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)

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Thai king's favourite dog dies, after 'insult' arrest

Yahoo – AFP, December 29, 2015

Tongdaeng, the favourite dog of Thailand's ailing monarch has died, days
 after a man was arrested for allegedly making a satirical online remark about
the beloved canine (AFP Photo)

The favourite dog of Thailand's ailing monarch has died, days after a man was arrested under the kingdom's strict royal defamation laws for allegedly making a satirical online remark about the beloved canine.

The dog, called Tongdaeng (Copper), became both a household name and a publishing sensation in Thailand after King Bhumibol Adulyadej adopted her as a stray puppy and penned a heartfelt book about her attributes in 2002.

She was praised for her loyalty and obedience, with the book widely interpreted at the time as a parable about how Thais should live and remember their place within the kingdom's rigid society.

King Bhumibol, 88, is the world's longest-
serving monarch and is widely revered in
 Thailand where his economic and social
 teachings are extensively promoted 
(AFP Photo/Indranil Mukherjee)
Her death was announced in a statement from the veterinary faculty of Kasetsart University late Monday.

"While Khun Tongdaeng was sleeping and relaxing, she died peacefully on 26 December 2015 at 11:10pm at Klai Kangwon Palace," the statement read.

It said she had been ill for the last few years and was just over 17 years old when she passed away.

"Khun" is an honorific in Thailand, roughly translating to "ma'am", and was frequently used by officials and local media when referring to Tongdaeng.

Her death was splashed across Thai newspapers Tuesday, with local media reporting that the king had been informed.

The dog regularly featured in palace photographs while the book about her outsold bestsellers such as Harry Potter in Thailand.

A privately funded animated film based around Tongdaeng and her attributes is currently showing at Thai cinemas.

In his book, Bhumibol described Tongdaeng as a "respectful dog, with proper manners" who was "humble and knows protocol

"She would always sit lower than the king," the book added.

Criticism banned

King Bhumibol, 88, has spent much of the last two years in hospital and is rarely seen in public. But the world's longest-serving monarch remains widely revered in Thailand where his economic and social teachings are extensively promoted.

The monarchy is also shielded from any debate and criticism by one of the world's harshest royal defamation laws.

A 10-metre high sculpture of "Giant John", one of the characters of the film 
"Khun Tongdaeng: The Inspirations", sits outside a shopping mall in Bangkok,
December 9, 2015 (AFP Photo/Nicolas Asfouri)

Anyone convicted of insulting the king, queen, heir or regent, can face up to 15 years in jail on each count.

Analysts say uncertainty as the king's reign enters its twilight years is a major factor in the political chaos that has beset Thailand for the much of the last decade, as competing elites jostle for influence.

Lese majeste prosecutions have soared since the army, which styles itself as the champion of the monarchy, grabbed power in a coup last year.

The boundaries for what counts as a royal insult have also expanded dramatically.

Earlier this month Thanakorn Siripaiboon, 27, was arrested for allegedly making a "satirical" Facebook post about the king and his dog, according to his lawyers.

As is often the case in lese majeste cases, the authorities did not give details on what the post said.

Thanakorn also faces lese majeste, sedition and computer crimes charges for clicking "like" on a doctored photo of the king and sharing it, plus an infographic on a growing corruption scandal engulfing the military.


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.

Smoking bad for pets, study shows

Yahoo – AFP, December 29, 2015

Smoking is bad for pets too, the University of Glasgow said, citing an ongoing
study into the effects of second-hand smoke on dogs and cats (AFP Photo/
Viktor Drachev)

London (AFP) - Smoking is bad for pets too, the University of Glasgow said Tuesday, citing an ongoing study into the effects of second-hand smoke on dogs and cats.

Research under way at the Scottish institution has found that pets living in a smoky environment have a higher risk of health problems including some animal cancers, cell damage and weight gain.

"Pet owners often do not think about the impact that smoking could have on their pets," said Clare Knottenbelt, professor of small animal medicine and oncology.

"Our findings show that exposure to smoke in the home is having a direct impact on pets.

"It risks ongoing cell damage, increasing weight gain after castration and has previously been shown to increase the risk of certain cancers."

While dogs can take in significant amounts of smoke, the university study shows cats are "even more affected".

"This may be due to the extensive self-grooming that cats do, as this would increase the amount of smoke (chemicals) taken in to the body," said Knottenbelt.

The research so far has found that while outdoor access made little difference for cats, smoking away from them did reduce the amount taken into the body.

It has found that when smokers light up fewer than 10 times a day, nicotine levels dropped significantly, but were nonetheless noticeably higher than in cats from non-smoking homes.

An examination of the testicles of castrated dogs found that a gene, which acts as a marker of cell damage, was higher in dogs living in smoking homes.

