Good New Zealand bat news


This video says about itself:

Pollination of New Zealand native plants

Nov 14, 2011

Research has shown that the loss of native birds and bats from New Zealand ecosystems can have serious consequences for the survival of native plant species. …

Dr David Pattemore, a scientist at Plant & Food Research, has undertaken research on the pollination of native New Zealand plants. His research shows that birds and mammals play a critical role in ensuring native plants are pollinated, with implications for the ongoing viability of plant populations.

And here is the Part 2 video about this.

From Wildlife Extra:

ew colony of Endangered Long-tailed bats found in New Zealand

Forest & Bird delighted over new bat colony discovery

February 2013. A large colony of endangered South Island long-tailed bats has been discovered during a January survey on D’Urville Island, in the Marlborough Sounds. The D’Urville population is estimated to number in the hundreds, according to NZ conservation organisation, Forest & Bird.

Only 10 colonies known on South Island

The colony was discovered by a Forest & Bird survey team during the fifth and final year of surveys, initiated by Forest & Bird Top of the South Field Officer Debs Martin, alongside bat scientist Dr Brian Lloyd. Only 10 colonies of long-tailed bats are known to remain on the South Island mainland, with total numbers less than 5000 – and declining.

“This find is fantastic news,” says Ms Martin. “It means that D’Urville Island is even more important to New Zealand’s natural heritage than we thought. D’Urville Island is the fifth largest island in New Zealand. One third of it is public conservation land. It is free of possums and ship rats, which increases the long-tailed bat’s chances of survival. Except for a small colony on Stewart Island, the D’Urville group is the only one known to be living on an offshore island. This find dramatically increases the chances of saving the species from extinction,” says Ms Martin. “It was predicted that the South Island long-tailed bat would become extinct within 50 years. But this find may well alter that.

“Our next step will be to work with the Department of Conservation, Ngati Koata and local landowners to monitor the bats and ensure the island remains a safe haven for these animals. Protecting the quality of the island’s remaining forests and not allowing any new predator species to establish themselves on the island is now vital.”

The D’Urville colony was found thanks to the late Colin Iles, whose estate funded the final year of bat surveys.

“Colin was a gentle and compassionate man who was keen to see that his bequest benefited conservation in New Zealand,” says Ms Martin. “This surely is a legacy to be proud of. We are ever grateful to Colin for his generosity.”

Greater short-tailed bats extinct in 1965

One species of native bat – the greater short-tailed bat -became extinct in 1965 from predation by ship rats. Another species of short-tailed bat survives, but in low numbers. Forest & Bird surveys have failed to find any surviving populations of short-tailed bats at the top of the South Island, including in places where it is known historically to have lived.

Poetry and music afternoon


On 3 February 2013, there was a poetry and music afternoon.

Roel Weerheijm, a poet, was supposed to be first on stage, but did not turn up.

This is a video of Roel Weerheijm at the Dutch championship Poetry Slam 2011.

So, at the start of the event there was Dorpsoudste de Jong, a poet originally from the punk movement in the Netherlands. Today, with poems on a clock and a railway.

Then, Lisan Lauvenberg;  a poetess originally from Limburg province, but living in Amsterdam now. Her poems were about death.

Then, Max Lerou, a poet from The Hague.

Then, Josse Kok, with poems on monsters and other subjects.

Then, Martin Aart de Jong. One of hs poems was about blogging.

After a pause, poetry by Frans Terken from Leiden. He read poems on love and Bob Dylan.

Then, Monique van Rijn from Nieuwveen. With poems on a morning, and a baby.

Then, Leo van Zanen.

Then, yours truly, with a column on neocolonial war in Africa.

Then, Daniëlle Keizer, vocals, guitar and keyboard.

The actor Eddie Kagie  told a story from Russia.

After this, many of the poets did a second set.

Colombian migratory bird reserve expands


This video from the USA is called University of Tennessee cerulean warblers study.

