Dutch seventeenth-century art about Brazilian animals


Giant anteater by Frans Post

This drawing, by Dutch painter Frans Post (1612-1680), depicts a giant anteater.

In 1637-1644, Post was in northeast Brazil, then part of the Dutch colonial empire. He painted local landscapes. And he also made 34 drawings of Brazilian animals; these drawings were only recently found again.

From 7 October 2016 till 8 January 2017, there will be in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam in the Netherlands an exhibition showing these drawings, paintings and stuffed animals of the depicted species from the collection of Naturalis museum in Leiden.

Some of the animal species depicted by Post can also be seen alive in Artis zoo in Amsterdam. On 7 October, a drawing contest will start of depictions of these animals by zoo visitors.

This video from the USA says about itself:

Friday, March 4, 2016, 1:30 pm

The Dutch painter Frans Post was the first European-trained artist to paint landscapes in the New World. His depictions of the Dutch colony in northeast Brazil provided Europeans some of the earliest glimpses of South America. After a seven-year stay in Brazil, Post returned to the Netherlands to create for the Dutch art market numerous landscape paintings of this remote and exotic place. James Welu, Director Emeritus of the Worcester Art Museum, in Massachusetts, explores the wealth of information these paintings offer, both about the land that inspired them and the people who acquired them.

Charlotte, USA anti-police brutality protesters in jail


This video from the USA says about itself:

California Cop Who Shot Unarmed Black Man Was Demoted in 2015 for Sexually Harassing Female Officer

29 sep. 2016

The El Cajon police officer who shot Alfred Olango dead has been at the center of controversy before. Last year, Richard Gonsalves was sued for sexual harassment after making lewd propositions and texting explicit photos to his subordinate officer. He was demoted to officer from sergeant. Gonsalves was just served with a second suit in August of this year, after the harassment continued. Despite the lawsuits, Gonsalves remained on the force. We speak to Dan Gilleon, attorney for the family of Alfred Olango and Officer Christine Greer, the plaintiff in a sexual harassment lawsuit against Richard Gonsalves.

From the Charlotte Uprising site in North Carolina, USA:

URGENT ACTION NEEDED

We demand an immediate end to repression of demonstrators in Charlotte!

Call/Email CMPD, Mecklenburg County Sheriff, Mayor Roberts, Attorney General Roy Cooper, & Governor Pat McCrory

Jail Liaison – Karla Gary
OFFICE PHONE: 980-314-5550
EMAIL: Karla.Gary@mecklenburgcountync.gov

Public Information Manager – Anjanette Flowers Grube
OFFICE PHONE: 980-314-5170
CELL PHONE: 704-634-5072
EMAIL: Anjanette.Grube@mecklenburgcountync.gov

Mayor Jennifer Roberts
Phone: 704-336-2241
email: mayor@charlottenc.gov

Governor Pat McCrory
Phone: (919) 814-2000
Phone:(919)733-4240
email: governor.office@governor.ncmail.net

Attorney General Roy Cooper
Telephone: (919) 716-6400
info@roycooper.com

Since demonstrations began against the police murder of Keith Lamont Scott, police in Charlotte have been mass arresting protesters & legal observers, using chemical weapons, and violating their most basic rights.

Jamil Gill (aka King Mills), who many around the country and the world know for his on the ground livestreams from the first nights of protest, has been a particular target of police repression ever since the protests began. He was arrested and issued an outrageous bond of $320,000, which the movement fought and reduced to a still obscene amount of $162,000.

He was bonded out early in the day on September 28, and subsequently REARRESTED by police as he ate lunch! This is a clear attempt to intimidate and harass Gill, and an attempt by the state to silence and have a chilling effect on the rest of the movement.

During demonstrations on September 21, police attacked the protests and killed 26 year old Black man Justin Carr. Continuing their targeting Black and Brown people and a total lack of transparency by the CMPD, they are falsely accusing Raquan Borum for Justin’s death.

The police have continued to violate arrestee’s legal rights by:

Instructing the National Guard and police to blockade the jail (at least three times since the uprising began) to prevent the release of arrestees whose bond was paid
Using bogus excuses like fire drills, ‘suspicious packages,’ and even characterizing our jail solidarity team gathering at the jail as a ‘protest’ to lock down the jail for hours
Intentionally delaying the release of arrestees
Not publishing arrestees’ names online, impeding our ability to provide them legal support

We need you to call and email the jail, Charlotte and state officials and demand that they stop violating arrestees’ rights!

Script for call or email –

“Hello –

My name is _______ and I am a resident of ________. Can I speak to ?

I am calling to demand that you stop the repression of demonstrators in Charlotte.

We demand an end to the attacks on Jamil Gill! Stop the arrests of all protesters!
We demand that an independent investigation of the killing of Keith L Scott and the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Dept!
We demand that you stop purposefully obstructing the release of arrestees!
We demand that all the charges against those who have been arrested are dropped!

