World Wildlife Day today, save spoon-billed sandpipers


This video says about itself:

27 October 2016

You probably have never seen a Spoon-billed Sandpiper. There are fewer than 500 remaining on the planet.

Spoon-billed Sandpiper chicks are remarkably independent. After hatching in their far northeastern Russian breeding grounds, the young leave the nest within a day and immediately begin feeding themselves. The father leads them away from the nest and attends to them until they fledge about 20 days later.

The mother bird doesn’t hang around to see how her brood turns out. She departs soon after the young hatch and begins migrating South to China’s Rudong mudflats in Jiangsu and Fujian’s Minjiang River Estuary, where the Spoon-billed Sandpipers fatten up each year before continuing on first to Zhanjiang in Guandong province, followed by Myanmar and Bangladesh for the winter.

After the chicks reach fledging age, the father departs too. All alone, the chicks then start their long journey South a few weeks later. No guide, no map, no GPS. But the baby birds instinctively know exactly where to go. The baby birds join millions of other migratory birds along the East Asian Australasian Flyway.

Unfortunately, the habitats along the flyway, from Korea to China, are under threat. Spoon-billed sandpipers’ habitats have shrunk dramatically, due to reclamation and industrial development in China, and when they reach their Southeast Asian winter homes, they then face the threat of hunters.

Spoon-billed Sandpipers are one of the most threatened species in the world.

But there is hope. The Chinese government is committed to building an Eco-Civilization that focuses more on the value of nature instead of GDP growth alone, and provincial officials are paying increasing attention to protecting the country’s coastal wetlands and mudflats. Efforts are underway to better preserve the Spoon-billed Sandpiper’s feeding grounds, the Rudong mudflat in Jiangsu.

The move to protect China’s wetlands is spreading. At a wetlands conference co-convened on Oct. 18 in Beidaihe by the Paulson Institute, the Convention on Wetlands Management Office of the People’s Republic of China, China Center for International Economic Exchanges (CCIEE), and the Hebei provincial government, Hebei’s provincial governor promised to protect his province’s threatened wetlands, too.

The Paulson Institute has launched a month-long campaign to raise awareness of the importance of coastal wetlands and the migratory birds they sustain. We hope to encourage the government officials, the scientists and experts, the NGOs, and the thousands of volunteers working to save these precious resources.

Watch this video, and please share!

It’s up to us to make a change.

Today is World Wildlife Day.

From BirdLife today:

Dear Friend,

The Spoon-billed Sandpiper – or ‘Spoonie’ to her friends – is about to make the hardest journey of her life.

It’s almost the season of love, so she’s getting ready to make the perilous journey north from Bangladesh to Arctic Russia in a bid to find a mate and to build a family. Some of her companions won’t make it, and many of those who do will be so exhausted, that the journey will have been in vain.

Every year this nearly already impossible journey gets harder still. As humans continue to alter the natural wilderness on the coast of the Yellow Sea, in North East Asia, the mudflats Spoonie depends upon during her journey are being transformed into cities, factories and farms.

Without them, Spoonie has nowhere to rest, recover and refuel during her epic 11,000km journey. When, or if, she arrives, she’ll be so thin and debilitated that she simply won’t be able to produce an egg. All her energy will have depleted and she will be forced to spend her time north recovering before flying back to Bangladesh, with no baby, no next generation in tow.

🐦 Donate and help save Spoonie 🐦

It’s no surprise that Spoonie’s numbers have diminished over the last three decades. Today, there are only around 400 of these beautiful birds left. They’re not alone in their plight; over 50 million water birds use the East Asian-Australasian Flyway annually with 27 species being forced towards extinction as a result of habitat loss.

This is one of the most rapidly developing areas of the human world with over 50% of intertidal habitat converted into urban, industrial and agricultural land since the ‘60s. Because of this The East Asian-Australasian Flyway is the most dangerous flyway in the world, and it’s only going to get harder for Spoonie if we don’t act now.

Urgent action is required to save the passengers on this flyway before it is too late. Will you help these special birds survive their journey this year?

Our goal is to not only stabilise, but increase the species population by 50% by 2025.

To do this BirdLife intends to:
– Ensure the conservation of key ecological sites in the Yellow Sea
– Support local conservation awareness and action
– Improve the scientific knowledge base for conservation
– Secure a World Heritage recognition for the Yellow Sea

We have the science and the skills to make this happen, all that’s lacking now is the financial resources. And you can help. Please, donate now and help us save this flyway and secure a future for the Spoon-billed Sandpiper.

