This week Dutch student Steinar Henskes of the VU University Amsterdam, owner of the Bird Control Group, won Global Student Entrepreneur of the Year, an event held in Washington, D.C. Up against 2,000 students from 38 countries, Henskes took home a cool USD 20,000 (about € 18,500) in prize money.
Bird Control Group provides solutions to keep birds at a safe distance from commercial activities using animal-safe lasers. Founded in 2012, the company operates in 52 countries around the globe including major airports like Schiphol and London Airport. “The products are recognised by the World Wildlife Fund for their innovation, effectiveness and animal friendliness.”
Sightings of the vimba bream (in Dutch, ‘blauwneus’) in the Netherlands are rare, especially really young ones. In early April some 50 volunteers started monitoring and listing fish caught in frame nets in the New Waterway near Maassluis, and the vimba bream stood out. They jump upstream like salmon do.
The vimba bream was originally a Central European species that expanded into Germany to the Rhine Valley when the Main-Danube Canal was being dug. “The first observations of the vimba bream in the Netherlands date back to 1989, when a three-year-old fish was caught in the Lower Rhine.”
Burgers’ Zoo in Arnhem decided to fly a drone over the chimpanzee enclosure as part of films they make to show the world how the animals are doing, but Tushi the chimpanzee was not having any of it. Sitting quietly in a tree, she armed itself with a stick and swatted the sucker to the ground. The whole thing was filmed and so the world can enjoy another coffee break brought to you by the crazy world of animals living in captivity.
The idea of a cat café started in Taiwan in 1998 and got big in Japan, New York City, London, Paris, Berlin, and Copenhagen. This month it’s Amsterdam’s turn to have a cat café that will open on 22 April.
Amsterdam already has quite a few cats in their establishments to catch mice, but following international trends, it was a matter of time before the capital got an official hangout overrun with furry friends, which amusingly enough is not too far from 24oranges HQ.
The entire idea was crowdfunded with 975 cat lovers contributing 33,000 euro to the project.
‘Volg de Das’ (‘Follow the badger’) is a webcam that was set up by forest rangers Aaldrik and Pauline who are logging their adventures in Dutch watching a family of badgers. The badgers can be seen in the evenings and at night, and if you spot them you can send in your film clips.
In other badger news, our reality badger family is branching out and getting a second webcam soon, so more people can watch them. Who knows, maybe Dutch artist Bart Jansen who makes gadgets out of dead animals will have a eye on them too if they happen to die for his badger submarine.
In 2011 Amsterdam artist Rob Hagenouw contacted some hunters and scored geese to create his own croquette recipe. It was a big deal because by law geese cannot be killed unless they are deemed a nuisance, like the geese at Schiphol airport.
Hagenouw’s project The Kitchen of the Unwanted Animal (‘Keuken van het ongewest dier’) is a food truck in Amsterdam that sells snack food made from unwanted animals like muskrat, horse, pigeon, crawfish and parakeet. Unwanted means that these animals are not indigenous to the Netherlands (crawfish), are no longer being cared for as pets (horse) or are a nuisance (geese). Instead of killing these animals and throwing them out, Hagenouw and his partner Nicolle Schatborn decided to build a whole cuisine around them that’s getting international attention.
Although rabbit was not on the list yet, they are considered a plague, although a hugely cute one.
The owl terrorising the city of Pumerend still has not been caught. However, a local supermarket thought it would be a good idea to cash in on people’s fear by selling them an ‘anti-owl hat’ that’s basically a black university-style graduation cap with owl stickers. I guess that’s one way to look smart.
The owl has been a problem for a year and has only recently decided to step up its game. The city blames people for not telling them about all the attacks that have happened and suggests people walk around with an umbrella until they catch it.
After the world found out about an owl terrorising the city of Pumerend and sending people to hospital, the city of Haarlem has decided to attack its annual seagull problem with drones, based on an American idea. Haarlem is a few kilometres from the North Sea, while Amsterdam is further away and seems more overrun by pigeons.
Forget hanging devices that make falcon noises to scare seagulls off. With a drone you can replace the camera part with the noisy device and scare the seagulls out of their nests, as long as it’s not too windy for the drones. Seagulls are a protected bird type, so scaring them away is the city’s best bet for now.
A joint Dutch-Belgian study of the NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) has shown that there are bacteria in the North Sea that send signals to each other, much like using a telephone, over long distances. The bacteria are able to do so by using electrical signals with alternating current. Earlier researchers discovered that micro-oganisms could talk to each other, but their calls were usually local.
“We already knew that long-winding cable bacteria were living in the seafloor of the North Sea, which are capable of establishing an electrical current across centimeter distances,” explains team leader Professor Filip Meysman. “The really exciting discovery is that these bacteria are capable of adapting their electrical current generation, which enables signal transmission in the seafloor. This way the electricity-generating cable bacteria are essentially functioning as telephone cables.”
The discovery could mean all kinds of useful future applications. “Maybe within some years, solar panels or smartphones will harbor minuscule conducting wires of bacterial origin,” adds Meysman.
Birdwatchers are thrilled to have spotted a flock of five flamingos in Amsterdam, which is a rare sight. They’re not from a zoo, as they’ve not been tagged. They’ve probably come from southern Europe and are staying as they can find food easily. The birds should stay about three years. German flamingos are often seen in the Netherlands, but are tagged and usually go back home.