From Wildlife Extra:

Cerulean warbler and other rare species to benefit from acquisition of key Colombian habitat

Pauxi Pauxi Reserve extended

January 2013. The Cerulean Warbler, a bird whose population has declined by about 70 percent in the last 40 years, and 25 other neotropical migrating birds are the key beneficiaries of a successful two-year-effort by American Bird Conservancy (ABC) and Fundación ProAves to purchase and protect key wintering habitat for the birds in Colombia, South America.

9 properties acquired

The conservation effort resulted in the acquisition of nine new properties. Those new properties now make up the western flank of the Pauxi Pauxi Reserve that was established in 2007 by the same partner groups and now totals about 4,470 acres.

The purchased area is located in north central Colombia, approximately 150 miles north of Bogota in an area of lush tropical vegetation. The newly acquired land is part of an imposing, mountainous outcropping called Cerro de la Paz, along the Magdalena River Valley west of the Andes Mountains, an area that has been heavily deforested due to agricultural and urban expansion.

Pauxi Pauxi Reserve

“As migratory birds head south through the degraded river valley, the Pauxi Pauxi Reserve is a forested haven. We are thrilled to expand available habitat for these weary avian travelers,” said David Younkman, Vice President for Conservation at ABC.

“Cerro de la Paz and the Pauxi Pauxi Reserve is one of the best migrant hotspots in Colombia based on our surveys,” said Alonso Quevedo, Executive Director of ProAves. “It is fantastic that our conservation efforts to protect endangered resident species, such as the Helmeted Curassow, can also ensure vital winter habitat for dozens of migratory species.”

The Cerulean Warbler was formerly one of the most abundant breeding warblers in the Ohio and Mississippi River Valleys and elsewhere in the U.S., but is now one of the country’s most imperiled migrant songbirds.

Cerulean Warbler numbers plummet by 70%

Overall, Cerulean Warbler numbers have plummeted by almost 70% since 1966. This elusive bird winters in the Andes and intermountain valleys, and breeds in North America from the Great Lakes region to Georgia, and west from Wisconsin to Louisiana, with particular concentrations in the Appalachians and Central Hardwoods region. Both its breeding and wintering habitat are being lost.

Winter migrants

In addition to providing habitat for the Cerulean Warbler, these properties represent a crucial area of wintering habitat for numerous other wintering migrants such as Tennessee, Black-and-white, Mourning, Canada, Blackburnian, and Black-throated Blue Warblers, American Redstart, Northern Waterthrush, and Rose-breasted Grosbeak. The Critically Endangered Blue-billed Curassow and Endangered Helmeted Curassow are also reported from this area in recent years, although confirmation is pending.

The Pauxi Pauxi Reserve also provides another strategic function – it anchors the northern end of the Cerulean Warbler Corridor in Colombia. This area is seeing increased agricultural expansion and ProAves is assisting local farmers in reducing deforestation by promoting shade coffee and cacao, both which benefit migratory birds. ProAves owns and operates small coffee and cacao farms that demonstrate to neighboring farmers ways to enhance wildlife conservation and maximize profits.

Current conservation efforts include reforesting habitat by building a tree nursery. Local residents have been hired to help find seeds, maintain saplings, and will begin planting by mid-2013. To protect the area from logging and unauthorized farming, a guard has been hired, and an existing structure is being renovated to serve as a guardhouse. Two small cacao farms on the property will provide ongoing income to sustain management efforts. Camera traps are being installed to confirm the presence of Helmeted, and possibly Blue-billed, Curassow among other important wildlife. ProAves and American Bird Conservancy have been able to undertake this work, including the new land purchases, with the generous support of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Neotropical Migratory Conservation Act program, Southern Wings, the Northeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Amos Butler Audubon, the Robert W. Wilson Charitable Trust, Jeff and Connie Woodman, David and Patricia Davidson, Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society, and many other supporters of Colombian bird conservation.

