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, March 31, 2014

Police arrest rare animal smuggling suspects across China

Want China Times, Xinhua 2014-03-31

Police in China have recently arrested 24 people suspected of smuggling and selling products made from rare and endangered animals, including bear paws and pangolin body parts.

The Ministry of Public Security said in a statement on Friday that about 4,500 products have been confiscated in police raids across nine provinces.

The value of the animal products was estimated at more than 10 million yuan (US$1.6 million), it said, without specifying when the arrests and confiscations took place.

In July 2013, police in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu province, uncovered a local restaurant that was purchasing, transporting and selling rare and endangered animal species and products.

Led by the clue, police found two suspects, who were identified by their surname Deng and Li, smuggling rare animal products from overseas, which were then sold and stored in three places in Nanjing.

The products in Nanjing were then sold to Shanghai, and the provinces of Hebei, Shanxi, Jiangsu, Anhui, Shandong, Henan and Shaanxi.


A tiger is killed in Leizhou, Guangdong province. (Internet photo)

Related Article:

Writers and academics back pro-animal party's European election list

DutchNews.nl, Sunday 30 March 2014

The South African writer John M.
Coetzee (NOS/AFP)
Candidates for the pro-animal PvdD in the European parliamentary elections in May include South African writer and Nobel prize winner John M. Coetzee, the party said on its website at the weekend.

The PvdD has put together a string of writers, academics and philosophers to act as lijstduwer – a ceremonial position at the bottom of the list of formal candidates. Becoming a lijstduwer – literally list pusher – shows support for the party’s policies without taking a winnable position on the list.

Other foreigners who have stepped forward to close the list are American philosopher and animal rights campaigner Tom Regan and Canadian philosopher Will Kymlicka.

The party says Dutch voting law also allows people from outside the EU to stand for election, although the election council is still studying the plan.

The PvdD list also includes Dutch prize-winning authors Maarten Biesheuvel, A. F. Th. van der Heijden and Jan Siebelink, academics Peter Nicolaï, Ewald Engelen and Paul Cliteur and filmmaker Eddy Terstall.

The campaign is headed by Groningen provincial councillor Anja Hazekamp. The PvdD is not currently represented in the European parliament.

The PvdD’s European election manifesto (in English)


The touching moment was captured on
film. Photo: Stichting Ambulancewens


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.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Danish zoo that killed Marius the giraffe puts down four lions

Copenhagen zoo says it has euthanised two old lions and two cubs to make way for a new male

The Guardian - AFP, Copenhagen, March 2014

Lions eating the remains of Marius the giraffe at Copenhagen zoo last
month. Photograph: Gonzales Photo/Demotix/Corbis

A Danish zoo that prompted international outrage by putting down a healthy giraffe and dissecting it in public has killed two lions and their two cubs to make way for a new male.

"Because of the pride of lions' natural structure and behaviour, the zoo has had to euthanise the two old lions and two young lions who were not old enough to fend for themselves," Copenhagen zoo said.

The 10-month-old lions would have been killed by the new male lion "as soon as he got the chance", it said.

The four lions were put down on Monday after the zoo failed to find a new home for them, a spokesman said. All four were from the same family.

He said there would be no public dissection of the animals since "not all our animals are dissected in front of an audience".

Within a few days the new male will be introduced to the zoo's two female lions, who have reached breeding age.

The zoo's chief executive, Steffen Straede, said: "The zoo is recognised worldwide for our work with lions, and I am proud that one of the zoo's own brood now forms the centre of a new pride of lions."

Last month the zoo's scientific director, Bengt Holst, received death threats over the decision to kill an 18-month-old giraffe, Marius, who was put down with a bolt gun before children were allowed to watch his body being chopped up, dissected and fed to lions.

The move shocked thousands of animal lovers around the world who had signed an online petition to save him. The zoo said on its website it had no choice but to prevent the animal attaining adulthood since under European Association of Zoos and Aquaria rules inbreeding between giraffes is to be avoided.

