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)

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Taiwan bans eating dogs and cats

Yahoo – AFP, April 12, 2017

The tradition of eating dog meat dates back hundreds of years in many
Asian countriesView photos (AFP Photo/Hoang Dinh Nam)

Taiwan has banned the eating of dogs and cats, lawmakers said Wednesday, as pressure grows to improve animal welfare after a spate of cruelty cases that stirred public outrage.

Parliament passed legislation to outlaw the consumption, purchase or possession of dog and cat meat, with offenders facing a fine of up to Tw$250,000 ($8,170).

Authorities can also name and shame those who break the law.

"This shows that Taiwan is a society with advanced animal welfare," said lawmaker Wang Yu-min who proposed the new rules.

The bill also hiked the penalty for killing or abusing animals to a maximum two-year jail term and a stiff fine of Tw$2 million.

Dog consumption -- believed by some in Taiwan to help boost male potency -- was common on the island decades ago but has become less popular amid growing calls to protect animal rights.

In 2001, Taiwan amended its animal protection law to ban the slaughter of pets -- which included dogs and cats -- for food, although there was no penalty on eating or buying the meat.

More than 10,000 canines are killed every year at China's notorious dog meat
festival in Yulin (AFP Photo/JOHANNES EISELE)

Sales of pet meat were banned at the end of 2003.

But a string of much-publicised animal abuse cases have continued to triggered deep public concern and demands for tougher protection laws.

Last year, the military was forced to apologise after a video surfaced of three soldiers torturing and strangling a stray dog to death with an iron chain, prompting several street protests.

And in 2014, a male hippo famous for regularly performing at a private zoo in central Taiwan died after breaking a leg and sustaining other injuries during transportation, sparking a public outcry.

Reactions to the new law were mixed, with some deeming it unfair to only single out cats and dogs for better protection.

"This is the cute animal protection law? only cute animals are protected while the rest deserve to die?" read one message posted on Apple Daily's website.

Dog meat consumption is also common in countries such as China, Indonesia,
Vietnam and South Korea (AFP Photo/SONNY TUMBELAKA)

"Why doesn't the parliament amend laws to toughen punishment on drunk driving, fraud and homicide? what a lousy job it is doing," said another post.

Dog meat consumption is also common in countries such as China, Vietnam and South Korea.

Last year, China's most notorious dog meat festival drew crowds despite international outrage, as more than 10,000 dogs were killed at the event in conditions activists described as brutal.

South Koreans are believed to consume somewhere between 1.5 million - 2.5 million dogs every year, but the meat farming industry is in decline, with little demand among the younger generation.

In Vietnam, cat meat -- known locally as "little tiger" -- is also a delicacy and although officially banned it is widely available in specialist restaurants.

Giant pandas head for the Netherlands, and the bamboo is on order

DutchNews, April 12, 2017

Workers carry the female giant panda Wu Wen to a transport cage.
Photo: Chinatopix Via AP

Two giant pandas destined for a 15-year stay in a Dutch zoo, left China for the Netherlands on Wednesday. 

The plane carrying the pandas, as well as 200 regular passengers, is due to land at Schiphol airport on Wednesday evening, and the giant mammals, behind sheets of plexiglass, will then be introduced to the Dutch public for the first time. 


However, Wu Wen (Beautiful Powerful Cloud) and Xing Ya (Elegant Star) will not be seen by the zoo public for some time because they will first be held in quarantine for up to six weeks. 


The pandas are heading for the Ouwehands Dierenpark zoo in Rhenen which has spent 16 year campaigning to bring pandas to the Netherlands. The zoo invested €7m on a special compound which was given official Chinese approval earlier this year. 


The cost of the new compound plus the €900,000 a year fee means that entrance tickets will be more expensive: visitors will be paying a so-called ‘panda tax’. 