Donating now couldn’t be easier:

Donate online now here.

Post a cheque to: EAAF Appeal, BirdLife International, The David Attenborough Building, Pembroke Street, Cambridge, CB2 3QZ, UK.
Call me on +44 (0)1223 747553.

Thank you for your passion and commitment. I know I can count on your support this World Wildlife Day.

Yours sincerely,

Richard Grimmett
Director of Conservation

Red-flanked bluetail video


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Eastern black redstart video


This video is about the eastern black redstart, a black redstart subspecies from Asia.

United States Trump military escalation in Asia


China and India

By Deepal Jayasekera and Keith Jones:

Trump administration to expand India-US military-strategic alliance

15 February 2017

The Trump administration has served notice that it intends to expand the Indo-US military strategic alliance. This is not surprising, but nonetheless highly significant: first, because it underscores the new administration’s intention to pursue confrontation with China; and second, because Washington’s drive to harness India to its military-strategic offensive against China has dangerously destabilized the region, fueling tensions between India and both China and Pakistan.

US Secretary of Defense, General James “Mad Dog” Mattis, telephoned his Indian counterpart, Manohar Parrikar last week. Mattis, according to the Pentagon readout of their Feb. 8 conversation, hailed the “tremendous progress” made in “recent years” in Indo-US “defense cooperation” and said the new administration is eager to “sustain the momentum” and “build upon it.”

The readout made specific mention of the bilateral Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) under which the US and India are codeveloping and coproducing advanced weapon systems.

Mattis placed his call to Parrikar shortly after returning from a trip to East Asia, during which he reaffirmed Washington’s longstanding strategic alliances with Japan and South Korea. He also reiterated the Obama administration’s commitment to go to war with China if Beijing were ever to threaten East China Sea islets (known in Japan as the Senkaku and in China as the Diaoyu) that are currently held by Japan, but claimed by China.

Mattis’s call came the day after officials in Washington had said that all the legal changes necessary to give effect to India’s recent designation as a “Major (US) Defense Partner” have now been completed. As a quid pro quo for New Delhi agreeing to allow the Pentagon to use Indian military bases to service its warplanes and battleships, the Obama administration last year conferred “Major Defense Partner” status on India. …

From the standpoint of the strategists of US imperialism, India is China’s western underbelly. Moreover, it juts far out into the Indian Ocean, providing a prime vantage point for controlling the sea-lanes that convey much of China’s oil and other natural resource imports, and almost all its exports to Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Since the Obama administration launched its “Pivot to Asia” in 2011, and especially since the Indian elite propelled Narendra Modi and his Hindu supremacist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to power in May 2014, India has been integrated ever more completely into Washington’s military-strategic offensive against China. …

The Trump administration has gone so far as to threaten to block China’s access to the South China Sea islets it currently controls, an act that would be tantamount to a declaration of war. …

‘Pakistan’s principal military-strategic response to the burgeoning Indo-US ties had been to deepen its longstanding alliance with Beijing. This in turn has further exacerbated tensions between Beijing and New Delhi. …

Up until 2015, China adopted a cautious approach to the Indo-US military-strategic alliance, based on the calculation that a strong reaction might backfire and push New Delhi further into Washington’s embrace. But over the past two years, Beijing has taken an increasingly confrontational stance, as exemplified by its decision to make the $50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor a cornerstone of its One Belt, One Road initiative.

As the foreign policy establishment continues to grapple with the consequences of Trump’s election, U.S. officials can still agree on one thing. The United States is a nation that is waging a permanent war: here.

REX TILLERSON: THE ERA OF STRATEGIC PATIENCE WITH NORTH KOREA IS OVER The Secretary of State said a “comprehensive set of capabilities” is being developed to address North Korea, which includes military action. [Reuters]

In the wake of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s trip to China, the US is focussing mounting pressure on China to force North Korea to bow to Washington’s demands to abandon its nuclear and missile programs. In the background, as Tillerson stated last week, all options, including military action against Pyongyang, are under consideration: here.

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Barred warbler video


This video is about Sylvia nisoria, the barred warbler. This species nests in Europe and Asia, and winters in Africa.