Van Gogh watercolour to museum


This video from the Netherlands is called New acquisition: Van Gogh’s ‘Pollard willow’.

From Dutch Daily News:

Van Gogh Museum purchases ‘Pollard willow’ by Vincent van Gogh

May 10, 2012

For the first time in five years, the Van Gogh Museum has purchased a work by Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890). The watercolour Pollard willow is a major addition to the museum’s collection. Director Axel Rüger comments: ‘This specific work was on the museum’s wish list as a major potential purchase, because it is one of the most representative watercolours from Van Gogh’s period in The Hague, and until now, there was a gap in our collection here.

Van Gogh made this work in the Hague when he was a pupil of Anton Mauve.

Breivik supporters threaten Iraqi refugee, massacre witness


This video from Norway is called Survivors and bereaved respond to Breivik’s testimony.

From DPA news agency, about the court case of racist mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik in Norway:

Thursday’s final witness was 20-year-old Mohammed Abdulrahman, who said he saw Breivik gun down a girl who approached him and kicked her. “He then took a smaller weapon and shot her at close range.”

Iraq-born Abdulrahman later jumped into the lake to escape Breivik, despite being a poor swimmer, and got a flashback from a bombing he experienced at his school in Iraq, believing he was about to die.

Unfortunately, Breivik is not the only xenophobe (or the only person giving in cowardly to xenophobes) in the world. Iraqi refugees like Mohammed Abdulrahman are threatened by governments like the Dutch government with deportation to dangerous Iraq.

Today, on the day he testified, Abdulrahman was threatened by e-mail, apparently by a Breivik supporter.

Norwegian TV 2 writes about this (translated):

The threat was very hard on the young man, who previously had dreaded to go to Oslo District Court as a witness.

- It was difficult for him at all to come to Oslo District Court today. It has not made ​​life easier that he is a threatened now.

Baby killifish born


This video from Africa is called Killifish in natural habitat.

From ZSL London Zoo in England:

New hatchlings in the Aquarium

Thursday 10 May 2012

At ZSL London Zoo we are celebrating the arrival of some baby ma[n]grove killifish, that hatched out very recently in the Aquarium.

Mangrove killifish are an astounding species of fish, for a number of reasons:

Natural populations are self-fertilizing hermaphrodites, the only natural example of cloning among vertebrates.
Has been observed to “flip” out of water to escape predation. It has also been observed moving amphibiously between ponds or burrows and can survive for prolonged periods out [of] water living on the forest floor.
In addition to tolerating extremes in salinity and temperature, it also tolerates high sulfide levels. As such, it is generally found in areas lacking other fish species, such as crab burrows, stagnant pools and impounded ditches.
its distribution closely parallels that of the red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle)

You can come and visit the new arrivals at ZSL London Zoo Aquarium, where we are also breeding several species of extremely rare or extinct in the wild species of killifish, as part of our collaborative project, Fish Net.

Sociedad Ornitológica Puertorriqueña Inc. (SOPI, BirdLife in Puerto Rico) has been awarded funds by the Mangrove Alliance Small Grants Program (SGP) to perform the first comprehensive study of the mangrove community at Caño Tiburones. SOPI will document past and present distribution of mangroves from both scientific research (including the use of aerial photographs) and local knowledge, and will be involving the local community, groups, students, and the general public in their actions: here.

Single tiger dad brings up cubs


Indian tiger dad Dollar scolds his daughter. Photo credit Balendu SinghFrom Wildlife Extra:

Modern male single parent tiger bringing up cubs

The extraordinarily caring tiger

May 2012. In the sun baked Araveli hills and lakes of Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan, India, an extraordinary wild drama is being played out.

The well-known and patient tigress, Kachida, had already raised three cubs to full maturity in the park, between 2007 and 2010, putting up with her mature brood well into their adulthood. She was also a favourite to visitors and the park guards, being completely comfortable with humans in her territory.

Balendu Singh, an honorary Wildlife Warden, found Kachida in the small pool behind the Dhakara anicut in late January last year. Soon, two healthy cubs came scampering down to the water’s edge calling for their mother. Traces of blood on the mouths and paws confirmed that the cubs had eaten meat from a fresh kill, likely to have been one of their first proper meals, after coming off their mother’s milk.

