Tag Archives: creature

More mammals live in Switzerland than 25 years ago | Instant News

(MENAFN – Swissinfo) In 1995, there were 87 species of mammals in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Currently there are 99. However, many species are still far from being in the forest.

This content is published March 23, 2021 – 14:54 March 23, 2021 – 14:54 Susan Misicka

Dissatisfied with her own business, Susan studied journalism in Boston so that she had every reason to put herself in other people’s places and worlds. When not writing, he presents and produces podcasts and videos.

More on the author | British Department

Published on Tuesday, the largest regional mammal survey to date described the return of larger animals, such as fish wolves and otters, as well as the discovery of a species of bat living in Switzerland. Yet light pollution is a serious threat to bats, and mammals such as field rabbits struggle to survive due to habitat loss in agricultural zones.

The 400-page mammal atlas, written by researchers from the Swiss Society for Wildlife Biology (SGW), represents the largest regional survey of mammals to date. It attracted more than a million observations such as sightings, tracks, ultrasounds, camera trap footage and even domestic cat prey. Some of the data comes from so-called citizen scientists.

‘It’s nearly impossible to get all this data without thousands of volunteers. I see great potential here, and it shows people’s interest, ‘said Roland Graf SGW on Tuesday, highlighting a project in which resident scientists monitor hedgehog activity over an area of ​​150 square kilometers.

Interesting habitat

Although the focus is on Switzerland and its eastern neighbor, Liechtenstein, the authors are also in regular contact with researchers in other European countries.

The general trend is that species will return. Golden wolves have even been seen in Norway! ‘Manuela von Arx, from Switzerland-based Carnivore Ecology and Wildlife Management (KORA), told swissinfo.ch. He noted that Switzerland’s offer of diverse habitats appeals to wildlife: mountains, forests and highlands.

‘There is still enough suitable habitat; many species are able to cope even with humans, ‘he said. “But smaller species have more problems.”

Hubert Krättli, director of the Bat Protection Foundation, points out that countries such as Slovenia and Germany are further than Switzerland when it comes to fighting light pollution.

‘Do we really need so much light all night? There are many local solutions, ” he stressed, such as turning off individual street lights. “Because bats can fly, they can move to new areas quickly.” Nearly a third of the book published by Haupt Verlag in Bern is dedicated to 30 species of bat in Switzerland.




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New Zealand imported more coal last year than any year since 2006, new data show | Instant News

The government seeks to reduce the need for coal and gas power plants in dry years. Photo / 123RF

The government has been challenged in its spending on renewable energy after revelations that last year’s coal imports passed a point not seen in New Zealand in 15 years.

Recently released data shows nearly 1.1 million tonnes of coal were imported into New Zealand last year.

That’s higher than total coal imports for 2017 and 2018 combined.

Coal is also the most shipped to New Zealand each year since 2006, according to new data from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

The Action Party has blamed this increase right in the bosom of the Government.

Its climate change spokesman, Simon Court, said if the government had not banned natural gas exploration three years ago, New Zealand would not need so much foreign coal.

Greenpeace Executive Director Russell Norman said the data shows that the Government needs to be serious about spending on renewable energy.

However Energy Minister Megan Woods maintained the import statistics.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was flanked by Energy Minister Megan Woods and Finance Minister Grant Robertson.  Photo / Wall of Jason
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was flanked by Energy Minister Megan Woods and Finance Minister Grant Robertson. Photo / Wall of Jason

He told the Herald that falling gas production and warmer weather – which has an impact on hydro energy production – had caused coal imports to be higher than normal.

He said that this issue is precisely why the Government wants to spend more money on pumped hydropower projects.

In the same year, New Zealand imported the highest level of coal, the Government took a number of steps to reduce the use of coal in the country.

In February last year, the purchase of new coal-fired fireplaces was banned in an effort to improve New Zealand’s overall air quality.

A month earlier, the Government announced it would spend $ 4.8 million to replace old school coal boilers with more energy-efficient alternatives.

And in December last year, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declared a climate change emergency.

Meanwhile, coal imports to New Zealand in the same month were 41 percent higher than in December 2019.

“Government-guided marketing environmentalism has been robbed of the scientific reality,” Court said.

He added that the ban on energy companies exploring natural gas in 2018 had caused a surge in coal imports.

“Our trading partners have reduced emissions by using natural gas and shutting down coal-fired power plants and industrial heating.

“But nobody is interested in finding new gas reserves here because of the Government’s ban on new exploration.”

Although gas production in New Zealand fell last year, quarterly energy data from MBIE show that there was actually a slight increase in the amount of gas used for electricity last year.

