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, December 29, 2012

Dutch Government gets tough on illegal wood

DutchNews.nl, Thursday 27 December 2012

The maximum punishment for timber merchants caught with illegally-felled wood will go up to two years in jail or a fine of €79,000 from March, the economic affairs ministry said on Thursday.

In addition, traders risk having their businesses closed down, the ministry said in a statement.

The change in regulations stems from European law aimed at combating illegal forestry. From March 3, traders will have to prove they bought their timber legally. Joinery firms will also have to provide proper certification for their wood on request.

Some 5,000 firms fall under the new Dutch rules.


Orangutans are among the animals threatened by illegal
logging in Indonesia


Related Articles:


US introduces new approach to combat illegal wood trade

Deforestation threatens planet, economies and communities, UN chief warns


Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (right) visits an indigenous
community affected by deforestation in Borneo, Indone


More articles related to illegal logging

Thursday, December 27, 2012

'Yak insurance' plan saving Nepal's snow leopard

Google - AFP, Frankie Taggart (AFP), 26 December 2012

This handout photograph taken by a remote camera trap shows a rare
snow leopard in Nepal (WWF Nepal/AFP)

KATHMANDU — The remorse felt by Himali Chungda Sherpa after he killed three snow leopard cubs in retaliation for his lost cattle inspired him to set up a scheme to prevent other herders from doing the same.

Sherpa lost his cattle near Ghunsa village at the base of Mount Kangchenjunga on the Nepal-India border, later finding their remains in a cave beside three sleeping snow leopard cubs.

The Nepalese herder put the cubs in a sack and threw them into the river, finding their bodies the next day.

"From that night onwards the mother snow leopard started crying from the mountain for her cubs, and my cattle were crying for the loss of their calves.

"I realised how big a sin I had committed and promised myself that I would never do such a thing in the future."

This handout photograph released by WWF Nepal shows a snow leopard
 in a conservation area (WWF Nepal/AFP)

Four years ago Sherpa, 48, founded with other locals an insurance plan for livestock that conservationists say is deterring herders from killing snow leopards that attack their animals.

In doing so the scheme has given hope for the endangered cat, whose numbers across the mountains of 12 countries in south and central Asia are thought to have declined by 20 percent over the past 16 years.

Under the scheme, herders pay in 55 rupees ($1.50) a year for each of their hairy yaks, the vital pack animal that is also kept for milk and meat, and are paid 2,500 rupees for any animal killed by the endangered cat.

"The (Himalayan) communities have been able to pay out compensation for more than 200 animals since the scheme started," WWF Nepal conservation director Ghana Gurung told reporters at a presentation in the capital Kathmandu.

"The community members are the ones that monitor this, they are the ones who do the patrolling and they are the ones who verify the kills."

The global snow leopard population is estimated at just 4,080-6,590 adults according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which lists the animal as "endangered" on its red list of threatened species.

Experts believe just 300 to 500 adult snow leopards survive in Nepal
(Lehtikuva/AFP/File, Jarno Mela)

Experts believe just 300 to 500 adults survive in Nepal, and few can claim ever to have seen the secretive, solitary "mountain ghost", which lives 5,000 to 6,000 metres (16,500 to 20,000 feet) above sea level.

Despite its name, it is not a close relative of the leopard and has much more in common genetically with the tiger, though it is thought to have a placid temperament.

"There has never been a case of a snow leopard attacking a human," Gurung said of the animal, revered for its thick grey patterned pelt.

It does, however, have a taste for sheep, goats and other livestock essential for the livelihoods of farmers and is often killed by humans either as a preventative measure or in revenge for the deaths of their animals.

WWF Nepal revealed details of its insurance scheme in filmed interviews shown at the recent Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival.

Sherpa now campaigns to convince Himalayan farmers that killing snow leopards is wrong, but has been frequently told they need to kill the animal to protect their livelihoods.

"I swear if I can catch a snow leopard. They rob our animals and our source of livelihood," herder Chokyab Bhuttia told the WWF.

The insurance plan, which also covers sheep and goats, was set up with 1.2 million rupees donated by the University of Zurich.

