A Litoria frog, which uses a loud ringing song to call for a mate, was discovered in a rainforest during a Conservation International (CI) led Rapid Assessment Program (RAP) expedition of Papua New Guinea's highlands wilderness in 2008 is pictured in this undated handout photo. REUTERS/Steve Richards/Conservation International/Handout


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dian Fossey's birthday celebrated with a Google doodle

Dian Fossey's birthday celebrated with a Google doodle
American zoologist played by Sigourney Weaver in the film Gorillas in the Mist would have been 82 on Thursday (16 January 2014)
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Monday, July 28, 2014

Bali to continue anti-rabies dog cull as gory video emerges

Yahoo – AFP, 27 July 2014

File photo taken in October 2010 shows government health workers vaccinating
 a dog in Denpasar during a province-wide anti-rabies campaign (AFP Photo/
Sonny Tumbelaka)

Among the white sandy beaches, luxury villas and temples, authorities on the Indonesian island of Bali are carrying out mass culls of dogs in an anti-rabies campaign, an official confirmed Sunday.

Despite a stomach-churning 16-minute video posted on YouTube of a mass slaughter that has prompted outrage from animal welfare groups, Bali Animal Husbandry Department chief Putu Sumantra said there were no plans to end the practice.

"The dogs culled were smuggled illegally. When that happens, we try to find the owners to return them, and ensure they are vaccinated. But if they have no owners, we have to cull them," Sumantra told AFP, adding the persistent problem "requires firm action".

The footage shows more than 30 dogs squealing before they are given lethal injections to the heart and piled on top of each other as they convulse to their deaths.

A uniformed employee is seen smiling at a small fluffy pomeranian as she takes picture of it on her smartphone seconds before it is injected, along with Siberian huskies, collie dogs and pugs.

Although the footage was first posted in April, a repost this week sent the video viral, with 40,000 views in three days.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) strongly condemned the "inhumane slaughter" in a statement received by AFP.

"Local animal welfare groups have run successful vaccination programmes and the number of humans becoming infected with rabies has fallen dramatically," it said.

The government too has carried out a programme, with more than 300,000 dogs vaccinated.

File photo taken in October 2010 shows government health workers vaccinating
 a dog in Denpasar during a province-wide anti-rabies campaign (AFP Photo/
Sonny Tumbelaka)

Since 2008, 147 people have died after contracting rabies on Bali, but the numbers have declined rapidly over the years, with 10 deaths reported since 2012.

PETA warned that "many compassionate people worldwide will avoid travelling to Bali" after learning of the practice, while a petition on Change.org calling for an end to the culling has attracted more than 20,000 signatures.

Bali Governor I Made Mangku Pastika recently encouraged authorities to "eliminate" all stray dogs, according to local media reports, saying the government was tired of carrying out vaccinations and that protecting tourists was priority.

I Gusti Ngurah Bagus from the Bali Animal Welfare Association also condemned the practice, saying that animal trade should be better organised and dog breeders and sellers should be licensed.

"People are throwing away native Balinese dogs in exchange for imported breeds that are often not vaccinated, diseased, unhealthy and at times already incubating rabies," he said.

The Bali provincial government is aiming to rid the island of rabies by 2020, and in 2009 passed a local law obliging dog owners to vaccinate their pets.

Bali, a holiday spot popular for its surf, nightlife and cultural heritage, attracted more than three million foreigners last year, almost a million of them from neighbouring Australia.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Haze Set to Worsen After More Hot Spots in Riau Detected

Jakarta Globe, Kennial Caroline Laia, Jul 26, 2014

This picture taken on March 19, 2014 shows smoke rising from a cleared
forest land in Pelalawan Regency, Riau province. (AFP Photo)

Jakarta. Indonesia’s disaster agency warned on Friday that the haze in Riau province on Western Sumatra island would likely exacerbate after satellites detected 346 hot spots across Sumatra, mostly in Riau.

“The forest and land fires continue to rage until now. The latest development showed that out of 346 hotspots, 148 were detected in Riau,” spokesman of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told the Jakarta Globe on Friday.

The number is higher than the previous report, which recorded 87 hot spots.

The hot spots are mostly located in Rokan Hilir village with the number reaching 73 hot spots, according to the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG).

“The haze has also caused the visibility range in several areas disrupted, such as in Pekanbaru, Pelalawan, Rengat and Dumai,” Sutopo added. “If the provincial government does not take any preventative measure, this condition would likely worsen. The dry season in 2014 will make it even worse.”

Sutopo said the fire mitigation process in the region was conducted poorly, adding that the provincial government still mostly relies on the central government for help.

