Picture of the week: View from a cave (3)

My third cave (over-under) picture, taken with Olympus  E M1 II, Lumix 7-14 G-Vario lens at 10mm, Zen WA-1-EP7-14 dome. ISO 250, @10, 1/50. Giens Peninsula. Grotte de la Calanque du blé nr.1 France.

News: Dying manatees

Hundreds of Florida manatees have died this year along the state’s east coast,  indicating an unusual mortality event. Section of the animals showed atrophy in vital organs –telltale signs of starvation. Decades of water pollution from farming and real estate development have pushed the ecosystem to the brink, causing the manatees to perish from almost entirely manmade diseases. Generations of manatees have learned to return to the warm water of coastal power plants, where algal blooms and overgrazing have decimated seagrass coverage. 

News: New Ecocide legislation to save the world?

People gather around a dead fin whale that washed ashore on a beach in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon on February 19, 2021.

Jojo Mehta is co-founder and director of Stop Ecocide International, an organization that is now active in fifteen countries. It aims at Ecocide legislation that should change our behavior with respect to the environment.  Ecocide is the destruction of nature and biodiversity. New ecocide legislation should make large-scale environmental destruction a crime. It implies not only punishing the individual ‘bad boys’ responsible for illegal dumping and poaching but also changing the policies of companies and countries, responsible for structural damage of the environment, which is now often considered as the unavoidable spin-off of large-scale industries. Think of leaking oil tankers and their effect on sea mammals en coral reefs,  and the destruction of rainforests, the habitats of thousands of rare wild species.

Source: NRC, Buitenland 15,  14 July 2021.



Highlighted: Time for rewilding the seas?

Time for rewilding the seas? The answer seems yes; provided that.. Rewilding de oceans is a beautiful idea, but not without creating better conditions for the survival of the vanishing species and ruthless killing op top predators for human consumption. Marine parks are the sites where these initiatives could have a chance of success.  For example, the Raja Ampat Islands in the West Papua province of Indonesia could soon become the site of the world’s first release of captive-bred sharks. The species in question is the zebra shark (Stegostoma fasciatum, sometimes called tigrinum), known as the leopard shark locally, which is classified as endangered largely due to overfishing, in particular to meet the rising demand for shark fin soup. “People from other countries will come to Raja Ampat to see this charismatic creature,” says Prof Charlie Heatubun, head of the research and development agency at the provincial government of West Papua, a key partner in the reintroduction efforts. 

News: Shark friendships

Bull sharks, large and inquisitive animals that can reach up to 3.5 meters in length, are one of the main attractions of Fiji. The marine protected area off the coast of Fiji’s largest island Viti Levu is home to eight sharks and hundreds of fish species. Little is known about social interactions between sharks. But apex predators like bull sharks show preferences for certain individuals resembling friendship and avoid others, according to new research on sharks in Fiji.  By identifying sharks by permanent features such as scars, wounds, missing and/or damaged fins, scientists could watch if the same individual sharks were drawn together again and again.  In the Fiji study associations between bull sharks were based on “co-occurrence,” such that individuals present during the same dive were considered as part of the same group. The analysis provides an estimate of the probability of two individuals that are associating at any given time, also the probability of being associated after various time lags. Theresults suggest that the aggregation resulting from direct feeding has served to facilitate the development of social associations.


E-Book. Click on the Icon to download the PDF file

 This ‘E-book’  contains an updated collection of around 80  blog articles from the last three years.  I here provide two separate content lists, a list in which the articles are ordered according to the five most often recurring themes, and a chronological list. A simple click on the title will hopefully guide you to the article of your choice. For download,  click  next to the  PDF icon