Tragedy

Tragically, only two weeks later, Kachida came within 50 metres of chowki (guard post) and was heard roaring throughout the night, deeply unsettling the forest guards inside. In the cold dawn that morning, the guards found her dead body under a gum tree, after an agonizing death that night from blocked intestines.

A frantic search for the now orphaned cubs ensued. What should the authorities do? Experts stressed that her four month old cubs would die without support within a few days – but the cubs had other survival ideas. They feed on the small chunks of meat and water put out for them, and guards were placed on duty day and night to watch them. A zoo was always an option, and as days past when they could not be found concern mounted and everyone feared the worst.

“We feared greatly for their survival” said Yogesh Sahu, the Deputy Field director, in charge of the park.

Remarkable turnaround

Then two months later in May last year, a series of camera trap pictures revealed a most astonishing fact. A large male tiger was captured on camera, walking with the cubs some five kilometres from their den.

Here was their father, the dominant male of the area, out on his regular territorial walk with his own small orphaned cubs. Nothing like this had ever been recorded before. A male tiger, taking on a mother’s role – and from such a tender age.

The male tiger, known as Dollar (called because of the dollar shape stripes on his right flank), is often seen hunting and allowing his daughters to eat from his kill, not merely protecting them from other tigers, which is usually the father’s only job. Those who have been privileged enough to spot this family have seen the cubs nuzzle a sleeping father who would lift his paw and ‘pat’ the cub down near him, in the manner of mother. Recently Dollar come out from the bush, cubs in tow patrolling his territory, spray-marking trees, rolling in the scent left by him or scalding the wrong-doings of his daughters.

The cubs are alive and well today, and history is being well and truly rewritten by this extraordinary father, after nearly a year of fatherly motherhood.

Not yet out of danger

But this does not mean the two cubs are out of danger yet. The worry is that a new female tigress, coming into his prime territory, may well alter his protective and caring behaviour towards his daughters.

Would he stop protecting them? What happens when they mature? Will a transient male kill them first?

Father and his daughter walk show huge affection to each other. Photo creit  Balendu Singh

Follow the tiger’s story

You can now follow this amazing drama on Tiger Nation www.tigernation.org with Tiger diaries, photos and videos on all the action in the wild. Dollar is just one of a number of ‘star’ wild tiger that [one] can follow on this subscription based web platform, that uses the power of social media and participation to power a revolution in conservation.

Tiger Nation’s ‘people-powered’ approach, alongside wildlife partners and experts, aims to aid efforts to expand the area in which tigers can thrive across India.

Story told by Balendu Singh, an Honorary Wildlife Warden, and Yogesh K Sahu, the District Forest Officer of Ranthambhore National Park, Rajasthan.

May 2012. A recent preliminary assessment of 63 legally protected areas in seven tiger range countries shows that only 22, or 35%, maintain WWF’s minimum standards of protection. This indicates that the areas set up to protect tigers and other threatened species are not necessarily the refuge they are designed to be, says WWF: here.

July 2012. The Supreme Court of India has ordered an embargo on tourism in the “core zones” of India’s government run tiger reserves. There is a further hearing on 22 August, at which Travel Operators For Tigers (TOFT) will present an argument to the Supreme Court for a review petition, allowing for the continuation of sustainable tourism in India’s National Parks and reserves: here.

Oldest Dutch shrike back from Africa


This video is about red-backed shrikes and their nest.

Translated from the Stichting Bargerveen in the Netherlands:

Oldest shrike of the Netherlands is back

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The ‘Year of the Shrikes’ 2012 has started now for the red-backed shrike as well. Last week, week the first reports of males arrived and on Tuesday the first female was discovered. And not just any female! Nearly seven years of age, this ‘old lady’ now is the oldest known shrike in the Netherlands.

Next Saturday is the official kickoff of the shrike season in the Bargerveen in Emmen, with lectures, excursions and the introduction of a shrikes’ walk app for smartphones.

The red-backed shrikes are back from Africa. Last week several males were seen. On Tuesday, May 8th the first female was discovered. On 30 July 2005, this female was ringed while still a chick. She is now almost seven years old. This makes her the oldest female shrike ever observed in the Netherlands! Only once before, in 2005, in the Netherlands a seven-year-old shrike was discovered, a male in the Bargerveen. Most red-backed shrikes do not become older than three years, but abroad sometimes animals of eight years old are reported. Should our “old lady” return from Africa next year, then that will be absolutely a Dutch record age.

