Save North Carolina’s red wolves


From eNature.com in the USA:

Save the Red Wolf Sign Our Petition To End Illegal Poaching Of An American Icon! Take action today!

Red wolf

They once roamed the southeastern U.S. Now they’re making a last stand in the forests of eastern North Carolina.

Please sign our petition encouraging measures to protect our few remaining Red Wolves!

Dear Friend,

Red wolves once roamed across the southeastern United States. Today, they are making their last stand in the scrub forests of eastern North Carolina. Just 90-110 wild Red wolves remain in North Carolina – the only place they exist in the wild.

You can help protect our remaining Red Wolves by signing this petition!

Red wolf

Red wolves were once abundant across the Southeast — roaming from Virginia to Florida and all the way to east Texas. By 1970, however, they’d been driven to the brink of extinction by decades of persecution and systematic efforts to eliminate wolves from the American landscape. After the species was declared endangered in 1973, the last 17 wild red wolves were captured for a captive breeding program.

However, there is hope….

Red wolf releases began in North Carolina’s Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in the mid 1980s, but recovery efforts have repeatedly been thwarted by illegal shootings that have kept the population from expanding. And now, rather than taking steps to curtail activities that harm red wolves, the US Fish and Wildlife Service has done little and the poaching continues.

Will you sign our petition urging action to protect our remaining Red wolves from this illegal poaching?

Please urge Fish and Wildlife Service Director Daniel Ashe and other decision-makers to protect our remaining Red wolves and continue the very succesful reintroduction program in the Alligator National Wildlife Refuge.

So please sign this petition. Director Ashe and others need to know we ALL believe that these wolves deserve protection.

Thank you for your help– it really can help make a difference! While it may seem like “inside baseball”, reaching out to Director Ashe as we are with this petition is the BEST way to ensure he knows that we care about Red wolves and their fate in the wild.

Sincerely,

Robin McVey

Robin McVey
Public Editor, eNature.com

African American author Maya Angelou dies


This video from the USA says about itself:

Maya Angelou – I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings (part 1).

And this video is part 2.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Maya Angelou, celebrated US poet and author, dies aged 86

Angelou, who was also prominent in the civil rights movement, died at home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Obituary
Interview: ‘I’m as fine as wine in the summertime’
Book extract: my terrible, wonderful mother

Jessica Glenza in New York

Wednesday 28 May 2014 18.06 BST

Maya Angelou, the American poet and author, died at her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on Wednesday. She was 86.

Her son, Guy B Johnson, confirmed the news in a statement. He said: “Her family is extremely grateful that her ascension was not belabored by a loss of acuity or comprehension.

“She lived a life as a teacher, activist, artist and human being. She was a warrior for equality, tolerance and peace. The family is appreciative of the time we had with her and we know that she is looking down upon us with love.”

Johnson said Angelou “passed quietly in her home” sometime before 8am on Wednesday.

Bill Clinton, at whose inauguration Angelou read her On the Pulse of the Morning, said in a statement: “America has lost a national treasure, and Hillary and I a beloved friend.”

Angelou’s failing health was reported as recently as Tuesday, when she canceled an appearance honoring her with a Beacon of Life Award because of “health reasons”. The ceremony was part of the 2014 MLB Beacon Award Luncheon, in Houston, Texas, part of Major League Baseball’s Civil Rights Games.

Last month, forced to cancel an appearance at a library in Arkansas, she wrote: “An unexpected ailment put me into the hospital. I will be getting better and the time will come when I can receive another invitation from my state and you will recognize me for I shall be the tall Black lady smiling. I ask you to please keep me in your thoughts, in your conversation and in your prayers.”

Angelou was born Marguerite Annie Johnson, in St Louis, Missouri, in 1928. She described in an NPR interview how her brother’s lisp turned Marguerite into Maya.

She survived several personal trials: she was a child of the depression, grew up in the segregated south, survived a childhood rape, gave birth as a teenager, and was, at one time, a prostitute.

