An Erupting Volcano In Bali Has Prompted Mass Evacuations And Stranded Thousands Of Travelers — via CNN / UPROXX

After weeks of tell-tale rumbles, Mount Agung is spewing ash clouds over Bali while residents and travelers fear for the worst. The Indonesian resort island saw the volcano erupt at least three times over the course of Saturday night and Sunday. In the process, the volcano shot ashes 19,000 feet high, according to CNN. The New York Times further reports that officials designated an area of six miles surrounding the volcano for mandatory evacuations, which has resulted in 24,000 people flocking from their homes and hotels.

To further complicate matters, especially for tourists, the island’s international airport has been closed for safety reasons. As a result, approximately 7,000 passengers saw cancellation of their flights. And on Monday, matters may grow worse — a realization that has prompted officials to prep for an “imminent” massive eruption by raising the alert classification:

Indonesia’s Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation raised its aviation notice from a red alert to a green one on Monday, indicating the potential for a larger eruption is imminent.

Over the weekend, residents were evacuated from 224 points around the island while Lombok International Airport on Pulau Lombok, the island due east of Bali, closed temporarily, said Ari Ahsan, spokesman for Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali … amid worsening conditions Monday, Jetstar Airways canceled all flights in and out of Bali.

The last time (1963) that Mount Agung saw a significant eruption, at least 1,100 people lost their lives. However, the latest rounds of tremors commenced in September 2016, which saw over 145,000 people evacuate. Since that time, businesses surrounding Mount Agung have been feeling the crunch as tourists increasingly avoided the area. Monday’s impending “green” alert is considered a Level 4 classification, although the National Board for Disaster Management says that the island’s condition remains “safe” for the moment.

(Via CNN & New York Times)

After weeks of tell-tale rumbles, Mount Agung is spewing ash clouds over Bali while residents and travelers fear for the worst. The Indonesian resort island saw the mountain erupt at least three times over the course of Saturday night and Sunday. In the process, the volcano shot ashes 19,000 feet high, according to CNN. The…

Featured image courtesy of Yahoo

via An Erupting Volcano In Bali Has Prompted Mass Evacuations And Stranded Thousands Of Travelers — UPROXX

Pacific island Vatuvara wildlife survey — via Dear Kitty blog

This 2017 video from Fiji is called Vatuvara Private Islands.

From BirdLife:

22 Nov 2017

Exploring the untouched island of Vatuvara

This is the first time a full biological survey has ever been performed on this remote, almost untouched island in the South Pacific. The intriguing and fascinating results have redoubled the Vatuvara Foundation’s efforts to safeguard this lush wildlife haven.

By Steve Cranwell

The island of Vatuvara perfectly embodies the intrigue and beauty of the South Pacific islands. Located in the north of Fiji’s Lau group, the 800-hectare island has been uninhabited for most of human history. This is due in part to the absence of a permanent water source – but the sharp, unforgiving coral terrain certainly doesn’t help.

For a time, the island hosted a fortified village atop the 300-metre summit – no doubt a strategic lookout point for Fijian warriors. But apart from a desperate attempt at coconut production during Fiji’s plantation era, Vatuvara has largely been spared the impacts of human influence. And that includes many invasive species common on other South Pacific islands – making Vatuvara an invaluable refuge for wildlife.

Despite the detailed knowledge of the indigenous Fijians, practically the only formal scientific account of the island comes from the remarkable Whitney Expeditions, which visited Fiji in 1924, identifying the endemic Fiji Banded Iguana Brachylophus fasciatus among other native flora and fauna species.

Now under the care of Vatuvara Private Islands, the island is protected as a nature reserve. In November, BirdLife International Pacific, together with NatureFiji-MareqetiViti (BirdLife in Fiji) and the US Geological Survey, joined the Vatuvara Foundation to conduct a pioneering four-day survey.

The survey initially focused on the island’s reptiles, in particular the Banded Iguana – currently threatened with extinction – and a snake, the Pacific Boa Candoia bibroni. During the night, several sleeping reptiles were stealthily extracted from the branches above for identification.

Coconut crabs Birgus latro proved to be a very visible part of the island fauna. Although active throughout the day, it was at night that the forest came alive to a slow, deliberate dance as the world’s largest arthropods (weighing up to 4kg and a metre from leg to leg) shuffled about the forest floor, or climbed trees and vertical rock faces in search of sustenance. Once common throughout the Pacific and Indian Oceans, these unique, long lived terrestrial crabs, who can survive for 40-60 years, are under threat. Considered a local delicacy, crab populations are now increasingly confined to remote inaccessible islands or locally protected areas.

Vatuvara is an island for birds. Dawn and dusk resounded to a cacophony of calls as the Wattled Honeyeater Foulehaio carunculatus, along with the 20 other species we identified, made their presence known. Almost all were forest birds, a validation of the quality of Vatuvara’s forest. A particularly encouraging sighting was the Shy Ground Dove Alopecoenas stairi, threatened with extinction elsewhere due to introduced predators such as feral cats and rats.

In terms of invasive species, no evidence of cats, pigs, goats, Black rats Rattus rattus, mongoose, invasive ants or any of Fiji’s usual suspects could be found. However, the Pacific rat Rattus exulans was present. This non-native rat predates small birds and their eggs, as well as many of Fiji’s invertebrates and fauna.

All good surveys pose as many questions as they answer, and something of a surprise for Vatuvara was the notable absence of seabirds, generating numerous hypotheses, including what influence Coconut Crabs may pose. Ornithologist Vilikesa Masibalavu also noted an unusual phenomenon among the Island’s Fiji Whistlers Pachycephala vitiensis. They weren’t hard to find – but they were strangely silent, and not a single male could be found.

While much still remains to be discovered on Vatuvara, the survey highlighted the Island’s vital importance to Fiji’s natural history. It was found to hold a wealth of diverse native plants and wildlife increasingly under threat on other islands. Future work will build on this baseline, tracking trends in birds, coconut crabs and reptiles and ensuring harmful invasive species don’t establish. In protecting the island, the Vatuvara Foundation have made a visionary commitment to safeguarding a crucial haven for Fiji’s wildlife.

 

This 2017 video from Fiji is called Vatuvara Private Islands. From BirdLife: 22 Nov 2017 Exploring the untouched island of Vatuvara This is the first time a full biological survey has ever been performed on this remote, almost untouched island in the South Pacific. The intriguing and fascinating results have redoubled the Vatuvara Foundation’s efforts […]

via Pacific island Vatuvara wildlife survey — Dear Kitty. Some blog