Young elephants playing, video


This video says about itself:

96 Elephants: An Earth Day Moment of Zen

22 April 2014

Happy Earth Day!

We’re grateful to all our supporters for helping to make the planet safe for wildlife. Here’s our extra special thank you that is sure to melt your heart: 96 seconds of baby elephants playing and frolicking.

This video is pure joy, but sadly the problems facing these magnificent creatures are downright heartbreaking. Check out this video, then head over to 96elephants.org to find out more about what you can do to save them.

Special Thanks to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and Mpala Research Centre & Conservancy for arranging filming.

The secret lives of elephants revealed with infrared cameras: here.

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São Tomé and Príncipe seabirds research


This video says about itself:

Academy researchers explain why Sao Tome and Principe are so special and extreme. Featuring Robert C. Drewes -curator in the department of Herpetology, and Roberta Ayers -Senior Educator at the California Academy of Sciences.
Check out the blog here.

From BirdLife:

Tinhosas Islands – desert island, seabird paradise

By nairobi.volunteer, Fri, 11/04/2014 – 07:00

São Tomé e Príncipe is a small tropical country known amongst birdwatchers and conservationists for its endangered secondary forests, and high level of bird endemism. However, the country also holds the most impressive seabird colonies in the eastern tropical Atlantic Ocean – the Tinhosas Islands. These are two barren rocky islands around 12 km SW of Príncipe Island. They are named Tinhosa Grande, and Tinhosa Pequena, and are both remote and endowed with abundant seabird life. Three of five seabird species known to breed in São Tomé e Príncipe, namely Brown Booby Sula leucogaster, Sooty Tern Sterna fuscata, and Black Noddy Anous minutus, breed in Tinhosas, some in great numbers. The last assessment of the Tinhosas colony was completed in 1997, and since then accounts of exploitation of the birds for human consumption have raised concern about its conservation status.

BirdLife International sponsored a two-day expedition to Tinhosas islands, in order to conduct a census of breeding birds, and assess trends and threats. “We departed for Tinhosas in a quite misty dawn, and saw few birds en route, but seabird numbers increased massively as we approached Tinhosa Pequena. They were mostly ‘Wideawake’ Terns [Sooty Terns]“, said Nuno Barros, SPEA/BirdLife Portugal seabird officer, and one of the participants in the expedition. When on the scene, and after two days of seabird census in intense tropical heat and a night spent amongst large numbers of land crabs, the results showed that while some species registered a slight increase, others, like Brown Booby evidenced a steep decrease from the 1997 census figures. Caution must be used when interpreting these differences, for multiple visits within and between years should be performed, to census breeders, monitor threats and establish breeding phenologies  says Simon Vale, a PhD student at Manchester Metropolitan University, based in Príncipe at the time, and also an expedition member. Nevertheless, the massive decrease in Brown Booby numbers is a grave concern.

Tinhosas islands are an amazing wildlife spectacle, and a remote arid paradise for breeding seabirds, that deserve further investigation and safeguarding. As Dr Ross Wanless, team member and Africa Coordinator for the BirdLife International Marine Programme, explains “Although none of the species breeding there is globally threatened, this is the only seabird colony of any significance in the Gulf of Guinea, so assessing the populations’ health and protecting the colonies from human impacts is of great value.”

BirdLife International and the expedition team would like to thank Bom Bom Island Resort for logistical support for the expedition. Ross Wanless received some financial support for the expedition from the University of Cape Town.

Read the full report: Status and trends of the seabirds breeding at Tinhosa Grande Island, São Tomé e Principe.

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Migratory birds and Asian, African and European children


This video says about itself:

9 Jan 2014

Spring Alive has been spreading widely in Africa. Check how great they are doing in Nigeria where many children are enthusiastically engaged in birds oriented actions thanks to the Spring Alive project.

From BirdLife:

Spring Alive 2014 has arrived!

