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)

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Singapore moves against Indonesian firms over haze

Yahoo – AFP, 26 Sep 2015

The Fullerton Hotel is blanketed in thick haze, in Singapore, on September 24,
2015 (AFP Photo/Roslan Rahman)

Singapore (AFP) - Singapore has launched legal action that could lead to massive fines against Indonesian companies blamed for farm and plantation fires spewing unhealthy levels of air pollution over the city-state.

Five Indonesian companies including multinational Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) have been served with legal notices, according to a Singapore government statement issued late Friday.

The move followed a bitter diplomatic spat over Indonesia's failure to stop a severe outbreak of smoky haze which has also affected Malaysia and persisted for years.

APP, part of Indonesia's Sinar Mas conglomerate, is one of the world's largest pulp and paper groups and publicly upholds "sustainability" and forest conservation as core principles. Its products include stationery and toilet paper.

APP was asked by Singapore's National Environment Agency to supply information on its subsidiaries operating in Singapore and Indonesia, as well as measures taken by its suppliers in Indonesia to put out fires in their concessions.

The group, which has paper mills in Indonesia and China, did not immediately reply when asked by AFP for comment.

Under a 2014 law called the Transboundary Haze Pollution Act, Singapore can impose a fine of Sg$100,000 ($70,000) for each day that a local or foreign company contributes to unhealthy levels of haze pollution in Singapore, subject to a maximum total of Sg$2.0 million.

Singapore is located near Indonesia's vast Sumatra island, where fires have traditionally been set off by farmers and plantations to clear land for cultivation.

Four other Indonesian companies -- Rimba Hutani Mas, Sebangun Bumi Andalas Wood Industries, Bumi Sriwijaya Sentosa and Wachyuni Mandira -- have been told to take measures to extinguish fires on their land, refrain from starting new ones, and submit action plans to prevent future fires.

Sinar Mas is also involved in palm oil production, an industry widely blamed for forest fires in Indonesia.

In its statement issued Friday, the Singapore government said it was "examining how to apply more economic pressure against errant companies," including a review of its own procurement policies.

A soldier inspects a peatland forest on fire in Kampar district, Riau province, 
on Indonesia's Sumatra island, on August 7, 2015 (AFP Photo/Alfachrozie)

Singapore's Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan said the haze problem has lasted "for far too long".

"This is not a natural disaster. Haze is a man-made problem that should not be tolerated. It has caused major impact on the health, society and economy of our region," he said in the statement.

Singapore declared emergency shutdowns of elementary and high schools on Friday after the air pollutant index hit "hazardous" levels.

It eased to "moderate" levels on Saturday but a shift in wind direction can quickly change the situation.

The current haze outbreak is the worst since mid-2013. The recurring crisis grips Southeast Asia nearly every year during the dry season.

Singapore officials have reacted with outrage to Indonesian Vice-President Jusuf Kalla's comments that Indonesia's neighbours should be grateful for good air quality most of the year, and that Jakarta need not apologise for the crisis.

Indonesia has previously said that Singapore-based companies were among those responsible for the blazes.

About 3,000 troops and police have been sent to Sumatra to fight the fires, with Indonesian authorities saying last week that it would take a month to bring them under control.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Eyes on elephants as Google cameras snap Kenya reserve

Yahoo - AFP, September 15, 2015

A Google Street View vehicle collects imagery for Google Maps while driving down
a street in Calais, northern France, on July 29, 2015 (AFP Photo/Philippe Huguen)

Samburu (Kenya) (AFP) - For once, Google was unlikely to face privacy complaints as the US Internet giant on Tuesday launched its Street View service in Kenya's Samburu park, in a move conservationists said could help protect endangered elephants.

Special cameras have taken panoramic images of the reserve while driving down dusty tracks -- and have also been fixed to a backpack to penetrate deep into the bush.

Some of Google's previous Street View forays have brought complaints on privacy grounds.

A lioness stands near an oryx at the Samburu
National Park in Kenya (AFP Photo/
Pedro Ugarte)
But this time there were no demands to blur out faces -- the main residents of the 165 square kilometre (65 square mile) reserve are 900 elephants.

