Irreplaceable area extends marine conservation hotspot off Tunisia: insights from GPS-tracking Scopoli’s shearwaters from the largest seabird colony in the Mediterranean


Originally posted on North African Birds:

Grémillet, D., Péron, C., Pons, J.-B., Ouni, R., Authier, M., Thévenet, M., & Fort, J. (2014). Irreplaceable area extends marine conservation hotspot off Tunisia: insights from GPS-tracking Scopoli’s shearwaters from the largest seabird colony in the Mediterranean. Marine Biology  doi:10.1007/s00227-014-2538-z

Abstract:

Recent meta-analyses identified conservation hotpots at the scale of the Mediterranean, yet those may be crude by lack of detailed information about the spatial ecology of the species involved. Here, we identify an irreplaceable marine area for >95 % of the world population of the Scopoli’s shearwater (Calonectris diomedea), which is endemic to the Mediterranean and breeds on the island of Zembra off Tunis. To this end, we studied the three-dimensional at-sea movements of 50 breeding adults (over a total of 94 foraging trips) in 2012 and 2013, using GPS and temperature–depth recorders. Feathers were also collected on all birds to investigate their trophic status. Despite…

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First colour-ringing of Greater Flamingo in Tunisia: 45 chicks ringed in the lagoon of Korba (Cap Bon)


petrel41:

This is a video about greater flamingos in France.

I have been privileged to see these beautiful birds; eg, in Portugal.

First breeding of Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus) in Cap Bon (Tunisia): here.

Originally posted on North African Birds:

The Association “Les Amis des Oiseaux” (AAO), BirdLife partner in Tunisia, in collaboration with local and international partners have colour-ringed 45 chicks of Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus) in August 2014 in the lagoon of Korba, Cap Bon, Tunisia. This is the first colour-ringing of the species in Tunisia. The colour ring used is a white ring with a 4-letters black code, the code start with the letter K (for Korba). See pictures 2 and 3. For the press release of the Association “Les Amis des Oiseaux” (AAO) about the ringing operation, please see the last 2 photographs.

Colour-ringed Greater Flamingo chicks, lagoon of Korba, Cap Bon (Tunisia), 10 August 2014. Photo: Association "Les Amis des Oiseaux" (AAO) Colour-ringed Greater Flamingo chicks, lagoon of Korba, Cap Bon (Tunisia), 10 August 2014. Photo: Association “Les Amis des Oiseaux” (AAO) The code of the colour ring starts with the letter K (for Korba lagoon). Photo: Association "Les Amis des Oiseaux" (AAO) The code of the colour ring starts with the letter K (for Korba lagoon). Photo: Association “Les Amis des Oiseaux” (AAO) The code of the colour ring starts with the letter K (for Korba lagoon). Photo: Association "Les Amis des Oiseaux" (AAO) The code of the colour ring starts with the letter…

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Breeding Biology of Squacco Herons (Ardeola ralloides) in Northern Tunisia


petrel41:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/k_5Yw7ZlBSY?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

This is a squacco heron video from Bulgaria.
I was lucky to see these beautiful herons in Greece, the Gambia and Morocco.

Analysis of 594 pellets of three heron species (Little Egret Egretta garzetta, Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis and Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides) collected at colonies in northern Tunisia (Ichkeul National Park, Lebna Dam and Chikli Island). Cattle Egrets consumed preferably insects (most important group in number and biomass), vertebrates did not exceed 1 % and 2 % (in number) and 4 % and 9 % (in biomass) respectively at Ichkeul and Lebna. The diet consisted in Coleoptera, Orthoptera (Caelifera, Gryllidae, Gryllotalapidae) and Hymenoptera (ants). Squacco heron nestlings were fed with annelids, crustaceans and mainly insects (62 % in number and 77 % in biomass) which included larvas of Odonata, Orthoptera (grasshoppers and crickets), Dermaptera (Forficula), Coleoptera and Hymenoptera. The diet of Little Egret consisted mainly in insects (76 % at Ichkeul, 98 % at Chikli). However the percentages of fish did not exceed 10 % and 2 % at both sites respectively: here.

Originally posted on North African Birds:

Nefla, A., Tlili, W., Ouni, R., & Nouira, S. (2014). Breeding Biology of Squacco Herons (Ardeola ralloides) in Northern Tunisia. The Wilson Journal of Ornithology126 (2): 393–401.  doi:10.1676/13-130.1

Abstract:

We studied the reproduction patterns of Squacco Herons, Ardeola ralloides, during 2009–2010. This study was carried out in two colonies located at Ichkeul National Park (37.184992 N, 9.633758 E) and Lebna Dam (36.744161 N, 10.916569 E), in northern Tunisia. We determined the reproductive performance of the species, and investigated the relationship between reproductive parameters and nest characteristics (height and diameter). We registered successful nesting, with mean clutch size of 4.51 ± 0.85 for both years combined. Hatching success was 3.67 ± 1.07 eggs hatched/nest and fledging success reached 3.06 ± 1.28 young/nest. All reproductive parameters varied between years. The diameter and the height of nest had no effect on the clutch size, the initial brood size, or the final…

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Tunisian cultural workers protesting


This video is called El Jem, Tunisia – Roman Archaeology.