“The role of the Riau government in handling the land and forests fires is still not optimal. The efforts to reduce and prevent fires in Riau are still very low. They are still depending on the central [government],” he said. “The Riau government should by now be able to handle the incident because it is one of the richest regions.”

Riau Governor Annas Maamun said this week that his government was keeping a close eye on the fires in the province.

“We are really serious in anticipating the fires. However, the officials couldn’t possibly keep an eye on the forest all night long,” he was quoted as saying by Tempo.co.

Sutopo said that hotspots in Riau would continue to appear until November.

“New hot spots would continue to appear if El Nino occurred this year. The BNPB has allocated budget up to Rp 355 billion ($3.1 million) to anticipate land and forest fires across Indonesia,” he said.

Sutopo attributed the never-ending forest fires in Riau to lack of law enforcement in the province.

“Many regulations stipulating environmental control have been issued by both the central and regional government. However, the problem truly lies in the implementation,” he said. “Every year, during June to October in Sumatra, more than 70 percent of the fires happen outside forest areas, which were intentionally set off by humans. This has a great impact on its surroundings.”

Haze, in February-April this year alone, has caused Rp 20 trillion in losses. Meanwhile 21,914 hectares of land had been burned, and 58,000 people developed respiratory ailments and schools were forced to closed, the BNPB said.

Sutopo received reports from the Riau Police, which said the fires were mostly set off by owners of private plantations which considered burning as more cost-efficient as compared to clearing them.

Legal expert Uli Parulian Sihombing, with the Indonesian Legal Resource Center, echoed this view, saying that the fires were the result of weak implementation of regulation and poor supervision from the local government.

“Existing regulations prove that the government has a good intention to stop the land and forest fires. However, law enforcement is very low. Although perpetrators have been arrested for setting off fires, generally they were only actors in the field while the masterminds who organized the fire are still walking free,” he said.

Uli said the government needs to take extraordinary measures because the haze from the fires is not only affecting Indonesians but also neighboring countries such as Singapore and Malaysia.

“Besides Kalimantan and Papua, Riau is the last bastion of Indonesia’s tropical forests. It has to be protected. There should be extraordinary measures from the government to stop the forest fires in Riau and other potential areas in Indonesia,” he said.

Related Article:


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Queen's Gold Cup winner Estimate tests positive for morphine

• Buckingham Palace release statement on monarch's filly
• Contaminated feed believed to be reason behind shock news

The Guardian, Tony Paley, Tuesday 22 July 2014

The Queen greets Estimate after her horse's victory in the Gold Cup
at Royal Ascot last year. Photograph: Julian Herbert/Action Images

The racehorse owned by the Queen that won the Ascot Gold Cup last year has tested positive for morphine, Buckingham Palace announced on Tuesday night.

Estimate, a five-year-old filly trained by Sir Michael Stoute, came second in the same race this year, and is one of five horses understood to have recorded a positive test for the banned substance. The palace said they believed the morphine had come via consumption of a contaminated feed product.

John Warren, the Queen's bloodstock and racing adviser, said: "On Thursday 17 July the British Horseracing Authority [BHA] announced that a number of post-race samples, obtained from recent race meetings, had been found to indicate the presence of morphine, which is a prohibited substance on race days. Five horses, under the care of various trainers, were affected. I can confirm that one of those horses was Estimate, the five-year-old filly trained by Sir Michael Stoute and owned by the Queen. Initial indications are that the positive test resulted from the consumption of a contaminated feed product. Sir Michael is working closely with the feed company involved to discover how the product may have become contaminated prior to delivery to his stables."

Warren added: "As the BHA investigates this matter, including potential links between the different cases, Sir Michael continues to offer his full co-operation. There will be no further comment until the BHA announces its considered findings. … Her Majesty has been informed of the situation."

Feed supplier Dodson & Horrell issued a statement the day after the BHA announcement saying it had been informed by its suppliers of possible contamination in one of its products.

The Queen's victory in the 2013 Gold Cup was hugely popular and marked the first victory in the feature race at the meeting for a reigning British monarch.

It is not the first time the Queen has been connected with a drugs scandal in horse racing. In 2009 Nicky Henderson was fined £40,000 and banned from making entries for three months after Moonlit Path, a horse in his care owned by the Queen, was injected with a banned blood-clotting agent on the day of a race. Charlie Hills, who is based in Lambourn, is the only other trainer to have so far to have confirmed that one of his horses has tested positive in the current morphine case. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Political indifference exacerbates Indonesia's deforestation

Fast economic expansion coupled with political apathy has led to rapid deforestation in Indonesia, threatening biodiversity. Activists say the government should not place GDP growth over environmental protection.