The idea is to allow viewers to click and view the elephant herds close up.

"We hope that by bringing Street View to Samburu, we will inspire people around the world to gain a deeper appreciation for elephants," said Farzana Khubchandani of Google Kenya.

Slightly larger than a basketball, Google's camera contains 15 individual fixed-focus lenses that simultaneously capture a 360 degree image roughly every three metres.

The Kenya project was launched in collaboration with conservation group Save the Elephants.

"It's exciting to open a window onto Samburu, and to help us better protect its elephants," said Save the Elephants chief Iain Douglas-Hamilton, speaking in Samburu, some 300 kilometres (185 miles) north of the Kenyan capital Nairobi.

Kenya is struggling to stem poaching to protect its remaining elephant population -- currently estimated at 30,000 -- and just over a thousand rhinos.

With ivory raking in thousands of dollars a kilo in Asia, conservationists have warned that African elephants could be extinct in the wild within a generation.

"Giving people a virtual tour will bring Samburu to the world, and inspire the world to come to Samburu," county governor Moses Lenolkulal said.

"The more people experience our culture, our people and the majestic elephants and other wildlife with which we co-exist, the more we are able to conserve and sustain the Samburu culture and its fragile ecosystem for generations to come."

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Zoos in Taiwan and China arrange sika deer for pandas swap

Want China Times, CNA and Staff Reporter 2015-09-15

Sika deer at Shoushan Zoo in Kaohsiung. (File photo/Lin Hsiu-li)

A zoo in southern Taiwan said Sunday it has reached an agreement with a zoo in China to exchange a pair of Formosan sika deer for two giant pandas.

The Shoushan Zoo in Kaohsiung will give two of its sika deer to the Chengdu Zoo in southwest China's Sichuan province, said Chuang Hsuan-chih, director of the zoo.

In return, the Chinese zoo will gift two of its pandas to Shoushan Zoo, Chuang said.

The exchange is expected to enrich the diversity of species at Shoushan Zoo, which has been seeking to do so but has been limited by its funding and space.

The zoo, which attracts around 1 million visitors each year, said it is hoping to attract private investment to expand the zoo complex.

Shoushan Zoo expects it will be at least two years before the exchange can take place, due to the complex process and paperwork.

Taipei Zoo received two pandas from China in 2008, Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan. The pair produced a cub in 2013 named Yuan Zai, which has become the zoo's star attraction.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Dutch banks invest in massive Ukraine poultry farm

DutchNews, September 14, 2015

From the SOMO report's cover
Dutch banks have invested millions of euros in a massive chicken farm in Ukraine which is competing with Dutch poultry farms, the Volkskrant reported on Monday. 

The Ukraine farm, Myronivsky Hluboproduct (MHP) is owned by one of Ukraine’s richest men and kills and processes 332 million chickens a year, the paper said. This is roughly three quarters of the Netherlands’ total production of chicken. 

The paper bases its claims on  research by SOMO, the centre for research of multinational corporations. SOMO’s new report on MHP, titled Chicken Run, shows the extend of Dutch involvement in the project. 

For example, both Rabobank and ING have invested in the plant and, the Volkskrant says, the involvement of Rabobank is particularly significant because of its ties to the Dutch farming community. 

In addition, Rabobank has committed itself to improving animal welfare in factory farms and the rules in Ukraine are much less strict than in the Netherlands, the paper states. 

Technology 

Rabobank told the Volkskrant it had no indications that MHP is breaking national laws and declined to comment on the size of its investment. 

Dutch agribusiness firms are also involved in the Ukraine project, the report states. 

‘Furthermore, MHP has sourced technological equipment for the Vinnytsia complex from a range of mostly Dutch suppliers,’ it said. ‘In several cases these companies have received export credit insurances from Atradius DSB. Since the opening of the EU market for Ukrainian poultry, the Netherlands has accounted for the majority of EU imports of MHP’s products.’ 

