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)

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

University of Amsterdam offers puppy love to stressed students

DutchNews, October 16, 2018, By Senay Boztas

JennyC via wikimedia commons

The University of Amsterdam is offering over-stressed students the chance to cuddle up with puppies to relieve exam stress next week, it has confirmed to DutchNews.nl. 

It will have a puppy room available with 750 seats for two afternoons in its library, saying that research demonstrates that a quarter hour of puppy love can lower blood levels of cortisol, and therefore reduce stress during exam week. 

The puppies are being introduced to the students, too, apparently as a vital part of their socialisation training. 

The idea, reportedly, comes from British universities including Bristol and Nottingham. The puppies are provided by agency Catvertise and are costing the university some €400. A total of 160 students will be able to benefit and are being asked to sign up on social media. 

According to the sign up page, the event is already sold out.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Fruitful breeding programme produces the Netherlands’ first kiwi

DutchNews, October 11, 2018


Avifauna bird zoo, one of 16 zoos in the world to have a breeding programme for the kiwi, has announced the birth of the Netherlands’ first chick.

‘The birth of a baby kiwi is very special, especially since there are only 60 kiwis in zoos outside New Zealand,’ zoo worker Dennis Appels told public broadcaster NOS

The North Island brown kiwi is on the threatened species list because people have introduced other species to the island, for which the flightless kiwi is an easy prey. 

Avifauna is the only zoo to have produced a kiwi chick this year. ‘The secret is a solicitous father and peace and quiet,’ Appels said. 

It is not yet known what sex the kiwi is. This will be determined by a dna test on the animal’s feathers in a few weeks’ time. 

The new kiwi will be named on Thursday afternoon in the presence of the New Zealand ambassador Lyndal Walker. ‘It will be a Maori name to honour its New Zealand origins and to show how grateful we are for getting to keep it,’ Appels said. 

The kiwi, which was born on September 18 and is now some three weeks old, will be weighed and measured at 2pm each day for the public to see from Saturday October 13.



Saturday, October 6, 2018

Dutch dog supplier ‘to make payment’ to injured Palestinian boy: NRC

DutchNews, October 5, 2018

Photo: Depositphotos.com 

A Dutch dog supplier is going to pay compensation to a Palestinian boy bitten by one of its animals on the command of the Israeli army, reports the NRC

‘Four Winds Policedog Center’ in Geffen has reportedly reached a financial settlement with the boy because it sold the dog to the army. 

The company reportedly said in a statement that it ‘regrets the incident’ in 2014 and its physical and psychological consequences on the young man, Hamzeh Hashem. 

The NRC claims that the firm does not admit legal liability, stating that the dog was trained by the Israeli army, but was paying Hashem ‘as a contribution to his recovery’ and as a gesture of goodwill. 

Four Winds’ website claims that it trains dogs ‘to a high level to help reduce terrorism and crime’ but it has now reportedly stopped supplying the Israeli army. 

Hashem had sued the company through Dutch lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld, who told NRC that this is ‘the first time a Dutch firm has paid for violence in the occupied Palestinian territories.’ 

DutchNews.nl has contacted Four Winds K9 – the current business name of the company which has an identical website to Four Winds Policedogs Center – and Liesbeth Zegveld to confirm the report.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Dogs must have passports by 2020: AD

DutchNews, October 4, 2018


Every Dutch dog will have to have a passport from 2020, according to new rules expected to be announced by environment minister Carola Schouten on Thursday. 

The AD reports that in an attempt to muzzle the illegal dog trade, the government will fine breeders without the proper doggie passports in future. The documents will contain information about each dog’s origin, former owners and medical needs. 

‘Someone who buys a puppy should be able to know exactly where the animal comes from,’ Shouten told the AD. ‘A passport will help.’ 

Each year, around 150,000 dogs are bought in the Netherlands, a third of them from abroad. There are concerns that imported dogs can carry rabies and also have health problems if puppies are transported when they are too young. 