She wrote wrote seven autobiographies, including the 1969 memoir I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and was a playwright, director, actor, singer, songwriter and novelist.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings was an indictment of the racial discrimination she experienced during her childhood. “If growing up is painful for the southern black girl,” she wrote, “being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat. It is an unnecessary insult.”

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings has had a wide appeal, particularly to younger female readers and continues to appear on school and university reading lists in the US and the UK.

Actors, writers, directors, activists and politicians shared thankful and mournful notes in response to Angelou’s death.

JK Rowling called her “utterly amazing”; Lena Dunham thanked Angelou for “your power, your politics, your poetry. We need you more than ever.”

Angelou had lived in North Carolina since the early 1980s, when she became a professor at Wake Forest University, a private liberal arts college. A statement from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem called Angelou “a national treasure whose life and teachings inspired millions around the world”.

The mayor of Winston-Salem, Allen Joines, said the town would probably remember Angelou best for her commitment to health and theatre.

She supported the founder of the National Black Theater Festival in Winston-Salem, and eventually became its first chairperson in 1989. In 2012, the Maya Angelou Women’s Health and Wellness Center opened in the city. A street in Winston-Salem is named after Angelou.

Despite her many accomplishments, the mayor said small moments seemed to touch the poet.

In April 2008, the town threw Angelou an 80th birthday party. Despite entertainers and speakers present at the party, the mayor said, “The thing that seemed to touch her the most was a group of little kids.”

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Leatherback turtles, new study


This video says about itself:

Leatherback Turtles 21 May 2013

These two Leatherback Turtles were observed feeding on Moon Jellies approximately 8 nautical miles Southwest of Mexico Beach, FL. It was amazing how they allowed me to swim within 4 feet of them for about 9 minutes as they fed on Moon Jellies.

From The Robesonian in the USA today:

UNCP professor leads study to help protect leatherbacks

20 hours ago

A blockbuster scientific study that tracked ocean-going leatherback turtles may help save the endangered reptiles whose numbers have plummeted as commercial fishing continues to take a toll.

John Roe, a biology professor at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke and reptile expert, is the lead author of a satellite-tracking study that began more than two decades ago and included 15 scientists from leading universities and institutes. The study tracked 135 leatherback turtles as they trekked across the Pacific Ocean. It was released online on Jan. 8 by The Proceedings of the Royal Society B (Biological Sciences) of London and will be published in print form on Feb. 22.

The leatherback population has declined by 90 percent since 1980 due in large part to longline fishing vessels hauling them in as “bycatch.” Using GPS to track the travels of the world’s largest ocean-going turtle, it may be possible to untangle them from the multi-billion dollar fishing industry, Roe said.

“The high profile of this paper helps the turtles’ cause; it’s a huge industrial issue,” Roe said. “It’s an important study, and many conservation groups are behind it.”

The study represents “the largest compilation of satellite-derived position estimates with fisheries information to predict times and locations of bycatch risk for any species of marine vertebrate.” Roe analyzed huge volumes of data, which gives “strong evidence of predictable time and location of leatherback movements” all of which “make the problem of leatherback bycatch more manageable.”

Some of the participating scientists work for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service, which is responsible for the stewardship of the nation’s living marine resources and their habitat.

Leatherback turtles travel thousands of miles to and from nesting sites, and their movements are predictable,” Roe said. “They follow jellyfish, their sole food source, and fishermen follow similar patterns.”

It’s difficult to get data from the industry on leatherbacks hooked on longlines, but fishermen do not intentionally catch the large turtles, which can damage their equipment.

The study, which began in 1992 and ran through 2008, is a remarkable cooperative effort among many groups who tag turtles, according to Roe.

“Knowing that many people are putting satellite transmitters on turtles, we were able to collaborate with them to get a better picture of what’s going on in the ocean,” he said.

