Blue Planet II

I am currently reading and watching Blue Planet II, the newest stunning natural history documentary Narrated by David Attenborough with the accompanying book which is authored by James Honeyborne andMark Brownlow. This programme has been made possible by using cutting-edge breakthroughs in science and technology to explore new worlds, and reveal astonishing creatures and extraordinary new animal behaviors not seen before, Breakthroughs in technology such as rebreathers and deep sea submersibles have enabled us to access areas which were previously out-of-bounds and enhanced our knowledge of the oceans, and our understanding of what goes on in them has been increased accordingly.

Blue Planet II Explores many different marine environments. The first episode includes Giant Travelly’s launching themselves out of the water to catch newly fledged Sooty Terns and Dolphins and False Killer Whales hunting together and cooperating in order to catch more food. The episode “deep seas” looks at the little known region at the bottom of the ocean where there is perpetual darkness. Despite this many bizarre looking crustaceans and fish manage to live here, with many providing their own light by means of bioluminescence while Six gilled sharks and primative Hag Fish feed on the carcasses of dead whales which have floated down from the surface. Deep sea vents exude toxic fumes and look uninhabitable, but despite this they are also home to a surprisingly wide variety of bizarre crustaceans and fish which are not found anywhere else on the planet.

The episode “coral reef” looks at the extensive communities which inhabit these areas including a wide variety of colourful fish, molluscs, crustaceans and sharks. However these areas are fragile and are under increasing threat from warming seas caused by pollution and gasses which are heating up the atmosphere and seas and causing ecolgical damage including coral bleaching. The next episode “open ocean” looks at Whales, Dolphins, sharks, Sunfish and and other marine animals which spend their lives patrolling and feeding in the open ocean”

The next episode “green seas” examines the many inhabitants which live among Sargassum Seaweed including Sea Lions. The next episode is “coastal regions” which examines sheer cliffs and rock pools which are inhabited by a wide variety of crustaceans, molluscs, jellyfish, fish, and large communities of nesting birds including guillimots, Puffins and Terns, gulls whose young are preyed upon by predatory Frigate Birds and Arctic Skuas.

The final episode “Our Blue Planet” looks at the impact human activity has had on the ocean from Acidification and coral bleaching caused by warming seas, pollution, over fishing, killing sharks and littering of the planets oceans which has had a disastrous affect on some species but has allowed species like predatory Humboldt squid to benefit.

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World Animal Day

World Animal Day is a global event held annually on 4 October to unite the animal protection movement. It has been led and sponsored by UK-based animal welfare charity, Naturewatch Foundation since 2003. The mission of World Animal Day, according to the official World Animal Day website is “To raise the status of animals in order to improve welfare standards around the globe. Building the celebration of World Animal Day unites the animal welfare movement, mobilising it into a global force to make the world a better place for all animals. It’s celebrated in different ways in every country, irrespective of nationality, religion, faith or political ideology. Through increased awareness and education we can create a world where animals are always recognised as sentient beings and full regard is always paid to their welfare.”

World Animal Day was originated by Heinrich Zimmermann, the German writer and publisher of the magazine Mensch und Hund/Man and Dog. He organized the first World Animal Day on 24 March 1925 at the Sport Palace in Berlin, Germany. Over 5,000 people attended this first event. The event was originally scheduled for 4 October, to align with the feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi, patron saint of ecology, however the venue was not available on that day. The event was moved to 4 October for the first time in 1929. Initially he found a following only in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Czechoslovakia. Every year Zimmermann worked tirelessly on the promotion of World Animal Day. Finally, in May 1931 at a congress of the International Animal Protection Congress in Florence Italy, his proposal to make 4 October World Animal Day universal, was unanimously accepted and adopted as a resolution. World Animal Day was also mentioned in 1931 at the convention of ecologists in Florence, Italy who wished to highlight the plight of endangered species.

World Water Monitoring day

World Water Monitoring Day takes place annully on 18 September. It was established in 2003 by America’s Clean Water Foundation as a global educational outreach program that aims to build public awareness and involvement in protecting water resources around the world by empowering citizens to carry out basic monitoring of their local water bodies. Roberta (Robbi) Savage, ACWF’s President and CEO created WWMD and Edward Moyer was the first WWMD Coordinator. It was initially chosen to be a month later (October 18) to recognize the anniversary of the US Clean Water Act, which was enacted by the US Congress in 1972 to restore and protect the country’s water resources.