Last summer 150 puppies were discovered dehydrated, neglected and without papers, and confiscated from a breeder in Woerden. It is currently mandatory to chip and register dogs but the new system is intended to be even stricter and a guarantee for buyers. 

The passports, to be announced on ‘animal day’ (October 4), were welcomed by Dik Nagtegaal of animal protection society De Dierenbescherming. ‘This makes it harder for people with bad motives to commit fraud with dogs,’ he reportedly told the AD. ‘If there’s no passport, then you know for sure that something’s up. Don’t buy!’ 

It is not known whether the Dutch dog passport will offer European rights of free movement or require a strictly-posed photograph.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Aegon Nederland pulls out of palm oil investments

DutchNews, October 2, 2018

Palm oil plantations often involve illegal deforestation. Photo: Depositphotos.com

Aegon Nederland has sold its interests in palm oil after 15 years, stating that the sector ‘is unable to implement improvements, keep to existing rules and bring in sanctions.’ 

Palm oil production is highly controversial and the sector is regularly linked to land grabbing, deforestation and human rights violations as well as climate change. 

The insurance company said in a statement that ‘these negative factors’ had led to the decision to sell its interests in palm oil. According to the Financieele Dagblad, the investments amounted to €7m and were spread through several funds. 

Fourteen companies, including Bunge, IOI and Indofood are now on the Aegon blacklist, the paper said. 

Environmental campaign group Milieudefensie said in a statement that Aegon is ‘hero of the day’ for pulling out of palm oil. ‘We are now calling on ABN Amro, Rabobank and ING to stop with palm oil,’ the organisation said. 

The organisation published a report in July highlighting the links between the big three Dutch banks and the palm oil industry.

Related Article:


Monday, October 1, 2018

Pyongyang gifts dogs to S.Korea's Moon

Yahoo – AFP, September 30, 2018

Two dogs, aged around one year old, were given as a gift to the South
Korean President Moon Jae-in (AFP Photo/Handout)

South Korean President Moon Jae-in received a pair of North Korean indigenous hunting dogs from Pyongyang, his office said Sunday, the latest token of the rapidly blossoming friendship on the peninsula.

"Cheong Wa Dae (the presidential office) was offered a pair of Pungsan dogs from the North as a gift at the North-South summit and received them Thursday," the South's presidential office said in a statement.

The canines, both aged around one, were handed over via the truce village of Panmunjom with three kilograms of dog food to "help with their adaptation", it added.

Known for its loyalty and cleverness, the Pungsan breed -- a hunting dog with thick, creamy white coat, pointy ears and hazel eyes -- is one of the National Treasures of North Korea.

Relations between North and South Korea have been improving after
 three summits this year (AFP Photo)

The canine gifts come after a September meeting between Moon and North Korea leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang, at which Kim agreed plans to shutter a missile-testing site and visit Seoul.

North and South Korea also announced that they would jointly bid for the 2032 Olympics.

Former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung had also received a pair of Pungsan pups after his landmark summit in Pyongyang with then North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in 2000.

The dogs were kept at the Seoul Grand Park and both died of natural causes in 2013 after giving birth to 21 puppies.

The newly arrived pooches will reside at the presidential office with Moon -- an animal lover who already owns a Pungsan dog named Maru, a former shelter cat called Jjing-Jjing, and Tory, a black mutt he adopted after taking office.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Rare Sumatran tiger found dead in Indonesia

Yahoo – AFP, September 26, 2018

The carcass of a critically endangered Sumatran tiger which died after being
caught in a pig trap near Pekanbaru on the island of Sumatra (AFP Photo/Wahyudi)

Pekanbaru (Indonesia) (AFP) - A critically endangered Sumatran tiger has died after being caught in a hunter's trap on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, an official said Wednesday.

Locals told the conservation agency that a female Sumatran tiger had been seen on Tuesday caught in a pig trap set by a hunter in Muara Lembu village of Riau province.

Officers immediately visited the location but the tiger was gone.

The next day officers scoured the area once again and found the tiger dead near a ravine, with rope from the trap wrapped around its belly.

