Squirrel looks for nuts


This video shows a red squirrel looking for nuts in the Netherlands.

Mike Seuters made this video.

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Irish Roman Catholic babies’ mass grave discovery


This video from Ireland says about itself:

Tuam babies: Excavation of children’s burial ground to go ahead

3 March 2017

Memorial: site of the mass grave in Tuam; there are many other burial grounds in Ireland. Photo: Niall Carson.

A test excavation is set to take place at the site of a children’s burial ground in Tuam, Co Galway.The excavation was announced today by the Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation which is currently probing how unmarried mothers and their babies were treated between 1922 and 1998 at 18 State-linked religious institutions.

Excavation work will begin from tomorrow and last for approximately five weeks, it said. A sample of the site will be excavated by a team of specialist archaelogists lead by a Forensic Archaelogist. Works are taking place with the full co-operation of An Garda Sochna, the Commission stated.

It said the purpose of the excavation is to resolve a number of queries that the Mother and Baby Homes Commission has in relation to the interment of human remains at this location. This excavation will focus on timeline and stratigraphy. A fraction of the site will be excavated through test trenches, the location of which have been informed by a Geophysical Survey carried out at the site in October 2015, it said.

An excavation team has been engaged by the Commission under the conditions of confidentiality and will not answer any queries on this work or any other aspects of the Commission’s work. Residents and local groups are being informed of the impact of the planned excavation with assistance from Tuam Garda Station.

The Commission is grateful to the Garda and Galway County Council, the owners of the site, for their assistance. Neither is in a position to answer questions on this or any other aspects of the Commission’s work, it added.

Speaking at the site today, Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone said the work carried out by Catherine Corless on the Tuam home had been significant is setting up the inquiry. She said she had met the Commission on a number of occasions and had received an interim report into the matter. I have met the Commission a couple of times now and I do believe they have taken a very very serious approach to their work, she said.

Referencing the large number of people who have come forward to give evidence, Ms Zappone said: I do feel in terms of the job they were given its much bigger than they had anticipated but in terms of my meetings with them they are the people who bring the experience with them in order to do the best job possible, she said. Minister Zappone said the Commission had clearly explained it was on target to deliver the final report by February 2018.

Next time right-wing Roman Catholics attack women’s reproductive rights, claiming to be ‘pro-life’

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Mass grave of children discovered at former Irish home

Today, 16:12

In Ireland, forensic investigators have found ‘a large amount’ of remains of infants on the site of a former Roman Catholic home for unwed mothers.

The government in Dublin ordered three years ago to investigate the soil around the former home in the western Irish city Tuam, after a historian had found evidence of a mass grave. She investigated the birth and death records. A remarkable number of very young children in the home died between 1925 and 1961; probably about 800 children.

The remains found are of fetuses from 35 weeks old to three-year-olds, possibly victims of neglect. They were in twenty subterranean rooms of the home which at that time was run by nuns of the Order of Bon Secours.

The official slogan of that religious order is ‘Good Help to Those in Need’. It seems to have been mostly helping babies to early deaths.

Shame

Irish girls and women who got pregnant while unmarried were sent then to such homes to give birth there. In strict Catholic Ireland it was a disgrace to the woman and her family if she had become pregnant outside of marriage. Biological fathers may also have been better off with the mothers out of sight.

In the thirties, forties and fifties of the last century, the mortality rate among children of unwed mothers was more than five times as high as among children of married parents. On average one in four children born outside marriage died.

Archbishop

At the first indications of the mass grave in 2014, the Archbishop of Dublin said that “if something happened” in Tuam, then that was also likely to apply to a number of other mother-and-child homes from that era. The committee which was set up by the government is also investigating seventeen other institutions run by the Catholic Church.

The Irish Roman Catholic Church had to deal in recent years with a long series of scandals involving child abuse and neglect in the past.

The Irish Minister for Youth Affairs Zappone has called the news about the mass grave “sad and disturbing”. The inquiry will consult with local authorities what to do with the remains.

