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)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Ecologists preparing for boom in urban wildlife 'invaders'

Previously unseen wildlife are colonising British cities but local authorities are concerned by the increase

The Guardian, The Observer, John Vidal, Saturday 27 October 2012

Coming to a street near you: wasp spider, fallow deer and great spotted
woodpecker. Photograph: Alamy

First came the urban fox, then flocks of colourful tropical parakeets. But now deer, woodpeckers, hedgehogs, jackdaws, birds of prey and exotic spiders, fish and insects are colonising British cities, say wildlife experts.

Previously unseen muntjac, roe and fallow deer now boldly enter inner-city areas such as Finsbury Park in north London and have been seen in cemeteries, gardens and golf courses on the outskirts of Edinburgh, Sheffield, Bristol, Guildford and Newcastle, says the London Wildlife Trust's deputy director, Mathew Frith.

He gave a warning that people could soon expect to see wild boar in suburban streets and gardens: "It will not be too long before they impact on our urban areas. They have no natural predators, it is complicated to hunt them, and their numbers are increasing. We can expect them soon."

Birds of prey, once common in cities, have this year returned in numbers. Red kites, extinct in England and Scotland by the 1800s and down to just a few pairs 20 years ago, are now not just seen flying over London and other cities, but have been found feeding in gardens in places such as Reading, Frith says.

In a remarkable turnaround from the polluted wildlife deserts of the 1970s, inner-city parks and private gardens are now attracting creatures once practically extinct in urban areas and providing habitats for wildlife seldom seen before in Britain.

The invaders, which are mostly welcomed by ecologists but worry local authorities as their numbers increase, are becoming bolder every year as they fill ecological niches.

Jackdaws have been found raiding pigeons' nests on the British Museum and the National Gallery, and peregrine falcons, which were almost exterminated by the use of pesticides after the second world war, have taken to nesting in the Houses of Parliament, Tate Modern and the O2 arena, as well as on tower blocks and housing estates.

"They used to be persecuted, but now they are returning," says Frith. "Twelve years ago there were no breeding pairs at all. But now we have eight to 10 pairs in London."

Smaller animals and birds once rare in cities are also thriving, says ecologist Tony Canning, who works at the Camley Gardens nature reserve near King's Cross in north London. He attributes some of the increase in urban wildlife to a declining use of pesticides by gardeners. "Sales shot up in the 1980s gardening boom, but people don't use so much now," he says.

Increasingly urbanised landscapes are thought to be of mixed value for birds, with species such as pigeons and chaffinches able to survive in these environments, while others, such as the swift, starling and song thrush, are in decline.

One of the most successful urban birds may be the tropical ring-necked parakeet, which colonised Esher in Surrey years ago and is becoming widespread in urban areas in the Midlands. "We now have great spotted woodpeckers right in the centre of cities. I saw one flying over London Bridge last week," says Frith.

Exotic animals have often been brought to London and to British port cities on boats, but they seldom breed. But no one can explain how a self-sustaining colony of non-venomous metre-long Aesculapian snakes has come to live near the canal in Regent's Park. They normally eat birds and eggs, but appear to be feeding on rodents.

Hundreds of terrapins, which can live for up to 60 years, are known to inhabit British cities following the craze over the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles TV show in the 1990s. This year a mink was spotted in an artificial lake in Thamesmead, one of London's most deprived communities. "What we are seeing especially is new insects. The red-eyed damselfly was virtually unknown a few years ago. Now it's in central London. Wasp spiders are spreading everywhere," says Canning.

Milder winters are thought to have extended the range of insects and spiders to London and southern England cities. Jersey moths and exotic, brightly coloured wasp spiders, almost unheard of a few years ago, have spread from the continent, and red-eyed damselflies, first spotted in Britain in 1999, are now common on London's waterways.

In August a rarely seen long-tailed blue butterfly was found trying to establish a breeding territory in East India Dock. It is possible that it came off a boat, but just as likely that warmer winters have made it possible for it to survive.

Ecologists cannot say if the present boom in wildlife is because species are being driven out of the countryside or because cities are becoming more attractive. "We have lost some urban habitats, like old industrial sites, and a lot of front gardens have been concreted over," says Canning. "But a huge amount of conservation work has been done in nature reserves in the past 20 years."