Since the Kangchenjunga Conservation Area Snow Leopard Insurance plan was launched four years ago no snow leopard is thought to have been killed in retaliation for preying on livestock since.

Light from a sunrise is cast on Mount Kangchenjunga on December 22,
2012, as seen from the Indian side (AFP/File, Diptendu Dutta)

Locals, who count the number of cattle attacked as well as tracks, fecal pellets and scratches in the ground, believe snow leopard numbers have significantly increased.

"There is now an awareness among people that the snow leopard is an endangered animal and we have to protect it. The insurance policy has made people more tolerant to the loss of their livestock," Sherpa said.

He believes protecting the snow leopard is vital to boosting the economy in an area which gets just a few hundred trekkers a year, compared with 74,000 in Annapurna.

"If a tourist sees a snow leopard and takes a picture of it there will be publicity of our region and more tourists will come," Sherpa said.

Evidence of the scheme's benefits will remain anecdotal until the publication next year of the results of a wide-ranging camera trapping survey.

But locals are optimistic about the animal's future, according to Tsheten Dandu Sherpa, chairman of the Kangchenjunga Conservation Area Management Council.

"In this area there was never any poaching of snow leopards for trade. They were killed only as a retaliatory act by livestock owners," he said.

"Now with this insurance policy there will definitely be protection of the snow leopard and its numbers will increase."

Organic pioneers in Ivory Coast

Deutsche Welle, 26 December 2012



Some four years ago, German importer Biotriopic introduced organic farming to Ivory Coast. Investment in Africa has not always been easy, but so far it's been a success story.

There's a scent of lemon in the cold storage complex outside of the German city of Duisburg. Boxes and shelves with bananas, mangos, coconuts, lemons, oranges and pineapples fill the halls from floor to ceiling. At the open gate, a forklift is piling goods onto a waiting truck.

Biotropic is one of Germany's largest importers of organic fruits and vegetables. It all started back in 1997, with organic bananas from the Dominican Republic. Today it's anything from kiwis, nuts, dates to oranges - shipped from all corners of the earth.

Pineapples from Ivory Coast

It all started with pineapples grown
in the Dominican Republic
Four years ago, Biotropic began campaigning for organic pineapple to be grown in Ivory Coast. The German company worked with the local cooperative Ivoire Organics. "We only had a few earlier attempts in a few other countries such as Cameron, where it didn't work out," explained Kuemkwong Siemefo, head of Africa operations at Biotronic.

"Then we went to Ivory Coast where the infrastructure was excellent. We were lucky that the farmers we worked with have a long tradition of growing pineapple," Siemefo added.

Since the 1970s, the West African country has been one of the largest pineapple producers for the European market. But around the turn of the century, production shrunk by more than 20 percent. The civil war scared off investors and buyers, and especially smaller producers had trouble getting their goods onto the international market. For many farmers, this meant unemployment.

Creating jobs

Thanks to the cooperation with Biotropic, plenty of jobs have been created, said Paul Stephane Goa Pegnene, CEO of Ivoire Organics. "We've recruited people from the villages for the work. The smaller producers used to not have the resources to continue growing pineapple. But with the investments of Biotropic, we were able to support them."

The German company got help from Sequa, a development cooperation organization in Bonn, Germany. In 2008 and 2010, Sequa helped with know-how, and above all with money.

Investments in Africa bear a high risk, said Siemefo. "Sequa was the right partner to minimize those risks. Without that financial backing we would not have made that step," he added.


Organic cocoa production is next on the list of new projects for Biotropic

Goals left to reach

For Sequa, it was not just about pineapples, but also about knowledge transfer. A new institute founded at the Abodo Adjame University was supposed to spread technical organic farming expertise across the country. But the cooperation with the university failed for political reasons, said Susanne Sattlegger of Sequa. Nonetheless, she still concludes, positively, that cooperation with the local farmers has worked out well.

"The reason why not all of the development policy goals were archived here, was because of such extreme factors like environment, climate, and also the problematic cooperation with the university for political reasons," Sattlegger explained.

