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)

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Researchers mourn killing of Cecil the lion's cub

Yahoo – AFP, July 21, 2017

Cecil was killed by American dentist and trophy hunter Walter Palmer. Researchers
now confirm that a trophy hunter has shot dead one of his cubs (AFP Photo)

Johannesburg (AFP) - A trophy hunter in Zimbabwe has shot dead a cub of Cecil the lion whose death in 2015 caused worldwide outrage, researchers tracking the pride confirmed Friday.

Xanda, a six-year-old lion fitted with a radio collar, was killed on July 7 in northwest Zimbabwe, close to where US dentist Walter Palmer shot Cecil with a high-powered bow and arrow two years ago.

"Xanda was shot by a trophy hunter on a legally sanctioned hunt in a hunting area outside Hwange National Park," Andrew Loveridge from Oxford University's zoology department told AFP.

"As researchers we are saddened to lose a well-known study animal we have monitored since birth."

In 2015, Cecil's killing triggered fierce controversy as he was a popular attraction for visitors to the famed Hwange National Park.

Both Cecil and Xanda wore electronic GPS tracking collars in a project run by Oxford University's wildlife conservation research unit.

But they had strayed out of the park boundaries and into a legal hunting area.

The trophy hunter has not been named, but many hunters are from the United States or South Africa, paying tens of thousands of dollars for the opportunity to kill lions and other wild animals.

Pro-hunt groups say hunting provides an essential economic incentive to promote long-term conservation and that the income pays to safeguard wildlife and catch poachers.

Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper named the hunt's professional expedition leader as Zimbabwean Richard Cooke, and said that the hunt was legal as Xanda was six years old.

It added that Cooke had handed in the collar after discovering it on the dead animal, who was the head of the pride with two lionesses and several cubs.

Palmer, who shot Cecil, a 13-year-old male, was hounded on social media and went into hiding after demonstrations outside his dental practice.

He was reported to have paid $55,000 for the hunt.

No charges were brought against Palmer or the local guide as the hunt was also found to be legal.

Scientists, who say that Hwange has a healthy population of about 550 lions, are pushing for a 5-km (3-mile) hunting exclusion zone to protect lions who wander outside the park's boundaries.

Cecil had at least 12 surviving cubs last year, according to the Oxford research project.

Related Articles:

Hunt: Fahd bin Sultan is said to have killed
1,977 houbara bustards in just 21 days while
on holiday



Spain's King Juan Carlos poses in front of a dead elephant
on a hunting trip in Botswana, Africa. Photograph: Target
Press/Barcroft Media


Spain's king ousted as WWF honorary president
Spain's King Juan Carlos under fire over elephant hunting trip



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.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Wild lion caught on camera nursing leopard cub

A lion has been photographed nursing a leopard cub in the first-ever known case of cross-species suckling among wild cats. The two species are normally mortal enemies.

Deutsche Welle, 15 July 2017


The photographs were taken at Tanzania's Ngorongoro Conservation Area earlier this week and published by the wild cat conservation group Panthera.

The images show a five-year-old lioness named "Nosikitok" suckling a leopard cub estimated to be only three weeks old.

The organization said same-species adoption among wild cats has been known to occur, but cross-species suckling had never been observed before.

"This is a truly unique case," said Panthera President and Chief Conservation Officer Luke Hunter. "I know of no other example of inter-species adoption or nursing like this among big cats in the wild."

It is unclear what motivated the lioness to nuture the stranded leopard cub.

"Nosikitok" is radio-collared and monitored by KopeLion, a Tanzanian conservation NGO supported by Panthera that works with the local Maasai community to protect lions.


The lioness is known to have given birth to her own cubs recently, making her "physiologically primed" to care for cubs, according to Hunter. The leopard cub is believed to be the same age and a similar size to the lioness's own cubs.


Hunter said "Nosikitok" would be "awash with a ferocious maternal drive" but it is still mystifying why she would suckle the cub of another species.

"It is quite possible she has lost her own cubs, and found the leopard cub in her bereaved state when she would be particularly vulnerable," he said.

