Free Bahraini political prisoners


This video says about itself:

British Concern for Rights of Bahraini Prisoners

The treatment of prisoners in Bahrain has been condemned by Parliamentarians and human rights groups at a meeting at the House of Lords. Confessions obtained through torture, trials by military courts and a lack of access to lawyers were criticised and support for victims offered.

From the National Democratic Action Society in Bahrain:

Arab and International Political Parties and Organisations Demand the Immediate Release of Waad’s Secretary General Ebrahim Sharif and other Political Leaders

2012-12-02

A group of Moroccan, Tunisian, Egyptian and French political parties and civil organisations met in Casablanca, Morocco on the occasion of the conference of the National Congress Party and called on the Bahraini authorities for the immediate release of the Secretary General of the National Democratic Action Society (Waad) and his fellow imprisoned political leaders who will appear before the Court of Cassation in Bahrain on December 3, 2012. These leaders and activists are prisoners of conscience whose only crime was their exercise of their right to freedom of political expression as guaranteed by all international norms and conventions, in addition to the Bahraini National Action Charter and Constitution.

These trials have been considered by international human rights organisations, including Amnesty International and others, as trials of political persecution and fake justice.

The undersigned parties and organisations confirm that the political crisis in Bahrain is of a constitutional nature and must be resolved on that basis. Accordingly, they call on the competent authorities to cease the human rights violations which have escalated recently, including the siege imposed on many areas, illegal home break-ins and arbitrary arrests. Furthermore, they call on the government of Bahrain to unequivocally commit to the full implementation of the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) which have been issued a year ago and the 145 recommendations issued by the United Nations Human Rights Council in September, 2012, which included the release of all political prisoners.

Additionally, they call on the government of Bahrain to uphold and respect the principles of the International Bill of Rights, cease all violations currently committed by the authorities, engage in serious meaningful dialogue and negotiations with the political opposition in order to commence the transition to democracy and curb the slide into securitised solutions which have proved futile in their inability to instill civil peace and social stability.

The National Congress Party – Morocco

The Unified Socialist Party – Morocco

The Democratic Way Party – Morocco
The Democratic Socialist Vanguard Party – Morocco
The Unified National Democrats Party – Tunisia
The Egyptian Popular Current – Egypt

The Left Party – France
The Egyptian Farmers’ Union – Egypt

The Democratic Confederation of Labour – Morocco
Democratic Federation of Labour – Morocco
The Moroccan Association for Human Rights – Morocco
National Democratic Action Society (Waad) – Bahrain

2 December, 2012

Saving Canadian turtles’ lives


The Sticky Tongue Project in Canada writes about this video:

New Video: Reptile Fencing: Reducing Road Mortality

Long Point Provincial Park (Ontario, Canada) is home to 19 species of turtles and snakes, of which 12 are listed as being Species at Risk. These reptiles frequently cross the road or bask on it for warmth within the park. Unfortunately, this puts them in danger and many are killed. The Long Point Basin Land Trust and Long Point Provincial Park worked together to make the park safer for these animals.

Reptile fencing has been installed in priority areas (750 meters on both sides of the road) where the highest levels of mortality were recorded. The fencing acts as a physical barrier to prevent reptiles from moving onto the roads and potentially being struck by vehicles.

Since the park is closed and vehicle entry is blocked for much of the year, park staff are able to create openings to let animals through from October through until May each year to allow seasonal movements. They are also exploring the possibility of creating a more permanent solution which could include underpasses.

Another very successful wildlife barrier, complete with underpasses has also been installed at Big Creek Mark by the Long Point Causeway Improvement Project. The installation of a third culvert is now underway.

Birds of British brownfields


This video from Britain says about itself:

Unusual places to watch birds and wildlife. By Alex Sally.

From Wildlife Extra:

Birds thriving on brownfield land despite huge UK bird population declines

Brownfield sites proving a haven for birdlife

November 2012. A shocking report revealed that the UK’s bird population has declined by 44 million since 1966. However, there is cause for hope as national charity The Land Trust has found that many rare and threatened bird species are thriving on its former brownfield sites.

The alarming decline in the country’s bird population was revealed in the ‘State of the UK’s Birds 2012″ report, which was carried out by experts from organisations such as the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and the British Trust for Ornithology, using data compiled from volunteers’ observations of birds since the 1960s. The report found there are an estimated 166 million birds nesting in the UK compared with 210 million in 1966.

Yet the Land Trust, a charity which owns over 50 open spaces around the country, has found that bird numbers on the majority of its spaces are very healthy.

Recent sightings of rare species

Simon Pile, the Trust’s estates manager comments, “What might surprise people most is that it’s our former brownfield sites which show the most diversity of species. Indeed, there’s been a number of rare species spotted in recent weeks; there is currently a little bunting at Elba Park which is a former coking work near Sunderland and six short eared owls are fascinating visitors to Rabbit Ings Country Park, which is a former colliery tip in Barnsley. A few months ago a red backed shrike was seen at a former colliery site in Staffordshire, where only a few weeks previously an osprey had been spotted. Bitterns can be heard booming on other former brownfield sites, whilst in spring and summer the alarming decline of the skylark is well and truly bucked as a host of these iconic birds fill the skies.”