"But those are all things that neither we nor Biotropic would have been able to influence one way or another," she said.

Despite problems, Biotropic has extended it's investments in Ivory Coast. It started with 10 employees and an area of just two hectares some four years ago - today there are around 50 farmers working 70 hectares for Biotropic. An additional 20 small farmers sell their produce to Ivoire Organics.

Biotropic supplies the cooperative with seeds and machinery, and finances the organic certification process. Aside from pineapple, the farmers now also grow cashew nuts, mangos and coconuts for Biotropic. Soon, bananas and cocoa will be added to this list.






Saturday, December 22, 2012

Singapore Palm Oil Firm Ordered To Stop Clearing Forests

Jakarta Globe, December 22, 2012

Related articles

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil ordered Singapore-based First Resources palm oil company to stop clearing forests in East Kalimantan until conflicts with the local Dayak community are resolved, an environmental agency said on Friday.

Dayak Girls
First Resources, an RSPO member, began clearing forests in East Kalimantan without obtaining the necessary consent of the local Dayak Benuaq community, the London-based Environmental Investigation Agency alleged in a complaint filed against the company.

The RSPO backed the complaint, stating that the nonprofit heard evidence that First Resources’ violations were not a “one-off” instance and may be “systemic in nature” due to similar complaints lodged in West Kalimantan.

First Resources was ordered to stop all disputed operations in the Kutai district until the company can work with EIA to reach an “amicable solution.” The nonprofit cannot legally force the company to stop operations, but it can suspend First Resources’ RSPO membership.

EIA heralded the decision, but promised continued pressure on First Resources.

“The fight is by no means over and EIA, the community and other NGOs will be watching First Resources’ every move,” EIA Forests Campaigner Tom Johnson said. “The company must stop behaving like a gang of thugs.”



Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Animal Love In Action!

American Kabuki, 18 December 2012

Got this from "Nola" in Australia:
             
A mother chimpanzee who lived in a zoo died recently and one of the zoo employees took her baby chimp home to care for it. It never crossed his mind that his dog, who had recently given birth would adopt the chimp and raise it with her pups. Judging by the look on her face at times, she is not quite sure why this particular offspring has hands to grab her with, but all the same, this strange little “pup” which has joined her litter has brought out in her - AND her real family - for all the world to see - a portrait of exactly what unconditional love is all about.












Heartwarming pictures of the baby monkey which made friends with a TIGER


The Animals are Not Waiting for Us

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)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Ivory sales must stop or Africa's elephants could soon be extinct, says Jane Goodall

The conservationist accuses China of fuelling poaching, as tusks are smuggled out in diplomatic bags

Guardian, John Vidal, The Observer, Sunday 16 December 2012

Elephants in the Masai Maara reserve in Kenya. Photograph: Anup Shah/
Anup Shah/Corbis

Jane Goodall, one of the world's greatest conservationists, has made an impassioned plea for a worldwide ban on the sale of ivory to prevent the extinction of the African elephant.

Her call follows the seizure in Malaysia last week of 24 tonnes of illegal ivory and a report by conservationists warning that the illegal ivory trade now threatens governments as rebel groups use the sale of tusks to fund their wars.

"A massive tragedy is unfolding in some parts of Africa. This is desperately serious, unprecedented," she said. "We believe that Tanzania has lost half its elephants in the last three years. Ugandan military planes have been seen over the Democratic Republic of the Congo shooting elephants from the air. Armed militia are now shooting the elephants."

She accused China of being ultimately responsible, because most of the ivory is sent there to be made into ornaments. "The main market is China and the east. The ivory appears to be smuggled out in the Chinese diplomatic pouches or in unmarked planes, or it is smuggled over the border to DR Congo. Armed gangs and rangers are joining in the smuggling or are getting killed. I fear we are losing the battle in some countries. It's shocking," she said.

China's growing presence in Africa has been blamed for an unprecedented surge in poaching. The discovery last week by Malaysian customs of 1,500 tusks hidden in secret chambers in 10 containers supposedly carrying wooden floor tiles was the largest illegal ivory haul ever, roughly equivalent to all the illegal ivory seized last year.

