Largest colony of olive ridley turtles discovered in Gabon

This video says about itself:

28 July 2010

An Olive Ridley Turtle lays eggs on a moonlit night at Rushikuliya beach in Orissa, India. Feel privileged to view this rare insight into the private life of the Ridley Turtle!

The Olive ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea), also known as the Pacific Ridley, is one of the smallest species of sea turtle. It is named for the olive-green color of its heart-shaped shell. Costa Rica is the one of the most important nesting sites. Ostional Beach in Guanacaste Province has the highest monthly concentration of these turtles. The “arribadas”—mass arrival and nesting—occur every month. October and November features the highest nesting rates (approximately 200 turtles per hour).

‘This clip of professionally-shot broadcast stock footage belongs to the archive of Wilderness Films India Ltd., and has been filmed on either Digital Betacam or 1080i HD.

From Wildlife Extra:

The Atlantic’s largest turtle breeding colony has been discovered

The central African country Gabon is providing an invaluable nesting ground for a vulnerable species of sea turtle considered a regional conservation priority say scientists from the University of Exeter

The scientists surveyed almost 600 km of Gabon’s coastline and uncovered the largest breeding colony of olive ridley turtles in the Atlantic. The results suggest that Gabon hosts the most important rookery for this species in the Atlantic, with estimates indicating that there could be up to 9,800 turtle nests per year compared with around 3,300 in French Guiana and 3,000 in Brazil.

Olive ridley turtles are one of the smallest of the sea turtles and are named for the greenish colour of their shell and skin. Although considered the most abundant of the marine turtles, there has been a net decline in the global numbers of the species, such that they are currently listed as ‘vulnerable’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Although a considerable proportion of nesting occurs within protected areas in Gabon, a range of illegal activities and external pressures continue to exist highlighting the need for continued conservation efforts.

Dr Kristian Metcalfe, lead author from the Centre for Ecology and Conservation (CEC) at the University of Exeter said: “Conservation efforts for sea turtles can be hampered by their migratory life cycles, which carry them across jurisdictional boundaries and international waters. That makes this first population assessment which covered extensive areas of Gabon’s coast outside of monitored regions all the more valuable and worthwhile, and demonstrates the importance of focusing beyond intensively monitored beaches”.

The data generated as part of this study was used to inform the development of a new network of marine protected areas covering nearly a quarter of Gabon’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

Even after long years of nesting monitoring, there are still things that surprise us all. For the first time on Vamizi Island in Mozambique, on the turtle monitoring project that started over 10 years ago, four albino green turtle hatchlings were found on the island’s most successful nesting beach, two of which were still alive. What was even more interesting about these hatchlings, was their red eyes (lack of pigmentation), a common consequence of albinism: here.

Indian villagers protect rare bats

This video says about itself:

Vampire bats nesting in a cave – Expedition Guyana – BBC

1 April 2010

Canopy expert Justine Evans goes in search of red howler monkeys but instead comes across a group of animals with a fearsome reputation – vampire bats nesting in a cave deep in the forest.

From PTI news agency in India:

Meghalaya hamlet dedicates forest for conservation of bats

Pynurkba: A tiny hamlet in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills district has dedicated its forest for the conservation of an extremely rare Wroughton’s free-tailed bats, considered to be a critically endangered species.

The decision in this regard was taken last month when the village elders were informed of the presence of these extremely rare bats, who are facing loss of habitat due to human encroachment, in their forests.

“The village council decided to declare ‘sacred’ a small forest which is roughly about one square kilometer for the conservation of these bat species,” Pynurkba village secretary Phillip Rymbai told PTI.

The decision followed after a long negotiation with the elders of the village because the forest belongs to the community and not a protected area of the government.

Conservation agencies have lauded the decision of the village and urged the state government to recognize the importance of such an initiative and call for rewarding those at the village with conservation schemes and livelihood programmes.

Though there are three caves in Lakadong area that these bats have made them their homes, biologist and researcher D K B Mukhim said the bat clusters at Pynurkba is the largest with over 55 individual bats spotted lately.

First discovered in 1913, these bats are confined to the Western Ghats area of the country and in a remote part of Cambodia besides the colonies here which were discovered last year, according to the researcher.