Equally, thousands of ponds in the countryside have been filled, but frogs and newts now find it easier to live in cities because pesticides are used less.

The work of local authorities may also be encouraging wildlife. Tens of thousands of street and park trees were planted in the 1950s and 1960s in British cities and many of these are nearing maturity, offering new habitats for many types of birds such as magpies, which only nest above 25ft.

But not all new urban wildlife in urban areas is welcome. Last week scientists from Queen Mary College, University of London, said that almost 100 freshwater species not native to the UK have invaded the river Thames catchment area, costing hundreds of millions of pounds to eradicate. They include Chinese mitten crabs, zebra mussels, Asiatic clams and other species which can rapidly multiply and take over the habitats of native wildlife and infest waterways.

The recolonisation of British cities parallels what is happening elsewhere in Europe and also the US. Wolves have been found within 25 miles of Rome, and wild boars are now so common in Berlin that the city authorities have issued hunting licences.

American scientists warned last week that wolves, mountain lions and wild dogs could soon be a common sight in densely populated cities. "Raccoons, skunks, foxes – they've already been able to penetrate the urban landscape pretty well. The coyote is the most recent and largest. The jury's out with what's going to happen with the bigger ones," said Dr Stan Gehrt of Ohio State University, who has been tracking the wild dogs.

"It used to be rural areas where we would have this challenge of coexistence versus conflict with carnivores. In the future, and I would say currently, it's cities where we're going to have this intersection between people and carnivores. Overall, I think it is amazing what is happening. If we give a bit of room here and there, nature does its own thing. We are finding many animals are surprisingly tolerant of what humans do."

Related Articles:

Cross-species friendships are springing up all over. Of them, Matthew said in 2010:

“The innocence of animals, who act from instinct, never from malice, automatically qualifies all except a few species to ascend with Earth. Along the way those who now are wild will become tame, predators will become vegetarians, and all will live peaceably with each other and humankind. Already there is evidence of cross-species friendship, even mothers of one species nurturing infants of another, and instances of bonding between wild animals and humans.”  (Matthew message - Channelled by Suzanne Ward, Aug 13, 2010)




Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Taxpayers Still Footing the Bill For Sidoarjo Mud

Jakarta Globe, Markus Junianto Sihaloho, October 24, 2012

A Sidoarjo Mudflow Mitigation Agency (BPLS) officer at the mudflow
in 2011. (AFP Photo)
               
Related articles

The 2013 State Budget passed by the House of Representatives on Tuesday suggests that the government will continue to give money to victims of the 2006 mudflow in Sidoarjo, East Java, despite claims that it was the responsibility of private company Lapindo Brantas.

It is uncertain what the final figure is but the government earlier proposed that Rp 2.26 trillion ($235 million) from state coffers be earmarked to the Sidoarjo Mudflow Mitigation Agency (BPLS), an ad hoc agency created to contain the mudflow and handle the victims relocation scheme.

Some of the funds, the government proposal says, will be used to purchase land and buildings outside the areas immediately affected by the mudflow, located in the villages of Besuki, Kedungcangkring and Pejarakan, and nine communities spread around the wards of Siring, Jatirejo and Mindi.

The funds will also be used to relocate residents in 65 community units spread across nine wards and villages, which the government says are all outside of the affected zones.

Money is also earmarked to “rescue the economic and social life” of the community around the impacted area while some funds are directed at efforts to further contain the flow of mud.

The government has already spent Rp 3.26 trillion on the BPLS and this year earmarked another Rp 1.6 trillion.

While refusing to acknowledge that the mudflow was a direct result of its gas drilling activities, Lapindo has agreed to compensate and acquire the land immediately impacted by the disaster.

But Public Works Minister Djoko Kirmanto said in June that Lapindo, a resources company owned by the family of businessman and presidential hopeful Aburizal Bakrie, has only paid Rp 2.9 trillion in compensation out of the Rp 3.8 trillion it was ordered to pay.

House of Representatives Deputy Speaker Anis Matta, who led the plenary session at which the House approved next year’s state budget, refused to comment on why the state is earmarking more money to the disaster.

