portray this in the film in such a way that the nature of the city is actually extremely varied. When you drive from Prague to Polabí, you can’t help but suddenly find yourself in a landscape that is uniform, homogenous, boring. But when you walk through Prague, you see how it changes in a small space. You see rocks, old parks, old trees, or, conversely, washed away soil, which can evoke sand dunes for plants and animals. Nature is extremely varied, and it is therefore an island in the surrounding countryside.
At the same time, this city is also full of islands. If we look at it from the point of view of a species that is bound to trees, it lives, say, in Stromovka. But another island of his habitat is somewhere across the river, where he cannot easily reach through the concrete jungle
How many birds are there in Prague? How did the mouflons get to the Krk hospital? And why are they critically dangerous for butterflies? Are the biotopes of other cities similar to the one in Prague? What makes Prague special? How great is the species richness in sub-Saharan Africa? And what problem does the fire in Bohemian Switzerland pose for nature? Listen to the full interview.