By Rebecca Langer, Thu, 06/03/2014 – 15:14

BirdLife and its Partners in 50 countries are proud to announce the launch of Spring Alive 2014. Now nine years old, Spring Alive brings together children, their teachers and families in Europe, Central Asia and Africa to observe and record the arrivals of five species of migrant birds:  Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica, White Stork Ciconia ciconia, Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus, Common Swift Apus apus, and European Bee-eater Merops apiaster.

Spring Alive 2013 broke all previous records. During Eurasian and African seasons, a total of over 286,000 observations of migratory birds were recorded on the Spring Alive website, and by the end of the year over 54,000 children, 900 teachers and supervisors and 500 volunteers from 49 countries had joined in a range of Spring Alive activities.

While the program began as a pan-European project to track the northward spread of spring migrants, now it involves many more indoor and outdoor events to engage children, schools and the wider community in the conservation of migratory birds. One example is the new pilot program Spring Twin, which matches schools in Europe and Asia with schools in Africa. Children will exchange letters, emails and diaries, and send one another videos they have shot before publishing them on the Spring Alive YouTube channel.

Spring Alive is coordinated by OTOP (BirdLife in Poland), with national coordinators in each participating country. This year, with the announcement that Azerbaijan will be joining in, at least 50 countries will be taking part.

“2014 is set to be an even bigger year for Spring Alive”, said Karolina Kalinowska, International Spring Alive Manager. “Now that we have accustomed children to recording their observations of the first spring migrants, we want to get them more involved in the conservation of migratory birds.”

Although it is still early in the year, in the southern Mediterranean early signs of spring are already popping up. Unfortunately, the joy of spring and the promise of some of the best birdwatching of the year is overshadowed in Malta by the Government’s intention to again allow spring hunting season, in violation of EU law. This translates into 10,000 hunters being allowed to legally shoot European Turtle-dove and Common Quail returning to Europe to breed. Experience suggests that too many of them will also be illegally targeting protected species, from songbirds to waders, herons and birds of prey: here.

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African snake identification


This video from South Africa says about itself:

7 Feb 2014

In this video, a live puff adder is used to show which physical features to look out for when learning how to identify a puff adder.

See also here.

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African bird count update


This video is called Some Birds of The Gambia 1.

And here is the sequel.

BirdLife in the Netherlands reports about the big international count of coastal birds, all the way from the Netherlands to South Africa. 1,500 people counted in thirty countries. I have ranked the reports from the north to the south.

From Morocco:

Like every winter, GREPOM BirdLife in Morocco did waterfowl counts. We will visit 150 wetlands throughout the country. Until now we have done 70 and 98 water bird species were observed. A preliminary analysis indicates that we have record numbers of wintering shovelers, red-crested pochard ducks, great cormorants and ferruginous ducks. While not as many teal and shelducks were counted as in previous years. Rarities we saw as well, like magnificent frigatebird, brent goose, blue-winged teal, purple sandpiper and ring-billed gull.

In Mauritania, there were 285 black-winged stilts in a small lakelet in the capital Nouakchot. In Diawling national park, for the first time since five years ago, women participated in the counting. There were more birds there than last year: 175,601 versus 144,140.

This video is called Kartong Bird Observatory, in Gambia, west Africa.

In the Gambia, in Tanji Bird Reserve, there were 2,000 grey-headed gulls, an Audouin’s gull, two kelp gulls and five tern species.

This video is about Tanji beach.

Balla Moussa in Guinea reported an osprey and lesser flamingoes.

Papanie Bai Sesay wrote from Sierra Leone:

Our water bird count in Sierra Leone had a flying start. Many species of waders and over fifty water bird species at Yawri bay, Sherbro river and Turtle Island. Today, we have discovered an important place upstream in the Sherbro river with lots of waterfowl. Yesterday we had three African skimmers behind York island.

In Ghana, a little grebe and a black-tailed godwit.

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