Ukraine is also home to a massive battery chicken farm which has 23 million hens. Efforts last year to have egg imports from battery farms in Ukraine failed.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Dutch hunters take part in controversial hunt in South Africa

DutchNews, September 10, 2015

Photo: Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation
A Dutchman who moved to South Africa in 1997 to set up a fruit exporting business is at the centre of a drive hunt allowing foreign hunters to shoot wildlife as it is herded past them, animal welfare groups say. 

Anton de Vries, who is one of the owners of SAFE, South Africa’s fifth biggest fruit exporter, is said to be behind the hunt which is taking place at three three farms in Limpopo. The hunt master is said to be Dries van Rooyen, who also works for SAFE, Wildlife at Risk International reported. 

De Vries has declined to comment on the claims when approached by reporters. A receptionist told reporters from TimesLive.co.za she had been ordered not to reveal De Vries’s cellphone number. She said the company ‘had nothing to do’ with the excursions. The SAFE website has since been taken offline. 

South African broadcaster Carte Blanche said it had been told at a meeting with De Vries and local officials that 13 Dutch and Belgian nationals are taking part in the hunt near the town of Alldays in Limpopo province. 

The hunters take aim from purpose built platforms overlooking the bush as the animals are drive towards them. In the first three days, over 50 animals, including baboons, warthogs and antelope had been killed. 

Cecil 

The outcry comes just two months after the global furore surrounding the killing of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe by an American dentist. 

The National Council of SPCAs, the South African animal welfare group, has appealed for the driven hunt to be halted. Activists have also tried to have the hunt stopped by going to court. 

Driven hunts have been banned in the Netherlands since 2002 but are not illegal in South Africa. However, the practice is widely considered unethical and inhumane, news channel Carte Blanche said.

Related Article:



Walt Palmer, left, and one of his many trophies.
.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

S.Africa animal rights group tries to stop big game hunt

Yahoo – AFP, 8 Sep 2015

South African animal rights group the NSPCA has obtained a warrant in its attempt 
to stop a week-long large game hunt that could see hundreds of animals die (AFP
Photo/Issouf Sanogo)

Johannesburg (AFP) - South African animal rights group the NSPCA on Monday said it has obtained a warrant in its attempt to stop a week-long large game hunt that could see hundreds of animals die.

Game such as gemsbuck, wildebeest, warthogs, and impalas have already been killed in the hunt, the group said, which is set to take place on a private reserve in the Limpopo region.

Critics say the method of killing, which involves tracking the beasts then driving them toward hunters waiting on special platforms, though legal is cruel as animals are often only wounded and then left to die a slow and painful death.

The NSPCA was granted a warrant by a South African court, and can bring charges against the organisers if they see signs of cruelty towards animals during the hunt.

"Our team has successfully obtained a warrant to gain access to the farms for the next four days," the National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in South Africa said on its Facebook page.

During a week-long game hunt animals are driven toward hunters waiting on 
special platforms, and though legal is cruel as animals are often only wounded 
and then left to die a slow and painful death (AFP Photo/Alexander Joe)

"Please be assured that we are doing everything possible to stop the hunt."

The controversy comes just over two months after Cecil the lion was killed by an American recreational game hunter in Zimbabwe, causing a global outcry against inhumane hunting.

The NSPCA said some animals have already been killed during the organised hunt.

"We can confirm that 18 animals were killed today, including gemsbuck, eland, wildebeest, warthogs, impala and duiker," said the Facebook post.


Walt Palmer, left, and one of his many trophies.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Aussie champ trims 'record' fleece off Chris the sheep

Yahoo – AFP, 3 Sep 2015

'Chris' the merino sheep pictured before it is shorn on the outskirts of 
Canberra, a day after Australian animal welfare officers put out an urgent
 appeal for shearers after finding the sheep with wool so overgrown its life 
was in danger (AFP Photo)

A heavily overgrown sheep had its massive fleece shorn on Thursday by an Australian national champion in a life-saving operation that animal welfare officers said may have set a new world record for a single shearing.

The merino sheep, named Chris by bushwalkers who spotted him wandering alone on the outskirts of Australia's capital Canberra, was rescued by RSPCA officers Wednesday and went under the cutters Thursday.

