Sunday, April 30, 2006

Friday, April 28, 2006

KAKAPO PARROTS - Comparison: Only 35 Fairy Terns left

New Zealand's Scoop with news of coastal development that threatens their few critically fairy terns.
New Zealand fairy terns may be the most critically endangered bird in New Zealand, and perhaps even the world’s rarest tern, new DNA evidence suggests.

Research by Auckland University that suggests New Zealand fairy terns have unique DNA characteristics heightens concerns that a proposed subdivision of up to 2000 houses near Mangawhai Heads poses a serious threat to the terns’survival.
[...]
With just 35 birds left, the New Zealand fairy terns are New Zealand’s most critically endangered bird – with less than half the numbers of the iconic kakapo (of which there are 86).
If Mark Carwardine were to ever write a sequel to "Last Chance to See", perhaps the fairy tern would be one of the potential endangered animals he could visit. Personally, I think he should go with Stephen Fry. Stephen's "Rescuing the Spectacled Bear" reminded me of "Last Chance to See" in lots of ways.

If it ever happened, what other animals do you think a sequel should contain?

Thursday, April 27, 2006

KAKAPO PARROTS - Stewart Island Photo Album

This German photo album of Stewart Island is quite nice. It features a close-up of a Kaka forest parrot rather than a Kakapo.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

AYE-AYE LEMURS - Duke Lemur Center: New Name, New Goals

Duke University has announced that their primate's 40-year-old home is getting a makeover and a new name.
“Our new name, the Lemur Center, reflects a refocusing of our scientific goals and overall mission,” said Anne D. Yoder , the center’s director since Jan. 1.

Although the center houses several types of prosimians, a suborder of primates, lemurs are the stars. “It makes sense to rename the center,” Yoder said. “Its unique value lies with its collection of lemurs, which is the largest outside of their native Madagascar, an island off the southeast coast of Africa. We want to leverage this resource to benefit science.”

The center will officially unveil its new name and scientific agenda on Saturday, April 29, at a celebration beginning at 5 p.m. at the center.

GOOGLE CALENDAR - One click sign-up

Thanks to commentor Carl, I've now succeeded in setting up one-click sign up for our Event Schedule.

Simply click the button below and it will prompt you to add the Another Chance To See Event Schedule to your .

KOMODO DRAGONS - Komodo dragon births leave experts vexed

IOL with a nice surprise on the Komodo Dragon babies front...
Zoologists on Monday said they were delighted and perplexed at the birth of four rare Komodo dragons, whose paternity remains a mystery.

The four reptiles were born last month from a clutch laid at London Zoo by a female called Sungai.

Sungai normally lives at the Thoiry wildlife park, west of Paris, but was lent to London as part of a European breeding programme to help this badly-endangered species.

DOUGLAS ADAMS MEMORIAL DEBATE - 27th April 2006

**REPOST REMINDER**

Tickets are now available for the Douglas Adams Memorial Debate 2006, being held on April 27th, 2006 at "SCI-FI-LONDON 5" - the 5th London international festival of science fiction and fantastic film.

Presented by the INSTITUTE OF IDEAS, the debate is entitled "The Battle for the Future: who controls the future controls the present?".
Science fiction gives us free rein to explore our hopes and fears for the future, and conflicting ideas about the future have an obvious bearing on what we do in the here and now. Today's concerns about the future range from global climate change to the unintended consequences of nanotechnology.
[..]
Confirmed guests:

Michael Hanlon, science editor, Daily Mail; author, The Science of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Sandy Starr, technology editor, spiked-online; film reviewer, The Sun
Full details, and ticketing information at the Sci-Fi London 5 site.

Click this button to subscribe directly to our site's Calendar of Events...

BAIJI DOLPHINS - Ganges river dolphins at risk from poaching, pollution

River dolphin related news at NewKerala.com with a report on the Ganges River Dolphin.
Alarmed at the death of about six endangered Ganges river dolphins in Bihar, wildlife activists have called for urgent action to check their poaching and pollution of the river.

