sexta-feira, novembro 26, 2010

Terrible story...

Terns trapped and kept alive, sold fresh for food in Angola
Justine Braby is an ADU PhD student, based in Swakopmund. One of the Namibian newspapers, Die Republikein, has a column entitled "Dinge wat krap" (things that alarm/irritate). Justine found the following story in this column on 19 November 2010, together with this horrendous picture, taken by a resident of the northern Namibian town of Tsumeb.
The citizen reports: "This photo was taken a week ago in Tomwa, Angola, during a visit. These birds are Damara Terns Sterna balaenarum which are caught and sold by the local people. They use a baited hook on a fishline. The wings are broken and the birds are buried in the sand so that just the head sticks out. They are kept alive and sold later to eat. We saw other places along the coast where larger birds were caught for the same purpose. Absolutely tragic. I plan to report this to the authorities on my next visit to Angola." Although the birds in the picture were identified as Damara Terns most of them look more likely to be Common Terns. But we are fairly certain that there are some Damara Terns among them. Regardless of what species is involved this represents a serious conservation problem. A similar issue arose in Ghana about 20 years ago, and the problem there was tackled by establishing "wildlife clubs" at many villages along the coast. The Common Terns on passage southward along the Angolan coastline at this time of the year would be mainly from the Baltic Sea region, with the birds having bred in countries such as Sweden, Norway, Finland, Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and Denmark. Damara Terns, in contrast, breed mainly along the desert coastline of Namibia. They don't breed along the shoreline, but several kilometres (up to 10 km) inland, so they can reduce the risk of predation from jackals, which patrol the coastline for dead and sick seals, and anything else they can scavenge. They breed from November to February, and the migrate north to spend the nonbreeding season in West Africa, in countries such as Ghana and Nigeria. So Damara Terns passing along the Angolan coastline now would be pretty close to their breeding destinations in Namibia.

This terror story was found here.

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