How clownfish live together peacefully

This video, recorded in India, says about itself:

21 August 2012

Symbiosis, including anemonefish & clownfish. Part 18 of my DVD, “Reef Life of the Andaman“.

From ScienceNews:

In the Coral Triangle, clownfish figured out how to share

by Sarah Zielinski

11:41am, April 1, 2016

Clownfish and anemones depend on one another. The stinging arms of the anemones provide clownfish with protection against predators. In return, the fish keep the anemone clean and provide nutrients, in the form of poop. Usually, several individual clownfish occupy a single anemone — a large and dominant female, an adult male and several subordinates — all from the same species. But with 28 species of clownfish and 10 species of anemone, there can be a lot of competition for who gets to occupy which anemone.

In the highly diverse waters of the Coral Triangle of Southeast Asia, however, clownfish have figured out how to share, researchers report March 30 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Anemones in these waters are often home to multiple species of clownfish that live together peacefully.

From 2005 to 2014, Emma Camp, of the University of Technology Sydney and colleagues gathered data on clownfish and their anemone homes from 20 locations that had more than one species of clownfish residents. In 981 underwater survey transects, they encountered 1,508 clownfish, 377 of which lived in groups consisting of two or more fish species in a single anemone.

Most of those cohabiting clownfish could be found in the waters of the Coral Triangle, the team found, with the highest levels of species cohabitation occurring off Hoga Island in Indonesia. There, the researchers found 437 clownfish from six species living among 114 anemones of five species. Every anemone was occupied by clownfish, and half had two species of the fish.

In general, “when the number of clownfish species exceeded the number of host anemone species, cohabitation was almost always documented,” the researchers write.

The multiple-species groups divvied up space in an anemone similar to the way that a single-species group does, with subordinate fish sticking to the peripheries. That way, those subordinate fish can avoid fights — and potentially getting kicked off the anemone or even dying. “Living on the periphery of an anemone, despite the higher risk of predation, is a better option than having no host anemone,” the team writes.

These multi-species groups might even be better for both of the clownfish species, since they wouldn’t have to compete so much over mates, and perhaps even less over food, if the species had different diets.

This isn’t the first time that scientists have found cohabitation to be an effective strategy in an area of high biodiversity. This has also been demonstrated with scorpions in the Amazon. But it does show how important it is to conserve species in regions such as this, the researchers say — because losing one species can easily wipe out several more.

Black-faced spoonbill news

This video from South Korea says about itself:

Endangered Black-faced Spoonbill (Platalea minor), Nakdong Estuary. April 14, 2013. Digiscope Video © Jason Loghry/Birds Korea.

From BirdLife:

Record Black-faced Spoonbill count, despite deteriorating habitat

By Ed Parnell, Fri, 11/03/2016 – 14:19

The annual International Black-faced Spoonbill Census recorded 3,356 individuals in January 2016, an increase of 2.6% from the last year’s 3,272 individuals, and a record recent count for this Endangered Asian waterbird.

An annual census of Black-faced Spoonbill Platalea minor has been ongoing since 2003. This year’s census was held on 15-17 January, with the participation of over 200 volunteers. The survey covered locations in South Korea, Japan, mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand.

“This record recent count reflects conservation measures that have finally come into effect over the last decade. Spoonbill numbers have increased because two major wintering sites – Taiwan and Hong Kong – are well protected, and breeding sites in the Korean Peninsula have not been seriously disturbed”, said Yat-tung Yu, Research Manager of Hong Kong Bird Watching Society (HKBWS, BirdLife International Partner in Hong Kong SAR, China) who coordinate the census across the region.

Taiwan is still the largest wintering area for the species, where there were a total of 2,060 individuals (a marginal increase of 26 birds). The increase in the total global population was mainly a result of more records from mainland China, which had a 32% increase from 330 individuals in 2015 to 434 this year. Increases were also recorded in South Korea, Japan and Macau. Worryingly, however, the figure from Deep Bay (Hong Kong, and Shenzhen, China) decreased from 462 individuals in 2010 to 371 individuals this year, which represents a cumulative decrease of nearly 20% over the period (including 40 fewer individuals than 2015).