Universities represented in the ongoing research are UNCP, Indian-Purdue University at Fort Wayne, Cornell, Duke, Stanford, Maryland and Drexel. Institutes participating were NOAA and the Leatherback Turtle Conservation Trust. Funding came from the Lenfest Oceans Program of the Pew Charitable Trust, the tagging of Pacific Pelagics Program, Drexel’s Betz Endowment and the Schrey Endowment of Indiana-Purdue.

Several leading international turtle scientists were co-authors, including the study’s senior scientist James Spotila of Drexel, Stephen Morreale of Cornell, and Frank Paladino of Indiana-Purdue, who is Roe’s mentor.

“I was able to maintain a relationship with this group from my time as a post-doctoral fellow,” Roe said. “I pushed the study forward and crunched the numbers.”

As lead author, Roe is also the spokesman for the paper, and interest in the study has been high. Thus far, BBC News, Nature World and Science Daily have reported on it. Roe has done an interview with WHYY, Philadelphia public radio.

Roe said acquiring more data would narrow the field of collisions between turtles and fishing vessels. A related study of leatherbacks in the Atlantic will be published online in the coming months.

“Turtles and whales are in the spotlight globally,” Roe said. “There has been success in some areas like shrimping on the East Coast of the Atlantic where turtle excluder devices have been incorporated in nets. But leatherbacks are not coastal turtles and remain in deep water, which makes regulation more difficult.”

The study identified hot spots of conflict. In the eastern Pacific, leatherbacks are at the highest risk in the South Pacific Gyre, an enormous ocean eddy past the Galapagos Islands and south of the equator. In the western Pacific, the highest potential for bycatch is near nesting beaches of northwest New Guinea.

In Pembroke, Roe stays busy with his students tracking box turtles, a terrestrial species that is North Carolina’s state reptile. Roe, who joined UNCP’s faculty in 2010, earned his doctorate from the University of Canberra, Australia. He has studied turtles and snakes Down Under, across the Pacific and from Michigan to North Carolina.

“I expect to have some papers on box turtles ready for publication in a year, and I am looking at some turtles of conservation concern in the Lumber River,” he said. “There is no shortage of interesting reptiles.”

See also here.

The last large populations of the leatherback turtle are at risk because their migratory routes in the Atlantic Ocean clash with the locations of industrial fisheries, a new study shows: here.

Just recently in San Jose, Costa Rica police officers rescued a leatherback sea turtle from poachers who planned to kill the animal and sell it. Apparently these poachers who planned to capture the sea turtle were doing illegal actions. In Costa Rica selling a leatherback sea turtle or its eggs is illegal because these kinds of turtles are endangered. However, on the black market leatherback turtles sell for very high prices, which is most likely why poachers were trying to capture this marine animal: here.

The Definitive Ranking Of Animals Riding On Turtles: here.

Support CIA Syria policy, get 15 years prison


This video says about itself:

5 Sep 2013

The Syrian village of Ma’loula in the mountains north of Damascus is a UNESCO world heritage site, it is one of the only villages in the world where ancient Aramaic is still spoken – that’s the language believed to have been spoken by Jesus Christ.

It has been overrun in an assault by al-Qaeda linked group Jabhat al-Nusra, who were fighting alongside opposition brigades from Baba Amr in Homs. A nun from a convent in Ma’loula has accused Jabhat al-Nusra of shelling the village and its inhabitants indiscriminately.

By Joseph Kishore in the USA:

North Carolina man charged with seeking to join US-backed Syrian opposition

14 November 2013

A man from the US state of North Carolina faces up to 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for allegedly seeking to join the Al Nusra Front (Janhat al-Nusra), an Al Qaeda-linked organization that has been promoted by the US and its allies throughout the Syrian civil war.

According to an indictment filed by a grand jury in North Carolina, Basit Javed Sheikh, who lived in the city of Carey and is originally from Pakistan, contacted an individual who turned out to be an agent of the FBI to seek assistance in traveling to Syria.