Deutsche Welle, 14 July 2014


Over the past decade, Indonesia has been experiencing strong economic growth, which has lifted millions of people out of poverty. However, the country's growth story has a negative side: rapid deforestation. High demand - both local and foreign - for forest products such as palm oil, pulp and paper is driving deforestation, according to the Indonesian research organization Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

A recent study by University of Maryland researchers concluded that Indonesia has the highest rate of deforestation in the world. Between 2000 and 2012, the country lost almost 16 million hectares of forest, an area the size of Greece. Forest land is being increasingly converted into either industrial zones or agricultural fields. Furthermore, illegal logging, mining and land fires have concerned environmentalists as they pose a threat to biodiversity and increase greenhouse gas emissions.

Lack of political interest in the protection
 of nature has led to growing rate of
deforestation in Indonesia
A lack of political interest in the protection of nature and poor governance are responsible for the growing rate of deforestation in Indonesia, said Bruno Vander Velde, senior writer at CIFOR.

Lack of political will

In an attempt to curb deforestation, the Indonesian government declared a moratorium in December 2011, which prohibited the approval of any licenses to convert primary forests and peatlands for agriculture or any other use. But the measure has so far failed to slow down the loss of forest area.
Environmentalists blame the failure on a lack of coordination between central and provincial governments, weak monitoring and widespread irregularities in local administration. Moreover, they add that the politicians' indifference towards the issue of climate change is exacerbating the problem.

Abetnego Tarigan, executive director of Jakarta-based environmental organization Friends of the Earth Indonesia's (WALHI), told DW that there has hardly been any discussion on environmental issues in the country's parliament.

"Economic growth and maximizing revenues by destroying natural resources is the only priority for the political class. Many lawmakers have business interests and they only have their profits in mind," Tarigan added.

Indonesia is rich in natural resources, but political parties pay little heed to protect them. For instance, during the campaign for the recently held presidential election, none of the candidates "showed strong commitment to protect the environment," Bustar Maitar, global head of Greenpeace's Indonesia forest campaign, told DW, adding that this lack of political will has become a big challenge for the protection of forests.

Weak monitoring

The latest data showed that while 38 percent of all tree cover loss in Indonesia occurred in the protected primary forests, the overall forest loss was increasing by an average of 47,600 hectares each year.

Environmentalist Tarigan said that there was evidence of illegal logging and deforestation in the restricted forest area. "Local authorities have too little capacity to monitor such a vast forest area and in many areas dishonest businessmen are taking advantage of it," he explained.

Moreover, one of the reasons for the failure to curb the forest loss is that a large amount of deforestation has been taking place outside the restricted primary forest area, say experts. "That is why the moratorium should be expanded to natural forests so that forest conversion can be monitored and reduced, stressed Greenpeace activist Bustar Maitar.

Threat to biodiversity

According to United Nation's Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), total forest vegetation in Indonesia produces more than 14 billion tons of biomass, equivalent to approximately 20 percent of the biomass in all of Africa's tropical forests.

Sumatran and Javan rhinos have
 been categorized as critically
endangered
Indonesia covers only 1.3 percent of the world's landmass, but it is home to 11 percent of the world's plant species, 10 percent of mammal species and 16 percent of bird species. But continuous deforestation, illegal hunting and trading are having a negative impact on biodiversity in the country.

According to CIFOR, elephant population fell by 35 percent between 1992 and 2007 due to continuous deforestation. While the number of Sumatran tigers has decreased to some 400 to 500, Sumatran and Javan rhinos have already been categorized as critically endangered.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Kenya Dayak’s ‘Journey Home’ to Their Tribal Roots

Jakarta Globe, Tunggul Wirajuda, Jul 14, 2014

Filmmaker David Metcalf will host a fundraiser exhibition in August to fund his
 film ‘The Journey Home’, which aims to raise awareness about the importance
 and wisdom of indigenous culture in Indonesia and around the world. (Photo
courtesy of David Metcalf)

To foreign observers the 800 inhabitants of the village of Setulang live in a rustic idyll at the edge of a pristine forest. But these members of the Kenya Dayak that live in the North Kalimantan district of Malinau yearn for a paradise steeped in the traditions of their tribe.

“I left our original homelands when I was a small boy. But I have happy memories of my time growing up in the forests and playing in the rivers,” says Pilius, a village elder, who last saw his ancestral lands in 1969.

The land that Pilius remembers is an area of forests which they call Tala Olen , or “the forbidden forest.”

The tribesmen, particularly the elders, feel a spiritual connection to Tala Olen’s forests, rivers and land, located in an area called Long Saan, which is an eight-day journey by canoe up the Kayan River.

