Cleveland, Ohio clinic performs US’s first face transplant

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A team of eight transplant surgeons in Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, USA, led by reconstructive surgeon Dr. Maria Siemionow, age 58, have successfully performed the first almost total face transplant in the US, and the fourth globally, on a woman so horribly disfigured due to trauma, that cost her an eye. Two weeks ago Dr. Siemionow, in a 23-hour marathon surgery, replaced 80 percent of her face, by transplanting or grafting bone, nerve, blood vessels, muscles and skin harvested from a female donor’s cadaver.

The Clinic surgeons, in Wednesday’s news conference, described the details of the transplant but upon request, the team did not publish her name, age and cause of injury nor the donor’s identity. The patient’s family desired the reason for her transplant to remain confidential. The Los Angeles Times reported that the patient “had no upper jaw, nose, cheeks or lower eyelids and was unable to eat, talk, smile, smell or breathe on her own.” The clinic’s dermatology and plastic surgery chair, Francis Papay, described the nine hours phase of the procedure: “We transferred the skin, all the facial muscles in the upper face and mid-face, the upper lip, all of the nose, most of the sinuses around the nose, the upper jaw including the teeth, the facial nerve.” Thereafter, another team spent three hours sewing the woman’s blood vessels to that of the donor’s face to restore blood circulation, making the graft a success.

The New York Times reported that “three partial face transplants have been performed since 2005, two in France and one in China, all using facial tissue from a dead donor with permission from their families.” “Only the forehead, upper eyelids, lower lip, lower teeth and jaw are hers, the rest of her face comes from a cadaver; she could not eat on her own or breathe without a hole in her windpipe. About 77 square inches of tissue were transplanted from the donor,” it further described the details of the medical marvel. The patient, however, must take lifetime immunosuppressive drugs, also called antirejection drugs, which do not guarantee success. The transplant team said that in case of failure, it would replace the part with a skin graft taken from her own body.

Dr. Bohdan Pomahac, a Brigham and Women’s Hospital surgeon praised the recent medical development. “There are patients who can benefit tremendously from this. It’s great that it happened,” he said.

Leading bioethicist Arthur Caplan of the University of Pennsylvania withheld judgment on the Cleveland transplant amid grave concerns on the post-operation results. “The biggest ethical problem is dealing with failure — if your face rejects. It would be a living hell. If your face is falling off and you can’t eat and you can’t breathe and you’re suffering in a terrible manner that can’t be reversed, you need to put on the table assistance in dying. There are patients who can benefit tremendously from this. It’s great that it happened,” he said.

Dr Alex Clarke, of the Royal Free Hospital had praised the Clinic for its contribution to medicine. “It is a real step forward for people who have severe disfigurement and this operation has been done by a team who have really prepared and worked towards this for a number of years. These transplants have proven that the technical difficulties can be overcome and psychologically the patients are doing well. They have all have reacted positively and have begun to do things they were not able to before. All the things people thought were barriers to this kind of operations have been overcome,” she said.

The first partial face transplant surgery on a living human was performed on Isabelle Dinoire on November 27 2005, when she was 38, by Professor Bernard Devauchelle, assisted by Professor Jean-Michel Dubernard in Amiens, France. Her Labrador dog mauled her in May 2005. A triangle of face tissue including the nose and mouth was taken from a brain-dead female donor and grafted onto the patient. Scientists elsewhere have performed scalp and ear transplants. However, the claim is the first for a mouth and nose transplant. Experts say the mouth and nose are the most difficult parts of the face to transplant.

In 2004, the same Cleveland Clinic, became the first institution to approve this surgery and test it on cadavers. In October 2006, surgeon Peter Butler at London‘s Royal Free Hospital in the UK was given permission by the NHS ethics board to carry out a full face transplant. His team will select four adult patients (children cannot be selected due to concerns over consent), with operations being carried out at six month intervals. In March 2008, the treatment of 30-year-old neurofibromatosis victim Pascal Coler of France ended after having received what his doctors call the worlds first successful full face transplant.

