Pygmy tarsiers rediscovered in Indonesia


This video says about itself:

Pygmy tarsiers

A team led by a Texas A&M University anthropologist has discovered a group of primates not seen alive in 85 years. These furry gremlin-looking creatures are about the size of a small mouse and weighing less than 2 ounces, have not been observed since they were last collected for a museum in 1921.

From Reuters:

Tiny, long-lost primate rediscovered in Indonesia

Tue Nov 18, 2008

By Will Dunham

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – On a misty mountaintop on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, scientists for the first time in more than eight decades have observed a living pygmy tarsier, one of the planet’s smallest and rarest primates.

Over a two-month period, the scientists used nets to trap three furry, mouse-sized pygmy tarsiers — two males and one female — on Mt. Rore Katimbo in Lore Lindu National Park in central Sulawesi, the researchers said on Tuesday.

They spotted a fourth one that got away. …

As their name indicates, pygmy tarsiers are small — weighing about 2 ounces (50 grammes). They have large eyes and large ears, and they have been described as looking a bit like one of the creatures in the 1984 Hollywood movie “Gremlins.”

They are nocturnal insectivores and are unusual among primates in that they have claws rather than finger nails.

They had not been seen alive by scientists since 1921. In 2000, Indonesian scientists who were trapping rats in the Sulawesi highlands accidentally trapped and killed a pygmy tarsier.

“Until that time, everyone really didn’t believe that they existed because people had been going out looking for them for decades and nobody had seen them or heard them,” Gursky-Doyen said.

See also here.

And here.

The tiny spectral tarsier, one of the shortest primates in the world, has been filmed hunting at night in the jungle of Sulawesi, Indonesia, here.

Sangihe tarsier: here.

Brood of 9 Whooper swan cygnets winters in England


This is a whooper swan video from Britain.

From Wildlife Extra:

Record brood of 9 Whooper swan cygnets arrive at Martin Mere
19/11/2008 14:00:13

November 2008. A pair of whooper swans have flown into WWT Martin Mere with an amazing nine cygnets.

Three of the cygnets are slightly lighter in colour, which suggest that this is in fact two broods of six and three. The likelihood is that the smaller brood has been adopted as they could have lost their parents during the migration, which is not unusual in poor weather, and subsequently latched onto the family.

Adopted

Centre manager Andy Wooldridge, said: “It is not completely unusual for swans to adopt cygnets that have been orphaned through the migration journey. The research undertaken at Martin Mere is starting to show this trend more and more, making this an invaluable source of information on the migration habits of these birds.”

3-4 cygnets more usual

Whooper swans spend the breeding season in Iceland before flying over to winter in the UK, with Martin Mere welcoming approximately seven percent of the Icelandic population from November to March. A pair of whooper swans would usually expect to have three to four cygnets per year, and the cygnets could be as young as one month old when they make the migration journey.

Pair for life

Whooper swans tend to pair for life, and research is being undertaken at Martin Mere to ring the swans with their own identification numbers. It will then be possible to start building pictures of their family trees and migration habits. One of the parents of this brood, H3V, first visited Martin Mere in 2006, but his mate is currently unringed.

Visitors can currently experience a swan spectacular at Martin Mere everyday at 3pm and 3.30pm when the swans have their daily feed.

How to visit Martin Mere: here.

Subantarctic fur seals killed by mice?


This video from South Georgia is called King Penguins and Fur Seals at the beach.

From PLoS ONE:

Mass Mortality of Adult Male Subantarctic Fur Seals: Are Alien Mice the Culprits?

P. J. Nico de Bruyn, Armanda D. S. Bastos, Candice Eadie, Cheryl A. Tosh, Marthán N. Bester

Mammal Research Institute, Department of Zoology & Entomology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa

Abstract

Background

Mass mortalities of marine mammals due to infectious agents are increasingly reported. However, in contrast to previous die-offs, which were indiscriminate with respect to sex and age, here we report a land-based mass mortality of Subantarctic fur seals with apparent exclusivity to adult males. An infectious agent with a male-predilection is the most plausible explanation for this die-off. Although pathogens with gender-biased transmission and pathologies are unusual, rodents are known sources of male-biased infectious agents and the invasive Mus musculus house mouse, occurs in seal rookeries.

Methodology/ Principal Findings

Molecular screening for male-biased pathogens in this potential rodent reservoir host revealed the absence of Cardiovirus and Leptospirosis genomes in heart and kidney samples, respectively, but identified a novel Streptococcus species with 30% prevalence in mouse kidneys.

Conclusions/ Significance

Inter-species transmission through environmental contamination with this novel bacterium, whose congenerics display male-bias and have links to infirmity in seals and terrestrial mammals (including humans), highlights the need to further evaluate disease risks posed by alien invasive mice to native species, on this and other islands.

Citation: de Bruyn PJN, Bastos ADS, Eadie C, Tosh CA, Bester MN (2008) Mass Mortality of Adult Male Subantarctic Fur Seals: Are Alien Mice the Culprits? PLoS ONE 3(11): e3757.

Evolution rampant: house mice on Madeira: here.

A study of the migration patterns and foraging strategies of Antarctic fur seals: here.

More war in Afghanistan?


This video from the USA is called Stop the Iraq War – Tom Hayden.

By Simon Jenkins, in British daily The Guardian:

The errors of Iraq are being repeated – and magnified

The awful prospect is of Obama and Brown, no fans of the 2003 invasion, blundering on in a more perilous war: Afghanistan

Chris Hedges on this: here.