They believed the rope caused the animal's death.

Local conservation agency head Suharyono said the death was especially regrettable because the tiger was an adult female expected to give birth to cubs.

Sumatran tigers are considered critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

There are fewer than 400 Sumatran tigers left in the wild and environmental activists say they are increasingly coming into conflict with people as their natural habitat is rapidly deforested.


Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Moving house can be stressful: Female albino alligators - some as long as five meters and weighing more than 80 kg - are moved into a new home at the Porte Dorée tropical aquarium in Paris

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

EU palm oil ban sows bitter seeds for Southeast Asian farmers

Yahoo – AFP, Ridwan Nasution with M. Jegathesan in Ijok, Malaysia, 24 September 2018

Indonesian farmer Kawal Surbakti says a planned EU palm oil ban could devastate
his income

Indonesian palm oil farmer Kawal Surbakti says his livelihood is under attack, but the threat is not from insects or hungry orangutans eating his prized crop.

Half a world away, the European Parliament is moving to ban the use of palm oil in biofuels, while British grocer Iceland has announced it will stop using the commodity over concerns that it causes widespread environmental destruction.

Losing the key European market worries small farmers like Surbakti and millions of others in Indonesia and neighbouring Malaysia -- the world's top two producers -- as prices drop for an oil found in everything from biscuits and sweets to cosmetics and vehicle gas tanks.

"I've suffered serious losses," the 64-year-old Surbakti said from his two-hectare (five acre) farm on Indonesia's Sumatra island.

"Before, I could save up a little money but now I can't even do that."

Across the Malacca Strait in Malaysia, grower Mohamad Isa Mansor issued a dire prediction as he plucked reddish-orange fruits from his trees.

"If the EU succeeds in the ban, I'm dead," he said at his small plantation in the coastal town of Ijok.

"Without this crop we will be living in poverty. It is the source of income for thousands of people (here)," he added.

Chart showing top producers of palm oil, led by Indonesia

'Victims of big corporations'

Europe is one of the world's biggest palm oil consumers, along with India and China.

About half of the palm oil used last year in Europe was for biofuels that ended up in gas tanks, according to environmentalists.

Indonesia and Malaysia have threatened retaliatory sanctions on European products over the proposed palm oil ban, which calls for a complete phase-out from biofuels by 2030. The legislation is awaiting a final vote and member-state approval.

As the diplomatic row smoulders, Indonesian grower Selamet Ketaren says he and other small farmers -- the backbone of the industry -- are pawns at the mercy of land-clearing multinational firms that buy their crops.

"Smallholder farmers like us are just victims of the big corporations," said Ketaren, who has been growing palm oil since the mid-eighties.

Environmentalists accuse the multi-billion-dollar industry of destroying huge swathes of rainforest home to indigenous communities, orangutans and other threatened species.

Critics say that palm oil development also contributes to climate change through deliberate forest-clearing fires, which release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and lung-clogging smog into the region's air.

Many under-pressure firms made "no deforestation" pledges, but activists say they are tough to monitor and frequently broken in the vast jungles of Sumatra and Borneo island.

Palm oil has become a major earner for Malaysia and Indonesia but at 
huge environmental cost

This week, Greenpeace said a group of Indonesian palm oil firms that supply major international brands including Unilever and Nestle have cleared an area of rainforest almost twice the size of Singapore in less than three years.

But Malaysian farmer Mansor rejects the depiction of growers as an environmental threat.

"(The EU) says we cut down the forest. But my land is on peat soil -- there was rubber growing here before," he said.

"How can the EU claim that I'm killing the earth?"

'Negative campaigns'

An EU ban would threaten the livelihoods of 650,000 smallholders and over 3.2 million Malaysians who rely on the industry, according to the Malaysian Palm Oil Council.

"The policies that the EU is proposing to introduce will harm Malaysia's rural communities and reduce incomes for Malaysian families," said Douglas Uggah Embas, deputy chief minister of Sarawak state on Borneo island, home to many smallholders.

