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)

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Orlando: When words fail, dogs can ease the pain

Yahoo – AFP, Thomas Urbain, June 16, 2016

A group of young women pet a therapy dog near a memorial for the victims of the
Pulse Nightclub shooting, June 15, 2016 in Orlando, Florida (AFP Photo/Drew Angerer)

Orlando (AFP) - When mourners filed in to a prayer vigil in Orlando this week, they hit a friendly roadblock: a team of golden retrievers sent to help soothe a community in shock with their calm, reassuring presence.

As people knelt down to pet and nuzzle the gentle creatures, burying their hands in their soft yellow coat -- many breathed more easily, taking a moment to forget the horror gripping their city.

In the wake of the Pulse club massacre that left 49 dead and 53 injured, a pack of therapy dogs were flown from Illinois to the Florida city to offer comfort to traumatized victims and their families.

On Wednesday night the dozen golden retrievers were stationed outside Trinity Downtown church.

Shelby Gerber, a bubbly young girl who attended the vigil, lives right near the crime scene.

"My anxiety level is pretty high right now," she said. "Sometimes you are too overwhelmed to say anything."

"I didn't realize how much it really was nice to sit after service and just pet them for an endless amount of time. It just alleviates the pressure off your chest."

For nearly a decade -- ever since a February 2008 shooting stunned Northern Illinois University -- so-called "comfort dogs" have become a familiar sight in the aftermath of major tragedies throughout the United States.

The Illinois team have become famous on social media for the therapy they provide: Phoebe, for one, has her own Twitter account.

'Scared to leave house'

In Orlando the dogs, accompanied by 20 volunteer handlers, were visiting three hospitals treating patients wounded in the Pulse attack.

As well as visiting survivors the dogs have consoled emergency caregivers, paramedics and doctors, as well as many families of victims and Pulse staff members.

"People will talk to us and ask if we can visit a family," said Tim Hetzner, president of Lutheran Church Charities, the group that sponsors the dogs' work.

Melissa Soto cuddles with a therapy dog near a memorial for the victims of the 
Pulse Nightclub shooting, at the Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts, June 14, 
2016 in Orlando, Florida (AFP Photo/Drew Angerer)

"There's some individuals that lost somebody and they're just scared to go out of their house. So we're going to bring comfort dogs to them."

"Dogs show unconditional love," Hetzner said. "They don't take notes or keep track of wrongs."

The "comfort dogs" owned by the Lutheran Church are distinct from those managed by the Therapy Dogs International program, which brings together about 25,000 dogs volunteered by their owners to provide therapy without special training.

Hetzner's dogs belong to the parish and are subject to training with multiple handlers that sometimes lasts over a year.

He said the training includes teaching the golden retrievers -- a breed known as gentle and affectionate -- not to bite, lick or bark while providing therapy.

'Comfort rugs'

Jennifer Blackwood, who also came to the Orlando vigil, was comforted to see her three daughters fussing over the dogs outside.

"There's a lot that has happened over the last week," she said. I have three kids so that's been a lot of discussion. Hard growing up talks."

Hetzner explains the dogs are taught to lie down like "comfort rugs."

It may seem trivial, but for the traumatized, the simple gesture of petting them can have surprising benefits.

"People feel more relaxed when they have a comfortable dog they can pet," he said. "They calm down, their heart rate goes down, actually, and they're more willing to talk."

Hetzner originally conceived of the idea after a mission to New Orleans in the disastrous aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

As he worked on the search-and-rescue effort, he noticed the "tremendous bond" those his team rescued had with their pets.

"People would die rather than part with their pet."

The Lutheran church program funds itself with donations, and owns about 120 Golden Retrievers in 23 states.

Three dogs from the organization still reside at Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut, where a gunman killed 20 young children and six staff in December 2012.

Related Articles:



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.

Friday, June 3, 2016

US announces near-total ban on African elephant ivory trade

Yahoo – AFP, Jean-Louis Santini, June 2, 2016

The United States finalizes a near-total ban on the trade of African elephant
ivory (AFP Photo/Tony Karumba)

Washington (AFP) - The US authorities announced a near-total ban on the trade of African elephant ivory on Thursday, finalizing a years-long push to protect the endangered animals.

Conservation groups welcomed the move, which aims to reduce the slaughter of more than 35,000 of Africa's 450,000 elephants estimated to be killed each year, mainly for ivory.

"Today's bold action underscores the United States' leadership and commitment to ending the scourge of elephant poaching and the tragic impact it's having on wild populations," Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said.

US Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, 
pictured on April 19, 2016, announced
 new rules to limit imports, exports and 
sales of African elephant ivory (AFP
Photo/Alex Wong)
But the move to restrict the African ivory market in the United States -- the world’s second-largest consumer of illegal ivory after China -- comes with notable exemptions, including for documented antiques.

The final rule, which takes effect July 6, "substantially limits" imports, exports and sales of such ivory across state lines, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) said.

While prohibiting most commerce, it does make exceptions for some "pre-existing manufactured" items, including musical instruments, furniture and firearms that contain less than 200 grams of ivory and meet other specific criteria, according to the FWS statement announcing the rule.

Antiques, as defined under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), are also exempt. "Antique" items are at least 100 years old and meet several additional requirements.

Under Thursday's final rule, the import of sport-hunted trophies is limited to two per year.

People will also be allowed to keep lawfully acquired ivory and are not banned from donating, giving away or receiving ivory as a gift "provided it was lawfully acquired and there is no exchange for other goods or services involved," the FWS said.

