Wildlife suffering from Fukushima disaster


This 13 January 2016 video is called Biologist Timothy Mousseau: Impact of Radiation on Wildlife of Fukushima.

From the Yomiuri Shimbun in Japan:

Species decline found in area south of Fukushima N-plant

9:10 pm, February 07, 2016

The National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES) revealed that the total number of sessile species, such as barnacles and snails, has been decreasing significantly along the coast within 10 kilometers south of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant since the accident there in 2011.

Although the exact relevance to the accident is unclear, according to the institute’s analysis there is the possibility that the mass death of sessile species was influenced by radioactive materials released into the sea.

The NIES gathered sessile species attached to tetrapods from seven survey points 50 centimeters square within the limits in Fukushima, Miyagi and Ibaraki prefectures in May and June 2013. Four of the survey points are located in Fukushima Prefecture. The institute then investigated species numbers among other details.

Concerning the survey points in Fukushima, the numbers at the two sites south of the power plant were much lower than the numbers at the two northern sites. Extrapolated into one square meter, 2,864 sessile creatures were confirmed at the survey point in Okuma, which is 1.2 kilometers south from the power plant. At the survey point in Tomioka, which is 9.5 kilometers south of the plant, 2,404 creatures were confirmed. Meanwhile, the average number of sessile creatures in the other five locations reached 18,592, with 31,728 in Minami-Soma and 5,324 in Futaba, both in Fukushima Prefecture and north of the power plant.

Great white shark attacks, video


This video says about itself:

Giant Great White Shark ATTACKS! – Super Giant Animals – BBC

12 February 2016

Steve Backshall is on the look out for a great white shark to measure how much of a super giant this enormous predator is!

Polish coot winters in Dutch Zwolle


This 2011 video is from the Plaswijckpark in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. A young coot had got stuck in a fence. People managed to free it. After investigation whether it was wounded, the bird was freed and swam again.

Translated from Dutch Vroege Vogels radio today:

Polish coot in Zwolle

Now, every winter already for seven years there is a coot with a numbered collar in a park in Zwolle. The animal turns out to have been ringed in eastern Poland!

Sad

The coot was discovered by Claudia van der Leur, making a walk every day around the park. “I thought at first it was a bit sad, a coot with such a large collar. But now that I look back at it for so many years, one may assume that it does not suffer from this band. ”

Van der Leur came into contact with fellow birdwatcher Louis Zandbergen. Who scanned the Internet for the origin of the animal. It turned out to be a coot ringed in eastern Poland in 2010. Except in Poland and Zwolle, the animal has also been seen on several occasions in Germany.

Not ab usual migratory bird

Gerrit Gerritsen of BirdLife in the Netherlands Bird explains that although coots are not standard migrating birds “they still can travel considerable distances. In winter there are huge groups in our country. and part of them comes from Eastern Europe, as demonstrated by this lovely sighting by Claudia and Louis.”

Site fidelity

That the animal has such fidelity to this site is not so surprising to Gerritsen. “A bird of course has an advantage if it is on familiar ground in both winter and summer. Then it learns best where the good food is and where dangers threaten.”

Waterbirds in Kazakhstan counted


This video is called Birds of Kazakhstan. Cinclus pallasii (brown dipper).

From BirdLife:

Kazakhstan’s latest winter census sees fewer waterbirds in more wetlands

By Danara Zharbolova, Tue, 09/02/2016 – 11:18

Waterbirds (birds that live in freshwater habitats) cover tens of thousands of kilometres every year during their annual migration to warmer climates. To help determine their population status and trends, every January over 20 million waterbirds are counted in the Western Palearctic region, and up to 10 million in Sub-Saharan Africa by a network of about 15,000 volunteers for the International Waterbird Census.

The census, which began in 1967 in Europe and Asia, turns 50 this year. Coordinated by Wetlands International, today it covers more than 25.000 sites in more than 100 countries, making it one of the largest global monitoring schemes largely based on citizen science. The data it provides helps conservationists advocate for the right international and national policies to conserve waterbird populations and key wetland sites.

Kazakhstan began conducting its winter census in the central, southern and western parts of the country in 2004. Lead by the Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity of Kazakhstan (ACBK, BirdLife in Kazakhstan), the data of the winter census is used to identify changes in waterbird numbers and for monitoring key ornithological areas. This year, ornithologists surveyed 15 wetlands and counted more than 130.000 wintering birds from 80 species, including the Mallard, the Eurasian Wigeon, the Common Teal, the Ruddy Shelduck and the Greylag Goose.