Dogs living with a smoker also gained more weight after neutering.

The finished research paper is expected to be published in 2016.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Joy for Berlin family as cat returns for Christmas

Yahoo – AFP, December 26, 2015

Elena Hanke poses for a photo with her cat Miko at the animal refuge centre in
 Berlin on December 26, 2105. The cat has being found again after it went missing
in 2008. (AFP Photo/Bernd Von Jutrczenka)

Berlin (AFP) - Forget the return of Star Wars. For a family in Berlin, this Christmas saw the return of Miko -- a cherished black and white cat who went missing in the German capital in 2008.

"A family from Berlin-Charlottenburg (neighbourhood) this year experienced a Christmas story with a particularly 'happy ending'," announced an association for the protection of animals on Saturday.

"They learned on Christmas day that their cat Miko had been found -- seven years later," said the group which runs a refuge for animals where the cat was identified.

Miko had been discovered by people in Berlin's Kreuzberg neighbourhood -- just a few kilometres from its old home turf -- and taken to the refuge where workers were able to contact the owners because the cat had an identity chip.

Elena Hanke was 11 years old when she searched in vain for missing Miko. Along with her father and sister Jennifer she came to the shelter to recover the long-lost pet, the association said.

After years as a runway, Miko was "a bit too thin", but still healthy, the veterinarian at the refuge told the delighted family.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Indonesia punishes firms over deadly forest fires

Yahoo – AFP, December 22, 2015

Indonesia is punishing more than 20 companies in an unprecedented move for
starting deadly forest fires that killed 19 people (AFP Photo/Adek Berry)

Jakarta (AFP) - Indonesia is punishing more than 20 companies in an unprecedented move for starting deadly forest fires that killed 19 people, a government official said Tuesday.

Three companies have been shut down permanently after having their licences revoked over their role in the blazes that choked vast expanses of southeast Asia with acrid haze and cost Indonesia $16 billion.

It is the first time the government has revoked company licences over forest fires, an annual occurrence caused by slash-and-burn land clearance.

The environment ministry also froze the operations of 14 companies and said they face closure if they do not meet the government’s demands over fire prevention.

Several other companies have been given a strong warning and will be put under close supervision.

"We have sanctioned 23 companies in total, ranging from administrative sanctions to license revocation, while 33 others are still in the process, they could have their licenses revoked too if they are found guilty," environment ministry official Kemal Amas told AFP.

The ministry has been investigating 276 companies in total since the fires broke out in September.

Three companies have been shut down permanently by Indonesia after having
 their licences revoked over their role in the blazes that choked vast expanses of 
southeast Asia with acrid haze (AFP Photo/Adek Berry)

"We need firmer law enforcement so that this catastrophe does not repeat itself, it’s been going on for 18 years but nobody has learnt their lesson," Amas said.

Amas said the ministry was also working hard to restore the forests and farmland destroyed in the fires.

Activists welcomed the government’s new commitment to punish firms.

The Indonesian Forum for Environment said it was unheard of for the government to revoke licences, as many companies previously avoided facing trial.

"The minister has the courage to not only freeze the companies' operation but also chase the owners in a civil case, this is great and this must be guarded carefully," Kurniawan told AFP.

"In the past some people were named suspects, but for them to actually lose their licenses, this is the first time," he said.

More than half a million people suffered acute respiratory infections in Indonesia because of the haze, while many in neighbouring Singapore and Malaysia also fell ill.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Lone Arab woman takes the reins to tame horses on the Golan

Yahoo - AFP, Majeda El-Batsh, December 17, 2015

Druze horsewoman and trainer Raja Kheir leads a horse back to the stables
 on her ranch -- the only Arab centre in the area -- in the southern foothills
of Mount Hermon, north of the Golan Heights (AFP Photo/Jalaa Marey)

Majdal Shams (AFP) - The grey horse rears its head, rocking left and right, kicking its legs wildly. Sensing danger, Raja Kheir throws herself off and rolls on the ground.

The slender, brown-haired 32-year-old in white jacket and jeans tames horses -- not in itself unusual on the picturesque plains of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

What makes Kheir different is that she is an Arab woman, among the few, or perhaps even the only one from the area taking the reins.

Druze trainer Raja Kheir trains a stray 
horse on September 17, 2015 in the 
southern foothills of Mount Hermon, 
north of the Golan Heights (AFP 
Photo/Jalaa Marey)
Born into a conservative family of Druze -- an offshoot of Shiite Islam -- in the Israeli village of Beit Jann in the Upper Galilee, she now lives and works in Majdal Shams near Syria.

Horses are an important part of the culture in the region's ranches and cattle farms spread among the rugged hills and plains.

