Robber fly - Nature photographer Thomas Shahan specializes in amazing portraits of tiny insects. It isn't easy. Shahan says that this Robber Fly (Holcocephala fusca), for instance, is "skittish" and doesn't like its picture taken.

Nature by Numbers (Video)

"The Greater Akashic System" – July 15, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) (Subjects: Lightworkers, Intent, To meet God, Past lives, Universe/Galaxy, Earth, Pleiadians, Souls Reincarnate, Invention: Measure Quantum state in 3D, Recalibrates, Multi-Dimensional/Divine, Akashic System to change to new system, Before religion changed the system, DNA, Old system react to Karma, New system react to intent now for next life, Animals (around humans) reincarnate again, This Animal want to come back to the same human, Akashic Inheritance, Reincarnate as Family, Other Planets, Global Unity … etc.)

Question: Dear Kryon: I live in Spain. I am sorry if I will ask you a question you might have already answered, but the translations of your books are very slow and I might not have gathered all information you have already given. I am quite concerned about abandoned animals. It seems that many people buy animals for their children and as soon as they grow, they set them out somewhere. Recently I had the occasion to see a small kitten in the middle of the street. I did not immediately react, since I could have stopped and taken it, without getting out of the car. So, I went on and at the first occasion I could turn, I went back to see if I could take the kitten, but it was to late, somebody had already killed it. This happened some month ago, but I still feel very sorry for that kitten. I just would like to know, what kind of entity are these animals and how does this fit in our world. Are these entities which choose this kind of life, like we do choose our kind of Human life? I see so many abandoned animals and every time I see one, my heart aches... I would like to know more about them.

Answer: Dear one, indeed the answer has been given, but let us give it again so you all understand. Animals are here on earth for three (3) reasons.

(1) The balance of biological life. . . the circle of energy that is needed for you to exist in what you call "nature."

(2) To be harvested. Yes, it's true. Many exist for your sustenance, and this is appropriate. It is a harmony between Human and animal, and always has. Remember the buffalo that willingly came into the indigenous tribes to be sacrificed when called? These are stories that you should examine again. The inappropriateness of today's culture is how these precious creatures are treated. Did you know that if there was an honoring ceremony at their death, they would nourish you better? Did you know that there is ceremony that could benefit all of humanity in this way. Perhaps it's time you saw it.

(3) To be loved and to love. For many cultures, animals serve as surrogate children, loved and taken care of. It gives Humans a chance to show compassion when they need it, and to have unconditional love when they need it. This is extremely important to many, and provides balance and centering for many.

Do animals know all this? At a basic level, they do. Not in the way you "know," but in a cellular awareness they understand that they are here in service to planet earth. If you honor them in all three instances, then balance will be the result. Your feelings about their treatment is important. Temper your reactions with the spiritual logic of their appropriateness and their service to humanity. Honor them in all three cases.

Dian Fossey's birthday celebrated with a Google doodle

Dian Fossey's birthday celebrated with a Google doodle
American zoologist played by Sigourney Weaver in the film Gorillas in the Mist would have been 82 on Thursday (16 January 2014)

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Zimbabwe sells 100 elephants to China, Dubai

Yahoo – AFP, May 15, 2019

Zimbabwe has sold nearly 100 elephants to China and Dubai for a total price of
$2.7 million over six years, the country’s wildlife agency said Wednesday,
citing overpopulation (AFP Photo/MARTIN BUREAU)

Harare (AFP) - Zimbabwe has sold nearly 100 elephants to China and Dubai for a total price of $2.7 million over six years, the country’s wildlife agency said Wednesday, citing overpopulation.

Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesman Tinashe Farawo told AFP Zimbabwe's elephants were overcrowding national parks, encroaching into human settlements, destroying crops and posing a risk to human life.

"We have 84,000 elephants against a carrying capacity of 50,000," he said, justifying the sales. "We believe in sustainable use of resources, so we sell a few elephants to take care of the rest.

Farawo said 200 people have died in "human-and-animal conflict" in the past five years, "and at least 7,000 hectares of crop have been destroyed by elephants".

The animals' natural habitat has been depleted by climate change, he added, while recurrent droughts have added to strain on the overburdened national parks, forcing the pachyderms to seek food and water further afield.

Farawo said money from the legal sales was allocated to anti-poaching projects, conservation work, research and welfare.

