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, May 4, 2016

Circus elephants' retirement home promises pampered life

Yahoo – AFP, Kerry Sheridan, May 2, 2016

An elderly elephant named Mysore gets a pedicure at the Ringling Bros. and
Barnum and Bailey Center for Elephant Conservation in Polk City, Florida on March 8,
2016 (AFP Photo/Kerry Sheridan)

Polk City (United States) (AFP) - When Mysore performed in the Ringling Brothers' traveling circus, she waltzed, she hooked her trunk onto another elephant's tail, and she stood on her hind legs in a line for a trick known as the long mount.

Now at the age of about 70 -- and one of the oldest Asian elephants in the world -- Mysore is retired at the circus's refuge in central Florida, where she gets weekly pedicures, daily baths, naps on a giant dirt pile, eats ground-up hay and more than six loaves of wheat bread a day.

"Boy, she loves the bread," says Janice Aria, the director of animal stewardship at the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Center for Elephant Conservation, where Mysore arrived in 2006.

This week, the remaining 11 elephants that traveled in the Ringling Brothers circus will join Mysore and 27 other pachyderms in retirement, ending a 145-year tradition of elephants performing in the circus.

"It is sad. You feel it is the end of an era," says long-time trainer Trudy Williams.

The circus has faced torrents of criticism from animal rights groups, including widely circulated videos from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals that show a male handler hitting elephants with a pointed-stick, known as an ankus, before a performance.

Ringling Brothers was also embroiled in a 14-year lawsuit in which animal rights groups alleged the circus was mistreating its herd.

The case was eventually thrown out after a lead witness was found to have been paid for his testimony by animal rights groups.

By 2014, the plaintiffs, including the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Humane Society, had been ordered to pay the circus $25 million to reimburse its legal fees.

A pair of female elephants stand together on March 8, 2016 in their enclosure at
 the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation in Polk City, Florida, where
circus elephants retire (AFP Photo/Kerry Sheridan)

'Outlawed' tool

What finally ended the shows for traveling elephants were the actions of a handful of local municipalities in California, Massachusetts and Virginia that banned circus trainers from using the ankus, a stick about two feet long (0.6 meters) with metal hooks on the end.

Handlers employed by Ringling Brothers maintain that the tool is not used to harm to elephants -- which typically weigh 8,000 pounds (3,600 kilograms) -- but merely to signal them and give them tactile directions.

"You just don't stand around one of these animals without one of these tools," says Aria.

The logistics of being able to perform with elephants in some cities but not others became too much, Aria says, and the circus announced it would end elephant participation in its shows in 2016, two years earlier than planned.

Retirement life

The Ringling Brothers herd is the largest in the western hemisphere for Asian elephants, listed as an endangered species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, which says 40,000-50,000 exist in the world in highly fragmented populations.

The Polk City conservation facility rests on 200 acres (80 hectares) of land in central Florida where orange groves are a common crop.

It opened in 1995 as a place to keep the herd, to breed and raise young ones -- 26 babies were born here -- and to shelter those who simply "never took a shine to circus life," says Aria.

Female elephants are usually paired up and kept in fields that are fenced in with thin electrical wire.

A train car that used to transport elephants from city to city for the circus is parked
 March 8, 2016 at the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation in Polk City,
Florida (AFP Photo/Kerry Sheridan)

Because of her age, Mysore stays in her own pen.

The males, which like to fight and spar with others, are kept alone behind sturdier bars. Their sperm is collected for breeding purposes, and sometimes a female is put into their enclosure for breeding, or they are sent out to other facilities to mate.

Here, the elephants are fed 2.5 tons of hay daily, and up to 800 pounds of fruit, veggies and greens. They are led into a barn in the afternoon, and chained for the night.

Aria says the elephants are so used to these tethers that they won't relax or eat without them.

But the facility has its critics, and many in the community of people who deal with elephants -- from zoos to sanctuaries to researchers of elephants in the wild -- are divided about what it means to treat elephants well.

"Their environment needs to stimulate them. That particular piece of property is not an environment that would stimulate an elephant," says Carol Buckley, who was part of a team that inspected the Polk City facility several years ago for the lawsuit.

"It is like a stockyard. It is flat, square, boring," says Buckley, who advocates for female-only elephant sanctuaries in which the animals are not dominated by humans and contact with people is kept to a minimum.

But Ringling Brothers trainer Erik Montgomery says people need to know how to live with elephants.

"The truth of the matter is elephants -– especially Asian elephants -- are not going to be around in the future without people's help, without being in responsible, man-managed facilities," he says.

"As long as we can enrich their lives and have a relationship with them -- and enrich our own lives in the process -- I think that is the way to go."

Mysore -- who was born in India and named after a city there before being shipped to the United States in 1947 -- is a prime example of an elephant living a long and healthy life in the care of humans, Montgomery says.

"Without that human intervention, she wouldn't be here today," he adds.

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