Iraqi anti war poem

This video from the USA is about Iraqi poetess Dunya Mikhail.

This is a sarcastic poem about the 1991 Gulf war, by Dunya Mikhail:


How magnificent the war is!
How eager
and efficient!
Early in the morning,
it wakes up the sirens
and dispatches ambulances
to various places,
swings corpses through the air,
rolls stretchers to the wounded,
summons rain
from the eyes of mothers
digs into the earth
dislodging many things
from under the ruins . . .
Some are lifeless and glistening,
others are pale and still throbbing . . .
It produces the most questions
in the minds of children,
entertains the gods
by shooting fireworks and missiles
into the sky,
sows mines in the fields
and reaps punctures and blisters,
urges families to emigrate,
stands beside the clergymen
as they curse the devil
(poor devil, he remains
with one hand in the searing fire) . . .
The war continues working, day and night.
It inspires tyrants
to deliver long speeches,
awards medals to generals
and themes to poets.
It contributes to the industry
of artificial limbs,
provides food for flies,
adds pages to the history books,
achieves equality
between killer and killed,
teaches lovers to write letters,
accustoms young women to waiting,
fills the newspapers
with articles and pictures,
builds new houses
for the orphans,
invigorates the coffin makers,
gives grave diggers
a pat on the back
and paints a smile on the leader’s face.
The war works with unparalleled diligence!
Yet no one gives it
a word of praise.

See also here.

The “failures of Vietnam” hampered the US in planning for the post-conflict reconstruction of Iraq, the [British] inquiry into the war has heard: here.


Lead paint still kills Midway albatrosses

This is a Laysan albatross video.

From Wildlife Extra:

Lead paint still killing thousands of rare seabirds on Midway Island – outrage must end now say conservation groups

02/02/2010 08:47:34

10,000 Laysan Albatross chicks die every year

February 2010. As many as 130,000 Laysan Albatross chicks have been killed by lead paint flakes from 70 deadly lead paint-contaminated buildings since jurisdiction of Midway was transferred from the US Navy to the US Department of the Interior (DOI) in 1996.

Leading U.S. bird conservation group, American Bird Conservancy (ABC), and two Hawaiian groups – the Conservation Council for Hawai’i and Hawai’i Audubon Society, have renewed calls to Congress to provide funding to clean up on Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge.


“Curious Albatross chicks are ingesting the lead-based paint chips, which causes a variety of painful ailments and ultimately, a slow death,” said Dr. Jessica Hardesty Norris, Seabird Program Director for ABC.

Many of the chicks on Midway exhibit a condition called “droopwing”, which leaves them unable to lift their wings. Unable to fly, many die of starvation and dehydration.

10,000 birds die every year

The area encompassing Midway and its waters was included in President George Bush’s designation of the North-western Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument in 2006. Despite Midway’s designation as a National Wildlife Refuge and its location with the marine national monument, about 10,000 of these rare birds needlessly die there each year.

In a paper to be released in the scientific journal, Animal Conservation, Dr. Myra Finkelstein of the University of California-Santa Cruz and co-authors, including scientists and managers from the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, concluded that the death of Laysan Albatross chicks from lead exposure on Midway has long-term consequences for the nesting population of Laysan Albatrosses there. By 2060, there may be as many as 190,000 fewer albatrosses due to lead poisoning. By contrast, removing lead-based paint now could increase the population by up to 360,000 by 2060.

“The death of thousands of seabirds is contrary to the purpose of our National Wildlife Refuge System. We are preparing a letter to members of Congress to bring this matter again to their attention in the hopes that they can find a way to clean up Midway and stop the needless suffering of innocent birds,” said Marjorie Ziegler of the Conservation Council for Hawai’i.

70% world’s population of Laysan Albatross nest on Midway

About 70 percent of the world’s population of Laysan Albatrosses nests on Midway. The IUCN-World Conservation Union lists the species as globally vulnerable to extinction.

