New beetle species discovery in Russian cave


A drawing of the freshly discovered Duvalius abyssimus speciesSinc - José Antonio Peñas

From Science, Space & Robots:

New Beetle Species Discovered in World’s Deepest Cave

A new species of beetle has been discovered in the Krubera cave in Russia’s Western Caucasus. The Krubera cave is the world’s deepest cave at 2,140 meters deep. It is the only cave in the world known to have a depth of over 2,000 meters. The beetle was discovered by researchers from two Spanish universities.

The hypogean ground beetle has been given the name Duvalius abyssimus. The beetles do have eyes unlike many insects specialized for cave-only life. Both a male and a female specimen were collected.

Vicente M. Ortuno, from the University of Alcala, says in the announcement, “The new species of cave beetle is called Duvalius abyssimus. We only have two specimens, a male and a female. Although they were captured in the world’s deepest cave, they were not found at the deepest point.”

A research paper on the cave beetle was published here in Zootaxa.

July 2, 2014

See also here.

Hand-reared spoon-billed sandpiper breeding in the wild


This video says about itself:

Spoon-billed Sandpiper: Courtship

Within days of arriving on the breeding grounds, Spoon-billed Sandpiper courtship begins. Males perform display flights over favored areas to attract females and establish territories and females select a mate. Once together, a pair becomes inseparable. They forage within earshot of each other, copulate frequently, and prospect for potential locations to nest. This video, shot during the first few days of a pair’s seasonal courtship, captures some of these rarely witnessed behaviors including an attempted copulation and a nest scrape display.

Video includes commentary by The Cornell Lab [of Ornithology]‘s Gerrit Vyn.

Filmed June 6, 2011 near Meinypilgyno, Chukotka, Russia.

From Wildlife Extra:

Hand-reared spoon-billed sandpiper returns home to breed

An extensive hand-rearing programme, aimed at saving the highly endangered spoon-billed sandpiper, is celebrating the news that for the first time one has returned to its Russian ancestral grounds to breed, two years after she was released.

This is a major milestone for the programme, which is a collaboration between WWT, Birds Russia, Moscow Zoo and the RSPB working with colleagues from the BTO, BirdLife International, ArcCona and the Spoon-billed Sandpiper Task Force.

It aims to give the chicks a head start to ensure they survive their crucial first days of life, and stabilise the species’ population, which is estimated at 100 breeding pairs in the wild.

The team carefully removed eggs from breeding grounds on the tundra of the Chukotka region in eastern Russia to be monitored, hatched and nourished in the nearby village of Meinypil’gyno before being released.

Rearing and releasing birds on the breeding grounds increases the number of young birds in the wild in autumn by about 25 per cent.

But this is only the start as, once released, the birds embark on a 5,000 miles migration to South Asia, facing exhaustion, starvation, illegal hunting and getting caught in fishing nets in Myanmar and Bangladesh.

Pavel Tomkovich of Birds Russia said: “Two years ago I attached a tiny plastic leg flag to this bird, so that we’d recognise it if it was ever seen again.

“The odds were severely stacked against that happening, but amazingly she was spotted, first by birdwatchers in Taiwan in April and now we see her here at her birthplace ready to have young of her own.”

Norbert Schäffer, the RSPB’s head of international species recovery, said: “It’s great to see parts of the plan to protect this precious species coming together, but it’s a long road and there is still a lot more to do in terms of tackling the problems on the flyway.

“This is a huge international effort involving many different partners and with everyone doing their bit.”

Amur tiger swims from Russia to China


This video is about Amur tigers.

From Wildlife Extra:

Film shows Amur tiger swimming across Russia’s border to China

An Amur tiger has been filmed swimming across the Ussuri River from Russia to China.

The rare episode took place close to Russia’s Bolshekhekhtsirsky Nature Reserve and China’s wetlands of the Sanjiang Nature Reserve.

Its swim was filmed by two Chinese fishermen on their mobile phones.

“In general, it is a usual thing for a tiger to swim across rivers, but in this case I am amazed at the river width – 300-350 metres – that the tiger covered successfully,” said Pavel Fomenko, biodiversity conservation program coordinator at WWF Russia Amur branch.

“The tiger’s swim across the Ussuri can be regarded as a search for prey, or a mate, or new habitats. It is very important for the Chinese colleagues to monitor the tiger translocation. I hope the rare predator will be safe in China”.

This area is a transboundary corridor used by tigers when crossing the Sino- Russian border.

“It is significant to monitor the Amur tiger and its prey base progress jointly by Russia and China,” saif Shi Quanhua, senior programme manager of the Asian big cats program of WWF China.

“Our task today is to keep track of this tiger movements, to work with local people and governmental agencies in order to safeguard the animal regardless of the place where it stays – in China or back in Russia”.

Watch the film HERE.

Rare sociable lapwing courtship video


This is a video of rare sociable lapwings: their courtship on spring migration in the Nogai steppe, Dagestan, Russian federation, 30 March 2014.

After spending the winter far apart in Eastern Sudan and Western Saudi Arabia respectively, Boris and Irina (two of our satellite-tagged Sociable Lapwings) have apparently reunited in Azerbaijan during their long journeys home to Kazakhstan: here.

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YMCA played at Sochi Winter Olympics, video


This Dutch television video, recorded in the speed skating stadium at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, says about itself:

15 Feb 2014

After President Putin hugged the bi-sexual 3Km speedskating gold medalist Ireen Wüst to show the Russian “man/woman in the street” that all people whether hetero or homo or bi are equal, the music band “small beer” [Kleintje Pils] played purposely the overtly gay YMCA song during the 1500m speed skating in Sochi.

How US Evangelicals Helped Create Russia’s Anti-Gay Movement: here.

If Vanessa-Mae lost a bit of dignity in the slalom, she gained a lot of respect. Competing for gold is only part of what the Olympics is about – the violinist showed Sochi how coming last can also be a triumph: here.

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Band plays YMCA at Sochi Olympic skating


This video from the Winter Olympics in Canada says about itself:

Dutch speed skating band Kleintje Pils during the Men’s 500m in Vancouver 2010.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Musical protest by Kleintje Pils

Saturday, February 15, 2014 15:21

The Dutch brass band Kleintje Pils ["Small Beer"] has played the song YMCA in Sochi during a break while the ice was cleaned during the 1,500 meter speed skating. This was intended as a protest against the anti-LGBTQ law in Russia.

“We too know the terrible images of anti-gay hatred in Russia and other countries,” said the Oompah band. “We cannot be silent about that.” The song, a 1970s hit by the Village People, is associated with the gay movement.

Kleintje Pils has had contact with Victor Willis, the composer of YMCA. “He wrote it to connect people with each other and that is also what Kleintje Pils stands for,” says the band.

A Dutch radio interview with the band about this is here.

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