There are strict cultural rules about cutting down the trees in the forest or damaging it in any way, a reverence that has not changed despite their move to Setulang for economic reasons. The draw of Tala Olen is also felt by their descendants who are charmed by the elders’ stories of paradise.

“My grandfather told me many stories of growing up [in Tala Olen ] and how they lived back then. His description of it made it look like paradise,” says Herman, a young villager. “I would love to visit and pay my respects to him.”

But the Kenya Dayak’s ancient way of life and their culture of preserving the forest is under threat. Here in Kalimantan, logging and dam projects are destroying huge swathes of the forest.

Environmentalists estimate that over 52 percent of Kalimantan’s forests has already been lost.

“We don’t exactly know what will happen in the future. Will the next generation keep our agreement [to conserve the land], or will they damage it, and open new land to loggers to serve their self interest?” Kenya Dayak elder Kole Adjang asks.

“ We hope that by example [sic], our great grandchildren will also take care of our land and Tala Olen.”

Taking the Dayak’s home

In the face of these threats to Borneo’s cultural history, photographer David “Dayak Dave” Metcalf is seeking to help reunite the Dayak with their ancestral homelands.

As with many indigenous peoples throughout Indonesia, such as the Asmat and Kamoro tribes of Papua or the Badui in Java, the Kenya are hampered by poverty. As such, they can’t afford the cost of the journey to Tala Olen .

Metcalf seeks to provide the means for the villagers to revisit their homelands, a journey that he intends to chronicle in a film he will title “ The Journey Home .”

“I came up with the idea of granting the tribe their dream of visiting their ancestors’ burial grounds deep in the heart of the forest,” says the Bali-based New Zealander, adding that the journey entails more than the just the nostalgia of homecoming.

“We need to raise funds to make the film. As things currently stand, the logistics are only sufficient to take six elders to Long Saan,” says Metcalf, who is also the author of “ Indonesia’s Hidden Heritage: Cultural Journeys of Discovery ,” a chronicle of his travels through Indonesia.

Metcalf is putting on a fundraiser at the opening of an exhibition on indigenous photography in Jakarta’s Kunstkring Paleis cultural exhibition hall on Aug. 12.

The evening, which will feature eminent Indonesian designer Harry Darsono and New Zealand Ambassador David Taylor, will include performances of traditional Dayak dances.

“We hope that through raising funds to bring the elders back to their ancestral village and making a multimedia documentary about the journey, we can raise awareness of the threats to their unique way of life,” Metcalf says.

He adds that similar events will also be held at the American Club. To date, Metcalf has raised about $2,000 of the estimated $25,000 that he needs for project.

Filmmaker David Metcalf will host a fundraiser exhibition in August to fund his
 film ‘The Journey Home’, which aims to raise awareness about the importance
 and wisdom of indigenous culture in Indonesia and around the world. (Photo
courtesy of David Metcalf)

Collective effort

“The Journey Home” will be shot by a film crew from seven nations; among them New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. They include American documentary filmmaker Jason Houston, who was known for his work with the Dayak in the Malaysian side of Borneo, Robby, a member of the Indonesian world music group Navicula, and Bali-based artist Wolfgang Widmoser, whose work inspired much of the look for the Hollywood blockbuster “Avatar.”

Native American Kevin Locke, an elder from the Lakota Sioux tribe, will also be taking part. While the cultural connection between the Dayak and native Americans is very strong, Locke’s participation marks the first time that a connection between these two cultures has been undertaken.

“One of the primary purposes of [“The Journey Home”] is to raise awareness in Indonesia and other countries about the importance and wisdom of indigenous cultures around the world. This journey is about connecting cultures through art, dance, song and ancient wisdom,” Metcalf says.

“By creating a wider expression and voice for indigenous cultures globally, we can find common ground through music and dance and ancestral prayers.”

Most of all, the film will showcase Kalimantan and its place in the world.

“Kalimantan is Asia’s Amazon, representing 1 percent of the earth’s surface but 5 percent of its flora and fauna, including untold numbers of trees and plants still undiscovered by mankind. As one of the most ecologically diverse landscapes on the planet, we want to raise awareness about the Dayak people that live in Kalimantan’s forests and rivers,” Metcalf says.

“This is all the more imperative, as Kalimantan is also facing the fallout from coal and gold mining, the latter which is poisoning its streams, aside from better known problems like illegal logging and deforestation.”

Metcalf and his team of filmmakers plan to release “The Journey Home” in Indonesia and abroad by the end of this year. He also plans to pitch the film to Discovery Channel and National Geographic.

To help Metcalf and the Kenya Dayaks in their quest, contact him at www.fundrazr.com.

