Vietnamese bear bile farms shut down

This video says about itself:

19 July 2017

Vietnam signs a Memorandum of Understanding to make bear bile farming illegal as it aims to eradicate the practice by 2020.

From AFP news agency:

Vietnam Agrees to Shut Down Illegal Bear Bile Farms

The government and a non-profit animal welfare organization agreed to rescue more than 1,000 bears from facilities that harvest bear bile, which is used in traditional medicine.

July 19, 2017

11:41 AM EDT

Vietnam agreed Wednesday to rescue more than 1,000 bears from illegal farms across the country, in a move to end the traditional medicine trade in the creatures’ bile.

Though bile farms are already outlawed in Vietnam, bears are still captured and caged in illicit facilities where their bile is extracted using invasive and painful techniques.

Vietnam’s Administration of Forestry (VNFOREST) and non-profit group Animals Asia signed an agreement Wednesday to rescue all remaining bears from farms, committing to end bile trade and close all facilities within five years.

“This is a truly historic day,” said Animals Asia CEO Jill Robinson at the signing in Hanoi, adding that the decision “will lead to the definitive end to bear bile farming here in Vietnam.”

Bear bile farming has been outlawed in Vietnam since 1992. But many bile farms use a legal loophole allowing them to raise the animals as pets.

There are about 1,200 bears in captivity in Vietnam today, down from more than 4,000 in 2005, caged in more than 400 bear farms across the country.

Animals Asia estimates it will cost up to $20 million to rescue and build enough sanctuaries to house the bears, and called on donors, companies, and the government to pitch in.

“We cannot do this by ourselves, the government needs to take responsibility for the wildlife in the country,” said Tuan Bendixsen, Vietnam director for Animals Asia.

Officials said funding is the main hurdle to rescuing the bears and putting an end to the trade.

“We face difficulties finding funds to prevent and stop the hunting and rescue of wild animals,” VNFOREST deputy director Cao Chi Cong said.

Bendixsen warned that bile farms could move into neighbouring Laos or Cambodia, and urged countries to adhere to an international convention that bans cross-border bear and bile trading.

Wednesday’s agreement follows an announcement in 2015 from Vietnam’s Traditional Medicine Association to remove bear bile from its list of sanctioned prescriptions by 2020.

The bears are often kept in small cages, and their bile is ‘free dripped’ via a hole in the animal’s gall bladder or a catheter. Many are starved, dehydrated, wounded, and psychologically scarred when they are rescued.

Bear bile contains an acid which can help treat liver and gall bladder illnesses, though effective herbal alternatives are available.

Young Dutch coots fed American crayfish

This 20 July 2017 video is about a coot nest in Leidschendam in the Netherlands. A parent feeds its two youngsters bits of invasive American crayfish.

Coots are mainly vegetarian, but young birds do get meat.

P. Mos made this video.

Hummingbird fall migration already in Texas summer

This video from Texas in the USA says about itself:

Early Morning Frenzy, Plus a Rufous Hummingbird! – July 12, 2017

Watch this zen moment as the sun starts to peek over the mountains outside of Fort Davis, TX. One of the first flame-tinged Rufous Hummingbirds pops on cam during the frenzy. Can you spot him?

The West Texas Hummingbird Feeder Cam is nestled in the mountains outside Fort Davis, Texas, at an elevation of over 6200 feet. This site hosts a total of 24 Perky Pet Grand Master hummingbird feeders, and during peak migration can attract hundreds of hummingbirds from a dozen species that are migrating through the arid mountains.

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA today:

Species Diversity Heating Up In West Texas

The hummingbird numbers are increasing on the West Texas hummingbird cam, and as fall migration draws closer, feeding frenzies will soon become an all-day activity at the Perky-Pet® Grand Master hummingbird feeder. Not only has the sheer abundance of hummingbirds increased, but various new species have also hovered into view for the first time this year. In recent weeks, Lucifer Hummingbirds, Rufous Hummingbirds, and Calliope Hummingbirds have all visited for a quick sip of nectar. What will be next? There’s only one way to find out—watch the cam.

Learn more about the jewels of West Texas by trying your hand at the Perky-Pet West Texas Hummingbird Trivia Quiz. If you get stuck on a question, check out the Cornell Lab’s All About Birds species guide for clues. Three lucky participants will be chosen from those who answer correctly to walk away with a brand new hummingbird feeder from our sponsors at Perky-Pet!

Rare Amur falcon in Cornwall

This video says about itself:

Amur Falcon (Falco amurensis) a first summer female, filmed at Polgigga, Cornwall, UK, on 7th July 2017 with a Nikon CoolPix P900.

For information about the status and distribution of this species, see here.

This species breeds in Asia and is very rare in Europe. Two years ago, the first one ever was seen in France.

There was a sad story of many of these small falcons being killed in Nagaland in India while on their migration all the way to Africa. Fortunately, that stopped later.