According to the Zimbabwe Chronicle newspaper, 93 elephants were safely airlifted to parks in China and four to Dubai between 2012 and 2018, They were sold in a price range of between $13,500 and $41,500 each.

Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe have called for a global ban on elephant ivory trade to be relaxed due to the growing number of elephants in some regions.

But over the past decade, the population of elephants across Africa has fallen by about 111,000 to 415,000, largely due to poaching for ivory, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Rare dandelion, thought extinct in NL, spotted in island field

DutchNews, May 13, 2019

Common dandelions. Photo: Depositphotos.com

A type of dandelion thought to have died out in the Netherlands 50 years ago has been rediscovered in a field on the Wadden Sea island of Schiermonnikoog. 

The dandelion taraxacum euryphyllum, which has mottled leaves, is common in Scandinavia, but the last examples in the Netherlands were seen on the island of Texel decades ago, Karst Meijer founder of the Herbarium Frisicum, told local broadcaster Omrop Fryslan. 

Meijer told the broadcaster he suspects the plant had always been on Schiermonnikoog but that no-one had ever gone looking for it. He and a team were on the island looking for a different sort of dandelion when they made the discovery.

‘Most people think a dandelion is a dandelion, but we were actively looking for another rare species, which is why we spotted it,’ he said.

Monday, May 13, 2019

At least 300 Himalayan yaks starve to death in India

CAN – AFP, 12 May 2019

In this file photo taken on Dec 13, 2014, an Indian local walks with his yak on a
snow-covered road during the season’s first snowfall at Kufri, some 17km from the
northern hill town of Shimla. (Photo: AFP/STR) 

NEW DELHI: Indian officials Sunday said (May 12) that at least 300 yaks starved to death in a remote Himalayan valley after a bout of unusually harsh winter weather.

Officials in the northeastern state of Sikkim said they received the first distress call from around 50 people cut off in the remote Mukuthang Valley in December.

Following very heavy snowfall the residents asked for help providing feed for their herd of around 1,500 yaks, a source of local milk, milk products, transportation and wool.

"We made several attempts to reach them but couldn't. No roads or air transport could reach there because of the weather conditions. We reached there now and have already confirmed at least 300 yak deaths," local official Raj Kumar Yadav told AFP.

"The local families say that 500 yaks have died because of starvation. We are trying to confirm that. Around 50 yaks are also receiving urgent medical attention," Yadav added.

Yaks are one of the mainstays of the region's tourism-dependent economy.

A few yaks die because of extreme conditions in the region each year, but the authorities say that this year's toll is unprecedented.

"The weather was too harsh. One heavy spell of snowfall in December was followed by even more snowfall and even the grass didn't grow. They died because of both cold and starvation," Yadav added.

The authorities are making arrangements to bury the dead yaks and assist local families in the valley, around 70 kilometres (45 miles) from state capital Gangtok.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

UN biodiversity conference to lay groundwork for Nature rescue plan

Yahoo – AFP, Marlowe HOOD,  April 29, 2019

Up to a million species face extinction, many within decades, according
to the draft UN report (AFP Photo/ISHARA S. KODIKARA)

Paris (AFP) - Diplomats from 130 nations gathered in Paris on Monday to validate a grim UN assessment of the state of Nature and lay the groundwork for a rescue plan for life on Earth.

The destruction of Nature threatens humanity "at least as much as human-induced climate change," UN biodiversity chief Robert Watson said as the five-day meeting began.

"We have a closing window of opportunity to act and narrowing options."

A 44-page draft "Summary for Policy Makers" obtained by AFP catalogues the 1001 ways in which our species has plundered the planet and damaged its capacity to renew the resources upon which we depend, starting with breathable air, drinkable water and productive soil.

The impact of humanity's expanding footprint and appetites has been devastating.

Up to a million species face extinction, many within decades, according to the report, and three-quarters of Earth's land surface has been "severely altered".

Biodiversity loss around the world measured in percentage compared to 
an intact ecosystem (AFP Photo/Simon MALFATTO)

A third of ocean fish stocks are in decline, and the rest, barring a few, are harvested at the very edge of sustainability.

A dramatic die-off of pollinating insects, especially bees, threatens essential crops valued at half-a-trillion dollars annually.