Related Articles:




"... Some of you will walk into the forest and you'll feel it. It surrounds you with its love and beauty. Gaia speaks to you. The trees are pushing out oxygen with a benevolent system of photosynthesis. The plants give you oxygen and you give them carbon dioxide. What a system! Look around. Science will say that system happened by accident - a random occurrence. Do you believe that? What a beautiful system! The trees themselves know who you are. You walk into the forest and you feel it hug you, but perhaps another is next to you who came with a chainsaw. They don't care and they don't feel it. To them, the forest is only a resource. What's the difference between the two of you? There's no judgment here, I'm just asking you. What do you think the difference is? The answer: You're letting multidimensional awareness in and they are not. You see, you are becoming more aware of multidimensional soul communication. In this case, it's your enormous soul energy communicating with the other parts of the planet who are also multidimensional.

When you make the decision that it's OK to feel this energy, it will be there. Most of humanity so far has not made that decision. They block it. The law is this - this communication will come to you only with your allowance. The moment you open the door of allowance, you may begin to feel it. Those are our rules.

It's not just allowance for communication from the creative source, but also from an amazing number of what we would call other benevolent energies. These others are represented by groups with names that you have given them. They also cannot get through to you unless you allow it. That's their rule as well. Your names for them are Pleiadians, Arcturians, Sirians, Hathors or those from Orion. There are many more, but unless you open to the possibility of them, they can't communicate either.

Most of humanity will stand next to you as you communicate and think you're not well. That's the way it looks to them. Listen, dear ones, the benevolent groups who represent your DNA essence [your seed biology] and who know who you are are many. The amount of help you have on this planet is staggering, yet the majority of humanity will not allow awareness of it or let the possibility into their reality.. ..."

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Wild animals attacks evidence of protection efforts in Tibet

Want China Times, Xinhua 2014-07-13

A wild snow leopard was caught in a sheep pen by local herders in a village
 in Ngari Prefecture in Tibet. It couldn't escape from the pen as it had overindulged
 on sheep. It was then released back into the wild, away from the village, April 21.
Snow leopards are thought to lesser in number than even the panda. (File photo/CNS)

Thanks to protection efforts, Tibet's wildlife population has increased by 30% over the past two decades, according to Tsongkha, deputy chief of Tibet's regional forestry department.

"In the remote pastureland of Nagqu prefecture alone, there are more than 10,000 wild yaks, 100,000 Tibetan antelopes and at least 80,000 wild donkeys," he added.

These remote areas are sparsely populated by humans, who number only about 12,000. Most are herders raising a total of 1 million heads of cattle.

While human activities are inevitably a disturbance, wild animals sometimes also put man's life and property at risk, said Wu Haipeng, party chief of the forestry bureau in Nagqu Prefecture.

Last year, 95% of the townships and villages in Nagqu saw disturbances caused by brown bears, wolves, lynxes or snow leopards, Wu said. Three people, including a teenager, died after being attacked by wild animals, and seven were injured.

Wild animal attacks also killed more than 50,000 heads of cattle in Nagqu, said Wu.

Last year, the local government paid 21 million yuan (US$3.4 million) in compensation for losses caused to herders as a result of wild animals, according to Wu.

Across Tibet, such compensation totaled 340 million yuan (US$55 million) from 2006 to the end of 2013.

To avoid further damages, the local government has stepped up safety education among the herders.

"We keep telling the herders to properly dispose of butchered cattle to avoid drawing wild animals into villages," said Wu. "When a brown bear is in sight, it is advisable to beat drums and gongs or light up a fire to scare it away."

Forestry workers must discover new ways to drive away wild animals without injuring them, he said. "This is because many animals, not knowing that people once killed, are now completely unafraid of human beings."

Wildlife conservation specialists say it is crucial to find out more about the habitat and nature of Tibet's wild animals, why they attack and how to prevent tragedies.

Despite the tough, low-oxygen plateau environment, the Changtang Grassland, located in the heart of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, is an ideal habitat for wild animals, with its grass, lakes and ample sunshine.

Animals are reproducing fast on the grasslands as more nature reserves have been built exclusively for wildlife and the locals have long given up hunting.

Brown bears, wild yaks, snow leopards and Himalayan blue sheep are among the most frequently reported "troublemakers," according to Tsongkha.

One Tibetan herder said he once came home to find a brown bear sitting in a corner of his house drinking a can of soda water.

Scared as he was, he knew it was illegal to kill the bear, as it is listed as an endangered species by the Chinese government. Unable to scare the bear out, the herder could only seek help from the local forestry authority.

