South African environmentalist wins award


This video is called BirdLife South Africa‘s Important Bird Areas.

From BirdLife:

BirdLife South Africa’s Dr Ross Wanless wins Environmentalist of the Year award

By Martin Fowlie, Fri, 24/10/2014 – 11:15

Dr Ross Wanless, from BirdLife South Africa’s Seabird Conservation Programme and the BirdLife Marine Programme, has been awarded the prestigious SAB Environmentalist of the Year Award.

Dr Wanless has overseen a number of impressive conservation achievements over the past six years at BirdLife South Africa, building on a career of seabird science and conservation work that started in 1997.

The SAB award recognises not just a lot of hard work over many years, but an individual who has been instrumental in delivering significant, lasting conservation outcomes. Very few conservation programmes can actually demonstrate tangible benefits for species they seek to conserve. It is still more exceptional for a programme to bring benefits to a suite of threatened species.

BirdLife South Africa’s extraordinary work through the BirdLife Marine Programme to prevent the extinction of albatrosses and petrels is one such example. Under the leadership of Dr Ross Wanless, the programme has used science, advocacy, persistence and win-win solutions to turn the tide against fisheries impacts on iconic seabirds. Earlier this year his team announced that their efforts in the South African hake trawl fishery had caused a reduction in seabird mortality of up to 90%. Dr Wanless is currently in South Korea, running a workshop with the Korean tuna longline fleet to assist that fleet to adopt best practice measures for avoiding accidental seabird catches.

Dr Wanless has recreated the African Seabird Group and oversaw a successful bid for the group to host the second World Seabird Conference, to be in Cape Town in October next year; he is chair of the local organising committee and sits on the World Seabird Unions’ conference executive committee. He also created and oversees the annual Celebrate Our Seas festival which kicked off in the beginning of October as part of National Marine Week. He maintains strong links to the University of Cape Town, and is currently supervising a Masters and a PhD student.

“It’s a real honour to receive this sort of recognition, but I do need to acknowledge that I have an amazing team at BirdLife South Africa, and this award is theirs as much as mine”, said Dr Wanless.

Find out more about the BirdLife Marine Programme.

South African jackal buzzard’s nest saved


This video from South Africa is called Jackal Buzzard Male – Filmed by Greg Morgan.

From Wildlife Extra:

South African energy company re-routes electricity lines to save buzzard’s nest

A recent power outage affecting six towns near Vredendal, north of Cape Town in South Africa, was traced to a jackal buzzard that had made its nest in the wires and hatched two chicks.

Although jackal buzzards are not endangered, they play a vital role in the sensitive, arid landscape surrounding Vredendal, so engineers from the Eskom power company contacted the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) for assistance.

Although several suggestions were put forward on how to resolve the outage problem, one thought was common for both Eskom and the EWT – that the nest should not be removed.

It was decided that the best course of action, causing the least disturbance, would be to re-route the power line.

Eskom staff worked tirelessly throughout the day to ensure that the new section of the line was up before dark, with Lourens Leeuwner from the EWT keeping a careful eye on the two chicks in the nest, as well as the adult buzzard to ensure that the bird did not abandon its young.

Once power was restored to the new section of line, all materials were packed up and the area was vacated.

The following morning Leeuwner returned to the site to find the adult bird sitting on the nest with the two chicks, which both appeared to be in good health.

North and South African vultures


This video from South Africa is called Lappet-faced, White-backed and White-headed Vultures.

From North African Birds blog today:

Eight vulture species live or have lived in the three Maghreb countries (Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia), here is their complete list sorted according to their taxonomic positions. Of these eight species, 3 still breed in the region (Bearded Vulture, Egyptian Vulture and Griffon Vulture), 2 are former breeders and now extinct from the region (Cinereous Vulture and Lappet-faced Vulture), and finally 3 are accidental visitors from sub-Saharan Africa (Hooded Vulture, White-backed Vulture and Rüppell’s Vulture).

The total number of species in the list of each country: 6 species for Algeria, 8 species for Morocco and 4 species for Tunisia.

The species that still breed in each country are as follow: Algeria (Egyptian Vulture & Griffon Vulture), Morocco (Bearded Vulture & Egyptian Vulture) and Tunisia (Egyptian Vulture).

British actor Richard Attenborough helped honour Nelson Mandela


This video is called BBC News – Filmmaker Richard Attenborough dies at 90.

By Will Stone in Britain:

Tuesday 26th August 2014

Tributes pour in for progressive actor who died aged 90

BELOVED actor Richard Attenborough was remembered yesterday for his “determination and courage” in helping to erect the statue of Nelson Mandela in Parliament Square.

The award-winning star, described as a “titan of British cinema” by film academy Bafta and famed for his roles in blockbusters Jurassic Park, Gandhi and The Great Escape, died at lunchtime on Sunday at the age of 90.

But left groups remembered his achievements off the screen too.

Jude Woodward, former culture and creative industries advisor at City Hall under Ken Livingstone, told the Star that few have mentioned Attenborough’s “irascible” nature, which she believed helped make sure the bronze statue of South Africa’s former president and anti-apartheid activist was built.

Mr Attenborough helped set up a fund for the statue with the widow of the late anti-apartheid activist Donald Woods, who originally came up with the idea and received approval from Mandela in 2001.

“He was absolutely determined,” she said, recalling that they had initially battled to get the nine-foot statue put up outside the High Commission of South Africa in Trafalgar Square.

However Westminster Council rejected the planning application on the grounds its location would disrupt events in the area.

After much discussion the council finally agreed to erect the £400,000 sculpture, designed by Ian Walters, in Parliament Square alongside the statues of other iconic figures including Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln and Benjamin Disraeli.

This video from London, England is called Nelson Mandela‘s speech at the unveiling of his statue.

Mandela himself attended the unveiling of the sculpture in 2007, six years after it was first approved, and the statue is still the only one of a black person in the square.

Ms Woodward said that it was “a real achievement” and a “right and fitting legacy” to Mandela that the statue was erected in his lifetime.

Describing Mr Attenborough, she added: “If things got in his way he would not brook opposition. He was absolutely determined there would be a tribute to Mandela and that it would be erected while he was living.”

Also paying tribute, Labour leader Ed Miliband said: “The death of Richard Attenborough is a sad day for the film world and the Labour movement. He and his work will be remembered.”

BFI chief executive Amanda Nevill added: “the world has lost a very, very special person.”