Saving seabirds in Namibia


This video says about itself:

Tenth Anniversary: BirdLife’s Albatross Task Force

8 June 2016

The Albatross Task Force (ATF) is a joint sea conservation action between the RSPB and BirdLife International to reduce albatross deaths on fishing longlines. Here is an update on the work of the ATF after 10 years collaborating with fisheries to save the albatross.

From BirdLife:

The man saving 30.000 seabirds

By Shaun Hurrell, 15 Nov 2016

Clemens NaomabWith his dreadlocks and smile, Clemens is the kind of charming guy you instantly get on with. A real ‘high-seas hero’ who coordinates the ATF in Namibia, where his work has led to the government recently passing regulations to stop seabird bycatch. Spending weeks at sea, he has spent the last year befriending and convincing fishermen to help save seabirds, and seems to have charmed a bird as well…

Tell us about the situation in Namibia.

Namibia was a very destructive fishery in terms of bycatch, with 30,000 seabirds a year killed. It’s really sad to see a drowned bird, especially the big ones because you know their long life cycle, that they might have chicks waiting for them on nests, and that it can be avoided by simple measures. It got a lot of attention of the ‘people upstairs’, if I can say it that way. The regulations have now been implemented so we’re hoping to reduce the numbers by 85-90%. Now when I go out on a trip on a longline vessel where they’ve taken up the measures I actually have no dead birds to record.

So some fishing vessels adopted the measures before the regulations were in place?

Yes, the Hake Association opted to do it voluntarily. It was at a time we were doing a lot of workshops, a lot of port visits and outreach in between fishermen docking and being very busy – we were quite annoying! [laughs] And we started going on the vessels and showing the fishermen and fishing managers how to use the bird scaring lines, how easy and cheap it is and that the measures aren’t going to interfere with their daily fishing practices. That’s when they said “Okay, come on, we’re going to do this.” It was a quite an achievement.

What do you do out on the fishing boats?

We go with the crew, we monitor, which includes recording bycatch data, up to 12 days at a time. They are always curious [laughs] when they see us sitting on top of the gantry counting birds, they ask: “There are so many behind the boat why do we need to protect them?” So I explain to them the situation, the life cycles of the birds, breeding, and they are amazed the albatrosses live for 60 years. I haven’t had a bad experience, they want to save the birds when they understand. On the vessels, I think the best way to build a relationship is when you don’t just talk about the work that you’re doing, but when you ask and try to understand their point of view. You tell them a story, they tell you a story and then later you just become friends, and that friendship brings the trust. You bump into them at a bar, we talk about English football quite a lot – they’re impressed I went to England so now I have stories to tell them!

Albatrosses

What’s your most memorable story?

One of the funniest things that happened to me was when I was on the front of the vessel and the fishermen called me over to see some dolphins they’d spotted. I was just turning around when a Skua landed on my head! I thought it was going to poke my eye or something so I moved away and it flew, and then came straight back and landed on my head again! I guess it’s my hair… The captain was in tears laughing. They called me ‘Bird Man’ after that.

How was your first trip?

So, I go out on the vessel in the evening and the guys ask me if I get sick and I tell them “I don’t know, I think I’m fine with it…” When they started serving dinner, they fed me a lot of food because they knew what was coming… I held it for a good two hours but then was sick for two days straight. They laughed saying “How is the sea life?!” but they treated me well, coming to motivate me, give me water.

So you’re a seabird conservation instructor who gets seasick…?

It’s worth it. You forget about the days of seasickness. If someone tells you you’ve saved 30,000 birds, that is “wow” [laughs] – it’s quite an achievement. But I would also congratulate the Namibian government and the chief of fisheries for taking this issue so seriously and pushing the regulations. And sometimes the fishermen are really interested in the birds too, helping me take pictures and calling me up saying “Is this the Yellow-nosed Albatross”? (They were right).

The Albatross Task Force is an initiative led by the RSPB for the BirdLife International Partnership and is a major part of the BirdLife International Global Marine Programme. The initiative involves work on the ground in eight countries including Argentina (hosted by Aves Argentinas), Brazil (Projeto Albatroz), Chile (CODEFF), Ecuador until 2013 (Aves y Conservación), Namibia (Namibia Nature Foundation), Peru (ProDelphinus), South Africa (BirdLife South Africa) and Uruguay (Proyecto Albatros y Petreles de Uruguay).

Dutch Ameland Sandwich terns now in Namibia


This video is called Sandwich Terns Love Dance.

Warden Robert Pater on Ameland island in the Netherlands reports today about Sandwich terns, ringed on Ameland.