A growing number of Tibetan herders have had similar encounters with wild animals in the Changtang Grassland.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Sheep cruelty video sparks RSPCA investigation

Animal rights group releases covertly filmed video it says shows abuse in shearing sheds across three states in Australia

theguardian.com, Oliver Milman, Friday 11 July 2014


WARNING: This video contains graphic images of animal abuse

The RSPCA has launched an investigation into footage that allegedly shows the severe abuse of sheep in numerous Australian shearing sheds.

The animal rights group Peta has released video it says was taken covertly in 19 shearing sheds in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

The footage shows sheep being roughly handled, punched in the face and stamped upon. One sheep was beaten with a hammer while another was shown having a deep cut crudely sewn up.

Peta said its investigators obtained had the images after gaining employment with farms and shearing contractors over the past year.

Claire Fryer, a campaign coordinator at Peta Australia, declined to tell Guardian Australia the exact location of the shearing sheds, citing concerns about the safety of the whistleblowers.

“I can say, though, that abuse was witnessed in each of the 19 shearing sheds and that a total of 70 staff were documented abusing sheep,” she said.

“We didn’t see any vet care for any of the sheep and despite, them putting up no resistance, they were horribly abused. Sheep are very gentle animals and this was terrifying for them.

“Shearers are unusually paid by volume, not by the hour, which encourages fast, rough work which cuts the bodies of sheep. Put simply, there is no such thing as humane wool. We’d urge Australians to leave wool out of their wardrobes entirely.”

A spokeswoman for the RSPCA confirmed it was investigating whether the video shows breaches of animal welfare laws, but would not put a timeframe on these deliberations.

“The vision made publicly available by Peta overnight shows sheep being beaten with shearing handpieces and thrown down a chute,” the RSPCA said.

“The allegations are serious and will be investigated by RSPCA inspectors as information comes to hand for potential breaches of the relevant state animal welfare legislation.”

Penalties for breaching animal welfare laws vary by state. For example, in NSW, the maximum penalty is a fine of $22,000 or five years in prison.

Barnaby Joyce, the federal agriculture minister, said questions needed to be asked about the way Peta obtained the footage and why it held on to it for so long before releasing it.

"One of the questions I ask is with the up-close shot of the man hitting the sheep, which is obviously exceptional and cruel and in many instances would be immediate dismissal, where exactly was the camera?" Joyce told the ABC.

"Did the person know that they were filmed? Were they actually part of process? There are lots of questions that need to be asked."

WoolProducers, the peak body for the wool industry in Australia, has been contacted for comment on the footage.

The Victorian government recently pledged to introduce new "ag gag" laws, which would crack down on the ability of animal rights activists to covertly film alleged abuses on farms.

Producers of eggs and pork have called for stricter penalties for people who obtain access to farms in order to film activity there. Andrew Spencer, chief executive of Australian Pork Limited, told the ABC in May that intrusions had been "very distressing" for farmers. He added: "It's like having your house burgled."

The Greens criticised Joyce, who recently indicated his own support for a form of “ag gag” law.

“Mr Joyce’s attack on Peta is a crude attempt to avoid cleaning up farming practices,” said the Greens senator Lee Rhiannon.

“He wants to punish people who expose cruelty to animals with harsher penalties than to those who actually commit the violence.

“Undercover investigators play an important role as exposure of animal cruelty helps highlight the need for improved farming practices."



Related Article:



Warning: do NOT watch the video if you are of a delicate nature

China ‘for the first time admits' trading in tiger skin

BBC News, Navin Singh Khadka, Environment reporter, 11 July 2014

Worldwide efforts - including tagging - are underway to protect tigers
being killed and sold for their body parts

Related Stories

China has for the first time admitted that it permits trade in skins from captive tigers, participants and officials at a meeting of an international convention to protect endangered species have said.

They say Chinese authorities had never before reported this.

"We don't not ban trade in tiger skins but we do ban trade in tiger bones," a participant at the meeting said.

Between 5,000 and 6,000 tigers are believed to be in captivity in China.

The admission was made by a member of the Chinese delegation at a Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) meeting in Geneva.

It is estimated that about 1,600 tigers - in captivity and in the wild -
have been traded globally since 2000

Critics say that China's experiment in licensing the domestic trade in
skins of captive tigers has done nothing to alleviate pressure on wild tigers

Chinese officials have not responded to a BBC request as to the details of the statement.

Officials say a major report - with graphic details on how the Chinese government allows commercial trade in skins from captive tigers - was presented during the meeting.

Wildlife experts believe "tiger farming" in China has hugely fuelled demand for poaching and trafficking of the endangered species from elsewhere.

They say that the Chinese admission about the tiger skin trade will help pile pressure on the government to eradicate the practice.

Reports also say that facilities where captive tigers are held are "leaking tiger parts and live animals" for illegal international trade.

