Philippine eagle documentary


This 10 June 2020 video says about itself:

QUEEN OF BIRDS | Documentary Film | The Great Philippine Eagle

The great Philippine eagle seems more like a creature from a story than that of reality. Standing at a metre tall, with a 7ft wingspan and dagger-like talons, they are truly formidable animals, but with just 400 pairs left in the wild, are the most endangered raptors in the world.

In December 2019, a young female Philippine eagle was miraculously rescued from the ocean off the south coast of Mindanao. The bird was starving, exhausted and after changing hands several times, was taken to the Philippine Eagle Foundation for rehabilitation. She was named ‘Maasim’.

On news of Maasim’s story, biologist, Dan O’Neill, heads to the Philippines to follow her journey back to the wild. But after a major setback, the mission is turned upside down…

How shipworms can help human health


This 2018 video says about itself:

Giant Shipworm | World’s Weirdest Animals

Creeping and crawling below the earth’s surface is a worm you’ll have to see to believe, on this episode of world’s weirdest animals we bring you the shipworm.

-found in the Philippines
-lives in a long hard shell
-it’s long slimy like a worm but 3 feet long
-have been documented since the 18th century
-only recently have scientists have had access to living forms of the creature
-they belong to the mollusks family such as scallops, mussels and oysters
-they shell they inhabit is made of calcium carbonate
-they can be found in shallow lagoons immersed in mud, they are basically the geoduck of the Philippines
-they burrow in rotting pieces of wood and feed on bacteria in the mud, these creatures essentially hang upside down with a siphon protruding out of the mud and their mouth at the bottom of the tube
-the y-shaped siphon is used for taking in and expelling water
-the surrounding mud emits hydrogen sulfide which is used by the gills of the shipworm to produce carbon which they feed off
-simplified they convert chemicals from rotting wood into fuel which is similar with plants and sunlight.
-the hydrogen sulfide-rich mud also reeks of rotten eggs which apparently means mealtime for the shipworm.
-the shells of shipworms have been found for some time as they are very sturdy but only recently have scientists found the live shipworm itself
-the worms were once common all over the world but their numbers have declined
-to make things worse for the shipworm their shells are quite valuable to collectors
-prior to this shipworm finding, the best information scientists had was from drawings of a poorly preserved 1960s specimen that was dead
-when scientists opened the shell they said it was a lot like opening an egg and were shocked by how black the shipworm is and how beefy they are

From Washington State University in the USA:

Compound in the gills of clams may fight common infections

June 11, 2020

A compound discovered in the gills of wood-eating clams could be the solution to a group of parasites responsible for some of the world’s most common infections.

That compound is tartrolon E, a byproduct of bacteria that help shipworms, a group of saltwater clams, digest the wood they eat.

According to research recently published in PLOS Pathogens, the compound, unlike any other, is proven to kill causal parasites for malaria, toxoplasmosis, cryptosporidiosis, theileriosis and babesiosis.

“There are compounds that work against the individual parasites, but to find one that works against this entire group, that is what made this unique,” said Roberta O’Connor, an associate professor in Washington State University’s Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology unit, and first author on the paper.

While there are already effective drugs for many of the parasites mentioned here, O’Connor said this group of parasites, called apicomplexans, readily develops drug resistance.

“Development of new, effective drugs against apicomplexan parasites is an ongoing need for human and veterinary medicine,” she said.

One of those parasites in need of a more effective remedy is Cryptosporidium.

Cryptosporidium, a waterborne zoonotic parasite, is a major cause of diarrhea in children, immunocompromised patients, and in newborn animals worldwide. The parasite infects millions of humans and agricultural animals annually.

In addition to killing this class of parasites in vitro, tartrolon E was able to kill Cryptosporidium in newborn mice.

Beginning this summer, WSU researchers will test the compound against Cryptosporidium in lambs.

Currently, nitazoxanide is the only drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat cryptosporidiosis.

“Nitazoxanide doesn’t work well for those [patients] who are immunocompromised or malnourished and those are the people most vulnerable to Cryptosporidium,” O’Connor said.

O’Connor is the principal investigator on the study which will characterize the specific effects of tartrolon E on Cryptosporidium parasites. Villarino will lead the pharmacokinetics portion of the study in immunocompromised mice to further assess tartrolon E’s effectiveness and optimal dose regimens.