However In 2007, the date was changed to enable participation in parts of the world where temperatures reach freezing at that time. In 2006, ACWF transferred coordination of the event to the Water Environment Federation (WEF) and the International Water Association (IWA). The collective goal was to expand participation to one million people in 100 countries by 2012. In January 2015 the management of World Water Monitoring Day was again transferred – this time to Phillipe Cousteau’s educational non-profit EarthEcho International.

In 2008 students from Indonesia to Arkansas took part in water sampling to bring attention to the importance of water quality by means of a A simple test kit which enables participants, to sample local water bodies for a set of water quality parameters including temperature, acidity (pH), clarity (turbidity) and dissolved oxygen (DO). Results are then shared with participating communities around the globe through the WWMC website.

Sir Peter Scott

British naturalist ornithologist, conservationist, painter, naval officer sportsman. and explorer Sir Peter Scott CH, CBE, DSC and Bar, MID, FRS, FZS  was born in London 14th September 1909 , The only child of Antarctic explorer Robert Falcon Scott and sculptor Kathleen Bruce and was only two years old when his father died. Robert Scott, in a last letter to his wife, advised her to “make the boy interested in natural history if you can; it is better than games.” and his godfather was J. M. Barrie, creator of Peter Pan. He was educated at Oundle School and Trinity College, Cambridge, initially reading Natural Sciences but graduating in the History of Art in 1931. Like his mother, he displayed a strong artistic talent and had his first exhibition in London in 1933. His wealthy background allowed him to follow his interests in art, wildlife and many sports, including sailing and ice skating. He represented Great Britain and Northern Ireland at sailing in the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, winning a bronze medal in the O-Jolle class dinghy.

During World War II, Scott served in the Royal Navy, emulating his father. He served first in destroyers in the North Atlantic but later moved to commanding the First (and only) Squadron of Steam Gun Boats against German E-boats in the English Channel. He is also partly credited with designing ‘shadow camouflage’, which disguised the look of ship superstructure. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for bravery. In 1948, he founded the organisation with which he was ever afterwards closely associated, the Severn Wildfowl Trust (now the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust) with its headquarters at Slimbridge in Gloucestershire. In the years that followed, he led ornithological expeditions worldwide, and became a television personality, popularising the study of wildfowl and wetlands. His BBC natural history series, Look, ran from 1955 to 1981 and made him a household name. He wrote and illustrated several books on the subject, including his autobiography, The Eye of the Wind (1961). In the 1950s, he also appeared regularly on BBC radio’s Children’s Hour, in the series, “Nature Parliament”. Scott was also one of the founders of the World Wide Fund for Nature (formerly called the World Wildlife Fund), and designed its panda logo. His pioneering work in conservation also contributed greatly to the shift in policy of the International Whaling Commission and signing of the Antarctic Treaty, the latter inspired by his visit to his father’s base on Ross Island in Antarctica. Scott was a long-time Vice-President of the British Naturalists’ Association, In June 2004, Scott and Sir David Attenborough were jointly profiled in the second of a three part BBC Two series, The Way We Went Wild, about television wildlife presenters and were described as being largely responsible for the way that the British and much of the world views wildlife.Scott’s life was also the subject of a BBC Four documentary called “Peter Scott – A Passion for Nature” produced in 2006

During his life he won many awards, In 1943, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) “for skill and gallantry in action with enemy light forces”, and was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 1942 King’s Birthday Honours. He was promoted to Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 1953 Coronation Honours. In the 1987 Queen’s Birthday Honours, he was appointed to the Order of the Companions of Honour (CH) “for services to conservation”. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace in 1973 for his contribution to the conservation of wild animals. He had been a founder of the World Wildlife Fund, a founder of several wetlands bird sanctuaries in Britain, and an influence on international conservation. He received the WWF Gold Medal and the J. Paul Getty Prize for his work. Peter Scott Sadly passed away on 29 August 1989 however he leaves behind an impressive legacy and made a a valuable and enduring contribution to nature and wildlife.

Sir Peter Scott CH CBE DSC and bar MID FRS FZS

British naturalist ornithologist, conservationist, painter, naval officer sportsman. and explorer Sir Peter Scott CH, CBE, DSC and Bar, MID, FRS, FZS Sadly passed away on 29 August 1989. He was born in London 14th September 1909 , The only child of Antarctic explorer Robert Falcon Scott and sculptor Kathleen Bruce and was only two years old when his father died. Robert Scott, in a last letter to his wife, advised her to “make the boy interested in natural history if you can; it is better than games.” and his godfather was J. M. Barrie, creator of Peter Pan. He was educated at Oundle School and Trinity College, Cambridge, initially reading Natural Sciences but graduating in the History of Art in 1931. Like his mother, he displayed a strong artistic talent and had his first exhibition in London in 1933. His wealthy background allowed him to follow his interests in art, wildlife and many sports, including sailing and ice skating. He represented Great Britain and Northern Ireland at sailing in the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, winning a bronze medal in the O-Jolle class dinghy.

