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)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Endangered Sumatran Elephant Born at Taman Safari Zoo

Jakarta Globe, Agence France-Presse, April 17, 2013

Five-day-old female baby Sumatran elephant, Kartini, stands next to her
40-year-old mother Nina, at the animal hospital of Taman Safari Zoo in Cisarua,
 West Java, on Tuesday. Kartini, named after the country's most celebrated feminist,
Raden Ajeng Kartini, was born on Friday under a captive breeding program and is
in good health. (AFP Photo/Bay Ismoyo) 
  
Related articles

A baby Sumatran elephant peeps out timidly from between the legs of its mother at an Indonesian zoo, where its birth has given a boost to the critically endangered animal.

Kartini, named after the country’s most celebrated feminist, Raden Ajeng Kartini, was born on Friday under a captive breeding program and is in good health.

“Her birth is the result of conservation efforts at the zoo, and we’re all happy to welcome her,” Taman Safari zoo spokesman Yulius Suprihardo told AFP.

The zoo said that she seemed happy, and was feeding from her mother every 30 minutes.

The 105 kilogram elephant was born just south of the capital Jakarta in Cisarua, Bogor, but the animal is native to Sumatra island, where its population has halved in one generation, according to environmental group WWF.

There are fewer than 3,000 Sumatran elephants remaining in the wild, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Rampant expansion of palm oil, paper plantations, and mines, has destroyed nearly 70 percent of the Sumatran elephant’s forest habitat over 25 years, the WWF says, and the animals remain a target of poaching.

Three of the elephants were found dead in Riau province in November last year, with officials saying they were probably poisoned in a revenge attack by palm oil plantation workers who suspected the animals had destroyed their huts.

Agence France-Presse

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Indian woman ditches corporate world for dirt-poor village

Yahoo – AFP, Penny MacRae, 16 april 2013

A villager collects water from a well beside a drinking water reservoir in Soda,
 India on November 20, 2012. Soda is a byword for backwardness in this remote
 corner of Rajasthan where the houses are made of mud, electricity supplies
are erratic, literacy levels are below 50%

Chhavi Rajawat, an MBA graduate and one-woman whirlwind, is seeking to drag her impoverished ancestral village in the desert state of Rajasthan into the 21st Century.

Rajawat, who spent her family holidays in sun-scorched Soda, became its sarpanch or elected village head three years ago after villagers implored her to take charge with dozens turning up at her home in state capital Jaipur to persuade her.

Chhavi Rajawat talks to villagers in
Soda, a remote village in India's
Rajasthan on November 19, 2012.
"The villagers broke all caste, gender and religious barriers to elect me," said Rajawat, a glamorous 33-year-old whose 10,000 constituents are mostly farmers and labourers largely untouched by India's economic boom.

She ditched her corporate career with one of India's biggest telecom firms to become sarpanch and has been working ever since to bring better water, solar power, paved roads, toilets and a bank to her ancestral village.

Soda is a byword for backwardness in this remote corner of Rajasthan where the houses are made of mud, electricity supplies are erratic, literacy levels are below 50 percent and the fear of drought is never far away.

The villagers said there had been no progress since Rajawat's brigadier grandfather, now in his 90s, had served as sarpanch two decades ago and they wanted someone else in the family to take on the role.

"I didn't have a choice," said a smiling Rajawat, who represented India at a recent UN poverty summit.

Her story reveals the potential of good grassroots leadership in making a difference in a country plagued by corruption and inefficiency. It also shows the limitations.

Chhavi Rajawat (2nd L, back) is pictured
 during a village meeting in Soda, India
on November 20, 2012.
Swarmed by villagers as she walks down the road, Rajawat greets them by name as they share family news and pepper her with questions about progress on various projects.

"Nobody has been able to do what she has done -- no other sarpanch has done as much," said 30-year-old farmer Jai Singh.

Rajawat was visiting a computer centre in a no-frills stone structure that she set up with the help of a corporate sponsor. The spartan interior doesn't bother the youngsters who tap away eagerly on keyboards on long trestle tables.