Around half a dozen dolphins have been killed by poachers and fishermen in the last one month in the Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary in this south east Bihar district, one of the four freshwater dolphin sanctuaries in the world.

KAKAPO PARROTS - Salmonella outbreak in stitchbirds on island in Hauraki Gulf

Radio New Zealand has news of a salmonella outbreak in stitchbirds on island in Hauraki Gulf, and mentions the bacterial infection that killed three Kakapo Parrots in 2004.
Transfers of birds off a Hauraki Gulf island have been halted following an outbreak of salmonella.

A new strain of the bacteria has killed 10 rare stitchbirds, or hihi, on Tiritiri Matangi Island. The Department of Conservation says it's the first time the strain has been detected in birds in New Zealand.

A DoC spokesperson, Rolien Elliot, said planned transfers have been halted for six months, as a precaution. She said the move affects the relocation of hihi, whiteheads, kokako, bellbirds and takahe.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

DOCTOR WHO - TARDIS to land in New Zealand?

Here's an article on the like electronic wizardry being employed to held save New Zealand's endangered animals like the Kiwi and Kakapo Parrot.
An awful lot of Kiwi ingenuity goes on in garden sheds. Usually that ingenuity is limited to the No 8 fencing wire, highway-going rotary hoe-building variety.

But what goes on in Havelock North electronics whizz Daryl Olsen's shed is, well ... for the birds.

Like 's time-travelling , the unassuming wooden structure opens up to reveal a futuristic plethora of winking, whirring, bleeping gadgetry.

It's from here that Daryl's company KiwiTrack is producing state-of-the-art technology to help the Department of Conservation restock New Zealand's forests with native birds like the endangered kakapo, saddleback and North Island brown kiwi.

EARTH DAY - Endangered animals Millennium Ecosystem Assessment

As the 36th Annual dawns...
The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment says about 12% of birds, 25% of mammals and nearly a third of amphibians world-wide are threatened with extinction over the coming century. In the U.S., the Dusky Seaside Sparrow -- a Florida songbird -- became extinct in 1990. In Southeast Asia, the number of Sumatran Rhinoceroses -- hunted for their horns used in traditional Chinese medicine -- is down to about 300 from 2,000 two decades ago.

There have been some success stories in saving once-endangered species. In 1963, there were only 417 breeding pairs of Bald Eagles left in the lower 48 states. Now there are more than 7,000, in part because DDT, a once commonly used pesticide, was banned in 1972. The mountain Gorilla in Rwanda also is recovering.
Full Story at WSJ.com.

KAKAPO PARROTS - Bird escape puts natives at risk

Hawkes Bay Today with news of some feathered fugitives that could pose a threat to New Zealand's domestic parrot populations, including the Kakapos of course.
The parakeets that escaped from the Botanical Gardens in Napier could pose a threat to New Zealand's native parrot population, says Forest and Bird's conservation manager.

The parakeets have disappeared after a hole was cut in the side of their cage on the weekend. Napier police said talk of a bird smuggling ring was "pure speculation".

Kevin Hackwell said exotic birds should never be released to the wild because they could compete with native birds and harbour disease.

Native parrots in New Zealand include several species of parakeet (kakariki); the kea, the world's only alpine parrot; the kaka, a forest parrot; and the kakapo, one of the world's rarest birds.
Full story, and reward details here.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

NORTHERN WHITE RHINOS - Rhino Mayday 2006

Save the Rhino International is organising a May Day on Thursday 1 June, from 10.30-18.15, in ZSL’s Huxley Conference Theatre in Regent's Park, Central London.
The Mayday is being organised by Save the Rhino International, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and the British & Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA). Nick Lindsay from ZSL, Chair of the EAZA Rhino Campaign 2005/6, will also chair the 2006 Rhino Mayday.

Maydays aim to present rhino conservation and the work done in the field by specialists who come to talk about their work. Topics range from security and anti-poaching, monitoring and research to education and community-based conservation.