Twenty 10-year targets adopted in 2010 under the United Nations' biodiversity treaty -- to expand protected areas, slow species and forest loss, and reduce pollution -- will, with one or two exceptions, fail badly.

Based on an underlying report that draws from 400 experts and weighs in at 1,800 pages, the executive summary has to be vetted line-by-line by diplomats, with scientists at their elbow.

The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) document, once approved, will be released on May 6.

Historically, conservation biology has focused on the plight of pandas, polar bears and a multitude of less "charismatic" animals and plants that humanity is harvesting, eating, crowding or poisoning into oblivion.

But in the last two decades, that focus has shifted back to us.

"Up to now, we have talked about the importance of biodiversity mostly from an environmental perspective," Watson told AFP ahead of the Paris meet.

Three-quarters of Earth's land surface has been "severely altered", according 
to the draft UN report (AFP Photo/Mauro Pimentel)

Agriculture is key

"Now we are saying that Nature is crucial for food production, for pure water, for medicines and even social cohesion."

And to fight climate change.

Forests and oceans, for example, soak up half of the planet-warming greenhouse gases we spew into the atmosphere.

If they didn't, Earth might already be locked into an unliveable future of runaway global warming.

And yet, an area of tropical forest five times the size of England has been destroyed since 2014, mainly to service the global demand for beef, biofuels, soy beans and palm oil.

"The recent IPCC report shows to what extent climate change threatens biodiversity," said Laurence Tubiana, CEO of the European Climate Foundation and a main architect of the Paris Agreement, referring to the UN's climate science panel.

"And the upcoming IPBES report -- as important for humanity -- will show these two problems have overlapping solutions."

Graphic on Earth's "mass extinctions" during the last 500 years. (AFP 
Photo/Alain BOMMENEL)

Extinctions hard to see

That overlap, she added, begins with agriculture, which accounts for at least a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions.

Set up in 2012, the IPBES synthesises published science for policymakers in the same way the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) does on climate.

Both advisory bodies feed into UN treaties.

But the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has always been a poor stepchild compared to its climate counterpart, and the IPBES was added as an afterthought, making its authority harder to establish.

Biodiversity experts are trying to engineer a "Paris moment" for Nature akin to the 2015 Paris climate treaty.

Public concern about global warming has crystallised around impacts ranging from rising seas to deadly heatwaves, and the Paris pact's hard target for capping the rise in global temperatures.

The 2018 IPCC report cited by Tubiana added a time imperative: to hold the line at 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit), the world must reduce CO2 emissions 45 percent by 2030, and become "carbon neutral" by mid-century, it concluded.

But finding the equivalent for Nature has proven difficult.

"Extinctions are not something the public can easily see," said Watson.

A growing number of scientists and NGOs are calling for 30 to 50 percent of Earth's surface to be "sustainably managed" by 2030, and more thereafter.

But the draft report makes no such concrete proposals.

The next opportunity for a visionary plan to be ratified would be the next full meeting in October 2020 of the parties to the Convention on Biodiversity in Kunming, China.

Related Article:


"....  A mini ice age is coming"Kryon, isn't that doom for the planet?"  Many have seen the artist's rendering of major earth cities under ice and all of the other things that go very well with science fiction movies. That's simply a painting of someone's doom scenario, not reality based in the history of the cycle. If you want to know what a mini ice age is like, just flash back in history and study what took place in about 1650. That was a mini ice age. Due to the change in the Gulf Stream (the ocean), the river Thames froze in London. Dear ones, it was cold, but it did not doom the planet. That's a mini ice age.

That's what you're facing, and I'll say it again. If you live in a cold climate, heed this advice: It's going to get colder. Get off the grid! Within the next 15 years, find a way of producing electricity independently or in smaller groups. This can be done neighborhood-wide or separately in homes. You're going to need this, dear ones, because the grid as it exists right now all over the world is not prepared for this coming cold, and the grid will fail. That's not doom and gloom, that's just practical, commonly known information. Your electricity infrastructure is delicate, too delicate. Prepare for a cold spell that may last for a couple of decades. That's all it is. Technology is racing forward to allow this. Don't let your politics get in the way of your survival. ..."

