Bald eagle alert: Lady Maya flies off after conflict with gang of gulls

Bald eagle alert: Lady Maya flies off after conflict with gang of gulls

The Beekse Bergen safari park south of Tilburg has put out an appeal for its American bald eagle, who flew off during a demonstration earlier this week. Lady Maya, who has been at the zoo for 27 years and has a 2.5 metre wingspan, flew away after what the safari park calls an ‘conflict’ with a group of gulls on Tuesday afternoon. People who spot the eagle are being urged not to approach her. ‘She is a tough lady but she can be frightened and fly off again,’ the safari park said. The park’s birds of prey are not kept in cages and can fly away if they want to, spokesman Klaas-Jan Leinenga told the NRC. ‘But they are so attached to their keepers that they never do.’ The American bald eagle is easy to spot with its white neck and yellow beak. The bird is not native to Europe and lives mainly on the North American coast. Transmitter Lady Maya is fitted with a transmitter and is known to have hung around the park on Wednesday, but by Thursday she could no longer be tracked. Some tips have already come into the safari park and staff have driven to the spots in the hope to pick up a transmitter signal. Leinenga expects the bird to survive easily in the wild and says she will feast on pigeons and rabbits. In the meantime, Leinenga says he hopes she will return to the park. Losing her, he says, would be a major blow. ‘Our aim is to inspire people appreciate nature,’ he said. ‘If you see Lady Maya, you want to protect her as well.’   More >

Greenpeace protestors occupy North Sea rig

Greenpeace protestors occupy North Sea rig, three arrested in Lauwersoog Police in the Groningen port of Lauwersoog have arrested three members of the environmental organisation Greenpeace for getting too close to a drilling rig off the coast of the Wadden island of Schiermonnikoog. The three were taking part in a protest against test drilling for gas but had returned to the mainland because they were seasick in the rough seas, broadcaster NOS said.   The platform, owned by a company called Hansa Hydrocarbons, is some 20km into the North Sea and was occupied by several Greenpeace protesters on Thursday. Protests are also taking place on the Wadden Sea island itself. The island's mayor Ineke van Gent, who has joined the protestors, told local broadcaster RTV Noord: 'We should be moving over to sustainable energy. You should not be drilling for gas near a vulnerable nature reserve.' Economic affairs minister Erik Wiebes said on Thursday that locals should not be worried about the test drilling. 'You hardly see the rig,' he said. 'On a clear day, if you look closely, you can see a spot.' British company Hansa Hydrocarbons is trying to establish if the gas field in the area is big enough to exploit commercially.  More >

Grenades found, family told to leave home

Inequality on the rise in NL as richest 1% claim 45% of new wealth A family from Nieuwegein near Utrecht have been ordered by the local mayor to leave their home for three months because of the risk they pose to public safety. Two grenades were found in front of the terraced house where the family lives on Thursday and last week their home was shot at, prompting the mayor to take action. 'Sealing this house is necessary to ensure the safety of the neighbourhood and prevent new occurrences,' mayor Frans Backhuijs is quoted as saying by the Volkskrant. He said the family understood the decision and will sort out a new place to live themselves. The council is not funding their temporary accommodation. Explosives experts spend much of Thursday clearing the grenades and making sure the street is safe. The local school was also closed and the children were evacuated. 'There is obviously talk of a conflict,' a police spokesman told reporters on Thursday. 'But we don't know what it is about and we plan to talk more to the man of the house who seems to be the target.' The family, made up of two parents and two adult children, have lived in the area for several years.  More >

Boy, 14, in court for killing his parents

Inequality on the rise in NL as richest 1% claim 45% of new wealth A 14-year-old boy who has admitted stabbing his parents to death at the family farmhouse in last year, should be given the maximum sentence under juvenile law, the public prosecutor has told a closed court session. This means the boy would spend a year in a juvenile prison, followed by treatment in a psychiatric prison. No more details about the case have been made public and it is unclear what motivated the boy to attack his mother and father at their home. The bodies of the 63-year-old man and 62-year-old woman were found by neighbours who share the property and the boy, the youngest of three sons, was arrested shortly afterwards. Katlijk, close to Heerenveen, is a small village of just 600 people and the double murder has shocked locals. The family were not known to be a problem and were not involved with social services, the town’s mayor told the Leeuwarder Courant. The court will rule on the case in two weeks time. That session will be open to the public and the press.  More >

SER recommends state-funded parental leave

Inequality on the rise in NL as richest 1% claim 45% of new wealth The government's key advisory body SER is recommending a shake-up of the current parental leave system in the Netherlands. At the moment new mothers get 16 weeks paid leave and fathers two days paid leave, followed by a complicated system of unpaid parental leave (ouderschapsverlof) which can be taken by both parents until a child reaches the age of eight. The SER, made up of employer, union and lay members, says this system should be simplified and funded differently. In order to stimulate more parents to take advantage of parental leave - fathers in particular - SER recommends integrating the various forms of leave into a single system. If this leave is taken within the first six months of a child's life, parents should get funding, SER says. Although the organisation does not say how much parents should get, it does say the money should come from public funds. Eventually, this could be extended to 16 weeks, as recommended by the European Commission, SER said. 'The first year after birth is a crucial phase in a child's life,' SER president Mariette Hamer said in a statement. 'It is important therefore to concentrate and optimalise parental leave in the first year after birth.' The new government already plans to extend paid paternity leave from two to five days in 2019 and new fathers will also be allowed to take a further five weeks off at 70% of their regular pay from 2020.  More >