Guam rails back to Guam?


This video says about itself:

21 November 2017

The Guam Rail (Hypotaenidia owstoni), locally known as ko’ko’, was endemic to Guam and is listed by BirdLife International as Extinct in the Wild on the IUCN Red List. Predation by the brown tree snake (a non-native invasive species introduced by the US military) caused dramatic declines in Guam Rail populations but before they disappeared, 21 birds were clutched from the jaws of extinction and taken to captive breeding facilities.

On Rota (part of the Mariana Islands, to USA, north of Guam), Guam Rails have been steadily introduced since the 1990s, involving as many 100 birds per year. This video, taken in 2017 shows one of these birds in the “wild” on Rota.

Is this Guam bird coming back from extinction in the wild? Here.

Scientists have discovered why brown tree snakes have become one of the most successful invasive species. The research team has been studying why a type of cat-eyed snake has been so effective at devastating native bird populations on the island of Guam: here.

Guam poet against Trump’s nuclear warmongering


This video says about itself:

The History of Guam

10 August 2017

Guam is a virtual US colony, whose residents have been denied the rights afforded to other Americans, says professor David Vine.

And now United States President Trump, not elected by even one Guam person, makes Guam the focus of threats of a nuclear war with North Korea.

By Ryan Grenoble from the USA:

Chamorro [indigenous Guamanian] poet and activist Craig Santos Perez told The Atlantic he’s both concerned and angry that Guam is in this position to begin with.

“Definitely concern was the first feeling, but then of course anger that Guam is put into the crosshairs of the situation,” he said. “My opinion is the American military presence… has made Guam a target most of all. Really, the answer is not THAAD or more weapons, but demilitarization and thinking about how we can create peace in the region and have the de-proliferation of nuclear weapons, both in Korea and in the United States.”

The world is daily and hourly edging closer to the brink of nuclear war, as US President Donald Trump maintains a constant stream of extraordinarily inflammatory and reckless threats against North Korea. Such bellicose language coming from the man in charge of the most powerful military force on the planet is generating increasing shock and fear that war with nuclear weapons could break out at any moment: here.

Washington is preparing for nuclear war in Europe: here.

Guam people against Trump’s Korea nuclear warmongering


This video says about itself:

US military to strengthen presence in Guam

21 June 2013

With Washington refocusing its forces to the Asia-Pacific region, the US Naval Base on the small island of Guam is preparing for the arrival of 5,000 more troops and their dependents.

The goal is to turn Guam, an unincorporated territory of the US in the western Pacific Ocean, into a regional security hub by integrating the US air force and navy.

The move is seen as a bid to counter what are perceived by the US and its allies as challenges to the freedom and security of the region.

However, many of the locals feel there are other ways their island can prosper, and that growth should not happen at any cost, particularly at the expense of their environment.

Al Jazeera’s Marga Ortigas reports from Guam.

From news.com.au in Australia (right-wing, Rupert Murdoch-owned):

Trump hasn’t a clue where Guam is’: Locals terrified they’ll be ‘blown to smithereens’ as North Korea tensions ramp up

August 9, 201710:22pm

Emma Reynolds and wires

DONALD Trump is using Guam as a pawn in his stand-off with North Korea without even knowing where the US territory is, say terrified locals. …

Residents of the 550 square-kilometre territory, home to several US military bases, turned on Mr Trump as they contemplated the dire warning from North Korea.

“We’ll be blown to smithereens!” wrote former teacher Eileen Benavente-Blas on a community Facebook page. “Trump hasn’t a clue where Guam is as he tweets our island into the nuclear hands of N. Korea.”

In response to a query from news.com.au, Guamanian Milan Salas added: “Tell the world Guam (we) are a pawn of war. Collateral damage and victims every day from two spoiled rotten man child leaders Trump and Kim … Kim Jung [sic] wants to kill us with his ICBM [intercontinental ballistic missiles] because of our ties as a territory to the USA … USA wants to drown our livelihood with despair from over-militarisation that will hurt our ecosystem … we are a cheese bait for NK.

