Bahrain dictatorship continues


This video is called CNN exposes Bahrain government’s media censorship of tortured protesters.

Bahrain Special: How Regime Supporters Used a New York Times Reporter (Again) To Denounce the Opposition: here.

Bahrain Government Poised to “Get Tougher” on Opposition: here.

British turtle doves endangered


This video says about itself:

Illegal Trapping of Turtle Doves 2 May 2011, Red Tower (Malta), CABS Bird Guards.

CABS and police seizing nets and live Turtle Dove decoys at the Red Tower (Malta) on 2 May 2011, trappers are running away.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

RSPB scrambles to save turtle dove

Wednesday 09 May 2012

Conservationists will launch a last-gasp effort to save the turtle dove tomorrow.

Numbers of the bird — traditionally seen as a symbol of love and devotion — have dropped by more than 90 per cent since the 1970s.

But scientists have been left scratching their heads about the cause of the dove’s decline.

It may be they’re being shot down during their annual migration as they pass over the Mediterranean, but the RSPB will be investigating the possibility it’s being caused by changes to farming patterns hitting their traditional diet.

See also here.

Endangered honeyeaters released in Australia


This video from Australia is called Helmeted Honeyeaters road to recovery.

From Wildlife Extra:

Critically Endangered Honeyeaters released into the wild in Australia

Helmeted Honeyeaters released to save species

May 2012. Fifteen critically endangered Helmeted Honeyeaters were released into the wild as efforts by the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) (Australia) and Healesville Sanctuary continue to save the bird from extinction.

Survives at just 2 sites

The release will boost the numbers to an estimated 100 in the wild at just two sites; Bunyip State Park, 20km south-east of Gembrook and Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve, 18km south of Healesville.

DSE’s Senior Ornithologist Bruce Quin said this is the first time Helmeted Honeyeaters have been released in this section of Bunyip State Park. “The park was burnt by the Black Saturday fires; however, wild birds moved into the site once it started to regenerate. They are surviving here with no supplementary feeding that suggests ideal habitat,” Mr Quin said.

“The birds were fitted with transmitters, for tracking purposes, and transferred to aviaries at Bunyip State Park earlier this week to allow them to get used to their wild environment without danger of predation, especially from birds of prey. All released birds are also leg banded making it easier to track them.”

Spanish fossil giant panda relative discovered


Bear evolution

From ScienceDaily:

A ‘Cousin’ of the Giant Panda Lived in What Is Now Zaragoza, Spain

(May 9, 2012) — A team of Spanish scientists have found a new ursid fossil species in the area of Nombrevilla in Zaragoza, Spain. Agriarctos beatrix was a small plantigrade omnivore and was genetically related to giant pandas, according to the authors of the study.

The fossil remains of a new ursid species, Agriarctos beatrix, have been discovered in the Nombrevilla 2 site in the province of Zaragoza, Spain. Researchers from Spain’s National Museum of Natural Sciences (MNCN-CSIC) and the University of Valencia suggested that this plantigrade lived during the Myocene

sic; Miocene

period some 11 million years ago.

“This bear species was small, even smaller than the Sun bear — currently the smallest bear species. It would not have weighed more than 60 kilos,” as explained by Juan Abella, researcher at the Department of Paleobiology of the MNCN-CSIC and lead author of the study, published in the journal Estudios Geológicos.

Although it is difficult to determine its physical appearance given that only pieces of dental fossils have been found, scientists believe that it would have had dark fur with white spots mainly on the chest, around the eyes and possibly close to the tail.

“This fur pattern is considered primitive for bears, such as that of the giant panda whose white spots are so big that it actually seems to be white with black spots,” states Abella.

Agriarctos beatrix, from the Ursidae family and related to giant pandas, would have lived in the forest and could have been more sessile that those bears that tend to hunt more, such as the brown or polar bears. According to researchers, the extinct bear would have escaped from other larger carnivores by climbing up trees.

The expert highlights that “its diet would have been similar to that of the sun bear or the spectacled bear that only eat vegetables and fruit and sometimes vertebrates, insects, honey and dead animals.”

The lone bear

“We know that it was a different species to those documented up until now because of its morphological differences and the size of its teeth,” confirms the scientist. “We have compared it with species of the same kind (Agriarctos) and similar kinds from the same period (Ursavus and Indarctos).”

The reasons for its extinction have yet to be determined but “the most probable cause is likely to be the opening up of the forests giving way to more open, drier spaces and the appearance of similar yet larger and more competitive species,” says Abella.

The findings now date the appearance of this group related to giant pandas some two millions years later, from 9 million years ago to 11 million years ago. They could have originated in the north-east basins of the Iberian Peninsula.

See also here.

World’s rarest gorillas video


This video says about itself:

For the first time ever, conservationists have captured video footage of Cross River gorillas in their natural environment, thanks to a camera trap secreted in a forest in Cameroon. The elusive gorillas are some of the most elusive animals on Earth. Credit: Wildlife Conservation Society.

See also here. And here. And here.