“Try asking related House commission leaders,” he said.

Opinions are split on the cause of the incident. Many say it was caused by the drilling activities of Lapindo. But the company blamed an earthquake in Yogyakarta, hundreds of kilometers to the east.

On Aug. 15, the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) made three recommendations linked to the mud volcano.

Komnas HAM recommended the company complete the purchase of land and buildings now covered by the mudflow; the police find out where responsibility for the incident lies; and the government assist victims through revised regulations.

The incident destroyed hundreds of homes, swamped 720 hectares of land and displaced thousands of people.

Delays in compensation payments have damaged public support for Aburizal, who on July 1 announced his bid for presidency under the Golkar Party banner.

Lalu Mara Satriawangsa, a Bakrie family spokesman, said the Bakries had set aside a large sum of money for compensation. There is speculation that Aburizal will wait until just before the 2014 election to pay, in an effort to boost his electoral prospects.



Satellite picture received from Ikonos Satellite Image on May 29, 2008 shows
the mud volcano and its surrounding area in Sidoarjo, East Java. (AFP/Ikonos
Satellite Image)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

How to rescue a baby elephant? Rope, Land Rover


NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — How do you pull a baby elephant out of a deep hole? A rope and a Land Rover. Then the payoff: A frantic baby elephant sprints to mom.

A heartwarming video of the rescue in Kenya gained masses of viewers Thursday. It shows a potentially dangerous faceoff with the mother elephant and the struggle to get her 8-month calf out of a 5-foot hole.

Vicki Fishlock of the Amboseli Trust for Elephants faced down the mother with her Land Rover. After 30 minutes, her team pulled the baby out, and it then ran toward its mother.

Elephants across Africa are fighting for survival. Expanding human settlements is increasing the human-animal conflicts. Worse, elephants are being slaughtered by the thousands for their ivory tusks.




Monday, October 15, 2012

Health Ministry Inks Deal with 26 Universities to Develop Indonesian Herbal Database

Jakarta Globe, Dessy Sagita, October 15, 2012

Related articles

The Health Ministry signed on Monday a new partnership agreement with 26 state universities to create a national database of plants from across the archipelago that have therapeutic effects.

“I’ve been for some time bothered with how others have been claiming [our traditional herbs], and how we still import 90 percent of raw materials for our medicines. It would be wonderful if we can benefit from our own resources,” Health Minister Nafsiah Mboi said on the sidelines of the signing event in Jakarta.

The head of the ministry’s research and development agency, Trihono, said Rp 48 billion ($5 million) would be disbursed this year alone for the 26 universities to support related research projects, including those aimed at finding active ingredients in herbs traditionally believed to have therapeutic effects.

“As we have only limited research funds, we will prioritize research outside Java and Bali, because much research has been performed in Java-Bali,” Trihono said.

He added that Indonesia had barely explored its “extraordinary” biodiversity, saying thus far only five therapeutic plant species are registered with the ministry, when it is believed that Indonesia’s flora boasts upwards of 1,000 other plants with similarly therapeutic effects.

“South Korea only has ginseng, but look at how it’s renowned everywhere. We have 1,000 therapeutic plants, we can do much better,” Trihono said.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Norway to double carbon tax on oil industry

Extra funding for climate change mitigation and forestry programmes also part of oil-rich nation's radical programme

guardian.co.ukSeverin Carrell, Scotland correspondent, Thursday 11 October 2012

Ekofisk oil platform in the North Sea, Norway. The Norwegian government has
 proposed increasing its carbon tax on offshore oil companies. Photograph:
Ulrich Baumgarten/Getty Images

Norway is to double carbon tax on its North Sea oil industry and set up a £1bn fund to help combat the damaging impacts of climate change in the developing world.

In one of the most radical climate programmes yet by an oil-producing nation, the Norwegian government has proposed increasing its carbon tax on offshore oil companies by £21 to £45 (Nkr410) per tonne of CO2 and a £5.50 (Nkr50) per tonne CO2 tax on its fishing industry.

Norway will also plough an extra £1bn (Nkr10bn) into its funds for climate change mitigation, renewable energy, food security in developing countries and conversion to low-carbon energy sources, Environmental Finance reported.