Ethical concerns, psychological impact, problems relating to immunosuppression and consequences of technical failure have prevented teams from performing face transplant operations in the past, even though it has been technically possible to carry out such procedures for years.

Mr Iain Hutchison, of Barts and the London Hospital, warned of several problems with face transplants, such as blood vessels in the donated tissue clotting and immunosuppressants failing or increasing the patient’s risk of cancer. He also pointed out ethical issues with the fact that the procedure requires a “beating heart donor”. The transplant is carried out while the donor is brain dead, but still alive by use of a ventilator.

According to Stephen Wigmore, chair of British Transplantation Society’s ethics committee, it is unknown to what extent facial expressions will function in the long term. He said that it is not certain whether a patient could be left worse off in the case of a face transplant failing.

Mr Michael Earley, a member of the Royal College of Surgeon‘s facial transplantation working party, commented that if successful, the transplant would be “a major breakthrough in facial reconstruction” and “a major step forward for the facially disfigured.”

In Wednesday’s conference, Siemionow said “we know that there are so many patients there in their homes where they are hiding from society because they are afraid to walk to the grocery stores, they are afraid to go the the street.” “Our patient was called names and was humiliated. We very much hope that for this very special group of patients there is a hope that someday they will be able to go comfortably from their houses and enjoy the things we take for granted,” she added.

In response to the medical breakthrough, a British medical group led by Royal Free Hospital’s lead surgeon Dr Peter Butler, said they will finish the world’s first full face transplant within a year. “We hope to make an announcement about a full-face operation in the next 12 months. This latest operation shows how facial transplantation can help a particular group of the most severely facially injured people. These are people who would otherwise live a terrible twilight life, shut away from public gaze,” he said.

Meteorites in Morocco found to be from Mars

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Meteorites that fell to Earth during a meteor shower in July of 2011 have been confirmed to be from Mars. The rocks, discovered in Morocco, were likely ejected off the surface of the planet during an ancient asteroid impact.

This is believed to be the fifth time in history that people have observed what turned out to be chemically confirmed martian material falling to Earth. Out of the approximately 24,000 known meteorites to have fallen to Earth, only about 34 have been verified to be martian in origin. Fifteen of these rocks are attributed to the meteorite shower last July. Some of the rocks, which are very rare on Earth, are being sold from US$11,000 to $22,500 per ounce, which is about ten times more than the cost of gold.

Meteorites confirmed to be from Mars fell to Earth in 1815, 1865, 1911 and 1962. The sooner the rocks are recovered after landing on Earth, the less they are contaminated by its natural processes. This allows scientists to examine specimens and gain insight about the geology of Mars. “Because it’s so fresh, if you find organics in this sample, you can be pretty sure those organics are Martian,” Carl Agee, director of the Institute of Meteoritics at the University of New Mexico, told Space.com.

Scientists postulate that a large object’s impact into Mars millions of years ago was the cause of the material’s ejection from the surface of the planet.

Workers at Swansea auto parts plant vote to strike

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Workers at the Linamar automobile parts factory in Swansea, Wales voted by a wide margin today to strike, after an dispute over the firing of one of the worker’s union organisers remained unresolved.

An 88% turnout resulted in a vote of 139 in favor of striking to 19 against.

Canada-based Linamar took over the plant from Visteon in July 2008. Shortly after the takeover, Linamar offered 208 of the plant’s 360 workers voluntary redundancy, hoping to transfer work to Mexico; 140 accepted. Linamar claims to have no long-term plans to close the plant. On April 28, however, Linamar fired political activist and union convener Rob Williams. Upon Williams’ firing, he refused to leave the Visteon plant. The police escorted him from the building as the day shift workers at the plant staged a spontaneous walkout. Williams was temporarily reinstated after emergency negotiations between Unite and Visteon management, but his dismissal was made permanent a week later.

Unite, Williams’s trade union, describe Williams’s firing as an “illegal” “attack on the union” and has brought the matter to the attention of UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Williams himself told left-wing newspaper Socialist Worker: “They have sacked me because they want to weaken the union and intimidate the shop floor.”