“The Chamorro [indigenous] people have no true voice from everyday tyrants. Is there really true freedom, that I cannot vote for the POTUS who imposes his constitutional rights on me and strategically uses my home for military purposes as a target for the Asia-Pacific region?

“Where is our voice in all this?”

International experts have joined in the criticism of the President’s “unhinged” verbal assault, which goes well beyond repeated warnings from the US military this year that action against North Korea is an option.

“Trying to out-threaten North Korea is like trying to out-pray the Pope,” tweeted John Delury from Seoul’s Yonsei University.

Security commentator Ankit Panda called Mr Trump’s comments “dangerous and unusual”, while Congressman Eliot Engel, Democratic senior member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, chastised the President for drawing an “absurd” red line that Kim would inevitably cross.

“North Korea is a real threat, but the President’s unhinged reaction suggests he might consider using American nuclear weapons in response to a nasty comment from a North Korean despot,” Mr Engel said in a statement.

“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States,” said the President, speaking from his golf club in New Jersey. “They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

With a population of 160,000 people, Guam is home to 6000 US troops at the Naval Base Guam and Andersen Air Force Base. Its tropical climate has also made it popular with tourists, although a direct twice-weekly flight from Cairns that carried mainly tourists was discontinued in 2015.

The Micronesian island, situated less than 3000km north of Australia and around 3400km southeast of Pyongyang, is the westernmost US territory, captured from Spain in 1898 during the Spanish-American War.

Guam Catholic archbishops’ child sex abuse scandal


This video says about itself:

Sexual Abuse Allegations in Guam Devestate Catholics

3 October 2016

Allegations that the island’s archbishop molested altar boys decades ago have divided churchgoers in Guam, and put the governor in a difficult spot. Catholicism is sewn deeply into the Spanish-influenced culture of this small island, where families consider close relationships with priests a blessing.

Governor Eddie Calvo signed a bill into law last month, eliminating the two-year statute of limitations for suing over sexual abuse on the island. The signing of the bill opened the church up to millions in liability on the island. Archbishop Anthony Apuron has vigorously denied allegations saying he molested at least five altar boys in the 1960s and 70s. Churchgoers are torn between supporting the church, with some like Andrew Camacho, who is vice president of Concerned Catholics of Guam, saying the church needs to take responsibility, even if it means financial ruin.

REPORT UNCOVERS NEARLY 100 SEX ABUSE LAWSUITS AGAINST THE CATHOLIC LEADERSHIP IN GUAM Two archbishops of Agana, as well as multiple priests, bishops, teachers and even Boy Scouts leaders on the Western Pacific island are allegedly implicated in the scandal. [HuffPost]

This video says about itself:

Concerned Catholics of Guam challenging payments to accused priest

4 August 2016

The Concerned Catholics of Guam group is questioning why a priest accused of child sex abuse is still getting paid by the Archdiocese of Agana. As a matter of fact, the CCOG has been questioning the alleged actions of this priest since January 2015.

New crab species gets Harry Potter name


This video says about itself:

1 February 2017

A new species of crab has been named after two characters from JK Rowling‘s “Harry Potter” stories, according to a new study in “ZooKeys”.

From Science News:

Coral reef crab named after Harry Potter characters

16 years after its discovery, the crustacean is labeled a new species

By Helen Thompson

7:00am, February 13, 2017

Deep beneath coral rubble in reefs off the coast of Guam, there lives a pale, black-eyed crab whose true taxonomic character has long been unknown.

In 2001, amateur researcher Harry Conley discovered the translucent crab burrowing among reef rocks. Eventually, two specimens — each several millimeters long — came to the lab of biologist Peter Ng at the National University of Singapore. Now, Ng and colleague Jose Mendoza have identified the quirky crustacean as a new species and bestowed on it the moniker Harryplax severus, the researchers report January 23 in ZooKeys.

