Sunday, September 25, 2005

KOMODO DRAGONS - Zoo feeding frenzy leaves patrons hungry for more

Toledoblade.com reports on "The Big Feed", a special 27 demonstration lunch time feeding at Toledo Zoo with Komodo Dragons being one of the featured diners.
In the afternoon, more than 200 saw the zoo's Komodo dragon dine on horse shank.

Charlotte Ellis, 13, of McComb, Ohio, said the Komodo, which is nearly 7 feet long and 140 pounds, couldn't get the meat without some help from a trainer.

"He couldn't get hold of it in his mouth," she said. "So someone used a stick to help him."
[...]
"Oh man, did you see the size of its mouth?" asked Terry Vasquez, 11, of East Toledo. "I want to see him eat again."

Thursday, September 22, 2005

KAKAPO PARROTS - Aggressive kakapo banished to Fiordland

Stuff.co.nz has more on the recent beating of Kakapo Parrot chick Pounamu, by "nitwit" male Dot.
Kakapo recovery team leader Paul Jansen said Pounamu, a female chick, was injured three weeks ago when Dot, a two-year-old male, jumped into the pen she was sharing with another chick.

Mr Jansen said Pounamu was badly bruised and lost a few feathers around her head in the attack.

She was taken to the Massey University clinic to ensure she did not have any internal bleeding, and would be back in her southern home soon.

"It was nothing major, just a kicking in the pub carpark, rather than a drive-by shooting."

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

ENDANGERED ANIMALS - Model Kits by Revell

Thanks to Another Monkey's post on the DVD release of "The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy" movie. From there, I landed on this page about a set of Revell model kits released in 1974 to make more people aware of the plight of endangered animals such as White Rhino, Mountain Gorilla and Komodo Dragons. Neat.

THREE GORGES DAM - China's Three Gorges Dam Starts Generator a Year Early

Thanks to Neo Commons, who I check out from time to time. They pointed me in the direction of this story on Planet Ark about the Three Gorges Dam in China.
Energy-starved China has put the final power generator on the left bank of the Three Gorges Dam into action a year ahead of schedule, the China Three Gorges Project Corp said on Monday. The last of the 14 generators, each with a capacity of 700 megawatts, begun commercial operation on Friday, the company said on its Web site, www.ctgpc.com.cn

Sunday, September 18, 2005

KAKAPO PARROTS - Battered kakapo on the mend

News over at New Zealand's Stuff about a hair raising incident for young Pounamu, one of the four Kakapo chicks from this year's breeding season.
Pounamu and another juvenile female were only two weeks away from being released into the wild when a territorial adult male kakapo jumped into their open-topped pen at a DOC hatchery and beat them up.

The other female suffered minor injuries, but Pounamu has for the last two weeks been recovering in the wildlife ward at Massey University's veterinary clinic and hospital.

She received a deep bite on the back of her neck and had feathers and skin stripped away. There is also nerve damage to her left wing which has been treated and bandaged, but might yet require another operation to prevent it from dragging.

"Kakapo do not fly," said avian and reptile wildlife specialist, Dr Brett Gartrell. "It is said that they use their wings to parachute down from branches, but anyone who has seen it knows their parachuting skills are equal to those of a brick."

GREAT APES SURVIVAL BULLETIN

Here is a link to the Great Apes Survival Bulletin
The first Intergovernmental Meeting (IGM-1) on Great Apes and the first meeting of the Council of the Great Apes Survival Project (GRASP Council Meeting) convened in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), from 5-9 September 2005. Over 200 delegates attended, from great ape range state governments, donor and other states, international and intergovernmental organizations, non-government organizations, the private sector and academia and scientific communities. Given that this was the first opportunity for such a diverse group of actors to meet face-to-face in DRC to reach accord on a strategy for the survival of the great apes and their habitats, the first days of the meetings were characterized by a sense of the enormous task ahead. However, as the days and negotiations progressed a clear sense of optimism and collaborative spirit emerged throughout IGM-1 and GRASP Council Meeting, and participants used both the formal meetings and informal periods to significantly push forward on their common work.

RADIO - BBC Radio 4 Nature

In the first of a new series of Radio 4's Nature programme (Monday 20th September at 9pm, repeated on Tuesday at 11.00-11.30am), Paul Evans finds out about policies aimed at protecting the dwindling populations of great apes around the world.

The programme will be available online through the BBC's free radio player, and after broadcast at the Nature homepage.