"...  This is controversial. The planet can't just "change the water". It does it instead with a "reboot of life in the ocean" using the water cycle. Watch for evidence of this as it occurs, and then remember this channel. This weather cycle is to refresh the life in the ocean so that everyone on the planet will have needed food from the ocean. Gaia does this by itself, has done it before, and it does it for a reason - so it will not stagnate.

Dear ones, indeed, you have put compromising things into the air and the water, but it has not caused this cycle. We have said for a very long time, stop killing the environment! The reason? It's going to kill you, not Gaia. Gaia is spectacularly resilient and will survive anything you do. However, it is you who may not survive if you continue polluting. All this is starting to change with your awareness, and you're starting to see this and move with it. But Humans are not causing the current weather shift. This will be known eventually.

What is happening has happened before, and it's almost like a reboot for the oceans and it carries a lot of dichotomous events. You're going to see reports of a dying ocean, but at the same time you're going to see unusual reports of too many fish and other sea life in places that were supposed to have a decline. You're going to see the life cycle of the ocean itself start to change and reboot.

The chief player in this renewal is a place you would not expect: Antarctica. I want you to watch for magic in Antarctica. It has always been the core of the refreshing of microbes and other kinds of life in your oceans and it's especially active during these mini ice ages. The process will cause currents under the sea to be filled with new life, delivering it to both hemispheres almost like an under-sea conveyor belt. ..."

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Dog pulled from ruff seas 220 kms off Thai coast to be adopted by rescuer

Yahoo – AFP, April 16, 2019

Local charity Smile Dog House has been caring for the dog, who will be adopted
by the oil rig worker who found him at sea (AFP Photo/Handout)

An exhausted dog found paddling 220 kilometres (135 miles) off the Thai coast is set for a new lease on life after an oil rig worker who rescued him promised to adopt the plucky pooch.

The tan-coloured dog, named Boonrod by his rescuers -- Thai for "survivor from karma" -- was fished from the ocean on Friday by rig workers who spotted his head bobbing between the waves in the Gulf of Thailand.

There was no indication of how he got there, or how long he had been lost at sea.

But local media speculated he may have fallen off a fishing vessel and paddled towards the rig.

Boonrod the dog was welcomed on the shore with a lei of
 yellow flowers and lots of neck scratches from port workers 
(AFP Photo/Handout)

Boonrod is recovering in Songkhla province under the care of a vet, an animal charity group told AFP Tuesday.

"Since he came onto the platform, he didn't cry or bark at all," Chevron worker Vitisak Payalaw said in a Facebook post chronicling the dog's rescue.

"He likely lost a lot of body water from the sea water."

Vitisak told AFP in a message Tuesday he plans to adopt the now-famous canine once he returns to shore at the end of the month.

Boonrod stayed on the rig for two nights before another vessel picked the pooch up on its way back to shore, arriving at a port in Songkhla province on Monday morning.

Local charity Smile Dog House has been caring for 
the dog, who will be adopted by the oil rig worker who 
found him at sea (AFP Photo/Handout)

In a video posted by animal rights group Watchdog Thailand, Boonrod was welcomed on the shore with a lei of yellow flowers and lots of neck scratches from port workers.

"Thank you for seeing the value of a little life that floats so far," said Facebooker Wanna Wongvorakul.

Boonrod was placed in the care of local charity group Smile Dog House.

"So far his health is ok... it's only skin problems that he's suffering from now," a Smile Dog House staff told AFP.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Minister brings users of electrified dog collars to heel, and gives cats a break too

DutchNews, April 4, 2019

Photo: Graham Dockery 

Agriculture minister Carola Schouten is to ban electrified collars to train dogs from next year and will tackle unscrupuous cat breeders at the same time. 

The collars are used to administer shocks to dogs from a distance but, the minister said in a letter to MPs, that they ‘cause considerable suffering’. 

The defence department has stopped using the collars but some police dogs are still subjected to electric shocks. 

Dog expert Martin Gaus said he was happy about the decision. ‘If a dog can’t be at home on its own or pulls at the lead, owners want to train it to behave. But if the animal can’t stand being alone it will get stressed. Zapping it with electricity will make it even more stressed out and miserable,’ he told broadcaster NOS. 

Gaus is not in favour of a total ban because, he said, because electrified collars can help in training hunting dogs but only if done by experts. 

The minister is also going to tackle cat breeders who, she said, are ‘creating new breeds without any thought to the consequences for the animal.’ 