Some three million people in Indonesia -- the world's biggest palm oil exporter -- are estimated to be working in the sector and many more depend on their income.

While it hopes to tap other markets, the Indonesian Palm Oil Association said that a slowdown in China and "negative campaigns" against palm oil could hurt the bottom line.

Malaysian grower Muhamad Ngisa Kusas fears that political decisions made in Europe will lead to poverty, crime and could push desperate people into the arms of religious extremists in the two Muslim-majority countries.

"If the EU bans comes into effect, the price of palm oil will surely plunge. Then we smallholders are doomed," said the 78-year-old.

"The EU had better think very carefully about this action."


Saturday, September 22, 2018

Singapore Airlines bans lion bones in cargo

Yahoo – AFP, September 21, 2018

Singapore Airlines says it has banned lion bones as cargo on its planes
(AFP Photo/GREG BAKER)

Singapore (AFP) - Singapore Airlines said Friday it has stopped accepting lion bones for cargo after the carrier was singled out in a report for transporting the animal parts from South Africa.

Campaigners have long called for a ban on the controversial trade in big cat bones, which are sought after for medicine and jewellery in Southeast Asia.

Singapore Airlines was the sole carrier importing lion bones from South Africa to Southeast Asia last year, according to a report released in July by the non-profit EMS Foundation and animal rights group Ban Animal Trading.

At least 800 lion skeletons had been exported with the blessing of the South African government in 2017, the report said, making it the world's largest exporter of lion bones.

The airline told AFP it had stopped accepting lion bones as cargo, but did not say when the policy had come into effect.

"Singapore Airlines does not accept the carriage of lion bones as cargo following a review which took into account increasing concerns around the world," the company said in an email.

EMS Foundation director Michele Pickover said her organisation had sent the report to the airline and "appealed to them to immediately stop its involvement in this terrible trade".

"I believe that once they were informed about what this trade entails they took the correct and logical decision not to support it," she told AFP.

South Africa has been sending lion bones to Southeast Asia since at least 2008 and it was likely that Singapore Airlines had been transporting them since that year, Pickover added.

Lion bones and other body parts are highly sought after in parts of Southeast Asia -- particularly Laos, Thailand and Vietnam -- for use in jewellery and for their supposed medicinal properties.

In Vietnam, lion bone is cooked and turned into balm while claws and teeth were used as body ornaments, the report said.

While trade of body parts from wild lions is banned, international treaties allow the sale of parts taken from lions bred in captivity.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

VIDEO: A zoo in Colombia's second city of #Medellin shows off a newborn spider monkey, a rare species in critical danger of extinction #spidermonkey

Young elephant electrocuted in Thailand

Yahoo – AFP, September 15, 2018

The mahout (C) of 10-year-old elephant named 'Lucky', wildlife volunteers and
 police surround the animal's body in Samut Prakhan province, south of Bangkok,
in a photo taken by civilian volunteer charity Ruamkatanyu on September 14,
 2018 (AFP Photo/Handout)

Bangkok (AFP) - A young male elephant was electrocuted in Thailand after stumbling into a drain and crashing into a restaurant sign, police said Saturday.

Two elephant handlers were walking 10-year-old Plai Nam Choke -- or "Lucky" in English -- around a town in Samut Prakhan province south of Bangkok, offering passers-by the chance to feed him for cash.

But Lucky stumbled into an open sewer and collided with an electric signboard outside a restaurant, said police officer Nopporn Saengsawang.

"I received a call at 8:30 pm that the elephant was stuck in the drain," he said. "He likely died from electrocution."

Some rescue workers from a local charity group attempted CPR on Lucky for three hours after he fell.

The two handlers were charged with illegally moving the elephant and animal cruelty offences, Nopporn said.

Lucky hailed from the northeastern province of Surin, home to a famous annual elephant fair that features a parade by performing pachyderms.

Wild elephants can still be seen in Thailand's national forests, but their numbers have dwindled to about 2,700 from a peak of over 100,000 in 1850.

