Stop damaging marmoset monkeys’ brains, campaigners say


This video from South Africa is called International Primate Rescue (1 of 4): Playing with Marmosets.

By Joana Ramiro in Britain:

Halt ‘disturbing’ medical tests on monkeys, campaigners urge

Monday 7th April 2014

Cure Parkinson’s Trust sponsors experiments pumping primate brains full of harmful drugs

Animal welfare activists have begged a British charity to stop “profoundly disturbing” experiments on monkeys’ brains for medical research into Parkinson’s disease.

Campaign organisation Animal Aid issued a statement today denouncing the Cure Parkinson’s Trust for sponsoring Canadian scientists to inject monkeys with brain-damaging drugs.

“The vast majority of the British public do not want their money being used to fund profoundly disturbing experiments on animals,” said Animal Aid director Andrew Tyler.

In papers published in the Journal of Neuroscience and Public Library of Science ONE between 2011 and 2012, the testing was described as injecting marmoset monkeys with the chemical MPTP, which mimics Parkinson’s by killing brain cells.

The animals were then given differing doses of L-Dopa — a Parkinson’s treatment drug — to monitor its side effects.

Cure Parkinson’s Trust was named in the media as a supporter of the tests.

“We are calling on charities like the Cure Parkinson’s Trust to focus solely on productive non-animal research,” added Mr Tyler.

Animal Aid argues that the recurrent use of the same animals was equally disgraceful, given that — according to the Home Office’s measurement of animal tests — the suffering induced to the marmoset monkeys was “severe.”

Mr Tyler claimed that the British public’s money was ultimately being used to torture the animals.

In Britain, as in Europe, it is illegal to re-use animals for experiments on the “severe” threshold of pain, distress or lasting harm.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Shark beaches alive on Vlieland island


This video from South Africa says about itself:

Dylan Irion, Swimming Behaviour of the Common Smoothhound Based on Accelerometer Data

A thorough understanding of the behaviour and habitat use of sharks is critical for improving our understanding of the movement ecology and thus the effective conservation of these threatened species. Direct observation of sharks is often difficult to accomplish in the marine environment where access to free-swimming individuals can be restricted by numerous factors.

The miniaturisation and reduced costs of producing sensors for bio-logging has provided several solutions to overcome this obstacle. The accelerometer is a sensor that functions by recording changes in acceleration due to the dynamic motion of a body, and the static acceleration caused by gravity.

In this study I demonstrate the potential for utilising tri-axial accelerometry as a method for characterising the movement of sharks. By attaching accelerometers to captive common smoothhound sharks (Mustelus mustelus) and comparing the accelerometer record to visual observations of their behaviour, I was able to detect tail beat frequency, tail beat amplitude, and body posture.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Shark strands alive on Vlieland

Update: Monday 24 Feb 2014, 13:48

On Vlieland, a living shark, more than a meter in size, has beached. Never before such a large shark had washed up [alive] on the Dutch coast. It is a starry smooth-hound shark normally only found in warmer seas.

Hikers found the exhausted shark yesterday on the beach. The fish is injured on its muzzle. It was put back into the sea, but kept beaching again and again. That’s why people brought it to the aquarium in the nature center De Noordwester on Vlieland.

The starry smooth-hound shark is not dangerous to humans. It has no teeth and only eats crustaceans such as shrimps.

According to Dutch daily Algemeen Dagblad, the shark shows signs of recovery.

See also here.

Sharks beaches on Vlieland: here.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Stop Ugandan anti-LGBTQ bill, Archbishop Tutu says


This video from South Africa says about itself:

Archbishop Desmond Tutu pays homage to Madiba

10 dec. 2013

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has been praised for calling into order the crowd at the memorial service for former president Nelson Mandela at FNB Stadium, in Soweto.

From Associated Press:

Tutu Urges Uganda‘s Museveni Against Anti-Gay Bill

JOHANNESBURG February 23, 2014

South Africa’s retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu urges Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni not to sign into law the harsh Anti-Homosexuality Bill that would give up to a life sentence in jail for some same-sex relations.