This year, the talks will focus in particular on the African and Asian projects selected for the EAZA Rhino Campaign. Virtually all of the beneficiary projects will be represented, with talks lasting between 15 and 30 minutes. Each will be followed by a short question-and-answer session; longer conversations can take place over lunchtime, tea and at the Mayday evening drinks. All net profits will be donated by Save the Rhino to the Campaign, which aims to raise 350,000 euros for these in situ rhino conservation projects.

MOUNTAIN GORILLAS - Travel in style and substance

The Telegraph website posted an article recently on the growth industry of Eco Tourism.
There was a time when the term eco-tourism conjured up images of sandal-wearing Swampy types who spent their holidays exploring recycling plants, staying in grass huts and eating wild roots in remote wilderness spots. Not any more. These days, almost every self-respecting travel company seems to have some sort of "eco" aspect to its programme: from promoting environmentally aware hotels and water-saving schemes, to encouraging the purchase of the produce and services of local communities.
[...]
The website www.responsibletravel.com provides a good overview of the issues involved and offers a wide range of eco-tourism holidays, from romantic getaways in the Maldives to mountain gorilla safaris in Africa.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

MOUNTAIN GORILLAS - Richard Bangs Adventures

Here is an excellent 5-part article (with videos) on a recent Expedition To Rwanda by Richard Bangs, accompanied by actress Daryl Hannah. With 20% of the world's population lacking access to safe drinking water, it is proving to be the most vital commodity a country has, more important that food, oil or money. The destruction of Mountain Gorilla habitat is partly the result of the country's thirst for new water supplies...
Day 1 - Can Clean Water Save Rwanda?
It seems paradoxical that 350 mountain gorillas living on a range of fertile volcanoes in Central Africa could be in jeopardy over water issues.

Day 2 - Silverback Mountain
After an orientation in a tin hut in the midst of a rainstorm, we begin our trek up Muhavura volcano in search of the gorillas.

Day 3 - Daryl Hannah Turns It On

A ribbon stretches across the entrance to the cistern, and Daryl Hannah is presented with a pair of scissors to do the honors.

Day 4 - Celebration at the Gitaraga Cistern
"And the gorillas themselves are too shrewd to talk...they have a very healthy wariness about people in general and government people in particular."

Day 5 - Guardians of the Gorillas
Here in Rwanda a culture shift is underway, and for the moment the gorilla population is safe, and growing.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

KAKAPO PARROTS - Sanctuary fence has first major injection of cash

Here's New Zealand's Scoop with a promising development in the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary project, which aims to keep the pests firmly out and the conservation creatures in with a 14km fence.
Birds in - stoats out: the fence at the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary has its first major injection of cash.

The Canterbury Community Trust today announced support of $210,000 to be paid over three years, in the first grant specifically towards the construction of the pest-proof fence.
[...]
The 14km pest-proof fence will contain over 700 hectares of the former Water Reserve at the head of the Brook Valley. Eradication of all the pests within this area of forest will create a sanctuary for the eventual re-introduction of the full range of species lost from the area, from kiwi to tuatara and kakapo. The current estimate for the cost of the fence is $3,200,000, however competition from a new contender may bring this down.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

BAIJI DOLPHINS - Pilot Expedition 2006

Baiji.org has a detailed report (with pictures) on the recent Pilot 06 expedition to search for the Baiji . This expedition was a learning exercise prelude to a full expedition in November 2006.
From 17th to 25th March 2006, an international team of specialists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) Wuhan Institute of Hydrobiology (IHB), Swiss EAWAG Institute and US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) led a Pilot Freshwater Dolphin Expedition along China’s Yangtze River to develop survey methodology to find the critically endangered baiji and finless porpoise. The findings of the Pilot Expedition will be used to maximise the results of the wide range Expedition of November 06

The team spent nine days aboard a large dolphin research vessel, travelling 235km along the Yangtze between the densely populated riverside cities of Wuhan and Yueyang; testing survey methodology, deploying acoustical monitoring equipment, and sampling river water quality in an effort to better understand China’s rare baiji river dolphin and its ever developing freshwater habitat.
[...]
The team are in the process of producing a detailed Pilot Yangtze Freshwater Dolphin Expedition Survey Design Report. This will be available to download from the baiji.org website on April 20th.
Read the full story here.

