Good Dutch rare fish news

This video is called Brook Lamprey Spawning April 2011.

Translated from the Dutch water management organisation De Dommel, about saving fish before dredging the river Dommel at the Klotputten sand catchment spot:

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

As a precaution, the water, in addition to the exemption rules, was thoroughly inspected for the presence of brook lampreys. During these checks a hundred brook lampreys were captured. These lampreys were transferred a few kilometers south of the Klotputten to a suitable habitat. This capture shows that the brook lamprey population in this part of the Dommel is much larger than we previously thought. During this activity also a large number of individuals of the protected spined loach, some gudgeons and some perches were captured.

Ecological development

Lately, we see a tremendous positive environmental development in the upper Dommel river. For example, last year the very rare green gomphid dragonfly and the common club-tail dragonfly were found. These species, like the brook lamprey, depend on clean water and good morphological processes.

This is a video of brook lampreys sharing a spawning ground with river lampreys, a larger related species. As far as is known, the first ever observation of this in the Netherlands.


Tajikistan snow leopards, video

This video is about Tajikistan: a camera captures a rare wild snow leopard.

From Wildlife Extra:

Snow leopard cubs – A video from Tajikistan

Snow leopards thriving in Tajikistan

December 2012. Known as the ‘Roof of the World,’ the Pamir Mountains of Tajikistan are situated at the intersection of several of Asia’s greatest mountain ranges, and fittingly may represent some of the richest habitat for ‘Asia’s Mountain Ghost’ – the elusive snow leopard.

300 snow leopards in the Pamirs

Today, as many as 300 of the remaining 3,500-7,000 wild snow leopards are thought to live in the Tajik Pamirs – an area which provides a potentially critical link between the southern and northern regions of the snow leopard’s range, and may serve as a vital genetic corridor for the species.

Given the potential of this region as one of the world’s last snow leopard strongholds, big cat charity Panthera recently carried out two extensive camera trap surveys in the Pamir Mountains, including one in Tajikistan’s Jartygumbez Istyk River region in collaboration with University of Delaware graduate student Shannon Kachel and the Tajik Academy of Sciences.

While reviewing photos from the survey’s 40 camera traps, Panthera field staff recently uncovered incredible new images of a snow leopard mother and her two cubs, which they have made into a video. The playful cubs are shown licking and pawing icicles and attempting to climb a rock. Along with this entertaining footage, also included are stunning images of the snow leopard mother and one of her cubs inspecting the camera trap, their quizzical faces pressed up against the camera lens.

Healthy population?

In addition to this special glimpse into the hidden lives of snow leopards, this footage also potentially indicates that a healthy, breeding snow leopard population exists in the Jartygumbez Istyk River region of Tajikistan, within a well-managed trophy hunting concession. These data are particularly positive for the region’s snow leopard population when paired with evidence gathered in the summer of 2011 of snow leopard cubs (stealing a camera trap) in the Zorkul region of Tajikistan’s Pamir Mountains (a collaborative project with Fauna and Flora International), approximately 100 km south of the Jartygumbez Istyk River region.

Scat analysis

Panthera scientists are reviewing all of the camera trap photos from the surveys to assess the size of the region’s snow leopard population and the significance of the Pamirs as a part of the snow leopard’s corridor. In addition, Panthera’s field staff and partners have collected snow leopard scat samples for diet analysis, are conducting surveys to evaluate the abundance of snow leopard prey species and are also assessing the management and impact of local trophy hunting concessions and nature reserves, which target snow leopard prey species.

Poaching and unsustainable hunting of snow leopard prey

Panthera’s scientists have identified poaching and unsustainable hunting of snow leopard prey, including ibex and Marco polo sheep, as a major threat to Tajikistan’s snow leopards. To address this issue, our field staff are working with local villagers and a trophy “prey” hunting expert to analyze the infrastructure and training needed to establish a community-based hunting program of prey species.

