Young turtle rescued from cold sea

This video is called Hawaii Green Sea Turtle Eating.

From The Southampton Press, in New York state in the USA:

Cold-Stunned Sea Turtle Rescued From Peconic Bay

Updated Nov 29, 2015 7:37 AM

By Greg Wehner

The Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation treated the first cold-stunned juvenile green sea turtle of the season on Thanksgiving after it was rescued from Peconic Bay in Southampton.

According to a press release, the 1-foot-long, 4-pound rescued sea turtle had a heart rate of nearly seven beats per minute when it was rescued, compared to a healthy 25 to 35 beats per minute. The turtle’s body temperature was also below the normal temperature of 77 degrees; with treatment, it had increased to 64 degrees.

The season when cold stunning becomes an issue for turtles begins when the regional waters dip below 50 degrees. In a press release, the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation said turtles experiencing cold stunning may stop eating and swimming, making it difficult for them to get to warmer areas.

Foundation officials said walking the beaches after high tide as the tide begins to recede is when many turtles may be spotted. The foundation asks the public to call its 24-hour hotline, (631) 369-9829, immediately if a sea turtle is sighted, so they may assist it.

Young otters at camera trap, video

This 4 November 2015 camera trap video from Kraanlanden nature reserve in Friesland province in the Netherlands shows three young otters.

Harrie Bosma made the video.

Bald eagle saved in Canada

Michael and Neil Fletcher pose for a selfie with the bald eagle they rescued near Windy Lake Facebook

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Canadian brothers take selfie with bald eagle after saving trapped bird’s life

The siblings were hunting for grouse when they came across the bird caught in a claw trap

Kate Ng

29 November 2015

A pair of Canadian brothers took a ‘selfie’ with a bald eagle after rescuing the bird from a trap.

Brothers Michael and Neil Fletcher, from Ontario, were hunting for grouse in Windy Lake, Onaping when they found the bird of prey caught in a claw trap.

Michael told local newspaper The Sudbury Star they were driving through an open area when Neil thought he saw an eagle. After exploring the area on foot, they saw movement and walked toward it, where they found the huge bird on the ground.

The eagle had one of its talons stuck in a claw trap, a type of trap used by fur harvesters.

Michael said: “It was attached to a stake and the eagle was trying to fly up, but it only had a foot of slack in the chain.”

He explained how the huge bird calmed down when they covered its head with a hoodie and held on to it while working on the trap’s release mechanism.

“It calmed right down,” he said. “It didn’t really fuss or give any sign of aggression. I don’t know if it knew we were helping him, or what.”

After the bird was freed, the brothers removed the hood and held it up to take a selfie. Michael filmed Neil hoisting it up to shoulder height and giving it a push. The eagle flapped off into a nearby tree, where it stayed till the men left.

“I was surprised by the size, and that it’s such a beautiful bird,” said Michael. “When you see the eyes up close, they’re really amazing.”

They later contacted the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, who thanked them for freeing the eagle and said they would be contacting the trapper about setting the trap up differently.

Little grebe and its chick, video

This video shows an adult little grebe and its chick.

Christ Grootzwagers made this video at the Bodemven lake in Huis ter Heide, Utrecht province, the Netherlands.

Saving endangered Mexican plants

This video says about itself:

The creation of the Baja California chapter of the California Native Plant Society

4 February 2015

A talk at the 2015 Conservation Conference by César García Valderrama.

By Michael Way, of Kew Gardens in London, England:

Saving the endemic and endangered flora of Baja California, Mexico

23 November 2015

Michael Way describes the importance of an integrated plant conservation strategy for the Baja California peninsula in Mexico.

For many visitors, the Baja California peninsula and the Sea of Cortés are renowned for their rich marine wildlife, providing the chance to encounter sea lions and the grey whales that breed in these warm waters each winter. So how do the terrestrial habitats compare? Actually the 1,200km length of the Baja California peninsula is remarkably varied in geology, climate, and landform, and may support as many as 4,000 native plant taxa, many of which are still the focus of botanical exploration.

This research is vital because some of the ecosystems of the region are under continuing threat: for example the development of housing and vineyards in the north of the peninsula, and expansion of coastal resorts in the south, could affect the habitat of species not yet fully evaluated for conservation. As part of the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership, Kew cooperates with local botanists to urgently safeguard seed from these endemic and threatened plants.