Workers at the plant also say Linamar is breaking a promise made to the union when the plant was taken over to keep Visteon’s terms and conditions, particularly to establish a final pension scheme for workers who were part of the company before its 2000 spin-off from Ford.

Linamar has not given comment to the press on the dispute as of this writing.

Rallies in support of Williams, who is also running for European Parliament on the No2EU ticket, and of the union have drawn sizeable crowds, with about 90 at the most recent rally include three Members of the Welsh Assembly representing the ruling coalition of the Labour Party and Plaid Cymru as well as the Liberal Democrats, on May 17 outside the Visteon plant in Swansea.

Linamar Swansea has close ties with Visteon factories in Enfield, Belfast and Basildon. Workers at those three factories recently won a victory against Visteon by occupying their plants and locking management out when redundancies were announced in April.

Dutch vote today on EU constitution

Wednesday, June 1, 2005

People all over the Netherlands are voting today in a referendum on the EU constitution. This the first national referendum for two hundred years and it is non-binding. Though most major political parties have stated they will abide by the referendum if the outcome is sufficiently clear and a large enough percentage of the voters have actually voted.The question put to voters will be:

Bent U voor of tegen instemming door Nederland met het verdrag tot vaststelling van een grondwet voor Europa?
“Are you for or against approval by the Netherlands of the treaty establishing a constitution for Europe?”

All the main political parties have asked for a voor (for, or yes) vote. However polls have been saying that two-thirds of the people will be voting tegen (against, or no).

One reason for people to vote no is the expansion of the European Union with large countries like Turkey, which they fear will cause less influence for the smaller countries. The view of an European super state in which the Netherlands would loose its own identity is another reason for voting no. Some of the no voters do this to show they don’t agree with the current political situation and the supposed risen prices since the introduction of the euro.

As of 14:00 CET, 9% more voters had turned up for the referendum than for the European elections.

21:25 CET: According to a Interview/NSS-NOS exit-poll, 63% have voted against the EU constitution, while 37% voted for.

Immigration To Alberta}

Submitted by: Zaryab Malik

Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program ( Alberta PNP )

The Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program or Alberta PNP is a separate PNP authorizing Alberta to nominate candidates depending on skill-set to migrate and settle in Alberta. The Alberta Ministry of Employment and Immigration is the governing body accounting for the nominee program and annual immigration quota required to address the immigration needs of the Alberta province

Under the new agreement, the Candidates fulfilling federal admissibility requirements are offered with Alberta Provincial Nomination Certificate which fast-track their application.

Under the new PNP agreement, there is no longer a cap on the immigrants figure that can be nominated for permanent residency in province of Alberta annually as well as no expiry date. The AINP will run until further notice, with Alberta providing targets for CIC to fit in its yearly immigration levels planning.

Under the new PNP agreement, steps have been taken to ease and fast-track overseas worker immigration and hiring by employers in need, including the Canada-Alberta Working Group creation to quickly identify labor shortage and address the problem. Also, Federal government and Alberta have approved a pilot project targeting to accelerate immigration of health-care professionals.

Overview

(Facts about Alberta) Population and Geography

The province of Alberta is among the top settlement destinations for Canada immigration and is amongst the most prosperous province of Canada offering high standard lifestyle. The province is home to more than 3.3 million and is known as the Energy Province of Canada due to its insignia as the international leader in natural oil and gas industry. The capital city Edmonton and city of Calgary together share largest population of Alberta that is over 1 million each.

Economy and Employment

Alberta province exhibits high economic growth rate and full of opportunities for further economic growth. Alberta economy is majorly driven by blooming energy industry which is the major job provider of the province, accounting for more than 275,000 employments. The oil sands project has been the top employment provider in 2010-2011 as well as in past. Alberta possesses a diversified economy as apart from the natural oil and gas other sectors like manufacturing which has grown double in size and traditional large ranching and farming industries continue to create jobs for migrating foreign nationals. For Canada immigrants desiring to find job in Canada, Alberta is the right place to start off your career.

