Clouded leopards going back to Taiwan?


This video is called Clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa).

From Wildlife Extra:

Clouded leopards could be reintroduced to Taiwan

The Formosan clouded leopard was hunted to extinction in Taiwan in the 1980s, but it might get a new start on the island in the future, according to Scientific American.

Two years ago, after a 13 year search, scientists concluded that the leopard (Neofelis nebulosa brachyura) had gone extinct in Taiwan.

But a new paper by the same scientists states the island’s ecology has improved so much since the leopards disappeared that they might once again thrive there.

Clouded leopards disappeared from Taiwan decades ago, probably in the 1980s after intense overhunting for their furs followed by destruction of their forest habitat and declining populations of the cats’ prey species.

However, Taiwan has been so successful in slowing deforestation and protecting its other wildlife over the past few decades that the island could once again support populations of leopards.

As Po-Jen Chiang of the Institute of Wildlife Conservation in Taiwan and his fellow authors point out, Taiwan banned commercial hunting in 1973 and stopped logging its natural forests in 1991.

Although poaching and habitat loss continue, populations of some mammalian species, such as the Formosan macaque and Reeves’s muntjac have grown – so much so that they are now considered pests on farmlands.

The authors suggest that lack of predation by the now-missing clouded leopards could have something to do with this overpopulation of some mammalian species.

Meanwhile, Taiwan’s natural forests have had time to regenerate. The researchers concluded that the island now has enough broadleaf, conifer and cypress forests, along with natural vegetation to support the prey mammals.

All told, the researchers calculated that 24 per cent of Taiwan – more than 8,500 square kilometres – contains suitable habitat for between 500 and 600 clouded leopards.

The cats of mainland Asia would make strong candidates for reintroduction.

Genetic studies published in 2006 and 2011 indicate that the cats on Taiwan probably weren’t a unique subspecies after all, so mainland clouded leopards would not be out of place on the island.

The main clouded leopard species (N. nebulosa) is currently considered vulnerable to extinction, with a total population of fewer than 10,000 individuals and no populations larger than 1,000 animals.

Their habitats are “undergoing the world’s fastest regional deforestation rates” according to the IUCN Red List and trade in their skins and bones continues to devastate their populations. So, Taiwan could become a much-needed refuge for clouded leopards in the future.

Indian monkey saves electrocuted friend’s life


This video from India says about itself:

20 December 2014

Kanpur Central Railway Station. Monkey saves friend’s life without any human help.

From the Deccan Herald in India:

Monkey saves ‘dying’ friend at Kanpur Railway station (Video)

New Delhi, Dec 21, 2014, Agencies:

A friend in need is a friend indeed: A hair-raising video that has surfaced on YouTube illustrates this proverb very well. In the video, a monkey could be seen trying to save another monkey lying unconscious on a railway track.

The monkey in the video is surely impressive for its presence of mind and efforts to help its injured friend. One of the monkeys in the video fell unconscious after experiencing electric shock while walking on the high-tension wires in Kanpur’s railway station. The other monkey comes to the rescue.

The conscious monkey licks, bites, hits and puts the unconscious monkey into the stagnant water at the railway track. After 20 minutes of tireless effort, the ‘hero’ monkey brings its friend back to consciousness.

See also here.

These monkeys were rhesus macaques.

This video says about itself:

25 November 2014

Hello! We are from Taiwan. My daughter and I were very lucky to see an upside-down tortoise, but it’s luckier to see his friend trying to help him turn back in Taipei Zoo.

Today (25, November) is the field trip day of my daughter’s school and I also went to Taipei Zoo with her. We were all very lucky to see such kind of scene – one tortoise saves the other one’s life! Also, it’s a great opportunity to give my daughter a lesson – Helping others is the origin of happiness.

Diving beetle mating, new research


This video says about itself:

Spotted Diving Beetles, Victoria Bug Zoo, March 2013

Spotted diving beetles, also known as sunburst diving beetles, sometimes carry their own oxygen supply in air bubbles when they dive. Their bright yellow spots also supposedly warn other animals that they taste bad. Their natural habitat is in fresh water pools around Mexico and the southwestern US.

From the BBC:

11 June 2014 Last updated at 02:05 GMT

Diving beetle‘s sticky underwater mating secret

By Victoria Gill
Science reporter, BBC News

Scientists in Taiwan have revealed how a diving beetle hangs on to its mate underwater.

The micro-scale study revealed how bristles on male beetles’ legs attach to females.

Tiny suckers on these bristles stick to the females’ bodies.

As well as shedding light on evolution at the very tiny scale, understanding this could inspire the design of devices for underwater attachment in engineering.

