Injured silvery-cheeked hornbill gets new horn


Silvery-cheeked hornbill Balou with its new horn, photo by Texel zoo

This photo by Texel zoo on Texel island in the Netherlands shows silvery-cheeked hornbill Balou with its new horn.

Dutch NOS radio reports about this today (translated):

Silvery-cheeked Hornbill Balou in Texel Zoo has a 3D-printed horn on its beak. The animal was brought in by previous owners with a broken horn. They hoped that the animal park could mean something to the bird. The horn is made by Utrecht University.

According to Texel Zoo, the horn is important for a silvery-cheeked hornbill, because it protects against any head injuries. “He was very vulnerable,” said a spokesman. “Only a thin membrane still protected the veins. When he bumped, he started to bleed enormously.”

Utrecht University performed a CT scan on the bird to make the correct fit. “This was the first time here in the Netherlands, a horn will not break easily,” says a spokeswoman for Texel Zoo. According to her, information from abroad about the printing of beaks could be used to see how a horn could be made.

In December, the bird was successfully operated and then monitored. “We weren’t sure how it would react, if the horn would stay on and if there would be any complications. The horn has passed all the tests and the bird is behaving the same as before.”

It is not known how the horn on the beak of the animal broke.

Silvery-cheeked hornbills are from Africa.

Recovered seals freed on Texel island


This 17 March 2020 video from Texel island in the Netherlands shows 9 seals being freed after recovery.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, few people were present at the freeing of Ollie, Marsh, Quinten, Maltezer, Pika, Jacqueline, Leonie, Fritzie and Balou.

Six new Dutch wasp species on Texel


Epimicta marginalis wasp, CBG Photography Group, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics Creative Commons - Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike (2019)

Translated from wildlife warden Erik van der Spek on Texel island today:

Six braconid wasp species new for the Netherlands have been found on Texel

Among animals I collected in the Eierlandse Duinen area in 2018, the Dutch parasitic wasps expert Kees van Achterberg found the wasps: Doryctes heydenii, Doryctes undulatus, Alysia truncator, Epimicta marginalis, Opiognathus pactus and Opius pulicariae as new species for the Dutch fauna.

Braconidae are the second family in size within the parasitic wasps. There are many species, (652 + 6 known species in the Netherlands, but this is at most half of the Dutch species), and few people who study them. …

Braconid wasps use many other insects as hosts; of the six species, both Doryctes species live on beetle larvae in wood and the other four live on fly maggots, especially leaf miners. There are species that are therefore used as biological control agents. Braconid wasps are usually 2-5 mm long and colored red-brown or black.

Rare albino seal freed after convalescence


This 15 January 2020 video from Texel island in the Netherlands shows the freeing of two seals who had been ill after convalescence: one ‘normally’ coloured harbour seal, and the albino seal Snow White.

Snow White had been the first albino seal ever in Texel’s Ecomare museum rehab.

Snow White had been ill when he was found last October. Now, he has an electronic tracker on his back for studying his movements.

Sick albino seal to Texel island rehab


This 11 October 2017 video from the Pieterburen seal rehabilitation centre in the Netherlands shows seals, including albino seal Sealas, being set free again after convalescence. Miss Earth was present.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Nature Center Ecomare on Texel has since today a new resident: an albino seal. And that is special, because according to Ecomare, albinism is a ‘rare phenomenon’ among seals.

The white male [harbour] seal lay this morning on the Wadden Sea dike of Texel. “A passer-by has called us and thought that the seal did not look fit. He was not relaxed”, says an Ecomare spokesperson.

The animal appears to suffer from a lungworm infection and has little to no eyesight. Eye problems often occur with albinism. It is not yet clear whether the seal is completely blind, or can at least see some things. …

The Ecomare albino seal

This photo shows the Ecomare albino seal, with its pale fur and red eyes.

“The good news is that he has already eaten himself today. That saves a lot of stress for the animal. We hope that the medication will works, that the animal will recover quickly and we will be able to release it back into nature.”

It is the first time that Ecomare has taken care of an albino seal. In the past, other shelters have cared for albino seals, but albinism remains a rare phenomenon among these animals. Seals that are completely black and have melanism – the opposite of albinism – are more common.

The seal is cared for in quarantine, but is visible to visitors through the windows.

The animal is three to four months old and weighs 16.8 kilograms. According to Ecomare, that is a reasonable weight for an animal that arrives so sick at the shelter. Because of the infection and the many wounds on his body, the seal has received a solution of salts and minerals to restore the moisture balance. The vet has also given an injection of antibiotics and worming agent.