World Wildlife Day today, save spoon-billed sandpipers


This video says about itself:

27 October 2016

You probably have never seen a Spoon-billed Sandpiper. There are fewer than 500 remaining on the planet.

Spoon-billed Sandpiper chicks are remarkably independent. After hatching in their far northeastern Russian breeding grounds, the young leave the nest within a day and immediately begin feeding themselves. The father leads them away from the nest and attends to them until they fledge about 20 days later.

The mother bird doesn’t hang around to see how her brood turns out. She departs soon after the young hatch and begins migrating South to China’s Rudong mudflats in Jiangsu and Fujian’s Minjiang River Estuary, where the Spoon-billed Sandpipers fatten up each year before continuing on first to Zhanjiang in Guandong province, followed by Myanmar and Bangladesh for the winter.

After the chicks reach fledging age, the father departs too. All alone, the chicks then start their long journey South a few weeks later. No guide, no map, no GPS. But the baby birds instinctively know exactly where to go. The baby birds join millions of other migratory birds along the East Asian Australasian Flyway.

Unfortunately, the habitats along the flyway, from Korea to China, are under threat. Spoon-billed sandpipers’ habitats have shrunk dramatically, due to reclamation and industrial development in China, and when they reach their Southeast Asian winter homes, they then face the threat of hunters.

Spoon-billed Sandpipers are one of the most threatened species in the world.

But there is hope. The Chinese government is committed to building an Eco-Civilization that focuses more on the value of nature instead of GDP growth alone, and provincial officials are paying increasing attention to protecting the country’s coastal wetlands and mudflats. Efforts are underway to better preserve the Spoon-billed Sandpiper’s feeding grounds, the Rudong mudflat in Jiangsu.

The move to protect China’s wetlands is spreading. At a wetlands conference co-convened on Oct. 18 in Beidaihe by the Paulson Institute, the Convention on Wetlands Management Office of the People’s Republic of China, China Center for International Economic Exchanges (CCIEE), and the Hebei provincial government, Hebei’s provincial governor promised to protect his province’s threatened wetlands, too.

The Paulson Institute has launched a month-long campaign to raise awareness of the importance of coastal wetlands and the migratory birds they sustain. We hope to encourage the government officials, the scientists and experts, the NGOs, and the thousands of volunteers working to save these precious resources.

Watch this video, and please share!

It’s up to us to make a change.

Today is World Wildlife Day.

From BirdLife today:

Dear Friend,

The Spoon-billed Sandpiper – or ‘Spoonie’ to her friends – is about to make the hardest journey of her life.

It’s almost the season of love, so she’s getting ready to make the perilous journey north from Bangladesh to Arctic Russia in a bid to find a mate and to build a family. Some of her companions won’t make it, and many of those who do will be so exhausted, that the journey will have been in vain.

Every year this nearly already impossible journey gets harder still. As humans continue to alter the natural wilderness on the coast of the Yellow Sea, in North East Asia, the mudflats Spoonie depends upon during her journey are being transformed into cities, factories and farms.

Without them, Spoonie has nowhere to rest, recover and refuel during her epic 11,000km journey. When, or if, she arrives, she’ll be so thin and debilitated that she simply won’t be able to produce an egg. All her energy will have depleted and she will be forced to spend her time north recovering before flying back to Bangladesh, with no baby, no next generation in tow.

🐦 Donate and help save Spoonie 🐦

It’s no surprise that Spoonie’s numbers have diminished over the last three decades. Today, there are only around 400 of these beautiful birds left. They’re not alone in their plight; over 50 million water birds use the East Asian-Australasian Flyway annually with 27 species being forced towards extinction as a result of habitat loss.

This is one of the most rapidly developing areas of the human world with over 50% of intertidal habitat converted into urban, industrial and agricultural land since the ‘60s. Because of this The East Asian-Australasian Flyway is the most dangerous flyway in the world, and it’s only going to get harder for Spoonie if we don’t act now.