"Limited exceptions" to the ban on import and export of African elephant ivory will also apply to items that are part of a traveling exhibition or "are part of a household move or inheritance when specific criteria are met" as well as "ivory for law enforcement or genuine scientific purposes," the rule said.

'Blood ivory'

The new measures fulfill restrictions in an executive order on combating wildlife trafficking President Barack Obama issued in 2013, the FWS said.

Once illegal ivory enters the market, it becomes virtually impossible to tell apart from legal ivory, it said, adding that demand for elephant ivory, particularly in Asia, "is so great that it grossly outstrips the legal supply and creates a void in the marketplace that ivory traffickers are eager to fill."

Graphic showing the illegal trade in ivory in Africa (AFP Photo/Jean
Michel Cornu, Nicholas MC Anally)

The outlawed ivory trade is mostly fueled by demand in Asia and the Middle East, where elephant tusks and rhino horns are used in traditional medicine and for ornaments.

"We hope other nations will act quickly and decisively to stop the flow of blood ivory by implementing similar regulations, which are crucial to ensuring our grandchildren and their children know these iconic species," Jewell said.

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) welcomed the final rule, calling it historic and groundbreaking.

"The USA is boldly saying to ivory poachers: You are officially out of business," WCS president and chief executive Cristian Samper -- a member of an Obama task force on wildlife trafficking -- said in a statement.

Patrick Bergin, chief executive of the US-based African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), also praised the move.

"Strong laws around wildlife crime and strong enforcement of those laws are absolutely critical in deterring traffickers and poachers," he told AFP.

"All countries -- and especially those that are source, transit or destination countries for illegal wildlife products -- have a role to play in tidying their own house."

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Dozens of dead cubs found at Thai tiger temple

Yahoo – AFP, Thanaporn Promyamyai, June 1, 2016

Thai wildlife officials use a tunnel of cages to capture a tiger at the Wat Pha
 Luang Ta Bua "tiger temple" in Kanchanaburi province, western Thailand, on
May 30, 2016 (AFP Photo/Christophe Archambault)

Bangkok (AFP) - Thai wildlife officials have discovered dozens of dead cubs inside a freezer at a controversial "tiger temple" that has been locked in a long-running dispute with authorities and animal rights groups, police said Wednesday.

Wildlife officials found the tiger cubs during a continuing operation to remove dozens of adult cats from the Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua temple in the western province of Kanchanaburi.

"We found 40 tiger cubs today. They were aged about one or two days when they died but we don't quite know yet how long they have been dead," police colonel Bandith Meungsukhum, a local officer, told AFP.

A warden hugs a tiger at the "tiger
 temple" in Thailand's Kanchanaburi 
province on April 24, 2015 (AFP Photo/
Nicolas Asfouri)
Adisorn Noochdumrong, the deputy head of Thailand's parks department, said they would file charges against the temple for keeping the carcasses without permission.

"A keeper said he was told to place the carcasses when they died in cold storage," he told AFP.

The temple has long proved a hit among mainly foreign visitors who flock there to be photographed -- for a fee -- next to the scores of exotic feline pets.

Wildlife officials say the whole complex is illegal and have battled the monks for years to try and close it down. The dispute has been complicated by the fact that secular Thai authorities are often reluctant to intervene in the affairs of the clergy.

This week officials were granted a court order to seize the cats and have so far removed around 45 adults.

Animals rights groups and conservationists have accused the temple of complicity in the hugely lucrative black-market wildlife trade, making tens of thousands of dollars by selling off older cats and animal parts for use in Chinese medicine.

Last year one of the temple vets turned whistleblower, handing authorities three microchips he said were inside a trio of tigers who had disappeared. It has never been fully established what happened to those tigers.

Dead tiger cubs are displayed by Thai officials after they were found during a 
raid on the controversial Tiger Temple, a popular tourist destination which has come
 under fire in recent years over the welfare of its big cats, in Kanchanaburi province,
west of Bangkok, Thailand June 1, 2016. Daily News/via Reuters

'Preserved and frozen'

Wildlife officials have also discovered during previous raids dozens of hornbills, jackals and Asian bears that were being kept at the sanctuary without permits.

The temple has always denied trafficking allegations.

In a statement posted on its Facebook page, the temple said it was common for cubs to be stillborn or die shortly after birth.

The temple said it used to cremate dead cubs but the policy was changed in 2010.

"Instead of cremation, the deceased cubs were preserved in jars or kept frozen," the statement added, without elaborating on why the policy was changed.

The temple also denied selling cubs, saying such rumours were from people who have "jumped to conclusions".

A Buddhist monk walks past a tiger before officials start moving them from 
Thailand's controversial Tiger Temple, a popular tourist destination which has come
 under fire in recent years over the welfare of its big cats in Kanchanaburi province, 
west of Bangkok, Thailand, May 30, 2016. Reuters/Chaiwat Subprasom

Photographs from the scene on Wednesday showed the cubs laid out on a blanket alongside the body of a bearcat, some deer horns and nearly two dozen containers.

Thai newspaper Khaosod, which had a reporter at the scene, said the containers had animal parts and intestines inside them.

Edwin Wiek, a Thailand-based conservationist who has campaigned for the temple's closure and whose veterinary staff have accompanied wildlife officials this week in the operation to remove the cats, said the cubs might have been kept to make religious charms.

"The key thing is these tigers are illegal under Thai law," he said.

Moves to confront the monks and confiscate the tigers have been staggered over recent months. There are now believed to be around 100 tigers remaining at the temple.

For years the government has been seemingly powerless to resolve the issue, partly for fear of being seen to confront the clergy and also because officials readily admit they have nowhere else to put such a large number of tigers.