Thursday, July 31, 2008
These people should be tarred and feathered (and I mean that literally) and never allowed to work as fishermen again. They are a DISGRACE to their profession, to their country, and to their species. And the European Union has revealed itself again as the backwards and inimical organization that it is.
I saw this on the news at 7 tonight, and it made me so mad that I just wanted to punch somebody ... ideally a British fisherman. >:-( You can read about the story here, if you can read Norwegian. I'll see if I can dig up something in English to link to as well.
Basically, this is it: a British trawler has been filmed while dumping huge numbers of cod in the ocean. Dead cod. Cod that they have caught. ENDANGERED cod that they have caught and killed but don't want to 'waste their quota' on. They left Norwegian waters to do it, because it's illegal to dump caught fish like that in this country. It has been for more than twenty years. But the shithead captain of this British ship went into British waters and dumped almost EIGHTY PERCENT of his catch there. More than five fucking tons. He could do this with impunity because under EU rules, this is totally acceptable. >:-( The captain, who knew he would be filmed by our coast guard, apparently said that it was a 'waste' to keep fish that was under 80cm long. He knew it wasn't legal, but he 'had to do it'. :-o I seriously hope he dies. Painfully.
Do these people not understand that we as a species depend on the oceans to live?? Are they SO FUCKING STUPID that they don't realize that the oceans are being depleted, that we are killing the very thing that sustains us?? Are they so ignorant of the fundamentals of their own profession that they don't understand that a cod, that any fish, needs to reach a certain size before it can breed and create more fish for us to catch and eat?? They are destroying their own livelihood for some shortsighted gain. I wouldn't mind, because I SO want these people to lose their livelihood, if it wasn't for the fact that we are basically exterminating one of the most important species that exist in this part of the world. The North Sea cod may already be lost to us, we just don't know it yet. We may have killed this species that was - not at all that long ago - so strong and so enormously plentiful, for no reason than our own repulsive greed.
I hate humans.
British ships dump 24 000 tons of cod in the ocean every year. I hope all those fishermen end up begging in the street.
Nordens Ark er altså en dyrehage skråstrek villmarkspark i Bohuslän i Sverige, ca 2 mil fra Smögen. Det tar litt over 3 timer å kjøre dit fra Oslo. Les om parken her. Det er et helt fantastisk sted, et vakkert naturområde med nydelig beliggenhet, og samtidig en uvanlig vellykket dyrehage. Parken fokuserer delvis på utrydningstruede dyr, og delvis på dyr fra 'vår' del av verden, dvs dyr som hører til i temperert og subarktisk klima. De driver mye med oppdrett og avl på utrydningstruede dyr. Du kan se både pattedyr (f.eks. jerv, ulv, skogsrein, sibirsk tiger og snøleopard), fugler (f.eks. pilgrimsfalk, hubro, eremittibis, stork og hvitrygget hakkespett) og reptiler (f.eks. hoggorm, buorm, grønn frosk, europeisk damskilpadde og pilgiftfrosk). Alt dette mens du vandrer i et vakkert skogsområde. :-) Det finnes to kaféer og en gavebutikk inne på området, og dessuten et hotell hvis du bor for langt unna til å ta det som en dagstur. Hvis ungene blir lei av å se på dyr finnes det også en lekeplass. Alle fasiliteter!! På Landgården kan man dessuten klappe en del av dyrene (sauer, geiter, hester) og man kan også få seg en ridetur.
Kort sagt: det er umulig å ikke like dette stedet. :-) Reis til Nordens Ark idag!!! ;-)
Les alt jeg har skrevet om parken, med ørti bilder som illustrasjon, her.