The genus name honors two Harrys: Conley, who died in 2002 and had a reputation for finding otherworldly ocean critters, and Harry Potter, the titular character in J.K. Rowling’s popular books. Mendoza, a Potter fan, suggested the species designation severus — a reference to the books’ notoriously uptight and misjudged Severus Snape, whose true nature remains elusive until the series’ end.

H. severus belongs to a group of crabs first found in shadowy caves on Christmas Island. With small beady eyes, well-developed antennae, washed-out coloration and long legs, the crabs are suited to the dimly lit nooks and crannies of Guam’s rubble beds — a place where Snape, a prickly potions master who worked in a dungeon, might feel right at home.

A new species of mangrove-climbing micro-crab from Hong Kong, Haberma tingkok, has recently been discovered, described and named: here.

Guam undersea active volcano wildlife


This is a video of an undersea eruption near Tonga.

From World Science:

Expedition to bursting, undersea volcano yields marvels

May 5, 2009

Courtesy National Science Foundation and World Science staff

Sci­en­tists who have just re­turned from an ex­pe­di­tion to an erupt­ing un­der­sea vol­ca­no near the Is­land of Guam re­port that the vol­ca­no seems to be con­tin­u­ously ac­tive, has grown con­sid­erably in the past three years, and its ac­ti­vity sup­ports a un­ique bi­o­log­i­cal com­mun­ity thriv­ing de­spite the erup­tions.

An in­terna­t­ional sci­ence team on the ex­pe­di­tion, funded by the Na­tional Sci­ence Founda­t­ion, cap­tured dra­mat­ic new in­forma­t­ion about the erup­tive ac­ti­vity of NW Rota-1.

This video is called Submarine Ring of Fire 2006: NW Rota1 Brimstone Pit Erupting.

“This re­search al­lows us, for the first time, to study un­der­sea vol­ca­noes in de­tail and close up,” said Barba­ra Ran­som, pro­gram di­rec­tor in the Na­tional Sci­ence Founda­t­ion’s Di­vi­sion of Ocean Sci­ences, which funded the re­search. “NW Rota-1 re­mains the only place on Earth where a deep sub­ma­rine volca­no has ev­er been di­rectly ob­served while erupt­ing.” …

An­i­mals in this un­usu­al ec­o­sys­tem in­clude shrimp, crab, limpets and bar­na­cles, some of which are new spe­cies. “They’re spe­cially adapted to their en­vi­ron­ment,” said Chad­wick, “and are thriv­ing in harsh chem­i­cal con­di­tions that would be tox­ic to nor­mal ma­rine life. Life here is ac­tu­ally nour­ished by the erupt­ing vol­ca­no.”

Ve­re­na Tun­ni­cliffe, a bi­olo­g­ist from the Uni­ver­s­ity of Vic­to­ria, Can­ada, said that most of the an­i­mals are de­pend­ent on dif­fuse hot-wa­ter ven­t­ing that pro­vides bas­ic food in the form of bac­te­ri­al fil­a­ments coat­ing the rocks. “It ap­pears that since 2006 the dif­fuse ven­t­ing has spread and, with it, the ven­t an­i­mals,” Tun­ni­cliffe said. There are pro­fuse popula­t­ions of shrimp on the vol­ca­no, with two spe­cies able to cope with the vol­can­ic con­di­tions, she added.

“The ‘Loi­hi’ shrimp has adapted to graz­ing the bac­te­ri­al fil­a­ments with ti­ny claws like gar­den shears,” said Tun­ni­cliffe. “The sec­ond shrimp is a new spe­cies—they al­so graze as ju­ve­niles, but as they grow to adult stage, their front claws en­large and they be­come preda­tors.” The Loihi shrimp was pre­vi­ously known only from a small ac­tive vol­ca­no near Ha­waii, far away. It sur­vives on the fast-growing bac­te­ria and tries to avoid the haz­ards of the vol­can­ic erup­tions. Clouds of these shrimp were seen flee­ing vol­can­ic bursts, re­search­ers said.