The distribution of the species seen was unlike the previous years because of a warmer-than-usual winter that even brought out the crocuses. Wetlands in southern Kazakhstan were not frozen, leading to more sites being available for the birds than usual. For example, in the south, waterbirds were found not just at the Chardara reservoir, but also at the Koksaray, Badam reservoirs and Shohkakol lakes, which normally freeze over in the winter. More birds were also seen in the more northern reaches of the Caspian Sea.

“The weather was… mild and without precipitation. [Only] 40-60% of smaller water bodies in the southern region were covered in ice and birds were recorded on almost all of them, even if not in great numbers,” said Valeriy Khrokov, an ACBK board member. Counts are conducted in January because this is when many waterbird species congregate conspicuously at a relatively small number of sites where they can be readily counted.

Despite overall numbers being within the range of the last few years, some species did see a drop in population, owing mostly to the warm winter, according to experts. In the south, the population of the Mallard (56.800) was half that of 2012-2014, and the population of the Greylag Goose (2.530) was lower than four years ago. On Karakol Lake, the number of Mute Swans dropped from 3.500 to 2.000 between January 12 and January 16, which was much lower than the 14.000 recorded here in previous years.

However, there were some bright spots: the numbers of the Ruddy Shelduck doubled to 10.500 and volunteers counted 1.000 Greater Flamingos as well.

This year was also special for another reason: For the first time, students participated in this important task together with ornithologists. Around 30 students surveyed water bodies with 14 qualified recorders and learned to identify species. As a result, ACBK was able to cover the biggest number of wetlands ever, including all the really important sites.

Saudi royals killing Pakistani protected birds


This video is about a MacQueen’s bustard mating dance. This bustard species, living in Asia, should be called MacQueen’s bustard rather than, like in the BBC article below here, houbara bustard (which is a related species in Africa)

From the BBC:

Pakistan’s secretive Houbara bustard hunting industry

By M Ilyas Khan, BBC News, Thal desert

11 February 2016

They’re a shy, rare bird breed, the size of a chicken – and hunting them is officially banned in Pakistan. But it is no holds barred when Arab royals begin their Houbara bustard hunting trips.

Arab princes and their wealthy friends like to hunt Houbara bustards both as a sport and because the meat is considered an aphrodisiac.

The birds migrate in the thousands from Central Asia to Pakistan every winter – giving the Pakistani elite a chance to engage in “soft diplomacy”.

Despite the hunting ban, the government issues between 25 and 35 special permits annually to wealthy sheikhs, allowing them to hunt the bird in its winter habitat.

The hunts are secretive, but controversial.

The hunting parties are given a limit of 100 birds in a maximum 10-day period, but often exceed their quota.

In 2014, the leaking of an official report that a Saudi prince had killed more than 2,000 birds in a 21-day hunting safari sparked an outcry.

The government imposed a “temporary moratorium” on hunting, but quietly issued permits for the hunting season later that year.

And in August 2015, after the Supreme Court ordered a blanket ban on hunting Houbara bustards, officials issued “partridge hunting” licences to Arab royals instead. But locals say that is not what they killed on the ground.

Several eyewitnesses told the BBC of bustard-hunting sessions that took place after the ban, in the remote desert town of Nurpur Thal and the village of Mahni, Bhakkar district.

Dwarf crocodile saved in Congo


This BBC video from Britain says about itself:

Baby Dwarf Crocodile Hatches in Maddie’s hands! – Earth Unplugged

31 December 2013

Maddie witnesses the birth of two beautiful West African Dwarf Crocodiles and helps them out of their egg shells.

From the Wildlife Conservation Society:

Jaws of Life

February 9, 2016

This dwarf crocodile was rescued from the back of a motorbike by a team of eco-guards at a checkpoint outside Nouabale-Ndoki National Park in the Republic of Congo. It had been bound and stuffed in an empty flour sack.

Dwarf crocodiles are partially protected under Congolese law, meaning special permits are required to hunt them, and hunting is restricted to certain areas and times.

The fisherman who caught this crocodile didn’t have a permit, so the crocodile was rescued.