But first, of course, we had to make the unavoidable stop at the 'museum shop'. ;-) I bought some postcards, a tote bag aand ... a soft toy turtle. It has magnets in its feet, it's going to live on the side of my fridge. ;-)
Since none of us knew the area, we had to drive around for a bit before we managed to find a good spot for our picnic. We ended up in the town park in Munkedal. A tiny little place with a gorgeous park. We were sooo ready for some food ... !! :-) We had so much stuff with us (and we stopped at a grocery store on the way to get even more) so it really was a pretty serious meal. :-)
Left-right: C., me, KAS:
Back on the road again we started to really feel how tired we were. We were pretty much falling asleep for a while there ... although not C., of course, she's a responsible driver. :-) But the rest of us got really quiet for a while. To the point where I felt both guilty and a little nervous since no doubt C. was as tired as the rest of us, and we were all nodding off instead of helping her stay awake and alert. But she stayed focused though. :-) And pretty soon she found a great way to wake us all up ...
No trip to Sweden is complete without going shopping for more food than you really need!! KAS was sensible and only bought various baked goods that are more expensive and often not even available back home (she has gluten intolerance). C. was actually there to buy Coke for her boyfriend (he'd asked her to) but since she was there she could pick up a few other things too ... and then we wandered into the candy section, fools that we were. I bought a huge box of cinnamon and some strawberry and raspberry juice. And licorice string. :-) Well, since we were there ...
Left-right: me, C.:
After these important errands had been taken care of we headed back towards Oslo. The trip took a little over three hours each way. After the shopping expedition we all managed to stay more or less awake. I had of course brought a selection of music to keep us entertained on the way (ABBA, Bonnie Tyler, Pet Shop Boys, Leonard Cohen ... and some more stuff that I think I'm forgetting. :-)
We all got home safely after this pretty busy day. A good time was had by all!! :-D It was a fantastic experience and I can't recommend this wonderful place strongly enough. The Ark, that is. I'm definitely going back there. YOU should go there too!! :-)
Finally, in closing this near-endless series of blog posts, I want to extend a big thank you to KAS, trilltrall and C. for going with me and making the day so much fun, and especially a HUGE thank you to C. for driving us there & back again. And so comfortably, too. ;-) It was very much appreciated. :-)
And a little bitty thank you to me for planning the trip and making it happen. :-)
(Photo credit: KAS)
There were a couple of exhibitions ... one about sheep and other farm animals, and one about honeybees/beekeeping. I didn't read all the info posted in that one but in what I did read I can't remember there being anything about how our species may be extinct in 30 years because the bees are disappearing. (I'm not joking. I'll be getting back to this in a later post.) I guess that's too 'negative' for a place like that, it would get people 'down' or whatever. There's humans for you, if we don't like it, we pretend it isn't happening right up until it kills us. We suck.
But here are some much better species!! Look at the ducklings, the adorable ducklings ... !! Aww!
There were lots of them, and a number of different adult geese, so which babies belonged to which mother was anyone's guess. Soo many different colors and color combinations. And all of them soo cute ... !! :-)
The sun is good. The sun is our friend. The sun ...
Hey, whatcha doin'??
These black hens were of some particular breed that almost went extinct in the last century, but was saved at the last minute. Pretty hens.
Sheep ... :-)
There is this really cool gadget in one of the ... barns ... where you can weigh yourself and see your weight in animals. Unfortunately we didn't take a picture of that, I don't know what we were thinking. C. and I together weigh a reindeer. trilltrall weighs a wolf and two rabbits. :-D
These geese must have thought we were stalking them. But they just walked ahead of us where we were going anyway. They planned their cruel revenge by biting my toes (I was walking first in the group and I was the only one of the four of us who was wearing sandals - bad combination). But I managed to escape. ;-)
(Photo credit: 1-6, 8: KAS; 7, 9: C.)
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
BookCrosser Amberkatze from Vienna has a blog about books. Kudos. :-) She posts reviews, interviews with authors, and sometimes, like now, she has contests. Go here to read her interview with Black and to sign up to win one of several Black books. (LOL! :-D) All you have to do to enter the contest is to post a comment to the blog entry in which you answer this question: What paranormal type do you prefer and why? Demons? Vamps? Faeries? etc.
