Green-winged macaws back in Argentina after 200 years

This is a green-winged macaw video from Brazil.

By Aves Argentinas in Argentina, Monday, 02/11/2015 – 17:31:

The return of a giant: Green-winged Macaw back in Argentina

After an almost two hundred-year disappearance, the first Green-winged macaws have been released in northeastern Argentina. BirdLife Partner Aves Argentinas describes how they brought this giant of the parrot world back into their former range.

Macaws have been historically persecuted by humans because of their colorful plumage. In the province of Corrientes in northeastern Argentina, there were at least two species: the Glaucous Macaw (Anodorhynchus glaucus), which became globally extinct, and the Green-winged macaw (Ara chloropterus), which also disappeared from the region. The macaws inhabited fields with jungle islands between estuaries, and palm and gallery forests along the waterways.

Today the only Green-winged Macaw populations close to Corrientes are more than 300 kilometers to the north in the states of Mato Grosso do Sul and Parana in Brazil, in the extreme northern Paraguay, and in southeastern Bolivia, and they are not sufficiently protected. The Green-winged Macaw is globally listed in the IUCN Red List as a species of “Least Concern”. In Argentina it is classified as a “critically endangered” species, although there are no recent records and the species is considered extinct.

An opportunity to recover a giant of the parrot world

Because of the precarious state of the Green-winged macaw’s survival in Corrientes, a recovery project was begun. Fortunately, the Ibera Natural Reserve represents a unique opportunity to save this species because the reserve has a large area of protected habitat sufficient to allow forest islands to harbor a stable population of Green-winged macaws.

Additionally, in Ibera there are institutions and experts with experience in working with the restoration of extinct and endangered populations as diverse as the giant anteater, the pampas deer and the collared peccary. Another positive development is the growth of ecotourism in Ibera, where the presence of these birds will attract tourists, which will contribute to the development of local communities. The cultural value of Corrientes still present in artistic expressions and historical accounts has also been preserved.

From captivity to freedom

The project focusses on using captive Green-winged macaws originating from several zoos and breeding centers around the country. These birds form the “Ecological Complex of Aguará,” located in the province of Corrientes, where groups of individuals are consolidated and all health checks are performed to rule out diseases that may be spread in the wild following the release. Before their release, the birds spent several weeks in an acclimation aviary in the Cambyretá area, proving the northern access to the Esteros del Ibera.

In this aviary, the macaws learn to feed on native fruits and develop other skills for their reintegration into the wild. The birds are equipped with a small radio transmitter that allows the tracking of each individual in the field. After their release and as they expand their range, the macaws are monitored by project staff to check their adaptation to the natural environment, reproduction and long-term survival.

The power of many

The Conservation Land Trust financing most of the project thanks to the donation of a European philanthropist, and bringing its previous experience in wildlife reintroduction projects in Ibera.  The CONICET scientists contribute their knowledge on the ecology of these birds and their reintroduction. The Directorate of Natural Resources of Corrientes provides the Center Aguará facilities, where the macaws are kept before being transferred to Ibera.

The Directorate of Parks and Reserves authorizes and supervises the proper implementation of the project on the ground. Several ecological parks, wildlife centers and zoos across the country provide the macaws to be released. Conservation institutions as Aves Argentinas (BirdLife in Argentina) and The World Parrot Trust have supported the project from its beginnings, contributing their skills and experience in the conservation of endangered species.

Finally, several groups of volunteers, including scouts, schools and club birders help to disseminate information on the project, and contribute their observations of animals in the field. Through this initiative, Argentina regains its first extinct species from the ex-situ management of wild bird specimens, and will continue working on their recovery through intensive management.

More information:

Whale in Buenos Aires, Argentina

This video says about itself:

Whale ‘moves in’ to luxury Buenos Aires dockside neighbourhood

3 August 2015

Residents of a luxury dockside neighbourhood in Buenos Aires have welcomed an unexpected new neighbour – a whale.

People from across the city have gathered at the Puerto Madero dockland in the hopes of catching a glimpse of the mammal, swimming between the moored boats.

This 3 August 2015 video is called Argentina: Hundreds gather to watch whale swim in Buenos Aires marina.

From the BBC:

Whale swims into Buenos Aires marina

4 August 2015

Residents of an upmarket neighbourhood in the Argentine capital Buenos Aires welcomed a surprise guest when a whale swam into a city marina.