‘This, to my thinking, shows a total disregard for the integrity, wellbeing and health of the animal,’ the minister said. 

One of the victims of unbridled cat breeding is the Bambino Sphynx. A quarter of these hairless cats dies while still in the womb and the breed has very short legs and no whiskers which makes it difficult for the animals to orientate themselves. 

The breed will still be allowed but will be subject to stringent breeding criteria and  unscrupulous breeders will be fined, NOS said.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Doggy diagnosis can sniff out seizures: study

Yahoo – AFP, March 28, 2019

Dogs are awesome (AFP Photo/Astrid Stawiarz)

Paris (AFP) - Dogs can use their remarkable sense of smell to recognise the specific scent of seizures, researchers said Thursday, raising hope that canine carers could one day protect sufferers before a fit takes hold.

Previous tests have shown dogs are able to detect the odours of certain diseases, including some cancers, diabetes and malaria.

There is also anecdotal evidence they can sense that their owner may be about to have a seizure, though this was poorly understood until now.

Researchers in France used five dogs -- Casey, Dodger, Lana, Zoey and Roo -- in a study to sniff out a scent specifically linked to a human seizure.

Dogs' noses have evolved to be highly sensitive, and can detect specific organic 
compounds at a concentration of less than 0.001 part per billion (AFP Photo/OLI SCARFF)

They presented the dogs with a variety of smells taken from epileptic patients, including body odours emitted during calm activity, while exercising, and during an attack.

Casey, Dodger and Zoey all identified the seizure scent 100 percent of the time, while Lana and Roo sniffed out the right sample two goes out of three.

"The results went beyond our expectations by showing that there is indeed a general odour of an epileptic seizure," Amelie Catala, a researcher at the University of Rennes and lead study author, told AFP.

"We hope it will open new lines of research that could help anticipate seizures and thus get patients to seek security."

Dogs are awesome (AFP Photo/Astrid Stawiarz)

Dogs' noses have evolved to be highly sensitive, and can detect specific organic compounds at a concentration of less than 0.001 part per billion.

The most sophisticated current "electronic noses", meant to pick up potentially harmful odours that humans can't smell, have a detection threshold of around 300 parts per billion.

Catala said that while dogs had been shown previously to be able to sniff out chronic diseases, this experiment showed they could potentially diagnose acute health episodes that last just a few minutes.

"The study of odours by the use of dogs constitutes a fast, low-cost, non-invasive, and effective screening method of diseases that can be difficult to identify normally," she said.

The paper was published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Dutch introduce fitness tests for flat faced dogs before they can breed

DutchNews, March 18, 2019

Photo: Depositphotos.com

The Netherlands is to introduce fitness tests for flat faced dogs such as pugs and boxers to make sure they are fit enough to breed, broadcaster NOS said on Monday. 

Agriculture minister Carola Schouten has sent new rules covering the breeding of flat faced dogs to parliament in an effort to reduce the health problems many dogs suffer from. 

The tests, which will be administered by vets, will involve dogs walking up to 1km at a fast pace and then being checked for their heart rate and recovery speed. Those which fail will be considered unsuitable for breeding. 

New criteria are also being introduced covering the form of the dogs’ skulls, noses and eyes. 

The measures are contained in a report by Utrecht University vets who say many flat faced dogs suffer poor health, including breathing difficulties, over-heating and runny eyes because of their extreme appearance. 

In 2014, the government launched a special programme with breeders to try to improve the health and socialisation of some breeds. However, while this has led to some successes, a number of breeders refuse to join and ‘a number of challenges’ remain, the minister said in her briefing.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Horse takes daily stroll through Frankfurt — without owner

Deutsche Welle, 9 March 2019

Veterinarians have dismissed criticism that the Arabian mare poses a danger to herself and others during her morning walks. Despite dozens of calls from worried pedestrians, police say they've never had to intervene.

Jenny the Arabian mare snacking on garden shrubs during a morning stroll in
Fechenheim

Every morning in Frankfurt's Fechenheim district, an Arabian mare named Jenny takes a leisurely stroll through the streets by herself. But she has to wear a card that reads: "I'm called Jenny, not a runaway, just taking a walk. Thanks."