Act Party climate change spokesman, Simon Court.  Photo / Provided
The Party Act’s climate change spokesman, Simon Court. Photo / Provided

Woods said lower-than-normal hydropower energy – as a result of warm and dry conditions impacting hydro-lake inflows – forced electricity providers to use more coal last year.

Another factor is: “reduced gas production in the Pohokura gas field”.

Norman said the reasons for the increased use of coal in 2020 show why the Government needs to spend more money on renewable energy sources.

“If not, we end up depending on coal and gas to lift weights, as happened in 2020 and 2019.”

But Woods said the Government already has plans to spend more money in this area.

He said higher-than-usual coal imports last year highlighted the importance of the Government’s NZ Battery project – a feasibility study focused on addressing the “dry year” problem that causes coal to be used as an energy source.

Currently, the Government is studying this project and how it works.

But before the election, Labor debated spending $ 4 billion on the Onslow project, which would create the country’s largest water storage lake with an estimated 5,000 gigawatt-hours of electricity production.


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Ancient creatures threaten the food supply in Kenya | Instant News


Isabel Mberia points to corn crops on her farm in Tigania in the Meru region of eastern Kenya.

Ancient creatures threaten the food supply in Kenya

The morning air was filled with a muffled, buzzing cracking sound.

Instead of the usual green that people expect, the plants are filled with brownish-yellow grasshoppers chewing on the leaves and growing corn cobs.

“When Kenya was attacked by grasshoppers last year, we survived. They didn’t reach here, but this whole year we woke up one morning and people could barely see the sun, ”Mberia, 61, told Anadolu Agency. “There are millions of grasshoppers everywhere. Some people in the market said they had just migrated but they were still here eating it all. “

Its prized mango tree, among others, is in its fields, filled with grasshoppers. The tiny ancient creature that has been a nightmare for farmers since time immemorial is chewing on flowers, fruit, seeds, leaves, and even tree bark.

“There’s not much we can do about them. We tried to get rid of them but there were too many of them, ”said Mberia. “We’ve never had a food problem here. Together with my husband, in over 40 years of farming, we have never seen anything like it. This is the worst plague we have ever seen. Now food is very expensive because all of our food is being eaten. “

Biblical plague

Farmer Anne Kagendo, 48, also counted the losses and bemoaned the locust invasion that led to food shortages.

“They eat tomatoes, potatoes, corn, various beans, even cotton … who knows that grasshoppers eat cotton … even my neighbor’s wheat and bananas have been eaten,” he said. “This is clearly a biblical plague. I have never seen anything like this, they are merciless and hungry all the time. ”

Thousands of farmers in Meru Regency are counting huge losses because desert grasshoppers destroy agriculture every day. Locusts arrived at a time when most of the produce grown in eastern Kenya was ready to be harvested.

Farmers in Meru are among hundreds of thousands from 14 other districts of the 47 that make up Kenya, which was hit by a second wave of locust outbreaks that were twice as deadly as the one that hit Kenya in 2020.

The government said it had deployed spraying and surveillance planes to help deal with the pests and noted it had sufficient resources and was better equipped than 2020 to fight back.

Government spokesman Cyrus Oguna is pushing for collaborative efforts with Ethiopia and Somalia, from where grasshoppers migrate to Kenya, to eradicate pests.

“If Kenya is actively containing or combating locusts, it may not mean much if neighboring countries do not do the same,” he said in a statement.

Agriculture Minister Peter Munya told reporters that more than 75 herds had been reported in Kenya.

“We can’t fight grasshoppers in Somalia and Ethiopia where they breed. “What we can do is fight them in Kenya, because they are breeding in Kenya, it should be noted that the war against grasshoppers might last until June,” he said.

Armed with an estimated budget of 3.2 billion shillings, or $ 30 million, set aside to fight a second wave, Munya said Kenya was well equipped to fight the swarm and promised that in countries where livelihoods had been affected, governments would step in and offers crop and livestock interventions that include distribution of seeds and cereals, clean water and fertilizers among others.

The desert locust is considered the most destructive migratory pest in the world, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

A one-square-kilometer swarm, a little over a mile and a half, contains up to 80 million locusts and can eat the same amount of food in one day as about 35,000 people. The number of grasshoppers increased 20-fold in three months with each new generation.

Food shortages

At the Mulika market in Tigania, residents complain that even though the government has guaranteed everything will be fine, food shortages have occurred.

“The price of foodstuffs, especially our basic needs … mostly vegetables, has increased three or even four times,” said Kagwiria Juliet.

He noted that residents are now forced to eat lots of cereals that have been dried and preserved.