BAIJI DOLPHINS - Baiji Whistle and Yangtze noise

Baiji.org has a page with a couple of audio downloads, the whistle of a Baiji Dolphin and also the sound of the Yangtze River. (I'm somewhat skeptical about the last one though)

Friday, April 14, 2006

MARK CARWARDINE - Whale Watching - Baja California Holiday

Mark Carwardine's website is publicising the opportunity to join Mark on an extended whale watching expedition in 2007 or 2008.
The whale-watching trip of a lifetime! Baja California is one of the best places in the world for whale and dolphin watching. During this superb holiday we hope to see as many as 15 different species - as well as a host of other wildlife.

Sunday 11 February - Sunday 25 February 2007 (£2,395 per person sharing;)

Monday 12 March - Monday 26 March 2007 (£2,395 per person sharing;) (we have half a charter with Mark as guide; 12 places available - please e-mail info_AT_markcarwardine.com for extra information)

Monday 11 February - Monday 25 February 2008 (£2,495 per person sharing)
Expensive trips, but I well worth it I imagine. Now, where's my lottery tickets...?

These dates have been added to our Google Calendar Event Schedule. Copy the URL from this ICal chicklet Add Event Schedule to Calendar (eg Google Calendar) into your Google Calendar "Other Calendars" section.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

ANOTHER CHANCE TO SEE - Calendar & Podcast

I'm pleased to announce a number of new ways to enjoy Another Chance To See. As the previous post mentioned, I have just added a new ICal formatted Calendar Of Events, created with Google Calendar. Copy the URL from this ICal chicklet Add Event Schedule to Calendar (eg Google Calendar) into your Google Calendar "Other Calendars" section to keep up-to-date on all Last Chance To See related events!

Among the new feed chicklets available at the top of this site, you will find a link to an automated Talkr of this site. Link to Podcast (RSS feed) for this blog
You can paste this URL into your favourite podcasting software, or just listen to the posts individually direct from the "Listen to this post" links.

And if you hadn't noticed, I recently added a pseudo-Categories option in the right side-bar which should help you find posts about the animal you're most interested in. Just "Click to expand" the list...

NOTE: If anyone requires a GMail invite to get started with Google Calendar, just shoot me an email or drop a comment on this post. I have plenty of invitations available.

DOUGLAS ADAMS MEMORIAL DEBATE - 27th April 2006

Tickets are now available for the Douglas Adams Memorial Debate 2006, being held on April 27th, 2006 at "SCI-FI-LONDON 5" - the 5th London international festival of science fiction and fantastic film.

Presented by the INSTITUTE OF IDEAS, the debate is entitled "The Battle for the Future: who controls the future controls the present?".
Science fiction gives us free rein to explore our hopes and fears for the future, and conflicting ideas about the future have an obvious bearing on what we do in the here and now. Today's concerns about the future range from global climate change to the unintended consequences of nanotechnology.
[..]
Confirmed guests:

Michael Hanlon, science editor, Daily Mail; author, The Science of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Sandy Starr, technology editor, spiked-online; film reviewer, The Sun
Full details, and ticketing information at the Sci-Fi London 5 site.

I'm also pleased to announce that this event is the first entry in our new ICal formatted Calendar Of Events, created using the spanky new Google Calendar. Copy the URL from this ICal chicklet Add Event Schedule to Calendar (eg Google Calendar) into your Google Calendar "Other Calendars" section to keep up-to-date on all Last Chance To See related events!