The creature was seen surfacing amongst the luxury yachts in Puerto Madero, with hundreds lining up for a glimpse.

A local police boat later tried to lure the whale to the Rio de la Plata river, which connects with the Atlantic.

Experts have suggested the animal was most likely a cub separated from its herd.

“Unusual yes, I’ve never seen one in Puerto Madero,” said one resident.

“It’s really sad,” a local bank worker told the Associated Press. “This is not its natural habitat. The poor whale is clearly lost.”

A specialist looking at the numerous images on social media identified it as a minke whale, warning [in] La Nacion (in Spanish) freshwater would damage its health.

But Mariano Sironi, scientific director of the Whale Conservation Institute in Argentina, told AP he thought it was more likely to be a humpback whale.

‘Build more wildlife bridges in England’

This video says about itself:

Drone buzzes South America’s first wildlife bridge

27 February 2015

Full story: here.

Aerial footage reveals a unique green overpass designed to reconnect habitats sliced in two by an Argentinean road.

From Horticulture Week in Britain:

Government advisor finds in favour of green bridges for wildlife conservation

27 July 2015, by Elizabeth Henry

Bridges built to carry wildlife over roads and railways are preventing species from becoming isolated and reducing the number of accidents, according to a study published today (27 July) by Natural England.

Known as “green bridges”, they are usually planted with a variety of local trees or shrubs and other vegetation so that animals can remain mobile despite the barriers imposed by transport infrastructure. Although common in Europe and North America, only a handful have been built in Britain.

Land Use Consultants have now undertaken the first ever worldwide study of research on green bridges, on behalf of Natural England. It found they are an effective way of linking wildlife across roads, which means they could become a key aspect of the sustainability of future transport projects.

The report, “Green Bridges – a literature review“, found that not only do the bridges help to prevent important wildlife habitats from becoming fragmented by aiding species movement, they are also used by wildlife as a home in their own right.

As the Government’s conservation agency, Natural England gives advice on environmental impacts to planning authorities and developers to promote sustainable development. The information contained in the review will help developers and planners factor new green bridges into their construction plans or consider the greening of existing bridges.

Argentine grandmother rediscovers her grandson, stolen by dictatorship

‘I begged God not to let me die before I found him’: Estela Carlotto hugs her grandson Ignacio Montoya Carlotto, son of her daughter Laura, who ‘disappeared’ in 1977. Photograph: Leo La Valle/Getty

From weekly The Observer in Britain: A grandmother’s 36-year hunt for the child stolen by the Argentinian junta.

Birds of Antarctica and Argentina

This video, recorded in Argentina, says about itself:

Birds & More: Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego

Fabulous scenery, wide open spaces, whales, extraordinary Andes and the bottom of the world. Spectacular Magellanic Woodpecker, very scenic cruise in Drake Channel; 11-12/2008.

Brent Stephenson is a wildlife photographer, guide, and birder based near Napier, New Zealand.

From B1RDER: The birding blog of Eco-Vista | Brent Stephenson (with photos there):

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Looking back to January – Antarctica

Well the year to date has been a hectic one, but with a lot of fantastic places along the way. First off was a trip to the Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica – I always say if you are going to go to Antarctica, then you HAVE to do a trip that includes the Falklands and South Georgia. So this is one of my favourite trips, and despite the increase in tourism in the Antarctic you still get the feeling of isolation and that you could well be the first people looking at the landscape.

We started in Ushuaia, with awesome views of both male, female and young Magellanic woodpeckers in the National Park – stonking views! Epic birds, and also got great views of ashy-headed geese. Then out of the Beagle Channel and heading to Saunders Island in the Falklands. This has to be one of the best islands for diversity in the Falkland group, with a great array of species there nesting within easy walking distance. To be so close to nesting black-browed albatross is always a treat, and whilst we were there the birds had young chicks in the nest, so there was a lot going on. Having spent four incredible days on this island camping under a rock at ‘The Neck’ back in 2004 this place is one of my all-time World favourite spots!

