Rare pheasant discoveries in Kashmir

Western tragopan

From Wildlife Extra:

Two new populations of Endangered Western tragopan discovered

Two rare Indian pheasants’ new territory – Western tragopan is shy and silent

June 2011: The extremely rare western tragopan has been recorded at two new sites along the Pir Panjal range in Jammu and Kashmir. Sightings and calls of the pheasant were validated at the Kalamund-Tatakuti and Khara Rakh areas of the range.

A Schedule I species on the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act and listed as ‘Vulnerable’ by the IUCN Red List, the western tragopan is a medium-sized, brightly coloured pheasant endemic to the western Himalayas and inhabits coniferous forests. Locals had talked about seeing the bird in April – but its presence was confirmed the following month.

‘The bird is extremely shy and silent. But knowing that the best way to locate the species would be during its breeding season, when it becomes highly vocal, we returned in May,’ said Riyaz Ahmad, the team leader and assistant manager, species division of WTI.

The victim of rampant poaching

A victim of rampant poaching for its meat and plumage and habitat degradation and fragmentation, the western tragopan has previously been reported only from Kazinag range and Kishtawar National Park in the state. A few scattered records occur from Sud Mahadeo area of Jammu province.

‘I was pleasantly surprised to note the tragopan’s presence in these areas. Unlike its usual haunts, the moist north-facing coniferous slopes, the present sites are located on the south face of Pir Panjal along Poonch,’ said Dr Rahul Kaul, South Asia representative, IUCN SSC Galliformes Specialist Group and Chief Ecologist, WTI.

In addition to western tragopan, the team also sighted another threatened species in the region, the cheer pheasant.

Ecologically diverse and representative of western Himalayan forests possessing key species such as the markhor, brown bear and musk deer, the team has recommended Kalamund-Tatakuti for notification as a protected area.

NEW YORK (July 3, 2012) – The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) announced today that the markhor – a majestic wild goat species – is making a remarkable comeback in Pakistan due to conservation efforts: here.

Dutch spoonbill breeding 2011 figures

This is a video about a spoonbill trying to eat a fish, which turned out to be too big.

The Dutch Spoonbill Working Group reports that this year, 2332 spoonbill couples have nested in the Netherlands.

On Texel island, at least 510 couples have nested in 2011. Maybe some more, as some spoonbill nests are well hidden.

The biggest spoonbill colony of Texel is in De Geul nature reserve, where 416 couples have nested.

Victory for Dutch Afghan refugee girls

Afghan refugee sisters Karima and Krishma

Translated from Dutch ANP news agency:

Two Afghan sisters may continue

Two Afghan girls and their family from Hengelo can remain in the Netherlands. 18-year-old Karima and 15-year-old Krishma have been living in the Netherlands for nine years and ran the risk of being deported.

The mayors of Hengelo and Borne wrote a letter to Minister Leers, asking him to give the girls a residence permit. They are so westernized that they cannot return.

Previously, the girls’ high school waged action to let them stay. They are very pleased that they can stay now.

After the earlier victory of Afghan refugee girl Sahar, whom the Dutch Rightist government tried to expel, another victory against this government. Karima and Krishma will not have to return to occupied Afghanistan, the world’s worst country for women.

So, for once, under pressure from below, this government makes a good decision, affecting two individuals (and creating a precedent for more individuals, it is to be hoped).

However, they had already made a very bad decision affecting many more Afghan, and Dutch, individuals.

They have decided to, again, send Dutch soldiers to Afghanistan; this time to Kunduz province.

This will mean more war, more dead Afghans including girls. And more refugees from Afghanistan. Contrary to what European xenophobes say, most of those refugees are not going to Europe to supposedly “Islamize” it in some Elders-of-Zion-style secret “Eurabia” plot. Most Afghan refugees go to Pakistan or Iran.

Some went and will go to Europe or other NATO countries. Good that, in the case of the sisters Krishma and Karima, a blow has been struck against punishing the victims of NATO’s war for that war.

The Dutch government makes bad decisions, not just on the Afghan war, but also on refugees other than Karima and Krishma. Next Tuesday 13:15 there will be a demonstration on the Plein square in The Hague against government plans to expel Mauro, a refugee boy from Angola, from the Netherlands.

Victims of human trafficking: human rights not a priority for Dutch government: here.

Sarah Bufkin, ThinkProgress: “America’s wars are forcing Afghans and Iraqis to flee their homes in greater numbers. According to a recent U.N. High Commission for Refugees study, nearly one half of the world’s refugees are from Afghanistan and Iraq, 3.05 million and 1.68 million, respectively. But neither the United States nor much of the developed world bears the burden of the 10.55 million refugees under the UNHCR’s purview globally. Instead, Pakistan, Iran, and Syria serve as the top host countries. The Economist has charted the numbers”: here.

Afghanistan: Rawa.org News Feed: While US talks withdrawal, Afghan corruption soars: here.

Deportation flight to Iraq blockaded and stopped: here.