The oth­er spe­cies at­tacks the Loihi shrimp and preys on ma­rine life that wan­ders too close to the vol­can­ic plumes and dies. “We saw dy­ing fish, squid, etc., rain­ing down on­to the sea­mount, where they were jumped on by the vol­ca­no shrim­p,” Tun­ni­cliffe said.

NW Rota-1 pro­vides a one-of-a-kind nat­u­ral lab­o­r­a­to­ry for the in­ves­ti­ga­t­ion of un­der­sea vol­can­ic ac­ti­vity and its rela­t­ion to chem­i­cal-based ec­o­sys­tems at un­der­wa­ter ven­ts, where some bi­ologists think life on Earth orig­i­nat­ed.

“It is un­usu­al for a vol­ca­no to be con­tin­u­ously ac­tive, even on land,” Chad­wick point­ed out.

“This pre­s­ents us with a fan­tas­tic op­por­tun­ity to learn about pro­cesses we’ve nev­er been able to di­rectly ob­serve be­fore,” he said. “When vol­ca­noes erupt in shal­low wa­ter they can be ex­tremely haz­ard­ous, cre­at­ing huge ex­plo­sions and even tsunamis. But he­re, we can safely ob­serve an eruption in the deep ocean and learn valua­ble lessons about how lot la­va and seawa­ter in­ter­ac­t.” …

Ocean acidifica­t­ion is a se­ri­ous con­cern be­cause of human-induced car­bon di­ox­ide ac­cu­mu­lat­ing in the atmo­sphere. “Subma­rine vol­ca­noes are places where we can study how an­i­mals have adapted to very acid­ic con­di­tions,” Chad­wick said.

Blog of this expedition: here.

Unique and new species thriving around erupting undersea volcano: here.

An observation ward for the long-term observation of a mud volcano in the Norwegian deep sea has been set up by, among others, three research institutes from the German federal state Bremen: here.

Supervolcano may be brewing beneath Mount St Helens: here.

The Remarkable Life of William Beebe: Explorer and Naturalist: here.

People of Guam fight against militarization


This video says about itself:

Guam’s Quest for Real Democracy

12 October 2009

Guam’s struggle to liberate itself from the absolutist rule of the U.S. The invisible colony’s struggle for survival.

By Niko Leka & Edmund Parker in Australia:

Guam: The invisible colony’s struggle for survival

14 June 2008

Two representatives of Guam’s Chamoru people are visiting Australia. Lisa Natividad and Julian Aguon are fighting against the militarisation of their land by the US.

Guam has been a US territory since 1898, and, noted a November 5 Newsweek article, it “is fast becoming the linchpin of Washington’s new Asia strategy”.

“Guam is an ideal lily pad” for the Pentagon, the magazine reported, “since the United States can act there without seeking permission from allies … Declares Carl Peterson of the Guam Chamber of Commerce: ‘This is the US in Asia. This is the tip of the spear.’”

Brigadier General Douglas Owens, the commanding officer of Guam’s Andersen Air Force Base, describes the island as “an unsinkable aircraft carrier”.

Just north of the Equator below Japan, Guam was populated 4000 years ago by a matrilineal people, the Chamoru. In the 1500s it was colonised by Spain. After Spain’s defeat in the 1898 Spanish-American war, it was claimed by the US. It became important as a military base after World War II.

Guam is only about 50 kilometres long, and US bases occupy about a third of its length. The Australian reported on June 14 that “By 2014 Guam will receive about 8000 US marines who will transfer from their present base in Okinawa, the Japanese Government helping pay the $10 billion-plus relocation costs. With a population of about 170,000, Guam is already home to 12,000 US military personnel and the heavy build-up promises to put further strain on local communities.”

There are only some 65,000 Chamoru on Guam, according to the CIA World Fact Book. They are not only outnumbered, they are dying from illness due to US military activity. Many of the people exposed to radioactive dust during atomic tests nearby died prematurely.

