Leatherback turtles, new study

This video says about itself:

Leatherback Turtles 21 May 2013

These two Leatherback Turtles were observed feeding on Moon Jellies approximately 8 nautical miles Southwest of Mexico Beach, FL. It was amazing how they allowed me to swim within 4 feet of them for about 9 minutes as they fed on Moon Jellies.

From The Robesonian in the USA today:

UNCP professor leads study to help protect leatherbacks

20 hours ago

A blockbuster scientific study that tracked ocean-going leatherback turtles may help save the endangered reptiles whose numbers have plummeted as commercial fishing continues to take a toll.

John Roe, a biology professor at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke and reptile expert, is the lead author of a satellite-tracking study that began more than two decades ago and included 15 scientists from leading universities and institutes. The study tracked 135 leatherback turtles as they trekked across the Pacific Ocean. It was released online on Jan. 8 by The Proceedings of the Royal Society B (Biological Sciences) of London and will be published in print form on Feb. 22.

The leatherback population has declined by 90 percent since 1980 due in large part to longline fishing vessels hauling them in as “bycatch.” Using GPS to track the travels of the world’s largest ocean-going turtle, it may be possible to untangle them from the multi-billion dollar fishing industry, Roe said.

“The high profile of this paper helps the turtles’ cause; it’s a huge industrial issue,” Roe said. “It’s an important study, and many conservation groups are behind it.”

The study represents “the largest compilation of satellite-derived position estimates with fisheries information to predict times and locations of bycatch risk for any species of marine vertebrate.” Roe analyzed huge volumes of data, which gives “strong evidence of predictable time and location of leatherback movements” all of which “make the problem of leatherback bycatch more manageable.”

Some of the participating scientists work for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service, which is responsible for the stewardship of the nation’s living marine resources and their habitat.

Leatherback turtles travel thousands of miles to and from nesting sites, and their movements are predictable,” Roe said. “They follow jellyfish, their sole food source, and fishermen follow similar patterns.”

It’s difficult to get data from the industry on leatherbacks hooked on longlines, but fishermen do not intentionally catch the large turtles, which can damage their equipment.

The study, which began in 1992 and ran through 2008, is a remarkable cooperative effort among many groups who tag turtles, according to Roe.

“Knowing that many people are putting satellite transmitters on turtles, we were able to collaborate with them to get a better picture of what’s going on in the ocean,” he said.

Universities represented in the ongoing research are UNCP, Indian-Purdue University at Fort Wayne, Cornell, Duke, Stanford, Maryland and Drexel. Institutes participating were NOAA and the Leatherback Turtle Conservation Trust. Funding came from the Lenfest Oceans Program of the Pew Charitable Trust, the tagging of Pacific Pelagics Program, Drexel’s Betz Endowment and the Schrey Endowment of Indiana-Purdue.

Several leading international turtle scientists were co-authors, including the study’s senior scientist James Spotila of Drexel, Stephen Morreale of Cornell, and Frank Paladino of Indiana-Purdue, who is Roe’s mentor.

“I was able to maintain a relationship with this group from my time as a post-doctoral fellow,” Roe said. “I pushed the study forward and crunched the numbers.”

As lead author, Roe is also the spokesman for the paper, and interest in the study has been high. Thus far, BBC News, Nature World and Science Daily have reported on it. Roe has done an interview with WHYY, Philadelphia public radio.

Roe said acquiring more data would narrow the field of collisions between turtles and fishing vessels. A related study of leatherbacks in the Atlantic will be published online in the coming months.

“Turtles and whales are in the spotlight globally,” Roe said. “There has been success in some areas like shrimping on the East Coast of the Atlantic where turtle excluder devices have been incorporated in nets. But leatherbacks are not coastal turtles and remain in deep water, which makes regulation more difficult.”

The study identified hot spots of conflict. In the eastern Pacific, leatherbacks are at the highest risk in the South Pacific Gyre, an enormous ocean eddy past the Galapagos Islands and south of the equator. In the western Pacific, the highest potential for bycatch is near nesting beaches of northwest New Guinea.

In Pembroke, Roe stays busy with his students tracking box turtles, a terrestrial species that is North Carolina’s state reptile. Roe, who joined UNCP’s faculty in 2010, earned his doctorate from the University of Canberra, Australia. He has studied turtles and snakes Down Under, across the Pacific and from Michigan to North Carolina.

“I expect to have some papers on box turtles ready for publication in a year, and I am looking at some turtles of conservation concern in the Lumber River,” he said. “There is no shortage of interesting reptiles.”

See also here.