A large number have been domesticated for entertainment or tourism purposes, prompting accusations of animal cruelty.

Handlers are usually banned from walking elephants through cities due to space constraints, but many risk punishment in pursuit of living.

Research has shown that elephants caught in the wild and subjected to a lifetime of captivity suffer from long-term stress and tend to have shorter lifespans.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Thursday, September 6, 2018

VIDEO: Three baby Bengal tigers, including one albino cub, born in May play at the Bengal Safari Park in India

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Caesar, the oldest lion in Amsterdam’s zoo roars his last

DutchNews, August 24, 2018

Photo: Ronald van Weeren via Artis

Caesar, the oldest lion in Artis zoo in Amsterdam, has roared his last, the zoo authorities announced on Thursday 

The lion, who lived in the zoo for 19 of his 20 years and was leader of the pride, had been ill for some time. On Thursday his condition worsened and zoo vets decided to put him down. 

Caesar had 21 descendants among whom two lionesses that still live in Artis zoo. 

The lion lived to a good age, Artis said. Lions in the wild don’t usually live longer than 10  to 14 years. 

‘He was very well-known to visitors who were impressed by his dark mane and piercing roar,’ Artis wrote. The zoo is now looking for a new pride leader.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Cameroon pangolin traffickers caught in the act

Yahoo – AFP, August 21, 2018

Pangolin scales are widely used in traditional Chinese medicine (AFP Photo/
Jekesai Njikizana)

Yaoundé (AFP) - Police in Cameroon have shut down an international poaching gang after catching six traffickers carrying more than 700 kilos of pangolin scales, a conservation group said Tuesday.

Pangolins, or scaly anteaters, are one of the world's most trafficked species and are threatened with extinction. Their scales are widely used in traditional Chinese medicine and their meat is a delicacy in many Asian and African countries.

The six poachers -- five Cameroonians and one from the Central African Republic -- were arrested on August 18 in Douala, a coastal city in southwest Cameroon, according to the Last Great Ape Organisation (LAGA).

Most of the 718 kilos (1,600 pounds) of scales they were carrying were from the Democratic Republic of Congo, it said.

The gang bought pangolins from smaller traffickers in Cameroon, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo before sending them to Nigeria, where they were prepared for export to Asia, it said.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Greek holiday hotspot to protect over-worked donkeys

Yahoo – AFP, 28 July 2018

Authorities on the idyllic Greek holiday island of Santorini have decided to offer
protection for the donkeys who carry tourists up a steep  cliff after animal rights
activists held a protest

The authorities on the idyllic Greek holiday island of Santorini have decided to offer protection for the donkeys who carry tourists up a steep cliff, after facing protests and adverse publicity.

The town hall issued a statement Saturday saying a meeting had been held with animal rights groups and animal owners to ensure "respect for the rights and well-being of donkeys".

After a video of an owner beating a donkey aired on social networks, four campaigning groups held a protest Friday which ended in scuffles.

The town hall said all parties had accepted a series of measures including keeping the animals in the shade during rest periods and ensuring plenty of water and food.

The load and hours of the donkeys would also be limited while owners who mistreat their animals would be banned.

Donkeys and mules line up to give tourists a ride on the 
island of Santorini

The statement said the rights activists "declared themselves satisfied with these measures, as long they are followed".

Santorini, perched hundreds of metres above a bay in a volcanic crater, has struggled to cope with huge numbers of tourists who have flooded in over recent years.

The town hall has imposed limits on the numbers of cruise liners and people allowed onto the island.

Authorities on the idyllic Greek holiday island of Santorini have decided to offer protection for the donkeys who carry tourists up a steep cliff after animal rights activists held a protest

Donkeys and mules line up to give tourists a ride on the island of Santorini.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Animals still a draw, despite shrinking crowds, says Chinese circus

Yahoo – AFP, Xin LIU, Joanna CHIU, July 10, 2018

A caged Siberian tiger at the Chinese Prosperous Nation Circus Troupe while
in Dongguan (AFP Photo/NICOLAS ASFOURI)

A crowd of just 10 people watched the endangered Siberian tiger roar on command on his hind legs and pounce through hoops inside the big top of the Chinese Prosperous Nation Circus Troupe.