I'll go post my comment right now. It's vampires for me, no question. ;-)
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Walking to the farm, on a road between grassy fields.
(Left-right: me, C., random stranger, trilltrall.)
C. and me saying hi to a goat. It was curious at first, but quickly lost interest when it realized we didn't have any treats for it. ;-)
Check out the horns on this ram - wow. :-o
An impressive building. (And my head.) The farm is built in the shape of an ark. ;-)
You enter the farmyard along this ... pathway, or whatever ... between these two imposing buildings. (Me in the bottom right corner.)
An interior view.
It's called It's Lovely! I'll Take It! and the owner describes it as A collection of poorly chosen photos from real estate listings. With love.
I dig it, it's hilarious. There are so many nasty pictures, I can't pick a favorite ... except, hm, maybe that bathtub shot is the one that will stand out in my memory ...
CLICK THAT LINK AT YOUR PERIL!!!
I ACCEPT NO RESPONSIBILITY.
Monday, July 28, 2008
When we first came by their enclosure, all we saw was one of the adult animals sleeping inside their house. We were hoping for better things this time, since it was later in the day. We especially wanted to see the fawn. But as long as they were awake it would be an improvement. :-)
And they were!! Aww!! They were soooo cute ... !! KAS immediately decided that this is the animal she wants to get when her hamster kicks the bucket. :-D (Imagine taking it for walks! LOL!) We first saw the female, she was grazing, and then the male - he was inside the house first, but then went outside and got a few bites to eat too. The fawn unfortunately was nowhere to be seen. Maybe they hide it away and only coax it out (there were a couple of little shelters in the enclosure in addition to the house) when there are no unfamiliar humans around. This species is notoriously shy and elusive. So ... no fawn for us, but the adults were so tiny that it almost didn't matter. :-)
(Photo credit: 1-2, 4: C.; 3, 5-6: KAS)
Sunday, July 27, 2008
I just noticed it this afternoon. I was out on the lawn with the little guys and I suddenly noticed that one of Henrik's claws has broken off. I wonder when that's happened? I know it can't be long ago. I handle them so often ... and every time I do I examine them more or less thoroughly. Just making sure that they don't have any cuts or scratches, bruises or whatever ... you never know. I don't think this can have happened very long ago. Yesterday they weren't out of the tank at all. But on Friday I both fed them and took them outside. And I remember that when we were all outside I handled them several times. Normally when I'm holding them I always look at their feet ... because their feet are so cute. :-) Their front feet especially. And this is on a front foot ... his left front foot, the outermost claw on the left foot (ie the claw furthest out from the body). Look:
Anyway, I don't remember noticing anything wrong on Friday. So I tend to think it must have happened since then. I wonder how it's happened? Theoretically I suppose Herman may have done it. But I doubt it. Not just because I don't want my little angel to have done something mean ... ;-) but because there's no injury anywhere, for one thing, and for another I don't see how Herman could have even managed something like that. I mean, bitten off a claw? Just the claw? And damaged nothing else? How would he get a chance to even get a hold of it, Henrik would never put up with that. I can't imagine that it's something he's gotten fighting. He must have done it to himself. He does tend to dig around a lot in the rocks on the bottom of the tank ... rooting around in them and pushing them around with his feet. So I'd be willing to bet, I think, that that's how it's happened. Silly little critter!
Now I'm just wondering whether it'll grow back. I actually don't know whether they do that. I'll have to do some research on this. I suppose it may theoretically grow back ... because it isn't gone, it's still there, it's just broken down to a stub. :-( Ow, anyway. My little friend. :-( And his little foot. :-)
One good thing about it, if it doesn't grow back: I suspect that Henrik and Herman may become very similar in appearance, close to identical, as they age. Chinemys reevesii tend to darken as they grow older; old reevesii males are usually very dark, sometimes almost black. And Herman and Henrik are almost identical in size. But now at least there's one thing that easily separates them - 18 claws on one, 17 on the other. :-) I'll do my research, and we'll see if it'll stay that way.
