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)

Monday, January 14, 2019

Animated film to spotlight bear that served in WWII

Yahoo – AFP, Anna Maria Jakubek, January 13, 2019

Wojtek getting attention from female soldiers. His remarkable life has now
been turned into a movie (AFP Photo/Handout)

Warsaw (AFP) - During World War II, Wojciech Narebski and his fellow Polish servicemen had to lift crate after heavy metal crate of artillery. Fortunately for them, one of the soldiers had superhuman strength: Corporal Wojtek, a Syrian brown bear.

"When he saw that we were struggling, he'd want to help... He'd come over, grab a crate and carry it to the truck," Narebski, now 93, told AFP of his days with Wojtek in the 22nd Artillery Supply Company.

This can be heavy work, even for a bear. When Wojtek got tired, he would simply stack one crate on top of the other, "which also helped us, because we didn't have to lift the crate off the ground," recounted the veteran who spent two and a half years with the friendly giant he considered a brother.

"Of course he got a reward. Honey, marmalade. That was his favourite."

Wojtek the Bear also liked to drink beer and smoke (or rather eat) cigarettes, take showers, snuggle with his handler at night, and wrestle with his comrades.

When an opponent lost, Wojtek would lick their face in apology.

'Corporal' Wojtek the bear helps carry a tree trunk in Castrocaro, Italy on March 22, 
1945. His comrades rewarded Wojtek for his efforts with honey, marmalade, beer, 
and snuggles (AFP Photo/Handout)

Old photos show the bulky beast -- who grew to be over 1.8 metres (six feet) tall and weighed about 220 kilogrammes (490 pounds) -- giving bear hugs, opening his toothy jaw wide for food, and enjoying a day at the beach with smiling soldiers.

The unbelievable true story of the orphaned cub, which was found by Polish troops in Persia and then travelled through Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, Italy and Scotland as a morale-booster, is now being turned into an animated movie.

The British-Polish filmmakers hope to release the family-friendly "A Bear Named Wojtek" in 2020 on the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day.

But the film's British producer, Iain Harvey, was skeptical when Scottish animator Iain Gardner first approached him.

"To be honest I thought, 'This man has had too many whiskys'," Harvey said, before he realised that: "For once the magic is real."

In this undated handout provided by the Polish Institute and the Sikorski museum, 
Wojtek is surrounded by soldiers in then Persia as a cub. He later got his own 
army paybook and rations (AFP Photo/Handout)

Real-life fairytale

"When you actually find a story that is almost like a fairytale but is real, and documented and true, it just opens up so many more emotions I think," he told AFP.

"You know, that humanity can have magic and that things can happen that you wouldn't normally think are rational," he went on.

Not that all the lore is true.

Wojtek probably did not visit the Sphinx in Egypt, as recounted by some storytellers. Nor did the Nazis necessarily know they had a special animal enemy and bombard his positions.

Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction, however.

Docile Wojtek was an enlisted soldier, with his own paybook, rations, and rank -- a status he needed to sail from Egypt to Italy with his comrades in arms.

Wojtek was orphaned as a cub and brought up by soldiers, coming to believe 
he was human (AFP Photo/Handout)

"The port authority is being difficult about the bear and monkey," reads a 1944 entry in the company's journal.

"Only after consulting the British High Command in Cairo does the port authority allow them to board the ship."

Yes, there was a monkey too.

In fact there were hundreds of non-humans milling about during the war, according to wartime Polish refugee Krystyna Ivell, who herself had a chameleon in Palestine.

"You have no mother, you have no sisters, you have no father, you're all alone, you might die, so of course you find something to love," said the 83-year-old, who put together a London exhibition and compiled a book: "Wojtek Album", with photos and anecdotes about the bear.

"Stray dogs. Foxes. Horses. You name it. Everybody wanted a pet... I remember a bloke who had a ferret, and used to have it under his khaki shirt and the head would appear," she told AFP.

'Polish soul'

What was special about Wojtek, according to Narebski, was that he seemed to believe he was human.