Since dawn, Kheir has been in a battle with three-year-old Qamar -- the moon in Arabic -- and eventually succeeds in getting a saddle on her.

When she rides Qamar for the first time, she focuses all her concentration but the horse bucks, causing her to throw herself to the ground.

Hours later, Kheir is making progress. She places her feet in the stirrups and digs her feet gently into the horse's side, repeating this several times while at the same time tapping the animal's stomach.

"It is not enough to put a saddle on a horse to tame it. The important step is to ride it," she tells AFP.

Days in the wilderness

Qamar still isn't ready to listen fully, and many attempts end with another roll on the ground.

But Kheir, who has been riding since she was six, is not discouraged. When she was a child, "everyone called me a tomboy because I wasn't afraid of anything," she says.

She used to spend days in the wilderness near her grandfather's home in Beit Jann, where horses roamed.

There, she says, "my relationship with riding began".

Her journey into taming horses really started eight years ago, when she took a course in the town of Pardes Hanna near Haifa in northern Israel.

Since then she has earned multiple diplomas: she can ride horses, train them and teach them dressage.

Along with a partner, she decided to set up a taming and training centre. Most of her clients are families who have bought horses and need someone to train them for them.

She also trains stray horses found in the Golan.

With Qamar, a stray who arrived only a few days ago, Kheir is in the initial stages -- convincing the horse to accept her presence and to enter the stable.

Horses "like to be free. They don't like to have anything on their backs," she says.

"So when I ride her for the first time she is afraid of me and I am also afraid of her. She doesn't know my reaction and I don't know her.

"When I feel she is going to hurt me, I throw myself off."

- 'Courage above all else' -

Once this hurdle is overcome, the slow process begins of teaching them to be ridden.

Horses are an important part of the culture in the ranches and cattle farms
 spread among the rugged hills and plains of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights
 (AFP Photo/Jalaa Marey)

"After you place the saddle on a horse it takes two to three weeks to tame them, though not to be able to ride them," she says.

It can take many more weeks for a former stray to get used to everyday things such as the sound of cars.

Kheir awakes at dawn every day to feed the 15 horses at her school in the Golan, near where several other centres are based.

They need to be fed by 7:00 am at the latest, she says, because something as simple as a late meal can upset a horse's stomach and even in rare cases be fatal.

For Kheir, the most important asset in a trainer is courage.

"If a horse feels your fear it will not accept you," she says. "But if he feels you love him, he will protect you."

Once confidence is gained, the rider then has control, she says.

Being a woman and from the Druze minority, she admits it can be difficult in the Israeli equine world which is dominated by Jewish Israelis and men.

When she and her partner set up the ranch -- the only Arab centre in the area -- they even faced acts of sabotage, with a horse and a foal poisoned and pressure put on some people not to sell to them.

"There was a real war against us," Kheir says, deliberately not naming the alleged culprits.

"But we've got all the official papers and our school continues."

Friday, December 11, 2015

Friendship of tiger and goat tugs at Russia's heartstrings

Yahoo – AFP, 10 Dec 2015

Amur the tiger rests close to a goat named Timur in the Primorye Safari Park
(AFP Photo/Dmitry Mezentsev)

Moscow (AFP) - A goat sent to a Russian safari park as live prey for a Siberian tiger has instead befriended the big cat and the two have become inseparable in a story that has captivated Russia.

Amur the tiger and Timur the goat now sleep in the same enclosure in the Primorsky safari park outside the Pacific port city of Vladivostok, eating and playing together in the snow. And this week they even playfully head-butted each other.

The story of the unusual friendship has touched hearts in Russia, with the safari park releasing regular updates on the pair and planning to install webcams in their enclosure.

Staff at the park say the male tiger, who has been given live animals to hunt and eat twice a week, did not touch the billy goat when it entered the enclosure last month because the goat did not show any fear.

"No one had taught the goat to be afraid of tigers," the park said in a statement.

Zoo chief Dmitry Mezentsev, who studies tigers and leopards, described the unlikely friendship as nothing short of a miracle.

"This is a sign from above," Mezentsev told AFP on Thursday.

"People, take a look at yourselves. There are wars everywhere -- Ukraine, Syria. While such different animals can live together in peace."

Mezentsev said staff realised the tiger would not eat the goat after the two had spent three days together.

Timur now sleeps inside the shelter where Amur previously rested, while the tiger spends the night on the roof.

- A morning stroll -

They meet up in the morning to walk around the spacious enclosure, with the goat usually following the tiger. Over the past few days, they have begun playing together and chasing each other.

On Wednesday, Timur challenged Amur, poking him with his horns.

"The tiger accepted the goat's challenge," the safari park said.

