Category Archives: International News

Too Drunk to Drive, Man Saves Baby Bird’s Life By Paying Uber to Bring it to a Rescue Center

By McKinley Corbley -Jul 8, 2019

(Stock image)

A baby bird has been given a new lease on life after a resourceful partygoer made sure that it could be transported to a rescue center in the safest – and most modern way possible.

Animal rescuers from the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah (WRCNU) were surprised to find an Uber waiting outside of their front doors last week. The only passenger that had been waiting in the backseat of the car was a tiny baby bird.

Tim Crowley and his friends had rescued the bird as they were in the middle of enjoying a weekend get-together in Clinton. They had been sitting outside when the bird suddenly fell out of the sky – and they could not figure out where it had come from.

Upon calling the WRCNU, rescuers said that Crowley ought to bring the bird in for treatment as soon as possible. Since Crowley had been drinking, however, he and his friends did not feel capable of driving the little lesser goldfinch to the animal hospital.

“At first it was a joke, like, ‘Hey, maybe we should just call Uber!’” he told KSTU. “Then we were like, ‘No, really. Why not? We’re paying them.’”

Crowley and his friends then called an Uber for the bird and told the driver about their unusual passenger. When the driver canceled the trip due to the bizarre nature of the journey, Crowley then waited to tell their second driver about the feathery passenger until she had already arrived.

Luckily, the woman agreed to drive the bird to the rescue center.

Though WRCNU rescuers were confused by the arrival of the little bird, they quickly took it under its wing and made sure that it got the proper treatment.

The bird, who has fondly been named “Petey Uber” by the rescuers, will most likely be ready to be released back in the wild just in time for the migration season at the end of the summer – and it’s all thanks to Crowley’s quick thinking.

Bird found dead in Scotland was UK’s oldest Arctic tern

SCOTSMAN REPORTER Published: 06:00Monday 08 July 2019

image from
A seabird found dead on a nature reserve has been named the UK’s oldest ever recorded Arctic tern – beating the previous record by nearly two years.

First ringed as a chick at Buddon Ness in Angus, the tern was discovered at the Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) Forvie National Nature Reserve in Aberdeenshire. The bird was found to be 32 years old, almost to the day, when it died, which is more than double the average tern lifespan of around 13 years.

The previous record holder was a tern recaptured on the Farne Islands, off the coast of Northumberland, in 2010, just over 30 years after being ringed as a chick.

Arctic terns are among the most remarkable birds that visit Scottish shores. Their pole-to-pole migration is the longest known annual journey by any animal. By moving continually between Arctic summer and the Antarctic summer, terns see more daylight than any other creature on earth. Clocking up up to 44,000 miles each year, the record-breaking bird may have flown up to 1.408 million miles during its lifetime.

Daryl Short, Reserve Officer at Forvie, who found the deceased bird, said: “It’s incredible to think that the bird I found flew the equivalent of to the moon and back, and then back to the moon and some way home again. Arctic terns are amazing animals. The birds are currently protecting their chicks at Forvie and other nature reserves around the country and they’re not afraid to give you a bump on the back of the head if you get too close to their nests.

“But unfortunately for them, terns are prey for some other seabirds, such as falcons and large gulls. So there was certainly an element of luck to this bird’s long life.”

The record-breaking tern will have survived predators, storms and food shortages to possibly parent well over 50 chicks. It probably travelled well over a million miles in its lifetime.

Stuart MacQuarrie, head of nature reserves for SNH, said: “This incredible little bird was first ringed on a Special Area of Conservation and found again 32 years later, not too far away, on one of our national nature reserves. As well as evidence that the bird regularly returned to this part of Scotland to rear its chicks, this shows the importance of protected areas and nature reserves for wildlife.

“Scotland’s nature reserves are beautiful places for people to visit. They are also carefully managed for conservation and important places for research, making a real contribution to tackling biodiversity loss. Our reserves constantly surprise and delight in equal measure and this little bird captures something of what makes them so special.”

Hong Kong customs seizes B1.56m worth of smuggled bird’s nest

The smuggled goods were seized at the Hong Kong port of the bridge on Tuesday. (Handout via South China Morning Post photo


Customs officers have seized HK$400,000 (1.56 million baht) worth of bird’s nest from a car at the border checkpoint of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge port, the first smuggling case involving an outgoing vehicle detected at the site.

Officers intercepted the outgoing private car on Tuesday at the Hong Kong port of the multibillion-dollar bridge, which opened in October.

The Customs and Excise Department found 10 kilogrammes of the popular and precious delicacy in a spare tyre concealed in an altered structure underneath the rear of the SUV, which was about to cross the 55 kilometre mega bridge.

The male driver, 23, was arrested.

A department spokesman said it was the first time smuggling activities were detected in an outgoing private car stopped at the port since the bridge was launched.

An investigation was in progress.

Under the Import and Export Ordinance, any person found guilty of importing or exporting unmanifested cargo is liable to a maximum fine of HK$2 million and imprisonment for seven years.

In April, customs seized 105kg of smuggled bird’s nest worth HK$3.5 million in an operation.

