Injured silvery-cheeked hornbill gets new horn


Silvery-cheeked hornbill Balou with its new horn, photo by Texel zoo

This photo by Texel zoo on Texel island in the Netherlands shows silvery-cheeked hornbill Balou with its new horn.

Dutch NOS radio reports about this today (translated):

Silvery-cheeked Hornbill Balou in Texel Zoo has a 3D-printed horn on its beak. The animal was brought in by previous owners with a broken horn. They hoped that the animal park could mean something to the bird. The horn is made by Utrecht University.

According to Texel Zoo, the horn is important for a silvery-cheeked hornbill, because it protects against any head injuries. “He was very vulnerable,” said a spokesman. “Only a thin membrane still protected the veins. When he bumped, he started to bleed enormously.”

Utrecht University performed a CT scan on the bird to make the correct fit. “This was the first time here in the Netherlands, a horn will not break easily,” says a spokeswoman for Texel Zoo. According to her, information from abroad about the printing of beaks could be used to see how a horn could be made.

In December, the bird was successfully operated and then monitored. “We weren’t sure how it would react, if the horn would stay on and if there would be any complications. The horn has passed all the tests and the bird is behaving the same as before.”

It is not known how the horn on the beak of the animal broke.

Silvery-cheeked hornbills are from Africa.

Online horse racing, cycling this weekend


This 6 February 2020 video from Belgium about cycling is called Tour of Flanders 2020 – Course Elite Men.

Wikipedia writes:

2020 Tour of Flanders

The race was scheduled to be held on 5 April 2020 in Belgium, serving as the 14th event of the 2020 UCI World Tour, but was postponed due to the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic.

However, on 2 April the organisers wrote there would be a Tour of Flanders after all. By professional cyclists on their home trainers at home, online. The participants will ride a virtual rendition of the hilly last 32 kilometres of the race.

On Sunday 5 April, 15:30, this virtual cycling race will start on the Internet and on Belgian TV. 13 cyclists will participate, including Belgian Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet, Wout van Aert, Italian Alberto Bettiol who won last year, and Dutch Tour de France stage winner Mike Teunissen.

Then, there is this tweet from Britain.

Dutch NOS radio says today (translated):

The most famous and most iconic horse race in the world will be held on Saturday, but then via an animation. The virtual version of the Grand National is even broadcast live on television.

And – as usual with a serious horse race – you can also bet on that. This time, the proceeds will go to fighting the coronavirus.

Due to the coronavirus, the 173rd edition of the event, which is held annually at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, drew 700 million viewers and is part of British culture last month, was canceled.

Virtual race result often equal to real race

The virtual race has been held since 2017 to get an indication of the real race. “Using the most modern technology and algorithms, we ask the computer to make history,” said producer Rob McLoughlin. …

Forty horses are participating in this year’s virtual race. It is mainly horses that would also participate in the real race. Eg, Tiger Roll, the winner of the past two editions.

But there is also a unique participant: Red Rum. That horse died in 1995 and, together with Tiger Roll, is the only horse that has won the Grand National twice in a row (in 1973 and 1974). So now they are competing against each other for the first time.

Contrary to the dead horse Red Rum in the 2020 Grand National, there will be no dead cyclists participating in the 2020 online home trainer Tour of Flanders. So, no chance for Achiel Buysse (1918-1084; winner in 1940, 1941 and 1943); Jaap Eden (1873-1925); Fausto Coppi; Jacques Anquetil or others.

Coronavirus crisis, how wildlife reacts


This 3 April 2020 video says about itself:

Wildlife is Returning to Cities

This video is a treasure sent to us, and we take great pleasure in sharing it with you. It is the bittersweet message that the Earth is sending us… yet again. It is as though we were being sent to our rooms to think about what we’ve done to the world.

“Life can survive without us quite nicely, thank you. But we cannot survive without Life.” – Stuart Scott

This 16 March 2020 video says about itself:

Venice canals run clear again in unexpected silver lining of coronavirus lock-down measures

There have been very few positive stories to come out of the coronavirus crisis, but footage filmed on Monday in Venice is evidence of what a small amount of downtime can do to one of the cities in the world worst hit by over-tourism.

The canals of Venice have made headlines multiple times over the past months due to its inability to cope with over-tourism, massive amounts of cruise ships and pollution.

As Italy went into complete lock-down the coronavirus outbreak halted the influx of tourists to ‘The Floating City’. March would normally see approximately 700,000 tourists arrive. However, footage obtained by Ruptly highlights how in a matter of days Venice‘s canals have began to clear up, fish have returned to the streams and the city’s famous old nickname “La Serenissima” (The very serene one) is once again relevant.

Clearing the canals of ferries, gondolas, motor-boats and the waste that comes from their engines, as well as water buses has had an undeniable impact on the local environment and will reignite the discussion of over-tourism in the city once the coronavirus crisis reaches its end and normality resumes. If any good can come of an international crisis such as the one we currently live in, one can only hope that images such as these will push governments towards establishing a better balance between tourism and the environment.

Venice is the capital of the Veneto region, one of Italy’s worst hit by the COVID-19 outbreak. Veneto is currently reporting 2,473 cases of coronavirus with 70 deaths thus far. In total Italy has been Europe’s worst-hit region with 27,980 cases and 2,158 deaths to date.