The containers were reportedly on their way to China via Spain from Togo, a popular destination for armed gangs to smuggle ivory. It follows the discovery in Hong Kong in October of nearly 1,000 pieces of ivory tusks from Tanzania and the discovery of more than 200 tusks in Tanzania itself.

Goodall, who became famous for her work as a primatologist working with chimpanzees in Africa, compared the deteriorating situation with elephants to the drastic decline of primate populations in the past 40 years. "We are seeing the devastation of populations of elephants in many countries. It's a similar situation to the great apes. Everyone should be concerned. We are fighting for a total worldwide ban on the sale of all ivory."

She said that she would be campaigning with David Attenborough to persuade the UN to ban ivory sales. "The world must wake up. Governments need to tighten up. No one anywhere should buy any ivory. Countries must be helped to reinforce controls on poaching," said Goodall.

A report submitted to the UN last week by WWF International warned that the illegal ivory trade threatened Africa's governments as rebel groups used the sale of tusks to fund their wars. "This is about much more than wildlife. This crisis is threatening the very stability of governments. It has become a profound threat to national security," said Jim Leape, director-general of WWF International.

Poaching in some countries is said to be out of control. In southern Sudan the elephant population, estimated at 130,000 in 1986, has crashed to 5,000, said World Conservation Society director Paul Elkan. "Within the next five years, they could completely be gone with the current rates of poaching. Even security forces are involved in trafficking," he said.

Conservationists blamed the Tanzanian authorities for not controlling ivory poaching and trafficking. "There's an enormous slaughter of elephants going on in Tanzania right now. Things are out of hand," said the veteran conservationist Iain Douglas-Hamilton. "There's no protection in numbers for elephants, any more than there was for bison in the last century when they were all wiped out in America. So people shouldn't kid themselves."

Tanzania, with 70,000-80,000 elephants in 2009, is thought to have nearly a quarter of all African elephants. But Peter Msigwa, a Tanzanian MP, said last week that poaching was "out of control" with an average of 30 elephants being slaughtered for their ivory every day.

"At the end of the year, you're talking about 10,000 elephants killed," said James Lembeli, chairman of Tanzania's natural resources committee. "Move around this country where you have populations of elephants and [you see] carcasses everywhere," he said.

Last year Tanzanian police seized more than 1,000 elephant tusks hidden in sacks of dried fish at Zanzibar port.

In June the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species described the plight of Africa's elephants as "critical" and said that elephant poaching had reached its highest level for a decade, with tens of thousands killed for their tusks each year.


Malaysian customs officers display elephant tusks that were
recently seized in Port Klang, outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Photograph: AP

Related Articles:

Malaysia seizes 1,500 elephant tusks headed for China

Illegal wildlife trade 'threatening national security', says WWF

In pictures: Wildlife crime

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Indonesian Monkey Plays Mom to Kitten

Peoplepets, 12/14/2012

Kimon and her kitten, Barcroft Media/Landov

Maybe it's a case of empty nest syndrome?

Kimon, an 8-year-old long-tailed monkey, has taken in a kitten as one of her own at the Bintan Island home the two share in Indonesia.

Seen in photographs taken on Sunday, Kimon keeps the cat close at hand, even grooming it and inspecting it for fleas. The furball is rarely out of the monkey's grasp, even as she makes her way around her habitat.

But Kimon is hardly the first ape to attach herself to a feline: A baboon from an Israeli petting zoo similarly adopted a stray kitten of its own last month.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Indonesia Approves Landmark Forest Protection Project

Jakarta Globe, David Fogarty, December 05, 2012

A view of a drainage canal and cleared forest to plant palm oil on the boundary
 of the Rimba Raya Conservation project in the province of Central Kalimantan
 in this undated handout photo courtesy of InfiniteEARTH. (Reuters Photo)  
         
Related articles

Singapore. Indonesia on Wednesday approved a rainforest conservation project that sets aside an area roughly the size of Singapore and rewards investors with tradeable carbon credits in the first of its kind to win formal backing in the country.