This region faces other threats as well: an enormous hydroelectric dam on the Sogamoso River is underway which will flood a large tract of forest, and the developer is buying land and relocating families upslope. This will bring increased pressure on the reserve’s buffer zone and drive wildlife into the refuge, making the protected habitat even more important.

ABC is a leading U.S. bird conservation organization while Fundación ProAves is a leading bird conservation group in Colombia and an ABC International Partner.

Black-and-white-warbler: here.

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British police steal dead children’s identities


From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Police spies stole identities of dead children

Exclusive:Undercover officers created aliases based on details found in birth and death records, Guardian investigation reveals

John Dines

John Dines, an undercover police sergeant, as he appeared in the early 1990s when he posed as John Barker, a protester against capitalism

Britain’s largest police force stole the identities of an estimated 80 dead children and issued fake passports in their names for use by undercover police officers.

The Metropolitan police secretly authorised the practice for covert officers infiltrating protest groups without consulting or informing the children’s parents.

The details are revealed in an investigation by the Guardian, which has established how over three decades generations of police officers trawled through national birth and death records in search of suitable matches.

Undercover officers created aliases based on the details of the dead children and were issued with accompanying identity records such as driving licences and national insurance numbers. Some of the police officers spent up to 10 years pretending to be people who had died.

The Met said the practice was not “currently” authorised, but announced an investigation into “past arrangements for undercover identities used by SDS [Special Demonstration Squad] officers”.

Keith Vaz, the chairman of parliament’s home affairs select committee, said he was shocked at the “gruesome” practice. “It will only cause enormous distress to families who will discover what has happened concerning the identities of their dead children,” he said. “This is absolutely shocking.”

The technique of using dead children as aliases has remained classified intelligence for several decades, although it was fictionalised in Frederick Forsyth‘s novel The Day of the Jackal. As a result, police have internally nicknamed the process of searching for suitable identities as the “jackal run”. One former undercover agent compared an operation on which he was deployed to the methods used by the Stasi.

Two undercover officers have provided a detailed account of how they and others used the identities of dead children. One, who adopted the fake persona of Pete Black while undercover in anti-racist groups, said he felt he was “stomping on the grave” of the four-year-old boy whose identity he used.

“A part of me was thinking about how I would feel if someone was taking the names and details of my dead son for something like this,” he said. The Guardian has chosen not to identify Black by his real name.

The other officer, who adopted the identity of a child who died in a car crash, said he was conscious the parents would “still be grief-stricken”. He spoke on the condition of anonymity and argued his actions could be justified because they were for the “greater good”.

Both officers worked for a secretive unit called the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), which was disbanded in 2008.

A third undercover police officer in the SDS who adopted the identity of a dead child can be named as John Dines, a sergeant. He adopted the identity of an eight-year-old boy named John Barker, who died in 1968 from leukaemia. The Met said in a statement: “We are not prepared to confirm nor deny the deployment of individuals on specific operations.”

The force added: “A formal complaint has been received which is being investigated by the DPS [Directorate for Professional Standards] and we appreciate the concerns that have been raised. The DPS inquiry is taking place in conjunction with Operation Herne’s investigation into the wider issue of past arrangements for undercover identities used by SDS officers. We can confirm that the practice referred to in the complaint is not something that would currently be authorised in the [Met police].”

There is a suggestion that the practice of using dead infant identities may have been stopped in the mid-1990s, when death records were digitised. However, the case being investigated by the Met relates to a suspected undercover police officer who may have used a dead child’s identity in 2003.

The practice was introduced 40 years ago by police to lend credibility to the backstory of covert operatives spying on protesters, and to guard against the possibility that campaigners would discover their true identities.

Since then dozens of SDS officers, including those who posed as anti-capitalists, animal rights activists … have used the identities of dead children.

One document seen by the Guardian indicates that around 80 police officers used such identities between 1968 and 1994. The total number could be higher.