Bamboo


The pandas are expected to go through 500 kilos of bamboo a week, which will be sourced from a bamboo grower in Asten and delivered weekly. The company Bamboo Giant, also supplies the food from a selection of different types of bamboo, for pandas in Vienna and Edinburgh. ‘The pandas are choosy,’ director Bennie Nielen told the NRC. ‘Every week the keepers in Vienna and Edinburg send us an overview of what they have eaten and what they have not touched so the menu can be adapted.’ 


The pandas are accompanied by a keeper and a vet from China who will stay with them for at least three months. And in case the pandas do decide to procreate, the female Wu Wen has a bigger enclosure with room for a baby.



Friday, April 7, 2017

First world survey finds 9,600 tree species risk extinction

Yahoo – AFP, April 5, 2017

Brazil is the country with the most diverse tree population, with 8,715 species,
according to the Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) group

The first ever global database of trees on Wednesday revealed that 9,600 tree species are threatened with extinction and identified a total of 60,065 in existence.

Brazil is the country with the most diverse tree population, with 8,715 species, according to the Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) group.

It also has the largest number of tree species -- 4,333 -- that only exist there.

In total 58 percent of trees are so-called single country endemics, with 2,991 species only found in Madagascar and 2,584 only found in Australia.

After Brazil, Colombia is the second most diverse country, with 5,776 different tree species, followed by Indonesia, with 5,142.

The London-based BGCI, which represents an estimated 2,500 botanic gardens around the world, used data from more than 500 published sources to create the list.

Of the 60,065 tree species, only around 20,000 have been assessed for their conservation status -- of which 9,600 are threatened with extinction.

"BGCI's main reason for publishing the list is to provide a tool for people trying to conserve rare and threatened tree species," the organisation said in a statement.

"Currently, around 10,000 tree species are known to be threatened with extinction, largely by deforestation and over-exploitation.

"This number includes over 300 species that are critically endangered with fewer than 50 individuals remaining in the wild."

Aside from the Arctic and the Antarctic where there are no trees, the Nearctic region -- comprising most of North America -- has the lowest diversity, with less than 1,400 tree species.

The database will be continually updated, as around 2,000 new plants are discovered and described each year.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Hunters have shot 1,440 dune deer as cull continues

DutchNews, April 3, 2017

Deer in a Zandvoort residential area earlier in January. Photo: DutchNews.nl

Hunters have so far shot 1,440 of the fallow deer living in the dune area west of Amsterdam, alderman Udo Kock has told the city’s finance committee. 

The city and province of Noord-Holland want to slash the deer population from 3,800 to 1,000 in order to reduce damage to plants and trees and reduce the risk of road accidents. 

Officials hope to have reduced the deer population to 1,000 by 2020. Female deer are being targeted to keep the population down. 

Efforts to keep the deer in the reserve with high fences and cattle grids have failed to contain all the animals and there were 61 traffic accidents involving deer in 2015. 

Animal rights groups have tried to have the mass cull stopped but the courts ruled in favour of the cull. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

New Zealand parrot has 'infectious laugh'

Yahoo – AFP, March 21, 2017

New Zealand's kea parrots are renowned for being intelligent and mischievous,
often called "the clown of the mountain" (AFP Photo/Raoul SCHWING)

Wellington (AFP) - Researchers have found that New Zealand's kea parrot has the avian equivalent of an infectious laugh -- a call that when heard prompts others to drop everything and have some fun.

Kea live in alpine areas and are renowned in New Zealand for being intelligent and mischievous, often called "the clown of the mountain".

But a paper published in the journal Current Biology on Tuesday argues the bird's playful reputation is not entirely anthropomorphic.

Austrian researcher Raoul Schwing found the kea has a "play call" distinct from its other vocalisations, which caused other parrots to start playing spontaneously.

Schwing, a doctoral student in animal behaviour at Auckland University when the research was conducted, said even birds that were by themselves began playing when they heard the call.

"The fact that at least some of these birds started playing spontaneously when no other birds had been playing suggests that, similar to human laughter, it had an emotional effect on the birds that heard it, putting them in a playful state," he said.

Schwing said similar "emotionally contagious" vocalisations had previously been recorded in chimpanzees and rats, but the kea was the first non-mammal.