The research is made possible by a recently awarded 5-year, $1.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.

“We will define how the drug behaves in the body and how much of the drug is needed to control Cryptosporidiuminfection,” Villarino said. “We want the maximum effect with minimal adverse effects.”

This aspect of the research on the compound is a key component for drug development.

“This could have a significant impact on human and veterinary medicine because there is no other drug that can effectively treat this condition,” Villarino said.

O’Connor and Villarino are hopeful tartrolon E will lead to a clinically developed drug but they know it is a long way to get there.

“Tartrolon E is obviously hitting some system that is common to [all] these parasites,” O’Connor said. “Even if this compound isn’t successful, if we can determine the mechanism, we will have identified a common drug target for all these parasites.”

Saving a coral reef in the Philippines


This 29 May 2020 video says about itself:

Grandpa’s Reef – 360 | National Geographic

Travel with us to the Philippines, where a young girl takes up her grandfather’s lifelong pursuit of protecting an endangered coral reef. Inspired by true stories, this virtual reality experience will take you diving on some of the world’s most beautiful reefs. For a better viewing experience, watch in a VR headset using the YouTube app.

Saving Philippine hawksbill turtles


This 1 April 2020 video says about itself:

Saving Sea Turtles: Philippine community protects hawksbill sea turtle eggs

Hawksbill sea turtles are a critically endangered species of sea turtle. And in the coastal village of Candiis in the Philippines, communities are hard at work trying to protect their nesting grounds — even though they don’t have much resources themselves. Members of the community patrol the nest sites and build fences to protect the eggs from stray dogs.

But sea turtle conservation is becoming a bigger challenge. Construction and rising sea levels are wiping away nesting grounds. Still, the community in Candiis is determined to protect what little nesting grounds remain.

Read more here.

Big Oil guilty in Philippines climate disasters


This 9 December 2019 video says about itself:

Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron & BP Could Be Legally & Morally Liable for Climate Crisis in Philippines

The Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines has just determined that 47 major companies, including Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP and Total, could be found legally and morally liable for human rights harms to Filipinos resulting from climate change. The commission found the companies could be held accountable under civil and criminal laws. Climate activists have hailed the decision as a landmark victory for climate justice. According to Greenpeace, this marks the first time big polluting companies have been found responsible for human rights harms resulting from the climate crisis. We speak to Yeb Saño, executive director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia and the former chief climate negotiator for the Philippines.

IT MAY BE EASIER TO SUE OVER CLIMATE CHANGE Over the last three years, the Philippines Commission on Human Rights has been gathering evidence on whether huge oil, coal, gas and mining companies — such as Shell, Chevron and Exxon — can be held liable for the human suffering caused by climate change. [HuffPost]

Israelis against governmental xenophobic deportation


This 30 July 2019 video says about itself:

Filipino mothers and children fight Israel deportation

Tel Aviv, July 30 (EFE).- The will to protect their children overcame the fear felt by Ivy and Romela, two Filipino women who have lived in Israel for almost 15 years and who told EFE that they are living through a new round of deportations.

From the World Socialist Web Site, 9 August 2019:

Israeli rally to oppose deportation of Israeli-born children of foreign workers

Around 2,000 Israeli protesters rallied outside the Tel Aviv Museum of Art on Tuesday. They were protesting the Interior Ministry’s plans to deport around 50 children born to foreign workers while they were in the country.

Currently, around 60,000 mainly female foreign workers are employed as caregivers. Around half of them are from the Philippines. Under Israeli regulations, foreign mothers must send their newborn babies home, or their visas will not be renewed.

Tweezer-beaked hopping rats discovery in Philippines


Celaenomys silaceus (top) and Rhynchomys soricoides, two species related to the two newly discovered species

From the University of Utah in the USA:

Two new species of ‘tweezer-beaked hopping rats‘ discovered in Philippines

Elusive rodents finally found when scientists switched out peanut butter bait for earthworms

June 6, 2019

Summary: A highly distinctive (weird-looking) group of rodents sometimes called ‘tweezer-beaked hopping rats’ love earthworms. Armed with this knowledge (and worms), the scientists discovered two new species of the tweezer-beaked hopping rats.