The cave is located inside a forest here where another mystery shrouds two streams flows directly into the cave and then disappear.

Locals have it that the cave is haunted and hence left undisturbed for years but biologists believe it won’t be too long before the habitat is destroyed.

“Their haunted stories have in a way helped conservation of the cave and its bio-diversity including the Wroughton’s free-tailed bat species in their caves,” Mukhim said.

The Meghalaya Adventurers Association (MAA) which is organizing expeditions to identify new caves in the south-western parts of the Jaintia Hills is also pleading for conservation of these habitats which are also home to many other life forms.

MAA chairman Brian Dally said at least 1,540 caves have been recorded and surveys are being done every year to help discover more caves.

Cavers have surveyed and mapped over 411 km cave formations in the state, one of the longest in the Indian sub-continent.

First Published: Sunday, June 7, 2015 – 11:26

Conservation awards, 2015

This video is about greater adjutant storks in India.

From BirdLife:

Conservation Leadership Programme awards 2015

By Martin Fowlie, Wed, 15/04/2015 – 13:34

In this, its 30th anniversary year, the Conservation Leadership Programme (CLP) has announced the winners of the 2015 team Conservation Awards.  It is granting 22 awards this year worth a total of $300,480 including 19 Future Conservationist Awards, 2 Conservation Follow-Up Awards and 1 Conservation Leadership Award.

Upon hearing the news of the award, new grantee Purnima Devi Barman from India wrote, “I think no news than this can be better in my life. Thanks a lot to you and entire CLP team for supporting our future works through this leadership project.”

Purnima’s project focuses on promoting the coexistence of people and the Endangered Greater Adjutant stork in India. It is the third grant for the project with it now being granted a Conservation Leadership award.

“This is an incredible CLP project that has broken through complicated societal barriers using the language of conservation. The respect now bestowed to these quirky birds is testament to how effectively the team promoted within all parts of the community”, said Kiragu Mwangi, Conservation Leadership Programme Manager.

Many congratulations to all of the awarded teams. One member from each team will be invited to attend the CLP International Training Course in Canada later this year. This two week course is a fantastic opportunity for conservationists from around the world to receive training in high priority topics and create a peer to peer network. Winning a CLP award also gives a team access to the CLP alumni network which offers more opportunities for funding, training and learning exchanges.

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The awarded projects are as follows:

Future Conservationist Awards

Conservation Follow-Up Awards

  • Conserving Angolan scarp forests: a holistic approach for Kumbira Forest
  • Reducing human-snow leopard conflict in Upper Spiti Valley, India.

Conservation Leadership Award

  • Enabling the coexistence of people and greater adjutant in India

The CLP is a unique partnership between BirdLife International, Fauna & Flora International and Wildlife Conservation Society. The mission of the CLP is to advance biodiversity conservation globally by building the leadership capabilities of early-career conservation professionals working in places with limited capacity to address high-priority conservation issues.

New lizard species discovery in India

Hyderabad-based herpetologist Aditya Srinivasulu found called Cnemaspis adii, a new species of gecko, in the ruins of Hampi in Karnataka in India

From Wildlife Extra:

New species of gecko lizard found at Indian World Heritage Site

A new type of gecko, a lizard found in warm climates, has been identified having been found in the ruins of Hampi, the World Heritage Site in Karnataka, India, reports The Hindu.

The lizard has been named Cnemaspis adii after Aditya Srinivasulu, a young herpetology researcher from Hyderabad who was involved in the discovery.

The animal belongs to the family of day geckos which are distinguished by the round pupils in their eyes which differ from the vertical pupils found in more common geckos.

Zoologists have identified the area around Hampi as having great potential for a rich biodiversity and more new species of smaller vertebrate and invertebrates.

“The discovery is significant because other species of day geckos have been, so far, reported only from the Western Ghats and southern Eastern Ghats in peninsular India,” says lead author Dr Chelmala Srinivasulu.

“This is the first time that day geckos have been found in the central regions of peninsular India between Eastern and Western Ghats.”