Many Danes were surprised and even angered by the international reaction to the event, with a leading expert on the ethics of the treatment of animals decrying the "Disneyfication" of zoo creatures.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Myanmar’s Log Export Ban to Hurt Businessmen But Help Forests

Jakarta Globe, Jared Ferrie, Mar 23, 2014

An elephant pulls a teak log in a logging camp in Pinlebu township, Sagaing,
 northern Myanmar, in this picture taken March 6, 2014. (Reuters Photo/Soe Zeya Tun)

Yangon. Myanmar will ban the export of raw timber logs from April 1, choking off profits in a sector that provided critical funding to the country’s former military rulers for decades, as a new reformist government steps up efforts to save forests.

Myanmar has some of Asia’s largest remaining expanses of forests, from the slopes of Himalayan foothills in the north to steamy rainforest in the south.

But it has been disappearing fast.

Forest cover shrank almost a fifth, to 47 percent of land area in 2010, from 58 percent in 1990, Forestry Ministry data shows.

Total timber exports of 1.24 million cubic tonnes in the fiscal year to March 2013 brought in more than $1 billion in revenue, government figures show.

While timber remains an important income stream for Myanmar’s rulers after a quasi-civilian government took over from the military in 2011, it is not as critical as before.

To recognize Myanmar’s economic and political reforms, the European Union, the United States and other countries have eased or lifted sanctions, allowing foreign investment in sectors such as telecommunications.

The reforms are now reaching into the forestry sector, with the government ready to put conservation above profit.

The ban is likely to hurt the forestry industry, which generates about 90 percent of export earnings from raw logs and not finished products, said Barber Cho, head of the Myanmar Timber Merchants’ Association.

“Myanmar industry might suffer, some people might suffer,” said Barber Cho, whose group represents about 900 companies.

“It’s a difficult and complicated juncture for us.”

Under the new rule, revenues could plummet, forcing forestry firms to invest in new sawmills to stay competitive.

But the action was necessary, as the former junta had practiced “legal overproduction” that decimated Myanmar’s forests for decades, Barber Cho said.

Crippled by sanctions, chronic economic mismanagement and starved for hard currency, the generals gave logging concessions to their cronies to export raw logs in exchange for the cash needed to prop up their rule.

Forest products were the military junta’s second most important source of legal foreign exchange and exports earned $428 million in the fiscal year to March 2005, natural resources watchdog group Global Witness said.

Among the big companies involved in the business are Asia World, the Htoo Group, and Yuzana Co.

Htoo Group and Yuzana are the two biggest palm oil companies in the environmentally sensitive southern region of Tanintharyi.

Yuzana also runs a 81,000-hectare biofuel concession in the world’s largest tiger reserve in northern Kachin state, where the military has contracted with Asia World to build roads and dams, conservation group Forest Trends says.

“All these renowned companies were granted associated rights over timber extraction in their project area,” the Washington-based group said in a recent report.

Challenging the cronies

The ban, covering all kinds of trees, will end Myanmar’s status as the only country to export raw teak logs from natural forests rather than plantations. Exports of teak wood alone earned $359 million last year.

“Of course, this ban should have been imposed a long time ago, but it’s better late than never,” a forestry ministry official told Reuters.

“We believe it will help encourage wood-based industry and increase job opportunities,” added the official, who declined to be identified as he was not authorised to talk to media.

From next year, the government also plans to slash by 80 percent the amount of teak it allows to be taken from the forests, Barber Cho said.

How the cronies will fare is an open question, but it’s clear that Myanmar’s notoriously opaque timber industry has long been a key source of wealth for many prominent businessmen.

Tycoon Tay Za said his Htoo Group, engaged in businesses ranging from mining to tourism, grew from a humble start, based on a loan from his mother-in-law to set up a sawmill.