It will step up spending on new projects to combat deforestation in developing countries to £44m, taking up its spending overall on forestry programmes to £327m. Previous forestry projects have involved Brazil, Indonesia and Ethiopia.

The Oslo government is also to spend £69m on buying carbon credits in 2013, to help offset its emissions, force through new building regulations to make all new homes carbon-neutral by 2015 and increase efforts to heavily cut emissions from cars, switching to electric vehicles.

The scale of these initiatives will pose a significant political challenge to other oil-producing nations, who are also investing in low-carbon technologies and cutting their own emissions, but not yet investing heavily in tackling the impacts of climate change on developing countries.

The UK and Scottish governments estimate there are up to 24bn barrels of oil left to be exploited over the next 40 years from the UK's oil and gas fields in the North Sea, west of Shetland and smaller sites off western England.

But that would lead to total CO2 emissions of an extra 10bn tonnes – dwarfing the UK's annual 500m tonnes of CO2 emissions, at a time when many climate scientists urge cutbacks in oil, gas and coal use to avoid significant global warming and to meet climate targets.

Neither the UK or Scottish government has supported a carbon tax on the oil and gas industry.

The Scottish government, which often looks to Norway as a model for its independence plans, has greatly increased its funding and support for renewable energy investment. It announced a £103m investment fund for marine renewables and community power schemes on Wednesday and has a £4m "climate justice fund" to help developing countries.

But fields in Scottish waters account for about 80% of the UK's North Sea oil and gas fields, which produced 1m barrels of oil a day in August.

Alex Salmond, Scotland's first minister, said on Wednesday that oil economies have a"moral obligation" to increase low-carbon energy and tackle climate change, but says there is no contradiction in maximising oil, gas and coal production.

He told a conference on low-carbon investment: "As countries such as Denmark show, there's no contradiction between making use of substantial in their case gas reserves which will be needed by the rest of the world in the coming decades by the rest of the world, while leading the transition to a low-carbon economy."

After speaking at the same conference on Thursday, Ed Davey, the UK energy and climate secretary, told the Guardian he believed the UK's actions on climate change and green energy were also world-leading. The UK government was putting £3bn into the new green investment bank, and aims to cut CO2 emissions by 34% by 2020, he said.

Asked about Norway's new programme, Davey said: "I would say that the UK government has very ambitious climate change targets and carbon emission reduction targets.

"We were one of the first countries in the world to pass legally binding targets on ourselves, with the Climate Change Act 2008 which had cross party support. And the government has introduced on the back of that, the fourth carbon budget and the whole electricity market reform, the green deal, the green investment bank.

"These are all our tools to deliver on those targets; these are incredibly ambitious and maybe some countries are catching us up."

Ranking third among the world's oil exporters, with production peaking at 3m barrels of oil a day, Norway has 51 active oil and gas fields in the North Sea, and believes it has more than 7bn barrels of undiscovered reserves. Its oil and gas sector is the world's richest: its employees earn $180,000 on average a year.

With a population of 5 million - the same as Scotland - it is the third wealthiest country per capita in the world thanks to its oil and gas exports. Norway's plans to offset the impacts of its oil exports on the world's climate come as it also proposes to expand oil exploration into the Barents Sea to the far north.

Richard Dixon, director of WWF Scotland, said: "Norway is showing how you can use oil income to fund the transition out of oil, we should be doing the same with UK oil revenues. The Scottish National Party have always been keen on the Norwegian oil fund, and now it is setting an example really worth following."

Related Articles:

Norway, Indonesia $1 Billion Forest Pact Broken, Group Says


Nigerian farmers sue Shell in the Hague

US Supreme Court denies Chevron $19bn Ecuador appeal


"Recalibration of Free Choice"–  Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) - (Subjects: (Old) SoulsMidpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth,  4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical)  8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) (Text version)

“…  4 - Energy (again)

The natural resources of the planet are finite and will not support the continuation of what you've been doing. We've been saying this for a decade. Watch for increased science and increased funding for alternate ways of creating electricity (finally). Watch for the very companies who have the most to lose being the ones who fund it. It is the beginning of a full realization that a change of thinking is at hand. You can take things from Gaia that are energy, instead of physical resources. We speak yet again about geothermal, about tidal, about wind. Again, we plead with you not to over-engineer this. For one of the things that Human Beings do in a technological age is to over-engineer simple things. Look at nuclear - the most over-engineered and expensive steam engine in existence!