Red-backed shrikes nesting near Vaals, Limburg: here.

Rare shrike Lanius lahtora pallidirostris on Texel: here.

Versatile Blogger Award, thanks intergenerational!


Versatile Blogger award

Intergenerational, of the beautiful blog My Botanical Garden, was so kind to nominate this blog for the Versatile Blogger Award. Thank you so much, and good luck with your blogging!

(The rules are indeed versatile, they changed a bit since the last time I got that award. They still, correctly, include thanking the blogger who nominated you, and notifying the bloggers whom you nominate).

According to the rules here are 15 blogs which I recommend for the award:

1) MoonLightened Way

2) Ann Novek–With the Sky as the Ceiling and the Heart Outdoors

3) ATA MOTEK, a Romanian blog

4) Rodposse from Greece

5) marina kanavaki in Greece

6) Musings on Nature & Items of Interest in the USA

7) kofegeek

8) Tracie Louise Photography

9) schtiel in Romania

10) Female Humans, by Neha Mendiratta Khullar in India

11) Staatsbosbeheer Texel, about nature reserves on a beautiful island in the Netherlands

12) Keelan Foley from Ireland

13) 1001 Scribbles

14) The Trail

15) Culture Design

And now 7 things about me; 7 places which I like:

1) Cacela Velha in Portugal

2) Tendaba in Gambia

3) Kaiser mountains in Suriname

4) Baboensanti in Suriname

5) Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam, the Netherlands

6) Groene Jonker nature reserve in the Netherlands

7) Oostvaardersplassen nature reserve in the Netherlands

If you’ve received the award previously, then know I feel you deserve another one. Congratulations!

The rules of the award are:

1) Thank the person who nominated you and link back to them in your post.
2) Share 7 things about yourself.
3) Pass the award on to 15 more bloggers.
4) Contact the bloggers you’ve chosen to let them know that they’ve been selected.

Bahrain dictatorship continues


This video says about itself:

Arab Swing: ‘Saudis & Qatar in rush to please US’

14 February 2012

Police in Bahrain have fired tear gas and stun grenades at protesters trying to occupy a landmark square in the nation’s capital. It’s happened on the eve of the one year anniversary of a pro-democracy uprising in the Gulf kingdom.

On Monday, hundreds of protesters marched through Manama to mark the revolt that was crushed by security forces.

Tariq Ali, Middle East expert told RT there’s a huge difference in how some world powers treat suppression of protests in the region.

Bahrain Live Coverage: “Almost Broken, But Not Entirely So”: here.

Al-Qaeda bomb plot, CIA plot?


This video from the USA says about itself:

3 May 2012

On Tuesday, the FBI thwarted a plan of five self-described anarchists who were planning to blow up a bridge near Cleveland, Ohio. It turns out the FBI played an instrumental role in helping the Cleveland Five plan the alleged scheme. Stephen Webster, senior editor of Raw Story, joins us with more.

By Bill Van Auken in the USA:

The political uses of the latest “terror plot

10 May 2012

One day after publicly announcing that the CIA had foiled an Al Qaeda plot to bomb a commercial airliner, US officials revealed Tuesday that the would-be bomber was in fact an informant working for the CIA and Saudi intelligence.

This turn of events is in line with so many domestic terror plots “disrupted” by federal authorities, which—in the overwhelming majority of cases—have featured confidential informants acting as agent provocateurs, instigating stage-managed plots and providing targeted patsies with money, dummy bombs and fake weapons before they are rounded up.

The account given for this latest operation is decidedly murky. Officials have claimed that the plot originated with the infiltration of a group affiliated to the Yemen-based Al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula by the CIA-Saudi double agent. Why the US government would choose to expose such a seemingly valuable mole by making the supposed plot public is unclear to say the least.

It is impossible to sort fact from fiction in the versions being reported by the media. A highly skeptical attitude toward the most basic claims about this episode is more than warranted. However, the saturation news coverage is itself an unmistakable indication that, with less than six months to go before the US presidential election, elements within the Obama administration and the state apparatus want to move the “war on terror” to the front burner of American politics.

A key motivation for this was made clear Wednesday by the Washington Post, which published an editorial entitled “The US is right to strike hard at terrorists in Yemen.”

Underwear bomb seizure being ‘exploited’ by FBI: here.

U.S. Treasury Claim of Iran-Al-Qaeda “Secret Deal” Is Discredited: here.