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.

Eye-popping bug photos

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)
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Friday, September 4, 2015

Aussie champ trims 'record' fleece off Chris the sheep

Yahoo – AFP, 3 Sep 2015

'Chris' the merino sheep pictured before it is shorn on the outskirts of 
Canberra, a day after Australian animal welfare officers put out an urgent
 appeal for shearers after finding the sheep with wool so overgrown its life 
was in danger (AFP Photo)

A heavily overgrown sheep had its massive fleece shorn on Thursday by an Australian national champion in a life-saving operation that animal welfare officers said may have set a new world record for a single shearing.

The merino sheep, named Chris by bushwalkers who spotted him wandering alone on the outskirts of Australia's capital Canberra, was rescued by RSPCA officers Wednesday and went under the cutters Thursday.

A woolly sheep named Chris gets sheared on
 the outskirts of Canberra on September 3, 
2015, a day after Australian animal welfare 
officers put out an urgent appeal for 
shearers to save the animal (AFP Photo)
Some 40.45 kilogrammes (89.18 pounds) of wool was taken off in one large piece from the animal by Australian Shearers' Hall of Famer Ian Elkins in a 42-minute process that he said was "certainly a challenge".

"We had to give it a mild sedative to keep it calm," Elkins told AFP.

"We set the sheep on its back and because it had so much fleece underneath, it was very comfortable. It took me 42 minutes to shear the sheep, which is a long time because it normally takes me three minutes.

"I'm sure it was very, very relieved after all that fleece came off. Sheep are shorn once every 12 months and the average fleece weight is five kilogrammes."

The RSPCA in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), which is taking care of Chris as he recuperates -- including wearing a down coat to keep him warm, said they were delighted with the successful shearing.

Merino sheep are bred for their wool, which is used to produce high-end garments, and need to be shorn regularly to prevent serious health issues such as flystrike -- where a coat becomes infected -- and even death, said chief executive of RSPCA ACT, Tammy Ven Dange.

"We're really lucky that we got him when he did," she told AFP. "Had it been summertime and the flies had been out, he might have already succumbed to flystrike."

She said the immense size of Chris's coat suggested it was at least five years since his last trim.

"He's more mobile now, it's easier for him to get up and he is eating already," Ven Dange said, adding that he had struggled to walk before the shearing operation.

A sheep named 'Chris' pictured on the outskirts of Canberra as Australian animal 
welfare officers put out an urgent appeal for shearers to save it, on September 2, 
2015 (AFP Photo)

It was not known how old Chris was or who his original owners were.

The RSPCA plans to get in touch with the Guinness World Records to see if Chris's fleece might have set a new global best for the "most wool sheared from a sheep in a single shearing".

The current record is held by Big Ben, which was shorn of 28.9 kilograms in New Zealand in January last year.

The fleece will most likely end up in a museum, Ven Dange added, with Chris set to be put up for adoption once he recovers.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Shanghai shelter struggles to help dogs rescued from Yulin festival

Want China Times, Staff Reporter 2015-09-01

A stand selling dog meat at last year's Lychee and Dog Meat Festival
in Yulin, June 21, 2014. (File photo/Xinhua)

Animal rights activists may count a qualified victory in managing to save dogs from slaughter at the annual dog meat festival in southern China by buying them on site, but the escape of the "Yulin dogs" to a shelter in Shanghai has not guaranteed their survival, reports the Chinese-language Reference News.

The controversial Lychee and Dog Meat Festival, held annually in late June in South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, has begun in recent years to draw international attention and criticism as an estimated 10,000 dogs are slaughtered for food during the event. This year, one animal protection shelter in Shanghai that has been sheltering "Yulin dogs" saw the arrival of nearly 1,400 dogs otherwise destined for slaughter that had been purchased by well-meaning activists.

The dogs were shipped on a 35-hour journey before arriving at the shelter and joining the 400 dogs rescued from last year's festival, according to Hong Kong's Sing Pao.

Life at the shelter is rough for the animals, however, Reference News reported, and one of the shelter's volunteers says dogs have been dying every day since their arrival. The shelter speculates that the confined conditions of the journey from Yulin enabled the easy spread of canine distemper, one of the leading causes of death among canines.

Some dogs were already dead by the time they arrived, crushed in the tight confines, said one of the volunteers. "A considerable number were killed by distemper...and some have managed to find homes," another added.

After a little over two months since the new arrivals, only 400 dogs remain at the shelter, the report said.

