Kent State killing of US peace demonstrators, 1970


This video says about itself:

United States: Kent State Shooting

4 May 2016

In 1970 [on 4 May], the Ohio National Guard killed 4 students at Kent State University during protests against the Vietnam War.

Vietnamese mourn rare turtle’s death


This video from Vietnam is called Turtle of Hoàn Kiếm lakeHanoi. Seen the 30th December 2010.

From the BBC in Britain today:

Cu Rua: Vietnam mourns revered Hanoi turtle

By Nga Pham BBC News, Bangkok

Vietnam is mourning an ancient turtle revered as a symbol of auspiciousness, whose death has shocked the country.

Thought to be one of only four living Yangtze giant softshell turtles, it was found floating in the Hanoi lake where it lived. Cause of death is unclear. …

The reptile – known as Cu Rua (great-grandfather) – will now be embalmed.

“Cu” is the Vietnamese word used to refer to old and revered people, giving some indication of the special place he occupied in the hearts of Hanoi’s inhabitants.

And not only Hanoians – people from all over the country also used to come to Hoan Kiem lake in Vietnam’s capital to try to catch a glimpse of him. Some even waited for days.

Social media in Vietnam has been flooded with posts lamenting his death, which came on a gloomy windy and wintry Tuesday afternoon.

Facebook user Nguyen Viet Nam said: “The turtle was a sacred animal for us Hanoians. Such sadness, such regret.” …

Douglas Hendrie, a Hanoi-based wildlife expert, says Cu Rua was one of only four known living specimens of his kind in the world.

“But more than that, the turtle also had a significant historical, cultural and spiritual value for the Vietnamese,” he adds.

Legend has it that the turtle – believed to be more than 100 and the oldest in Vietnam – was the incarnation of a mythical creature living in the lake in the 15th century.

Local legend has it that Le Loi, a real figure from Vietnamese history who would become emperor of Vietnam, borrowed a magical sword from the Dragon King to fight against Vietnam’s then Chinese oppressors.

After claiming independence for the Viets, he came to the lake and returned the sword to its divine owner via its disciple – a giant turtle which surfaced to take it from his hands before disappearing beneath the jade waters.

The lake duly became known as Hoan Kiem, or the Lake of the Returned Sword.

Scientists are not yet sure what killed Cu Rua – pollution, climate change or simple old age – but his body is being examined by experts. The authorities have already announced that it will be preserved.

New Vietnamese ferret-badger discovery


Cuc Phuong National Park

November 2011: Wildlife Extra reports the discovery of a new ferret-badger species in Cuc Phuong National Park in northern Vietnam.

It is called Melogale cucphuongensis.

A paper on the discovery was published in the journal Der Zoologische Garten.

Rare rabbit discovery in Vietnam


This 3 June 2015 video says about itself:

Rare Rabbit | University of East Anglia (UEA)

The University of East Anglia in England writes about this:

UEA researcher finds rare Vietnamese rabbit

A rare and elusive rabbit has been found, held and photographed by a researcher from the University of East Anglia (UEA).

The Annamite Striped rabbit, found in the forests of Laos and Vietnam, was first documented by rabbit expert Dr Diana Bell and colleagues from UEA’s School of Biological Sciences in the journal Nature in 1999. It has rarely been seen since.

Researcher Sarah Woodfin, who is studying for a Masters in Applied Ecology and Conservation at UEA, set out on a three-month expedition to track the recently-discovered rabbit and study its habitat.

But she didn’t expect to see one in the flesh, let alone become the first researcher to hold one in her arms.

Under the tutelage of Dr Bell and in collaboration with a team from WWF Vietnam, she embarked on her trip to study the rabbit – which is named after its home in the Annamite mountains.

She said; “I didn’t expect that I would ever see one up close. I thought that if I was very lucky, I might see one from a distance in the forest. I certainly never expected that I would have the opportunity to hold one of these magnificent animals. I was utterly delighted.

“My team and I encountered the rabbit completely by chance on the first night of my trip.

“It was found hopping along a stream bank eating vegetation. One of my team members managed to catch it and brought it back to camp, where we were all able to have a good look at it.

“My first feeling was shock. I recognized it as a striped rabbit as soon as I saw it, as they are very distinctive, but I couldn’t believe that they had caught one.

“The rabbit was very handsome, with dark stripes against a pale gold background and a red rump. We were able to take some measurements and photographs before we released it back into the forest.

“I was completely awed by the encounter.

“I had never expected to get so close to the species but it was necessary to take its measurements. The rabbit was bigger than I had anticipated, but light and delicate.