NOTE: If anyone requires a GMail invite to get started with Google Calendar, just shoot me an email or drop a comment on this post. I have plenty of invitations available.

MOUNTAIN GORILLAS - (VIDEO) WWF Uganda Gorillas in Bwindi National Park

Here's an informative video from Television on Mountain Gorillas in Uganda. Running time 7 min 44 sec. (www.panda.org)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

DOUGLAS ADAMS - Last Chance To See... Liverpool Pubs?!?

Couple of bloggers making reference to Douglas Adams and Last Chance To See this week.

Here's pseudotsuga99 comparing the call of the Kakapo Parrot to his Pink Floyd collection (as Douglas Adams suggested).
"I've heard a tape of collected kakapo noises, and its almost impossible to believe that it all just comes from one bird, or indeed any kind of animal. Pink Floyd out-takes perhaps, but not a parrot."

Well, I've listened to everything Pink Floyd has ever recorded, and this seems to fit. Interesting eh?
And here's AG_McGee at Number 667 bemoaning the endangered British pub. It's being ousted by Starbucks and the like in and he's not a happy man. He's decided to go on his own Last Chance To See adventure...
So in the style of Douglas Adams's "Last Chance To See", it's time to take a tour around these quality drinking establishments. I've been trying to compile a list of in Liverpool City Centre and it's my intention to visit all of these fine drinking holes (and some not so fine). I will of course discount anywhere that advertises itself as a bar; these places are ashamed of their pub status in the metrosexual Noughties and so must be shunned. Other than that, if it's a pub in the centre it has to be visited.
That's a long list of pubs! Knowing how fond of pubs Douglas Adams was, I think this is a project he would have approved of. I wish you luck. Let us know how you get on.

BAIJI DOLPHINS - Severn Barrage plan shocks greens

News Wales with the news that plans for a Severn River Barrage may be going ahead, angering conservationists, describing it as their own Three Gorges Dam.
Three major environmental groups are shocked at rumours that First Minister Rhodri Morgan is to announce this week that the Assembly Government is to recommend to the UK Government Energy Review to build the Severn Barrage.

The unexpected announcement by the First Minister was made at the Welsh Local Government Association conference on Friday during which he described the Severn Barrage as "our equivalent to the Three Gorges Dam" in China, which has been described as an environmental and social disaster, set to make an estimated 1.2 million people homeless and the 'Baiji', a unique species of white dolphin, extinct.

MOUNTAIN GORILLAS - Travel with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund

More exciting news in this month's DFGFI Field News about travel opportunities to Africa...
In 2006, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund is organizing two special trips to see the mountain gorillas of Rwanda and other wildlife in the region. Both trips will be led by our staff members and will include visits with our Karisoke Research Center researchers and trackers.
More information at allAfrica.com.

Monday, April 10, 2006

DIAN FOSSEY - Gorilla Fund International Global Conservation Award

The latest issue of DFGFI Field News reports on Dr. E.O. Wilson who, on April 20, will receive the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International's Global Conservation Award.
One of the world's most preeminent living scientists, the retired Harvard professor is also known for his many books (including two Pulitzer prize winners).
[...]
DFGFI's Global Conservation Award is given to honor those who have made significant contributions to conservation in various ways. Previous honorees include Ted Turner, Lessie Smithgall, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, and Sigourney Weaver (honorary chair of DFGFI).

Sunday, April 09, 2006

MOUNTAIN GORILLAS - Pablo's Group Update

The monthly update from the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund tells us that Pablo's group has been camped a long way from the researchers.
Pablo's group of mountain gorillas (one of the three that we track regularly from the Karisoke Research Center) has been spending much of the time far into the forest on the eastern slopes of Mt. Karisimbi, requiring Karisoke trackers to camp at the edge of the park in order for them to be able to reach the group in good time.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

DOUGLAS ADAMS - Where's my organ donor?