Community based programme

Scheduled to begin in 2013, this program aims to better regulate the current unsustainable hunting of ibex and Marco polo sheep to conserve Tajikistan’s snow leopards, while bringing direct economic benefits to local villagers through tourism operations. Ultimately, if successful, Panthera hopes to use this community-based prey hunting program model to implement similar operations in other Central Asian countries.

Dutch nature reserve water animals

This video is about the Slufter area on Texel.

In nature reserve De Slufter on Texel island in the Netherlands, warden Dick Schermer has investigated animals of brackish water.

In Achtbunder creek, there is hardly any sea water; mainly fresh water.

There, especially ostracods (in August) and water boatmen live.

However, in the Madura creek, salt water flows in regularly. There, common gobies, chameleon shrimps, Palaemonetes varians shrimps, etc. live.

Muy and Slufter in June 2013: here.

NATO pressure frees Croatian war criminals

This video says about itself:

Neo-Nazism In Croatia/ Obsession With Historical Paradox

Apr 4, 2008

Over 60,000 fans celebrating Croatia’s Nazi past with Hitler style hand salutes – “Sieg Heils”.

By Paul Mitchell:

Croatian war criminals released after appeal by Western military chiefs

11 December 2012

In April 2011, the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY) found Croatian general Ante Gotovina and Assistant Interior Minister Mladen Markac guilty of war crimes committed during 1995’s Operation Storm military offensive and sentenced them to 24 years’ and 18 years’ imprisonment, respectively.

The two leaders were accused of involvement in a “Joint Criminal Exercise” (JCE), led by late Croatian president Franjo Tudjman, aimed at “the permanent removal of the Serb population from the Krajina region by force, fear or threat of force, persecution, forced displacement, transfer and deportation, appropriation and destruction of property or other means”. More than 150 Croatian Serbs died, hundreds disappeared and 200,000 fled in what was described as the biggest act of ethnic cleansing in the Balkan Wars. Half of the refugees have still not returned to their former homes.

In January 2012, 12 US, Canadian and British military experts, three of whom had served as judge advocate generals (senior military lawyers) and one as the top legal adviser to the US Army, launched an appeal to overturn the convictions. They argued that the court was wrong to use a “200-metre standard” by which artillery bomb craters located more than 200 metres from a legitimate military target were deemed evidence of unlawful indiscriminate attacks on civilians. If the standard became enshrined in international law, they declared, future Western military operations would be put in jeopardy and commanders would run the risk of being hauled in front of human rights courts accused of war crimes.

The appeal document concluded with a letter from General Ronald H. Griffith, vice chief of staff, the second highest officer in the US Army, from 1995 to 1997 and current executive vice president of the private military company Engility, formerly known as Military Professional Resources Inc. (MPRI). Griffith declared, “Should the standard of review adopted by the Trial Chamber gain traction as a controlling interpretation of international law it will ultimately expose commanders who have conducted military operations in compliance with accepted doctrinal principles and in a morally responsible manner to the threat of being brought before some international court and charged, as was General Gotovina, with war crimes.”

Last month, the ICTY Appeals Court overturned the convictions of Gotovina and Markac, declaring that the original court had “erred” by using the “200-metre standard”. The rest of the charges against the two war criminals fell like dominos. By a 3-to-2 majority, the court declared that the mass exodus of Serb civilians “cannot be qualified as deportation” and the existence of a JCE “cannot be sustained” and ordered Gotovina and Markac to be released.

Two of the five judges dissented from the majority opinion. Maltese judge Carmel Agius said that he “strongly disagreed” with almost all of the conclusions reached by the majority and was “distancing himself” from their decision. Italian judge Fausto Pocar insisted that the judgement “contradicts any sense of justice”.