Wojtek getting attention from female soldiers. His remarkable life 
has now been turned into a movie (AFP Photo/Handout)

"Because he was brought up from a cub among people, he acquired human traits... In a bear's body there was a Polish soul," said Narebski, who was known as "Little Wojtek" and the bear as "Big Wojtek".

He recalled an occasion in Italy, along the Adriatic Sea, when the hairy Corporal Wojtek managed to break away from the men and make a beeline for the water, giving beachgoers a fright.

"Well he didn't pay them any attention... it was hot and he swam around a bit, shook himself off, and then came right back."

This docility is what Gardner, the animator, finds interesting about the imagery of a bear in a human conflict.

"The most common kind of cultural shared image that we have of a bear is that it's a savage animal. You know, it's a beast," Gardner said.

"And yet you put it in the context of the Second World War and you have to ask, 'Who are the animals?'"

After the war, Wojtek ended up at Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland, where he died at the age of 21 in 1963.

At the time, the BBC announced "with regret the death of a famous Polish soldier."


Sunday, December 23, 2018

Rare albino orangutan released back into the wild

Yahoo – AFP, December 21, 2018

'Alba', the only albino orangutan ever recorded in the world, was rescued by
environmentalists from a cage where she was being kept as a pet by villagers
(AFP Photo/Handout)

Jakarta (AFP) - The world’s only known albino orangutan has been released back into the jungle more than a year after she was found emaciated and bloody in a remote corner of Borneo, an Indonesian NGO said Friday.

Environmentalists rescued "Alba" from a cage where she was being kept as a pet by villagers in Central Kalimantan in April last year.

She was found with dry blood smeared around her nose -- the result of her violent capture -- and weighed just 8 kilogrammes, the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF) said.

The blue-eyed primate, covered in fuzzy white hair, was on Wednesday returned to the wild with her best friend, Kika, after leaving their rehabilitation centre.

The blue-eyed primate, covered in fuzzy white hair, returned to the wild with her best 
friend, Kika, after more than a year in a rehabilitation centre (AFP Photo/Handout)

"So far she's showing good signs of adapting," Nico Hermanu, a BOSF spokesman, told AFP.

"She's been climbing trees as high as 35 metres (about 115 feet) and has been eating fruit from the forest."

Kika and Alba -- who is six years old and now 28 kilos -- will be monitored by conservation teams at Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park.

The rescue is a rare spot of bright news for the critically endangered species, which has seen its habitat shrink drastically over the past few decades largely due to the destruction of forests for logging, paper, palm oil and mining.

The rescue is a rare spot of bright news for the critically 
endangered species, which has seen its habitat shrink 
drastically over the past few decades largely due to
the destruction of forests (AFP Photo/Handout)

The population of orangutans in Borneo has plummeted from about 288,500 in 1973 to about 100,000 today, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

A string of fatal attacks on the great apes this year have been blamed on farmers and hunters.

Four Indonesian men were arrested over the killing of an orangutan shot some 130 times with an air rifle in February.

Borneo police have also arrested two rubber plantation workers and accused them of shooting an orangutan multiple times before decapitating it.

Plantation workers and villagers are sometimes known to attack the animal because they see it as a pest, while poachers also capture them to sell as pets.


Albino orangutans are rare on Borneo island, where most have
reddish-brown hair (AFP Photo/HANDOUT)

Related Article:


Tuesday, December 18, 2018

75,000 cacti, monkeys and ivory seized in anti wildlife trafficking campaign

DutchNews, December 17, 2018

Photo: Depositphotos.com

Some 75,000 cacti, monkeys, coral and kilos of ivory are among the items seized by Dutch officials in a major drive against wildlife trafficking, which took place between September and mid November. 

Operation Toucan is a national campaign in support of the CITES endangered species treaty, which also aims to build up a better picture of smuggling routes and boost public awareness about the illegal trade in plants and animals. 

This year, officials, police and customs experts were involved in raids across the country and on the Dutch Caribbean islands. In total, there were 217 separate investigations. 

The haul of illegal goods ranged from Korean face creams containing endangered types of the Aloe plant, a parcel containing six live snakes from the US and two dead toucans which had been sent from Uruguay to the Netherlands. 