From the World Socialist Web Site:

Tunisian cultural workers protest

Cultural workers in Tunisia began a three-day strike on July 9, impacting festivals and similar events. One expected to be affected is the International Festival of [Carthage], which is the largest in the country and takes place from [July] 10 to August 16.

The workers had held a three-day strike in June. They are also calling for an investigation into corruption in the National Institute of Heritage for the publication of financial and administrative data relating to the national library service. In addition, they are opposing plans to privatize some Tunisian archaeological sites and museums.

Saudi Arabia jails human rights activist for 15 years


This video says about itself:

6 February 2013

The Olof Palme Prize 2012 is awarded to Radhia Nasraoui and Waleed Sami Abu al-Khair

Radhia Nasraoui, human rights defender and lawyer, is awarded the 2012 Olof Palme Prize, for her untiring work against torture and impunity for more than three decades. As a concerned and patriotic citizen, she has under severe pressure defended human rights in her country [Tunisia] and challenged authorities under the motto “We must use our voices. Not saying anything makes us accomplices of the oppression”.

Waleed Sami Abu al-Khair receives the 2012 Olof Palme Prize for his strong, self-sacrificing and sustained struggle to promote respect for human and civil rights for both men and women in Saudi Arabia. Together with like-minded citizens and colleagues, Waleed Sam Abu AlKhair does so with the noble goal of contributing to a just and modern society in his country and region.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Saudi Arabia jails prominent human rights activist for 15 years

Waleed abu al-Khair was imprisoned on charges that included seeking to undermine the state and insulting the judiciary

Antonia Molloy

Prominent Saudi human rights lawyer Waleed abu al-Khair has been sentenced by a Jeddah court to 15 years in prison for crimes including “inciting public opinion”.

Abu al-Khair, the founder and director of an organization named the Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia, was jailed on Sunday on charges that included seeking to undermine the state and insulting the judiciary, the state news agency reported.

He had been on trial on sedition charges that included breaking allegiance to King Abdullah, showing disrespect for authorities, creating an unauthorized association and inciting public opinion.

The rights activist was also fined 200,000 Saudi riyals (£31,100), banned from travelling outside the kingdom for another 15 years and had all his websites closed down, the SPA said.

Abu al-Khair was critical of a new anti-terrorism law passed by Saudi Arabia at the start of the year which was widely condemned by rights activists as a tool to stifle dissent.

The anti-terrorism law states that terrorist crimes include any act that “disturbs public order, shakes the security of society, or subjects its national unity to danger, or obstructs the primary system of rule or harms the reputation of the state”.

In the past year Saudi authorities have been criticised by international rights groups for jailing several prominent activists on charges ranging from setting up an illegal organisation to damaging the reputation of the country.

In May a client of Abu al-Khair was sentenced to 10 years in jail and 1,000 lashes after being arrested in June 2012 on charges of cyber-crime and disobeying his father.

Raif Badawi was the editor of the Free Saudi Liberals website, which included articles that were critical of senior religious figures such as Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti and allegedly insulted Islam and religious authorities, according to Human Rights Watch.

Abu al-Khair was unable to represent Badawi in an appeal because he was also in jail at the time, awaiting his trial in the ultra-conservative Islamic kingdom.

Songbirds and pollution in Tunisia


This video is called Birds from Tunisia. White-crowned Wheatear and House Bunting.

From North African Birds blog:

Passerine abundance and diversity in a polluted oasis habitat in south-eastern Tunisia

Posted on 27/05/2014

Alaya-Ltifi, L., & Selmi, S. (2014). Passerine abundance and diversity in a polluted oasis habitat in south-eastern Tunisia. European Journal of Wildlife Research, 60: 535–541. doi:10.1007/s10344-014-0817-0

Abstract:

Gabès region, in south-eastern Tunisia, is nowadays considered as one of the most remarkable pollution hotspots in the Mediterranean due to the emissions of the Gabès-Ghannouche factory complex of phosphate treatment. However, because of the lack of detailed studies, the impact of such pollution on the terrestrial wildlife inhabiting this area still remains unknown.