Dr Srinivasulu, along with G Chethan Kumar and Bhargavi Srinivasulu, all from the zoology wing of Osmania University in Hyderabad, published their findings in the journal Zootaxa.

This new day gecko species was first discovered by Dr Bhargavi Srinivasulu in 2012 while doing research on bats in the Hampi complex.

This latest team of zoologists studied photographs of live animals and researched on known species of day geckos reported from other parts of India. It is this work that has led to the current confirmation of the new species.

Amur falcon spring migration starts in South Africa

This video from India says about itself:

26 July 2014


From daily The Independent in South Africa:

When birds of a feather flock together

March 30 2015 at 05:30pm

By Tony Carnie

Most of us know that summer is coming to an end and winter will soon be upon us.

But what was the peculiar “telepathic” signal from nature that seems to have echoed through the bush of southern Africa last Thursday.

That’s the question bird watchers are asking after seeing thousands of tiny falcons beginning to flock together in preparation for a remarkable journey to the other side of the world.

Just after 7.20am on Thursday, Ian Macdonald of Kube Yini Private Game Reserve near Mkuze took careful note as a group of nine Amur Falcons took off from a power line and flew off towards the west. As they gained altitude they changed direction sharply to the north.

Later that same afternoon, hundreds of the species were noticed by Annette Gerber gathered on power lines along the eastern shores of Lake St Lucia. “There were so many of them that I stopped my car to watch. And then, whoosh… they suddenly took off as one – as if a switch had been flicked. The air was full of falcons flying northwards,” she said.

Gerber said a group of visitors from Cape Vidal stopped next to her and reported they had also seen a group of about 300 Amur falcons flying north.

What they were witnessing was the start of one of the longest migrations in the world by a raptor species – an amazing 15 000km journey from Africa to northern China and south-eastern Siberia.

David Allan, the curator of birds at the Durban Natural Science Museum, said there were quite a few bird species that gathered in large numbers, often quite vocally, before migration.

While the precise triggering mechanisms remained a mystery, Allan said there seemed to be a social element of group decision-making before migration.

“You don’t want to be the first to leave in case you get your timing wrong. So maybe they think it is better to ‘follow the herd’.”

Allan said one of the critical cues seemed to be the shorter hours of daylight as [southern hemisphere] winter approached, rather than a sudden change in temperature.

However, weather conditions were also likely to play a part as the birds would try to avoid flying into strong headwinds. After leaving South Africa, the falcons fly northwards along the east coast of Africa to Somalia. From there they turn sharply east to cross the ocean between Africa and India. On this stage they have to fly non-stop for two to three days without rest.

Allan said some researchers had suggested that their migration coincided with a similar migration by dragonflies – allowing the falcons to snatch a bit of “padkos” en route.

Allan said Belgian bird expert Marc Herrimans had studied red-backed shrikes in Botswana several years ago and noticed that more than 90% of these birds departed on one particular night, a remarkable observation as shrikes were not a social species.

While the journey from South Africa to China can take two to three weeks, with short feeding stops along the way, German bird researcher Prof Bernd Meyburg has also reported the case of a satellite-tagged Amur falcon female that flew non-stop from Somalia to Mongolia in five days.

Indian house sparrow wedding for bird conservation

This video from the USa is called House Sparrow Feeding Babys.

From the Times of India:

Chunmun the sparrow comes on a horse to wed Gauriya

Ishita Mishra, TNN | Mar 21, 2015, 10.25PM IST

Agra: Villages in India, away from the pamphlets and press conferences of NGO activism, have always done their bit for the environment — in their unique, rustic but effective ways.

Mohanpur village in Banda district of UP, for instance, organised a rather grand wedding for Chunmun and Gauriya, with people in thousands attending the merry event. Chunmun even rode a horse like a dulha. Just that because he is a sparrow someone had to hold him fast in the palm of the hand and put him atop the horse, and hold him fast to his seat.

Residents of Mohanpur, who are known in these dusty parts of UP‘s Bundelkhand for their love of both flora and fauna, say that in the union of Chunmun and Gauriya lies a larger message about the depleting number of sparrows and the need for their protection. The tiny birds, in fact, have almost disappeared from India’s cities.