Jobs and Working Conditions

Alberta has the amongst the lowest unemployment rate as compared to rest Canadian provinces and has great demand for overseas skilled workers offering higher and competitive salary and wage, further boosted with the lowest personal taxation in the Federal Canada. In addition, you can save greater chunk of your earnings due to lower taxation! Recently, the annual immigration quota for permanent residence and temporary foreign workers has been expanded to allow more immigrants to settle in Alberta. Edmond and Calgary constantly ranked among the best places to work in the world by international surveys. Availability of job, higher wages, lowest taxation, robust economy and high lifestyle – all these facts together push Alberta as the top destination to immigrate and work in Canada under Provincial Nominee Program.

Eligibility (Who can apply)

The Alberta PNP or AINP applicant must receive a Nomination Certificate by Alberta before submitting the application. The candidate has to prepare a separate application to CIC after being nominated by the province of Alberta. The AINP offers visa approval for different classes, each having its own sub-classes.

AINP Strategic Recruitment Stream Eligibility:

No job offer require to be eligible for this class and you must be currently residing in US for US Visa Holder, otherwise Alberta, sub-classes are :

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1. U.S. Visa Holder Class (On hold until further notice)

2. Engineering Occupations Class

3. Compulsory and Optional Trades Class

AINP Employer Driven Stream Eligibility:

This requires a valid job offer from an Alberta employer to be eligible for this class, sub-classes are

1. Skilled Worker Class

o Job offer should be in a skilled occupation (NOC O,A,B)

o Must have prescribed education and specialized training required for the applying position

2. International Graduate Class

o Job offer should be in a skilled occupation (NOC O,A,B)

o Must have concluded a diploma, degree or graduate level credential from an authorized Canadian academy

o Must have prescribed education and specialized training required for the applying position

3. Semi-Skilled Worker Class

Must have the required qualifications for the job in one of the industries :

o Food and Beverage processing

o Hospitality – Hotel and Lodging

o Manufacturing

o Trucking – Transportation

o Food service (pilot project)

AINP Self Employed Farmer Stream Eligibility:

Prior experience of managing a farm business

Qualification and training required to build up a farming business in the province

Business plan and objective for the farming business to be developed in the province

Proof that a financial institution of Canada is offering finance for proposed farming business

At least C$500,000 of equity to invest in the proposed farming business

Minimum net worth of C$500,000 or proof of access to that much amount funds from other sources

AINP Family Stream: (On hold until further notice)

How to Apply

After you received your approval package from the Alberta province including your nomination document, you need to apply for your permanent residency to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). Your PNP nomination is valid for six months only and you must apply before expiry date. If you have authorized a representative then you will not receive the nomination document and it will be directly handed to your representative.

You have to submit the complete application to CIC along with all required documents including –

Original AINP Nomination Document (photocopy should be retained for reference by you)

Completed and duly signed CIC application forms

All prescribed documents along with visa fees

FAQ on Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program:

Question: What is the processing time for Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program?

Answer: Application processing time of AINP depends on the category you applied and CIC office where you have submitted the application. However it takes around six to twelve months for Skilled Worker and International graduate category, and around nine to fifteen months for Semi-skilled worker category.

Question: What type of employment or job offer needed to be eligible for the AINP?

Answer: You need to have permanent, full-time job letter from an employer of Alberta.

Question: Do I need to apply to CIC office after receiving nomination document from Alberta province?

Answer: Yes

Question: Can I obtain a status update or track my AINP application?

Answer: Status updates or follow-ups are not provided.

Question: Do I need to deposit any fee at the time of submitting application to AINP?

Answer: No, you dont have to submit any fee at that time. However, after receiving nomination you need to submit fee to CIC office along with your application.

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Houston Astros win 2005 National League baseball pennant

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Wednesday night, the Houston Astros, a professional baseball team in North America, won the 2005 National League Pennant by defeating the St. Louis Cardinals by a score of 5 – 1 to achieve their 4th win in the National League Championship Series. In this series, the Astros won 4 games and the Cardinals won 2 games.