Your current ideas of capturing energy from tidal and wave motion don't have to be technical marvels. Think paddle wheel on a pier with waves, which will create energy in both directions [waves coming and going] tied to a generator that can power dozens of neighborhoods, not full cities. Think simple and decentralize the idea of utilities. The same goes for wind and geothermal. Think of utilities for groups of homes in a cluster. You won't have a grid failure if there is no grid. This is the way of the future, and you'll be more inclined to have it sooner than later if you do this, and it won't cost as much….”

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Costa Rica set to ban recreational hunting

Hindustan Times, AFP, San Jose, October 05, 2012

A wild Capuchin Monkey in Costa Rica. Photo: AFP/ Matt Tilghman/
Shutterstock.com

Costa Rica is set to be the first country in the American continent to ban recreational hunting after the country's legislature approved the popular measure by a wide margin. The bill, which bans hunting for sport but still allows culling and subsistence hunting, was approved late Tuesday by a 41-5 vote. Congress will revisit the issue on Thursday, but the second round is seen as just a formality.

President Laura Chinchilla, who supports the measure, is expected to sign it into law in the next days.

The ban, which does not affect fishing for sport, does allow researchers to hunt for scientific purposes.

Hunters violating the ban would have to pay a fine of up to $3,000.

Costa Rica supports an enormous variety of fauna, and is one of the countries with the highest density of biodiversity in the world.

Wildlife in Costa Rica include jaguars, armadillos, deer, sloths and several species of monkeys, as well as a variety of birds, amphibians and reptiles.

Some two million people visit Costa Rica each year -- a $2 billion business -- and the country's natural reserves and variety of species are a great attraction.




King Juan Carlos on his €10,000-a-day hunting safari in Botswana, which
had  been hushed up before he fell and broke his hip. Photograph: Target
Press/Barcroft Media
.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Rare Sumatran tiger's aircraft death probed

BBC News, 4 October 2012

Related Stories 

The exact circumstances of
the tiger's death are not clear
Indonesian officials are investigating why one of the world's rarest tigers died during attempts to transport it to a wildlife sanctuary.

The Sumatran tiger was supposed to have been taken from Banda Aceh on Sumatra island to the sanctuary on Java.

But for reasons correspondents say are unclear, the tiger was instead taken back to Banda Aceh after a stopover.

One report said airline officials took it off the flight after passengers complained about an unpleasant smell.

An autopsy revealed that the tiger died from severe trauma.

Officials say it died while being taken back to Banda Aceh from Medan, another city on Sumatra closer to its intended destination.

A spokesman for Garuda Indonesia airlines insisted that the correct procedures for carrying the animal were followed.

The spokesman told the AFP news agency that Garuda would co-operate with forestry ministry officials in their inquiry.

Wildlife experts estimate that there are about 400 Sumatran tigers left in the wild.

They have blamed the demise of the animals on rampant human incursions into rapidly diminishing forests.

'Already dead'

Correspondents say that the precise sequence of events leading up to the tiger's death are disputed - wildlife officials say that the animal may have been mistreated and that there were passenger complaints about "unpleasant odours".

"When the tiger arrived [back] in Banda Aceh on the same day, we found out that it was already dead," conservation agency chief Afan Absory told the AFP news agency.

He said that it was being transported with a gibbon and two bearcats, which have a distinctive smell.

"We are seeking clarification from the airline as they returned the tiger to Banda Aceh without informing our official who was flying with them," Mr Absory said.

Blood was found coming out of the dead tiger's nose, he added.

Indonesian forestry ministry spokesman Sumarto Suharno told the BBC that this was not the first time an animal had died during a flight.

He said that a tiger died in 2010 on a plane from Yogya to West Sumatra - and in 2008 a primate died on a flight from Indonesia to Japan.

Correspondents say that the male tiger that died on Wednesday was rescued in 2010 from a forest in Aceh province, where it was threatened by human encroachment onto its territory.