Tay Za said he did not exploit connections to win concessions, which were allotted through a bidding process, but he did say his father served with top figures in the military, including Than Shwe, who ruled Myanmar from 1992 to 2011, while Tay Za was building his business empire.

“It was a fair competition,” Tay Za said in a December interview. “No need to know the minister, only open competition.”

Groups such as Forest Trends and others familiar with the way the junta worked say tenders were for show. The real concessions were shared out in backroom deals.

“It was not a tender system, it was a negotiation system,” said Barber Cho.

Data shows one of Tay Za’s firms received a 270,000-hectare tract of rainforest in a proposed national park in Tanintharyi, one of Myanmar’s most biodiverse regions.

Tay Za logged almost two-thirds of another 65,000 hectares of nearby palm oil concessions awarded to him during the five years to fiscal 2007/8, data shows.

Tay Za, as well as representatives of Yuzana and Asia World, did not respond to requests for comment.

The log export ban will force dominant forestry companies to invest in new processes and diversify, said Aung Thura, of the Yangon-based research and consulting firm Thura Swiss.

“It will have an impact on them, but it won’t destroy them,” he said. “It’s in their interest to diversify, not just export raw logs.”

— Additional reporting by Aung Hla Tun in Yangon

Reuters

Friday, March 21, 2014

The moment a giraffe 'says goodbye' to a dying zoo worker

DutchNews.nl, Friday 21 March 2014

The touching moment was captured on film. Photo: Stichting Ambulancewens

A 54-year-old zoo worker suffering from terminal cancer was 'kissed' by a giraffe while on a visit to say goodbye to the animals whose pens he cleaned.

Mario was wheeled around the Blijdorp zoo in Rotterdam in his hospital bed thanks to the charity Ambulance Wish Foundation. While visiting the giraffes, one approached Mario and appeared to nuzzle him.

‘It was a very special moment. You saw him smile,’ the foundation’s director Kees Veldboer told the AD. ‘It was special that the animals knew him and could sense all was not well with him.’

Mario, who had learning difficulties, had worked at the zoo for most of his adult life.

Related Articles:

"Soul Communication" - Feb 22-23, 2014 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Text version Part I)

“… Animals. You love them, don't you? What do you know about animals, especially the ones you care for and love, the ones you call pets? They have personalities, don't they? They can talk to you! When they communicate, what does that sound like, dear one? What do their voices sound like? "Well, Kryon, you already know they don't have an actual voice." Oh really? Then how do they "talk" to you? Now it gets good, doesn't it? They communicate through concepts. Their conceptual thought groups are available for you to pick up. So guess where you pick up these thoughts? It's through your pineal, which is the interpreter of multidimensional things in your body. It's not your brain, which is picking up their animal broadcasts, dear ones.

Now, some of you are good at this kind of communication. There are ones who are listening to this right now called animal whisperers, and they know exactly what I'm talking about. Why do they call it whispering? I give you my interpretation. It's because the communications are not linear, and they whisper to you through the pineal and not through brain synapse. It comes in thought groups, very softly and all at once, like the smudge. When you pick it up, you know what the dog or cat or horse or hamster or rabbit is trying to communicate. You know the requests they have, perhaps the distress they have, perhaps the celebration or the love they have.

Now, this kind of communication with animals is easy for you, because you all have felt this. I believe you know what I'm speaking about. So apply this lesson, for what I'm teaching today is no different and uses the same process you're going to use in real life and in meditation when you listen to God.

"Kryon, is it true that communicating with animals is soul communication?" Yes, it is theirs to yours, and if you're good at the interpretation of their thoughts, then why doubt yourself about the next step? Practice doing this communication with your own Higher-Self. Your Higher-Self is that part of yourself that vibrates higher than your cellular dimensionality, and it's part of your "soul group". This "soul group" is part of the nine attributes of the Human Being and is the core of you. It is the part that gives you information from the other side of the veil from that which you call God. …”


Kryon Q&A

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.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Rare female crocodile suffocated during mating in Dutch zoo

Google – AFP, 19 March 2014

Undated handout photo obtained on March 19, 2014 shows the Malaysian
 false gharial female crocodile which was killed during mating at a zoo
in Amsterdam (Amsterdam Zoo/AFP, Ronald van Weeren)

The Hague — A very rare and endangered female crocodile has died of suffocation in a Dutch zoo during attempted mating with a "dominant" male partner, the zoo said on Wednesday.