When the issue was at the forefront of the nation's attention in July, the shelter was showered in funds and aid with dozens of volunteers, veterinarians and food coming in from all over the country, said Chang Fan, one of the shelter's volunteers. Now that the attention has died down, however, the shelter has only three regular volunteers and struggles to make ends meet from donations. The dogs' future thus still remains unclear despite their rescue, the report said.

Monday, August 31, 2015

New Taipei shelters hold Daoist service for animal spirits

Want China Times, CNA 2015-08-30

Two puppies at the New Taipei City Animal Health Department. (File photo/
New Taipei City Animal Health Department)

As people around Taiwan were making offerings to wandering spirits on Ghost Festival on Friday, the New Taipei Animal Protection and Health Inspection Office and nine animal shelters in the city jointly held a Daoist religious service for wandering animal spirits.

A spokesperson for the office said that by holding the service for animal spirits, it was hoped that the deceased animals might have better next lives and wander no more while the animals now staying at the shelters would be blessed with good health.

Many people in Taiwan still follow the customs of offering food, drinks and flowers and burning paper money to wandering ghosts and spirits on the 15th day of the seventh moon in lunar calendar, to please the dead and pray to keep illness and misfortune at bay.

The animal protection office also launched a web page for people to write messages in memory of their animal friends, giving people another way to remember their deceased pets on the festival.

Before the New Taipei government put in force a no-euthanasia policy on March 1, stray dogs and cats caught by the authorities and kept in animal shelters faced death unless they were adopted within a certain period because of overcrowding in the shelters.

The policy to treat animals better has actually paid dividends, New Taipei officials said, with the natural death rate of animals kept in the shelters at 9.91% this year, down from 20.34% during the same period a year ago.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Some Dutch deer may be moved to Bulgaria rather than shot

DutchNews, August 26, 2015

Photo: K Vliet via Wikimedia Commons

Some of the ‘surplus’ fallow deer in Amsterdam’s dune area near Zandvoort may be taken to Bulgaria next year, rather than shot dead, if the full council agrees. 

City alderman Udo Kock says he is prepared to cooperate with the experiment, which would involve transporting the deer to a national park in the south west of Bulgaria, where, according to the Telegraaf, they will form prey for wolves. 

Amsterdam city council executives two years ago voted in favour of plans to cull hundreds of fallow deer in the city’s water catchment area in the dunes south of Zandvoort.

The city has for years resisted pressure from locals and other local authorities for a cull, saying time is needed to give other measures time to work. Some 3,000 fallow deer live in the dunes, as well as several hundred roe deer. 

A high fence some 12 kilometres long has been built around much of the reserve to stop the deer moving into farmland and residential areas where they are said to damage crops and cause road accidents. 

Experts at the Alterra institute now say the dune area, some 3,400 hectares in size, can only cope with 600 to 800 deer and that 2,400 need to be killed. 

Biodiversity

However, according to the Parool, wildlife group Rewilding Europe is in touch with the people who run the Rhodopen national park in Bulgaria about moving some of the Dutch deer there. They are keen to repopulate the area with deer because it will be good for the biodiversity. 

The Amsterdam water board Waternet expects to begin the deer cull next year, the Parool says. Meanwhile, animal protection group Dierenbescherming has launched a petition against the cull, saying its reasoning is faulty. 

A similar plan to move hundreds of deer to other parts of Europe in 2013 was dropped because of the cost and the likely stress it would cause the animals.

Related Article:

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.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Thai elephant kills keeper, runs off with 3 Chinese on its back

Yahoo – AFP, 26 Aug 2015

Thai policemen attend to the body of a mahout killed by his elephant in Chiang
Mai province on August 26, 2015 (AFP Photo)

An elephant in northern Thailand went berserk Wednesday, killing his "mahout" keeper before running off into the jungle with three terrified Chinese tourists still on his back, police said.

"The mahout who was killed was Karen and he was not familiar with the elephant. They (the tourists) are safe now," Colonel Thawatchai Thepboon, police commander of Mae Wang district in Chiang Mai province, told AFP.

The Karen are an ethnic minority widespread in northern Thailand.

Police said the incident took place at 9.30am (0230 GMT) as a Chinese family of three -- a father, mother and a young child -- took a ride on the back of a male elephant.

Rides are a popular and lucrative tourist activity but many animal rights groups say it is cruel and stressful for the pachyderms.