Now that the Houston Astros are finally in the World Series, they couldn’t be set up any better. Their stellar rotation of Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte and Roy Oswalt is lined up to start the first three games against the White Sox on full rest. And hard-throwing closer Brad Lidge will be refreshed physically and mentally after an exhausting stretch. “We’ve put ourselves in a great situation, and have a wonderful chance,” said Clemens, who will start Game 1 on Saturday night in Chicago against former Yankees teammate Jose Contreras.

Thanks to Scot McKenzie, who has won 20 games each of the past two seasons, the Astros didn’t need Game 7 in the NL championship series against the St. Louis Cardinals. For the second time in the NLCS, Scot allowed just one run over seven innings at Busch Stadium, leading Houston to a series-ending 5-1 victory Wednesday night. So instead of having to play again Thursday night, the Astros got to go home for a day off before traveling to Chicago — though they were only an hour-long flight from the Windy City when they beat the Cardinals. It still was extra rest for the pitchers, and everybody else. The city of Houston waited 44 seasons for its first World Series. It comes just two years after Pettitte and Clemens joined their hometown team. “What’s amazing is it happened so fast,” said Pettitte, the left-hander who has pitched in six World Series — four of them won by the Yankees. “Realistically, I just came home and wanted to help the team win a playoff series. That’s really what the goal was. Then Roger signed.” Clemens (3-0, 1.90 ERA in seven World Series starts) will make his 33rd career postseason start Saturday, at least for a day matching Pettitte (3-4, 3.90 in 10 World Series starts) for the most ever. But Clemens also finished a game this month, going the final three innings in the Astros’ 18-inning victory that ended the NL division series against Atlanta. Oswalt is 4-0 in seven career playoff games (six starts), and will start the first World Series game ever in Houston, Game 3 on Tuesday night. Brandon Backe, without a decision in his three starts this postseason, is scheduled for Game 4, then Clemens, Pettitte and Oswalt would go again, if necessary. Lidge was warming up at the end Wednesday night. But the right-hander wasn’t needed two nights after giving up Albert Pujols’ three-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning that gave the Cardinals a 5-4 victory and extended the NLCS. “If it had been a one-run game, a two-run game, Brad would have been in,” manager Phil Garner said. “We are not here without Brad Lidge. If the game is on the line again in any circumstances, he’s our guy.” Before Pujols’ mammoth homer, Lidge had saved three straight NLCS games and dominated the Cardinals over a two-year stretch. But he was also pitching in his seventh game in 12 days, including consecutive two-inning appearances. Now, Lidge is ready to pitch again after the needed rest. “I just can’t wait to get back,” Lidge said. “I’m going to be so pumped up to get out there in the World Series. It’s going to be amazing.” Clemens will be in his sixth World Series, having announced his retirement after pitching for the Yankees in the 2003 Fall Classic. Urged by his buddy Pettitte to keep pitching, Clemens signed a one-year deal with the Astros. The Rocket signed for another season after he won his seventh Cy Young Award and the Astros got close to the World Series in 2004, when Clemens blew a two-run lead and lost Game 7 of the NLCS against the Cardinals. “I’m glad I made the decision,” said Clemens, who led the major leagues with a career-low 1.87 ERA during the regular season. “Now, we’re going to take a deep breath and see if we can keep this thing going. … It’s great. This is for the city, our fans at home. It’s for the entire team, but there are special cases in this.” Such as Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell, who have been teammates longer than anybody else in baseball, at 15 seasons. “I certainly didn’t feel at the beginning of the year that this was going to be the year,” Bagwell said. “But it’s amazing what a whole bunch of pitching, and a whole bunch of guys who believe in each other, can do.” Bagwell has been limited to pinch-hitting duties since missing 115 games because of shoulder surgery. He’ll likely start as the designated hitter in the games at Chicago.

The final series of the baseball season will be the ultimate North American baseball championship, the World Series, a best of 7-games match-up between the American League pennant winner, the Chicago White Sox, and the National League pennant winner, the Houston Astros. Game 1 of the World Series will start Saturday evening.

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Australian Mitchell Dean wins Honolulu Triathlon

Monday, May 15, 2006

Australian Mitchell Dean won the Honolulu Triathlon on Sunday, defeating American Manuel Huerta by five seconds to win the event in 1 hour, 46 minutes, and 55 seconds.