Officials also picked up two live monkeys which were being kept as pets. Officials also confiscated rare tropical hardwood which was to be used as wall panelling and took coral from tourists on Bonaire who were planning to take it home. On the last day of the campaign, police seized seven kilos of ivory at a collectors fair in Utrecht. 

New this year was the involvement of the Meld Misdaad Anoniem crime tip-off hotline, the nature and farm ministry said

The ministry also said on Monday that from next March all trading in raw ivory in the Netherlands will be banned. Selling ivory dating from 1990 onwards was already illegal but this will be extended to cover the entire trade because of fraud with certificates and the difficulty in differentiating between new and old ivory, the minister said. 

The ministry is also working to set up a network of places where people can hand over ivory or plants and animals which may be on the CITES list.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Supermarkets say no farmed duck for Christmas in 2019

DutchNews, December 14, 2018

These ducks are able to go outside. Photo: Emilian Robert Vicol via Pixabay 

Supermarkets Albert Heijn, Aldi and Lidl are banning the sale of industrial barn-raised ducks from next year in the wake of a campaign by animal welfare organisation Wakker Dier. 

Barn ducks are living under dire circumstances, Wakker Dier says, with 13 ducks squeezed into one square meter, without access to water for swimming and fresh air. They are also forced to stand on iron grid floor which causes serious injury to their feet.

‘We had been contemplating a ban but this campaign has perhaps speeded things up, an Albert Heijn spokesperson told broadcaster NOS. ‘For the sake of animal welfare we have decided to sell only free range duck from next year.’ 

Lidl is also scrapping industrially-produced duck from the menu. ‘We have been working with our supplier towards better circumstances for farmed ducks and we’re aiming for at least free range,’ NOS quotes a spokesperson as saying. The change will take time which is why Lidl has decided not to sell duck at Easter, NOS said. 

Wakker Dier said that there is no quality label for duck meat because it is not something that is widely consumed. ‘But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to make their lives better and increase public awareness,’ a Wakker Dier spokesperson told the broadcaster.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Dutch university grows bananas to help stamp out fungal diseases

DutchNews, December 13, 2018

A banana tree. Photo: Depositphotos.com

Researchers from Wageningen University are this week harvesting the first Dutch bananas which will be offered to restaurants and hospitals in the region as a ‘regional product’. 

The aim of the experiment, which marks the 100th anniversary of the university, is to investigate whether new ways of cultivation will help stamp out soil-borne fungal diseases which threaten banana production throughout the world. 

Taking the banana trees out of the soil and growing them on stone wool appears to have been very successful, says Gert Kema, professor of tropical plant pathology at the university. 

‘The banana plants grow very well on coco peat and stone wool substrate with only the application of a nutrient solution,’ Kema said on the university website. ‘The Dutch banana does not need disease control, which makes cultivation more sustainable than in traditional production areas.’ 

Ripening

There are 60 plants in the Wageningen greenhouse. ‘One of the things that we have learned is that the plant density is too high at the moment,’ Kema said. ‘We are going to adjust that, so that we will have more light and the bunches will be able to ripen faster in future experiments.’ 

Once the Wageningen bananas have been harvested they will be moved to a ripening centre operated by banana giant Chiquita, which is involved in the project. 

New breeds 

‘We are on the way to developing sustainable banana cultivation with new breeds of bananas that are resistant to diseases and that are grown in healthy soils in a responsible social climate,’ Kema says. 

The research group is also planning a trial in the Philippines to see how precision cultivation works under ideal conditions. 

Bananas are a staple food for more than 400 million people in the tropics, the fourth most consumed food crop, the most consumed non-cereal staple food, and the most consumed fruit in the world, Wageningen says.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Chanel sheds crocodile and snake skin

Yahoo –AFP, Fiachra GIBBONS, 4 December 2018

Chanel has made the world a little safer for snakes

Chanel has become the first luxury fashion house to turn its back on exotic animal pelts such as lizard, crocodile and snake skin, in a move hailed by animal rights groups Tuesday.