Mahouts with their elephants after bathing them in a river at Anantara resort, 
home to the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation, in Chiang Saen on
April 10, 2015 (AFP Photo/Christophe Archambault)

The elephant had not taken easily to his new keeper and turned on him suddenly, goring him to death, Channel 3 reported.

The channel broadcast footage of the three frightened tourists being led back to camp still on the elephant's back once it had been calmed down by other mahouts and their rides.

Thailand's roughly 4,000 domesticated elephants outnumber an estimated 2,500 remaining in the wild.

Domestic elephants in Thailand -- where the pachyderm is a national symbol -- have been used en masse in the tourist trade since they found themselves unemployed in 1989 when logging was banned.

Accidents are not unheard of. In June an elephant killed a Thai man and injured another as they were eating dinner at a beachside restaurant. The pair had been talking to the animal's mahout when it suddenly flipped.

Elephants eat platters of fruit during the elephant banquet to mark "National 
Elephant Day" in Ayutthaya province on March 13, 2014 (AFP Photo/
Pornchai Kittiwongsakul)

Rights groups have documented the more unscrupulous mahouts using controversial techniques to crush the animal's spirit or severely overworking their rides to make more money.

"Elephants work every day, of every month, basically 365 days per year," Edwin Wiek, a campaigner from Wildlife Friends of Thailand told AFP.

"If you had to do the same, you would get stressed. It is the same for elephants. At some point they become crazy and we can't control them."

The accident comes as Thailand's tourism industry reels from last week's bombing of a religious shrine in Bangkok, an attack that killed 20 people, mostly ethnic Chinese devotees from across Asia.

Related Articles:

Lion kills guide in Zimbabwe park where Cecil lived


Thai Department of National Parks (DNP) workers display pieces of ivory
during a destruction ceremony in Bangkok on August 26, 2015 (AFP Photo/
Pornchai Kittiwongsakul)



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.

Thailand destroys ivory stockpile amid junta crackdown

Yahoo – AFP, 26 Aug 2015

Thai Department of National Parks (DNP) workers display pieces of ivory 
during a destruction ceremony in Bangkok on August 26, 2015 (AFP Photo/
Pornchai Kittiwongsakul)

Bangkok (AFP) - Thailand destroyed more than two tonnes of ivory Wednesday -- a victory for animal rights groups fighting against the trade in a country renowned for being a hub for illegal tusks.

The ceremony, in which 2,155 kilograms of raw tusks and carved trinkets were fed into an industrial rock crusher before being incinerated, was presided over by the Thai junta leader Prayut Chan-O-Cha and is the first time the kingdom has taken steps to destroy part of its stockpile.

"This is to show the Thai government's strong determination to oppose ivory trafficking and that Thailand will comply with international rules," he said during the ceremony.

Animal rights campaigners have long accused successive Thai civilian and military administrations of turning a blind eye to the lucrative trade.

They have pushed for Bangkok to destroy its stockpile to signal its determination to stamp down on the trade and avoid the risk of seized ivory finding its way back onto the black market through corrupt officials.

Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha (2nd R) looks at pieces of ivory
 on display during a destruction of confiscated ivory exercise at Thailand's 
Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation in Bangkok on
August 26, 2015 (AFP Photo/Pornchai Kittiwongsakul)

Trade in ivory was banned in 1989 under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). But that has not stopped criminal gangs seeking to exploit a continued demand for tusks in Asia.

Ivory and other body parts of elephants are prized for decoration, as talismans, and for use in traditional medicine across parts of Asia with Thailand a key transit point.

The country's generals, who seized power in a coup last spring, have vowed to crack down on the illegal ivory trade.

Earlier this year, they ordered all Thais to register any ivory they owned, warning that those who failed to do so would see their items confiscated.

They have also made a series of high profile seizures including four tonnes of ivory found hidden in containers in April that originated in the Democratic Republic of Congo and was destined for Laos.

Thai police seized more than three tonnes of ivory a week later in a second haul, this time from Kenya that was again destined for Laos.

Trade in ivory was banned in 1989 - but that has not stopped criminal gangs
 seeking to exploit a continued demand for tusks in Asia (AFP Photo/
Pornchai Kittiwongsakul)

The ivory destroyed on Wednesday accounts for most of Thailand's stockpile where criminal cases have been completed.

A further 540 kilograms has been donated to museums, government institution and universities to be used for educational and awareness raising purposes.

Janpai Ongsiriwittaya, from the World Wildlife Fund, said Thailand's junta had taken significant steps to tackle the illegal trade and that the destruction of the stockpile was "more than just a symbolic act".