Bird populations are considered to be a good indicator of the broad state of wildlife because birds occupy a wide range of habitats and tend to be near or at the top of food chains. So a healthy bird population is a good indicator of biodiversity.

Skylarks

Simon continues, “Although not as rare as the little bunting, bitterns or short eared owls it’s the skylark which really demonstrates the importance of brownfield land. Experts believe the decline overall bird numbers is largely down to changes in landscape providing less habitat in which birds can feed and nest. One such change would be the way land is farmed and, as such, birds that are reliant on farmed land, such as skylark, lapwings, cuckoos and turtle doves, have seen a significant decrease in numbers, according to the study. However, reclaimed brownfield land is providing a viable alternative home these birds. One small reserve in Derbyshire on a former coking works has 32 bird species classified as either Red List or Biodiversity Action Plan species (meaning they are endangered or threatened).”

Why?

“There are three key reasons why former brownfield land and in particular the Trust’s sites are rich in biodiversity. Firstly, brownfield land, because of its former use can often provide diverse typographies such as, shallow pools, margins, hedgerows, meadow or wetland. Secondly, nature is an innate regenerator, it often needs only the lightest of restoration touches to allow nature to thrive. Thirdly the Trust provides sustainable management and takes an informed approach that enables the preservation of existing habitats and the creation of new ones.”

Simon concludes, “Perhaps the most important message is that if we want to save our much loved bird population we need to challenge our obsession with greenfield and the green belt and look seriously at the ecological value of restoring and managing brownfield land.”

Save India’s wild buffalo


This is called List of Indian State Animals Video.

From Wildlife Extra:

Five year plan launched to save the last wild Indian buffalo

Indian wild buffalo conservation

November 2012. In a boost to the conservation of wild buffalo in India, officials from the forest departments of four states met with experts from the IUCN’s Asia Wild Cattle Specialist Group, Satpuda Foundation, Edinburgh Zoo, The Wildlife Trust of India and other stakeholders to draft an action plan to save the endangered wild buffalo.

3600 buffalo left in the wild – Just 100 in Central India

The wild buffalo (Bubalis arnee) is classified as ‘Endangered’ in the IUCN Red List and protected under Schedule I of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972. About 3,600 individuals remain in India of which less than 100 are in Central India, the rest being in Assam.

A plan was developed with the focus on the population in Central India. “The goal is to establish a viable and genetically acceptable wild buffalo population under diverse secure areas and conditions in Central India through various approaches in five years,” said SWH Naqvi, chief conservator of forests in Maharashtra.

“Earlier, this was a single contiguous population ranging across the Gangetic and Brahmaputra plains,” says Dr Rahul Kaul, Chief Ecologist, WTI. “Poaching and habitat loss have restricted this population outside Assam to the states of Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh where they occur in extremely low numbers. The minimum number required to hold a genetically viable population needs to be ascertained and worked towards.”

Interbreeding with domestic animals

Inter-breeding of wild buffaloes with domestic buffaloes was once a major concern to conservationists. Recent reports from CCMB have indicated that the surviving population of wild buffaloes from Assam as well as Central India show genetic similarity and are relatively pure. Further genetic studies will be required to establish a parameter for acceptable ‘wild’ buffaloes from Assam which can then be used for both augmentation and reintroduction programs.

“The Central India wild buffalo population cannot be recovered by the ongoing unassisted breeding program,” says Dr NVK Ashraf, Chief of Conservation, WTI. “Recovery is possible by supplementing depleted populations by wild or captive bred individuals. This has been discussed in the workshop.”

Humpback whales off Dutch coast


This video is called Humpback whales filmed up close and underwater in Bermuda.

Today, two humpback whales, swimming in the North Sea, near the Dutch coastal village Castricum. They were blowing.

UPDATE: they seem to be an adult female with her baby.

Favourite fungi of the Netherlands


As reported on this blog, a few days ago it became known which three fungi in the Netherlands got most votes in a poll of favourite mushrooms.

Now, the complete results of the poll are on the Internet.

In this blog post, I will limit myself to the Top 10.

The winner is the fly agaric.

This video is called Fly Agaric toadstool growing time-lapse.

Number two is the orange peel fungus.

This is an orange peel fungus video.

Yellow stagshorn

And number three is the yellow stagshorn.

This video is about turkey tail fungi, number four.

This is a parasol mushroom; number five.

Chanterelle

Number six is the chanterelle.

This video is about the giant polypore, number seven.

Penny bun

Number eight is the penny bun.

Number nine is the shaggy mane mushroom.

Here is a video about it.

Bay bolete

Finally, number ten is the bay bolete.