Lions and a young bear with a wound on its snout followed, performing tricks for the few who braved the sweltering heat in southern Guangdong province to help keep the travelling circus going for another day.

The use of wild animals in circus shows has come under growing criticism around the world, with some countries banning the practice, but for the Chinese troupe, the beasts are considered a major attraction.

"Many Chinese live in big cities where it's hard to get out into the wilderness. We bring nature to them," Li Weisheng, the troup's manager, told AFP.

Circuses have a long history in China. Called "maxi", pronounced "mah-shi" meaning "stunts on a horse", they have a history going back more than 2,500 years and would often pair acrobatic performances with stunts on galloping horses.

A Harbin black bear performs at the Chinese Prosperous Nation Circus Troupe, 
which considers its animals a major attraction (AFP Photo/NICOLAS ASFOURI)

The use of large cats, monkeys and bears is a more recent practice.

China has some of the world's laxest animal rights laws, and campaigners have long called for tougher regulations on the treatment of animals in travelling circuses.

The two owners of the troupe, Li Rongrong and Li Ruisheng, were arrested in 2016 for illegally transporting rare and endangered animals and sentenced to 10 and eight years in prison, respectively, but were cleared of all charges at a second trial last year.

The troupe's animals -- two African lions, a two-year-old black bear, a pack of dogs and the tiger -- spend most of their time in tiny metal cages under a big tent.

The animals are a major draw, Li, the manager, said, standing next to the red and white striped tent in the city of Dongguan, although he admitted attendance has dropped in recent years.

The tiger and a lioness with a cut tail -- both about a year old -- share one cage, in which they restlessly pace around each other. A few times a day, they are allowed to play in the circus ring.

The members of the Chinese Prosperous Nation Circus Troupe say they will do what 
they have to do to keep their tradition alive, despite falling attendances (AFP Photo/
NICOLAS ASFOURI)

The lone bear grasped the top bars of his cage and swung his body back and forth.

In the past few years, multiple videos have emerged of apparent animal abuse in China, such as a circus tying down a Siberian tiger for audience members to sit on for photos, which sparked widespread outrage.

Chinese people are increasingly calling for better protection for captive animals.

The members of the Chinese Prosperous Nation Circus Troupe, however, say they will do what they have to to keep their tradition alive and insist they are working in the interests both of the public and the animals.

"We are helping the public learn more about nature and animals," said Li.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Minister pledges action after slaughterhouse animal abuse is revealed

DutchNews, June 20, 2018

Photo: Despositphotos.com 

Dutch farm minister Carola Schouten says she will tighten up the rules on abattoir closures and increase fines for animal cruelty following revelations about conditions in Dutch slaughterhouses. 

An item on RTL Nieuws, based on government inspectors’ reports, said that 48 fines had been handed down to 19 abattoirs which process cows, sheep and pigs over the past two years because of serious animal welfare issues. 

Inspectors had seen several instances of pigs being placed in vats of very hot water when they were anaesthetised but still alive and trying to swim. The animals were then held under the water by slaughterhouse workers until they drowned. 

In another case, calf was skinned alive. The inspector wrote: ‘despite the calf’s movements, the slaughterman went ahead with removing the skin from its head.’ 

There were also 16 cases of animals being dismembered while they were still alive because their carotid artery had not been properly cut, RTL Nieuws said.   

Millions

Every year some 15 million pigs, 2 million cows and 500,000 sheep are killed in the Netherlands’ 180 slaughterhouses. 

Fines for breaking the law range from €500 for a ‘slight infringement’ to €10,000 for a very serious or repeat offences. 

MPs from across the political spectrum have now called on the minister to get tough. In particular, they say fines should be increased and abattoirs which are multiple offenders should be closed down. 