Four years in the making, the Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve will protect nearly 80,000 hectares (200,000 acres), much of it carbon-rich peat swamp forest at risk of being felled for palm oil plantations.

Russian energy giant Gazprom and German insurance firm Allianz are backers of the project, the world’s first on deep peat.

A senior Indonesian official announced the approval on the sidelines of UN climate talks in Doha, Qatar. Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan signed a letter last week saying the project had passed all the key steps. Reuters has seen a copy.

“We hope projects like Rimba Raya will lead the way in proving that conservation can address the rural development needs of the communities and also preserve our forests for generations to come,” Hasan said in a statement.

Indonesia has the world’s third-largest expanse of tropical forests but these are disappearing quickly in the rush to grow more food and exploit timber and mineral wealth. Forest clearance is a major source of greenhouse gases.

By saving the forest and locking away planet-warming carbon, investors such as Gazprom will receive carbon credits they can sell for profit or use to cut their own emissions. Money from credit sales will also fund local livelihood projects.

The project area, in Central Kalimantan province on Borneo island, is brimming with rare animal species and adjoins a national park. It is designed to be a sanctuary for endangered orangutans.

Rimba Raya is part of a UN-led scheme called reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD). The aim is to show forests can pay for themselves and compete with powerful palm oil, mining and timber interests.

It challenges Indonesia’s often poor conservation record and lax enforcement where national parks are illegally logged. Palm oil firms have also been found guilty of flouting laws and illegally clearing forest for plantations.

“This is a small but significant step in terms of contributing to the government’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions and showing that larger volumes of forest carbon credits can be sold to credible buyers,” said Andrew Wardell, program director, forests and governance, at the Center for International Forestry Research in Indonesia.

But he said REDD projects remain costly to develop and validate.

Over Rimba Raya’s 30-year life, the project will generate about 104 million credits, each representing a ton of carbon. In total, that equates to $390 million to $650 million based on current market rates for REDD carbon offsets.

Powerful Friends

Hasan’s comments mark a dramatic swing in Rimba Raya’s fortunes.

The project initially met all the ministry of forestry milestones and look set for approval in 2010. But it fell foul of opaque land use rules and pressure from a palm oil firm.

After being approved to cover 90,000 hectares, the project in early 2011 was slashed in half, jeopardizing its viability. The ministry cited overlapping claims to the land. The ministry also granted palm oil firm Best Agro International 9,000 hectares of land previously allotted to the Rimba Raya project.

A Reuters special report last year on the project highlighted the ministry’s about-face and the mismatch between the government’s green goals and the power of palm oil firms.

After the Reuters story, the project found powerful backers that eventually restored the ministry’s support.

These included Indonesian businessman Rusmin Widjaja, who stepped in as a white knight to use his influence and financial backing. Singapore-based Widjaja supplies flight simulators to the Indonesian military but also invests in waste-to-energy projects. He recently told Reuters of his worries about the rapid loss of Indonesia’s forests.

“Forests in Indonesia need good governance, need clear rules and this project is a good for Indonesia and the world. That’s why I wanted to save this project from disarray,” he said.

Central Kalimantan governor A. Teras Narang also offered critical support in letter last month seen by Reuters.

Perhaps most influential, though, is Triwatty Marciano, a special adviser to Rimba Raya and wife of the Marciano Norman, the head of Indonesia’s State Intelligence Agency.

Ibu Watty, as she is known, helped resolve differences within the ministry and overcome opposition from PT Best. In a July 2012 letter to the ministry approved by Best President Director Winarto Tjajadi, and seen by Reuters, the firm effectively renounced its claim to any overlapping concessions in return for replacement land elsewhere.

For the project developers, Americans Todd Lemons and Jim Procanik, it marks the end of long and at times bitter process.

“Our mistake was in assuming that the logic of REDD and Rimba Raya was self-evident,” said Lemons, CEO of project development firm InfiniteEARTH.