The DOI estimates that $5.6 million is needed to clean up the toxic lead paint on Midway Atoll. Approximately 70 of the federally-owned buildings must be stripped of all lead-based paint, and sand surrounding these old buildings needs to be thoroughly sifted to remove paint chips. DOI officials have stated that the current federal budget for the nation’s wildlife refuge system is insufficient to prevent the continued ingestion of lead paint by Laysan Albatross chicks.

“We strongly encourage Congress to pay close attention to the important scientific conclusions of today’s Animal Conservation paper on Laysan Albatrosses and enact a meaningful appropriation to address this severe and well documented wildlife hazard in Hawaii,” said John Harrison, President of Hawai’i Audubon Society.

See also here. And here.

Plastic ingestion by Laysan Albatross chicks on Sand Island, Midway Atoll, in 1994 and 1995: here.

A new study has correlated high lead exposure among Detroit children in their early years to later school-age learning deficits: here.

Lead paint is making New York City’s children sick — and some landlords see it as the cost of doing business: here.

Kenya’s Nairobi Park revives

This video is called Nairobi National Park Is The Only Wilderness Area in a Nation’s Capital.

From Wildlife Extra, with photos there:

Nairobi National Park drought over – Wildlife thriving

02/02/2010 11:05:33

By Will Knocker of the Silole Sanctuary

February 2010. After a two year drought, The Nairobi National Park finally received some decent rain in December and early January and the effects have been dramatic. Before the rains came, every last blade of grass had been grazed to dust by the 6000 or so resident herbivores & a similar number of illegal cattle. However the surviving cattle have now moved away to grazing lands in Maasailand.

The Nairobi National is 120 kms2 teeming with game and contains almost everything you might see bigger more remote parks, except elephants. In fact it is the best place in Kenya, if not the whole of Africa, to see Black rhinos in the wild.

Seasonal wetlands provide excellent habitat for aquatic birds such as this Saddlebill stork.

All predators, including the Big Cats have done well during the drought, with virtually all wildlife in the Athi-Kapiti ecosystem north of the Namanga highway being contained in the park owing to the presence of water & grazing.

Bohor reedbuck are doing well (many of them are translocated from Western Kenya) & are easily visible in the new short grass.

Buffalos surprisingly survived the drought well: there are close to a thousand of these large bovines in the park now.

Kongoni (Coke’s hartebeest) are now confined to the park because of human activities in the dispersal area. They are increasing in numbers & provide food for the ever-hungry & ever increasing NNP lion population (which is estimated at between 35 & 40 individuals.)

Dikdik in the Silole Sanctuary abutting the park: I have never seen this species in the park itself. Could somebody suggest why this might be the case?

Southern White rhino continue to do well; we have 11 in the The Nairobi National Park.

I estimate that there are between 35 – 40 lions in NNP. They are all descended from the 7 that survived the drought of 2005 when so many were killed after cattle-killing outside the park.

This is way above the historical average of 30 lions established by the lion researcher Judith Rudnai in the 70’s & a reflection of the changing conditions in NNP during a prolonged dry cycle.

The NNP population of lions is very young, with all but 7 individuals being less than 5 years old & at least one more litter of young cubs recently observed.

February 2011: Just a year after relocating four Northern white rhinos from a zoo in the Czech Republic to Kenya, they are now mating: here.

While elephants may appear destructive when they pull down trees, tear up grasses or stir up soils, their impacts actually make space for the little guys: frogs and reptiles. The BBC reports that a new study in African Journal of Ecology finds that African bush elephants (Loxodonta Africana), facilitate herpetofauna (i.e. amphibians and reptiles) biodiversity when they act as ecosystem engineers: here.

South Africa: May 2011. The following images of leucistic buffalo calves were sent to us by Jim Thomson, owner of Jejane Private Nature Reserve near Hoedspruit. Amazingly, the buffalo herd on the reserve has produced not 1, but 2 leucistic calves this year: here.

U.S. author J.D. Salinger dies

This video from the USA is called The Catcher in the Rye.

American author J.D. Salinger, best known for his 1951 classic The Catcher in the Rye, died Wednesday, January 27. He was 91. See here. And here. And here. And here.