Its head of fashion Bruno Pavlovsky declared that it "would no longer use exotic skins in our future creations", saying it was becoming more difficult to source high-quality pelts ethically.

Handbags, coats and shoes made from snake, alligator and stingray skin command premium prices, with Chanel handbags made from them reportedly selling for up to 9,000 euros ($10,300).

Python skin bags were removed from Chanel's website Tuesday, although secondhand bags were still on sale from more than 5,500 euros from online resale sites.

Animals rights groups cheered the move, with the PETA and the Humane Society International (HSI) claiming that the iconic house founded by Coco Chanel was also renouncing the use of fur.

But in a statement Chanel did not mention fur, saying it would no longer use crocodile, lizard, snake and stingray to make coats, bags and shoes.

Its veteran designer Karl Lagerfeld had earlier told the industry bible Women's Wear Daily that Chanel used fur so rarely that he could not remember the last time it featured on the catwalk.

He said the brand had chosen to drop exotic skins rather than having it "imposed on us. We did it because it's in the air.

"It's a free choice," he added.

'Ethical fashion'

Animal rights groups hailed Chanel as giving a lead to other luxury brands.

By turning its back on exotic skins, "Chanel is saving countless crocodiles, lizards, snakes and stingrays from suffering," said HSI director Claire Bass.

"The growth in fabulous luxury and eco-friendly fibres that don't involve animals suffering and dying is helping to drive forward this new era of ethical fashion.

"Fur-using brands such as Fendi (for which Lagerfeld also designs), Dolce & Gabbana and Louis Vuitton need to take heed and embrace this fur-free future," she added.

PETA also piled the pressure on Vuitton, which is owned by fashion giant LVMH.

"It's clear that the time is now for all companies, like Louis Vuitton, to follow Chanel's lead and move to innovative materials that spare countless animals a miserable life and a violent, painful death," it said.

Although top fashion brands have been under heavy pressure to renounce fur, with Gucci, Armani, Versace and John Galliano all deciding to go fur free, Chanel's decision to stop using exotic skins came out of the blue.

It said that it was now concentrating on developing a new generation of "ultra luxurious" products to replace them from its famous design studios.

Animal rights campaigns against the use of crocodile and snake skin products have not got the same traction with the public as similar crusades against fur, with some luxury brands even investing in reptile farms so they can guarantee that skins are sourced ethically.

Chanel has made the world a little safer for snakes

Related Article:


Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Service dog accompanies late president Bush on final farewell

Yahoo – AFP, December 3, 2018

Sully, George H.W. Bush's service dog, seen at Ellington Field in Houston as
the president's casket left for Washington (AFP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Washington (AFP) - A US president is believed to have said the easiest way to find a friend in Washington was to get a dog. On Monday, George H.W. Bush's faithful service dog Sully made a final journey back to the US capital with the late president.

Two days after Bush's death at age 94, family spokesman Jim McGrath posted a touching photograph of the yellow Labrador retriever lying down in front of Bush's casket, with the accompanying phrase "Mission Complete" and the hashtag #Remembering41.

The two-year-old Sully has been at Bush's side since June, just weeks after the death of the president's wife Barbara, to whom he was married for 73 years.

Bush's son George W. Bush, the nation's 43rd president, posted the photograph on Instagram, with a message announcing Sully's transfer to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in suburban Maryland.

"As much as our family is going to miss this dog, we're comforted to know he'll bring the same joy to his new home, Walter Reed, that he brought to 41," the younger Bush wrote. His post has received a quarter million likes.

Sully is named after retired airline pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger III, who gained fame when he landed a damaged passenger jet on New York's Hudson River in 2009.

Historians believe Harry S. Truman's folksy aphorism about friends in Washington and dogs is probably apocryphal -- the 33rd US president didn't actually like dogs -- but he would surely have fallen for Sully's charms.

The four-legged friend is already something of an online star. Sully's own Instagram account describes the dog as "a kinder, gentler labrador," a play on Bush's words in his 1988 acceptance speech, when he called for "a kinder and gentler nation."

The account -- with 123,000 followers -- has playfully chronicled Sully's time with Bush at Walker's Point, location of the family compound in Kennebunkport, Maine.