Both men, along with Gazprom, invested heavily in Rimba Raya to ensure it met the toughest verification standards. Credits are expected to start to flow to Gazprom, Allianz and other buyers in early 2013.

Reuters

Monday, December 3, 2012

Swiss Shepherd dog adopts 3 baby tigers in Sochi, Russia

Digital Journal, Anne Sewell, Nov 22, 2012



Sochi - When Siberian tiger mother, Bagheera, refused to feed her newborn cubs, a white Swiss Shepherd dog, named Tally, came to the rescue and is feeding them herself.

The three tiger cubs, two male and one female, were abandoned recently by their mother at the local zoo, in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

According to zoo keepers, the dog was producing milk for the cubs that were born in October, even though her own puppies have not yet been born. Keepers are feeding Tally a high protein diet to ensure that she has enough milk for them all.

Zoo spokesperson, Victoria Kudlaeva, said she was surprised that Tally adopted the three cubs so quickly. They are apparently also receiving an additional supplement in the form of goat's milk.

The female cub has been named for her adopted mother, Tally, and the zoo is running a contest to name the two male cubs.

This is apparently not the first time that Baheera has abandoned her cubs at the zoo. The last time, five months ago, a sand-colored Shar Pei dog named Cleopatra did the duty as wet nurse for the two cubs. An article giving photos of the now grown cubs and their foster mother can be viewed here.

Swiss Shepherd dog Talli feeds orphaned tiger cubs
 and her own cubs in the Russian Black Sea resort of
Sochi. The little tigers were born last month in the
 Oktyabrsky Zoo but abandoned by their birth mother, 
tigress Bagira.  (AFP PHOTO / MIKHAIL MORDASOV)

Related Articles:

Modern family: Dog adopts abandoned tiger cubs (Video)


The Animals are Not Waiting for Us

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)

Molly The Dog Plays Mom To A Bundle Of Kittens
.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Norway Pledges to Help Protect Indonesia’s Forests

Jakarta Globe, Firdha Novialita & Charlotte Greenfield, December 02, 2012

Logging concessions can be seen carved out of the once lush
 forest that stretches across Sumatra. (AFP Photo/Romeo Gacad)

Related articles

Norway sent a delegation to Indonesia in the past week to discuss sustainability issues such as reducing the destruction of the Southeast Asian nation’s forests and curbing greenhouse gases.

As Indonesia tries to improve its living standards across the country, the cost to the environment is immeasurable as land is cleared for gathering lumber and setting up palm plantations. More funding is needed to combat the destruction of the nation’s forests and to reduce air pollution, and Norway has set aside $1 billion for Indonesia in reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD).

A champion of sustainable resources, and with a $656 billion sovereign wealth fund to back it, the Scandinavian country is also trying to influence other nations such as Brazil and Guyana to follow its lead to reduce carbon emissions worldwide, including by protecting forests. Trees absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, and preserving forests helps to reduce greenhouse gases.

“The most cost-efficient way by far of reducing carbon emissions is preserving rainforests,” Trond Giske, Norway’s minister of trade and industry, said in Jakarta on Tuesday. “So, by one billion [dollars] we can help the climate maybe five times or 10 times more than spending it in other areas.”

Indonesia represents about 3 percent of the world’s forests, according to the World Wildlife Fund, and daily clearing in remote areas such as Kalimantan, Sumatra and Papua is reducing acreage each year and threatening native animal species such as the orangutan, Sumatran tiger, rhinoceros and the pygmy elephant. The United Nations’ REDD program estimated that in the period of 2003 to 2006, about 1.17 million hectares of forest was cleared or degraded annually. That annual loss is equivalent to more than double the total area of Brunei. Indonesia’s land covers 1.9 billion hectares.

As of 2005, Indonesia ranked third among 16 developing nations in the Asia-Pacific region by household carbon dioxide emissions, at 150 million metric tons, according to a report this year by the United Nations Development Program. Coal-fired plants that produce electricity also contribute to air pollution.

The amount being set aside by Norway for reducing reforestation, though, is small compared to what the Indonesian government says it needs. The UN-REDD program in Indonesia itself has a budget of $5.6 million, according to its website.

