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)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Bukit Bangkirai a rainforest wonderland

Nurni Sulaimana, The Jakarta Post, Kutai Kartanegara

Imagine an orchid forest with more than 45 different species including dancing and dragon scale varieties, sambas breeding deer, flying fox, short- and long-tailed macaque birds, wild boar and 40-meter-high, 150-year-old bangkirai trees.

A forestry student's dream come true and a native bird-watcher's paradise.

And now it's accessible to those of us without hiking boots.

This is one of the world's most beautiful virgin conservation forests -- and it is at Jakarta's front door, in East Kalimantan.

It is the Bukit Bangkirai forest and conservation parkland, located in Samboja district, Kutai Kartanegara regency.

There are three roads that lead to this incredible 1,500-hectare wonderland as well as wide-ranging accommodation to suit just about anyone.

Bukit Bangkirai forest is internationally recognized yet still one of Indonesia's best kept tourism secrets.

It boasts various species of hardwood trees -- including the bangkirai tree (Shorea laevis), which can survive for more than 150 years and will usually grow as high as 50 meters.

Bukit Bangkirai is a tropical rainforest and natural monument, and home to other woods including ulin (Eusideroxylon Zwageri), blackwood or ebony (Ebenaceae), red meranti (Shorea smithiana), kempas (Koompassia malaccensis) and kruing (Dipterocarpus).

A two-ha area within the forest has been intentionally filled with jungle fruit tree species in a bid to preserve the mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana), the durian family, including lai (Durio kutejensis), and the mentega (magarine) fruit (Diospyros).

Bukit Bangkirai's orchid forest provides orchid lovers with the opportunity to feast their eyes on a collection consisting of 45 species, including the black orchid (Coelegyne pandurata), sugarcane orchid (Grammatophyllum speciousum), dragon scale orchid (Cymbidium antropurpureum) and dancing orchid (Bromheadia fynlaysoniana).

A 3.5-ha breeding ground for deer from the sambas family (Corvus unicolor) was cleared but sadly locals today say it has been neglected for too long and is now overgrown with underbrush.

"I'm not sure when, but the deer breeding activities stopped long ago," said Nyoman Suterini, owner of a food stall in the area.

Nevertheless, there are plenty of other animals to be found in the area, including the owa owa (Hylobates muelleri), short-tailed macaque (Macaca nemestrina), red long-tailed monkey (Presbytus rubicunda), the long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis), wild boar and flying fox.

One of Bukit Bangkirai's most infamous attractions is its bridge that connects five large trees, better known as the "Canopy Bridge".

The bridge is suspended 30 meters from the ground and stretches a total of 64 meters in length. It is made of bangkirai timber laths, bound by steel cables and secured by a 1.5-meter safety net on both sides.

But when the late afternoon wind starts to howl, locals say the bridge will do all it can to frighten the very daylights out of those visitors using it and even passers-by.

"When I was up on the canopy bridge, I yelled my heart out not because I was afraid but too excited," said Japanese student Takeshi Arizono, 29, an alumnus from the forestry school at Mulawarman University in Samarinda.

"My friends and I had a great time ... it was my first time on such a bridge.

"The place is terrific and very suitable to conduct a research project," Takesi said.

As a specialized forestry student, Takesi was investigating the rattan plant and was accompanied by a junior from the Nihon University who was attending comparable studies on the bangkirai tree, the dominant tree species in the area.

"I've also seen a bangkirai tree which is 150 years old and 40 meters tall here," said Takeshi.

Visitors can choose to stay overnight in one of the four fully-equipped cottages built of ulin timber. Tariffs at the time of writing ranged from Rp 350,000 to Rp 450,000 per day.

"The check-out time is more flexible here, unlike hotels in the cities," said Ommeng from the Bukit Bangkirai resort area.

"And the number of guests staying in a room is unlimited."

For those who really want to blend in with the natural surroundings, the resort also offers a camping ground with tents and camping space for rent.

"The fee for a camping space is set at Rp 45,000 per day, which is the same price as hiring an eight-person tent," said Ommeng.

"And a four-person tent is rented for Rp 25,000 per day."

Others who want to enjoy the cool night air of Bukit Bangkirai can try the outbound barracks.

The price here can be as high as Rp 1.5 million per day, but the barracks can accommodate up to 100 people and the area is suitable to hold reunions, workshops and other activities that involve a crowd.

Getting to and from the forest involves either a simple a 58-km drive from Balikpapan, a 150-km drive from Samarinda or a 150-km drive from Tenggarong.

The park is managed by state-run forestry company PT Inhutani and charges entrance fees for visitors and vehicles -- Rp 2,000 (approximately 22 US cents) for adults and motorcycles and Rp 1,000 for those below the age of 12.

The entrance fee for a car is Rp 5,000, while buses are charged Rp 10,000.

A group of 50 people or more can receive a 25 percent discount on the entrance fee and a group of more than 100 people can get a 50 percent discount.

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