‘World’s loneliest bird’ Nigel dies in New Zealand

This undated handout picture provided by the Friends of Mana Island and released on February 7, 2018 by the Department of Conservation — New Zealand shows fake concrete gannets on the Mana Island off the Wellington coast. (AFP)
Updated 07 February 2018
0

‘World’s loneliest bird’ Nigel dies in New Zealand

WELLINGTON: New Zealand wildlife lovers are mourning the death of a gannet named Nigel, dubbed “the loneliest bird in the world” due to the absence of any feathered friends on his island home.
Instead the seabird, also known as “no-mates Nigel,” spent years living among a colony of fake concrete birds set up by conservationists in a bid to attract wildlife.
The antisocial avian fell in love with one of the decoys on Mana Island, off the Wellington coast, and was seen preening, nestling and even trying to mate with it.
“Nigel chose to live on Mana, and we know he was happy there because he could have left any time and didn’t,” Department of Conservation ranger Chris Bell said Wednesday.
“It was odd behavior for a gannet, but every group has their individuals.”
Bell found Nigel’s body lying next to his stony sweetheart late last month and believes he died of old age, although an autopsy is yet to confirm the theory.
Sadly, Nigel may have died just as the fake colony was having its desired effect, with Bell reporting that three gannets began visiting Mana in late December.
Bell said Australasian gannets like Nigel, while not endangered, needed nesting sites that were not vulnerable to introduced pests such as rats and stoats.
“Gannets are extremely social birds and they make their decisions on where to live based on that,” he said.
“The decoys are our way of telling passing-by gannets that this place is safe, it’s predator free and it would be a good place for them to live.”
He said the three gannet newcomers were now regular visitors to the island and may yet set up a colony that could act as Nigel’s legacy.
“We are conscious that without Nigel the other three might not choose to nest here but only time will tell. We’re optimistic,” he said.


Indonesia woman irked by mosque noise convicted of blasphemy

Updated 21 August 2018
0

Indonesia woman irked by mosque noise convicted of blasphemy

  • Prosecutors said the 44-year-old defendant violated the criminal code by committing blasphemy against Islam
  • The maximum sentence for blasphemy is two years

MEDAN, Indonesia: An Indonesian court has sentenced a woman who complained about a noisy mosque to 18 months in prison for blasphemy.
The ethnic Chinese woman, Meiliana, burst into tears as presiding Judge Wahyu Prasetyo Wibowo announced the sentence Tuesday. She was taken from the court in handcuffs.
Prosecutors said the 44-year-old defendant violated the criminal code by committing blasphemy against Islam, the dominant faith in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation.
Mobs burned and ransacked at least 14 Buddhist temples throughout Tanjung Balai, a port town on Sumatra, in a July 2016 riot following reports of Meiliana’s complaint about a mosque’s noisy loudspeakers.
The woman’s lawyer, Ranto Sibarani, said the sentence would be appealed. A conservative group, Islamic Community Forum, said Meilana’s sentence was too light.
The maximum sentence for blasphemy is two years.
Indonesia’s Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and religion but in recent years blasphemy cases have been filed against those perceived as offending Islam. The overwhelming majority end with guilty verdicts.
Last year, the minority Christian and ethnic Chinese governor of Jakarta, the capital, was convicted of blasphemy and imprisoned for two years after massive street protests over comments seized upon by his political opponents.
Judges imposed the sentence despite prosecutors downgrading the blasphemy charge to a lesser offense.