(That's my arm he's leaning on, btw. :-)
Oh, and to see a bigger version of the photo, go here. I just can't figure out how to get my pictures clickable here. >:-(
Update, Monday 28th: Actually, I just figured it out. It was incredibly simple. Duh. :-)
Det denne bloggposten egentlig handler om er hvor utrolig dårlig humor jeg tydeligvis har. Jeg så artikkelen fordi den var linka fra høyremargen på en annen artikkel som jeg leste. Og den linken var sånn:
Overskrift: Jenter blir tjukke av internett
Tekst under overskrift, for å vekke leserens interesse: Forskerne fulgte 5000 ugne kvinner.
Fem tusen ugne kvinner. :-D LOL!! Dessverre blir det vel sikkert retta på når de oppdager denne tabben etter hvert. Desto mer grunn til å blogge om det. Jeg vil nemlig ta vare på det, for tragisk nok fikk jeg helt lættis da jeg så denne skrivefeilen. Jeg er ikke veldig moden for alderen nei. Det forstår jeg jo virkelig nå. :-D Uff og fy! :-D
Hvis noen skulle finne på noe så teit som å irritere seg over at denne bloggposten er helt meningsløs: den er faktisk akkurat like meningsfull som artikkelen den handler om.
Med andre ord bare surr og rør. Agurktida lenge leve!! :-D
Saturday, July 26, 2008
But we did get to see the White storks (Ciconia ciconia), which mate for life and live in pairs. The Ark has - as far as we could spot - five of these. All adults as far as we could tell. The birds are native to most European countries, but, sadly, they have disappeared from most of Scandinavia. :-( They are now only to be seen in Denmark and Scania during the mating period. Their decline in our part of the world is due primarily to the lack of food (when wetlands are drained the frogs disappear, and the storks inevitably follow). (Humans suck.)
The five at the Ark were busy building a nest. All of them were collaborating, it was really fun to see it. It was one huge nest that they were all building. The main construction seemed to be finished, and they were busily padding it with straw. Someone had spread a big pile of straw on the ground by their shelter and they were taking beakfuls of this and carrying it to the nest, where they placed it quite carefully in the inside of the nest, to line it, no doubt. Fun to watch. :-)
I assume baby storks are in the works. :-)
It may not seem like much to YOU, clever as you no doubt are, but this is like breaking new ground for me. I am on a way steep learning curve here.
I was out with the turtles this afternoon (only the little guys today) and when Herman wanted a backscratch I decided totally spur of the moment!!! to film it with my camera and try to upload it. IT WORKED. :-o I now have one whole video uploaded to youtube (go me!) and I will hereby share it with my devoted readers. *cough*
It isn't long, only about 40 seconds. He is unbelievably adorable but watching him getting his carapace scratched is only interesting for so long. (Yeah, even I realize that.) Also my camera can only film 60 seconds max at a time. Sorry for the picture quality, it isn't too great ... my camera is like three years old so that's why.
Now check out my cutie pie!! Compliments to me for figuring this out!!
Friday, July 25, 2008
At first, when we got to this enclosure, we had no idea what was in it. It looked empty. Then we spotted the sign - it was the Eurasian eagle owl (Bubo bubo). Cool! They are fantastic birds, so big and distinctive-looking. We couldn't see it, though. But we figured, as we stood there straining our eyes to see anything camouflaged against the rock and brush, that we had been SO lucky so far in getting to see every single bird - almost all of them nocturnal birds, in the middle of a sunny day. So we basically shouldn't be asking for more. But then we suddenly saw them! :-D
First we saw one, then two, then three, and then four! Amazing! Even more so because it wasn't four adult birds (not sure if adults can be kept together, I think they're pretty aggressive) but rather one adult female and her three chicks. She was beautiful, quite majestic, and her chicks were basically greyish white balls of fluff. :-D They didn't move much, I think they were mostly half asleep. It was SO cool to see them.