The decrease of Black-faced Spoonbills in the Deep Bay area is of conservation concern because the area has long been one of the largest wintering sites for the species. Mai Po Nature Reserve, an IBA in Hong Kong and the core part of the Deep Bay, is well managed for waterbirds and wetland conservation, with habitat enhancements for wintering Black-faced Spoonbills having been implemented to improve the condition of the reserve.

Simultaneous regular waterbird-monitoring activities at Deep Bay have found decreasing figures of other wetland species too: total winter waterbird counts at the site have fallen from a plateau of 90,132 in 2008 to 43,425 in 2016. As well as Black-faced Spoonbill, several other globally threatened and near-threatened waterbirds occur including the Endangered Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris and the Vulnerable Saunders’s Gull Saundersilarus saundersi. The exact reasons behind these declines remain unknown, although habitat deterioration such as water pollution and wetland reclamation continues to take place, alongside wider problems with coastal development and illegal poaching that are affecting the South China region as a whole.

World Pangolin Day, 20 February 2016

This video is called Orphaned Cape Pangolin baby pulling a tongue.


The fifth annual World Pangolin Day will be celebrated on 20 February 2016!

World Pangolin Day is celebrated on the third Saturday in February.

World Pangolin Day is an opportunity for pangolin enthusiasts to join together in raising awareness about these unique mammals — and their plight. Pangolin numbers are rapidly declining in Asia and Africa.

The demand for pangolins comes mostly from China, where pangolin scales are unfortunately believed to be a cure-all of sorts and pangolin flesh is considered a delicacy. In Vietnam, pangolins are frequently offered at restaurants catering to wealthy patrons who want to eat rare and endangered wildlife. There is no evidence to support claims regarding medicinal properties of pangolin scales or any other part of the pangolin.

Connect, get updates and share ideas for #worldpangolinday at

Watch an adorable baby Cape pangolin named “Champ” stick out his tongue .

Religious violence in Asia

This 2012 video is called ROHINGYA in Arakan, Burma. Al Jazeera Investigates – The Hidden Genocide.

From the International Institute for Asian Studies in the Netherlands:

Religious violence in South(East) Asia: domestic and transnational drivers of intolerance against Muslim minorities

Date & time
15 June 2015, 09:15 – 17:00 hrs

VU University Amsterdam, Metropolitan Building room Z-009
Buitenveldertselaan 3, Amsterdam

The seminar
The majority Buddhist and Hindu societies of South(East) Asia are not traditionally associated with conflict and intolerance. Yet recent years have seen a surge in international reports of religious tensions and violence by Buddhist and Hindu majorities towards Muslim minorities in the region. India’s political leadership since 2014 has long been associated with repressive practices and episodes of violence against Muslim minorities. In Sri Lanka, Muslims have been an often forgotten minority during the conflict, and a rise in hostilities against them has been reported since the defeat of the Tamil Tigers.

The government of Myanmar has long repressed the Rohingya minority, but in recent years this hostility has spread to the larger population, with Buddhist monks playing a seemingly significant role in inciting hate speech and violence against Muslims and their perceived supporters. In Southern Thailand, long-standing grievances of the Muslim population have largely remained unaddressed by the central government. In all these cases, religious diversity has been perceived as a source of nationalism and conflict, but also as a starting point for peacebuilding efforts.

While much attention is being paid to transnational networks of radical Islam, anti-Muslim sentiments in the religious and political sphere are also acquiring a transnational character, and international media increasingly report on supposed cross-border alliances between religious extremists from various sides. This seminar will analyse these developments by comparing regional dynamics and local circumstances, and look beyond the simplistic notion of religions that cannot co-exist. Historical patterns and newly emerging trends will be discussed in order to contextualize the rise in hostility towards Muslim minorities in the South(East) Asian region in recent years. What has been the role of governmental and non-governmental forces such as religious leaders and the media in this process? To what extent are these sentiments created by cross-border networking, and how are they linked to specific political transitions or domestic policy imperatives?

Download the programme and abstracts

Attendance is free of charge, lunch and drinks included.

The speakers
Prof. Jonathan Spencer, University of Edinburgh
Dr. Iselin Frydenlund, PRIO/University of Oslo
Dr. Matthew Walton, University of Oxford
Dr. Khin Mar Mar Kyi, University of Oxford
Dr. Alexander Horstmann, University of Copenhagen
Dr. Ward Berenschot, KITLV Leiden

If you would like to attend the seminar, please register via the form on our website by 10 June.