Urgent action is required to save the passengers on this flyway before it is too late. Will you help these special birds survive their journey this year?

Our goal is to not only stabilise, but increase the species population by 50% by 2025.

To do this BirdLife intends to:
– Ensure the conservation of key ecological sites in the Yellow Sea
– Support local conservation awareness and action
– Improve the scientific knowledge base for conservation
– Secure a World Heritage recognition for the Yellow Sea

We have the science and the skills to make this happen, all that’s lacking now is the financial resources. And you can help. Please, donate now and help us save this flyway and secure a future for the Spoon-billed Sandpiper.

Donating now couldn’t be easier:

Donate online now here.

Post a cheque to: EAAF Appeal, BirdLife International, The David Attenborough Building, Pembroke Street, Cambridge, CB2 3QZ, UK.
Call me on +44 (0)1223 747553.

Thank you for your passion and commitment. I know I can count on your support this World Wildlife Day.

Yours sincerely,

Richard Grimmett
Director of Conservation

Dutch Islamophobe convicted


This video says about itself:

Geert Wilders sparks racist chant storm

20 March 2014

A parliamentarian member of the Dutch far-right Freedom Party has resigned in protest against a speech made by party leader Geert Wilders.

During the meeting he encouraged supporters to chant racist slogans against Moroccans.

Wilders addressed the meeting:

“So I ask you what do you want in this city more or less Moroccans?”

The crowd chants, “less. less.”

Wilders continues: “We will fix it.”

The crowd laughs.

Ronald van Vliet will keep his seat, but as an independent he says.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Against a 61-year-old woman [ex-policewoman] from Kampen the prosecutor has asked for a community service of 40 hours because she insulted Muslims on the Facebook page of regional broadcaster RTV Oost in July 2014. The prosecution wants half of that community service to be on probation writes RTV Oost.

The only good Muslim is a dead Muslim. Free the Netherlands from this cancer and vote for Wilders,” the woman wrote.

Wolf killed by car in the Netherlands


This video shows a wolf in Groningen province in the Netherlands in 2015.

Translated from RTV Noord in Groningen province in the Netherlands today:

This Friday morning a dead wolf was brought to Fauna Vision Foundation Wildcare in Westernieland.

Pim Lollinga of the rehab centre: “It is a male of more than fifty kilos, a huge animal. The animal was killed on the A28 motorway between Hoogeveen and Meppel [in Drenthe province]. …

The wolf has been transferred for investigation to the Dutch Wildlife Health Centre (DWHC), which is affiliated with the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Utrecht. Lollinga: “They will create a DNA profile of the wolf. Subsequently, it will be checked whether he matches with a wild population in Germany.”

Wolves are at present not a resident species in the Netherlands. After hunters exterminated them in the nineteenth century, recently rarely vagrant wolves arrive from Germany.

Extinct and threatened animals


This video from Australia says about itself:

Here is a combination of all the footage of the Tasmanian Tiger, now believed to be extinct.

By Peter Frost in Britain:

Going the way of the Tasmanian tiger

Friday 3rd March 2017

PETER FROST sounds a warning about some iconic species struggling to survive humanity’s follies

THE Tasmanian tiger or Tasmanian wolf (Thylacine cynocephalus) is perhaps the best known and most spectacular of relatively recently extinct animals.

Eighty years ago this curiously striped wolf-shaped marsupial which carried its young in a pouch like a kangaroo, lived in Tasmania off the coast of Australia.

It was recognised as being in danger of extinction in 1936 but in September of the same year the last known Thylacine died in captivity and none has been seen since.

Another large carnivore that has gone extinct more recently is the Javan tiger. These became extinct in the 1980s due to habitat loss caused by changes in agriculture on the Indonesian island of Java.

The Caribbean monk seal is now extinct due to habitat loss, as well as human hunting — it was the only seal native to the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico until the species was declared extinct in 2008.

