Stickleback searches place for wintering, video

Jos van Zijl made this video in early January 2016 near Zevenaar in the Netherlands.

It shows a stickleback, looking for a place to winter.

Fifteen-spined sticklebacks: here.

Curaçao Caribbean marine life, video

Jesper Buursink made this video, 105 meter under the Caribbean sea surface, near Curaçao island. On the right, a Caribbean chicken-liver sponge. In the center, a moray eel and a red lionfish.

Humans swim for fish on New Year’s Day

This video was recorded on 1 January 2016. On the Afsluitdijk, the  causeway separating the salt/brackish water of the Wadden Sea from the fresh water of the IJsselmeer lake in the Netherlands.

That dikes causes problems for fish migration.

The New Year’s Day swim in cold water was to get publicity for the plans to reconstruct the Afsluitdijk, making fish migration easier.

Lumpsucker fish video

This video shows a lumpsucker fish in the Oosterschelde estuary in Zeeland province in the Netherlands.

Diver Jack Oomen made this video on 2 January 2016.

Wildlife in 2016

This 2014 video is called Brazil Wildlife National Geographic Episode 1.

From the Wildlife Conservation Society in the USA:

Dear Friend of WCS,

I look back with great pride on this year’s wins for wildlife: the establishment of new protected areas around the world; a historic transect of the Madidi National Park in Bolivia; eight nations taking a stand for elephants with the destruction of ivory; and China and the United States taking action to close ivory markets. Our WCS team works each day to achieve victories like these, which would not be possible without your support.

I can’t help but be overwhelmed with optimism for the coming months. I asked some of my colleagues and friends to share what they are most enthusiastic about for year ahead.

“Why are you optimistic about wildlife conservation in 2016?”

Joel Berger, WCS Beringia Program (Arctic)

“My optimism for 2016 could not be greater. Here, on the Roof of the World (Tibetan Plateau) and in the Gobi Desert, we have little-known icons that inspire and whose successes need to be told and re-told. There are wild yaks and kyang. There are chiru and saiga and argali. And, despite challenges, there are reasons to celebrate as the establishment of core protected areas from Mongolia to western China is enabling wildlife to multiply and expand.”

Stacy Jupiter, Director of WCs Melanesia Program

“On a recent expedition in Solomon Islands, I was overjoyed to find thriving coral reef communities with healthy populations of reef fish that are depleted in most other places of the Pacific. In 2016, WCS will expand its newly developing Solomon Islands program to work with local communities to ensure these resources are protected for future generations.”

Paul P. Calle, WCS Chief Veterinarian

“The revolutionary changes in the use of RNA and DNA for diagnostics have made it possible to almost immediately obtain laboratory results in the field. In 2016 we are excited to be able to deploy these technologies throughout the world in our conservation programs.”

Katie Dolan, WCS Trustee

“Online shark conservation programs for local teachers; 5K runs at the Bronx Zoo; an ivory crush in Times Square; mesmerizing animal images on the new WCS website; a report showing coral reefs with numerous species are more resilient: all hopeful signs that WCS is building a powerful movement to save wildlife, now and in the future.”

Julie L. Kunen, Executive Director of WCS Latin America and Caribbean program

“Because of the broad coalition we’ve built of over 20 institutions in 3 countries in support of our Amazon Waters Initiative, I’m optimistic that in 2016 we can more effectively conserve the world’s greatest and most diverse freshwater system.”

Antonia M. Grumbach, WCS Chair of the Board

“As we approach the reopening of the renovated New York Aquarium, and the opening of the new Ocean Wonders: Sharks! exhibit, I look forward to the Aquarium’s transformation into an even stronger beacon of education and conservation. This new Aquarium will give our visitors a greater appreciation of the marine world which surrounds New York City.”