Just about everybody loves peanut butter. We put it on sandwiches and in candy, we use it to trick our dogs into taking their heartworm pills, and, when we have to, we bait mouse traps with it. But, as scientists learned when trapping rodents in the mountains of the Philippines, peanut butter isn’t for everyone. A highly distinctive (weird-looking) group of rodents sometimes called “tweezer-beaked hopping rats” don’t care for peanut butter, but love earthworms. Armed with this knowledge (and worms), the scientists discovered two new species of the tweezer-beaked hopping rats. The discovery was announced in the Journal of Mammalogy.

“In the late 1980s we were doing standard mammalogy surveys and using standard baits that most rodents really like: a combination of peanut butter and slices of fried coconut. It was really attractive bait, it makes your mouth water,” says lead author Eric Rickart, a curator of the Natural History Museum of Utah at the University of Utah. The researchers knew that some of these critters had been found in the area before, but the rats weren’t biting. One finally stumbled into a live trap, but it still didn’t touch the peanut butter bait. The team tried to figure out what it did eat; when they offered it an earthworm, the rat, in Rickart’s words, “slurped it up like a kid eating spaghetti.”

“Once we began baiting the traps with live, wriggling earthworms, we discovered that these little animals are common and widespread,” says Larry Heaney, a curator at the Field Museum and a co-author of the study. The field team, led by the late Danny Balete of the Field Museum, began finding more species that specialize in eating earthworms, including the two new species described in their recent paper.

The new species are named Rhynchomys labo and Rhynchomys mingan. The genus name, Rhynchomys, comes from the ancient Greek rhyncos for snout and mys for “mouse”, a reference to the tweezer-beaked hopping rats’ long pointed noses. The species names are for the mountains the rats are found on, Mount Labo and Mount Mingan.

“They’re quite bizarre”, says Rickart. “They hop around on their sturdy hind legs and large hind feet, almost like little kangaroos. They have long, delicate snouts, and almost no chewing teeth.”

“They’re very docile, very cute”, adds Heaney. “Their fur is short and very, very dense, like a plush toy. They make little runways through the forest and patrol these little trails, day and night, looking for earthworms.”

The two new rodents are examples of the generally poorly-known, incredible biodiversity of the Philippines, which boasts more unique species of mammals per square mile than anywhere else on Earth. “Up until the late ’90s, we all thought maximum mammalian diversity was in the lowland tropical rainforest” explains Heaney. But Heaney, Rickart, and their colleagues found that mountains like those on the Philippines were the perfect breeding ground for new species of mammals. The different habitats at different elevations on a mountain can lead to different adaptations by its mammal residents, and their diversity actually increases as you go up higher into the mountains. Furthermore, the mammals on one mountain are isolated from their relatives on other mountains. Generations of isolation eventually lead to new species forming on different mountains, the same way that unique species emerge on islands. “Just about every time we’ve gone to a new area of Luzon with mountains, we’ve discovered that there are unique species,” says Rickart.

But the Philippines’ biodiversity is under threat. The islands are among the most extensively deforested places on Earth, with only about 6% of the original old growth tropical forest remaining. That’s a big problem for the watershed. High mountains in the Philippines receive between 10 and 20 feet of rain every year, leaving steep slopes vulnerable to typhoons. The mulch-carpeted mossy forests in the mountains help to soak up that rain “like a giant sponge,” says Heaney. “If you don’t have an intact watershed and forest up in the mountains, you’re going to have massive floods and landslides, because the water floods off instead of getting absorbed into mossy ground cover.”

The researchers hope that the discovery of the two new species of tweezer-beaked hopping rats will serve as an argument for protecting the mountainous forests where they’re found. “Every time we find a reason to say, ‘This place is unique,’ that tells people that it’s worthy of protection,” says co-author Phillip Alviola of the University of the Philippines.

All of the work on this project was conducted with permits and strong support of the Philippine Department of Natural Resources. The study was contributed to by authors from the University of Utah/Utah Natural History Museum, the Field Museum, the University of Kansas, the University of the Philippines, and Louisiana State University.

Endangered young Philippine eagle growing up, video


This February 2019 video says about itself:

Watch an Endangered Philippine Eagle Chick Grow Up in Rare Video | Nat Geo Wild

Rare footage of a Philippine eagle family shows parents intensively caring for a single eaglet, and the fledgling learning to fly, over the course of five months.