This is literally the one not completely sucky picture we got of these animals. They were almost impossible to photograph at that distance and with the light and shadow in the enclosure. Two of the chicks are in fact clearly visible in this picture. Too bad they look like whitish grey rocks. :-)
The next species after the tigers was the maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus). I don't think any of us had even heard about these animals before we started researching the Ark. We learned so much from this trip! :-D This is a South American species and it has the status of near threatened. They were pretty weird-looking ... incredibly long legs. :-) For bounding through the waving grass of the pampas, no doubt. :-)Their enclosure had some very marked trails worn in the grass ... this was not due to any kind of stereotypy, we learned, but something that occurs with these animals in captivity (and, I suppose, perhaps in the wild too, for all I know) because they are patrolling animals and they patrol along specific trails.
Here we are learning this. :-)
(Left-right: C., me, trilltrall)
(Photo credit: 1: me, 2, 4: KAS; 3: C.)
I don't know how they do that but I want to find out. When this post is complete, it will hopefully be a beautiful testament to something new I've learned today.
This is kind of for a friend of mine (at least I like to think that we're friends ;-). She is KAS's little sister and I'm hearing rumors that she's withering away from boredom during her night shifts at work. Seriously: when you're reduced to reading Vårt Land for the entertainment value, that's when you know that you are REALLY EXTREMELY BORED. So, anyway, that's why I want to post something really funny here to entertain her for about five minutes.
Update, later: ZOMG it actually worked!!! I did it!! I don't quite know what I did but there you go. It only took about 20 minutes to figure it out this time, maybe next time I'll have it down to 15. WAHEY!!!
Anyway. This is something that I think is totally funny. Hilarious. I laughed my head off when I saw it the first time and I never get tired of watching it over and over and over ... almost never, anyway. It's the Laguna Beach parody from MADtv. I never watched the original and I hope I never will. The parody is enough for me. <3 MADtv!! :-D
Here's the link to the video's page on youtube, just in case.
(You never know.)
Thursday, July 24, 2008
I discovered it by going to a page on blogger that had a listing of ... recommended blogs or something, I don't know.
EVERYTHING IS SOOOOO SLOW AT WORK THIS MONTH.
NOTHING HAPPENS EVER. EXCEPT THAT GUY WHO CALLED ABOUT HIS MISSING LAB COATS.
I THINK I MAY BE SLOWLY LOSING MY MIND.
Anyway, it was a really funny blog! It's called Fake Interviews With Real Celebrities. (There aren't any interviews with celebrities. Though I didn't read everything. Yet.) Here's one entry that really made me laugh. For instance.
Check it out if you're bored at work one day.
Update: ZOMG!! Right after I said that nothing ever happens here these days, some guy came in and bought an impact wrench from Hitachi for over 3000 NOK!
I totally need to whine and complain more!! It works!!
A: Tiger babies!!!
Does the Ark have tiger babies??? ... No.
That is, not yet!! In about a year and a half, or two years, they may. Yes, really! I know much more about the tigers at the Ark than about any of the other animals, because when we got to the lookout point by the tiger enclosure there was a guide there explaining about the tigers to a group of people who - I guess - maybe had paid for a guided tour.
I pretended to be looking at the enclosure while I slowly edged my way closer to the guide to hear what she was saying. Like, I just accidentally happen to be standing within earshot, I'm not actually that interested or anything. I mean, I can tell that you're talking and all, but I'm basically up here for the view.
The species of tiger kept at the Ark is the Siberian tiger (Panthera tigris altaica) (I knew that). It is critically endangered :-( - there aren't more than about 500 individuals left in the wild. (I hate humans.) This species is not only the largest tiger species in the world, but the largest feline, full stop. There used to be nine tiger species - or, OK, subspecies - but three of them are now extinct. (Did I mention that I hate humans?) There was this great illustration of that by the enclosure, with pictures of all nine subspecies ranged in size, and the extinct ones in black and white. V. effective.