Cristian Samper, WCS President and CEO

As for me, I am encouraged by the growing collective understanding of why wildlife conservation matters, and the willingness by governments and people to promote sustainable development. The results of the Paris climate talks last month signal a commitment by governments and the private sector to change business as usual. I see all of this helping to influence the actions of my two young children, and children worldwide, who are ready to advocate for wildlife. We work every day to make their dream a reality, and we could not do it without your support.

Thank you for all that you do for wildlife, and best wishes for the year ahead.

Cristián Samper

President & CEO

Candiru fish, accused unfairly of eating men’s penises?

This 2006 video says about itself:

This is Vandellia cirrhosa, the true candiru.

From the BBC:

Would the candiru fish really eat your genitals?

The story is that the fish swims up a stream of urine into a man’s penis, then eats it from the inside. But is there any truth to it?

By Josh Gabbatiss

4 January 2016

Of all the denizens of the Amazon basin, there is none more feared than the tiny fish known as the candiru. Since coming to the attention of science in the early 19th century, this creature has occupied the very darkest recesses of the popular imagination.

The reason for this is the candiru’s supposed habit of entering the human penis, lodging itself in place with sharp barbs, and feasting on it from the inside – a horror story that is enough to keep your legs firmly crossed for days.

This tale has been told everywhere: from documentaries on the BBC and Animal Planet to Grey’s Anatomy; from William S. BurroughsNaked Lunch to Chuck Palahniuk‘s Fight Club; and invariably it serves as shorthand for the worst thing that could possibly happen to a human being. Internet forums abound with references to the fish, as well as grisly embellishments concerning its activities – laying eggs in bladders and suchlike.

So far, so disgusting. But it is not at all clear that any of this is true. …

The thing is, despite all the graphic depictions of genital mutilation, not one of these men ever witnessed a candiru attack. There are dozens of reports from the 19th and early 20th centuries of candiru behaviour, and every one relies exclusively on hearsay.

As WR Allen, a renowned Amazonian ichthyologist, put it: “I was toId of numerous cases of the candirus entering the urethra, but they were always some distance downstream, and when I arrived downstream I was told of many such cases upstream”.

So has the candiru been miscast as a penis-chomping villain?

Ascension Island becomes marine reserve

This is an Ascension frigatebird video.

From the BBC:

Ascension Island to become marine reserve

By Roger Harrabin, BBC environment analyst

3 January 2016

The government is to create a marine reserve almost as big as the UK in the Atlantic waters of Ascension Island.

Just over half of the protected area will be closed to fishing.

The fishery in the other half will be policed under a grant of £300,000 from the Louis Bacon Foundation, a charitable body.

It is the latest marine reserve to be declared around remote islands, which will increase marine conservation zones to about 2% of the ocean.

That remains a far cry from the 30% recommended by scientists to preserve species and expand fish stocks, but is much more than just a few years ago.

Governments have designated marine parks at Palau in the North Pacific, Easter Island and Pitcairn in the South Pacific, and New Zealand’s Kermadec islands, in what has become a landmark year for ocean conservation.

The latest reserve at Ascension Island is said to hold some of the largest marlin in the world, one of the largest populations of green turtles, big colonies of tropical seabirds and the island’s own unique frigate bird.

Conservation commitment

The reserve totals 234,291 sq km, slightly less than the size of the United Kingdom. It could be ready for formal designation as soon as 2017, once further data has been collected and analysed.

Dr Judith Brown, director of fisheries and marine conservation for Ascension Island government, said: “The economic benefit from the fishery has provided much-needed income for the island.

“This donation will help fund the enforcement to protect the closed area from illegal fishing.”

The Great British Oceans Coalition, which includes the Blue Marine Foundation and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, has been campaigning since 2014 for the designation of all or part of Ascension’s waters.

Charles Clover, Blue Marine Foundation chairman, said: “Ascension has been at the frontiers of science since Charles Darwin went there in the 19th Century, so it is entirely appropriate that it is now at the centre of a great scientific effort to design the Atlantic’s largest marine reserve.”

An accident of colonial history has left the UK and France with huge potential to safeguard marine life around remote oceanic islands.