Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Clive Anderson's Save the Rhino Appeal **UPDATED**

Clive Anderson appeals on behalf of Save the Rhino. Save the Rhino works to conserve viable populations of critically endangered rhinos in Africa and Asia.
Listen now on the BBC Radio 4 website

1300 Enchanted by Kakapo Chicks

Six of 2009's Kakapo chicks proved a popular attraction over the weekend, with as many as 1300 people filing through the Invercargill Workingmen's Club to see them. The Southland Times has the story.
As each group entered the darkened room the smiles quickly spread on the faces in the crowd with oohs and aahs and plenty of finger pointing.

"They're much bigger than I thought they would be," seven-year-old Luke Holland said, while eight-year-old Callum Taylor was enchanted by two of the chicks playing clumsily in the enclosure.
[...]
One observer, Colin Winter, said that seeing the kakapo first hand reinforced his view they must be protected. "They're unique, there's nothing like them in the world and today shows what great work DOC are doing to save them."

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Towel Day Tomorrow - Do You Know Where Your Towel Is?

Tomorrow, May 25, is Towel Day 2009. Towel Day is an annual celebration, and tribute to the late author Douglas Adams (1952-2001), when fans around the universe proudly carry a towel in his honour.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Fry Records TV Series Commentaries

Despite a lingering dicky tummy, Stephen Fry recorded commentaries for three episodes of the Last Chance To See TV series yesterday. From Twitter...
Tummy seems to be improving. Commentary tracks for three of the Last Chance To See films to be done this morning. About to walk in to town.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Another Chance To See Kakapo Chicks

New Zealand's Southland Times has the news that visitors to Invercargill will have the opportunity to view some of this season's 33 surviving Kakapo chicks (3 more died), who will be on display at the Invercargill Workingmen's Club from 10am to 4pm on Saturday May 23rd.
Conservation Department Kakapo Recovery Team leader Diedre Vercoe said being able to share the special birds with the public was a wonderful way to celebrate what has been an incredible breeding season.
[...]
They hoped to have three chicks on display in the morning and two in the afternoon. Exact numbers would depend on how well the birds coped with the attention, she said.

Of the 33 [surviving] chicks hatched this season, 20 were male and 13 female. The recovery team had hoped for more females but was still pleased with the results, she said.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Clive Anderson's Save the Rhino Appeal: BBC Radio 4, May 24th

From Save The Rhino's monthly newsletter...
BBC Radio 4 Appeal in aid of Save the Rhino International’s environmental education programmes in Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia.

Barrister, broadcaster, comedian and author Clive Anderson is to make an appeal on BBC Radio 4 on Sunday 24 May in aid of three environmental education programmes supported by Save the Rhino International. Clive was inspired by the late, great Douglas Adams, who spoke and wrote about the plight of one of the rhino species in his radio series and book, “Last Chance to See.”

Tune in to hear the appeal which will be broadcast on Sunday 24 May at 7.55am and repeated at 9.26pm and again on Thursday 28 May at 3.27pm at 92-95 FM & 198 LW. To learn more about the appeal please click here. Please tell friends and family to tune in too! Thank you.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Kakapo Cold Storage

Here's another Kakapo Ranger Diary, direct from Invercargill in New Zealand. It's currently a "hive of activity" as they are hand-rearing 26 of this year's Kakapo chicks.
Hand rearing on this scale is the kind of madness not even Daryl would dream of. The chicks here have all come off the island due to the fact that they were either ill or not putting on weight at the required rate, a sure sign mum isn't coping with her precious young charges.

It's a far cry from those long summer days out and about on Codfish Island finding mating sign and nests, then later on racing around those nests at night checking on eggs and chicks but it really is the business end of the season now. The goal of fully fledged juvenile kakapo is almost in sight now and getting closer with every new green feather that grows.
Continues...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Excess Baggage: Mountain Gorillas in Uganda

In this week's episode of BBC Radio 4's Excess Baggage...
John McCarthy talks to two winners of the Whitley Awards for International Nature Conservation who have been tackling the problems of human beings and wild animals living side by side. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka is a wildlife vet working with mountain gorillas in Uganda and has started a project to prevent the spread of diseases between people and gorillas. Jittin Ritthirat works in Thailand trying to reconcile the needs of the wild elephants with the interests of the human residents of and visitors to the monsoon forest.
The episode is available for streaming online or as an MP3 podcast. To subscribe to the show's weekly MP3, here's the RSS feed.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Kakapo Encounter 2009

Kakapo EncounterI'm delighted to tell you that the Kakapo Encounter with Sirocco is back for 2009, with nightly departures to Ulva Island running September 26 to October 26.