For more than a decade, police have had to tell worried pedestrians calling in that Jenny is known throughout the neighborhood and that she does not present a danger, local media reported this week.

"The police know. When someone calls in, the police ask me: 'Werner, do you know where Jenny is?' Yes, I say. 'Ok, then everything is in order,'" Jenny's owner, Werner Weischedel, told "Maintower," a news show.

"We've never had to do anything before," police spokeswoman Isabell Neumann told German news agency dpa.

Read more: Thousands petition to move 'bullied' ape Bili out of Germany

Werner Weischedel said there has never been a problem during Jenny's
promenades through Frankfurt

But that hasn't stopped some from criticizing Jenny's unsupervised strolls through the city. Several social media users have accused the owner of negligence, saying the chaotic streets could lead her to hurt herself or someone else.

However, the horse veterinarians union told dpa that there isn't any issue, especially since Jenny is well-acquainted with her surroundings after 14 years of making her way through the area alone. Veterinarian Maren Hellige said the mare "seems very relaxed and satisfied."

Read more: Petrified horse remains found near Pompeii

The tag reads: 'I'm called Jenny, not a runaway, just taking a walk'

Friday, March 8, 2019

Chimps' cultural diversity threatened by humans, study says

Yahoo – AFP, March 7, 2019

Researchers who studied 144 chimpanzee communities in Equatorial Africa found
31 behaviors that varied from one group to another (AFP Photo/ISSOUF SANOGO)

Washington (AFP) - Like humans, chimpanzees are culturally diverse but those differences are being eroded by human incursion, international researchers say in a groundbreaking study published Thursday.

The striking results, published in the American journal "Science," show that the behavioral diversity of chimpanzees was reduced by an average 88 percent in areas with the highest human impact, compared to remote pristine forests.

In the tropical rainforests and savanna woodlands that are the chimpanzees' natural habitat, the researchers observed 31 behaviors that were not universal or innate among chimpanzees and varied from one group to another, in a total of 144 chimpanzee communities studied in 17 Equatorial African countries where the animals live.

Reflecting the diversity, not all communities of chimpanzees use the same tools to hunt or dig. Neither do they extract termites and ants in the same way. Ditto for honey and nuts. Their use of stones, ponds and caves also varies.

Researchers assume this diversity is passed between individuals within the group.

They based their findings on existing studies supplemented with their own field observations of 46 communities over the past nine years.

Such data had never before been compiled on chimpanzee behavior, the researchers said. Until now, scientists have focused on the loss of genetic diversity, or human-caused population decline.

Their findings mean that the more humans disturbed the environment with roads, infrastructure, deforestation, agriculture, plantations and so on, the less chimpanzee behavior was diverse.

For instance, researchers have observed areas where nut cracking had ceased.

"These are very noisy behaviors, and hunters could locate you easily," Hjalmar Kuehl, an ecologist at the German iDiv research center and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, told AFP as a hypothesis of why the behavior may have been lost.

Another example of noisy and potentially vulnerable behavior: "accumulative stone throwing" by chimpanzees in Guinea-Bissau, a form of communication where chest-pumping apes throw rocks at trees.

Fishing for algae with sticks, seen in Guinea, is also threatened by encroaching humans.

"Our findings suggest that strategies for the conservation of biodiversity should be extended to include the protection of animal behavioral diversity as well," said Kuehl.

He proposes to create "Chimpanzee cultural heritage sites," a concept that can be extended to other species with high degrees of cultural variability, including orangutans or whales.

Monday, March 4, 2019

War horses: Syria's Arabian beauties plod way to recovery

Yahoo – AFP, Maher al-Mounes, March 3, 2019

Arabian mare Karen is one of dozens of Arabian horses from all over Syria
recovering from the impact of conflict (AFP Photo/LOUAI BESHARA)

Damascus (AFP) - A shadow of her former self after years of war, 11-year-old Arabian mare Karen stands quietly as a Syrian vet gently pushes a syringe into her pale grey neck.

"Karen used to be the beauty queen of all horses," says the vet, Ahmad Sharida.

But inside her stable near Damascus today, her hips jut out viciously from her overgrown speckled coat.

Weak and withdrawn, Karen is unable to even whinny.

After almost eight years of war, she is one of dozens of Arabian horses from all over Syria recovering from the physical and psychological trauma of the fighting.