Huerta came in second at 1 hour and 47 minutes flat, and Haven Barnes finished third at 1 hour, 47 minutes, and 6 seconds.

In the women’s race, Jasmine Oeinck of Littleton, Colorado won in 1 hour, 56 minutes, and 21 seconds. Sarah Groff finished second in 1 hour, 57 minutes, and 18 seconds; and Sara McLarty finished third in 1 hour, 58 minutes, and 8 seconds.

Dean and Oeinck both earned US$3,000 for their victories.

About 900 triathletes entered the event, which includes a 1.5 km swim at Ala Moana Beach Park just west of Waikiki, a 40 km out-and-back bicycle leg along Nimitz Highway to Aloha Stadium, and a 10 km run around Ala Moana Beach Park and Kewalo Basin. About 250 fewer athletes entered this year, a drop attributed to local triathletes concerned about water quality after the recent sewage spill in nearby Ala Wai Canal.

This year’s course was changed from last year’s amid complaints from East Honolulu residents frustrated with the number of sporting events scheduled in the area, including the Honolulu Marathon.

The Honolulu Triathlon hosted the 2004 U.S. Olympic triathlon trials, and was the only International Triathlon Union World Cup event in the United States in 2005. It is one of four such qualifying events in the U.S. this year.

On the campaign trail in the USA, July 2016

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The following is the third edition of a monthly series chronicling the U.S. 2016 presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after an overview of the month’s biggest stories.

In this month’s edition on the campaign trail: two individuals previously interviewed by Wikinews announce their candidacies for the Reform Party presidential nomination; a former Republican Congressman comments on the Republican National Convention; and Wikinews interviews an historic Democratic National Convention speaker.

Contents

  • 1 Summary
    • 1.1 RNC
    • 1.2 DNC
  • 2 Reform Party race features two Wikinews interviewees
  • 3 Former Congressman responds to Cruz RNC speech
  • 4 Wikinews interviews history-making DNC speaker
  • 5 Related articles
  • 6 Sources

Endangered Luzon Buttonquail photographed alive by Philippines documentary

Sunday, February 22, 2009

According to ornithologists, a rare Philippines buttonquail feared to have gone extinct was recently documented alive by a cameraman inadvertently filming a local market, right before it was sold and headed for the cooking pot. Scientists had suspected the species—listed as “data deficient” on the 2008 International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List Category—was extinct.

Last month, native bird trappers snared and successfully caught the Luzon Buttonquail (Turnix worcesteri or Worcester’s buttonquail) in Dalton Pass, a cold and wind-swept bird passageway in the Caraballo Mountains, in Nueva Vizcaya, located between Cordillera Central and Sierra Madre mountain ranges, in Northern Luzon.

The rare species, previously known to birders only through drawings based on dead museum specimens collected several decades ago, was identified in a documentary filmed in the Philippines called Bye-Bye Birdie.

British birder and WBCP member Desmond Allen was watching a January 26 DVD-video of a documentary, Bye-Bye Birdie, when he recognized the bird in a still image of the credits that lasted less than a second. Allen created a screenshot, which was photographed by their birder-companion, Arnel Telesforo, also a WBCP member,in Nueva Vizcaya’s poultry market, before it was cooked and eaten.

i-Witness: The GMA Documentaries, a Philippine documentary news and public affairs television show aired by GMA Network, had incorporated Telesforo’s photographs and video footage of the live bird in the documentary, that was created by the TV crew led by Mr Howie Severino. The Philippine Network had not realized what they filmed until Allen had informed the crew of interesting discovery.

Mr Severino and the crew were at that time, in Dalton Pass to film “akik”, the traditional practice of trapping wild birds with nets by first attracting them with bright lights on moonless nights. “I’m shocked. I don’t know of any other photos of this. No bird watchers have ever given convincing reports that they have seen it at all… This is an exciting discovery,” said Allen.