He said the call was akin to a form of infectious laughter and warranted further study, as well as serving as a reminder that humans may not be as unique as we like to think.

"If animals can laugh, we are not so different from them," he said.


Saturday, March 18, 2017

First fluorescent frog found in Argentina

Yahoo – AFP, March 17, 2017

Argentine and Brazilian scientists at the Bernardino Rivadaiva Natural Sciences
Museum discovered the first naturally fluorescent frog almost by accident

The first naturally fluorescent frog was discovered recently in Argentina -- almost by chance, a member of the team of researchers told AFP Thursday.

Argentine and Brazilian scientists at the Bernardino Rivadaiva Natural Sciences Museum made the discovery while studying the metabolic origin of pigments in a tree-frog species common to South America.

Under normal light the frog's translucent skin is a muted yellowish-brown color with red dots, but when the scientists shone an ultraviolet light on it, it turned a celestial green.

According to one of them, Carlos Taboada, the case is "the first scientific record of a fluorescent frog."

"We were very excited," said his fellow researcher Julian Faivovich. "It was quite disconcerting."

He said the discovery "radically modifies what is known about fluorescence in terrestrial environments, allowing the discovery of new fluorescent compounds that may have scientific or technological applications."

It also "generates new questions about visual communication in amphibians," he said.

The team studied some 200 more examples to ensure the phenomenon was not due to the frog's captivity, and detected the fluorescent properties in all the specimens.

Maria Lagorio -- an independent researcher and expert in fluorescence, who the research team contacted after the discovery -- told AFP that the trait is common in aquatic species and seen in some insects, "but has never been scientifically reported in amphibians."

The finding was recently published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Related Article:


Wallaby escapes at Dutch zoo and gets eaten by a lion

DutchNews, March 17, 2017

The lion makes off with its prey. Photo: Luciën Olinga via Facebook 

A wallaby which escaped from its enclosure at the Wildlands zoo in Emmen on Thursday met an unfortunate end after it hopped into the lions den. 

The wallaby, one of a group of four at the zoo, was captured by a lioness, killed and apparently eaten. The zoo was open at the time and visitor Luciën Olinga caught part of the incident on camera. 

The other three wallabies have been locked up to keep them calm while staff make sure that they are unable to escape in future, the zoo said in a statement.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Baby orangutan rescued after being kept as a pet

Yahoo – AFP, February 23, 2017

Seven-month-old Vena was rescued by wildlife officals and environmentalists
from someone who had illegally kept her as a pet (AFP Photo/ADEK BERRY)

Baby primate Vena shyly turned her head away from a bottle as two vets tried to feed her, the latest Bornean orangutan rescued in Indonesia after being kept as a pet.

Villagers on the Indonesian part of jungle-clad Borneo island often keep the critically endangered apes as pets even though the practice is illegal.

Wildlife officials and environmentalists rescued seven-month-old Vena earlier in February from someone in Kendawangan district who had been looking after her.

Vena is now being cared for at a centre run by NGO International Animal Rescue (IAR), whose staff ensure she stays clean by regularly changing her diapers and feed her bottles of milk mixed with vitamin supplements.

Last year IAR saved 22 orangutans that were either kept as pets or whose natural jungle habitat had been destroyed by huge forest fires started to clear land for plantations.

Even when they are well looked after, such as in Vena's case, environmentalists stress keeping orangutans as pets is bad because it means they will later struggle to survive in the wild.

"Many people don't realise that keeping orangutans as pets is illegal and could make them lose their instincts for living in the wild," said Ruswanto, an official from the wildlife protection agency who like many Indonesians goes by one name.

Villagers on the Indonesian part of jungle-clad Borneo island often keep
orangutans as pets even though the practice is illegal (AFP Photo/ADEK BERRY)

Vena was being kept as a pet by a lady called Bariah, who found the ape in a neighbouring village. She was rescued after villagers reported the case to authorities.

It was the second time Bariah, a mother of seven, was caught illegally caring for a baby ape -- she already had to give one up to IAR in 2016.

