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)

Monday, October 14, 2013

The amazing intelligence of elephants

Researchers have found that elephants understand pointing. It's more evidence of their intelligence, yet people still hunt them

theguardian.com, John Sweeney, Monday 14 October 2013

African elephants help a calf up a slope after fording the Ewaso Nyiro river
in Samburu National Reserve. Photograph: AFP Photo/Carl de Souza

Science in the 21st century is at last beginning to map the intellect of elephants – and that may cause trouble for those who shoot elephants for sport, such as big game hunter Donald Trump Junior, or for profit, such as poachers exploiting the greed for ivory in China. The scientists are playing catch-up, proving right the insights of a poet from the 17th century, a biologist from the 19th century and a teak forester from the 20th.

At the University of St Andrews, Prof Richard Byrne and his colleagues have discovered that elephants immediately understand people when they point with their arms. This skill comes naturally, and suggests a depth to elephant intelligence first identified by the poet John Donne, who wrote that the elephant is "nature's great masterpiece … the only harmless great thing."

Two centuries on, Darwin wrote that man and the higher animals share "the same senses, intuitions, and sensations, similar passions, affections, and emotions, even the more complex ones such as jealousy, suspicion, emulation, gratitude, and magnanimity; they practise deceit and are revengeful."

In Burma, before and during the second war, James "Elephant Bill" Williams observed the amazing intelligence of his elephants, their empathy, their emotional sophistication and their anger. For my novel, Elephant Moon, set in Burma in 1942, I drew on Elephant Bill's wisdom, and, without wishing to give the plot away, Darwin's point about revenge.

The more I read about the massive elephant brain, the more convinced I've become, in the words of one psychologist, Graeme Shannon of Sussex University, "there seems to be something going on there". He was talking about elephants in Kenya being able to distinguish between different languages – English, safe, the language of tourists clicking cameras; Maa – potentially dangerous, the language of the Maasai warriors who occasionally kill elephants; and Swahili, generally safe. The elephants seemed anxious when someone spoke Maa; the moment she switched to Swahili, they became calm.

Animal psychologist Karen McComb, also at Sussex, played back elephant sounds – the deep, gargling rumble they make – to discover how many individual voices one animal could recognise. The answer? More than 100. Research in Japan suggests they can count, too. But it is the empathy of elephants that stands out, that makes them seem so alike to humans. My (wholly unscientific) research on elephants squares with Prof Byrne, when he wrote: "What elephants share with humans is that they live in an elaborate and complex network in which support, empathy, and help for others are critical for survival."

All of this raises the stakes in the battle with those who carry on shooting, in some cases poisoning, elephants for pleasure and gain. If the elephant brain is much more like the human one than hitherto thought, then we may be looking at a Kantian categorical imperative: "Thou shalt not kill elephants".

And that means taking on Chinese power. The New York Times last year reported that 70% of the illegal ivory trade is going to China and that Chinese online forums offer ivory chopsticks, bookmarks, rings, cups and combs, and advice on how to smuggle it.

The poachers will stop killing elephants when the Chinese market for ivory collapses. To that end, education and enforcement matter – but that may not be easy if, as the New York Times suggested, the People's Liberation Army loves nothing more than an ivory trinket.

George Orwell wrote in his essay, Shooting an Elephant: "I did not want to shoot the elephant. I watched him beating his bunch of grass against his knees, with that preoccupied grandmotherly air that elephants have. It seemed to me that it would be murder to shoot him."

And about that, as so much else, Orwell was bang on target.

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