"It's a huge opportunity for them to get some skills -- there was nothing before," said teacher Mohammed Sadeek, 25.

But Rajawat, who now divides her time between Soda and Jaipur, chafes impatiently at the sluggish pace of change.

"India can't keep advancing at the same slow rate -- it must go faster. Otherwise we won't be able to give people the schools, the electricity, the water and the jobs they need," she said.

She was also checking on the progress of a scheme equipping primitive homes with toilets, which have made a big difference to locals who earlier had to relieve themselves outside -- and the women only after darkness set in.

There are many women sarpanchs in India because a number of these posts are reserved for them. But what sets Rajawat apart -- aside from her iPhone, big-rimmed sunglasses, blue jeans and youth -- is her education.

She holds a master's degree in business administration from the Indian Institute of Modern Management in Pune, rated one of the nation's top 10 business schools, which she says helps her draft funding plans and proposals.

"She's unique. We need her kind of people, they are a breath of fresh air, they have vision," said government district collector Muktanand Agarwal.

Among the achievements is her arrangement for medical checks of villagers by doctors from the state capital Jaipur, a bone-jolting two-hour drive away.

Chhavi Rajawat interacts with villagers in Soda, a remote village in India's 
Rajasthan state on November 19, 2012.

She also organised the opening of the first bank in Soda -- a branch of the state-run State Bank of India -- a significant success as 90 percent of India's 600,000 villages have no banks.
But all that change doesn't come without raising some local hackles.

When she constructed a drinking water reservoir that has created a shimmering blue lake in the middle of the village, she got her first taste of the bureaucratic hurdles that have repeatedly thwarted her.

"I was told we could not use government machinery to clean up reservoirs. Finally, they (the government) told me to do it on my own," she said.

And that's what she did -- raising money from friends, family and companies to fund many of her projects.

Baskar Petshali, secretary of a local welfare charitable trust, say her problems stem from the fact "she's a clean politician" who refuses to give bribes to get jobs done.

A senior state government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, called Rajawat's initiatives "praiseworthy" but added she "wants do things very quickly -- she treads on toes and upsets vested interests".

Rajawat is hopeful better leadership will come with the Indian government's new drive to make lists of services and funds available on the Internet.

"If everything is online, people will start demanding accountability from their politicians," she said.

She has not decided whether she will continue in development work once her five-year terms ends, but she is hoping her example will inspire other educated young people to take time out to serve their communities.

"Your roots are your foundation. You have to start at the bottom to make a difference -- and there is so much left to do."

Salt-tolerant rice bred at Philippines institute

Google – AFP, 16 April 2013 

A farmer plows his rice paddy in Tayabas in Quezon Province south of
Manila on November 15, 2012 (AFP/File, Jay Directo)

MANILA — Scientists have successfully bred a rice variety that is salt-tolerant, which could enable farmers to reclaim coastal areas rendered useless by sea water, a Philippine-based institute said Tuesday.

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) near Manila said its researchers are in the process of perfecting the variety of rice that would be the most salt-tolerant ever developed before field testing it widely.

"They hope to have the new variety available to farmers to grow within four to five years," the institute said in a statement.

IRRI's media office said the new variety would offer twice the salt-tolerance as previous attempts to breed such a variety.

India and Bangladesh could potentially be the biggest beneficiaries, the IRRI said, remarking that about 20 million hectares (49 million acres) of rice farms worldwide have been affected by salinity.

The new variety was bred by crossing an exotic wild rice species found in brackish water with one cultivated at the institute.

The result is a "new rice line that can expel salt it takes from the soil into the air through salt glands it has on its leaves", the statement said.

"This will make saline stricken rice farms in coastal areas usable to farmers," said lead scientist Kshirod Jena.

"These farmlands are usually abandoned by coastal farmers because the encroaching seawater has rendered the soil useless."

Incidents such as the 2011 tsunami in Japan which flooded thousands of hectares of rice farms with sea water have spurred the development around the world of new varieties of rice that can grow in such areas.

Rice is considered one of three major domesticated crops that feed the world, along with wheat and corn, and scientists have been continuously looking to develop new varieties to increase production.