For enquiries about the seminar, contact Ms Martina van den Haak,

World Migratory Bird Day, 8-9 May 2015

This video, from the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership, says about itself:

World Migratory Bird Day Statement 2015 EAAFP

29 April 2015

From Spike Millington, Chief Executive of EAAFP.

World Migratory Bird Day 2015 in the Netherlands: here.

Monitoring Asian land birds

This video from South Korea is called Japanese Paradise Flycatcher. Parental care by male and female.

From BirdLife:

First steps towards an Asian land bird monitoring programme

By BirdLife Asia, Mon, 13/04/2015 – 10:50

Question: How do we know that many bird species are declining?

Answer: In Europe and North America there are decades of observations and data, gathered by scientists and amateurs that allow us to make accurate estimates of changes in populations over time.

In East Asia, this data has been lacking for much of the region. However, a new agreement between China, Japan, Republic of Korea and Russia is the first step in developing a coordinated monitoring of migratory birds across the region.

In the 1990s, Japanese ornithologists compared nationwide breeding bird survey results from the 1970s and 1990s. They noted some species, such as the Japanese Paradise Flycatcher, had shown significant declines in numbers and distribution. In the first decade of this century, the highly gregarious Yellow-breasted Bunting was also found to be in steep decline. It was speculated that many other migratory land birds in Asia were also declining, however, there were very few researchers available to carry out detailed studies on land bird populations, and so a coordinated framework of joint study was never established.

In November 2010, the idea of land bird monitoring in Asia was raised at a meeting on migratory bird conservation between the Republic of Korea and Japan. It was further discussed at meetings between China, Republic of Korea and Japan and between Russia and China.

These four countries came together for the first time and reached a consensus on moving a regional monitoring scheme forward at the East Asian Land Monitoring Workshop, co-organised by the National Institute of Biological Resources of Korea (NIBR) and BirdLife International, which took place in Jeju, Korea in March 2015.

BirdLife International has been working with these four founding countries on developing a land bird monitoring scheme. At the 26th International Ornithological Congress held in Tokyo in August 2014, BirdLife International organised a Round-table discussion on land bird monitoring and conservation in Asia. Opinions from ornithologists at the round-table was presented at a side-event jointly organised with the NIBR at the 12th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, Pyongchang, Korea in October 2014, which helped to bring Korea, China, Russia and Japan representatives to consider the feasibility of a land bird monitoring scheme.

At the bilateral meetings between China, Republic of Korea and Japan held in Deqing, China, November 2014, Simba Chan, Senior Conservation Officer of BirdLife International Asia Division (Tokyo Office) was nominated by the three countries as the international coordinator for developing this monitoring scheme. At the Land Bird Monitoring Workshop in Jeju, his coordinator role was again confirmed by all four countries.

BirdLife and BirdLife partners will play a useful part in linking countries and NGOs together, and to provide technical support. At the workshop in Jeju, Dr Richard Gregory of RSPB (BirdLife in the UK) was invited to present the experience of the Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme as an example for development of a similar scheme in Asia.

Two types of monitoring have been proposed: standardised bird ringing, and field census techniques. While bird ringing has the advantage of revealing secretive species, it would be labour intensive and expensive to cover a wide range of many sites over Asia. Field surveys by volunteers could fill the gaps of survey sites and raise public participation and awareness of common birds.

“In the last decade birdwatching has become increasingly popular in China. We believe birdwatchers will play an important role in data gathering”, said Simba Chan. “With sufficient training and reference material in their national language, it should not be difficult to start a wide range monitoring scheme in China and many other Asian countries.”

Bar-headed geese flying over the Himalayas, video

This video says about itself:

BBC News: The geese that can conquer Mount Everest

17 January 2015

A tracking study has revealed the secrets of the Himalayan flight of the bar-headed goose – the world’s highest bird migration.

The geese have been recorded at heights of more than 7,000m (23,000 ft) and mountaineers have claimed they have seen the birds fly over Mount Everest.

Their ability to fly in such extreme conditions has fascinated scientists for decades, as the BBC’s science reporter Victoria Gill reports.