"I know orangutans are protected, I was not killing or harming them, I was only taking care of them," the 50-year-old told AFP.

After being rescued, young apes are sent to a "jungle school", where they spend years learning to fend for themselves before being released into the wild.

Rampant logging and the rapid expansion of paper and palm oil operations have reduced their habitat, with about 100,000 estimated to remain in the wild on Borneo, which is divided between Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature last year changed its classification of the Bornean orangutan from "endangered" to "critically endangered".

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Calves more likely to die in first year; 350,000 did so in 2015

DutchNews, February 13, 2017    


Tens of thousands of calves which are taken away from their mothers in the days after they are born die in the first year of life and the death rate is getting worse, the Volkskrant said on Monday. 

In 2015, 13.3% of registered calves died within 12 months of being removed from their mothers – a total of 350,000 animals, the paper said. 

In 2009, the death rate was 9%, a figure described at the time by animal health experts as too high. Most calves are taken from their mothers within three days of birth and the males are almost always sold on to beef and veal farmers. 

Animal rights organisation Dier & Recht said the care of newborn calves may have been affected by the increasing size of dairy farms in the Netherlands.

‘As farms get bigger, there is little attention for individual calves,’ said vet and Dier & Recht spokesman Frederieke Schouten. 

The lobby group wants dairy cooperative Friesland Campina to put pressure on its farmers to try to stop so many calves dying.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Ringling Bros. circus closing show after 146 years

Yahoo – AFP, Olivia Hampton, January 15, 2017

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus executives cited high operating costs
and declining ticket sales as some factors in the decision to close after
146 years (AFP Photo/EMMANUEL DUNAND)

Washington (AFP) - Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced Saturday it will host its final show in May, ending "The Greatest Show on Earth" after 146 years.

Company executives cited high operating costs and declining ticket sales after the traveling American circus retired its popular elephants as reasons for drawing the curtain on a celebrated spectacle that traces its origins to politician and showman P.T. Barnum's first show in 1871.

Animal rights groups cheered the move as a success story following decades of activism against the use of animals in the circus.

Kenneth Feld, chairman and CEO of show producer Feld Entertainment, said he and his family came to the "difficult" decision to end the circus "after much evaluation and deliberation."

"Nearly 50 years ago, my father founded our company with the acquisition of Ringling Bros.," he said in a statement on the group's website."

"The circus and its people have continually been a source of inspiration and joy to my family and me, which is why this was such a tough business decision to make."

The group has a total of 30 stops scheduled on its 2017 tour.

The final "Circus XTREME" show will take place at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island on May 7, while the group's "Out Of This World" tour will take place May 21 at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York.

Kenneth Feld, chairman and CEO of show producer Feld Entertainment, said he
and his family made the "difficult" decision to end the circus "after much evaluation
and deliberation" (AFP Photo/EMMANUEL DUNAND)

Freak show origins

Although Barnum's first show took place decades before, it was not until 1919 that a group started by five Wisconsin brothers, Ringling Bros. World's Greatest Shows, merged with Barnum & Bailey's Greatest Show on Earth.

While the Ringling brothers had been better known for traditional circus fare, Barnum was dubbed the "Prince of Humbugs," known as a shameless promoter of incredible hoaxes, freak shows and zoological curiosities.

One such object was the Fiji mermaid, or Feejee mermaid, which was in fact no less than the head and torso of a monkey sewn to the body and tail of a fish.

Barnum launched his traveling circus after fires destroyed his Barnum's American Museum. Two whales were boiled alive in their tanks during one of the fires.

In 1881, Barnum teamed up with James Bailey to run their "Greatest Show on Earth," making a fortune along the way.

In May 2015 Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus retired its performing 
elephants after major criticism from animal rights groups (AFP Photo/
EMMANUEL DUNAND)

Animal rights controversies

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals cheered Ringling's latest decision as the end of an era, and called for other circuses to follow their lead.

