Southern cassowary lays eggs


This 20 April 2017 video is about a southern cassowary nest in Amersfoort zoo in the Netherlands. The male cassowary made the nest. The female bird came, they mated. Now, there are three eggs in the nest.

The male will now sit on the eggs, and care for the young birds after they have hatched.

UPDATE 30 June 2017: a cassowary chick has hatched; live webcam here.

Southern cassowaries are originally from New Guinea and Australia.

No obstacle racing because of nesting lapwings


This video shows a northern lapwing at its nest in the Netherlands.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Mud run” canceled at the last moment because of nesting northern lapwings

Today, 10:48

A mud-running event in Amersfoort was canceled at the last minute because lapwings nest on the ground. The organization of the Mudrun Fun in Vathorst district discovered the birds yesterday and concluded that they will not run today.

A few hundred people would participate in the event, including children. The intention was that they would run on a trail with mud, obstacles and a water slide. It was the fifth edition of the event.

Yesterday nothing seemed to be wrong; then the organization was alerted that the birds were nesting. The lapwing is a protected native species and has been declining in numbers. The organization therefore considered it irresponsible to let the event continue, despite the permits already issued by the municipality.

Nazi mass murder of Soviet prisoners of war in the Netherlands


One of few photos of the Soviet prisoners, murdered in Amersfoort

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Unknown mass execution of Soviet prisoners commemorated in Amersfoort

Today, 15:25

Their graves are anonymous, their stories little known. The 101 Soviet soldiers who will be commemorated tomorrow at [former nazi concentration] Camp Amersfoort. Defeated on the battlefield, brought to the Netherlands as living propaganda material, beaten and killed.

“It was the second-largest mass execution of the war in the Netherlands”, says Remco Reiding of the Foundation Russian Field of Honour. “You could say that people would like to know.”

Tomorrow is the 75th anniversary of when nazi shots in the necks ended the brutal journey of the Soviets. Around a monument at Camp Amersfoort at dawn candles will be lit for the victims. It’s only the fifth time Reiding will organize the ceremony; previously there was little attention for the group.

“During the Cold War it was not customary to commemorate soldiers from a country that was our new enemy,” Reiding explains. “Moreover, these boys came from a far away country, and we have no information about their identity. So there are no family members who can visit a grave. Therefore, the story never came to life and was increasingly forgotten.”

The soldiers came in September 1941 in cattle trucks to Amersfoort after a two week journey. Prisoners of war from the Eastern Front, probably Uzbeks. They must have felt completely lost: displaced, starved, beaten, in a country where they did not speak the language.

“The Nazis took them to the Netherlands to show Dutch people what untermenschen [German nazi jargon: ‘racially inferior’ people] they were. They were exhibited: as a group they had to walk among rows of people through the city to the camp. Also inside the camp they had to stay outdoors for days, as a warning example for the Dutch prisoners.”

The plan failed immediately because the shocked Dutch spectators, contrary to expectations, , wanted to give wate,r fruit and bread to the soldier prisoners – what the Germans did not allow. An attempt to incite the soldiers against each other failed as well. “There was a German film crew who had to record how they would fight each other for a piece of bread; but when the bread was thrown over the fence, the opposite happened. It was divided neatly into pieces by the men, although they were terribly hungry.”

“The SS criminals failed”, wrote anti-nazi resistance newspaper De Waarheid. “At no time did they succeed in making discord between the Dutch and Russian prisoners.”

Skulls on desk

It seems that the Nazis wanted the Soviets to die of hardships. By disease, malnutrition and mistreatment 24 soldiers died within six months. Finally, in consultation with Berlin they decided on a mass execution of the rest of the group. The men were told that they would be transported to France, but after a short drive they arrived at the firing squad.

“You could say that they had no use anymore. The propaganda story had not worked and eventually the Nazis did not know what to do with them. Then they decided to shoot them dead.” Two skulls of the prisoners ended up on the desk of the camp doctor, as a curiosity. …

Reiding spent a lot of time to figure out the identity of the war dead, but the 101 Amersfoort men will forever remain anonymous: the Germans destroyed all information about them.

“That makes us morally responsible for these guys,” says Reiding. “Far away from home without the family knowing, slaughtered like beasts. That’s something we should keep in mind, even if only once a year.”

Yet Reiding also notes that once again there are tensions in relations with Russia by bickering over MH17, European embargoes and reports of Russian fake news. “A difficult relationship between the Netherlands and Russia is felt at all levels, so we feel that as well. But what we do is apolitical. The war victims of then, allies, should not suffer from contemporary politics.”

With 150 visitors Reiding expects tomorrow morning double the number of people last year, more than ever. “Of course it is early morning and we have a new tradition, but it is quite a nice result. We are very happy that for the first time a school, fifty pupils and their parents will join. It would be a good tradition to continue.”

67 giant millipede babies born


This 22 April 2016 video shows 67 giant African millipede babies, born in Amersfoort zoo in the Netherlands. See also here.

Tiger, giant tortoise, penguin 360° Virtual Reality videos


This video series from the Netherlands says about itself:

February 2016: VR Gorilla and Dierenpark Amersfoort collaborated in creating several 360° VR experiences.

We shot footage of [African] penguins, coypus, meerkats, [Aldabra giant] tortoises and.. one big tiger! This was the main event for the day. Our plan was to place our 360° cam inside the tigers’ terrain, close to a bungee cord with a big chunk of meat attached to it. We sort of assumed the tiger would leave the camera alone and go straight for the meat. We also figured the tiger would possibly leave most of the camera intact in case it would go for it..

We were wrong on both accounts! A full-grown Siberian tiger will eat our camera like candy, and as it turns out that’s exactly what it tried to do.. Fortunately for us he didn’t succeed, with thanks to the keepers at Dierenpark Amersfoort who insisted on coming up with a back up plan to pull the camera up into safety from the tiger’s claws. We are very glad they insisted on this, since our camera survived to shoot more videos.

Feathertail glider babies born, video


This 10 March 2016 video is about two feathertail glider babies born recently in the nocturnal animals building of Amersfoort zoo in the Netherlands. Their parents had arrived in October 2015.

A griffon vulture couple in that zoo is on eggs. See webcam here.

Two-toed sloth baby born, name her


This 24 December 2015 video from Amersfoort zoo in the Netherlands is about the birth of a Linnaeus’s two-toed sloth.

Sloths don’t often reproduce in zoos. However, for Amersfoort zoo this is the tenth youngster born in their nocturnal animals‘ hall. For mother Amaka and father Quasimodo of the newborn baby, is is the sixth time.

The youngster is female, but does not have a name yet. Amersfoort zoo asks people to suggest suitable names on their Facebook page. As Linnaeus‘s two-toed sloths are from South America, names with connections to that are prefered.

Welcome to The Sloth Institute, the protector of wayward baby sloths: here.