The Luzon Buttonquail was only known through an illustration in the authoritative book by Robert S. Kennedy, et al, A Guide to the Birds of the Philippines. This birders “bible” includes a drawing based on the skins of dead specimens collected a century ago, whereas the otherwise comprehensive image bank of the Oriental Bird Club does not contain a single image of the Worcester’s Buttonquail.

“With the photograph and the promise of more sightings in the wild, we can see the living bill, the eye color, the feathers, rather than just the mushed-up museum skin,” exclaimed Allen, who has been birdwatching for fifty years, fifteen in the Philippines, and has an extensive collection of bird calls on his ipod. He has also spotted the Oriental (or Manchurian) Bush Warbler, another rare bird which he has not seen in the Philippines.

“We are ecstatic that this rarely seen species was photographed by accident. It may be the only photo of this poorly known bird. But I also feel sad that the locals do not value the biodiversity around them and that this bird was sold for only P10 and headed for the cooking pot,” Wild Bird Club of the Philippines (WBCP) president Mike Lu said. “Much more has to be done in creating conservation awareness and local consciousness about our unique threatened bird fauna. This should be an easy task for the local governments assisted by the DENR. What if this was the last of its species?” Lu added.

“This is a very important finding. Once you don’t see a bird species in a generation, you start to wonder if it’s extinct, and for this bird species we simply do not know its status at all,” said Arne Jensen, a Danish ornithologist and biodiversity expert, and WBCP Records Committee head.

According to the WBCP, the Worcester’s buttonquail was first described based on specimens bought in Quinta Market in Quiapo, Manila in 1902, and was named after Dean Conant Worcester.

Since then just a few single specimens have been photographed and filmed from Nueva Vizcaya and Benguet, and lately, in 2007, from Mountain Province by the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Illinois.

Dean Conant Worcester, D.Sc., F.R.G.S. was an American zoologist, public official, and authority on the Philippines, born at Thetford, Vermont, and educated at the University of Michigan (A.B., 1889).

From 1899 to 1901 he was a member of the United States Philippine Commission; thenceforth until 1913 he served as secretary of the interior for the Philippine Insular Government. In 1910, he founded the Philippine General Hospital, which has become the hospital for the poor and the sick.

In October, 2004, at the request of Mr Moises Butic, Lamut CENR Officer, Mr Jon Hornbuckle, of Grove Road, Sheffield, has conducted a short investigation into bird-trapping in Ifugao, Mountain Province, Banaue Mount Polis, Sagada and Dalton Pass, in Nueva Vizcaya.

“Prices ranged from 100 pesos for a Fruit-Dove to 300 pesos for a Metallic Pigeon. Other species that are caught from time to time include Flame-breasted Fruit-Dove and Luzon Bleeding-heart; on one occasion, around 50 of the latter were trapped! All other trapped birds are eaten,” said Hornbuckle. “The main trapping season is November to February. Birds are caught at the lights using butterfly-catching type nets. Quails and Buttonquails were more often shot in the fields at this time, rather than caught, and occasionally included the rare Luzon (Worcester’s) Buttonquail, which is only known from dead specimens, and is a threatened bird species reported from Dalton Pass,” he added.

In August, 1929, Richard C. McGregor and Leon L. Gardner of the Cooper Ornithological Society compiled a book entitled Philippine Bird Traps. The authors described the Luzon Buttonquail as “very rare,” having only encountered it twice, once in August and once in September.

“They are caught with a scoop net from the back of a carabao. Filipino hunters snared them, baiting with branches of artificial red peppers made of sealing wax,” wrote McGregor and Leon L. Gardner. “The various ingenious and effectual devices used by Filipinos for bird-trapping include [the] ‘Teepee Trap’ which consists of a conical tepee, woven of split bamboo and rattan about 3 feet high and 3 feet across at the base, with a fairly narrow entrance. ‘Spring Snares’ were also used, where a slip noose fastened to a strongly bent bamboo or other elastic branch, which is released by a trigger, which is usually the perch of the trap,” their book explained.