The photographs were taken on Tuesday and since then "Nosikitok" has returned to her pride. It is unknown what happened to the leopard cub.

Hunter said it is possible that the leopard's mother picked up the cub from "lioness day care."

However, he said that if the cub was not under the care of its mother its chances of survival were very low.

"The natural odds are stacked against this little fellow," Hunter said, pointing out that 40 percent of lion cubs don't make it to adulthood in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

The fate of the leopard cub is unknown.

"It is very unlikely that the lioness's pride will accept it," he said. "Lions have very rich, complicated social relationships in which they recognize individuals - by sight and by roars - and so they are very well equipped to distinguish their cubs from others. If the rest of the pride finds the cub, it is likely it would be killed."

Hunter said that even if the leopard cub managed to survive with a lion pride until it became independent after 12 to 18 months, it would likely go out on its own.

"Even its early exposure to lion society would not override the millions of years of evolution that has equipped the leopard to be a supreme solitary hunter," he said. "I am sure it would go its own way."

cw/ng (dpa, Reuters)

Thursday, July 13, 2017

George the wombat turns one, warms hearts again

Yahoo – AFP, July 12, 2017

George the orphaned baby wombat has turned one, an event marked by a new
viral video

An orphan baby wombat who warmed the hearts of the world in a viral Facebook video viewed 40 million times has turned one, with his latest exploits also proving a huge hit.

George was still in his mum's pouch when she was hit and killed by a car last year. Luckily, a passer-by found the scared animal and delivered him to the Australian Reptile Park near Sydney.

It was there that general manager Tim Faulkner became his new "fill-in" family, providing him with the milk he needed and the cuddles he craved.

A video of George following Faulkner around, getting his tummy rubbed and chewing his sock became a massive social media hit and the park has now recreated it to mark his first birthday.

Milking it: The Australian Reptile Park, which offered a home to George after 
his mother died has released a new video of the adorable little critter

Since being posted on Tuesday evening, the new footage has already been viewed nearly 900,000 times, with the furry marsupial now fatter and bigger but still loving the attention.

"It's always hit and miss with these little orphans. It's hard to know if they've been exposed to disease, are malnourished or even injured in the accident," said Faulkner.

"He has pulled through like a true champion. I'm so proud of the Australian ambassador George has become. Australian wildlife needs all the help it can get and George has stolen everyone's heart, again!"

George is a Common Wombat, which is not a threatened species in Australia. The Northern Hairy-Nosed Wombat and Southern Hairy-Nosed Wombat are classified as endangered.


Saturday, July 1, 2017

Turkish dog steals hearts at classical concert

Yahoo – AFP, June 30, 2017

A picture taken and released by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts
 (IKSEV) shows a dog sitting next to the orchestra's musicians during a concert
at the Ancient Ephesus, in Izmir, on June 30, 201 (AFP Photo/Onur ACIMAZ)

Istanbul (AFP) - It's that moment fans of classical music live for, an international orchestra playing a great masterpiece at full pelt.

Until an unexpected guest star arrives.

A stray, and rather loveable, dog.

At the outdoor performance of Felix Mendelssohn's Fourth Symphony in Turkey, the audience were raptly attentive as the Vienna Chamber Orchestra conducted by Ola Rudner tore through the nineteenth century German composer's effervescent score.

The music-loving canine, with the casual air of an experienced performer, ambled across the stage and stopped at the conductor's podium on the stage at the remains of ancient Ephesus close to the Aegean city of Izmir.

The dog stared at an adoring public -- who by now had lost interest in anything else and burst into laughter and applause -- before sitting down by the seat of the first violinist.

Trying to suppress their own laughter, the orchestra gamely played on as if the dog was a regular band member.

And like an experienced performer who has seen it all many times before, the dog settled down and stole the rest of the show with an unmistakable yawn.

The video of the concert this month at the International Izmir Festival has gone viral in Turkey, where the numerous stray cats and dogs across the country are usually treated with considerable respect and respect.