The last large populations of the leatherback turtle are at risk because their migratory routes in the Atlantic Ocean clash with the locations of industrial fisheries, a new study shows: here.

The Definitive Ranking Of Animals Riding On Turtles: here.

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Support CIA Syria policy, get 15 years prison

This video says about itself:

5 Sep 2013

The Syrian village of Ma’loula in the mountains north of Damascus is a UNESCO world heritage site, it is one of the only villages in the world where ancient Aramaic is still spoken – that’s the language believed to have been spoken by Jesus Christ.

It has been overrun in an assault by al-Qaeda linked group Jabhat al-Nusra, who were fighting alongside opposition brigades from Baba Amr in Homs. A nun from a convent in Ma’loula has accused Jabhat al-Nusra of shelling the village and its inhabitants indiscriminately.

By Joseph Kishore in the USA:

North Carolina man charged with seeking to join US-backed Syrian opposition

14 November 2013

A man from the US state of North Carolina faces up to 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for allegedly seeking to join the Al Nusra Front (Janhat al-Nusra), an Al Qaeda-linked organization that has been promoted by the US and its allies throughout the Syrian civil war.

According to an indictment filed by a grand jury in North Carolina, Basit Javed Sheikh, who lived in the city of Carey and is originally from Pakistan, contacted an individual who turned out to be an agent of the FBI to seek assistance in traveling to Syria.

The involvement of FBI informants is a feature of nearly every terrorism-related prosecution filed by US officials. In this case, Sheikh allegedly made contact with the informant through an Islamist Facebook page in August, expressing an interest in traveling to Syria to support the forces fighting against the government of Bashar al-Assad.

According to a report in CBS News, “Sheikh told the covert informant in early September that he’d bought a one-way ticket to travel to Turkey in hopes of making contact with people who would get him to Syria.” He allegedly said he had travelled to Turkey last year for a similar purpose, but had become frustrated by his experience with individuals who claimed to be part of the Free Syrian Army, which has had the official backing of the US.

The plans for travel to Turkey were apparently cancelled. Sheikh was arrested earlier this month at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport before boarding a plane to Lebanon, a trip that the US government claims had the same aim as the Turkish trips.

If the accusations of US officials are true, Sheikh’s actions in seeking to join Al Nusra in fact entirely conform to the activities of the US government itself. At the time that he first allegedly made contact with the FBI informant, the war drive of the Obama administration against Syria was at its peak. Over the summer, the US government had been preparing to launch a direct military intervention against the Assad government, after having fueled and stoked a sectarian conflict, dominated by the Al Nusra Front, for two years.

Thanks in part to the military and financial assistance from US allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar, Al Qaeda-linked groups in Syria became the dominant forces in the civil war aimed at toppling Assad, a principal ally of Iran and Russia. These forces carried out repeated terrorist attacks, including the bombing of civilian institutions, the murder of prisoners of war, and the massacre of members of the Alawite minority.

A Reuters report on September 5—when Sheikh was allegedly in discussions with the FBI informant—noted that claims by Obama administration officials that the opposition in Syria was “moderate” were “at odds with estimates by US and European intelligence sources and nongovernmental experts, who say Islamic extremists remain by far the fiercest and best-organized rebel elements.”

Sheikh is at least the third individual arrested by US authorities for allegedly seeking to join the Al Nusra Front, which is formally designated as a terrorist organization. Earlier this year, Abdella Ahmad Tounisi, an 18-year-old from Chicago, was seized while leaving the US, allegedly to join up with Syrian forces. Similarly to the latest case, the arrest came after undercover FBI agents ensnared Tounisi in an Internet sting.

Last March, a US Army veteran, Eric Harroun, was arrested on charges related to his going to Syria and allegedly fighting alongside the Al Nusra Front.

In Harroun’s case, defense lawyers argued that there was confusion over what group he was to join, and that he had, in fact, intended to fight with the Free Syrian Army. Throughout the Syrian conflict, the FSA has worked closely with the Islamist organizations.

Initially, Harroun was charged with using a weapon of mass destruction outside of the United States—which carries a possible death sentence—and providing material support to a terrorist organization, which is punishable by 15 years in prison.

In the end, however, Harroun was allowed to plead to a lesser charge of conspiring to violate arms control laws and was released after being sentenced to time served.

During an initial hearing, Harroun’s lawyer, Geremy Kamens, had argued in his defense: “It is extremely unusual for the US to charge a person who is fighting in a manner that is aligned with US interests.”

While dozens of innocent people entrapped by undercover agents provocateurs have been sent to prison for decades on trumped up charges of conspiring to provide material support for terrorism, these cases involving Syria pose a dilemma. How can federal courts send people to prison for supporting Al Qaeda, when the US government is doing the very same thing?