Next stop South Georgia, and with landings at Salisbury Plain and St Andrews Bay we got to see a fair sack of the king penguin population that breeds on the island. Our afternoon at St Andrews was just spectacular, with incredible weather and so much going on. I managed a bit of time with tripod and neutral density filters to play around with some long exposures which was fun – let me know what you think of the images below. There might still be a slight colour cast from the ND filters, but I am pretty happy with the results…I’d just like to spend some more time experimenting with these filters.

This video says about itself:

Albatross – Penguins – ICE BIRDS – Antarctica © 2009 C. Hunter Johnson

Nesting Albatross Chicks, King Penguins and Gentoo Penguins. … on a recent visit to South Georgia Island to explore and photograph these rare endangered Albatross in natural, unspoiled surroundings.

The Brent Stephenson article continues:

We also called in to Coronation Island in the South Orkneys, with a little bit of sleet and drizzle it was a chilly landing, but thousands of chinstrap penguins were there to keep us company! Back onboard that afternoon my Canon 1Dx decided to give up the ghost – leaving me with my old worn out 1D MkIV for the rest of the trip. On getting back to NZ it turns out the 1Dx was the first in the country to have completely died – making me wonder if i was lucky or unlucky (!) – having blown a circuit board and some fuses. All covered under warranty when I got home, but effectively an expensive paper-weight for the rest of the trip!

Down on the Antarctic Peninsula we had stops at Brown Bluff, with a little foray along the ice front of the Weddell Sea in Antarctic Sound. There had been an Emperor penguin reported, but rising winds meant we could’t get too close, and had to head back onto the western side of the Peninsula and carry on to the South Shetlands. A morning at Hannah Point was fantastic with lots of activity amongst the chinstraps and gentoos – including the gory killing of a gentoo chick by several giant petrels. At Deception Island, not normally know for its wildlife (at least the interior of the island), we had an awesome leucistic chinstrap penguin. At first it seemed to be playing hard to get, and then at the end walked up on to the shore with another bird, and right into the middle of our group! Ha, what little show off!

Then it was off south along the Peninsula, making landings at Petermann Island and Plennau. Awesome iceberg graveyard, and VERY ‘friendly’ leopard seals – one of which came steaming in and chomped on the end of my zodiac! That was a new experience – it all happened so quick I didn’t have time to get out of there, so after our 2.5 hour zodiac cruise one of the pontoons was VERY flat! We only lost two people out of the zodiac…just kidding! We also had an incredible show with a female and calf humpback right at the stern of the ship. With everyone out on the stern of the ship, they came right in under us and just hung out at the back of the ship for more than 15 minutes – just incredible.

A final afternoon at Portal Point – after finally catching up with killer whales in the Neumeyer which I managed to spot a few miles off. We had stunning views of a pretty large pod of these Type B (small form) killer whales, in what looked like a feeding slick. There was a huge slick on the surface and clearly something attracting large numbers of Wilson’s storm-petrels, giant petrels and other species, but we couldn’t spot anything that looked like chunks of prey. A mystery!

And then we were on our way back to Ushuaia. Time just flies so quickly on a trip like this, with days at sea and the start of the trip seeming to go relatively slow, and then all of a sudden you are heading back across the Drake Passage! A great trip with great folks and an excellent Zegrahm Expedition team!

Argentine military dictatorship in London theatre

This video from Britain says about itself:

These Trees Are Made of Blood – Minidoc (Client: Lucy Jackson Productions)

2 March 2014

1978. With the world watching, Argentina has won the World Cup and patriotism is running riot.

After some development time at BAC, director Amy Draper continues exploring her cabaret style show about Argentina’s Disappeared, which intertwines live music and narrative.

By Michal Boncza in England:

Theatre: War crimes caught in the acts

Wednesday 25th March 2015

MICHAL BONCZA recommends a cabaret exposing the long night of fascism in Argentina; These Trees Are Made of Blood, Southwark Playhouse, London SW1 4/5

THE THOUGHT of a play dealing with the “dirty war” in Argentina during the 1970s and ’80s might fill anyone familiar with that grim period with trepidation.

The appalling enormity of the crimes instigated by the US beggars belief to this very day. But These Trees Are Made of Blood by Amy Draper, Paul Jenkins and Darren Clark rapidly dispels such misgivings.

In the theatre’s small C-shaped auditorium, the crowded intimacy of a cabaret is recreated as the quartet of musicians in the corner play The Boy from Buenos Aires.