"Cutest moment in classical music," wrote star Turkish classical pianist Fazil Say who was in attendance after performing a Mozart piano concerto before the symphony.

"The most adorable classical music fan. Audience and the orchestra welcome the special guest," he wrote on his Facebook page.


Related Article:

The amazing moment stray dogs showed up at a funeral to pay respects to the kindly lady who used to feed them


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

70 vets call for action on factory farming and animal welfare

DutchNews, June 27, 2017

Pigs on a factory farm. Photo: Depositphotos.com

A group of 70 vets have signed a letter in Tuesday’s NRC calling for action to improve the lot of animals in the ‘cheap, bulk production’ factory farming system. 

The vets were reacting to this weekend’s investigation into the way the food and product safety board had ignored problems at several abattoirs and moved the vet who raised the issues to a new job. 

‘The shocking conditions described by our brave colleague in Dutch abattoirs are not isolated instances,’ the letter states.

‘Animals are adapted to production methods, not visa versa,’ the letter goes on. ‘Animals are kept in confined conditions without distractions… and then have to undergo mutilations for their own safety.’

‘Cows are separated from calves at birth, pigs are kept in cages, their piglets’ tails are amputated, calves and lambs have their horns cut off and chicken’s beaks are clipped.’ 

Dead

‘A certain percentage of dead arrivals at the abattoir is considered normal,’ the vets write. 

As one of the leading countries in terms of meat and dairy produce, the Netherlands should also ead the way in terms of animal welfare and sustainability, the letter continues. ‘We need a fundamental change in the way factory farming is organised,’ the letter concludes. 

The NRC notes that several vets who had originally signed the letter withdrew their support because they were concerned about possible consequences of such public backing.

Related Articles:




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.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Panda mania hits Germany as China's cuddly envoys arrive

Yahoo – AFP, Hui Min NEO, June 24, 2017

The excitement at the welcome press conference gave the pandas a taste
of what might be to come in their new home (AFP Photo/Tobias SCHWARZ)

Berlin (AFP) - Germany had its first taste of panda mania on Saturday as two furry ambassadors arrived from China to begin a new life as stars of Berlin's premier zoo.

The pair, named Meng Meng and Jiao Qing, jetted in on a special Lufthansa cargo plane, accompanied by two Chinese panda specialists, the Berlin Zoo's chief vet and a tonne of bamboo.

A crowd of journalists and officials on hand to welcome the VIPs let out an "ooooh" as Meng Meng raised a paw after flight LH8415 made an especially gentle touchdown at Schoenefeld airport.

The black and white pair, clearly groggy after the 12 hour 20 minute flight from Chengdu in southern China, lay resting in their travelling crates during the welcome ceremony in a hangar.

Until, that is, the Chinese ambassador to Berlin got a little too close, prompting Jiao Ling, the male, to stand up, roar and beat his paws against the plexiglass sides of the crate.

"From this evening, their German and Chinese handlers will stay with them... we'll do everything to help them calm down so they have a good night, eat well and rehydrate themselves," Berlin Zoo director Andreas Knieriem told AFP.

After just over a week's acclimatisation, the pair will be unveiled to the public by no less than Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese President Xi Jinping, most likely two days before the G20 summit of world leaders hosted by Germany.

The pandas were flown in on a special cargo flight from China (AFP 
Photo/Tobias SCHWARZ)

Famed for its "panda diplomacy", China has dispatched its national treasure to only about a dozen countries as a symbol of close relations.

Export giants Germany and China have nurtured increasingly close economic ties, and over the last year the have also taken on the leading role in championing free trade as Donald Trump shifts the US away from market liberalisation with his "America First" push.

"The Chinese see the pandas as Chinese brand ambassadors. China obviously has an image problem in Europe and giving pandas is a very smart and easy way to win hearts," said Bernhard Bartsch from the Bertelsmann Foundation think tank in Berlin.

The "pandas will lend a very positive spin in German media to the visit by Xi Jinping in July," he added.

