Czech News in Brief: 15 May
Memorial plaque to RAF pilot Liska unveiled in Czech town
Lazne Belohrad – A restored memorial plaque to Bohumil Liska (1905-1969), a wartime pilot of the 311th squadron of the British Royal Air Force (RAF) and flight instructor, was unveiled yesterday in front of his former house in Prostredni Nova Ves, part of Lazne Belohrad in the Hradec Králové Region, where he spent his youth, town mayor Alena Kuzelova told CTK.
The plaque had to be removed due to repairs to the house facade and is now placed in front of the building on a stone pedestal. During the ceremony, two historic military aircraft flew over the site and a musical ensemble performed.
Liska left the town in 1939 to fight against the Nazis. He failed to reach France, was arrested by the Soviet authorities and ended up in a Siberian Gulag. Following the intervention of the exiled Czechoslovak government in London, he was released and was able to join the RAF in Britain. As a bomber crew commander, he took part in many raids on strategic targets in occupied Europe. In 1943, he was posted via Canada and the USA to the Bahamas. In the last year of the war, he worked for the Czechoslovak government in exile. After returning to Czechoslovakia in August 1945, he was promoted to the rank of colonel and became the commander of the air transport regiment in Prague. However, after the Communist coup in 1948, he was persecuted, dismissed from the army and imprisoned for several years. After his release, he was only allowed to do manual jobs. Shortly before his death, he was rehabilitated and partially compensated.
Dvur Kralove zoo to coordinate European breeding of two heron species
Dvur Kralove nad Labem – The Dvur Kralove nad Labem Safari Park in the Hradec Králové Region will coordinate the European rescue breeding of the African giant (Goliath) and purple herons, which has thus far been mostly unsuccessful in zoos, zoo spokesman Michal Stastny told CTK.
The European Association of Zoos and Aquariums has entrusted management of the heron rescue programmes to the Dvur Kralove Safari Park, which specialises in African animals and is very successful in breeding rhinos and giraffes.
Giant herons, the largest herons in the world, now live in 21 European zoos, but the largest group of two pairs is kept in Dvur Kralove. Their breeding is rather random and the population is declining. The Czech zoo will now manage the movement of these animals and determine the correct breeding methodology. “All of this should lead to an improving situation of giant herons in European zoos,” zoologist Michal Podhrazsky said. Red herons are bred in five European zoos with a total of 13 individuals, of which two pairs are in the Dvur Kralove zoo. The bird inhabits almost the entire sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, as well as coastal areas in Europe.