In this work, we checked whether the proximity to Gabès-Ghannouche factory complex was associated with a decreased abundance of passerines breeding in the neighbouring oasis habitat. Overall, passerine abundance was found to decrease in the proximity of the factory complex, but this decrease was more pronounced in insectivorous species than in granivorous ones. The latter species seemed to be more dependent on vegetation structure. Moreover, we found that in the sites close to the factory complex, the studied passerine community was dominated by the Sparrow Passer domesticus × hispaniolensis, which seemed to be the less sensitive species to pollution.

However, in the more distant sites, passerine abundance was more equitably distributed among species due to the increase in the densities of pollution-sensitive ones. Our findings give support to those reported in polluted European forest habitats and stress once again the usefulness of passerines as reliable biomonitors of polluted terrestrial environments.

Distribution and abundance of Greater Flamingos wintering in the central part of the gulf of Gabès, Tunisia: here.

Wintering Waterbirds in the central area of the Gulf of Gabes in south-eastern Tunisia.

Abstract: The Gulf of Gabes, in southeastern Tunisia, is reputed to be one of the main wintering areas for water birds in the Mediterranean. To have a better knowledge of this avifauna, we conducted a census in 50 stations from the Bay of Kneiss Islands in the North to the entrance of the lagoon of Boughrara in the South, during the winter of 2012 – 2013. Overall, we counted 45, 431 birds belonging to 50 species, 16 families and 10 orders. The Anseriformes and Charadriiformes groups are rich in different species. Among the 50 species   listed, 11 are sedentary, 4 are irregularly wintering and 35 are regularly   wintering. The Dunlin (Calidris alpina), the Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus), the Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus), the Redshank (Tringa totanus), the Slender-billed Gull (Chroicocephalus genei), the Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata), the Eurasian Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus) and the Black-bellied Plover (Pluvialis squatarola) are the most abundant species: here.

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Dutch parents fear daughters forced into prostitution in Syria


This video from the USA is called Washington Post: CIA Delivering Weapons To Rebels In Syria.

Translated from Janny Groen, in Dutch daily De Volkskrant:

Parents of Muslim girls fear ‘jihad prostitution’

03/06/14, 07:01

“These girls going to Syria will end up in prostitution.” Without hesitation Rachma el Hamdaoui (over 50) of the The Hague Mother and Daughter Foundation explains the greatest fear of parents of prospective jihad brides.

El Hamdaoui has in the The Hague Schilderswijk neighbourhood a discussion group with girls who walk around with jihad plans; and now, she speaks at a meeting of Muslim women in Gouda.

According to the National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Security (NCTV) twenty Dutch Muslim women are in Syria. Five of them come from Gouda. They marry without parental consent. Not in the mosque, but for example in an apartment, a Gouda district police officer knows. Such marriages are invalid according to Islamic rules which their parents use.

The young women travel after their man, the mujahid (warrior). Or they are persuaded via WhatsApp messages from the front area to come to Syria to marry their hero. They have most often met him through jihadi social media. …

Sex with twenty, thirty, a hundred rebels

But there are also other views. In September last year the Tunisian Interior Minister Lotfi Bin Jeddo sounded the alarm. He wanted to put an end to the jihad al-nikah, also described as sex jihad. Young women traveling to the Chaimbi Mountains in Tunisia, where Al Qaeda fighters are fighting against the Tunisian regime; and especially to Syria to satisfy warriors. Some girls, according to the minister, have sex with twenty, thirty or even a hundred rebels. …

Pubescent girls traveling

In Dutch Muslim communities there is fear that their daughters landed in Syria in a very different world than the one they were dreaming about. El Hamdaoui: “They are often teenagers who want to travel. They know nothing, they cannot estimate the consequences of their actions.”

Muslim parents read disturbing stories on Arabic sites. They read about young women who are married (briefly) before sexual activity, and then divorce immediately afterwards. There are indications that the sex jihad is not entirely a figment of the imiginations of evil spirits. Thus, the prominent Tunisian Muslim scholar Sheikh Farred Elba stated (to the BBC and others) that he knew young women who had got trapped in this. He said there was medical evidence of that as well.

There are no signals that Dutch girls are in sexual jihad in Syria and go from hand to hand, according to the Gouda police district officer. However, what does happen is that, if it does not click between the “lovers” , the girl is married off to another mujahid. And if that man is killed, another warrior is quickly brought in.

In the eyes of the Muslim women who were gathered in Gouda, that smells like prostitution. As one of them says: “Our prophet has never meant that.”

Turkey and war in Syria: here. And here.

Syria’s refugees: fears of abuse grow as Turkish men snap up wives. Increasing number of women who have fled conflict are opting to marry Turks, many as second, third or even fourth wives: here.