Bamboo snacks, absorbent mats

The excitement over the two bears was clear as the zoo published a daily update on its blog in the run-up to their arrival.

The flight to Germany was carefully prepared, with "bamboo snacks" to keep the pandas happy and absorbent mats to ensure the transport box stayed dry and odourless.

And their new home at Berlin's zoo will measure about 5,500 square metres (59,000 square feet) and comes fitted with a wooded climbing area and an artificial stream.

Meng Meng means "dream" in Chinese, while Jiao Qing translates as "darling", though the Chinese characters are a composite of "tender" and "festive" or "celebration".

The Berlin Zoo built a special enclosure for the two pandas it is receiving from 
China just a few days before a G20 summit in Germany (AFP Photo/Wolfgang Kumm)

But the honour of hosting them does not come cheap.

The zoo will pay $15 million (13.4 million euros) for a 15-year contract to host them, with most of the money going towards a conservation and breeding research programme in China.

And the pandas' main dish -- bamboo -- will cost tens of thousands of euros each year.

The zoo will probably look to offset part of its outlays through panda-themed merchandising.

Ultimately, it hopes that the pair will produce babies, even if experts have warned that panda reproduction is a fine art.

Panda expert Jerome Pouille said that "the female is only receptive to a male for about 24 to 48 hours a year", adding that there was little chance of a cub within the first three years.

China has previously given three pandas to Germany, but the last one, 34-year-old Bao Bao, died in Berlin in 2012, having become the oldest male panda in the world.

About 1,864 pandas remain in the wild in China, up from around 1,000 in the late 1970s, according to the environmental group WWF.

Just over 400 pandas live in zoos around the world, in conservation projects set up with Beijing.

Related Article:


Friday, June 23, 2017

Man stopped on Thai border with orangutans, tortoises, raccoons

Yahoo – AFP, June 22, 2017

The tiny orangutans rescued at the Thai border were less than six
months old (AFP Photo/Handout)

Thai wildlife officers have arrested a Malaysian man attempting to smuggle two baby orangutans, 51 tortoises and six raccoons into the kingdom across its southern border, officials said Thursday.

The animals were packed into plastic boxes and suitcases loaded into Ismail Bin Ahmad's car, officials said.

The 63-year-old was stopped Wednesday as he was attempting to drive through a border checkpoint in Thailand's southern Songkhla province -- part of an insurgency-torn region known as a funnel for drugs, weapons and other contraband.

"The suspect said he was hired to transport the animals from (neighbouring) Perlis state in Malaysia to Hat Yai (in Thailand) for 1,000 baht ($33 dollars)," Prach Kongthong, a wildlife officer manning the checkpoint, told AFP.

The tiny orangutans were less than six months old and will be transferred to a local shelter, he added.

The seized animals, including orangutans, were packed into suitcases and plastic
boxes (AFP Photo/Handout)

Orangutans are native to the islands of Borneo and Sumatra but they are often illegally smuggled throughout mainland Southeast Asia, either for private zoos or as pets.

Most of the 51 rescued reptiles were Indian star tortoises -- an endangered species from South Asia coveted for its star-patterned shell.

Thailand has long served as a transit hub for wildlife products bound for major markets like Vietnam and China, where exotic animal parts are often used in folk medicines.

Thai police frequently seize trafficked animals and wildlife products but they usually only catch low-level couriers, leaving the smuggling kingpins behind the lucrative trade at large.

In December Thai police rescued two baby orangutans in a sting operation that saw undercover officers pose as buyers over a mobile phone messaging app.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Officials seize shoes, jackets made of endangered species at chic Amsterdam store

DutchNews, June 16, 2017

Photo: NVWA.nl 

Government inspectors have removed 105 articles of clothing from shop in Amsterdam’s exclusive PC Hooftstraat because they include leather made from protected species, the Volkskrant said on Friday. 

The shop, Karmaloog, opened earlier this year. It generated headlines because of the owners’ boast that it would be ‘the most exclusive and expensive’ shop in the Netherlands with jackets costing €100,000. 