‘This is absolute horror for the animals,’ said Esther Ouwehand of the pro-animal PvdD. ‘We are supposed to believe that everything is so well arranged here in the Netherlands. But a slaughterhouse which skins an animal alive, drowns them in a piping hot bath or chucks them in the bin should be shut down.’

Monday, June 18, 2018

Indonesian woman swallowed by giant python

Yahoo – AFP, June 16, 2018

Residents of a village in Indonesia were suspicious that a python had eaten their
neighbour so they cut it open and found the woman's body inside, according to
the local police chief (AFP Photo/ROBERT SULLIVAN)

An Indonesian woman has been found in the belly of a giant python after the swollen snake was captured near where she vanished while tending her vegetable garden, police said Saturday.

The body of 54-year-old Wa Tiba was found Friday when villagers cut open the seven-metre (23-foot) python which was found bloated in the village of Persiapan Lawela on the island of Muna, offshore of Sulawesi.

"Residents were suspicious the snake swallowed the victim, so they killed it, then carried it out of the garden," said local police chief Hamka, who like many Indonesians has only one name.

"The snake's belly was cut open and the body of the victim was found inside."

Some 100 residents, including worried relatives, launched a search for the woman after she failed to return from her garden Thursday night.

Hamka said villagers found the giant serpent lying about 30 metres from Tiba's sandals and machete, adding she was swallowed head first and her body was found intact.

The garden in which she disappeared was at the base of a rocky cliff, pockmarked by caves, and known to be home to snakes, Hamka added.

Giant pythons, which regularly top six metres, are commonly found in Indonesia and the Philippines.

While the serpents have been known to attack small animals, attempts to eat people are rare.

In March last year, a farmer was killed by a python in the village of Salubiro on Sulawesi island.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Penka the cow spared death over crossing EU border

Yahoo – AFP, June 11, 2018

This handout picture taken near the village of Kopilovtsi in Bulgaria and released by
 the Four Paws Foundation shows Penka the cow that risked death by staying
over the EU border. (AFP Photo/Hristo Vladev)

Sofia (AFP) - Bulgarian authorities announced Monday that Penka, the cow who risked death by straying over the EU border, will not be put down after all.

"Laboratory analyses of the cow that spent 15 days in Serbia and crossed the border back (into Bulgaria) are negative for all the tested diseases," Bulgaria's Food Safety Agency announced Monday.

"She will not be killed and will return to her herd by the end of the week," agency spokeswoman Ekaterina Stoilova confirmed to AFP.

Penka's plight went viral on social media and made headlines around the world after her owner Ivan Haralampiev, from the western village of Kopilovtsi, launched an appeal 10 days ago to save her.

The animal had wandered away from her herd near the western Bulgarian village of Mazarachevo on May 12 and spent more than two weeks in Serbia before local farmers identified her from her earmarks.

Penka then fell foul of strict EU rules on the import of live animals from third countries, which require extensive paperwork giving the animal a clean bill of health before it can enter the bloc.

Haralampiev lacked the necessary documents to authorise her return and was only allowed to take her back if he agreed to put her down within days.

But instead he launched an appeal on television to save her, sparking a worldwide outpouring of sympathy.

By Monday more than 30,750 people -- including former Beatle Paul McCartney -- had signed an online petition to save Penka addressed to EU institutions.

Penka's fans shared her story with the hashtag #SavePenka and even wrote a poem describing her odyssey.

Haralampiev told Bulgarian media on Monday that he was very grateful "to all the people from across the world who stood up for my poor animal".

"You have no idea how much stress this cost me but it was worth it," Haralampiev said, adding that he was looking forward to an emotional reunion.

Penka would have "luxury fodder" and "lots of caresses" to look forward to and had become "very special" for the family, he said.

Penka was even discussed during the European Commission's daily briefing on Friday with climate spokesperson Anna-Kaisa Itkonen answering extensive questions from journalists regarding the cow's situation.

Bulgarian food safety authorities say it is not an isolated case, with animals from Serbia and Macedonia often entering Bulgarian territory, and they are holding talks with the neighbouring countries to resolve the issue.