Saturday, 12 May 2012

News you may have missed

As a break from series focussing on the animals on display, here are some news items that probably did not make the front page of your paper. For the full stories and more, check out the conservation links on the right.

Mauritius Wildlife Foundation:

Rodrigues Fruit Bat
MWF has saved most of the surviving bird species of Mauritius, home of the dodo, and is now working on environmental restoration of the pre-discovery habitats on Mauritius and the related island of Rodrigues. For more news check out their website.

• A count in February this year shows the current wild population of Rodrigues Fruit bats to still be over 10,000 individuals, despite two cyclones in the previous few months.

• MWF was admitted to the IUCN in November 2011

• MWF scientific director Professor Carl Jones is a finalist for the 2012 Indianapolis Prize for outstanding achievements in conservation – see here:

White-Tailed Tropicbird
• An ongoing project to reintroduce seabirds to Isle Aux Aigrettes in 2011 is ongoing. Seabird chicks are taken from Round island a few weeks before fledging and hand reared until they emerge from their nest burrows and have their first sight of the sea. Species involved are White-tailed Tropicbirds Phaethon leucurus, Red-Tailed Tropicbirds Phaethon rubricauda, and Wedge-Tailed Shearwaters Puffinus pacificus. It will be few years before these birds return to breed as adults.

Nature Iraq

Basra Reed Warbler
For obvious reasons conservation in Iraq has not been a high priority for many years, so the work done by the dedicated people at Nature Iraq is inspiring. Some recent news items include:
• The 10th Birdlife Middle East Partnership meeting is being held in Sulamaniya from 11th-14th May with participants from all over the Middle East. The conference will discuss bird protection in the region.

• A Reptile and Amphibian Advisory Team has been set up to survey the herpetofauna of the country (the last study was in 1959) and advise on conservation issues affecting reptiles and amphibians, including the Critically Endangered Kurdistan Newt Neurergus microspilotus.

Kurdistan Newt
• Nature Iraq has added its voice to the petition to UNESCO over the highly controversial Ilisu dam in Turkey, which will seriously affect both archaeological sites and the remaining wetlands in southern Iraq

• Thanks to a £300,000 Grant from Defra’s Darwin Initiative, a major new three year conservation programme is starting in Iraq. Focusing on the mountainous region of Kurdistan the project will involve experts from the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) and BirdLife International (BirdLife), in partnership with Iraqi NGO Nature Iraq (NI). The project will generate new data for conservation and resources for protected area management and environmental education. The team’s aim is to make serious progress in addressing the challenges of conservation resulting from nearly 30 years of scientific isolation

And finally at Bristol:

Bristol has successfully bred the Antilles Pink-Toe Tarantula Avicularia versicolor. The babies have now been separated into individual vials for growing on and can be seen in Bug World.

Adult Antilles Pink Toe

Baby Antilles Pink Toe

Our baby gorilla Kukena, born September last year, is now starting to take his first steps.
Salome and Kukena
images from Arkive, Wikipedia, Bristol Zoo website)

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