Hands off #CharlotteUprising! The whole world is watching, and we won’t stop until our demands are met and the people get justice!

By Charlotte Uprising – 09/29/2016

23 baby giant pandas, video


This video from China says about itself:

23 Baby Pandas Make Debut at southwest China Breeding Base

29 sep. 2016

Twenty-three giant panda cubs made their public debut at a panda base in southwest China’s Chengdu City on Thursday, offering the cutest scene one can imagine.

The baby pandas, aged one to four months, were all born at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding this year.

“I think this is just about the cutest thing in the entire world. I never imagine there will be so many baby pandas in one place,” said a U.S. tourist named Aaron.

“I thought they were toys because they were lying there motionless. Then I realized they were cute baby pandas,” said Zheng Shuo, a tourist from central China’s Hunan Province.

This year, experts from the base also witnessed the birth of another four pandas overseas, raising the total number of the base’s newborn pandas to 27, a rare record since the establishment of the base.

The number of this year’s newborn pandas at the base has almost doubled that last year. Experts attribute this to the improvement in breeding technology.

“We used to mate the pandas by observing their behaviors to decide the timing for mating. But now we combine behavior observation with endocrine analysis to get more accurate timing, thus ensuring a fairly high breeding rate,” said Wu Kongju, animal management director at the base.

What’s more, among the 27 newborn pandas there are 10 pairs of twins, accounting for 74 percent of the total.

Since its establishment nearly 30 years ago, the base has bred 176 giant pandas, the world’s largest artificially-bred giant panda population.

Read more here.

Confessions of a Bibliophile tag, thanks paintdigi!


Confessions of a Bibliophile tag

My dear blogging friend paintdigi has been so kind to nominate my blog for the Confessions of a Bibliophile tag.

Thank you so much for this kind gesture!

The questions by paintdigi are:

1. What genre of literature do you stay away from?

Books glorifying wars.

2. What book do you have on the shelf and are ashamed to not have read?

Mother night, by Kurt Vonnegut.

3. What is your worst habit as a reader?

Sometimes reading the final chapter before the first chapters.

4. Do you usually read the synopsis before reading the book?

Often.

5. What is the most expensive book from your bookshelf?

Grzimek’s Animal Life Encyclopedia.

6. Do you buy used books?

Sometimes.

7. What is your preferred library (physical)?

The university library.

8. What is your favorite online bookstore?

I don’t buy online.

9. You have a budget (monthly) to buy books?

No, it varies very much from month to month.

My questions are the same as paintdigi’s ones.

My nominees are:

1. Bette A. Stevens, Maine Author

2. Gronda Morin

3. Anti-Fascist News

4. Universe Unexplored

5. Small World, Smaller Girl

6. Greek Canadian Literature

7. Առլեն Շահվերդյան. հեղինակային բլոգ-կայք

8. It Is What It Is

9. Denisa Aricescu

10. Contemporary women

American chipmunk’s corn cob food, video


This video from the USA says about itself:

29 September 2016

Chipmunk shucks an entire ear of dried corn in record time and stores it away for cold winter days. That is not an easy task when the corn cob is bigger than you are! Admirable little rodents with an impressive work ethic and survival skills.

Helmeted hornbills endangered by poachers


This video says about itself:

14 February 2016

Indonesia is home to thirteen hornbill species, three of which are endemic. This makes Indonesia the richest and the most important country for hornbill conservation in the world.

Hornbills are the largest and most effective seed disperser agent in Asia’s tropical rainforests and they are forest dependent. Among Asian hornbills, the Helmeted hornbill is the most unique species starting from species life requirement and features a solid casque that has been recognized for its ivory-like quality. It is the only Hornbill in the world which has this feature.

From Wildlife Extra:

Ivory poachers driving rare bird to extinction

By Nigel Collar, 28 Sep 2016

A sudden explosion of demand for the Helmeted Hornbill’s casque as “ivory” is plunging the species to extinction at frightening speed. Yesterday the government of Indonesia once again explained the issue during the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) – a gathering of 182 nations currently underway in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Perhaps the single most iconic bird species in what remains of the great dipterocarp forests of the Greater Sundas (Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra and Borneo) has suddenly been discovered to be plunging at frightening speed towards extinction. In November 2015, BirdLife placed the Helmeted Hornbill Rhinoplax vigil on the IUCN Red List in the highest category of threat: Critically Endangered. The reason: a sudden explosion of demand for the “ivory” that its casque (the “horn” on the top of its bill) uniquely possesses.

At 1.5 metres long the Helmeted Hornbill is the largest of its kind in Asia; but this is the least of its remarkable features. It has a surprisingly short, spiky bill, a thick, carunculated bare neck which is deep red in the male and whitish in the female, as well as much the longest tail of any hornbill, with wonderful black and white central feathers greatly prized by the indigenous peoples of the forest.