The items taken by officials include shoes, jackets, belts, skirts and other accessories made of crocodile, python and anaconda leather. 

The paper says officials first became suspicious last year when a consignment of skins turned up at Schiphol airport with problematic paperwork. The package came from Thailand and contained the skins of 12 Siamese crocodiles. 

Cites

Leather from protected species may only be traded in line with the international Cites treaty. Officials visited the shop in March and gave the owners three months to come up with documents showing the skins had been obtained in line with Cites rules. 

However, they only managed to come up with documents for five pairs of shoes, the paper said. 

Although the shop is not named in the official documents, the Volkskrant says one of the pairs of shoes in photographs supplied to the press – green python leather slip-ons – is identical to those advertised on the Karmaloog website. 

Owner Nezir Yozgat told the paper in a reaction: ‘all our items are certified and all our products are legal. We will fight every ruling.’

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Costa Rica says no to animal cruelty

Yahoo – AFP, June 11, 2017

People celebrated in the streets of San Jose after a new law which establishes
 fines and prison sentences for those who harm an animal (AFP Photo/Ezequiel
BECERRA)

San José (AFP) - Thousands of animal lovers packed a major San Jose avenue Sunday, many with pups in tow, to celebrate Costa Rica's new animal cruelty law and its fines and jail time for violators.

Bikers, animal rights activists and many animal lovers were on hand dancing to traditional tunes to support the law, signed this month by the Central American nation's President Luis Guillermo Solis.

"We have got to demand that there be no more impunity; that whoever abuses an animal be punished," Solis said, raising cheers from the crowd.

The parade marshal for the day was Duke, a dog that became well known in local media after someone hacked him with a machete and left him for dead.

In another grim case, local teenagers seriously injured a toucan, pummeling its bill with stones.

"We have just seen too many horrific acts against animals. So it's time that we have a law to ensure that they are punished," said Antonio Pacheco, who turned up with his sweater-wearing schnauzer Tony in tow.

Cockfighting and dog fights also have been outlawed, and can earn criminals jail time.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Feline good: Cats counter stress at Tokyo firm

Yahoo – AFP, May 22, 2017

A cat walks across the desk at an IT office in Tokyo, where felines help
alleviate stress and anxiety (AFP Photo/YOKO AKIYOSHI)

Workaholic Japan is known for long office hours and stressed out employees, but one company claims to have a cure: Cats.

A total of nine fluffy felines eat, sleep and walk freely in the small office of IT firm Ferray in Tokyo.

Hidenobu Fukuda, who heads the firm, introduced an "office cat" policy in 2000 upon request from one of his employees, allowing staffers to bring their moggies to work.

"I also give 5,000 yen ($45) a month to those who rescue a cat," he said of his charges.

Other Japanese companies are also allowing animals in the office to help reduce stress and anxiety.

At Oracle Japan, an Old English Sheepdog named Candy works as a "greeting and healing ambassador", according to the company website.

A total of nine fluffy felines eat, sleep and walk freely in the small office 
of IT firm Ferray in Tokyo (AFP Photo/YOKO AKIYOSHI)

The company said it has had an office dog since 1991, and Candy, the fourth one, now has Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Meanwhile, Pasona Group "hired" two goats in 2011 and two alpacas in 2013 as full-time employees, partly for healing purposes.

Tokyo is also home to some 60 registered cat cafes, thanks to a growing number of feline lovers.

Eri Ito, who works at Ferray, says she is sold on the animal's soothing ways.

"Cats are sleeping just beside us... It's healing," Ito said.

But there is also a downside to having felines in the office, Fukuda admitted.

"Sometimes a cat will walk on a phone and cut off the call, or they shut down the computers by walking onto the off switch," he said.


Sunday, May 21, 2017

Scientists reveal top 10 most bizarre new species of 2017

A New York university's annual list of the 10 most bizarre new species discovered in the animal and plant kingdoms has been topped by a mini-spider named after a hat from the Harry Potter series.

