Blue-throated macaws in Bolivia


This video from Bolivia says about itself:

Alternative feathers save macaws!

24 November 2016

Armonía’s educational program empowers the Moxeño native communities to protect the Critically Endangered Blue-throated Macaws by promoting the use of alternative feathers for the traditional Moxeño headdresses used in the machetero ritual dances. Since 2010, Armonía and Moxeño communities have saved over 6000 Macaw individuals of four macaw species and engaged thousands of local youth in the conservation of other Bolivian species while promoting their indigenous culture.

Armonía has been able to conduct alternative feather training workshops in the largest Moxeño towns, but the killing of macaws for headdresses continues in more rural areas.

Please consider supporting Armonía to organize additional training workshops in 2017 to save the lives of many more macaws.

At the following link you can make a tax deductibe donation to Armonía.

From BirdLife:

A new hope for the Blue-throated Macaw

By Irene Lorenzo, 13 Jan 2017

The discovery of a new roosting site for Blue-throated Macaw Ara glaucogularis coupled with an innovative and successful programme geared towards promoting the use of artificial feathers in ceremonial headdresses, gives renewed hope for the survival of this charismatic parrot.

The Blue-throated Macaw is one of South America’s rarest parrots, with a population estimated at around 250 individuals. In the last decade, Asociación Armonía (BirdLife Partner in Bolivia) has been tackling the main threats affecting it: habitat loss, the lack of breeding sites and ending illegal poaching. But their approach to ending the latter has been especially unique and very successful: to give locals an alternative to using real macaw feathers for their headdresses.

During their traditional celebrations, the inhabitants of the Moxeño plains in Bolivia’s Beni department perform with colourful headdresses as they move to the rhythm of bongos and flutes. The dancers, so-called macheteros, dedicate their movements and attire to the colours of nature. Unfortunately, those headdresses are made of macaw tail feathers from four different species, including the Blue-throated Macaw.

This is where Armonía’s Alternative Feather Programme comes in; it consists of an educational campaign promoting the use of artificial feathers made of organic materials among the macheteros through workshops held in local schools. …

Since the Moxeños consider themselves to be the guardians of nature and all of its creatures, they were quick to understand the importance of using substitutes.

“Each headdress is made of an average of 30 central tail feathers; that means that one headdress of artificial feathers saves at least 15 macaws,” explained Gustavo Sánchez Avila, Armonía’s Conservation Programme coordinator for the Blue-throated Macaw in Trinidad.

The programme, which started in 2010 with the support of Loro Parque Foundation, not only protects this critically endangered Macaw, but also empowers local craftsmen and women to preserve their natural heritage and their culture.

Furthermore, after seeing the mesmerising dances, many tourists buy the alternative headdresses as souvenirs, providing locals with much needed additional income.

Since 2010, the Moxeño people and Armonía have saved over 6000 individuals of four macaw species and engaged thousands of local people in the conservation of Bolivian nature. Most big Moxeño towns already host alternative feather training workshops, but rural areas still use real feathers.  If you wish to help, you can support Armonía so that they can organise additional training workshops this year and save even more macaws.

The new roosting site

While conserving the already established populations of the Blue-throated Macaw is essential to their survival, further research remains vital to make sure none of its habitat is left unprotected.

However, entering the Bolivian northern Department of Beni during the rainy season is a huge adventure. As seasonal rainfall merges with melt water from the Andes, the grasslands become extensively flooded, making it impossible for cars to travel around the area for three to five months every year.

The situation forces locals to revert to their old ways, using horses to get across a savannah that is speckled with pools of water, knee-deep mud and head-high grasses. As a result, conservation research becomes complicated and expensive.

But this was not going to stop our team of conservationists at Asociación Armonía, supported by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Loro Parque Foundation, when they set off last summer to search for more roosting grounds of the macaw in this remote region.

The truth is that the team had had many rough failed trips in the region to verify sites where owners swore they had seen the parrot, only to find they got the wrong bird. So, when they got a call from a local ranch owner who claimed to have seen the Blue-throated Macaw in his fields, the team reacted with some disbelief.

They had seen this happen a few times already: while many ranch owners proudly believe that they have seen the Blue-throated Macaw, to the untrained eye it is often confused with a more generalist species, the Blue-and-yellow Macaw Ara ararauna.

Surprisingly, when they arrived on site, it turned out that at least 15 Blue-throated Macaws had made a small forest island their home. This new roosting site was confirmed only forty kilometres north of the Barba Azul Nature Reserve: the largest concentration of macaws in the world live here, with yearly counts of over 100 individuals.

At one of Beni’s most important events of the year, the Chope Piesta, the macheteros are getting ready to start their traditional dance. Today, headdresses with alternative feathers outnumber natural ones nearly five to one. In the meantime, conservationists rejoice about the new discovery of a roosting site. Developments worth dancing about.

Donald Trump inauguration, with Rockettes dancers?


This video from the USA says about itself:

Former Rockette: Troupe Should Not Perform at Inauguration; Trump Has Degraded, Objectified Women

27 December 2016

Donald Trump’s Presidential Inaugural Committee has undergone a major shakeup in an effort to attract A-list celebrities to perform for the January 20 event. To date, only a few major performers have agreed to sign on. Donald Trump’s plans to attract celebrity performers to his inauguration suffered another blow over the weekend, after the company that manages the Radio City Rockettes said its members will be allowed to opt out of performing at the inauguration.

The decision by the Madison Square Garden Company came after the union that represents members of The Rockettes initially said full-time members of the troupe were contractually obligated to perform at Trump’s inauguration. That prompted a firestorm of protest from the public, as well as from some current and past members of The Rockettes. We speak to Autumn Withers, who was a member of the Radio City Rockettes from 2005 to 2007.

Brazilian samba, 100 years


This video says about itself:

Brazil’s Samba Turns 100

25 December 2016

The very first samba song was recorded 100 years ago. The genre continues strong, with women artists breaking new ground.

Dutch choreographer refuses Turkish governmental honour


This 2015 video says about itself:

Hans van Manen: Without Words – Het Nationale Ballet | Dutch National Ballet

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Choreographer Hans van Manen refuses Turkish award

Today, 15:30

The Dutch choreographer Hans van Manen refuses a honourary award from the Turkish state. Turkey wanted to honor him as “Choreographer of the Century”, but Van Manen does not accept the title.

To NPO Radio 1 Van Manen said he refuses the prize “for the simple reason that newspapers and journalists who are just doing their jobs are muzzled and end up in prison.” …

Hans van Manen (83) is one of the most prominent Dutch choreographers. Internationally he enjoys great fame. He worked for the past sixty years in the Dutch Dance Theatre and the National Ballet. …

Press freedom

Press freedom in Turkey has been under pressure for a long time. A month ago Can Dündar, editor of the Turkish daily Cumhuriyet, was sentenced for disclosing state secrets … Dündar received a prison sentence of five years and ten months.

Swans dancing in slow motion, video


After the video about swans dancing in fast motion, this video from Britain says about itself:

[Mute] Swans Dancing Rotation Display – Filmed in Slow Motion at Tehidy Swan Lake

Filmed on May 11th 2016

Video Produced by Paul Dinning – Wildlife in Cornwall