The Ark started out with one tiger. I mean, when they first started keeping them. His name is Uri and he's ... as I recall he's 4 years old now. We saw him, but only at a distance, he was lying in the shade. Understandably. It would have been awesome (and I do mean that) to get to see him up close, but we weren't surprised to see that his energy level was low on a day that hot. Let me put it this way, we were glad we'd brought binoculars.
Can you see him? :-)
As I said the Ark does a lot of work on conservation and breeding. They were very eager to be involved in the tiger breeding program, all the more so because Uri is what they call a 'high quality male'. Ie, his genetic material is excellent. The whole genetics thing is so difficult when it comes to endangered species in captivity - they need to breed them, but they also need to keep the gene pool as deep as possible. That's where the coordinators come in. There is one for every species and s/he collects and collates all the info available on captive specimens worldwide. The coordinator determines which individuals are to be kept at which zoo, which are to breed with which and when breeding should take place. The Ark of course applied to be assigned a female when one should become available.
One thing that is never done in these breeding programs is to actively take animals from the wild to introduce new genetic material. Obviously, getting new genes into the programs is a good thing, for the program and for the species. But being taken into captivity is a bad thing, for the individual animals. So it isn't done. But sometimes it happens anyway.
About a year and a half ago a female Siberian tiger cub was discovered wandering around alone and half starved. I don't remember where. She was about four months old. The mother was discovered to have been killed in some freak accident or something. So the options were: kill the cub there, let the cub die on its own (starvation), or take the cub into captivity. Obviously a no-brainer. She was given the name Sparta and was quickly nursed back to health. And the process began of determining where she would live - or in other words, who would father her future cubs. Zoos all over the world (the ones with Siberian tigers) were falling over themselves in their eagerness to get hold of her. It is NOT every day that a completely 'new' Siberian tiger comes into the 'available pool' like that. It almost never happens, apparently. So the coordinator had an important job to do.
What they do, obviously, is to match good genes to good genes. As the guide said, in reference to their own animal, 'a high-quality male deserves a high-quality female'. And Sparta is absolutely top quality, the best of the best. :-) So it was a big decision. I can't even imagine the scenes at the Ark when they were given the news that they would have to redo their tiger enclosure, because Uri had been chosen to father Sparta's cubs. :-D They now live in separate but adjacent enclosures - she is still about a year away from her sexual maturity and so Uri as of yet is too dangerous to her for them to be allowed to share an enclosure. But they have been introduced to each other and every time they've had contact (through a fence or through bars) it's gone very well. So hopes are high. To the extent that a new tiger house, with a pond, is under construction at the Ark now; it'll be finished next summer.
And the summer after that, maybe there will be TIGER BABIES ... !!! :-D
Great enclosures (again).
(Photo credit: 1, 3: KAS 2, 4-5: C.)
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
First the Urial (Ovis vignei bochariensis). The park has several of these, a little herd. They're a kind of wild sheep. The rams have amazing horns, up to a meter long. But the only ones we got a good look at were females and young. The baby was cute. :-)
Me, left, and C., shooting away. :-)
The peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) is a raptor about the size of a crow. Its numbers have decreased in this part of the world, partly due to habitat destruction and partly (mainly?) due to pesticide poisoning. The Ark is heavily involved in the Peregrine Project which is a restocking program with the aim of increasing the number of these birds in Sweden. Well, in Scandinavia, then, presumably. Animals are notoriously slow when it comes to understanding about national borders and so on. ;-) The project is going well as the number of peregrines is in fact growing.
We saw one of the birds, but barely. Excellent camouflage. I thought I saw it at first, but it was just a rock. The real bird was sitting further along. :-) Absolutely not convinced that we got any good shots of it.
The bird really is somewhere in this picture. I think I can see it, can you? ;-)
(Photo credit: 1, 3, 6: me; 2, 5: KAS, 4 - coming up :-)