"In the end she couldn't handle the dominant mating behaviour of the male gavial," Amsterdam's Artis zoo said in a statement of the false gavial (Tomistoma schlegelii) crocodile, introduced in October as part of a breeding programme.

During mating, the male false gavial holds the female down with his mouth "to show his superiority", the zoo said, stressing that the female had "accepted this behaviour".

"She eventually died of suffocation," the zoo said, with multiple bites all over her body, in particular around the neck.

There are only an estimated 2,500 false gavial left in the world. The crocodile is native to Malaysia, southern Myanmar and Indonesia's Borneo, Java and Sumatra.

The zoo had for years had a male and female false gavial but they did not mate and so they introduced another female, who died.

In the wild male false gavials can mate with multiple females.

Only 10 zoos in Europe have a captive false gavial.

Dog 'sold for $2 million' in China

Google – AFP, 19 March 2014

One of the Tibetan mastiffs (L) was sold in China for almost $2 million, a 
report said on March 19, in what could be the most expensive dog sale ever (AFP)

Beijing — A Tibetan mastiff puppy has been sold in China for almost $2 million, a report said Wednesday, in what could be the most expensive dog sale ever.

A property developer paid 12 million yuan ($1.9 million) for the one-year-old golden-haired mastiff at a "luxury pet" fair Tuesday in the eastern province of Zhejiang, the Qianjiang Evening News reported.

"They have lion's blood and are top-of-the-range mastiff studs," the dog's breeder Zhang Gengyun was quoted as telling the paper, adding that another red-haired canine had sold for 6 million yuan.

Tibetan mastiffs, such as this one pictured 
April 6, 2012 at a dog show near Beijing, 
have become a prized status symbol among
China's wealthy, sending prices skyrocketing
(AFP/File, Mark Ralston)
Enormous and sometimes ferocious, with round manes lending them a passing resemblance to lions, Tibetan mastiffs have become a prized status symbol among China's wealthy, sending prices skyrocketing.

The golden-haired animal was 80 centimetres (31 inches) tall, and weighed 90 kilograms (nearly 200 pounds), Zhang said, adding that he was sad to sell the animals. Neither was named in the report.

"Pure Tibetan mastiffs are very rare, just like our nationally treasured pandas, so the prices are so high," he said.

One red mastiff named "Big Splash" reportedly sold for 10 million yuan ($1.5 million) in 2011, in the most expensive dog sale then recorded.

The buyer at the Zhejiang expo was said to be a 56-year-old property developer from Qingdao who hopes to breed dogs himself, according to the report.

The newspaper quoted the owner of a mastiff breeding website as saying that last year one animal sold for 27 million yuan at a fair in Beijing.

A Tibetan mastiff dog is displayed for sale at a mastiff show in Baoding, Hebei
province, south of Beijing on March 9, 2013 (AFP/File, Ed Jones)

But an industry insider surnamed Xu told the paper that the high prices may be the result of insider agreements among breeders to boost their dogs' worth.

"A lot of the sky-high priced deals are just breeders hyping each other up, and no money actually changes hands," Xu said.

Owners say the mastiffs, descendants of dogs used for hunting by nomadic tribes in central Asia and Tibet, are fiercely loyal and protective.

Related Article:


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Watchdog Accuses Companies of Mining in Conservation Area

Jakarta Globe, Tunggadewa Mattangkilang, Mar 18, 2014

A general view of a coal mining area in Samarinda, East Kalimantan.
(AFP Photo/Bay Ismoyo)

Balikpapan. A mining watchdog group in East Kalimantan says that a number of companies are using conservation areas in the region for mining activities.