The involvement of FBI informants is a feature of nearly every terrorism-related prosecution filed by US officials. In this case, Sheikh allegedly made contact with the informant through an Islamist Facebook page in August, expressing an interest in traveling to Syria to support the forces fighting against the government of Bashar al-Assad.

According to a report in CBS News, “Sheikh told the covert informant in early September that he’d bought a one-way ticket to travel to Turkey in hopes of making contact with people who would get him to Syria.” He allegedly said he had travelled to Turkey last year for a similar purpose, but had become frustrated by his experience with individuals who claimed to be part of the Free Syrian Army, which has had the official backing of the US.

The plans for travel to Turkey were apparently cancelled. Sheikh was arrested earlier this month at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport before boarding a plane to Lebanon, a trip that the US government claims had the same aim as the Turkish trips.

If the accusations of US officials are true, Sheikh’s actions in seeking to join Al Nusra in fact entirely conform to the activities of the US government itself. At the time that he first allegedly made contact with the FBI informant, the war drive of the Obama administration against Syria was at its peak. Over the summer, the US government had been preparing to launch a direct military intervention against the Assad government, after having fueled and stoked a sectarian conflict, dominated by the Al Nusra Front, for two years.

Thanks in part to the military and financial assistance from US allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar, Al Qaeda-linked groups in Syria became the dominant forces in the civil war aimed at toppling Assad, a principal ally of Iran and Russia. These forces carried out repeated terrorist attacks, including the bombing of civilian institutions, the murder of prisoners of war, and the massacre of members of the Alawite minority.

A Reuters report on September 5—when Sheikh was allegedly in discussions with the FBI informant—noted that claims by Obama administration officials that the opposition in Syria was “moderate” were “at odds with estimates by US and European intelligence sources and nongovernmental experts, who say Islamic extremists remain by far the fiercest and best-organized rebel elements.”

Sheikh is at least the third individual arrested by US authorities for allegedly seeking to join the Al Nusra Front, which is formally designated as a terrorist organization. Earlier this year, Abdella Ahmad Tounisi, an 18-year-old from Chicago, was seized while leaving the US, allegedly to join up with Syrian forces. Similarly to the latest case, the arrest came after undercover FBI agents ensnared Tounisi in an Internet sting.

Last March, a US Army veteran, Eric Harroun, was arrested on charges related to his going to Syria and allegedly fighting alongside the Al Nusra Front.

In Harroun’s case, defense lawyers argued that there was confusion over what group he was to join, and that he had, in fact, intended to fight with the Free Syrian Army. Throughout the Syrian conflict, the FSA has worked closely with the Islamist organizations.

Initially, Harroun was charged with using a weapon of mass destruction outside of the United States—which carries a possible death sentence—and providing material support to a terrorist organization, which is punishable by 15 years in prison.

In the end, however, Harroun was allowed to plead to a lesser charge of conspiring to violate arms control laws and was released after being sentenced to time served.

During an initial hearing, Harroun’s lawyer, Geremy Kamens, had argued in his defense: “It is extremely unusual for the US to charge a person who is fighting in a manner that is aligned with US interests.”

While dozens of innocent people entrapped by undercover agents provocateurs have been sent to prison for decades on trumped up charges of conspiring to provide material support for terrorism, these cases involving Syria pose a dilemma. How can federal courts send people to prison for supporting Al Qaeda, when the US government is doing the very same thing?

Recently, Al Qaeda in Syria beheaded Mohammad Fares. They thought Mr Fares was an adherent of the Shiite tendency within Islam; enough “reason” to murder him so cruelly. However, then it turned out that Mohammad Fares was a Sunni Muslim, like themselves. Whoops-a-daisy! [sarcasm off; deep sadness on]

Human Rights Watch reports that insurgents executed civilians and prisoners during operations against the village of Sadad in Damascus Province from October 21 to 28: here.

Blood brothers. When Assad’s horrific prisons were the CIA’s dumping ground: here.

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