In addition, US forces are polluting Guam with deadly chemicals including dioxins and PCBs. People who have lived there for over 4000 years can no longer eat the fish in their harbours and lagoons.

In April, Aguon addressed the UN about the situation facing Guam. His speech can be viewed here on this video

or visit http://decolonizeguam.blogspot.com for more information. …

Natividad and Aguon will speak in Newcastle at 7pm on Monday, June 23, at a public meeting convened by the Hunter Valley Quakers and Newcastle NoWar collective. Admission is free, and supper will be provided. It is being held at the Quaker Meeting Place, Bryant Street, Tighes Hill (in the former Uniting Church next to Lifeline). For more information phone Bob on (02) 4921 5190 or Niko on 0406 296 141.

Reintroduction of Guam rail to Guam


Guam railFrom Wildlife Extra:

Guam Rail, Extinct In The Wild For 22 Years, To Be Reintroduced To Guam

A draft Safe Harbour Agreement that proposes to establish a breeding population of the endangered ko’ko’ or Guam rail on Cocos has been published.

Cocos Island Resort and the Guam Department of Agriculture have applied a permit to re-introduce the bird, which is extinct in the wild, to 83.1 acres of Cocos Island partly owned by Cocos Island Resort, and the Guam Department of Parks and Recreation.

Actions required to ensure the Guam rail reintroduction is a success.

* Eradicating rats and mice and control of the monitor lizard population prior to release of Guam rail;
* Reducing the likelihood of reintroduction of rats, mice, and the introduction of the brown treesnake;
* Developing and implementing a forest enhancement plan to reduce invasive plant species and increase native plant species;
* Releasing Guam rails and monitoring survivorship, breeding behaviour, habitat preference, and nesting success; and
* Creating educational materials to promote the understanding and appreciation of wildlife recovery and invasive species issues for Cocos Island staff and visitors.

‘Thanks to the Cocos Island Resort and its cooperators in local and federal governments, wild ko’ko’ may once again be seen on Guam,’ said Patrick Leonard, field supervisor, Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office. ‘Voluntary cooperative conservation efforts with the private sector strengthen the efforts of government agencies and help ensure protection of valuable habitat and the recovery of endangered species.’

The ko’ko’ was last observed in the wild on Northern Guam in the mid-1980s.

Descriptiom of the Ko’ko’

The ko’ko’ is a flightless, medium-sized rail, endemic to the island of Guam and is considered one of the most critically endangered rails in the world. The head and back are brown with a grey eye stripe and throat. The breast is dark black with white barring, and the legs and beak are dark brown. Males are significantly larger than females. It is an omnivorous feeder but appears to prefer animal over vegetable food. It is known to eat gastropods, skinks, geckos, insects, and carrion as well as seeds and palm leaves.

Last wild birds taken into captivity in 1985

The last remaining wild ko’ko’ were collected from the forest on Andersen Air Force Base in 1985. One captive population is located in Mangilao, Guam, and others are spread throughout 17 participating zoos on the mainland U.S. The ko’ko was federally listed as endangered in 1984.

Previous efforts to establish ko’ko’ in snake-reduced areas on Guam have been thwarted by feral cat predation and feral ungulates. Cocos Island provides a cat and ungulate-free environment where brown treesnake control can be facilitated through rodent eradication and the implementation of biosecurity and response protocols.

The USDA and the EPA are in cahoots, scheming against Guam’s invasive brown tree snakes, or are they throwing a party? Here.

September 2012. A new study on the island of Guam reveals that the near-total loss of native birds caused by the invasive brown tree snake has led to a huge increase in the number of spiders. During certain times of the year, arachnids on Guam occur at 40 times the rate of nearby islands where the snake is absent and birds persist. The team counted spider webs along transect lines as a measure of prey abundance. Since there were no studies on the incidence of spiders on Guam prior to the eradication of native birds, the scientists compared the abundance of spider webs in forests on Guam to that on nearby Rota, Tinian, and Saipan that have no well-established snake populations and similar bird communities to Guam before the snake invasion there: here.