Why is the plant diversity of Baja California so precious?

The starting point is an array of igneous rocks which forms a spine along the length of the peninsula, and these formations are complemented by a range of sedimentary and metamorphic rocks that provide a diversity of soil conditions and opportunities for specialised plants. Interestingly, at the shoreline it appears that the extensive shell deposits left from shellfish harvesting by indigenous communities have added a strong calcareous influence, as well as contributing to local flora diversity.

The peninsula extends across ten degrees of latitude, (comparable to the distance from London to Madrid), and spans temperate and tropical climates with contrasting temperature and rainfall regimes. Either side of the US border, the Californian Floristic Province (with Mediterranean climate, and winter rainfall) encompasses one forest type and several shrub communities. The mid zone of the peninsula, centred on the massive Vizcaino Desert, has a Sonoran desert climate. Further south, the Cape receives summer rain storms more typical of the tropics. In combination, 13 ecological regions have been delimited (Rebman & Roberts, 2012) and it is possible that the adjacent cool and stable Pacific Ocean may have facilitated speciation by extending the growth and flowering season for native plants (Vanderplank & Excurra, 2015).

How much progress has been made so far in protecting the flora?

As development has expanded in recent decades, so has the determination of local biologists to preserve and protect key wildlife habitats for future generations to value and enjoy. Some fifteen areas have been given formal protection by Federal government (Excurra in Rebman & Roberts, 2012). These cover over 50% of the land area of the peninsula and islands, and will protect wildlife from some of the most extreme future land-use changes. I fear that the presence of introduced goats and other non-natives on off-shore islands will need an urgent response if the threats are to be confronted. There are encouraging initiatives such as the establishment of the NGO ‘Native Plants of the Californias’ to inform and educate the next generation.

We cannot afford to delay action, and we have therefore been expanding our plant conservation efforts on the peninsula with our partners at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Since January 2014, our fieldwork has accelerated with support of the Marisla Foundation: I am pleased that by working closely with local botanists at the Autonomous University of Baja California (UABC), and with advice from collaborators from San Diego Natural History Museum, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden and Botanical Research Institute of Texas, we have already secured 200 collections of seed from the peninsula for long term conservation at UNAM and the Millennium Seed Bank.

The islands of the Sea of Cortes: a fragile paradise

I had the chance in October to join a trip to one of the best preserved islands in the Gulf of California, Isla Espiritu Santo, and to see for myself a wonderful diversity of native plants set in the most dramatic landscapes. On landing at Bonanza beach by a local ‘panga’ boat, we climbed the dunes where Dr Jon Rebman drew our attention to a curious plant Proboscidea althaeifolia in the Martiniaceae family that produces ‘devils claw’ fruits. These have evolved to attach to the lower leg of large animals and thus disperse its seed. Visitors to the Millennium Seed Bank at Wakehurst may have seen massive models of an African ‘devils claw’ species that disperses seed in a similar manner.

Further exploration beyond the coastal mangrove thickets and amongst wind-sculpted rock formations on the sister island of Partida revealed a diversity of cacti: for example, Stenocereus gummosus which produces edible ‘pitahaya’ fruits and the majestic organ pipe cactus Stenocereus thurberi.

What more needs to be done?

Although I am alarmed that many habitats continue to be lost and fragmented on the mainland, my short visit to Isla Espiritu Santo demonstrated the importance of achieving World Heritage Site protection of these fragile environments in 2005. The efforts of the protected area managers combined with the high standards of the eco-tourism operators appear to be effective at present, but continued investment will be needed to control non-native species and to manage appropriate use of the islands in the face of increasing recreational pressure.

On the peninsula and islands, we will continue to target habitats at greatest risk of change, including vernal pools and coastal dunes, and will work alongside NGOs and University collaborators to share botanical information and achieve greatest combined impact of our work. I am pleased that our seed collecting effort will also complement the ‘California Endangered Plant Rescue programme’ which Kew is supporting in the USA through the Center for Plant Conservation.

Through these projects, we can also help mitigate the longer term threats from global climate change and invasive species, specifically by building expertise and ex situ collections that could be part of a targeted response. I am already planning my next visit to this precious region.

I’d like to thank Kew’s partners and my colleagues Dr Tiziana Ulian and Dr Wolfgang Stuppy for their important roles in this project, as well as the Marisla Foundation for providing funding.