The beavers of River Otter in Devon are allowed to stay if they are disease free, Natural England has announced. The beavers were first spotted in February 2014 and it is unknown how they got there: here.
During World War I, millions of civilians died; though the percentage of civilians in total human deaths then was lower then it would become in later wars.
Millions of soldiers died; most of them conscripts, not volunteers.
And many millions of animals died; not one of them a volunteer. Marianne Lubrecht, exhibition organiser of the natural history museum in Maastricht, interviewed this morning on Dutch radio, estimated that ten million horses alone were killed in the war.
She told about an exhibition right now in her museum about the role of animals during the first world war. The military massively used animals. They tried to limit deaths a bit by providing some dogs (see photo at the top of this blog post) and horses with gas masks. However, that did not help much.
Other animals had not been enlisted by the military, but still played a role in the war. In and near the trenches, dead soldiers were often not buried; or, if they had been buried, incoming artillery grenades brought the dead bodies back to the surface. This attracted many rats feeding on the dead soldiers.
The Maastricht museum exhibition organiser also told about the role of wolves on the eastern front. There, wolves fed on dead soldiers, and sometimes attacked wounded soldiers. The enemy armies of the German and Russian empires decided to stop shooting at one another for one day; and to kill wolves instead. So, the Christmas truce of 2014 of Allied and German soldiers stopping to kill each other at least for Christmas was not the only ceasefire during World War I. Though the eastern front one was not because of peaceful motives, and decided by the top brass, not by the rank and file.
The exhibition attracts many visitors. Ms Lubrecht said she was trying to extend it beyond its originally planned final day of 4 January 2015; if museums from Belgium and elsewhere which had loaned items to Maastricht would agree with that.
This is a picture of the fossil crab species Distefania vanrijsselti; discovered near Maastricht in the Netherlands; from the Cretaceous, when dinosaurs ruled the earth. It was not a big crab; the yardstick at the bottom of the picture is one centimeter.
Translated from Vroege Vogels radio in the Netherlands, 5 October 2014:
During many hundreds of Saturdays amateur paleontologist Willy Rijsselt, along with his son Erik could be found in the quarry ‘t Rooth, near Maastricht. He managed to secure an unprecedented amount of fossils for his own collection, but also for science. By way of tribute, there is now a 67 million year old crab named after him: the Distefania vanrijsselti.
Translated from the Dutch RAVON herpetologists:
Wednesday, September 17th, 2014
During the renovation of a railway line in Maastricht in 2008 the wall lizard was taken into account. For those lizards, very rare in the Netherlands then there more than 20 drystone walls were built. Since then, the population is closely monitored annually by RAVON. This monitoring showed until recently that there was a slow recovery. However, the reproductive success was lower than people hoped. But the counts of this late summer bring good news. This year, more newborn wall lizards are crawling around than ever before!
Protecting vulnerable populations
The wall lizard lives in the Netherlands originally only in Maastricht. Here live a few hundred to under a thousand animals. That may seem like a lot, but on the northern edge of its range, in an isolated habitat this species in our country is very vulnerable.
This video is called How the sawfish uses its saw.
Translated from Dutch news agency ANP:
Fossil sawfish snout, a unique discovery
Thursday, December 19, 2013 11:11
In the marl quarry of ENCI in Maastricht the fossil snout, called a rostrum, of a sawfish has been found. To our knowledge this is the first discovery in the world of the rostrum of the species Ganopristis leptodon, Brabants Dagblad daily reports.
The fish lived 66 million years ago.
See also here.
- Take a Trip Back in Time This Holiday Season! (nationalaquarium.wordpress.com)
- Treasure Coast anglers encounter rare sawfish (tcpalm.com)
- ScienceShot: Sawfish Going Extinct (news.sciencemag.org)
- Canadian scientists discover new carnivorous dinosaur species Acheroraptor Temertyorum that lived about 66 million years ago (news.nationalpost.com)
- Sawfish Granted Endangered Species Protection (nationalaquarium.wordpress.com)
This is a smooth snake video.