Deutsche Welle, 20 May


The State University of New York's College of Environmental Science's International Institute for Species Exploration's "Top 10" list came from 10 countries across four continents and were selected from a total of 18,000 newly discovered species, the institute said.

A tiny spider (pictured above), less than 2 millimeters (a tenth of an inch), was named after the bewitched Sorting Hat in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter book series.

"The shape of the spider's body, conical, with a jaunty bend in the narrow tip, is reminiscent of the hat first owned by the famed wizard Godric Gryffindor," the institute wrote on its website.

The list further includes "a strikingly colored freshwater stingray and two plants - a bush tomato that appears to 'bleed' when it's cut and an orchid with the face of the devil," it added.

Two leggy creatures, the institute continued, included on the list, "were a millipede with more than 400 legs and an amphibious centipede, along with a marine worm that looks a lot like fried pastry."



The Top 10 (pictured above from top left)
  • "Sorting Hat" Spider (Eriovixia gryffindori)
  • Unexpected Katydid (Eulophophyllum kirki)
  • Omnivorous Root Rat (Gracilimus radix)
  • 414-legged Millipede (Illacme tobini)
  • "Dragon" Ant (Pheidole drogon)
  • Freshwater Stingray (Potamotrygon rex)
  • Swimming Centipede (Scolopendra cataracta)
  • Bush Tomato (Solanum ossicruentum)
  • Endangered Orchid (Telipogon diabolicus)
  • "Churro" Marine Worm (Xenoturbella churro)

The "Top 10" has been published annually since 2008, with researchers looking for diversity in the animal and plant kingdoms and those threatened with extinction.

The institute, according to its website, "is dedicated to the exploration, inventory, and classification of earth's species, public awareness of the biodiversity crisis, advocacy for the important roles played by taxonomy and natural history museums, the advancement of cyber taxonomy and the application of cyber and digital tools to accelerate and improve comparative morphology, descriptive taxonomy, and phylogenetic classification."

The "Top 10 New Species" list is released around May 23 each year to coincide with the birthday of Carolus Linnaeus - the "Father of Taxonomy," whose work in the 18th century was the beginning point for modern naming and classification of plants and animals.

A further 10 million animal and plant species - five times more than already known - are therefore not yet discovered worldwide.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Dutch draw up dangerous dogs list, send owners back to school

DutchNews, May 18, 2017

The American Staffordshire terrier is on the banned list. Photo: Depositphotos.com

Pitbull terriers, Rottweilers and the Caucasian shepherds are among the animals on a Dutch government list of officially dangerous dogs. 

From next year, the owners of 20 breeds and all pittbull crossbreeds will have to go on a compulsory cause in keeping dogs which are known to have a propensity to violence. 

The list and compulsory course are part of a series of measures the caretaker government plans to introduce in an effort to cut down on the number of dog attacks. 

Junior economic affairs minister Martin van Rijn is also working on a list of banned breeds and plans to give local councils the powers to ban dangerous dogs from some areas. 

In addition, the government will establish a central register to record dog bite incidents and a hotline for people to report dangerous dogs or owners who refuse to deal with their dogs properly. 

Bites

‘There have been a number of serious biting incidents in recent years and this is extremely worrying,’ the minister said in a statement. ‘Councils will be given more powers to take effective measures… but ultimately it is owners who are responsible for their dogs.’ 

The official list of dangerous dogs includes pedigree dogs and crossbreeds which are known to have a high risk of aggressive behaviour. It includes 20 pedigree breeds such as Rottweilers, various varieties of pitbull and bull terrier, bull mastiffs and the Akita.

The Dutch animal protection charity Dierenbescherming has welcomed the course for dog owners. ‘We cannot deny this is a problem,’ a spokesman said. ‘Shelters are full of dogs, most of which are pitbulls and similar breeds. They were often bought on impulse and have not been properly trained.’ 

The Netherlands introduced a ban on breeding pitbulls and similar dogs 20 years ago after three children were savaged to death. But the ban was rescinded in 2008.

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