"He pushed his forehead against Timur's horns, the friends butted heads for five seconds without coming to blows, after which Amur calmly went to bask in the sun on the hill."

The tiger has also attempted to teach the goat how to catch prey and has recently taken a great interest in a block of salt given to Timur.

Amur is now being fed live rabbits for lunch -- "out of respect for goats," said Mezentsev.

Many praised the story as a welcome respite from a stream of doom-and-gloom news in a sanctions-hit nation that has been accused of fanning an insurgency in eastern Ukraine and which began a bombing campaign in Syria in September.

Breaking the gloom

"We liked the story of the friendship between the tiger and the goat simply because a normal person cannot always live amid the lies, hatred and humiliation," Gazeta.ru online wrote in an op-ed this week.

"One would like to believe it is possible not to gobble up the weak but be friends with them."

With the exchange rate also keeping Russians awake at night, the mass-circulation Komsomolskaya Pravda on Thursday went as far as to publish a joke about it.

"We are so tired of this rubbish! Any news on the tiger and the goat instead?"

The story has sparked calls for a fundraising campaign for the remote zoo, while many are worried that nature will prevail and Timur will eventually perish.

State news agency TASS quoted Novosibirsk zoo director Rostislav Shilo as saying the chance of the tiger eating the goat was 80 to 85 percent.

Mezentsev, however, begged to disagree.

"Timur is in no more danger than a human living next to another human."


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Blind couple left stranded in woodland after attack on guide dog

DutchNews, December 7, 2015

A guide dog in action
A blind couple were abandoned in woodland after their guide dog was attacked by another dog on Sunday, local broadcaster AT5 reports. 

The couple, named as Jasper and Marion, were left stranded in Diemerbos with their dog Ian, who was bleeding and unable to lead them to safety, after the other dog’s owner fled the scene.

‘The owner shouted at us to call our dogs to heel, but his dog went straight into a fight with Ian,’ said Jasper. ‘He [the owner] had difficulty separating his dog from Ian. We spoke to the man but he ran away. Marion tried to go after him but he got in his car and drove off.’

Ian was given emergency treatment by a vet but it is unclear if he will be able to resume his work as a guide dog.

‘Incidents like these can cause long-term anxiety towards other dogs,’ said Peter van der Heijden of the Royal Dutch Guide Dog Foundation (KNGF). ‘That would make Ian unsuitable for guide work. Guide dogs need to be 100% dependable in their work.’

Related Articles:

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Russian priests pose with pet cats in hit calendar

Yahoo – AFP, 5 Dec 2015

A selection of images from the a 2016 calendar put together by an Orthodox
news website, showing priests with their pet cats (
AFP/Artos Fellowship)

In a rare venture into popular culture, bearded Russian Orthodox priests have posed as models for a glossy 2016 calendar -- cuddling their pet cats.

The calendar put together by an Orthodox news website sees 12 smiling priests in dark robes relaxing with their cats -- sitting side-by-side on the sofa, or having the pet sprawled on their chest or draped round their shoulders.

It is the first calendar to depict priests in such a style, said one of the creators, Ksenia Luchenko, a journalist at the Pravmir website who came up with the idea.

She conceded Russia's powerful Church is not usually open to such an informal depiction of its clerics.

"That's why we did it ourselves. We're not linked to official structures."

Religious-themed calendars usually just depict holy icons.

"It's all their own cats -- nothing was staged," Luchenko said of the casting process for the calendar.

"It was whoever had a cat and was ready to pose for a photo."

Nevertheless the cat-owning priests in the charming black-and-white shots by Anna Galperina turned out to be "nice-looking," she added.

The calendar is not officially endorsed by the Russian Orthodox Church.

Senior Church spokesman Vsevolod Chaplin has said it is "not a great sin" but added: "I wouldn't hang such a calendar on my wall," in comments to Russkaya Sluzhba Novostei radio station.

But it has won praise from media, with the Komsomolskaya Pravda tabloid writing that the priests are "kind and twinkly, and the cats are cute and fluffy."

The calendar was even covered by Russian Cosmopolitan magazine.

"Not all priests agreed to do it. Not everyone wants that kind of publicity," Luchenko said.
The calendar called "Pop i Kot" or "Priest and Cat" grew out of a photography book project showing Russian priests in their everyday lives, she said.

"By chance we had a photo of a priest with a cat and I thought: why not do a series?"

It was only after the calendar was completed that the team realised they had a Roman Catholic competitor: an unofficial calendar published in Rome every year featuring handsome priests called the Calendario Romano, she said.

The Russian calendar had an initial print run of 1,000 copies but that looks likely to be extended, Luchenko said.

Several churches have ordered them to sell in their shops, she said.

The creators also plan a presentation with some of the priest models later this month, raising funds for an animal shelter.