Wildlife Extra has more news on this event, and there's an early bird special if you book your tickets by 30th June ($85 per adult, $45 per child).
Today, there are just 125 kakapo alive, though this is a major achievement for a bird that was down to just 51 in 1995. Once prevalent throughout New Zealand, kakapo now reside on the predator-free Codfish Island under the care of the Kakapo Recovery Programme. Typically only scientists involved in the programme have had the opportunity to behold this rare and mysterious bird. That changed three years ago with the inception of Kakapo Encounter. In the Spring of 2006, the Ulva Island Charitable Trust hosted Kakapo Encounter on the predator-free bird sanctuary Ulva Island and invited the public to come observe a kakapo.
Here's the location of Ulva Island. The full Google Maps and versions links to this location are available below.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Huge Population of Rare Dolphins Discovered

Here's some news from a few weeks ago. A large population of some 6000 Irrawaddy dolphins were recently found living in Bangladesh’s Sundarbans mangrove forest and the Bay of Bengal. Full story at Newswise.com.
“With all the news about freshwater environments and state of the Oceans, WCS’s discovery that a thriving population of Irrawaddy dolphins exists in Bangladesh gives us hope for protecting this and other endangered species and their important habitats,” said Dr. Steven E. Sanderson, President and CEO of the Wildlife Conservation Society. “WCS is committed to conservation of these iconic marine species from dolphins, sea turtles, sharks to the largest whales.”

“This discovery gives us great hope that there is a future for Irrawaddy dolphins,” said Brian D. Smith, the study’s lead author. “Bangladesh clearly serves as an important sanctuary for Irrawaddy dolphins, and conservation in this region should be a top priority.”

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Eighth Douglas Adams Memorial Lecture - Marcus du Sautoy on "42"

According to their website and the latest issue of Save The Rhino's "The Horn" newsletter, The Eighth Douglas Adams Memorial Lecture will take place on Thursday, March 11th, 2010. (Douglas Adams' birthday)

The lecture will be given by Oxford Professor of Mathematics Marcus du Sautoy on the very Douglas Adams-ie subject of "42". Proceeds will go towards Save the Rhino International and the Environmental Investigation Agency.

For tickets (which cost £15) please contact Fiona Macleod for tickets, phone +44 (0)20 7357 7474.
Marcus du Sautoy is the Charles Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science and Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of New College. He has been named by the Independent on Sunday as one of the UK's leading scientists. In 2001 he won the prestigious Berwick Prize of the London Mathematical Society awarded every two years to reward the best mathematical research made by a mathematician under 40. In 2004 Esquire Magazine chose him as one of the 100 most influential people under 40 in Britain and in 2008 he was included in the prestigious directory Who’s Who.

Marcus du Sautoy writes for the Times, Daily Telegraph, Independent and the Guardian and is frequently asked for comment on BBC radio and television. He has a regular column in the Times called Sexy Maths.
Photo Credit: Niall McDiarmid

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

TV - "Wild Vets" featuring Kakapo vets

Starting Sunday May 17 at 7pm on TV One in New Zealand, a new series called "Wild Vets" follows vets working in the wild and in zoos throughout New Zealand.
Wild Vets won't tell you the truth about cats and dogs.

But it will profile a group of wildlife vets whose work ranges from the recently publicised kakapo recovery on Codfish Island (just south of Stewart Island) to the importation of gibbons bound for Orana Wildlife Park in Christchurch and serval cats and cheetahs for Wellington Zoo.
In other news, Associate Minister of Conservation Kate Wilkinson had a hands-on inspection of the Kakapo Recovery Programme on Codfish Island last weekend.
“It’s a real treat to get the opportunity to see how the programme is working and observe the kakapo in their habitat,” Ms Wilkinson says.

“Those involved in the recovery programme are doing an amazing job, particularly the huge number of volunteers who spend countless hours caring for nests and kakapo chicks in the breeding season.

“The new chicks offer a real life-line to the survival of the kakapo, as 40 percent of the population have been in the programme since its founding in 1995 and are now over breeding age.”
Scoop has the full story.