The “hosts” for the night are the 1976 putschists, the supreme commanders of the three branches of the armed forces, whose rationalisation of their odious deeds is subjected by the authors to biting ridicule — the targeting of the nazis in the musical Cabaret comes to mind — yet the hint of menace and foreboding is never far away.

To the authors’ credit, the combination of slapstick and song is an effective device — bar some ancient jokes — in advancing the narrative in which Greg Barnett is suitably slimy as The General while Alexander Luttley as the air force chief emanates egotism and duplicity.

So far, so satirical, but in an unexpected development one of the guests of the show Gloria Benitez (Val Jones) sees her daughter disappear when invited on stage to join the naval chief (Neil Kelso) in his magic tricks.

This tragedy, and her evolution from housewife to protester with the legendary Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, is charted with unassuming mastery by Jones.

After the interval the mood changes and, in a series of rapid vignettes, the historical blanks are filled in.

Everything from CIA involvement, the torture chambers at the school of naval mechanics, the Malvinas war and finally the trial of the military chiefs comes under scrutiny.

There’s a fair degree of disconcerting detail, some loose ends and short cuts that may baffle some in what occasionally comes across as over-elaborate. But it remains a riveting production, directed by Amy Draper with panache, with a cast that is as gifted as it is passionate. The songs by Darren Clark effectively catch the nuances of mood and, Greek chorus-style, comment on the action.

That culminates in a powerful theatrical moment at the conclusion when the curtains around the auditorium are drawn back, revealing walls filled top-to-bottom with the faces of the disappeared to a shell-shocked audience.

This video is called Amy Draper: These Trees Are Made Of Blood; rehearsal.

These video from London says about itself:

These Trees are Made of Blood Trailer

16 March 2015

At Southwark Playhouse from 18 March – 11 April 2015


Call 020 7407 0234 or click here to buy tickets.

And for our next act …

The Magical Military Junta …
Will make 30,000 people disappear before your very eyes.

During the 70s and 80s, Argentina was locked in a period of state terrorism, with a military dictatorship waging war on suspected left-wing political sympathizers. Thousands of citizens were “disappeared”; seized by the authorities and rarely heard from again.

Set in a timeless Buenos Aires cabaret club before, during and after Argentina’s Dirty War, These Trees are Made of Blood tells the story of one Mother’s search for her daughter. Blending original live music and exciting cabaret acts with an urgent narrative, this is a new piece of political theatre which promises to be an unforgettable audience experience.

So come on in. The club’s open all hours and history can always be rewritten after one too many.

This video says about itself:

These Trees are Made of Blood: How to make empanadas

5 March 2015

The team behind These Trees are Made of Blood give you a taste of what’s to come from this new production.

Remembering Latin America’s Disappeared: here.

Argentina’s military dictatorship on trial

This video from the USA says about itself:

Argentine Torture Survivor Tells of Her Struggle to Bring Her Torturers to Justice

12 November 2010

Democracy Now! speak with Patricia Isasa, a torture survivor from Argentina’s military dictatorship. She was a 16-year old student union organizer in 1976 when she was kidnapped by police and soldiers. She was tortured and held prisoner without trial for two-and-a-half years at one of the 585 clandestine detention and torture centers set up during the dictatorship. After a long legal battle to bring her torturers to justice, six of her nine torturers were recently sentenced to prison.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Dictatorship-era soldiers to reveal missing dead

Thursday 11th December 2014

FOUR former soldiers charged with committing crimes against humanity during Argentina‘s 1976-1983 military dictatorship have said they will admit guilt and help to identify victims and burial sites.

Presiding judge Diaz Gavier said on Wednesday that the men had “voluntarily expressed their intention to provide information that will facilitate the location of some human remains.”

The four are on trial for participation in crimes committed at clandestine detention centres in Cordoba province during the US-backed dictatorship that cost the lives of 30,000 people.

Ernesto Barreiro, who is accused by human rights groups of being the chief torturer at the La Perla detention centre, indicated places on Wednesday where 25 missing people might have been buried.

Mr Barreiro led a 1987 military rebellion that forced the elected government of President Raul Alfonsin to pass an amnesty law for accused human rights abusers.

The amnesty law was overturned almost two decades later, allowing prosecutors to reopen hundreds of cases.