"The report presented in the meeting created a situation that required China to respond," said one participant, who did not want to be named.

"Basically when the meeting focused on the findings of this report, the Chinese delegate intervened and it was then when this admission came.

"It was the first time they admitted officially that this trade exists in China."

It is estimated that about 1,600 tigers - in captivity and in the wild - have been traded globally since 2000.

Reports say that in the past two years, there have been seizures of nearly 90 tigers likely to have been sourced from, or trafficked though, captive facilities across South East Asia and China.

While China has been a major market for tiger parts, wildlife experts say that Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia and Indonesia are also emerging as "tiger farming" countries.

Skins of tigers, leopards and snow leopards are valued among the political, military and business elite as luxury home decor in China.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Neonicotinoids linked to recent fall in farmland bird numbers

Research demonstrates for the first time the knock-on effects to other species of class of insecticides known to harm bees

The Guardian, Damian Carrington,  Wednesday 9 July 2014

A barn swallow hunting over a flowering oilseed rape field, Spain. Photograph: Alamy

New research has identified the world’s most widely used insecticides as the key factor in the recent reduction in numbers of farmland birds.

The finding represents a significant escalation of the known dangers of the insecticides and follows an assessment in June that warned that pervasive pollution by these nerve agents was now threatening all food production.

The neonicotinoid insecticides are believed to seriously harm bees and other pollinating insects, and a two-year EU suspension on three of the poisons began at the end of 2013. But the suspected knock-on effects on other species had not been demonstrated until now.

Peer-reviewed research, published in the leading journal Nature this Wednesday, has revealed data from the Netherlands showing that bird populations fell most sharply in those areas where neonicotinoid pollution was highest. Starlings, tree sparrows and swallows were among the most affected.

At least 95% of neonicotinoids applied to crops ends up in the wider environment, killing the insects the birds rely on for food, particularly when raising chicks.

The researchers, led by Hans de Kroon, an ecologist at Radboud University, in the Netherlands, examined other possible reasons for the bird declines seen during the study period of 2003 to 2010, including intensification of farming. But high pollution by a neonicotinoid known as imidacloprid was by far the largest factor.

“It is very surprising and very disturbing,” de Kroon said. Water pollution levels of just 20 nanograms of neonicotinoid per litre led to a 30% fall in bird numbers over 10 years, but some water had contamination levels 50 times higher. “That is why it is so disturbing – there is an incredible amount of imidacloprid in the water,” he said. “And it is not likely these effects will be restricted to birds.”

De Kroon added: “All the other studies [on harm caused by neonicotinoids] build up from toxicology studies. But we approached this completely from the other end. We started with the bird population data and tried to explain the declines. Our study really makes the evidence complete that something is going on here. We can’t go on like this any more. It has to stop.”

David Goulson, a professor at the University of Sussex, who was not involved in the new studies, said the research was convincing and ruled out likely alternative causes of bird decline. “The simplest, most obvious, explanation is that highly toxic substances that kill insects lead to declines in things that eat insects.”

There was little reason to doubt that wildlife in the UK and other countries were not suffering similar harm, he said. “This work flags up the point that this isn’t just about bees, it is about everything. When hundreds or thousands of species or insect are being wiped out, it’s going to have impacts on bats, shrews, hedgehogs, you name it. It is pretty good evidence of wholesale damage to the environment.”

Goulson said that, unlike the Netherlands, the UK did not monitor neonicotinoid pollution and the EU ban would not remove the substances from the environment. “They are still being widely used, as the moratorium only applies to three neonicotinoids and some crops. There is still a lot of them going into the environment. The door is far from shut.”

A spokesman for Bayer CropScience, which makes the neonicotinoid that was examined in the study, disputed the findings. “It provides no substantiated evidence of the alleged indirect effects of imidacloprid on insectivorous birds. Bayer CropScience is working with the Dutch authorities and agricultural stakeholders to ensure the safe use of imidacloprid-containing crop protection products and to preserve the environment.”

He added: “Neonicotinoids have gone through an extensive risk assessment which has shown that they are safe to the environment when used responsibly according to the label instructions.”

But de Kroon said new research, including his own, was showing that neonicotinoids posed an even greater threat than had been anticipated and new regulations had to take this into account. In 2012, MPs warned regulators appeared to be “turning a blind eye” to the harm caused by neonicotinoids.

David Gibbons, head of the RSPB centre for conservation science, said: “This elegant and important study provides worrying evidence of negative impacts of neonicotinoid insecticides on birds. Monitoring of neonicotinoid pollution in UK soils and waterways is urgently required, as is research into the effects of these insecticides on wildlife.”