Former ICTY chief prosecutor Carla del Ponte declared, “I am shocked, very surprised and astonished because it is absolutely unbelievable what happened after ruling the sentence of 24 years in prison to general Ante Gotovina.” Current chief prosecutor Serge Brammertz said that “those affected by crime committed in connection with Operation Storm are not satisfied by the outcome and feel their suffering has not been acknowledged”. He hoped the Croatian authorities would use the evidence his office had gathered to prosecute those responsible.

Brammertz’s plea was quickly forgotten. After flying back to Croatia, Gotovina and Markac received a hero’s welcome from a crowd of 100,000 in the capital, Zagreb. President Ivo Josipovic welcomed the verdict, and other government figures and officials declared the men’s release was proof that no ethnic cleansing had occurred in Croatia. Gotovina declared that the “Homeland War is now clean, it belongs to our history, it is a basis on which we build our future.” Media reports suggest he will stand in the next presidential elections.

Serbian president Tomislav Nikolic denounced the Appeal Court’s decision as “scandalous,” declaring that it “will not contribute to stabilisation of the situation in the region but will reopen all wounds.” Russian United Nations ambassador Vitaly Churkin declared, “In its work, the ICTY demonstrates neither fairness nor effectiveness.”

The two have been released in the first instance because the Croatian army acted as Washington’s proxy against Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic, with President Bill Clinton’s special envoy Richard Holbrooke describing them as his “junkyard dogs”. In November 1994, MPRI was contracted to train the Croatian army at the time of a UN-monitored ceasefire. Photographs show Gotovina with US military personnel in front of a computer screen showing “Battle Staff Training Program” and “Welcome to Training Center Fort Irwin”. Franjo Tudjman’s son Miro, head of Croatian intelligence at the time, claims the Croatian and US governments enjoyed a “de facto partnership”.

In 2002, Henry Hyde, chairman of the House Committee on International Relations, was already warning that the ICTY could investigate officials who were “formulating and carrying out US government policy” in connection with Operation Storm. The Washington Times repeated Hyde’s warning and attacked the concept of command responsibility as a threat “to US national interests” and “Washington’s ability to project its power around the world.”

Such concerns also lay behind the release, a few days after that, of Gotovina and Markac, of Kosovo Liberation Army commander and former prime minister Ramush Haradinaj and others accused of being members of a JCE involved in the torture and murder of Kosovo Serbs, Roma and Egyptians in a KLA compound in the village of Jabllanicë in 1998. A partial re-trial had been ordered because the original trial was surrounded by allegations that witnesses were subjected to systematic harassment and intimidation. Del Ponte was also forced to complain to the United Nations Security Council and UN secretary-general Kofi Annan about the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and its chief, Soren Jessen-Petersen, who, she said, protected Haradinaj. She asked, “How can the rule of law be implemented if UNMIK chiefs so openly support a person who is accused of some of the gravest crimes in international law?”

Both the Croatian and Kosovan Albanian leaders played a key role in ensuring US hegemony within the Balkan region. The US had been intent on preserving a unitary Yugoslav state as a bulwark against a Soviet thrust into the Mediterranean, but this changed with the collapse of the USSR and the reunification of Germany in 1991. When German imperialism, anxious to flex its political muscle, promoted secession in Slovenia and Croatia and rushed to extend recognition, both the US and the other western European powers reversed their previous opposition.

It was inevitable, given the history and politics of Yugoslavia, that the break-up of the federation would lead to civil war. The secession of provinces would suddenly deprive ethnic minorities of the constitutional protections they had enjoyed under the federation.

Pacific bird island film-maker wanted

This video is about Suwarrow Atoll.

From BirdLife:

Film-maker wanted for conservation expedition to South Pacific paradise

Tue, Dec 11, 2012

Film-maker wanted for conservation expedition to South Pacific paradise

Conservationists in the South Pacific are looking for an adventurous and talented film-maker to document an expedition to one of the remotest islands on the planet.

“We’re searching for somebody with the full package of skills from story-boarding, to filming and editing, and who is willing to be part of a month-long expedition to an extremely remote Pacific atoll”, said Don Stewart – BirdLife Director for the Pacific Partnership.