Hadi Daryanto, secretary general of the Forestry Ministry, said that the ministry needed at least $5 billion to $10 billion each year in its fight to reduce carbon emissions through programs such as education and raising awareness among Indonesians living on the edge of rainforests.

“The first approach that we use is through persuasion or education,” he said in an interview with the Jakarta Globe on Friday, adding that illegal logging is still occurring, but the ministry has tried its best to persuade and educate the local people.

With REDD+, referring to reduction practices plus a strategy in conservation and sustainable management, data about Indonesia’s forested area have been gathered and can be used in formulating guidelines for a program in protecting existing forests, Hadi said.

The government, companies, local people and activists are involved in producing the REDD+ Safeguard Information Systems.

“This is the most progressive, or we can say, ready-to-use, database. It’s also describing information about people’s rights and environment problems,” Hadi said. “Under law, there is a regulation about damage to the forest. We are still trying to persuade and educate the people, companies or even NGOs [nongovernment organizations],” he said.

The ministry, Hadi added, also plans to expand protected areas to include all peatlands and secondary forests.

Sanctions or any legal maneuvers have been strictly enforced against companies or people who do not protect the environment, Hadi said.

“We continuously take legal moves and also coordinate with the police,” he said. “And we hope the local and international trade also support this effort by not accepting noncertified wood.”

Activists, though, want more urgent action to preserve forests for their fauna and for animals to live in their natural habitats. An orangutan died from burns in West Kalimantan in late August when villagers tried to drive it out of a plantation area because of a lack of understanding in cohabitation between animals and humans in fringe areas.

“Illegal logging is one of the biggest problems we have in Indonesia,” said Dannissa Aryani, an environmental activist and member of the Greenweb Indonesia community.

“It’s making animals lose their shelter. In the end, they will die of hunger, some of them dead at the hands of people themselves,” Dannissa said. “Talking about the budget to save our nature, I think the budget will never be sufficient. With or without other countries, we still need to work on it.”

Greenpeace says on its website that it is campaigning for an immediate moratorium on forest and peatland destruction in Indonesia, and for zero deforestation by 2015. USAID is also working with the Indonesian government to help reduce by half greenhouse gas emissions and also to reduce by 50 percent the rate of forest degradation.

At the recent 18th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Doha, one of the important issues discussed was the adaptation to climate change.

Ari Muhammad, Indonesian program coordinator for Climate Change Adaptation, an NGO, said the Indonesian delegation hoped that it could reach a deal on steps that could be quickly implemented like financing, technology transfer and capacity development. He hoped the plan would be implemented in three years.

A report released on Friday by Climate Action Tracker, which tracks global warming, showed that Indonesia received a medium rating for its efforts in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Norway is trying to lead by example in reducing air pollution. The nation of about five million people says it gets all of its electricity from water generation and is investing in other forms of renewable energy as it pledges to reduce its carbon emissions by 40 percent by 2020.

NASA said in a January report that the carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere exceeded 390 parts per million and would continue to rise. In 1880, when global temperatures were first recorded, it was about 285 parts per million, and by 1960, the average concentration had risen to about 315 parts per million, NASA said.

Norway is also appealing for both rich and poor nations to become involved in the fight as it strives to limit the increase in the global average surface temperature — which currently stands at 15 degrees Celsius — to a maximum of 2 degrees Celsius.

NASA estimated that net global warming was about 0.4 degree Celsius between the 1880s and 1970s and expected temperatures to rise even further. The US agency estimated that 2011 was the ninth warmest year in data going back to 1880, but that nine of the 10 warmest years were in the 21st century.

“The US has to be on board, China has to be on board, the rest of the world has to be on board and then we can have a framework to efficiently, on a global scale, reach the 2 degree goal,” Norwegian Trade Minister Giske said.

“We believe that’s still possible, but we’re running out of time. Thus, it also has to be said that the systems of spending the Norwegian money on preserving the rainforest is put in place, because we think that prosperous agricultural activities, prosperous legal use of good logging, prosperous industries can be combined with stopping climate change.”