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)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Down, Not Out: Threatened Species Find Sanctuary at Taman Safari

Jakarta Globe, Camelia Pasandaran & Ihsan Hartono, October 9, 2013

Taman Safari, located in Bogor, West Java, has 18 tigers in its breeding center,
 six of which were brought to the zoo for rehabilitation after suffering serious
injuries elsewhere. (JG Photo/Camelia Pasandaran)

The car came to a sudden stop as Taman Safari park director Tony Sumampau opened the door, yelling at a group of foreign tourists breaking one of the park’s most important rules: never step out of your vehicle.

“Get back into the car,” he yelled at the confused-looking men.

The men stood there sheepishly before climbing back inside. Guest safety is a constant concern for Tony. Taman Safari is a cage-less zoo and a veritable Noah’s Ark of animals. Our van rolled past wandering giraffes, bathing hippos and crouching lions as we headed deeper into the park.

The beasts, which seem tame enough from the car window, have enticed curious visitors from their cars. The consequences of getting too close to a wild animal, Tony warned, can be severe.

“We had an incident one time where a foreigner ventured outside of his vehicle and got bitten,” he said. “The embassy got involved.”

Located in the Puncak highlands of Bogor, West Java, Taman Safari is one of Indonesia’s most famous zoos. It houses roughly 2,500 animals with a special focus on Indonesian species. At the safari section of the zoo, visitors can drive through the grounds and gaze out the window at a wide range of free-roaming animals.

But the zoo is also known for something else: it’s an internationally recognized animal-rehabilitation center tasked with treating some of the nation’s most critically endangered animals.

Decades of unchecked deforestation and rampant poaching have taken a toll on Indonesia’s population of forest-dwelling animals. The Sumatran rhino, elephant and tiger are all critically endangered.

Tiger tank

It’s a tough life for Indonesia’s remaining Sumatran tigers.

Conservation groups estimate that there are fewer than 400 Sumatran tigers left in the wild. Those that remain face serious threats from villagers, poachers and shrinking habitats. The cats, the smallest living tiger species in the world, used to thrive in the heavy jungles of Sumatra, where they existed parallel to cousins in Bali and Java.

Experts now worry that without intervention the Sumatran tiger will face similar extinction.

Tigers in the wild fall under the protection of several groups, including the Ministry of Forestry and armed park rangers. But when the animals are injured by humans — caught in snares or neglected by other zoos — they often end up at Taman Safari.

The zoo has 18 tigers in its breeding center, six of which were brought to Taman Safari for rehabilitation after suffering serious injuries elsewhere.

Dara, a five-year-old tiger, was found trapped in a snare in Jambi.

“She was taken to the Jambi zoo at first, but [after she came here], the infection caused by the snare left us with no other choice but to remove her paw,” Bongot Huaso Mulia, a veterinarian at Taman Safari, told the Jakarta Globe.

She rarely leaves the platform in her enclosure and shields her missing paw under her body constantly, keenly aware of her handicap.

“She doesn’t want people to know that she’s missing a paw,” Tony said. “They [tigers] behave like humans.”

Salamah, another female tiger, was found trapped in a snare in Aceh. Her injuries were so severe veterinarians had to remove one of her legs.

“She was less than a year old at the time of the accident,” Tony said. “She was caught for three days in the trap when a team from Syah Kuala University found her. They amputated her paw, but her leg showed signs of necrosis, so they had to amputate.

“After several amputations, her leg was gone.”

Melani was rescued from the Surabaya Zoo and brought to Taman Safari
after years of abuse. (JG Photo/Camelia Pasandaran)

No gilded cages

Sumatran tigers face threats in captivity as well.

Taman Safari’s most famous tiger-in-residence, Melani, made waves internationally when photos of her emaciated frame were posted online by animal rights activists. The photos served as a stark reminder of the state of some of Indonesia’s zoos.

The Surabaya Zoo, Melani’s former home, was less a zoo than a dungeon — a sad symbol of neglect and mismanagement where dozens of animals dropped dead or disappeared.

A giraffe was found dead with 20 kilograms of plastic in its stomach. Komodo dragons disappeared. An African lion slowly died in pain.

Melani, who was born in captivity, was fed a diet of formaldehyde-tainted meat for years, destroying her digestive tract in the process. The tiger lost all her teeth and fell seriously ill, dropping to less than half her recommended weight.

Her condition was poor enough that zoo staff first recommended Melani be put down. But after months of treatment at Taman Safari, she was on the mend.

Nowadays, Melani still struggles to keep on weight and consume solid food. She spends her time silently sitting in her enclosure, displaying none of the ferocity usually associated with her species.

“She’s no longer suffering from anemia and hipovolemia, and her blood tests are showing positive results. However, her malabsorption issue persists and since she is getting older, it is difficult for her to go back to normal,” Yohana, Melani’s veterinarian, previously told the Jakarta Globe.

Though Melani has survived her mistreatment, it’s apparent that she will feel the effects of years of neglect for the rest of her life.

A better tomorrow?

The future looks dim for Indonesia’s critically endangered animals. Deforestation continues despite several high-profile commitments to curb the destructive practice.

Animal-human conflicts have become increasingly common in Sumatra, with villages reporting elephant and tiger issues in Aceh and Riau. The Indonesian government has made commitments to protect its endangered species, but a parallel push for sustained economic growth has opened up previously untouched tracts of forest to potential development.

The island of Sumatra, home to some of the most critically endangered species, is ground zero for the nation’s agri-business sector. Logging and plantation conversion have decimated the natural forests in Riau, home to Southeast Asia’s largest pulp mill.

From 1985 to 1997, an estimated 67,000 square kilometers of forest were lost in Sumatra.

Furthermore, annual brush fires tear through the province, choking the region in thick haze and injuring local wildlife — including several tapirs who now live at Taman Safari.

Back to the breeding center, a now-healthy Sumatran tiger named Bimo paces his enclosure. After being rescued by the Riau Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) and brought to Taman Safari in 2011, Bimo was reportedly poisoned.

“A nearby river from the place of his rescue contained diazinon, a type of insecticide used in the area,” said Bongot Huaso Mulia, a veterinarian at the zoo. “So we assume that he ingested that.”

As his caretakers passed his cage, Bimo let out a devastating roar, a testament to his health and well-being.

As wildlife organizations try to work with plantation companies to monitor endangered species on the island and thwart further habitat destruction, places like Taman Safari provide a safe haven for Sumatra’s most vulnerable animals.

Tapirs are among the animals that Taman Safari's rehabilitation center
houses. (JG Photo/Camelia Pasandaran)

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Surabaya Zoo, which is home to almost 3,000 animals, has come under fire for its
gross negligence and mistreatment. (Photo courtesy of Jakarta Animal Aid etwork).

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