Officers stopped an outgoing private car at Shenzhen Bay

Officers stopped an outgoing private car at Shenzhen Bay border checkpoint, recovering 7kg of the delicacy. A further 79kg and 19kg were later seized at an industrial unit in Kwai Chung and a flat in Sham Shui Po. The male driver, 42, and a woman, 47, were arrested.

In the past 18 months, customs seized 1,112kg of smuggled bird’s nest in 14 cases.


BirdLife calls for Urgent High-level Support for African Vultures

Vulture populations are in many cases poisoned when eating large animal carcasses (like the one above) that have been poisoned. © BirdLife Botswana

By BirdLife Botswana

BirdLife International is unequivocally condemning the recent poisoning of 537 highly endangered vultures by elephant poachers in the Central District of Botswana. This devastating incident has resulted in the country’s highest recorded death toll of vultures associated with a single poisoning incident and is one of the worst killings of vultures on the continent, rivaling a similar incident in the Caprivi area of Namibia in 2013, where between 400-600 vultures were killed.

Although the Botswana government appears to be stepping up its anti-poaching initiatives, catastrophic vulture mortality continues to occur because of poisoning by poachers. Poachers poison vultures to stop them circling above carcasses — thus signaling their illegal activity. Targeted and non-targeted poisoning of vultures is escalating at an alarming rate across the continent, with a high number of incidents focused on southern Africa.

These incidences are devastating,” says Motshereganyi Virat Kootsositse, BirdLife Botswana’s Executive Director. “Agrochemicals used illegally to poison vultures should be banned, and the use of safer alternatives encouraged. Although legislation is in place to manage agrochemicals in Botswana, enforcement is lacking, resulting in widespread misuse. The government should up its efforts to revise and enforce legislation and increase public awareness of the use of hazardous chemicals.”

Vultures are invaluable as a species due to the incredible public health services they provide. By eating rotting carcasses, they prevent the spread of diseases such as tuberculosis, rabies and anthrax. BirdLife Botswana works tirelessly to tackle vulture poisoning in the country. In collaboration with other BirdLife partners and organisations in the Kavango-Zambezi (KAZA) region, they are working to address increasing elephant poaching; the main threat to the region’s declining vulture populations. Improving cross border collaboration, enforcement and building capacity for wildlife crime prosecution and improving the availability of information are crucial to these efforts.

However, illegal poisoning is something that community support systems, education and awareness alone may not be able to combat. The government needs to use legislative action to help save vultures and wildlife in Botswana, and across the KAZA region.

“If such catastrophic episodes continue to occur across Africa, we may lose the race to save these iconic and vitally important species,” says Beckie Garbett from the BirdLife International Africa Partnership Secretariat. “Vultures are currently not receiving the global conservation support and recognition that many other highly threatened species are, which puts them on a back foot in terms of conservation organisations having the capacity to halt and reverse their declines.”

BirdLife International calls upon the Botswana government and other key influential stakeholders to pay attention to the desperate plight of African vultures at relevant international policy forums. With the 18th CITES Conference of the Parties (CoP) meeting due to take place in August this year, international Governments of CITES member states have the opportunity to pass relevant policy decisions that will help to address the plight of vultures and other wildlife species.

Only through high-level driven actions will African vultures get the attention and protection that they deserve from sentinel poisoning. It is the duty of those with the power to make a change, to stand up and make themselves heard on behalf of all wildlife species impacted by illegal activities in Africa.

Bird spotted feeding chick cigarette butt in ‘devastating’ picture

“The Independent” Jane Dalton

The photograph of the bird trying to feed its chick on a cigarette butt was described as heartbreaking ( Karen Mason/Facebook )

A parent bird has been spotted feeding its chick a cigarette butt, highlighting environmental concerns and prompting a wave of anger at careless smokers.

The black skimmer bird was photographed at a beach in Florida, US, picking the butt up and putting it in the baby’s mouth.

Karen Mason, who took the photographs, issued a simple plea as she posted the pictures online: “If you smoke, please don’t leave your butts behind.”

She added: “It’s time we cleaned up our beaches and stopped treating them like one giant ash tray. #nobuttsforbabies.”

Commenters endorsed her plea, saying the sight was “heartbreaking and devastating”. 

Susan Nagi wrote: “The baby chick needs to become a poster child for change.”

“People are disgusting!” wrote Josee Noel. “They don’t want their butts, as if we do! Time to ban them, everywhere! What about our rights? Nature’s? Toxicity off the charts!”

Ms Mason, known online as Karen Catbird, was inundated with requests from the world’s media to reproduce her photos. “Whatever helps to get people to think before they toss,” she said.

She explained that the birds feed by skimming along the water with their beaks open. “They don’t see what they are getting. This parent must have latched on to a butt in the shallow water,” she wrote.

“People won’t go anywhere without a way to carry their cell phone but they apparently don’t want to be bothered with carrying something small enough for their butts.”

Liette Ricard pointed out discarding butts does not just hurt animals and environments, it can start forest fires too.