It also has a very striking sheer-fronted casque rising over the front of its head. Other hornbill casques are ornamental and hollow, but the casque of the Helmeted Hornbill has evolved into a weapon of sorts. “Very striking” is an apt term, because the casque is used in rarely seen aerial jousts in which two birds fly from a treetop in opposite directions, circle round and swoop at each other, cracking their casques together in mid-air in a spectacular contest for supremacy. Casque-butting has been thought to be an elaborate ritual for deciding who gets to stay in a tree to eat its fruit, but it may be more to do with wider territoriality and is perhaps closely related to pair bond reinforcement.

Whatever the explanation, these contests have evidently driven the evolution of the solid front to the casque of the Helmeted Hornbill; old males develop particularly awesome structures. For millennia, indigenous people in the Sundaic rainforests have used the casques of hunted birds to carve various kinds of ornament; when these were traded with Chinese merchants over a thousand years ago, the interest in China in hornbill “ivory” was ignited.

Chinese craftsmen, working within an oral tradition that has left no trace of their techniques, made use of hornbill ivory to carve the most exquisite pieces, engraving them with traditional scenes and themes. Items from buckles to snuff boxes were made from the material; as a demonstration of their sheer genius, some of the carvers left the casque on the head of the bird, producing the most breathtakingly elaborate miniature scenes. The nineteenth century western craze for chinoiserie resulted in hornbill ivory products also being exported to Europe and America.

But the trade dwindled in the early twentieth century, while the Second World War seemed to kill it off completely. There was no evidence of any external trade during the second half of the century although, perhaps as a precaution, the Helmeted Hornbill was placed on Appendix I of CITES from the first implementation of the convention in 1975. BirdLife treated it as threatened in 1988, owing to fears over habitat loss, but further evaluation indicated that Near Threatened was a more suitable listing; it remained in this category from 1994 until the end of 2015.

But two years ago Yokyok Hadiprakarsa, an independent hornbill research expert based in Indonesia, began to uncover evidence that the species was the target of a new clandestine trade for its “ivory”. His further research, using Asian trading websites, now reveals that the demand for hornbill artefacts, far more crudely carved than in centuries past, suddenly took off in 2011, feeding a new interest among the Chinese nouveau riche. His work in West Kalimantan, checking on reports of confiscations and talking to villagers, foresters and officials, suggested that in 2012–2013 as many as 500 Helmeted Hornbills were being hunted in the province every month, a rate of 6,000 birds a year. The heads were then being smuggled to major ports in Sumatra and Java and thence to Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Separate studies by the Environmental Investigation Agency and by TRAFFIC South-East Asia have now confirmed the scale of the slaughter in Indonesia. The arrest this year of smugglers in Sumatra, in part to the credit of Indonesian staff of the Wildlife Conservation Society, has also indicated how wide and how fast the network of criminal gangs has spread in the rainforests of Sumatra and Borneo, with local hunters being recruited to go into the forest and shoot down every large hornbill in the hope that it would prove to be Helmeted. All the evidence suggests that this trade is simply an extension of the illegal trafficking of other wildlife products, as well as in drugs and other illicit goods, being conducted with ruthless efficiency across Indonesia’s two great islands.

BirdLife has moved as fast as possible to lend its support to the international conservation response that is clearly urgently needed to address this crisis. First, it conducted an emergency evaluation of the Helmeted Hornbill’s threat status. The new evidence concerning the pervasiveness of poaching in Indonesia, including reports from seasoned bird tour leaders that the species has suddenly become much harder to find, were obviously decisive; but the facts that the birds have such a low reproductive rate, with the female sealing herself into the nest cavity for around five months, and that killing the male who feeds her in the nest will certainly cause the chick’s death and possibly also the female’s, clearly also mean that populations will be unable to recover for many years. Moreover, the large emergent trees which bear the cavities in which the species habitually nests are commonly the target for logging operations. If being listed now as Critically Endangered has one consolation, it is that the species becomes eligible for support from a number of charitable sources.

The second step BirdLife took, through its regional division and national Partners, was to join forces with a group of conservationists in South-East Asia who are developing a plan of campaign to bring the crisis to world attention and to promote all possible measures to resolve it.

The group will be seeking to achieve a range of objectives: to promote awareness among consumers of both the illegality and the impact of the trade; to arouse expressions of concern by range states; to raise support from high profile sympathisers; to increase vigilance and activity by enforcement agencies at all levels; to involve NGO-backed protection units operating for other charismatic animals targeted by poachers; to create hornbill guardians among local citizenry; and to develop nest adoption schemes and community incentives for conservation.

To date, the gangs appear not to have moved into Malaysia or southern Thailand, but it is surely only a matter of time. Heading them off, while spiking their guns in Indonesia, is going to be a major undertaking in 2016; one for which the newly formed Helmeted Hornbill Working Group will need all the help it can enlist.