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)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Illegal python skins feed hunger for fashionable handbags and shoes

Python farms could be the antidote to the $1bn-a-year black market in these fashionable and expensive skins

The GuardianSarah ButlerMonday 31 March 2014

The Python Conservation Partnership suggested python farms could be part
 of the solution to the problem of the black market in python skins. Photograph:
Image Broker/REX

Illegally traded python skins worth $1bn (£600m) are being imported into Europe every year as weak regulation fails to stop illicit traders capitalising on demand for the dramatically patterned leather.

Half a million skins are imported legally each year from south-east Asia, most of them destined for Italy, Germany and France, where they are made into designer handbags, shoes and belts.

Legal imports have grown from 350,000 skins valued at just €100m (£82.6m) in 2005 as Beyoncé, Johnny Depp's partner, Amber Heard, Khloé Kardashian and Tamara Ecclestone have jumped on the trend for the exotic handbags, which can sell for more than £4,000 each. But the black market in skins is thought to be worth about the same amount again, amid widespread circumventing of international agreements to limit the number of pythons taken from the wild. In its first report on how to improve the international trade and protect pythons, the Python Conservation Partnership, backed by the owner of Gucci – Kering – and the International Union for Conservation of Nature, said python farms could be part of the answer.

"This report offers [an] alternative solution to the sourcing of python skins for which demand is escalating. However, there is still some way to go towards more transparent, better-managed python farming," said Jean-Christophe Vié, deputy director of the International Union for Conservation of Nature's global species programme. "We must make sure that attention is not diverted from the urgent need to preserve wild pythons and their habitats through direct site conservation and action against illegal trade."

In the past, farming of south-east Asia's reticulated python (Python reticulatus) and Burmese python (Python molurus bivittatus) – two of the world's largest snakes – had been dismissed as uneconomic because pythons were thought to take too long to mature and to be too difficult to feed and breed in captivity.

The report said commercial farms do exist in China, Vietnam and Thailand. It recommends this industry could be improved with the introduction of better monitoring, more humane slaughter techniques and the urgent development of technology such as DNA or isotope testing to help identify whether a skin is farmed or taken from the wild. Such tests could help prevent the "laundering" of illegally caught wild pythons through farms. That practice is thought to be so widespread that the report says that all supposedly farmed python skin from Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia and Malaysia should be treated with caution as there is little proof that farms exist in these countries.

Marie-Claire Daveu, chief sustainability officer at Kering, said that demand for python skin accessories was rising at Gucci, especially from Asia, and so it was keen to ensure a sustainable source of supply. "Our objective is to be sure that we don't put in danger these two species of python and their eco-system," she said.

The company currently buys farmed and wild-caught skins certified under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) scheme from Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Daveu said that there needed to be a balance between ethically farmed pythons and the trade in wild python skins, which provided jobs for local communities that could support the protection of the reptiles in their own habitat. But she admitted: "Today there is no way to be fully sure where the skin has come from."

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