BirdLife International and their Partner Te Ipukarea Society are looking for somebody to film their expedition to eradicate rats from Suwarrow Atoll in the Cook Islands.

Suwarrow atoll is an uninhabited wildlife sanctuary and one of the most important seabird breeding sites in the South Pacific Ocean.

Over 100,000 seabirds are found on the atoll, which is located 930 km north-west of Rarotonga – the Cook Islands main island. The lagoon in the centre of Suwarrow is home to many sharks, turtles and manta rays. A true Pacific paradise.

However, the wildlife is under threat following an invasion of rats which could decimate the seabird population by eating their eggs and chicks, and spread across the circular chain of 22 Islets.

“Left unchecked the rats put at risk globally important seabird populations found at the site”, said Ian Karika – Suwarrow Project Manager for Te Ipukarea Society.

In a bid to save Suwarrow, conservationists are finalising their plans to visit the site in April next year, and to completely eradicate the rats. The operation will last for around a month and may involve traveling to and from the site using a traditional Pacific catamaran or Vaka.

Today they announced a global search for a talented and adventurous film-maker to join the team and produce a short video about the project. The film will be used to inform and inspire people, and feature at the BirdLife World Congress in Ottawa in June 2013.

“We’re looking for somebody to join us on this exciting expedition to a piece of Pacific paradise and produce an inspirational film showcasing our island restoration work to a global audience”, concluded Don Stewart.

If you are interested and wish to apply, please email a brief description of (i) your suitability for the role, (ii) why you’d like to join the team, and (iii) a link to view an short example of your work online to: nick DOT askew AT birdlife DOT org. The closing date for applications is 14th January 2013. A contribution toward costs will be provided to the successful candidate.

Follow live updates from the BirdLife team as they spend a month eradicating rats from one of the remotest atolls in the South Pacific, Suwarrow: here. See also here.

March 2013. The demise of the dodo is one of the better known bird extinctions in the world, but its sad fate was anticipated a thousand times over by its Pacific cousins. A catastrophic mass extinction of birds in the Pacific Islands followed the arrival of the first people: here.

Blog of the Year 2012 award, thanks Maarit-Johanna!

Blog of the Year Award 6 star jpeg

Oh Maarit-Johanna, you are so kind, to grace Dear Kitty. Some blog with the “Blog of the Year 2012″  Award.

It is the eighth time. That would be the eighth star, for this award for this blog. However, the maximum number of stars for the “Blog of the Year 2012″  Award is six.

So, no eighth star and no new nominations. Well: just one nomination. I am giving this star back to Maarit-Johanna, to display on one of her blogs; whichever of her blogs she wants, as they are all worth it.

I really appreciate Maarit-Johanna thinking of my blog. If you have not met Maarit-Johanna yet, then please check out her interesting, well-researched finely illustrated blogs on history, literature and culture, here. And here. And here.

Here are the ‘rules’ for this award:

1 Select the blog(s) you think deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award

2 Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen – there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required – and ‘present’ them with their award.

3 Please include a link back to this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award – and include these ‘rules’ in your post (please don’t alter the rules or the badges!)

4 Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them.

5 You can now also join our Facebook group – click ‘like’ on this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award Facebook group and then you can share your blog with an even wider audience [I cannot join that group as I am not on Facebook].

6 As a winner of the award – please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award – and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting stars…

6 stars image

Yes – that’s right – there are stars to collect!

Unlike other awards which you can only add to your blog once – this award is different!

When you begin you will receive the ‘1 star’ award – and every time you are given the award by another blog – you can add another star!

There are a total of 6 stars to collect.

Which means that you can check out your favourite blogs, and even if they have already been given the award by someone else, then you can still bestow it on them again and help them to reach the maximum 6 stars!

For more information check the FAQ on The Thought Palette.