Help reptiles and amphibians, video


This video, recorded in the USA and Canada, says about itself:

ARC #1: Welcome To The Amphibian and Reptile Conservancy

from The Sticky Tongue Project

“The great outdoors is the foundation of all life on Earth, including yours.” Episode 1 of a year-long 24 episode education-outreach video series starring Whit Gibbons (Herpetologist and Author), produced in cooperation with The Amphibian and Reptile Conservancy.

This series will feature “fascinating facts and helpful conservation tips” for everyone “from homeowners to professional land and wildlife managers.”

Rare Indian monkeys helped by rope bridges


This video from India is called The Golden Langur Conservation Project.

From Wildlife Extra:

New rope bridges helping to save endangered Golden langurs in India

Connecting canopies – ropeways to save the endangered langurs – Courtesy of The Wildlife Trust of of India

November 2012: As humans make an ever increasing indelible mark on the work, wildlife is constricted into smaller and small, and more and more fragmented habitats. In a few places, some allowance is now being made for the needs of wildlife when major obstacles are constructed. Wildlife over and under passes are becoming more common on major roads, fish ladders have been around for many years, and ropeways, already in use in Africa and Australia, have now been installed in a small corner of India to allow endangered Golden langurs to cross a large highway.

Golden langurs – endemic to the Indo-Bhutan region, have been using ropeways to safely cross a 500-m stretch of road near Chakrasila Wildlife Sanctuary (WLS). The stretch of road had claimed numerous golden langurs in the last few years, but since the installation of the ropeways in January this 2012, no death due to accidents on the road has been reported.

Golden langur

The golden langur (Trachypithecus geei) is an endangered primate with its distribution restricted between the Manas and Sonkosh rivers, in Assam. Its range includes The Chakrasila Wildlife Sanctuary and parts of Bhutan. It feeds on fruits, leaves, seeds, flowers etc. It is listed under schedule I of the Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

On the northern boundary of Chakrasila, the 500-m road separates the sanctuary from plantation forests used by the resident langurs as an extension of their habitat. The langurs were compelled to descend on to the ground and cross the road risking accidents, attacks by feral dogs or even poaching.

“Golden langurs are essentially arboreal and are not agile on ground. What we know is that there were 10 cases of these magnificent animals killed in this stretch since 2005 as per our records. Who knows how many cases went undetected, or how many other individuals lost to other causes due to this fragmentation,” said Dr Bhaskar Choudhury of the International Fund for Animal Welfare – Wildlife Trust of India (IFAW-WTI).

As part of their Greater Manas Conservation Project, the Bodoland authorities and IFAW-WTI initiated a Rapid Action Project (RAP) in January this year to help save the langurs. Ropeways of bamboo and ropes were created and strategically placed between canopies of trees in areas regularly used by the langurs to cross over. These ropeways were placed at a height of 60 m from the ground.

“Initially, understandably the langurs hesitated to use these bridges. But now they appear to have been habituated and are frequently seen to use them,” said Dr Panjit Basumatary, IFAW-WTI veterinarian who brought the issue to light.

“This shows the extent of fragmentation of natural habitats and the difficulties faced by wildlife. Nothing would be better than natural contiguous canopy, but such interventions are becoming more and more common and the only way out in many of the cases,” said primatologist Mayukh Chatterjee.

New lion species discovery in Ethiopian zoo?


This music video is Bob Marley, Iron Lion Zion, live.

The lions in Addis Abababa zoo have much larger and darker manes. Photo credit Joerg Junhold and Klaus Eulenberger, Leipzig Zoo

From Wildlife Extra:

New species of lion discovered – In Ethiopian zoo?

DNA confirms genetically distinct lion population for Ethiopia

November 2012. A team of international researchers has provided the first comprehensive DNA evidence that the Addis Ababa lion in Ethiopia is genetically unique and is urging immediate conservation action to preserve this vulnerable lion population.

Large and darker manes

While it has long been noted that some lions in Ethiopia have a large, dark mane, extending from the head, neck and chest to the belly, as well as being smaller and more compact than other lions, it was not known until now if these lions represent a genetically distinct population.