A Defra spokesperson said: “Pesticide use across Europe is tightly regulated to protect the environment and public health – [pesticides] are a safe, effective and economical means of managing crops. We continue to review evidence on neonicotinoids.”

Also on Wednesday, further research showing that neonicotinoids damage the natural ability of bees to collect food was published in the journal Functional Ecology. The work used tiny tags to track bees and found those exposed to the insecticide gathered less pollen.

“Exposure to this neonicotinoid seems to prevent bees from being able to learn essential skills,” said Nigel Raine, a professor at the University of Guelph, Canada. He said the regulatory tests, which only looked for short-term, lethal effects, were failing to prevent serious harm. “These tests should be conducted for extended periods to detect the effects of chronic exposure.”

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Sunday, July 6, 2014

Thousands Celebrate Birthday of First Taiwan-Born Panda Cub

Jakarta Globe – AFP, Jul 06, 2014

Yuan Zai, right, the first Taiwan-born baby panda, and her mother Yuan Yuan
 enjoy cake, during the celebration of her first birthday at the Taipei City Zoo
on Sunday. (AFP Photo/Mandy Cheng)

Taipei. Thousands braved the summer heat Sunday to celebrate the first birthday of Yuan Zai, the first giant panda cub born in Taiwan, who has attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors in six months.

Around 3,000 people joined a 10-kilometer run which was part of a series of programs marking the birthday.

Visitors, many of them children with parents, cheered Yuan Zai when she was presented with a birthday cake — made of apples, pineapples, carrots and buns and prepared by the zookeepers.

The main attraction was when the cub grabbed different cards in “Zhua Zhou,” a traditional crawling game for one-year-old babies in many Chinese communities.

The first card or object to be grabbed indicates a future career path or interest, according to custom.

Yuan Zai initially picked up the card for painter, among a variety of others.

The cub made her public debut in January and since then the exhibition centre at Taipei Zoo has often been swamped with fans.

In the six months to June 2.4 million people visited the zoo, about a 50 percent rise over the same period of 2013.

Yuan Zai was delivered on July 6 last year following a series of artificial insemination sessions because her parents — Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan — failed to conceive naturally.

She weighed 180 grams at birth but now tips the scales at around 34 kilograms.

Mother and daughter were reunited for the first time on August 13, a meeting that saw the giant panda licking and cuddling her baby before they fell asleep together inside a cage.

Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan, whose names mean “reunion” in Chinese, were given to Taiwan by China in December 2008 and have become star attractions at Taipei Zoo, as well as a symbol of warming ties between the former bitter rivals.

Fewer than 1,600 pandas remain in the wild, mainly in China’s Sichuan province, with a further 300 in captivity around the world.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Investment craze for China's Dairy Farms

Want China Times, Staff Reporter 2014-07-05

A man milking a cow at a ranch owned by the Yili Group in Jiangsu,
July 8, 2010. (File photo/CFP)

There has been a recent investment craze for the dairy business in China, attracting the participation of several major enterprises, including internet giant Alibaba Group.

The Chinese-language Beijing News reported that an equity fund set up by Jack Ma, chairperson of Alibaba, and some other investors, will team up with an industrial investment fund under the auspices of CITI in securing a 60% stake, through subscription to cash capital increments, in a husbandry firm, a subsidiary of Yili Industrial Group in Inner Mongolia, at 2 billion yuan (US$322 million).

Yili reported that the fresh funds will help the husbandry subsidiary augment its capacity for fresh-milk supply by expanding and improving its dairy farm.

Hua Xia Dairy Farm, in Sanhe in Hebei province, has also received a fresh injection of funds totaling US$106 million from a consortium, organized jointly by the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation, Singapore's sovereign fund, and a private equity fund set up by Taishan Capital Corporation. Of the fresh fund, US$70 million will come from GIC, US$30 million from Taishan, and the remainder from other investors. Taishan will also chip in a total of US$108 million to Hua Xia, emerging as the largest shareholder.

This follows an investment in February of 1.5 billion yuan (US$242 million) by private equity fund RRJ Capital for a 45% stake in Shanghai Bright Holstan, a subsidiary of Bright Dairy and an announcement last September by private equity fund KKR that it was teaming up with CDH Investments and Modern Farming to invest US$140 million in two large-scale dairy farms in China.

"The huge potential of China's dairy market has attracted heavy investments from various parties, especially in dairy farms," remarked Shen Meng, an investment banker.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Giant panda gives birth to twin cubs in SW China




China view, 2 july 2014

A giant panda has given birth to twin cubs in Chengdu, capital city of southwest China's Sichuan Province. They are the first set of panda twins to be born this year in the city.

Panda cub

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