During World War II, Scott served in the Royal Navy, emulating his father. He served first in destroyers in the North Atlantic but later moved to commanding the First (and only) Squadron of Steam Gun Boats against German E-boats in the English Channel. He is also partly credited with designing ‘shadow camouflage’, which disguised the look of ship superstructure. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for bravery. In 1948, he founded the organisation with which he was ever afterwards closely associated, the Severn Wildfowl Trust (now the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust) with its headquarters at Slimbridge in Gloucestershire. In the years that followed, he led ornithological expeditions worldwide, and became a television personality, popularising the study of wildfowl and wetlands. His BBC natural history series, Look, ran from 1955 to 1981 and made him a household name. He wrote and illustrated several books on the subject, including his autobiography, The Eye of the Wind (1961). In the 1950s, he also appeared regularly on BBC radio’s Children’s Hour, in the series, “Nature Parliament”. Scott was also one of the founders of the World Wide Fund for Nature (formerly called the World Wildlife Fund), and designed its panda logo. His pioneering work in conservation also contributed greatly to the shift in policy of the International Whaling Commission and signing of the Antarctic Treaty, the latter inspired by his visit to his father’s base on Ross Island in Antarctica. Scott was a long-time Vice-President of the British Naturalists’ Association, In June 2004, Scott and Sir David Attenborough were jointly profiled in the second of a three part BBC Two series, The Way We Went Wild, about television wildlife presenters and were described as being largely responsible for the way that the British and much of the world views wildlife.Scott’s life was also the subject of a BBC Four documentary called “Peter Scott – A Passion for Nature” produced in 2006

During his life he won many awards, In 1943, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) “for skill and gallantry in action with enemy light forces”, and was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 1942 King’s Birthday Honours. He was promoted to Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 1953 Coronation Honours. In the 1987 Queen’s Birthday Honours, he was appointed to the Order of the Companions of Honour (CH) “for services to conservation”.He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace in 1973 for his contribution to the conservation of wild animals. He had been a founder of the World Wildlife Fund, a founder of several wetlands bird sanctuaries in Britain, and an influence on international conservation. He received the WWF Gold Medal and the J. Paul Getty Prize for his work And he along with Sir David Attenborough inspired me, to take a great interest in nature and wildlife, which, I still find absolutely fascinating.

World Mosquito Day

World Mosquito Day, is observed annually on 20 August, to commemorate British doctor Sir Ronald Ross, who in 1897, discovered that female mosquitoes transmit malaria between humans. Ross is responsible for the annual observance, having declared shortly after his discovery that the day should be known as World Mosquito Day in the future. The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine also holds Mosquito Day celebrations every year, including events such as parties and exhibitions, in a tradition dating back to as early as the 1930s.

Mosquitoes are small, midge-like flies that constitute the family Culicidae. Females of most species are ectoparasites, whose tube-like mouthparts (called a proboscis) pierce the hosts’ skin to consume blood. The word “mosquito” (formed by mosca and diminutive -ito is Spanish for “little fly”. Thousands of species feed on the blood of various kinds of hosts, mainly vertebrates, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and even some kinds of fish. Some mosquitoes also attack invertebrates, mainly other arthropods. Though the loss of blood is seldom of any importance to the victim, the saliva of the mosquito often causes an irritating rash that is a serious nuisance. Much more serious though, are the roles of many species of mosquitoes as vectors of diseases. In passing from host to host, some transmit extremely harmful infections such as malaria, yellow fever, Chikungunya, West Nile virus, dengue fever, filariasis, Zika virus and other arboviruses, rendering it the deadliest animal family in the world.

The oldest known mosquito with an anatomy similar to modern species was found in 79-million-year-old Canadian amber from the Cretaceous. An older sister species with more primitive features was found in Burmese amber that is 90 to 100 million years old. Two mosquito fossils have been found that show very little morphological change in modern mosquitoes against their counterpart from 46 million years ago. These fossils are also the oldest ever found to have blood preserved within their abdomens.