The guards looked after it for several days until the next patrol was headed north. Then they carried the little crocodile upstream, deeper into the dense forest, and released it well beyond the fishing zone.

In general, crocodile meat is highly sought-after in this part of the world. As road networks expand in the north of the country, logging towns are springing up further into the forest. Their residents are increasingly reliant on bushmeat as a source of food.

Currently, two of the three local species of crocodile, the Nile crocodile and the slender snouted crocodile, are completely protected in the Congo. Little is known about the impact hunting is having on the other—the dwarf crocodile. Given its prevalence on the bushmeat market, its numbers may be falling.

To help, several checkpoints have been set up on logging roads surrounding the national park to deal with the expanding threats to wildlife.

English pro-badger campaigner Sue Chamberlain, RIP


This video from England says about itself:

6 May 2013

Meet a couple of sweet and mischievous baby badgers at the Secret World Rehabilitation Wildlife Centre in the English countryside for jam sandwiches and bottled milk.

By Lesley Docksey in Britain:

Indomitable badger campaigner Sue Chamberlain dies

Thursday 11th February 2016

Dorset’s wildlife protectors thought it was bad enough when the badger cull arrived last year. Given that the level of bovine TB in Dorset had been falling since 2012 — without resorting to the needless and unscientific killing of badgers — people found it hard to believe that Natural England had given the go-ahead for culling.

Dorset for Badger & Bovine Welfare (DBBW) and the Dorset Hunt Saboteurs moved from frantic sett mapping to equally frantic organising of setting up Camp Badger (for those who came from across the country to help protect the badgers) and organising nightly “wounded badger patrols.”

Central to it all was a remarkable woman, Sue Chamberlain. On January 13 this year, however, Dorset’s badgers were left reeling from another blow as Chamberlain lost her battle with cancer.

The founder of DBBW, Andrew Butler, wrote this heart-breaking tribute: “In May 2013 there was a meeting at Dorchester town hall to discuss the impending badger cull and the possibility of it coming to Dorset. All eyes were focused on the stage, where the stars of the movement against the cull including Brian May and the head of the RSPCA spoke. But it was in the crowd, listening quietly and unassumingly, that the real lynchpin of the group to protect Dorset’s badgers sat — she just didn’t know it yet.

“Sue Chamberlain came to the very first meeting of what became DBBW and she didn’t miss a single one from that moment on. In fact it was Sue who organised the meetings; setting the dates, letting people know, answering the emails, posting on Facebook, circulating minutes… and that was just the beginning.

“We cannot overstate just how much Sue did to grow, maintain and keep the group grounded. Sue was our rock; our administrator, our merchandise queen, our fundraiser, co-ordinator, liaison with the authorities, the person who got things done, who made sure that when the badger cull came to Dorset everyone knew where they needed to be in order to save as many animals as possible. Sue could be out in the field one night, and on the phone dealing with any problems that arose all the next day. Nothing was ever too much trouble, no problem was insurmountable.

“This is all the more remarkable given that Sue was fighting her own private battle against cancer, and on Wednesday January 13 it became the fight she could not win, and the animals and a great many people lost a true and brave friend.

“Sue, we love you and miss you. Rest well, you more than earned it.”

Not many of the people turning out for the wounded badger patrols or phoning in reports knew that Sue had cancer. Her dedication to badgers, her energy and wish to be fully involved gave no sign of it.

At her funeral, which her family rightly dubbed a thanksgiving service, the village church was packed with people whose lives Sue had touched, for whatever interest Sue took up, she became fully involved. She was the greatest co-ordinator and bringer-together of people one could ever meet.

Pews were stuffed, people stood in the aisle and at the back of the church and all were greeted with Queen’s music as Sue was a supporter of Brian May and his Save Me Trust. The village hall could barely cope with the numbers who gathered after the service to share tea, cake, wine and their memories of Sue.

Among the mourners were representatives of Dorset Police, in full dress uniform. She ensured that Dorset went into the culls with a police liaison team already in place and supportive of how the wounded badger patrols were going to operate.

This made Dorset’s first cull far less difficult for patrollers than either Somerset or Gloucester and the team remains in place for the duration.

DBBW is coming to terms with just how much she did, reorganising themselves to cover all her many roles. One thing is certain — they will be stronger and even more active in their protection of badgers.

Think of it as a lasting memorial to an amazing person.