The Baiji river dolphin population declined drastically in recent decades as China industrialised and made heavy use of the Yangtze river for fishing, transport and hydroelectricity. Only a few hundred were left by 1970, 400 by the 1980s and then to just 13 in 1997 when a full-fledged search was conducted. It was declared extinct after an expedition late in 2006 failed to record a single individual.

The golden toad was only discovered in 1966 in the tropical cloud forests of Costa Rica. It last bred in normal numbers in 1987 but the same year, due to erratic weather, 30,000 toads perished, leaving only 29.

By 1988, only eight males and two females could be located and a year later only a single male was found — this was the last record of the species.

The Pyrenean ibex was the first species to ever be brought back into existence via cloning but the cloned baby lasted just seven minutes after being born due to lung failure. The last naturally born Pyrenean ibex, named Celia, died in January 2000.

Thousands more species are threatened with extinction. Here are some of the most iconic. Only urgent and strong worldwide action can save them.

Pangolins are not well-known but are one of the most threatened of animals — they are the only mammals with scales rather than fur. Four species live in Asia, four in Africa.

A number of their species have already become extinct. They are hunted for food, for medicines and folk remedies and to satisfy a huge illegal international trade in their scales, skins and meat.

Public campaigning has at last persuaded world leaders to vote for the highest level of protections for all eight remaining species.

Sharks: a quarter of the world’s population is threatened with extinction due to overfishing. Every year, over a 100 million sharks are slaughtered — their fins sliced off while alive to make exotic soup while the still living sharks are thrown back into the water where, unable to swim they die a slow and painful death.

Rays: over the last decade the growing demand for the gills of rays has led to a massive decline in stocks of these fascinating fish. Populations have dropped by more than half in some areas and the slaughter is continuing unabated, with ray gills fetching over £400 per kg in certain Asian markets.

African Lion: the population of these big cats has halved in 30 years. Many populations have been wiped out across much of Africa.

Poaching by traffickers seeking alternatives to endangered tiger products, coupled with massive loss of habitat and prey base due to human settlement mean that unless we act now African lions could be extinct in the wild by 2050.

Narwhals: these members of the beluga whale family are the unicorns of the oceans best known for their single long tusk protruding from their nose.

Populations have been hovering around 75,000 which means they are considered near threatened and without appropriate protection could disappear, threatened by climate change and industrial activity. Yet even today narwhals are actively hunted in Canada and Greenland.

Rhinoceros: they historically roamed in large numbers across much of Asia and Africa — today only a fraction remain on the planet. Three African rhinos are killed every day because of demand for their horns as a status symbol, aphrodisiac and a cure for cancer in Chinese medicine. Coupled with a dramatic loss of habitat, all five species of rhinos are now threatened and three of the five are critically endangered.

Tigers: just 3,200 of these majestic creatures remain in the wild. No less than 97 per cent of the wild tiger population has disappeared in the last century. Originally there were nine subspecies of tigers, but over the last 80 years three have become extinct. All tiger species are now considered critically endangered, due in large part to the market for their pelts, meat and body parts.

Cheetahs: conservation experts warn that cheetah populations continue to collapse in the wild, in large part due to poaching. Since 1980, their population in the wild has fallen by about 90 per cent in Africa. In Asia, only about 200 cheetahs remain in the wild, limited to small regions in Iran.

Marine turtles: all seven of their species are endangered, three critically so: leatherbacks, hawksbill and Kemp’s Ridley turtles. Slaughtered for their eggs, meat, skin and shells, tens of thousands of these creatures are lost each year to feed the demand from illegal markets. More than 80,000 are estimated to be killed each year.

Elephants: once common with many million strong populations throughout Asia and Africa, elephants have taken a devastating hit over the last century. Poachers slaughter one elephant about every 15 minutes to fuel a massive and lucrative illegal ivory trade.

Latest news is that more than 25,000 of Gabon’s savannah or bush elephant, some 80 per cent, were killed between 2004 and 2014.

Many countries all over the world have at last agreed to a ban on domestic ivory markets but illegal ivory trafficking is still a multimillionpound business.