Despite no fossils being found earlier than the Cretaceous, recent studies suggest that the earliest divergence of mosquitoes between the lineages leading to Anophelinae and Culicinae occurred 226 million years ago. The Old and New World Anopheles species are believed to have subsequently diverged about 95 million years ago. Over 3,500 species of the Culicidae have already been described. They are generally divided into two subfamilies which in turn comprise some 43 genera. These figures are subject to continual change, as more species are discovered, and as DNA studies change the taxonomy of the family. The two main subfamilies are the Anophelinae and Culicinae, these two subfamilies tend to transmit different diseases. Culicine species tend to transmit arboviral diseases such as yellow fever and dengue. Some species transmit various species of avian malaria, and various forms of filariasis, likemany Simuliidae do. Anopheline mosquitoes, sometimes bear pathogenic arboviruses, and are likely to transmit Human Malaria.

Mosquitoes are members of a family of nematocerid flies: the Culicidae (from the Latin culex, genitive culicis, meaning “midge” or “gnat”) Superficially, mosquitoes resemble crane flies (family Tipulidae) and chironomid flies (family Chironomidae). In particular, the females of many species of mosquitoes are blood-eating pests and spread many dangerous diseases, whereas members of the similar-looking Chironomidae and Tipulidae are not. Many species of mosquitoes are not blood eaters and of those that are, many create a “high to low pressure” in the blood to obtain it and do not transmit disease. Also, in the bloodsucking species, only the females suck blood. even among mosquitoes that do carry diseases, not all of them transmit the same kinds of diseases, nor do they all transmit the diseases under the same circumstances; as their habits differ. So far Over 3,500 species of mosquitoes have already been described. Some mosquitoes that bite humans spread a number of infectious diseases affecting millions of people per year. Others that do not routinely bite humans, but spread animal diseases, may spread new diseases when their habitats are disturbed, for instance by sudden deforestation.

World Elephant Day

World Elephant Day is an international annual event on August 12, dedicated to the preservation and protection of the world’s elephants. Conceived in 2011 by Canadian filmmakers Patricia Sims and Michael Clark of Canazwest Pictures, and Sivaporn Dardarananda, Secretary-General of the Elephant Reintroduction Foundation in Thailand, it was officially founded, supported and launched by Patricia Sims and the Elephant Reintroduction Foundation on August 12, 2012. Since that time, Patricia Sims continues to direct World Elephant Day, which is now supported by over 65 wildlife organizations and many individuals in countries across the globe.

The goal of World Elephant Day is to create awareness around the urgent plight of African and Asian elephants, and to share knowledge and positive solutions for the better care and management of captive and wild elephants. Both African and Asian elephants face extinction, with African elephants being “Vulnerable” and Asian elephants being “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of threatened species. The current population estimates are about 400,000 for African elephants and 40,000 for Asian elephants, although it has been argued that these numbers are much too high.

Elephants face a number of issues which affects their survival. Among these is The demand for ivory, which is highest in China, this has lead to the illegal poaching of both African and Asian elephants. One of the world’s largest elephants, Satao, was recently murdered for his iconic tusks. Another iconic Kenyan elephant, Mountain Bull, was also killed by poachers, and with the street value for ivory now exceeding that of gold, African elephants face a poaching epidemic. Elephants are also poached for meat, leather, and body parts, with the illegal wildlife trade putting elephants in grave danger, because it is perceived to be a low risk and high profit endeavor.

Elephants are also adversely affected by The loss of habitat due to deforestation, increases in mining, and agricultural activities which have become problematic, especially for Asian elephants.The fragmentation of habitat also creates isolation – this makes breeding more difficult, and allows poachers to find the elephants and set traps more easily. Human-elephant conflict is also a significant concern, as human populations increase and forest cover decreases, this forces elephants into close proximity with human settlements. Incidents include crop damage and economic losses, as well as both elephant and human casualties occur. Another major issue affecting Elephants is Mistreatment in captivity, where A lack of legislation regarding the care and treatment of elephants in zoos, circuses, and tourism often leads to their mistreatment. Captivity can be a serious threat to elephants, and Asian elephants are often illegally captured in the wild and trafficked into the lucrative tourism industry.

However Many notable celebrities have spoken out about the urgency of elephant protection, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Kristin Davis, William Shatner, Yao Ming, Prince William, Jorja Fox, Alec Baldwin, Stephen Fry, Ashley Judd, Jada Pinkett Smith, and politicians such as Barack Obama, and Hillary and Chelsea Clinton.