KOMODO DRAGONS - Up close and personal with Indonesia's beasts of fire

A colourful article on a visit to Komodo to visit the Komodo Dragons... Full story at the FT.com
There are some places where the free market just doesn’t work. So it is in the little town of Labuanbajo. Here, low barriers to entry and minimal regulation have resulted not in innovation, better consumer choice and low prices but in an economy where everyone sells exactly the same OK product at exactly the same OK price. You can visit one operator or a hundred: it doesn’t matter where you buy your Komodo dragon tour from, it will be exactly the same.

Perhaps this is to be expected. In Labuhanbajo, there are two career options: you’re a fisherman or you work in the dragon industry. At our hotel all the other guests were here to see the dragons. Well, all except one. He was a scientist who was studying the dragons and having a spot of bother with his GPS collars, which, with their butch leather straps, looked a bit like reptilian S&M gear.

MAURITIUS KESTRELS - Falconry archives to be established in US

The Khaleej Times Online has an article on a new falconry archive, and the projects that are supported by The Peregrine Fund.
As a tribute to the late Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, founding father of the UAE, the US-based The Peregrine Fund will build an archives for falconry artifacts, books and other relics, a renowned US breeder has said.

'The Peregrine Fund, in conjunction with the Emirates Falconers' Club, will build an archives for falconry artifacts, books and other relics as a tribute to the late Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan for his unique conservation practices,' said Dr. Tom J. Cade, Founding Chairman of the Peregrine Fund.
[...]
Another project is the Mauritius Kestrel. The Mauritius Kestrel only exists in the wild on the island of Mauritius, the former home of the extinct Dodo Bird. As a result of habitat loss and pesticide contamination this small falcon was reduced to only four known wild birds in 1974.

Through captive breeding and release, and management of wild pairs, the population increased to about 100 pairs in 1996 with an estimate of 400 kestrels in the overall population. Today there are believed to be more than 1,000! With the help of the Mauritian Wildlife Appeal Fund, The Peregrine Fund, and others, a fantastic recovery was witnessed.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

BACK FROM VACATION...

Apologies for the lack of updates, but I'm back from vacation and catching up on the news, feeds and emails. More posts soon...

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

KAKAPO PARROTS - Kakapo Hatch a Name 2005 Competition Winners

Scoop announces the winners of the Kakapo Hatch a Name 2005 Competition. The four names chosen for the 2005 Kakapo chicks are Pounamu, Yasmin, Pura and Kumi.
Conservation Minister Chris Carter is pleased to announce the winners of a national competition among school children to name New Zealand's four new kakapo chicks. They are:

- Jade Cassidy (8yrs) of Sunnynook Primary School in Auckland, who chose the name Pounamu because it means 'precious jewel'

- Yasmeen Musa (9yrs) of Waihopai School in Invercargill, who chose her own name Yasmin, which means flower in Arabic

- William Hewitt (15yrs) of Verdon College in Invercargill, who provided a compelling whakapapa for his winning entry Pura

- Kate Stretton (12yrs) of Rangiora High School in North Canterbury, who chose the name Kumi because it means fabulous creature.
Full story and more information at the Scoop website.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

MOUNTAIN GORILLAS - Ebola Virus Threatens Gorillas, Chimps

News from ENN: Environmental News Network on the threat that the deadly poses to endangered animals such as the gorillas and chimpanzees of Central Africa.
Conservationists say the dreaded Ebola virus along with decades of hunting and logging are putting some ape species on the brink of extinction in Central Africa.

Ebola, which kills through massive internal bleeding, has long been known to infect primates in Africa. It was first identified in 1976 and has since killed about 1,000 people, some of whom are believed to have contracted the disease by consuming or handling infected meat from wild animals.

Most at risk are western lowland gorillas and the Central African chimpanzee, both of which live in the dense rain forests of Central Africa, Conservation International said in a statement.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

GREAT APES - Apes 'extinct in a generation'

The BBC is among a number of sites reporting on "The World Atlas of Great Apes and their Conservation", a new book from the UN which highlights the plight of the Great Apes and suggests that the Apes could be 'extinct in a generation'.
Some of the great apes - chimps, gorillas, and orangutans - could be extinct in the wild within a human generation, a new assessment concludes.
[...]
The World Atlas of Great Apes and their Conservation is published by the UN's environment and biodiversity agencies.

It brings together data from many sources in an attempt to assess comprehensively the prospects for the remaining great apes; the gorillas, chimpanzees and bonobos of Africa, and the orangutans of south-east Asia.

The general conclusion is that the outlook is poor.