According to the East Kalimantan Mining Advocacy Network (Jatam), Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) data showed that up to 42 licenses were issued for mining activities within the Hutan Raya Conservation Park in Bukit Soeharto, Kutai Kartanegara, of which 31 were issued in a 1991 decree by the Forestry Ministry and 11 in a 2009 ministerial decree.

“It isn’t only operational licenses, but there are also five coal hauling lanes within the conservation park. The state losses — if calculated using the non-tax state revenue method — would stand at Rp 18.1 trillion [$1.6 billion] from 2008 until today,” said Merah Johansyah of Jatam. “It is accumulated over five years, and the losses could be higher because this is only a partial calculation. There are other losses that have not been included in the calculations.”

Merah said that the 1991 ministerial decree shows that among the companies working in the conservation area are Moreseni Indonesia Pratama, with a mining area of 1,991 hectares, 50.4 hectares of which are located within the conservation park

Additionally, the 2009 ministerial decree mentions Tuah Bumi Etam with a 65,000-hectare mining area, 64,000 of which are located within the Hutan Raya Conservation Park, while companies identified as Lembuswana Perkasa and Energi Bumi Kartanegara reportedly owned hauling lanes from 2007 and 2010 respectively.

Jatam says it has filed the case to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) late in 2013, with regional officials and Forestry Ministry officials being named in its report.

“We have reported this case to the KPK, so we hope the KPK will immediately launch an investigation into this case so it can put behind bars the officials or businesses who have caused damage to the environment,” Merah said.

He also called on Kutai Kartanegara district chief Rita Widyasari to look into the matter and revoke operational licenses that were issued in violation of the law.

“The licenses have to be revoked if [the authorities] are serious in cleaning up the mining sector in Kutai Kartanegara, especially where bad mining companies are concerned,” he said.

Related Articles:



Sunday, March 16, 2014

Police Warn Riau Fire Starters as SBY Lands in Province

Jakarta Globe, Mar 16, 2014

An Indonesian motorbike rider dives on a hazy street in Pekan Baru,
Riau on March 14, 2014. (EPA Photo)

Pekanbaru. The chief of the National Police has sent a strong warning to anyone caught illegally slashing and burning land in Riau: stop immediately or risk being shot for resisting arrest.

“If anyone fights back and endangers [officers or others], just shoot them,” National Police chief Gen. Sutarman said in Pekanbaru on Saturday.

He said the same policy should be applied to security or government officers allegedly involved in land burning.

“Shoot them as well,” Sutarman said according to Indonesian news portal republika.co.id.

He added that police have so far named 60 suspects for allegedly igniting fires in Riau.

Most of the suspects have been identified as local farmers. One plantation firm — National Sago Prima, a subsidiary of publicly-listed Sampoerna Agro — was also named a suspect, however.

Riau Police chief Brig. Gen. Condro Kirono, meanwhile, said his office had formed a special team consisting of 558 officers tasked exclusively with hunting down those responsible for setting land and forest fires in Riau.

The resulting haze from the fires has disrupted flights and has caused tens of thousands of local residents to suffer from respiratory illnesses.

The haze has also spread to neighboring provinces such as Jambi and West Sumatra. Jambi on Saturday reported nearly 56,000 of its residents also suffered from respiratory illnesses, kompas.com reported.

Condro said the team involved different organizations, including the Indonesian Military (TNI) as well as forest rangers, and was split up into nine smaller groups. Five of the groups have been sent to Bengkalis district and four to Pelalawan district.

“[The Pelalawan teams] will focus on Meranti Bay, which borders the Kerumutan Wildlife Conservation,” Condro said. “There have been lot of hotspots likely caused by  illegal logging [there].”

The Bengkalis teams, meanwhile, will concentrate on the Giam Siak Kecil Biosphere Reserve in the subdistrict of Bukit Batu. “The Bengkalis teams can also cross to Rupat island, where there are a lot of hotspots.”