On 20 December 2015, tern Red A06 was recognized near Swakopmund in Namibia.

The next day, tern Red A62 was near Walvis Bay in Namibia. Both birds had been ringed on Ameland on 21 June 2014, at the Feugelpôlle nesting colony.

Other Ameland Sandwich terns were in France and Spain.

British rugby players against wildlife crime


This video says about itself:

Catherine Spencer needs you. Are you ready to Endure?

5 September 2015

Catherine Spencer, former England women’s rugby captain turned adventurer & entrepreneur is embarking on the Endure 6 Skeleton Coast Expedition in November 2015. She will be leading ‘Team Snow Leopard‘ on a 150km trek across the Namib Desert to the Skeleton Coast to raise awareness and stop the illegal trade of wild animals in support of The Endure Foundation.

Catherine is looking for adventurers to join her team, if you’re interested in finding out more please visit here.

From Wildlife Extra:

Rugby aces Ollie Phillips and Catherine Spencer to take on desert challenge to raise awareness of the illegal wildlife trade

Rugby stars Ollie Phillips (former England 7’s Rugby Captain) and Catherine Spencer (former Women’s England Rugby Captain) are taking on the Endure 6 Skeleton Coast Expedition this November to raise awareness and help stop the illegal trade of wild animals.

The expedition is a 150km unsupported trek from the hinterland across the Namib Desert finishing ten days later at the Skeleton Coast in support of The Endure Foundation and its six charity partners. One of those charity partners is the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, who fund a range of innovative, vital and far reaching projects throughout Africa and Asia to achieve real results for endangered wildlife.

Ollie will be leading ‘Team Elephant’ and Catherine will lead ‘Team Snow Leopard’ and the expedition will be filmed and follow the teams on their journey to form a documentary to raise awareness and help stop the illegal trade of wild animals in partnership with DSWF.

Both Ollie and Catherine are looking for motivated team members to join them on this arduous expedition. They will be involved in the planning of the expedition and will face everything from searing heat and sand storms to wild animals and coastal fog.

Ollie Phillips said “I’m thrilled to be leading a team on this expedition. The desert is a completely new terrain for myself and Catherine. We’re looking for people from all walks of life to join our teams to raise awareness for some of the world’s most endangered animals.”

DSWF CEO, Sally Case added: “It is incredible that anything survives in the harsh conditions of much of Namibia’s terrain. That a species like the rhino has evolved and adapted to survive in desert conditions is testament to a species determined to survive. With the teams drawing inspiration from the indomitable spirit of the Namibian black rhino we are sure that this will be the challenge of a lifetime.”

Mammoth ancestor discovery in Namibia


Moeritherium

This picture, like the others in this blog post, is by German artist Heinrich Harder (1858-1935). It depicts Moeritherium, one of the earliest species, ancestral to present day elephants.

Palaeomastodon

This picture shows Palaeomastodon, which lived later than Moeritherium: about 36 million years ago.

Deinotherium

Still later came Deinotherium, looking more like present day elephants; though its tusks pointed downwards.

Before elephant evolution led to the woolly mammoths of about 100,000 years ago, ancestors of these mammoths lived in Africa. They were Mammuthus subplanifrons. Ever since the 1920s, only a few small fossils of this species had been found.

Recently, Dutch paleontologist Dick Mol found an almost complete skeleton of such a fossil ancestor, 3-4 million years old, in Etosha national park in Namibia. Later, Mr Mol says, mammoths left Africa for Eurasia; and humans went along with them.

This video is called Hunting for Woolly Mammoths Documentary.

Yesterday, in Amsterdam, the exhibition Giants of the Ice Age, on mammoths and similar animals, started.

Giraffes helped by photographers


This video is called Niger‘s Endangered White Giraffes (Full Documentary).

From Wildlife Extra:

Citizen science project launched to help the world’s giraffes

The Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) with the support of the Polytechnic of Namibia has launched a project to develop an online citizen science platform for giraffes.

GiraffeSpotter.org is an easy to use web-based application that allows people to upload their photos of giraffes they have seen, together with the location where the image was taken and any other valuable information they can supply to help in conservation efforts, such as herd size, sex and age class of the giraffe.

With the help of GiraffeSpotter.org, GCF will be able to improve its understanding of giraffe ranges, distribution, numbers and ultimately the various species of giraffes’ conservation status across Africa.

At the same time, the charity hopes that the project will also engage people and raise awareness of the plight of giraffes in the wild.

15 years ago there were 140,000 giraffes in Africa. Today there are 80,000: here.