Black said he always felt guilty when celebrating the birthday of the four-year-old whose identity he took. He was particularly aware that somewhere the parents of the boy would be “thinking about their son and missing him”. “I used to get this really odd feeling,” he said.

To fully immerse himself in the adopted identity and appear convincing when speaking about his upbringing, Black visited the child’s home town to familiarise himself with the surroundings.

Black, who was undercover in the 1990s, said his operation was “almost Stasi-like“. He said SDS officers visited the house they were supposed to have been born in so they would have a memory of the building.

“It’s those little details that really matter – the weird smell coming out of the drain that’s been broken for years, the location of the corner Post Office, the number of the bus you get to go from one place to another,” he said.

The second SDS officer said he believed the use of the harvested identities was for the “greater good”. But he was also aware that the parents had not been consulted. “There were dilemmas that went through my head,” he said.

The case of the third officer, John Dines, reveals the risks posed to families who were unaware that their children’s identities were being used by undercover police.

During his covert deployment, Dines had a two-year relationship with a female activist before disappearing from her life. In an attempt to track down her disappeared boyfriend, the woman discovered the birth certificate of John Barker and tried to track down his family, unaware that she was actually searching for a dead child.

She said she was relieved that she never managed to find the parents of the dead boy. “It would have been horrendous,” she said. “It would have completely freaked them out to have someone asking after a child who died 24 years earlier.”

The disclosure about the use of the identities of dead children is likely to reignite the controversy over undercover police infiltration of protest groups. Fifteen separate inquiries have already been launched since 2011, when Mark Kennedy was unmasked as a police spy who had slept with several women, including one who was his girlfriend for six years.

On Tuesday the select committee will hear evidence from lawyers representing the 11 women who are suing the Met after forming “deeply personal” relationships with the spies. Kennedy, who worked for a sister unit to the SDS, is not believed to have used the identity of a dead child.

Vaz said MPs were now likely to demand answers from the Met police about the use of children’s identities. “My disbelief at some of the tactics used [by undercover police] has become shock as a result of these latest revelations. It is clear that inappropriate action has been taken by undercover police in the past. But this has now taken it to a new level,” he said.

“The committee will need to seek answers from the Metropolitan police, to find out why they allowed these gruesome practices to happen.”

Reality Blog Award, thanks supernova!


Reality Blog Award

Supernova of Digging History blog has nominated this blog for the Reality Blog Award.

Thanks for this kind gesture!

The award involves replying to five questions.

1) If you could change something what would you change?

Stop wars and torture.

2) If you could repeat an age, what age would it be?

The time when I was in the Antarctic.

3) What one thing really scares you?

War.

4) What one dream have you not completed yet and do you think you will be able to complete it?

I never was in the high Arctic. Probably, I will go there this year.

5) If you could be someone else for the day, who would you be?

President Obama of the USA. Then, I would stop the war in Afghanistan, stop the drone attacks, which mainly kill civilians, and close Guantanamo Bay camp, like the real Obama promised, but did not do.

Before listing the blogs that I want to nominate (linking to their sites, and telling the nominees about it at their blogs), I would like to point out that I will not feel offended in any way by those who do not wish to participate in the process that is involved in responding to an award nomination.

I appreciate that not everyone has the time or inclination. You can just feel contented that your site is recognised as being worthy of an award.

1. not all about cats

2. eyesOfOdysseus

3. Pik-A-Pic

4. Spencer Angel

5. Friend Nature

6. lasesana

7. FUTEBOL DE CAMPO

8. Midnighthues Poetry

9. Clouds N Cups, Share With Us~

10. Traveling to Tangier, Morocco

11. Aurora Creations

12. transcendingbordersblog

13. TOKIDOKI

14. Brazil Maravilha

15. Beauty and the Best

16. outdoorpictures

17. Life Voyage PhotoBlog

18.  Ottoman Dandy

19. thephotoseye

20. petit4chocolatier