Police made these statements as President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono landed in Pekanbaru on Saturday to inspect the situation.

Upon arriving in Pekanbaru, the president and his entourage took a road trip to Rimbo Panjang village in Kampar district to see firsthand the remnants of the burnt lands. On Sunday, after a meeting with Riau Governor Annas Maamum, the president was scheduled to take another trip 120 km away to Siak district, which is among the regions worst hit by the fires.

“It’s better that we listen to the residents’ stories — of what our brothers have seen and witnessed, of their hopes,” Yudhoyono said in Pekanbaru on Sunday  according to the president’s official website. “Proper solutions will usually arise after we hear all of [the stories].”

The President, irritated by local officials’ slow response to the fire and haze issues, on Friday said he would take over and lead emergency measures himself if local officials and cabinet ministers continued to fail to address the problems.

Yudhoyono announced three emergency measures to handle the Riau fires: extinguish them as soon as possible, provide health treatment for affected residents and bolster law enforcement in affected areas. This despite the fact that the governor of Riau had already declared a state of emergency in the province last month.

The “Integrated Emergency Operation” initiated by the president will take place for three weeks, the president said.

Facts on the ground

On Sunday, citing satellite images, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) reported 171 hotspots in Riau, with Siak district reporting the most hotspots (78), followed by Indragiri Hilir (32) and Meranti (28).

“Officers have put out fires across 15,837 hectares of lands, from a total of 19,538 hectares burned,” the BNPB said. “Yesterday, air officers successfully dropped 60 water bombs on Giam Siak Kecil.”

The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) reported visibility of 2 km at 6 a.m. on Sunday, marking a significant improvement from when visibility was less than 300 meters during the height of the crisis.

The agency also forecast light to heavy rains in Riau over the next two days, as well as showers until April, heightening hopes that fires and the haze could be further reduced.

Related Article:


Friday, March 14, 2014

Bogor Man Reported to Police Over Photos of Dead Protected Wildlife

Jakarta Globe, Yuli Krisna & Dyah Ayu Pitaloka, Mar 13, 2014

Eight men pose with four dead Javan monkeys they allegedly shot in a photo
 uploaded on Facebook by Ozzy Syahputra Muhammad Akbar, who was reported
 to the police on Thursday for allegedly killing protected animals. (Photo from
ProFauna Indonesia)

Bandung/Malang, East Java. Conservationist group ProFauna Indonesia on Thursday reported an alleged hunter of protected wildlife to the police after he uploaded several photos on Facebook showing him and a group of people posing with several dead animals.

The report was made against Ozzy Syahputra Muhammad Akbar, who last year posted several photos onto social media displaying slain Javan monkeys and leopard cats.

The Facebook account in question was either deleted or deactivated on Wednesday after a deluge of condemnation came its way, ProFauna chairman Rosek Nursahid said on Thursday.

“The photos had been posted for a while [since January 2013], but [they] drew even more attention this year,” Rosek said at ProFauna’s headquarters in the East Java city of Malang. “There were a lot of photos of [Ozzy] posing with animals he had hunted.”

ProFauna, however, saved copies of the photos before the account was removed. The group submitted them as evidence to the West Java Police along with their report against Ozzy, who is a resident of Bogor, West Java.

One of the photos saved by ProFauna showed a dead Javan monkey (or lutung), a “vulnerable” species according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). There was blood on the monkey’s forehead, and its hand was made to hold a bottle of mineral water.

There were two comments posted under the photo: one said “heavily drunk,” while the other said, “How could it get drunk with mineral water? hahahaaaa.”

Another photo displayed eight men — five of them holding airsoft rifles — posing with four dead monkeys in front of them.

Rosek added that Ozzy was a member of an airsoft gun community. The group’s Facebook account was also recently shut down.

ProFauna accused Ozzy of violating the 1990 Conservation Law by killing protected animals.