Genetically distinct from all lion populations

The team of researchers, led by the University of York, UK, and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Germany, has shown that captive lions at the Addis Ababa Zoo in Ethiopia are, in fact, genetically distinct from all lion populations for which comparative data exists, both in Africa and Asia.

The researchers compared DNA samples from 15 Addis Ababa Zoo lions (eight males and seven females) to lion breeds in the wild. The results of the study, which also involved researchers from Leipzig Zoo and the Universities of Durham and Oxford, UK, are published in the European Journal of Wildlife Research.

The lions in Addis Abababa zoo have much larger and darker manes.

Principal Investigator Professor Michi Hofreiter, of the Department of Biology at the University of York, said: “To our knowledge, the males at Addis Ababa Zoo are the last existing lions to possess this distinctive mane. Both microsatellite and mitochondrial DNA data suggest the zoo lions are genetically distinct from all existing lion populations for which comparative data exist.

“We therefore believe the Addis Ababa lions should be treated as a distinct conservation management unit and are urging immediate conservation actions, including a captive breeding programme, to preserve this unique lion population.”

Extinct lion populations

Lion numbers are in serious decline and two significant populations of lion – the North African Barbary lions and the South African Cape lions have already become extinct in the wild.

Few hundred lions left in Ethiopia

One of the regions with a declining lion population is Ethiopia. In addition to a few hundred wild lions scattered throughout the country, 20 lions are kept in the Addis Ababa Zoo. These lions belonged to the collection of the late emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie. He established the zoo in 1948 and the seven founder lions (five males and two females) are claimed to have been captured in south-western Ethiopia, although their geographical origin is controversial.

In their study, the team of researchers recommend establishing a captive breeding programme as a first step towards conserving this unique lion population.

Lead author Susann Bruche, now with Imperial College London, but who conducted the research with the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, said: “A great amount of genetic diversity in lions has most likely already been lost, largely due to human influences. Every effort should be made to preserve as much of the lion’s genetic heritage as possible. We hope field surveys will identify wild relatives of the unique Addis Ababa Zoo lions in the future, but conserving the captive population is a crucial first step. Our results show that these zoo lions harbour sufficient genetic diversity to warrant a captive breeding programme.”

Are there more in the wilds of Ethiopia?

It has previously been suggested that no lions comparable to those at Addis Ababa Zoo still exist in the wild, mainly due to hunting for their mane. However, the researchers say that according to the Ethiopian authorities, lions with a similar appearance to those at Addis Ababa Zoo still exist in the east and north-east of the country, notably in the Babille Elephant Sanctuary near Harar and southwards to Hararghe. These regions, the researchers say, should be prioritised for field surveys.

Professor Hofreiter said: “A key question is which wild population did the zoo lions originate from and whether this wild population still exists; this would obviously make it a priority for conservation. What is clear is that these lions did not originate in the zoo, but come from somewhere in the wild – but not from any of the populations for which comparative data is available.”

Ernest Hemingway’s anti-war poems


This video from California in the USA is called Arlington West.

It says about itself:

Sep 20, 2007

105 heartfelt interviews with Soldiers and Military Families whose children were killed in Iraq. Every Sunday, Veterans For Peace honor the fallen with a cemetery of crosses at the beach.

From Richard Rozoff’s blog in the USA:

Ernest Hemingway: All armies are the same

November 22, 2012

Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

American writers on peace and against war

***

Ernest Hemingway: Combat the murder that is war

====

Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway

All armies are the same… (1922)

All armies are the same
Publicity is fame
Artillery makes the same old noise
Valor is an attribute of boys
Old soldiers all have tired eyes
All soldiers hear the same old lies
Dead bodies have always drawn flies

***

To Good Guys Dead (1922)

They sucked us in;
King and country,
Christ Almighty
And the rest.
Patriotism,
Democracy,
Honor -
Words and phrases,
They either bitched or killed us.

***

Champs D’Honneur (1922)

Soldiers never do die well;
Crosses mark the places -
Wooden crosses where they fell,
Stuck above their faces.
Soldiers pitch and cough and twitch -
All the world roars red and black;
Soldiers smother in a ditch,
Choking through the whole attack.