Recently, Al Qaeda in Syria beheaded Mohammad Fares. They thought Mr Fares was an adherent of the Shiite tendency within Islam; enough “reason” to murder him so cruelly. However, then it turned out that Mohammad Fares was a Sunni Muslim, like themselves. Whoops-a-daisy! [sarcasm off; deep sadness on]

Human Rights Watch reports that insurgents executed civilians and prisoners during operations against the village of Sadad in Damascus Province from October 21 to 28: here.

Blood brothers. When Assad’s horrific prisons were the CIA’s dumping ground: here.

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Swedish wolves update

This video is about wolves.

Translated from Vroege Vogels radio in the Netherlands today:

Friday, February 8, 2013 10.10

The Swedish government had recently given permission to shoot 16 wolves. But after fierce protests by pro animal groups this was suspended. Unfortunately, the decision came too late for three wolves.

USA: February 2013. Yet another Red wolf has been shot dead, adding to the spate of Red wolf shootings at the end of 2012. The wolf was found with a suspected gunshot wound on January 18, 2013, north of the Town of Fairfield, in Tyrrell County, North Carolina: here.

Prehistoric wolf bone on Texel island: here.

Stop ‘fox penning’ in North Carolina, USA

This video from the USA is called The Real Fox-Coyote Enclosure. There are some unpleasant and graphic scenes in the video, please do not watch if you will be at all offended.

From Wildlife Extra:

Barbaric ‘fox penning’ still legal in North Carolina

Coyotes and foxes used to ‘train’ hunting dogs
December 2012. North Carolina, the state where 7 Critically Endangered Red wolves were ‘accidentally’ shot in the last few months of 2012 (Out of a total wild population of around 110), still allows a barbaric practice which has been banned elsewhere. Wild foxes and coyotes are trapped, captured, and then put into pens where hunting dogs are used to fight and kill them.

This practice, which is currently legal – but entirely inhumane – allows people to trap wild foxes and coyotes and place them in confined pens where hunting dogs are then “trained” to bay and kill them. Often the foxes and coyotes are mauled to death, sometimes after enduring several rounds of “hunts” and injuries.

Opponents of this barbaric practice claim that competitions are run in which the hunting dogs are scored on how quickly they can bay/kill the coyotes or foxes. It’s a cruel thing to do to any wild animal, and it is akin to dog fighting which is illegal in the US, because all of the animals involved are canids. While foxes have been long used for this practice, we are told that wild coyotes are also now trapped for use in fox pens because, being more resilient, they live longer than the foxes through the “hound training.”

Sign a petition

If you would like to help, please sign this petition calling for a ban on this practice in North Carolina. Click here.

US Baptist preacher wants gays in concentration camps

This video from the USA is called Pastor Says Kill Gays & Lesbians in Electrified Pen.

By Justin “Filthy Liberal Scum” Rosario in the USA:

Homosexual Final Solution: Pastor Wants Homosexuals Put Into Concentration Camps (VIDEO)

May 21, 2012

If hate had a voice and a face, it might just look and sound like Charles L. Worley of Providence Road Baptist Church. Located in Maiden, North Carolina, Worley, who I will not refer to as “Pastor” because he is unworthy of that title, gave a sermon in which he railed against President Obama’s “coming out” in favor of same-sex marriage. The anger and loathing was palpable:

“I ain’t gonna vote for a baby killer and a homosexual lover! You said “did you mean to say that?” You better believe I did! God have mercy! It makes me pukin’ sick to think about…I don’t even whether to say this in the pulpit or not…can you imagine kissing some man?”

But the worst part was a minute earlier when Worley unveiled his master plan to rid the world of The Gay:

“Build a great, big, large fence…150 or 100 mile long…put all the lesbians in there, fly over and drop some food. Do the same thing for the queers and the homosexuals (Is there some difference I’m unaware of? – FLS) and have that fence electrified so they can’t get out… feed’em and you know what? In a few years, they’ll die out… do you know why? They can’t reproduce!”

Sound familiar? It should. The Nazis had the same idea for the Jews. They called it The Final Solution. Round up all the “undesirables” which were predominantly Jews but also included homosexuals, Negroes and Gypsies (among others) and put them into camps with fences. Then starve them, then just kill them. Does that sound like I’m exaggerating Worley’s hate? May I remind you that the Nazis did not start off with genocide? It was a gradual escalation of atrocity. First it was deportation, then isolation in ghettos, then concentration camps and then mass murder.

North Carolina’s GOP Wants to Protect You From Discrimination–Except if You’re Gay: here.