“ProFauna Indonesia hopes that the West Java Police will take action against hunters who kill protected wildlife,” Radius Nursidi, the coordinator of the West Java chapter of ProFauna, said after filing the report to police in Bandung.

Rosek added that ProFauna would monitor the police’s handling of the case closely.

The West Java Police have yet to comment on the case.

Attempts to reach Ozzy by the Jakarta Globe were unsuccessful.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Elephants can tell difference between human languages

Google – AFP, Kerry Sheridan (AFP), 10 March 2014

An African elephant is pictured on November 17, 2012 in Hwange
National Park in Zimbabwe (AFP/File, Martin Bureau)

Washington — African elephants can differentiate between human languages and move away from those considered a threat, a skill they have honed to survive in the wild, researchers said Monday

The study suggests elephants, already known to be intelligent creatures, are even more sophisticated than previously believed when it comes to understanding human dangers.

African elephants (Loxodonta africana) are the largest land animals on Earth and are considered a vulnerable species due to habitat loss and illegal hunting for their ivory tusks.

Researchers played recordings of human voices for elephants at Amboseli National Park in Kenya to see how they would respond, according to a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Some of the voices were from local Maasai men, a group that herds cattle and sometimes comes into conflict with elephants over access to water and grazing space. Occasionally, elephants are killed in clashes with Maasai men, and vice-versa.

Other recorded voices were from Kamba men, who tend to be farmers or employees of the national park, and who rarely represent a danger to elephants.

Still other voices tested on the elephants included female Maasai speakers and young boys.
All were saying the same phrase: "Look, look over there, a group of elephants is coming."

The recorded voices were played for hundreds of elephants across 47 family groups during daylight hours.

When elephants heard the adult male Maasai voices, they tended to gather together, start investigative smelling with their trunks, and move cautiously away.

But when elephants heard females, boys, or adult male Kamba speakers, they did not show concern.

- Discriminating between languages -

"The ability to distinguish between Maasai and Kamba men delivering the same phrase in their own language suggests that elephants can discriminate between different languages," said co-author Graeme Shannon, a visiting fellow in psychology at the University of Sussex.

That is not the same as understanding what the words mean, but still shows that elephants can decipher the more sing-songy Maasai language from the Kamba tongue, perhaps based on inflections, use of vowels, and other cues.

"It is very sophisticated what the elephants are doing," said Keith Lindsay, a conservation biologist and member of the scientific advisory committee of the Amboseli Elephant Research Project.

"A lot of animals will take flight at just the general threat posed by people, but a smart animal doesn't do that," he told AFP.

"Their response to hearing Maasai men talking was to be alert, to move away, but not to run away in total fear," added Lindsay, who was not involved in the study.

"It is suggesting that elephants are capable of thinking, (of) recognizing that if Maasai men are talking, they are not likely to be hunting because if they were hunting, they would be quiet."

- Wiser with age -

Elephant groups with older matriarchs in their midst did best at assessing the threat from different speakers, further bolstering the presumed role of learning in the animals' behavior.

The elephants also did not act the same way as they did when recordings of lions were played, as was shown in a previous study.

In those scenarios, they bunched together so that juveniles -- those most at risk from a lion attack -- were in the center, and moved toward the sounds as if to scare the lion away.

When it comes to recognizing people, elephants may not be alone in this ability. Other research has suggested that wild bottlenose dolphins in Brazil have become so familiar with humans that they engage in cooperative hunting with artisanal fisherman.

Great apes, crows and even prairie dogs have also been shown to differentiate between humans on some level.

A separate study published last month in the journal PLoS ONE showed elephants even have specific alarm calls for when humans are near, suggesting the relationship between people and elephants has reached a troubling point and that conservation efforts are more important than ever.

"We have become a formal enemy of the elephants," said Lori Marino, an expert on animal intelligence at Emory University.

"They can not only make some distinctions between us, but we are now on their list of species to watch out for."

Related Article:

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.