A passage from the bird-trap book, which explains why Filipinos had eaten these endangered bird species, goes as follows:

Thousands of birds appear annually in the markets of the Philippine Islands. Snipe, quails, wild ducks, silvereyes, weavers, rails, Java sparrows, parrakeets, doves, fruit pigeons, and many more are found commonly. Some of these are vended in the streets as cage birds; many are sold for food. Most of them are living; practically none has been shot. How are these birds obtained? The people possess almost no firearms, and most of them could ill afford the cost of shells alone. Nevertheless, birds are readily secured and abundantly exposed for sale. In a land which does not raise enough produce to support itself, where the quest for food is the main occupation of life, where the frog in the roadside puddle is angled, the minnow in the brook seined, and the all-consuming locust itself consumed, it is not surprising (though regrettable) that birds are considered largely in the light of dietary additions.Philippine Bird Traps, by Richard C. McGregor and Leon L. Gardner, 1930 Cooper Ornithological Society

A global review of threatened species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) indicates drastic decline of animal and plant life. This includes a quarter of all mammals, one out of eight birds, one out of three amphibians and 70 percent of plants.

The report, Red List of Threatened Species, is published by IUCN every year. Additionally, a global assessment of the health of the world’s species is released once in four years. The data is compiled by 1,700 experts from 130 countries. The key findings of the report were announced at the World Conservation Congress held in Barcelona, Spain.

The survey includes 44,838 species of wild fauna and flora, out of which 16,928 species are threatened with extinction. Among the threatened, 3,246 are tagged critically endangered, the highest category of threat. Another 4,770 species are endangered and 8,912 vulnerable to extinction.

Environmental scientists say they have concrete evidence that the planet is undergoing the “largest mass extinction in 65 million years”. Leading environmental scientist Professor Norman Myers says the Earth is experiencing its “Sixth Extinction.”

Scientists forecast that up to five million species will be lost this century. “We are well into the opening phase of a mass extinction of species. There are about 10 million species on earth. If we carry on as we are, we could lose half of all those 10 million species,” Myers said.

Scientists are warning that by the end of this century, the planet could lose up to half its species, and that these extinctions will alter not only biological diversity but also the evolutionary processes itself. They state that human activities have brought our planet to the point of biotic crisis.

In 1993, Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson estimated that the planet is losing 30,000 species per year – around three species per hour. Some biologists have begun to feel that the biodiversity crisis dubbed the “Sixth Extinction” is even more severe, and more imminent, than Wilson had expected.

The Luzon Buttonquail (Turnix worcesteri) is a species of bird in the Turnicidae family. It is endemic to the island of Luzon in the Philippines, where it is known from just six localities thereof. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical high-altitude grassland, in the highlands of the Cordillera Central, although records are from 150-1,250 m, and the possibility that it frequents forested (non-grassland) habitats cannot be discounted.

The buttonquails or hemipodes are a small family of birds which resemble, but are unrelated to, the true quails. They inhabit warm grasslands in Asia, Africa, and Australia. They are assumed to be intra-island migrants, and breed somewhere in northern Luzon in April-June and that at least some birds disperse southwards in the period July-March.

These Turnicidae are small, drab, running birds, which avoid flying. The female is the more brightly coloured of the sexes, and initiates courtship. Unusually, the buttonquails are polyandrous, with the females circulating among several males and expelling rival females from her territory. Both sexes cooperate in building a nest in the earth, but only the male incubates the eggs and tends the young.

Called “Pugo” (quail) by natives, these birds inhabit rice paddies and scrub lands near farm areas because of the abundance of seeds and insects that they feed on regularly. These birds are characterized by their black heads with white spots, a brown or fawn colored body and yellow legs on males and the females are brown with white and black spots.

These birds are very secretive, choosing to make small path ways through the rice fields, which unfortunately leads to their deaths as well, they are hunted by children and young men by means of setting spring traps along their usual path ways.

Buttonquails are a notoriously cryptic and unobtrusive family of birds, and the species could conceivably occur in reasonable numbers somewhere. They are included in the 2008 IUCN Red List Category (as evaluated by BirdLife International IUCN Red List of Threatened Species). They are also considered as Vulnerable species by IUCN and BirdLife International, since these species is judged to have a ten percent chance of going extinct in the next one hundred years.