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)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Saving Sulawesi’s Rare Maleo Birds

Jakarta Globe, Lisa Siregar, April 06, 2010

A two-day-old baby Maleo. Baby Maleos emerge from their eggs able to fly as well as adult birds.  (JG Photos/Lisa Siregar)

The air was cold and misty at 5:30 in the morning as a group of birdwatchers, researchers and conservationists headed out from the North Sulawesi village of Tambun into Bogani Nani Wartabone National Park, hoping to catch a glimpse of the rare Maleo bird.

The excursion was the closing event of the first International Maleo Conference, held on March 24-26 in Tomohon, North Sulawesi, to address the plight of the endangered Maleo.

As a result of illegal harvesting of Maleo eggs by locals and a shrinking habitat due to climate change, the Maleo’s numbers are rapidly dwindling. The bird was listed as an endangered species in 2008 by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. In recent years, the number of Maleo birds decreased from 25,000 to less than 14,000, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society in Sulawesi.

Bogani Nani Wartabone National Park is one of several places in Sulawesi designated as a protected Maleo habitat.

“Sulawesi is a very peculiar island with many species that can only be found in Sulawesi, and the Maleo is one of them,” said Marc Argeloo, the chairman of the conference. Argeloo has been working in conjunction with the World Wildlife Fund and Birdlife International to save the Maleo since 1990.

“Every bird is unique, but the Maleo is a little bit more unique,” he said.

With black feathers that contrast a pinkish-white down on their chests and stomachs, Maleo birds are roughly the same size as chickens, but they are able to fly and are independent upon hatching. They live mainly in the beaches and forests of the island and are shy and wary of predators like rats and snakes.

“In scientific terms, the bird is categorized as megapoda macrocephalon, which means a creature with strong legs and a big head,” said Hafsah, a biologist from Tadulako University in Central Sulawesi who has been researching the Maleo since 2004.

The monogamous Maleos have unique breeding processes in which they lay their eggs — about five times larger than a chicken egg — in the volcanic and sun-heated soil of Sulawesi. The birds use their powerful legs to dig nesting sites after first dipping their heads into a potential site to test the temperature.

“If it’s warm enough for the egg, a female Maleo will drop her egg there and bury it,” Hafsah said. “Maleos usually have strong instincts about where to put their eggs.”

At the national park, the birdwatchers spotted old holes covered with dried bushes and leaves dug by Maleo.

“Some of the holes are simply a diversion for predators so they won’t find the eggs,” Hafsah said. “A couple of Maleo birds usually dig them before they find a final place [to bury the eggs].”

The birds need the heat in the ground for gestation. In the course of her research, Hafsah found that Maleo birds have low levels of prolactin hormones — the hormone that fosters a nurturing instinct — which means that once an egg is laid, the mother leaves the egg on its own, exposing it to animal predators and hungry humans.

“People steal the eggs to sell them in the market, and governmental staff are also known to ask for Maleo eggs as souvenirs [when they visit],” sad Max Lela, a ranger in the national park since 1984.

Hafsah said some locals still killed the birds, believing that burying one in the ground beneath a new house will bring luck and protection.

The Maleo population along the coast has dropped by 90 percent since the 1950s, according to a survey Argeloo conducted in North Sulawesi. Inland nesting grounds fare better, but many of them have been abandoned by the Maleo as human development encroaches.

“So the Maleo birds are at serious risk of disappearing from the earth,” Argeloo said.

Ramoy Maramis, a caretaker at the national park, spends his early morning hours hunting for Maleo eggs. The eggs he finds don’t end up on a breakfast plate, however. Ramoy is charged with finding and bringing Maleo eggs back to the protection of a WCS-built hatchery in the park.

He spends his mornings scanning the ground for the telltale signs: an area of soft soil marked with scratches around its perimeter. When he spots an egg, Ramoy gently excavates it by hand and carries it back to the hatchery.

“Sometimes I find three or four eggs, other times I find none,” said Ramoy, who lives in the park with his family.

The Wildlife Conservation Society built the hatchery in the park to try to maximize the number of Maleo births. The hatchery recently received a sturdy metal fence after the old one was snipped by thieves.

In the wild, Maleo eggs take around 60 days to hatch in the natural heat of volcanic soil, but are about three days faster in the hatchery, Hafsah said.

“Baby Maleo birds are born perfectly, and they can fly as well as the adult birds,” she said, adding that some researchers believed the birds have a lifespan of up to 25 years.

Apart from their breeding behavior, many details of the Maleo birds’ lives remain to be discovered, said Hafsah, who plans to study the Maleo’s behavior for her dissertation.

“For example, we are yet to understand what they do every day, because it is very hard to observe Maleo birds in nature,” Hafsah said.

On that cold morning, the birdwatchers stood in silence for 30 minutes, hoping to spot the black and white birds after hearing their calls from 10 meters away. But the Maleo stayed hidden in the forest away from their nesting grounds.

Despite the lack of live specimens to observe, Argeloo said he was encouraged by the first international conference that brought together researchers and activists to promote the exchange of ideas for the common goal of protecting the Maleo. Eighty percent of conference participants had come from Sulawesi, a welcome development, Argeloo said, since previously interest in preserving the Maleo bird mainly had come mostly from international organizations.

Members of the conference said they planned to travel to Jakarta to meet with the minister of forestry to discuss conservation practices and the survival of the Maleo.

Argeloo emphasized the importance of educating communities in Sulawesi about the importance of saving the Maleo from extinction.

“When the Maleo disappears from Sulawesi, it disappears from the world,” he said.

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