Christmas Island crab research


This video says about itself:

Science Screen Report: The Amazing Red Crab of Christmas Island

Christmas Island, discovered December 25, 1643, is just a spec of land in the Indian Ocean. The annual red crab migration at the beginning of the rainy season, however, is so massive it can be seen from the air. It has been named a wonder of the natural world. This program follows this terrestrial arthropod from its rainforest burrow, across dangerous landscape to the ocean to mate.

From Wildlife Extra:

Researchers use GPS tracking to monitor crab behaviour

Crabs tracked by GPS

November 2012. German researchers used GPS satellites to monitor the long-term behaviour of land crab migration on Christmas Island. In cooperation with colleagues from the Zoological Institute at the University of Greifswald, scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany, used a GPS-based telemetric system to analyse movements of freely roaming robber crabs, which is the first large-scale study of any arthropod using GPS technology to monitor behaviour.

This analysis focused on the coconut crab, a terrestrial crustacean living on tropical islands in the Indo-Pacific. Weighing up to 4 kg, the giant robber crab is the world’s largest land-living arthropod. Its lifespan can reach 60 years. The study was carried out on Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean which has a largely undisturbed population of about several hundreds of thousands coconut crabs.

55 crabs tracked

Between 2008 and 2011, 55 male robber crabs were equipped with GPS tags which successfully recorded more than 1,500 crab days of activity and followed some individual animals for as long as three months. Besides site fidelity with short-distance excursions, the data revealed long-distance movements between the coast and the inland rainforest. These movements are likely related to mating, saltwater drinking and foraging.

Homing crabs

The tracking patterns indicate path following as a main navigation strategy. Furthermore, translocation experiments showed that robber crabs are capable of homing over large distances. The search behaviour induced in these experiments suggests path integration to be another important navigation strategy.

The GPS tags were custom-made by e-obs GmbH (digital telemetry) in Munich. The devices can be programmed in such a way that they record GPS positions at intervals of one hour over a period of several months. The tag also contains an accelerometer to record movements in different (x, y, or z) directions and thus the activity of the crabs. Recorded data were downloaded by the scientists once a week via a radio link within a range of about 200 meters, so that the crabs were not disturbed. The devices send out radio impulses (pingers) in order to enable localization of the crabs via wireless connection using a high-sensitivity directional antenna. Similar devices were recently used in a study to monitor bird migration. The development of further miniaturized electronic devices and batteries should help to establish this method successfully for the study of even smaller animal species in the future.

The paper about this research is here.

Hollywood witchhunter’s son apologizes for persecution


This is the trailer of the film Trumbo; about the 1947 persecution in the film studios of Hollywood, USA.

By Bill Benfield:

Publisher’s son says sorry for paper’s role in witch-hunts

Tuesday 20 November 2012

The son of Hollywood Reporter founder Billy Wilkerson apologised today for the trade paper’s role in the 1947 witch-hunt that destroyed the careers of writers, actors and directors accused of having communist ties.

Willie Wilkerson called the blacklist era “Hollywood’s Holocaust” and wrote in the Reporter: “On the eve of this dark 65th anniversary, I feel an apology is necessary.”

He said that his father used the blacklist to get revenge against Hollywood moguls who shut him out of their club when he tried to set up a film studio in the 1920s.

Billy Wilkerson founded the Reporter in 1930 and used it as a vehicle for editorials attacking communist sympathisers and their influence in Hollywood.

“In his maniacal quest to annihilate the studio owners, he realised that the most effective retaliation was to destroy their talent,” his son wrote.

“The easiest way to crush the studio owners was to simply call their actors, writers and directors communists.

“Apart from being charged with contempt for refusing to name names, none of these individuals committed any crimes.”

Studios dominated the industry and denied work to those named on the blacklist.

Some writers worked under pseudonyms and many actors and their families were forced to move overseas for work.

Billy Wilkerson wrote on November 5 1947: “Any man or woman who, under the guise of freedom of speech, or the cloak of the Bill of Rights, or under the pseudo-protection of being a liberal, says things, causes things to be said, or who actually is involved with many of the conspiracies that have now infested this great land of ours, has no place among us, be he commie or what.

“He or she should be rushed out of our business.”

Willie Wilkerson said: “On behalf of my family, and particularly my late father, I wish to convey my sincerest apologies and deepest regrets” to the victims.