Robber fly - Nature photographer Thomas Shahan specializes in amazing portraits of tiny insects. It isn't easy. Shahan says that this Robber Fly (Holcocephala fusca), for instance, is "skittish" and doesn't like its picture taken.

Eye-popping bug photos

Nature by Numbers (Video)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dian Fossey's birthday celebrated with a Google doodle

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

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Beyond the dragon: Komodo's natural fascinations

Kanis Dursin, The Jakarta Post, Labuan Bajo

Thousands of flying foxes lingered in the sky; fishes of various colors swam languorously in blue sea water; while small waves rippled through mangrove trees on a tiny island.

In the background, speedboats and motorized boats, mostly ferrying foreign tourists back to their hotels that afternoon, charged through high waves between white-sanded islets dotting the park's marine water.

As the sun sank deeper into the sea, some flying foxes came closer to the passing speedboats.

"Catch me if you can," they seemed to tease.

Welcome to Komodo National Park in West Manggarai regency, East Nusa Tenggara province.

You would be forgiven to think the 1,817 square kilometer park in the heart of Wallacea has nothing more but the Komodo dragon (varanus komodoensis) to offer.

After all, most tourism books and promotional leaflets have focused on the endangered species.

The truth is, while the unique dragon remains its main draw, the national park, established in 1980, is pregnant with fascinating natural attractions -- and watching roaring flying foxes is just one of them.

Next time you come to Komodo National Park make sure you tell your guide to drop by a mangrove islet off Rinca village so you can see thousands of flying foxes migrating in droves.

The birds usually leave their caves on Rinca Island at daybreak for the mangrove island, where they spend the day sleeping. They fly back to their caves at sunset to look for food.

The routine voyage becomes a unique fascination as the birds fly back and fro, up and down, in roaring sound before perching on mangrove trees or heading back to their caves.

If you happen to leave the place just shortly after dusk, some flying foxes would fly next to your speedboat -- traveling with you for half your trip home, as if to see you off.

A similar spectacle is found at a mangrove islet off Komodo village, where you can watch flying foxes dangling on mangrove trees during day time.

If you are an adventurer, negotiating high waves on the way to and from Rinca and Komodo islands, where the endangered Komodo dragons are mostly found, is another thrill in the park, particularly if you hire a speedboat.

Hold tight and be ready to get wet when your speedboat cruises through successive walls of waves.

The waves normally do not exceed one meter in height, but are enough to drive your adrenalin especially if you are running the speedboat at a high speed.

One advice, though, hire an experienced skipper familiar with the routes and the characteristics of the park's sea current to avoid bumping into submerged rock mountains.

During the northwest monsoon season from November to February, for example, the waves in the northern end of the park tend to be larger than in the southern end, while during the southeast monsoon between June and August, waves in the southern end tend to be larger than in the northern end.

Waves tend to be largest in the July, which may be too dangerous for small boats to travel.

On the way to and from Rinca and Komodo, you would pass by small limestone islands -- so many it's tempting to think each visitor to the park could enjoy an island each.

Most of the islands appear like hills rising majestically from the sea, some with long white-sanded beaches.

The islets are generally young, oceanic volcanic islands that are constantly changing by rising, eroding and subsiding into the sea.

Privacy and serenity are guaranteed here -- no people live on those small islands, making them ideal places for your personal retreat.

The deep tranquility is broken only by small ripples of waves smashing into the islands' pristine white beaches.

Go to any point in the park's marine area and chances are you would find yourself challenged to a race by rare or endangered marine animals.

There are around 1,000 species of fish in the park's water, including endangered and rare species such as dugongs, whales, dolphins, turtles and a number of other protected marine animals.

Dolphins and whales make their presence felt by throwing themselves into the air, trailing behind your speedboat or motorized boats or just swimming in front.

An experienced skipper knows exactly where and when whales or dolphins usually appear.
The real treat of your trip to Komodo National Park is perhaps its numerous diving and snorkeling sites scattering all over the park.

Putri Naga Komodo (PNK), a private company in charge of managing the park since 2004, has identified at least 41 diving and snorkeling sites in and around the park.

Each diving and snorkeling site offers unique sightings and a different experience. (See diving and snorkeling sites in Komodo National Park)

One of the frequently visited diving sites in the park is Pantai Merah on Komodo Island.

Diving in Pantai Merah, or Pink Beach, you would find a great variety of fishes and a good selection of curious critters including leave scorpions fish, blue ribbon eels, crocodile fish and many more frolicking around colorful coral reefs.

It is called Pantai Merah because of abundant destroyed red coral reefs washed ashore.
Until recently fishermen would come to fish in the area using destructive methods such as blasting and bombing. These which methods destroyed coral reefs there.

Such practice has ceased thanks to rigorous law enforcement and a growing awareness among local fishermen to preserve the coral reefs.

Pantai Merah is also an excellent snorkeling site. There is a very good dive to be found around a small area of reef and a steep rocky wall, which is visible from the surface at low tide.

It is also a very good night dive site and can offer excellent macro-photography opportunities.

Waters surrounding the islands in the park are also known to have a high diversity of marine life considered to be some of the richest on the planet.

It's not at all surprising the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization declared the park in 1986 as a World Heritage Site as well as a Man and Biosphere Reserve.

The park is home to at least 253 species of hard, reef-building corals which are scattered over an estimated 17 square kilometers.

According to PNK, there are three different types of reefs in the park with fringing reefs, which grow along the edges of shorelines of land masses and islands, making up the bulk of it.

Most islands in the park are fringed with coral with patch reefs and seamounts also found in the park.

Patch reefs are stand-alone reefs in areas with a shallow bottom -- they do not rise up past the surface of the water.

They are mostly found in north-eastern side of Komodo island.

Seamounts, on the other hand, are submerged pinnacles encrusted with coral reef and there are a number of these types of reef around Komodo. Seamounts are a favored area for pelagic fish to congregate.

If you decide to dive or snorkel in the park's marine area you must be accompanied by a master diver and even your master diver has to be guided by a local master diver who knows the sea's characteristics.

While the waters directly surrounding islands in the park are only between 30 and 100 meters deep, the Komodo National Park has some of the swiftest currents on the planet -- in fact they sometimes resemble a raging river.

The park forms a bottleneck passage between two large deep bodies of water -- the Pacific Ocean to the north and the Indian Ocean to the south.

During the rising tide, a vast amount of water moves south to the north, and during the falling tide, from north to the south.

As the number of north-south water passages is very limited, an enormous volume of water is forced to travel through the park's narrow passages at a rapid rate, creating some of the strongest current in the world.

The good news is the strong currents and up-welling transport nutrient-rich waters throughout the park's marine area and support a wealth of diverse marine life.

So although dangerous for divers, the strong currents ensure the existence of some of the greatest marine biodiversity on earth.

Once of diving and snorkeling, you can drop by either Rinca or Komodo islands, where you are likely to be greeted by Komodo dragons, the park's ultimate attraction.

During a recent visit to Rinca, for example, our entourage was welcomed by a baby dragon hiding in a small cave near the gate leading to the information office. Trained guides are already ready to bring you around.

And finally, the world's heaviest living lizard comes hand in hand with the islands' ideal places for trekking. Along one of the most scenic walks in the world, you're likely to see Timor deer, wild boars, water buffaloes and wild horses. Enjoy.

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