“I have kept pet rabbits since I was five years old so I knew how to handle it safely. It was a lifetime experience.”

Images of the rabbit had previously been caught by motion sensitive ‘camera traps’. Sarah travelled to the WWF conservation area to survey and analyse the rabbit’s habitat and vegetation. She plans to use this information to model the potential distribution of the rabbit which will help further conservation efforts.

She added: “Nothing is known about the Annamite Striped rabbit and it is absolutely fascinating to think that anything I discover about it could be new.

“It is genetically very distinct from other rabbit species. Sadly there is a possibility that this species could be at risk of extinction due to deforestation and hunting. It is therefore extremely important that we understand as much as possible about this species so that we can evaluate its conservation status and implement appropriate conservation measures.”

The research project is funded by ZGap (the Zoological Society for the Conservation of Species and Populations) and the Thrigby Hall Conservation Fund.

New bat species discovery in Asia


Hypsugo dolichodon. Photo by: Judith L. Eger

From Inspire Wildlife:

New Bat Species Packs A Bite

Emily Stewart, April 26, 2015

A new bat species has been identified in the rainforests of Lao PDR and Vietnam, and it has a set of fangs which would make any dentist quake in their boots. Named the long-toothed pipestrelle (Hypsugo dolichodon) the species is most closely related to the Chinese pipestrelle (Hypsugo pulveratus) although it is much larger in overall size as well as fang length.

But why does the long-toothed pipestrelle sport such impressive dentures?

It is believed the large fangs may be a result of niche segregation, whereby it could grab larger prey or beetles with a harder exoskeleton and thus removing competition from other species for food. In essence, evolution has allowed the long-toothed pipestrelle to create its own ecological niche within its environment.

Despite first being trapped in 1997 by Charles M. Francis, and Antonio Guillén it has taken 17 years to formally identify the bat as more evidence was needed to determine it was a separate species. However genetic analysis has now proven the species was until now unknown to science. This is highly exciting news and can mean a variety of things.

Foremost we cannot ignore the fact that usually when a new species is identified it usually already endangered. To name but a few examples; the bahian mouse-colored tapaculo a small Brazilian songbird discovered in 2014 is under threat from logging, the first new river dolphin to be discovered in a century last year is though to be highly endangered and a tree dwelling porcupine (Coendou speratus)identified in 2013 is also thought to be vulnerable to deforestation.

As is often the answer in these cases, more research is needed into the long-toothed pipestrelle to determine whether conservation action is needed. Although currently one of the areas where a specimen has been caught is currently being destroyed by the construction of a dam along the Xe Kaman River in Lao PDR. Despite the vegetation of this area being obliterated, Tamás Görföl lead author of the paper identifying the new species does not proclaim this to be death knell for the bat.

In an interview with Mongabay, he claims that although the dam threatens the species, they can “presumably survive in other areas of its distribution if we stop the deforestation of the tropical landscapes”. He also adds that they may be a cave dweller so the protection of caves may also be needed. Another factor is that although the species current distribution is only known to be within Vietnam and Lao PDR it is possible it may be more widely distributed, something which the study and genetic analysis of previously collected materials can reveal.

Bats play a huge ecological role in their environment and every discovery of a new species can be exciting as they can reveal more hidden secrets about the world we live in. Hopefully the long-toothed pipestrelle will buck the trend and be a newly discovered species which is not immediately endangered.

For More Information:

GÖRFÖL, TAMÁS, GÁBOR CSORBA, JUDITH L. EGER, NGUYEN TRUONG SON, and CHARLES M. FRANCIS. “Canines make the difference: a new species of Hypsugo (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) from Laos and Vietnam.” Zootaxa 3887, no. 2 (2014): 239-250.

New Bat Species has Fangs you won’t believe

Fossil whale discovery in Vietnam


Whale fossil, discovered in Vietnam

From Vietnamnet:

06/04/2015

Local resident discovers whale fossil in Ha Tinh

A large piece of a whale‘s fossilised vertebra has just been found in the central province of Ha Tinh.

The fossil, measuring 37cm by 35cm by 80cm and weighing 19kg, was discovered accidentally at Thach Khe metal mine, 1km from Thach Hai Beach, by a local person named Duong Dinh Canh.

Director of Ha Tinh Museum Nguyen Tri Son and Australian archaeologist Philip Palmer examined the fossil and determined it was part of a whale‘s vertebral column. But they cannot determine the exact age of the fossil till some more research is done.

The experts will soon transport the fossil to the provincial museum for further study and exhibition.