Tutu, a Nobel peace prize winner, said in a statement Sunday that Museveni a month ago had pledged not to allow the anti-gay legislation to become law in Uganda. But last week Museveni said he had reconsidered and would consult scientists on whether homosexuality is determined by genetics or by a person’s choice.

Tutu said he is “disheartened” by Museveni’s change because there is “no scientific basis or genetic rationale for love … There is no scientific justification for prejudice and discrimination, ever.”

Tutu urged Museveni to strengthen Uganda’s “culture of human rights and justice.”

Museveni Still the West’s Man? Here.

Enhanced by Zemanta

African snake identification


This video from South Africa says about itself:

7 Feb 2014

In this video, a live puff adder is used to show which physical features to look out for when learning how to identify a puff adder.

See also here.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Barn swallows swallowed by tigerfish


This video from South Africa says about itself:

9 Jan 2014

The waters of the African lake seem calm and peaceful. A few migrant swallows flit near the surface. Suddenly, leaping from the water, a fish grabs one of the famously speedy birds straight out of the air! This swallow-swallowing behaviour, long talked about anecdotally, has now been documented by scientists for the first time.

Science, Space & Robots writes about this:

Video: African Tigerfish Catches Bird in Flight

An African tigerfish was captured on video capturing a swallow in mid-flight. Nature reports that the African tigerfish (Hydrocynus vittatus) has been rumored to jump and catch birds in mid-flight, but this was the first recording of the activity. The behavior was observed in the Schroda Dam, a man-made lake in South Africa. The fish can reach up to one meter in length and have sharp teeth.

Professor Nico Smit, co-author of the study, told BBC News, “The African tigerfish is one of the most amazing freshwater species in the world. It is a striking fish with beautiful markings on the body, bright red fins and vicious teeth.”

The researchers say they saw 20 successful attempts by African tigerfish to catch and eat swallows during the 15 day study. The research was published here in the Journal of Fish Biology.

Posted on January 13, 2014

Enhanced by Zemanta

Butterfly migration from South Africa to Madagascar


This video is called Butterfly Epidemic, Johannesburg, South Africa 2012/3.

From Sapa news agency in South Africa:

Clouds of butterflies descend on Joburg

January 11 2014 at 04:11pm

By Meggan Saville

Johannesburg -

Swarms of white butterflies have descended on Johannesburg during their annual migration from South Africa’s west coast to Madagascar, lepidopterist Earle Whiteley said on Saturday.

Whiteley, a director of Conservation of Butterflies in SA, said that the spectacle was an annual event, but that the clouds of Belenois aurota, commonly known as brown veined white butterflies, did not always follow exactly the same route.

“They start hatching along the entire coast from Cape Town towards Namibia, then migrate inland in a north-easterly direction.”

Whiteley said that the initial batch of butterflies were joined by more and more along their migratory route, over the Eastern Cape, which had now reached Gauteng.

The butterflies would then head toward Mozambique before crossing the sea to Madagascar.

“As they are going further north, some die and more join. Eventually, there are massive clouds of butterflies, reaching up to a kilometre into the air.”

Along the route, the female butterflies laid eggs, which would begin the life cycle of the next generation.

The timing of the migration was dependant on weather conditions, but usually ran from late November to mid-February. The brown veined white butterflies were often joined by other butterflies of the same Pieridae family, which had shades of yellow or orange in their colouration.

The butterflies travelled from sunrise to dusk and needed to replenish themselves with nectar every 20 minutes or risk dying from dehydration. They favoured long grass and were particularly attracted to grass nectar, Whiteley said.

The butterflies roost overnight, and it was possible to tell whether a butterfly was awake or asleep by looking at their feelers.

“If the feelers are touching, then they are sleeping.”

Whiteley was working towards establishing the Gauteng Butterfly Sanctuary, which is expected to open in December.

Enhanced by Zemanta