However, the poultry business is booming.

“Our business is doing very well because grasshoppers are a good food source for poultry,” said trader Timothy Munya. “Birds love grasshoppers. We are not sure if we can meet the demand and many people choose foods like chicken because it is cheaper. “

The intensity of East African desert locusts has also been blamed on climate change with a focus on Cyclone Gati that hit the Somali coast in the Indian Ocean in November last year, the FAO said.

The East African food basket region receives heavy rainfall during the summer, promising farmers good yields and providing plentiful grazing land for nomadic herders.

But the torrential rains also provided food for the locust swarms that originated in Yemen, moved to Somalia and spread across East Africa.

Etienne Peterschmitt of the United Nations said in a statement: “Rain and wind are the two most favorable conditions for desert locusts to reproduce rapidly and spread over areas where they have been controlled.”

In Kenya, where grasshoppers have ripped through more than a quarter of counties across the country, nomadic farmers and herders have been left destroyed.

The Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news offered to subscribers on the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and is in summary form. Please contact us for subscription options.


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Switzerland – Pastor Army has a new vocation at the forefront of the pandemic | Instant News

(MENAFN – Swissinfo)

Today, being an army chaplain means listening and talking more than doing religious rituals. Vbs / ddps

To support the troops, army chaplains increased their scope of operations. To deal with the stress caused by the pandemic, they are now offering psychological assistance to soldiers.

This content is published on February 16, 2021 – 09:00 February 16, 2021 – 09:00 Olivier Pauchard

Specialist in federal politics. Previously worked at the Swiss national news agency and at Radio Friborg.

More on the author | French Department

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    The pastoral care of soldiers at the forefront of the pandemic

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    Pandemic and chaplain in the Swiss Armed Forces

Last spring, the army mobilized its troops to support civilian authorities during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic. This is the first time since World War Two that the Swiss army has been deployed in this way. A new support mission – this time consisting mainly of volunteers – is ongoing through the end of March to deal with the second wave underway.

The soldiers might not be performing complex combat maneuvers, but their new mission was not necessarily psychologically easy. In this context, the Army Chaplain asked 35 priests to participate. There are currently five pastors available for those who need additional counseling.

“Imagine a young person who has to leave civilian life overnight ending up in a hospital caring for a dying person. For example, I recently met a 21-year-old soldier whose job was to prevent a patient from unplugging a medical tube. It is psychologically exhausting,” he said. Captain Stefan Junger, chief of the Army Chapel.




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Covid 19 coronavirus: COVID-19 patients died in hospital, two new cases in managed isolation | Instant News

The Health Ministry has revealed that a person who previously tested positive for Covid-19 had died after being hospitalized for treatment for a “serious condition not related to Covid-19”.

There are two new cases of Covid-19 in managed isolation and there are no new cases in society at this time.

The ministry said in its daily 1pm update that it was “deeply saddened to confirm” the death of a patient with Covid-19 at North Shore Hospital.

The statement added: “The patient was transferred from a Managed Isolation Facility to hospital-level care for the treatment of serious conditions unrelated to Covid-19 on February 5.

“This person then returned a positive COVID-19 result after entering. This positive result has been reported before.

“Patients talk to families every day, either by zoom or telephone.”

Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said: “On behalf of New Zealanders, I want to acknowledge the loss of this family.

“This is a time for all of us to give deep sympathy, while respecting the privacy of our family.”

Meanwhile, the Ministry said the new confirmed cases were linked to a person who traveled from India, via the United Arab Emirates, on February 9.

The number of confirmed cases in the country is 1972. The total number of tests processed by the laboratory to date is 1,583,469.

As of Friday, the lab processed 4,683 tests.

Of Friday’s cases in managed isolation cases, one arrived on January 26 from the UK and traveled via Singapore. They tested positive around day 16.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern revealed that New Zealand’s frontline border workers will start receiving the first Covid-19 vaccinations from next Saturday.

Starting February 20, border workers and MIQ in Auckland will be offered the Pfizer / BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine.

Speaking to media in Auckland this morning, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said it would take about two to three weeks for 12,000 frontline workers to receive the injections.

After the launch is complete, their family members will be offered vaccinations.

“Health and care workers and those most at risk of Covid-19 will follow in the second quarter, before vaccination of the wider population in the second half of this year,” Ardern said.

He added that the full vaccination program would take a whole year to roll out as a whole.

“This will be New Zealand’s largest vaccination campaign.”

Today is the first time the Government has set any timetable for vaccine launches.

The only new Covid case yesterday arrived on February 8 from the US. Infections were retrieved as a result of day 0 testing.

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