Compared to other Dutch provinces, there are amphibian species in Limburg which lack elsewhere. On the Sint Pietersberg are also wall lizards not found elsewhere in the Netherlands; and slow worms, which do occur elsewhere. However, there are not as many snakes as in other provinces. Only in the extreme east of Limburg there are a few smooth snakes and grass snakes. To which we can now add the Maastricht smooth snakes, which reproduce.
In three years the largest limestone quarry in the Netherlands, operated by the ENCI cement plant near Maastricht, will be closed. Large area of Mount St. Peter is already being transformed into an area for nature, biodiversity, ecosystem services and other public benefits. Can we expect red-backed shrikes to appear in the area, as an indicator of a functioning ecosystem? Here.
- Portuguese, Polish workers exploited in the Netherlands (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- Newly discovered Neanderthal tools and animal bones from the Netherlands (globalpalaeonews.wordpress.com)
- Dutch pintail duck news (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- Dutch dragonfly and butterfly news (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- New Dutch beetle species discovery (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- Sint Maarten – What? (daniyahblog.wordpress.com)
- No Snakes In Hawaii, Except For The 2 Found Since September (huffingtonpost.com)
This video says about itself:
In Italy, hundreds of African migrant workers are working in terrible conditions for less than $40 a day.
Charlie Angela reports from Campania where activists are pushing for better wages and conditions.
Labour conditions in the Netherlands are usually not as bad as in southern Italy. Or as bad as in Qatar where thousands of immigrant workers are dying. Still, there are moves in the wrong direction and at least some similarities.
Translated from daily Limburgs Dagblad/De Limburger in the Netherlands, 5 October 2013:
Socialist Party demands end to exploitation of tunnel builders
The provincial, local and nationwide Socialist Party elected representatives and the local Maastricht People’s Party demand that national, provincial and local authorities take action as soon as possible against the exploitation of foreign workers in the A2 tunnel project.
Maastricht, from our reporters
The parties write this in letters to Limburg province and the city of Maastricht. Paul Ulenbelt of the SP in the national parliament has also announced that he will bring the matter to the attention of the Minister this weekend. The subject is also on the agenda of the City Management Committee for Environment and Mobility of Maastricht. That committee will meet next Monday.
The parties are responding to publications in daily De Limburger / Limburgs Dagblad showing that dozens of Portuguese and Polish tunnel builders are exploited. From the gross salary of the Portuguese and Poles working in Maastricht each month 968.75 euros net are retained for services which their employer Atlanco corporation supplies through an intermediate company. That’s about half of their gross salary. For that money they live, three men per dwelling, in houses marked for demolition in Maastricht. Twice a year, Atlanco gives them a ticket home worth a few hundred euro. According to Atlanco, they also pay transport costs to and from work. However, the tunnel is located in the backyard of the houses destined for demolition in the Mayor Bauduin Street.
The provincial SP demands in an angry letter immediate intervention by the province. Group Chairman Daan Prevoo argues that the case should be investigated and that measures should be taken to prevent exploitation. The local SP group has also voiced strong criticism of responsible alderman Albert Nuss (PvdA party): “The SP wonders how it is possible that Alderman Nuss can look so complacently while public relations spin doctors talk about how beautiful the A2 project is, while such practices occur. The cover-up behaviour of alderman Nuss who refuses to speak to journalists, raises serious suspicion that he does know.” The Maastricht People’s Party writes to the Maastricht city authorities that they assume “that you are going to work as soon as possible to stop these abuses and exploitation.”
Construction firms accused of exploiting foreign staff on tunnel project: here.
- [travel] Maastricht: first impression (lacrymamosa.wordpress.com)
- New Dutch spider discovery (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- [travel] My last day in Maastricht (lacrymamosa.wordpress.com)
- Castles in the Netherlands 6 – Kasteel Hoensbroek (speterphotoblog.wordpress.com)
- Good Dutch smooth snake news (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- Maastricht, Netherlands (gensdailleurs.com)