"For too long Thailand has been exploited by wildlife criminals as both a gateway and marketplace for ivory poached in Africa and Asia," she added.

The ceremony came as state media in Vietnam reported two significant seizures of elephant tusks in the last few days, including two tonnes from Nigeria and another yet to be weighed haul that came via Malaysia.

Related Article:


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Lion kills guide in Zimbabwe park where Cecil lived

Yahoo – AFP, 25 Aug 2015

Cecil the lion was a major tourist attraction at Zimbabwe's Hwange National
Park before he was killed by an American dentist in July (AFP Photo)

Harare (AFP) - A lion mauled to death a guide leading tourists on a walking safari in the Zimbabwean national park where Cecil the lion lived before he was shot, police said Tuesday.

The guide was attacked on Monday after the group left their vehicle to inspect a pride of lions with cubs under a tree in the Hwange National Park, the country's largest natural reserve.

"Some cubs came near the tourists and one adult lion identified as Nxaha charged at them," police spokeswoman Charity Charamba told AFP.

"The adult lion retreated for a while and then came charging at the guide. It knocked him down and mauled him on the neck and shoulder."

The guide, Quinn Terence Swales, 40, was airlifted from the scene but pronounced dead on arrival at a hospital in the resort town of Victoria Falls.

Owners of the safari camp confirmed the incident in a statement.

"It is with deep regret and great sadness that we are able to confirm the death of Quinn Swales, a Camp Hwange professional guide, who was fatally mauled by a male lion whilst out on a walking safari," Camp Hwange said.

"We can confirm that Quinn did everything he could to successfully protect his guests and ensure their safety, and that no guests were injured."

Quinn was leading six tourists when he was killed.

Charamba urged visitors to game parks to "remain wary even when the animals appear friendly because with an animal you can never predict its next move."

The killing of Cecil the lion in July provoked worldwide outrage when it emerged he was a favourite attraction among visitors to Hwange and was wearing a tracking collar as part of an Oxford University research project.

Cecil was reportedly lured with bait from the safety of the park before being killed by Walter Palmer, an American dentist armed with a bow and arrow who paid $55,000 (50,000 euros) to shoot a lion.

Palmer's guide on the expedition, Zimbabwean Theo Bronkhorst, appeared in court last month and was granted $1,000 bail pending his trial on September 28 on charges of organising an illegal hunt.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Bamboo-zled: Panda surprises with birth of twins

Yahoo – AFP, 23 Aug 2015


Washington (AFP) - A rare giant panda called Mei Xiang gave birth to twin cubs at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, apparently surprising delighted zoo officials who had expected just one baby.

A first tiny cub -- pink, hairless and only about the size of an adult mouse -- was born at 5:35 pm (2135 GMT) and Mei Xiang reacted by tenderly picking up the cub.

This image released August 22, 2015
courtesy of the Smithsonian's National
Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute 
shows giant panda Mei Xiang in labor 
(AFP Photo)
Immediately after the zoo announced the birth, the live video feed from her straw-lined enclosure appeared to have crashed, likely due to a high volume of viewers, the zoo said.

"All of us are thrilled that Mei Xiang has given birth. The cub is vulnerable at this tiny size but we know Mei is an excellent mother," zoo director Dennis Kelly said.

Pandas are famously challenging to breed in captivity, but just when conservationists thought they had heard all the good news, the zoo tweeted just a few hours later: "We can confirm a second cub was born at 10:07. It appears healthy. #PandaStory."

The birth of the twins appeared to be a surprise because the zoo's Twitter feed had only previously referred to the expected birth of a single cub.

The mother panda's care team had begun preparing after they saw Mei Xiang's water break about an hour before the first birth. They hope to carry out neonatal exams in the coming days and won't know the cubs' sex until a later date.

Paternity tests

Mei Xiang ("beautiful fragrance"), 17, was artificially inseminated in April with frozen semen from a male giant panda named Hui Hui that resides at the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda in Sichuan province.

Giant Panda Mei Xiang, who gave birth to twin cubs at the Smithsonian National
 Zoo in Washington, is shown in a file picture from last year keeping a watchful eye
on her earlier cub Bao Bao (R) (AFP Photo/Mandel Ngan)

She was also inseminated with fresh semen from the zoo's male giant panda Tian Tian. DNA tests will establish which is the father.

Mei Xiang had a cub in 2005 which was sent to China, and another, Bao Bao is now two years old and lives with her in Washington.