"After 36 years of PETA protests, which have awoken the world to the plight of animals in captivity, PETA heralds the end of what has been the saddest show on Earth for wild animals, and asks all other animal circuses to follow suit, as this is a sign of changing times," the group's president Ingrid Newkirk said in a statement.

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, joined in.

"A major moment as big brands that harm animals fade away and more humane businesses emerge I applaud @RinglingBros announcement," he tweeted.

In May 2015, the circus retired its performing elephants after major criticism from animal rights groups, including widely circulated videos from PETA that showed a male handler hitting elephants with an ankus, or pointed stick.

The Ringling Brothers herd was 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.

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

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.


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)

Related Article:


Friday, January 13, 2017

Chinese approve Dutch panda preparations

DutchNews, January 12, 2017

Photo: Depositphotos.com
Chinese zoo inspectors have approved the new panda compound at Ouwehands Dierenpark in Rhenen, NOS writes. 

The zoo, which is hoping to welcome a pair of giant panda’s from China in the spring, spent €7m on the compound which was reportedly judged by the Chinese as one of the most beautiful they had seen so far. An earlier version did not pass muster but was improved to meet the exacting standards of the Chinese zoo authorities.

‘It’s an incredibly beautiful, traditionally Chinese building. We really went all out on it,’ zoo director Robin de Lange told the broadcaster. 

Ouwehands Dierenpark had been trying to persuade the Chinese to lend them a pair of pandas for 15 years. A royal state visit to China in 2015 speeded up matters. The zoo is hoping that Wu Wen (Beautiful Powerful Cloud) and Xing Ya (Elegant Star) will be feeling sufficiently at home to produce offspring. 

The cost of the new compound plus the €900,000 a year fee means that entrance tickets will be more expensive: visitors will be paying a so-called ‘panda tax’, NOS said.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Oh deer: monkey caught in flagrante delict-doe

Yahoo – AFP, January 10, 2017

Picture released on January 10, 2017 by the Issekinicho publishing house shows
 an inter-species sexual behaviour between a male Japanese macaque and female
sika deer, in Yakushimaru, Japan (AFP Photo/Alexandre Bonnefoy)

Paris (AFP) - Scientists on Tuesday revealed the "highly unusual" behaviour of a male monkey filmed trying to have sex with female deer in Japan -- a rare case of inter-species nookie.

Sex between animals from different species is uncommon, but exceptional cases are known to occur, chiefly in domesticated and captive animals, scientists reported in the journal Primates.

Mating is usually driven by the need to procreate, while sex across the species line is mostly fruitless or yields sterile offspring.

For the new study -- only the second on the phenomenon of inter-species sex -- a Japanese macaque or "snow monkey" was filmed mounting at least two female Sika deer much larger than itself.

Without penetration, the young monkey makes sexual movements while riding on the does' backs on Japan's Yakushima Island.

On some occasions its impertinence was tolerated but at other times the deer bolted and ran. The monkey ejaculated on the backs of the does, which licked the seminal fluid, researchers said.

"No ambiguity is possible, it is clearly sexual behaviour," study co-author Marie Pele of the University of Strasbourg, France, told AFP.

Furthermore, the monkey appeared to "guard" the targets of its affection, chasing away other male macaques.

The scientists speculated the behaviour may be driven by "mate deprivation" in a community where competition for females is stiff, boosted by a surge of hormones in the breeding season.

"Sometimes young males, like the one in the study, do not have access to females in their social group as these are claimed by older males," said Pele.

"This young macaque... did not have access to females, but was very excited. It took advantage of the presence of the doe."

Snow monkeys and Sika deer live in close proximity at Yakushima -- the deer eat food the monkeys drop from the trees, and sometimes feed on their faeces.

The team said further study is necessary to understand the origins of interspecies sexual behaviour, including zoophilia -- when humans are sexually attracted to animals.

The only other published scientific study on inter-species sexual behaviour was the much-publicised 2014 report of fur seals forcing themselves on penguins in Antarctica, the authors said.

A video of the monkey and the deer can be seen here: http://www.edge-cdn.net/video_1106810?playerskin=37016