It features a photograph of Sully laying down in front of Bush and Bill Clinton, the man who defeated him in the 1992 presidential race. The two men struck up a close friendship.

Sully was provided to Bush by America's VetDogs, a group which pairs service and therapy dogs with people with physical limitations like blindness, or those who suffer from effects of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Doggy diplomacy: S. Korea unveils newborn Northern pups

Yahoo – AFP, 26 November 2018

Gomi, which was given to Moon Jae-in by Kim Jong Un, gave birth to six puppies

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his wife have been pictured cuddling a litter of puppies whelped by one of the dogs given to them by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as a symbol of the strengthening ties between the two countries.

Images released on Sunday show the couple smiling as they sit on the ground outside their residence in Seoul surrounded by the six pups and their mother Gomi.

Kim sent Moon a pair of indigenous North Korean hunting dogs following their meeting in Pyongyang in September as a token of their rapidly blossoming friendship.

"Meet the newborn puppies of Gomi, one of the Pungsan dogs from North Korea," Moon's office tweeted on Sunday.

It posted two pictures of the dogs, one of them showing five furry white pups cuddled on Moon's lap with the sixth in the first lady's arms, with Gomi by their side in the courtyard of the presidential residence.

Moon's posted two pictures of the pooches, one of them showing five furry white 
pups cuddled on Moon's lap with the sixth in the first lady's arms

Both the mother and the puppies -- three males and three females born on November 9 -- were "very healthy", the presidential office said.

Known for loyalty and intelligence, the Pungsan breed -- a hunting dog with a thick, creamy white coat, pointy ears and hazel eyes -- is originally from an area of the same name in the North.

"As the pregnancy period of dogs is about two months, Gomi must have been pregnant when she came to us," Moon tweeted when the puppies were born, adding: "I hope inter-Korean ties will also be like this."

Moon is a known animal lover who has four dogs -- the two canines gifted by Kim, another Pungsan dog Maru, and a black mutt named Tory he adopted after taking office -- plus a former shelter cat called Jjing-Jjing.

Friday, November 23, 2018

South Korea closes biggest dog slaughterhouse complex

Yahoo – AFP, 22 November 2018

The Taepyeong-dong complex housed at least six dog slaughterhouses that could
hold several hundred animals at a time

South Korean officials on Thursday began to dismantle the country's largest canine slaughterhouse complex, as animal rights activists push to end the custom of eating dog meat.

About one million dogs are eaten a year in South Korea, often as a summertime delicacy with the greasy red meat -- invariably boiled for tenderness -- believed to increase energy.

But the tradition has earned criticism abroad and has declined as the nation increasingly embraces the idea of dogs as pets instead of livestock, with eating them now something of a taboo among young South Koreans.

The Taepyeong-dong complex in Seongnam city, south of Seoul, housed at least six dog slaughterhouses that could hold several hundred animals at a time, and was a major source for dog meat restaurants across the country.

It will be cleared over two days and transformed into a public park, Seongnam city officials said.

Slaughterhouse operators reportedly used the site for decades without proper authorisations, and after a years-long legal battle a Seoul court ruled the city council could force out the businesses.

The site will be cleared over two days and transformed into a public park

Animal rights campaigners slammed the operators for mistreating dogs and killing them cruelly -- including electrocuting them before butchering them in the sight of other caged dogs.

Activists found electrocution equipment in the complex and a pile of dead dogs abandoned on the floor when they visited the site on Thursday, according to US animal rights group Humane Society International.

"This is a historic moment," Korean Animal Rights Advocates (KARA) said in a blog post. "It will open the door for more closures of dog meat slaughterhouses across the country, expediting the decline of the overall dog meat industry."

According to a survey last year, 70 percent of South Koreans do not eat dogs, but far fewer -- about 40 percent -- believe the practice should be banned. It also found 65 percent support raising and slaughtering dogs in more humane conditions.

There are currently no laws on how to treat or slaughter canines for meat in South Korea. While farmers have urged Seoul to include dogs under livestock welfare regulations, animal rights groups oppose doing so, seeking complete abolition instead.

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.