Kapgar.com writes of one of his commenters...
I found an interesting note from Dave2. He said:

"Oh, and before I forget... the best reading/signing I have ever been to was Douglas Adams when he was signing his masterpiece "Last Chance to See" and reading from the final "Hitchhiker's" book.

So glad I got to meet him before he died (and have him sign my "Better Beezer Credit Application" from my "Bureaucracy" Infocom game that he wrote."


I found it hilarious that he had Douglas Adams sign a video game credit application and I'm sure Adams was amused by it as well.
Marvellous.

KAKAPO PARROTS - Welcome To Wikipedia visitors!

Please visit The Kakapo Recovery ProgrammeI'd just like to welcome Wikipedia readers, where the Kakapo Parrot is today's Featured Article (04/08/2006). Many thanks for dropping by.

This site is a tribute to the author Douglas Adams who wrote about the Kakapo Parrot in his celebrated book Last Chance To See. The chapter in the book about the Kakapo is "Heartbeats in the Night" and Douglas Adams famously wrote that the Kakapo "flies like a brick". "Not only has it forgotten how to fly, it has forgotten that it has forgotten how to fly".

is a hugely entertaining book in which Douglas Adams visited many highly endangered animals including Mountain Gorilla, Northern White Rhino, blind Yangtze Dolphins as well as the wonderful Kakapo Parrot. A very entertaining read!

Thanks again for visiting!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

EXCESS BAGGAGE - Branding and Tourism

The March 4th episode of BBC Radio 4's Excess Baggage with Sandi Toksvig featured a couple of Last Chance To See related snippets.

Firstly, the challenges that post-genocide Rwanda has faced in rebuilding its reputation as a tourism centre since 1994 has largely centered around their Mountain Gorilla population.

The "Homer Simpson" syndrome mentioned in the programme would probably equally apply to Rwanda in light of movies like "Hotel Rwanda" (starring Don Cheadle) and "Shooting Dogs" starring John Hurt.

And secondly, the effect of the movie "Madagascar" on tourism there. One disappointed traveller learning (after they had bought their air tickets) that Madagascar does not have populations of lion, zebra and giraffe...

Streaming audio is available at the Excess Baggage site of course.

WHITE RHINOS - Southern White Rhino Round-Up

Click2Houston.com has sad news of the death of Marci, a Southern White Rhino who had been at Houston Zoo for 35 years.
Somebody else is also feeling her loss: Bu, the other rhino at the zoo.

On Friday morning, Bu slowly walked around his yard as if looking for something.

Rhinos are nearsighted and depend mainly on their hearing and sense of smell. Marci's scent was still in the pen, and will linger there for days. Marci was 38 when she died Thursday morning.

In happier news, ABC Western Plains NSW (Australia) reports on the birth of a Southern White Rhino at Western Plains Zoo.
While the southern version of the rhino has come back from the brink of extinction, the northern White Rhino is still critically endangered. Numbers were as low as 50 last century but the southern white has come back and now numbers over 11,000. The same can't be said further north where limited rangelands and poaching for their horns are taking a significant toll.

The new addition in Dubbo is the tenth Southern White Rhino to be born here equalling the number of Black Rhino births at Western Plains Zoo.

Monday, April 03, 2006

MOUNTAIN GORILLAS - Lecture By Dr Bill Weber

The Concord Monitor announces a free lecture on Thursday, April 6th (7pm) entitled "Gorillas to Grizzlies: Saving Them, Saving Us" by Drs. Bill Weber and Amy Vedder, co-authors of the acclaimed In the Kingdom of Gorillas.
This talk, on Thursday at 7 p.m. at Sweeney Hall Auditorium on the campus of the New Hampshire Technical Institute, will describe the shining success Drs. Weber and Vedder have had in saving the gorillas during the turbulent political upheavals that plagued Rwanda. It will offer lessons learned in Africa as perspective on current conservation efforts from the Alaskan Arctic to Yellowstone to the Great Northern Forest.

A large audience is expected for this special program. Admission is free and refreshments will be served after the presentation.