Prized for their beauty, endurance and speed, Arabian purebreds are one of the oldest horse breeds in the world.

In Syria, Bedouins have bred them in the north of the country for centuries, seeking to maintain the purity of the local bloodlines.

Before the conflict, Sharida had proudly watched Karen grow from a long-legged foal into a graceful equine beauty.

"I know her very well. I was the one who brought her out of her mother's belly," says the vet, a stethoscope hanging around his neck.

Horse trainer Jihad Ghazal (R) says horses are very sensitive and that "the 
sounds they hear greatly affect them" (AFP Photo/LOUAI BESHARA)

But he lost sight of Karen after she was stolen from her stable in Eastern Ghouta in 2012, the same year rebels overran the region northeast of Damascus.

The area suffered five years of regime bombardment, as well as food and medicine shortages under a crippling siege, before Russia-backed government forces took it back last year.

Sharida had long fled his home region but returned to search for missing Arabian horses and immediately recognised Karen when he found her in October.

"I was so shocked," says the 51-year-old vet.

"She was all skin and bones, and could barely stand up."

'Kidnapped and killed'

Like all other horses he found, she was frail and sick after years of being surrounded by fighting, not enough food, and no medical attention.

Of the 8,500 horses that Syria registered with the World Arabian Horse Organization 
in 2011, it has lost 3,000 in the war (AFP Photo/LOUAI BESHARA)

Syria's war has killed more than 360,000 people and displaced millions since it started in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests.

And it has taken a toll on the country's equine population too.

"Horses have greatly suffered, just like us all," says Mohammed Ghaith al-Shaib, head of the state's Arabian Horse Office.

"They've also been displaced, kidnapped and killed."

Of the 8,500 horses that Syria registered with the World Arabian Horse Organization (WAHO) in 2011, it has lost 3,000 in the war, he says.

But the conflict in Syria has turned around in recent years, and after a series of victories against rebels and jihadists, President Bashar al-Assad's regime is now in control of almost two-thirds of the country.

Having returned to one region after another, the Damascus authorities are now trying to protect the country's Arabian purebreds.

Karen (L) is now cared for at a state-run stables west of Damascus (AFP Photo/
LOUAI BESHARA)

Since 2014, WAHO has recognised 2,400 new Syrian foals as Arabian, after samples from their manes were sent off for DNA testing in Germany, Shaib says.

Horses rescued from retaken areas are being looked after at a state-run stables west of the capital, Damascus.

A daughter?

At the stables in Dimas, staff are paying special attention to Karen's recovery.

She hails from the Hadbaa strain of Arabian purebreds, so called after their long eyelashes and mane.

But after years of war, she is the only known female survivor of a rare Syrian branch of that family.

"The Hadbaa Enzahi Fawaeira were already at risk of dying out before the war," says Shaib.

But "today, it's only Karen".

After nearly eight years of war, Karen is the only known female survivor of a rare 
Syrian branch of the Hadbaa strain of Arabian purebreds (AFP Photo/LOUAI BESHARA)

Arabian mares are often seen as more precious than their male counterparts, as they carry the bloodline from one generation to the next.

Once Karen has regained her health, her carers hope to artificially inseminate her so that she can give birth to a daughter.

To maintain her bloodline, a Syrian purebred should father that female foal -- but he does not need to come from the same strain.

Karen is just one of many Arabian horses all over Syria recovering from conflict.

'Greatly affected'

In the adjacent hippodrome, trainer Jihad Ghazal watches a student trot around the red-earth arena on a horse with a shiny brown coat.

Nejm -- "star" in Arabic -- spent the war in Damascus, a city which has remained relatively sheltered from the conflict.

But the mare was one of the luckier ones, says Ghazal, who is full of anecdotes about the suffering of her kind.

Arabian mares are often seen as more precious than their male counterparts, as they 
carry the bloodline from one generation to the next (AFP Photo/LOUAI BESHARA)

"Horses are very sensitive, and the sounds they hear greatly affect them," says the 40 year-old, wearing jeans and trainers.

During the war, an alleged Israeli strike hit Dimas, traumatising pregnant mares, for example.

"For a year afterwards, foals were born paralysed or dead because their mother had been so terrified," he says.

In 2016, a horse was so shocked by a blast that, within hours, he had killed himself.

"He banged his head against metal until he died."