A woolly sheep named Chris gets sheared on
 the outskirts of Canberra on September 3, 
2015, a day after Australian animal welfare 
officers put out an urgent appeal for 
shearers to save the animal (AFP Photo)
Some 40.45 kilogrammes (89.18 pounds) of wool was taken off in one large piece from the animal by Australian Shearers' Hall of Famer Ian Elkins in a 42-minute process that he said was "certainly a challenge".

"We had to give it a mild sedative to keep it calm," Elkins told AFP.

"We set the sheep on its back and because it had so much fleece underneath, it was very comfortable. It took me 42 minutes to shear the sheep, which is a long time because it normally takes me three minutes.

"I'm sure it was very, very relieved after all that fleece came off. Sheep are shorn once every 12 months and the average fleece weight is five kilogrammes."

The RSPCA in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), which is taking care of Chris as he recuperates -- including wearing a down coat to keep him warm, said they were delighted with the successful shearing.

Merino sheep are bred for their wool, which is used to produce high-end garments, and need to be shorn regularly to prevent serious health issues such as flystrike -- where a coat becomes infected -- and even death, said chief executive of RSPCA ACT, Tammy Ven Dange.

"We're really lucky that we got him when he did," she told AFP. "Had it been summertime and the flies had been out, he might have already succumbed to flystrike."

She said the immense size of Chris's coat suggested it was at least five years since his last trim.

"He's more mobile now, it's easier for him to get up and he is eating already," Ven Dange said, adding that he had struggled to walk before the shearing operation.

A sheep named 'Chris' pictured on the outskirts of Canberra as Australian animal 
welfare officers put out an urgent appeal for shearers to save it, on September 2, 
2015 (AFP Photo)

It was not known how old Chris was or who his original owners were.

The RSPCA plans to get in touch with the Guinness World Records to see if Chris's fleece might have set a new global best for the "most wool sheared from a sheep in a single shearing".

The current record is held by Big Ben, which was shorn of 28.9 kilograms in New Zealand in January last year.

The fleece will most likely end up in a museum, Ven Dange added, with Chris set to be put up for adoption once he recovers.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Shanghai shelter struggles to help dogs rescued from Yulin festival

Want China Times, Staff Reporter 2015-09-01

A stand selling dog meat at last year's Lychee and Dog Meat Festival
in Yulin, June 21, 2014. (File photo/Xinhua)

Animal rights activists may count a qualified victory in managing to save dogs from slaughter at the annual dog meat festival in southern China by buying them on site, but the escape of the "Yulin dogs" to a shelter in Shanghai has not guaranteed their survival, reports the Chinese-language Reference News.

The controversial Lychee and Dog Meat Festival, held annually in late June in South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, has begun in recent years to draw international attention and criticism as an estimated 10,000 dogs are slaughtered for food during the event. This year, one animal protection shelter in Shanghai that has been sheltering "Yulin dogs" saw the arrival of nearly 1,400 dogs otherwise destined for slaughter that had been purchased by well-meaning activists.

The dogs were shipped on a 35-hour journey before arriving at the shelter and joining the 400 dogs rescued from last year's festival, according to Hong Kong's Sing Pao.

Life at the shelter is rough for the animals, however, Reference News reported, and one of the shelter's volunteers says dogs have been dying every day since their arrival. The shelter speculates that the confined conditions of the journey from Yulin enabled the easy spread of canine distemper, one of the leading causes of death among canines.

Some dogs were already dead by the time they arrived, crushed in the tight confines, said one of the volunteers. "A considerable number were killed by distemper...and some have managed to find homes," another added.

After a little over two months since the new arrivals, only 400 dogs remain at the shelter, the report said.

When the issue was at the forefront of the nation's attention in July, the shelter was showered in funds and aid with dozens of volunteers, veterinarians and food coming in from all over the country, said Chang Fan, one of the shelter's volunteers. Now that the attention has died down, however, the shelter has only three regular volunteers and struggles to make ends meet from donations. The dogs' future thus still remains unclear despite their rescue, the report said.