But she also lost at least two other cubs, one that was stillborn in 2013 and another that lived just six days in 2012.

This year, Mei Xiang exhibited signs of pregnancy in July that included sleeping more, eating less, building a nest and spending more time in her den.

The zoo said Mei Xiang will spend almost all her time in her den for the next two weeks. The enclosure will be closed to provide quiet, though online "panda cams" provide a video stream of the creatures.

Mei Xiang eats a bamboo breakfast January 6, 2014, inside her glass enclosure
at the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington, DC (AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards)

On Tuesday, Malaysia announced that a giant panda at its National Zoo, Liang Liang, had given birth. The newborn's sex has yet to be determined.

There are fewer than 2,000 pandas now left in the wild, according to the World Wildlife Fund, as their habitats have been ravaged by development.

Roads and railways cut through the bamboo forests they depend upon in China's Yangtze Basin, their primary habitat.

Pandas rely on bamboo and eat almost nothing else. Given their low birthrate, captive breeding programs are key to ensuring their survival.


This image released August 23, 2015 courtesy of the Smithsonian's National Zoo shows
 the second of two giant panda cubs being examined by veterinarians (AFP Photo)

Related Article:


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Nanning zoo appeals for help to keep two-headed snake alive

Want China  Times, Xinhua 2015-08-12

The two-headed cobra. (Internet photo)

A zoo in the southwestern Chinese city of Nanning recently adopted a two-headed cobra. The rare creature has already survived 15 days but the zoo said it may need to call in specialists to sustain its life.

The 20-centimeter-long snake has two brains but only one digestive system. It was born on a snake farm and was soon handed over to the zoo for better care. It weighs only 50 grams, about 15 grams lighter than a normal cobra at the same stage of life.

Zookeeper Li Keqi has been caring for snakes since 2007 but said he had never seen a two-headed snake until now. He said temperature and humidity changes during incubation may have caused the mutation.

"One of its heads wants to move to the right, while the other wants to move left. This kind of incongruity is constantly affecting the animal," Li said.

The snake shed its skin for the first time a week ago but has since refused to eat. Zookeepers are using artificial feeding to keep the animal alive, but this method is not sustainable.

The zoo is calling for snake experts from around the world to offer their advice.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Indonesia makes arrests over slaughtered endangered tiger

Indonesian police have arrested four men suspected of poaching in a sting operation. The men had allegedly killed the rare species for its skin, bones and teeth.
  
Deutsche Welle, 11 Aug 2015


Police say three men used a deer trap to capture a four-year-old male Sumatran tiger, one of the most endangered species and known for its heavy black stripes on their orange coats.

But when they offered the skin and bones for sale for about 6,700 euro ($7,400 dollars), they didn't realize their buyers were undercover police.

Villagers in Jambe Rambung village in Aceh province had tipped off law enforcement to the poachers, police say, and the three poachers and a fourth man acting as a broker were arrested on the spot and confiscated the tiger's hide and bones.

Lt. Col. Mirwazi told the AP news agency late Monday that the four could be charged with violating a 1999 law on protection of natural resources and face up to five years in prison.

Highly prized on black market

One of the suspects had admitted to killing another Sumatran tiger and selling its body parts about three years ago, the officials said. The animals are highly prized as their body parts are used in traditional Chinese medicine and fetch high prices on the black market.

WWF says there are less than 400 wild Sumatran tigers left, down from 1,000 in the 1970s. Their numbers have fallen due to destruction of rainforest habitat to make palm oil as well as pulp and paper plantations.

Poaching continues to plague tiger populations worldwide. In Bangladesh police shot and killed six suspected poachers last week after they said the poachers had ambushed a patrol.

jar/gsw (AP, AFP)

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Scotland to ban genetically modified crops

Scotland's government says it plans to ban the cultivation of genetically modified crops. While widely grown in the Americas and Asia, there is more skepticism over the practice in Europe.

Deutsche Welle, 9 Aug 2015


Scotland's Environment Ministry announced Sunday it intended to ban the growth of genetically modified crops on its territory in order to cultivate its "clean and green brand" of products.

No GM crops are currently grown commercially in Britain, though the central government in London says it supports the use of GM crops if they are safe.

Richard Lochhead, the Scottish government's minister for the environment, food and rural affairs, said Sunday he planned to take advantage of new European Union rules allowing countries to opt out of growing EU-authorized GM crops.