The results are published in the Royal Society journal Interface.

The team, led by Dr Kai-Jung Chi from National Chung Hsing University in Taiwan, directly measured the gripping force of the “attachment devices” on the leg bristles of two diving beetle species.

Microscopic images reveal that one of the species they studied – a more primitive insect – has a spatula-like attachment.

The other has evolved circular suckers on the end of each leg bristle, which look like a microscopic plungers.

While these tiny plungers created a stronger attachment, the more primitive bristles had some sticky, aquatic secrets.

Tiny channels between the hairs in the more primitive beetle appear to produce a sort of glue.

And, as grisly as it may sound, the fact that these bristles form a weaker attachment and can move around on the female’s body more freely means that the male beetle is able to “resist the female’s erratic swimming movements”, which she may employ to dislodge an unwanted suitor.

The researchers conclude that their mechanical experiments show that the “later-evolved suction-cup-shaped circular” bristles give male diving beetles a mating advantage.

And all of this detailed insight into aquatic copulation may inspire a future “underwater Velcro“.

New humpback dolphin sanctuary in Taiwan


This video says about itself:

First Film of Rare Humpback Dolphins with Bottlenose Dolphins in Watamu, Kenya

Thanks to Alex Simpson who edited the original footage with dolphin research photos to produce this video. Watamu Marine Association c/o Lynne Elson took this first ever footage of rare and elusive humpback dolphins on 10th April 2012. This family pod of 6-7 were associating with a pod of Bottlenose dolphins more commonly seen in Watamu Marine Reserve.

From Wildlife Extra:

Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin sanctuary set up in Taiwan

A dwindling population of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins will be protected with the creation of Taiwan’s first marine wildlife sanctuary. Dolphin numbers have dropped by around 50 per cent according to local conservation groups, because of habitat degradation, industrial expansion and pollution.

Tsai Chia-yang, head of the Chuanghua Environmental Protection Union, said: “Indo-Pacific dolphin population is a key index to measure the health of the maritime environment.”

The Council of Agriculture confirmed the sanctuary, which will be off the west coast of the country, will cover a large area of 76,300 hectare (188,461 acres).

Normal fishing in the area will be unaffected, as the government said a total ban was not feasible as the success of the sanctuary depends on the cooperation of local fishermen, but guidelines have been tightened for operators in the region and there will be tough punishments for illegal fishing of the endangered species. Dredge fishing has also been banned.

In a further step, officials announced that any development projects in the area will require government approval.

Anyone caught poaching the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin could face up to two years in jail and will be fined Tw$500,000 (US$16,530), and anyone caught seriously damaging the habitat could end up with a five years’ prison sentence.

“Illegal fishing has seriously ruined the coastal ecological environment, threatening the endangered dolphins,” said Kuan, referring to the fact that the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins eat mullet among other fish.

In 2011, President Ma Ying-jeou ruled an end to a controversial plan to build a massive oil refinery and more than 20 related petrochemical plants in western Taiwan. This was in reaction to a series of protests for the endangered humpback dolphins.

He said there was a need for Taiwan to balance economic development with environmental protection. The setting up of this sanctuary for Indo-pacific humpback dolphins is a big step forward for the species.

Scientists name new species of cetacean: The Australian humpback dolphin: here.

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Giant yellow duck explodes in Taiwan


British daily The Guardian says about this video today:

A giant yellow duck designed by Dutch artist Florentjin Hofman has exploded for the second time, eleven days after it went on display in a northern Taiwan port. The 18m-tall duck was supposed to be the star attraction for local New Year’s Eve celebrations but instead burst without explanation to the surprise of onlookers.

Taiwan conscript abused to death


This video is called Taiwan protests sparked over soldier’s death.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Ma mobbed at funeral for abused conscript

Sunday 04 August 2013

Taiwan President Ma Ying Jeou was mobbed by hundreds of angry mourners today at the funeral service for a young conscript who died after being abused by his officers.

Protesters shouted: “We want the truth” as Mr Ma, flanked by security guards, made his way to the funeral at the soldier’s home in Taichung.

More than 100,000 people had taken to the streets of the capital Taipei on Saturday following the death of Corporal Hung Chung Chiu.

He died after days of a rigorous punishment regime of push-ups, sit-ups and other exercises in sweltering heat.

He was just three days short of completing his 20-month service at the time.

Eighteen officers and NCOs have been indicted on charges ranging from abuse leading to death and involuntary manslaughter to imposing illegal punishments.

Mr Ma has already apologised and the minister of defence has resigned.