GM crops, including maize, have been the
subject of numerous protests in the EU
"The Scottish government will shortly submit a request that Scotland is excluded from any European consents for the cultivation of GM crops, including the variety of genetically modified maize already approved and six other GM crops that are awaiting authorization," Lochhead said in a statement.

The minister said there is no domestic market for GM crops and it wanted to strengthen its brand of exports, especially its food and drink sector worth an annual 19.78 billion euros ($21.7 billion).

"Scotland is known around the world for our beautiful natural environment - and banning growing genetically modified crops will protect and further enhance our clean, green status," Lochhead said.

Health debate

GM crops are the subject of global debate, with some environmental and health groups questioning their environmental impact. Producers, however, insist they are safe.

The Scottish government in Edinburgh has been responsible for mainly domestic policies, including agriculture, since 1999 when power was devolved from the central government in London.

jar/cmk (Reuters, AFP)
Related Article:

“..  Health

Normal good health is turning to simple physics for some of the simplest things. New kinds of foods are being grown with new physics, not chemistry. These will be physic-foods [Kryon name] that are not genetically altered or chemically altered, but benevolently enhanced by physics! This causes a new kind of super growth that can feed the planet in a way it's never been fed before. It will create food that is resistant to absolutely everything - insects, bacteria and disease - all through physics. Who thought of that? What you're expecting in the future regarding health is based upon the past. The big filter of past knowledge keeps you from thinking out of the box. You don't know what you don't know.  ….”

Monday, August 10, 2015

Bangladesh shoots dead six alleged tiger poachers

Yahoo – AFP, 9 Aug 2015

Bangladesh police have shot dead six alleged tiger poachers as it launches a crackdown
following a drastic fall in the number of big cats (AFP Photo/Munir Uz Zaman)

Dhaka (AFP) - Bangladesh police Sunday shot dead six alleged tiger poachers in the world's largest mangrove forest as it launched a crackdown following a drastic fall in the number of big cats.

Police said the six died after a gunfight with a gang at a canal in the Sundarbans forest, home to critically endangered Bengal tigers whose number there has nosedived to 106 from an estimated 440 a decade ago.

"The poachers first fired at us as we raided their den at Mandarbaria canal in the forest. We fired back. Six poachers were killed in the gunfight," local police chief Harendranath Sarker told AFP.

He said police found the skins of three adult Bengal tigers, measuring 10-11 feet (3.5 metres), and seized four rifles and a pistol.

Sarker said the crackdown on poachers came in the wake of the forest department's recent survey, which shows tiger numbers had declined in what was thought to be one of the world's largest wild reserves for the rare animal.

Some 440 tigers were recorded in the Sundarbans during a census conducted in 2004 in the World Heritage-listed forest, one of the world's last remaining habitats for the big cats.

However doubts were raised immediately after the census. Many wildlife experts said the 10,000 square kilometre (3,850 square mile) forest, straddling Bangladesh and India, could not have room for more than 200 tigers.

Late last month Tapan Kumar Dey, the government's wildlife conservationist, said analysis of camera footage from a year-long survey that ended in April found current tiger numbers ranged between 83 and 130, an average of 106.

Officials blamed a decline in their prey and rising poaching.

In recent years an elite police force has rescued live tiger cubs from poachers and seized nearly a dozen tiger skins.

Police chief Sarker said the Sundarbans, with its network of rivers and canals, had become a magnet for poacher gangs.

"They now sell tiger bones, meat and skin for a lot of money," he said, adding a lack of law enforcement and of monitoring inside the forest had contributed to the rise in poaching.

Bengal tigers live mainly in India, where nationwide there are an estimated 2,226, with smaller populations in Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, China and Myanmar.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Video: Fox attacks man in Dutch suburban garden Society

DutchNews, August 6, 2015

Photo: video still Eduard Plate
A hungry fox pacing next to a chicken coup in the garden of a family home in Zeewolde has attacked the person filming its actions on a mobile phone. 

Eduard Plate, who is a Flevoland provincial councillor for the VVD, spotted the fox hanging around his neighbours’ chickens on Wednesday afternoon and started filming it. After a few seconds the fox turned and saw Plate. It leapt at him, forcing him to run off and stop filming. 

Plate called in pest control experts who caught the fox and took it to Lelystad where it was killed, RTL news reports. 

The fox had been spotted in the garden on a previous occasion and was hanging around the built-up area since Monday. According to RTL news, the animal was ‘sick’ but did not give further details.

A spokesman for Faunabeheer Flevoland said it is extremely unusual for a fox to attack someone and that the animal will have felt threatened.