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.

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)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

10 dead Borneo pygmy elephants feared poisoned

The Daily Star, AP, Sean Yoong, January 29, 2013

In this Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013 photo released by Sabah Wildlife Department,
 a 3-month-old elephant calf tries to awake its dead mother at the Gunung Rara
Forest Reserve in Sabah, Malaysia. (AP Photo/Sabah Wildlife Department)
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia:Ten endangered Borneo pygmy elephants have been found dead in a Malaysian forest under mysterious circumstances, and wildlife officials said Tuesday that they probably were poisoned.

Carcasses of the baby-faced elephants were found near each other over the past three weeks at the Gunung Rara Forest Reserve, said Laurentius Ambu, director of the wildlife department in Malaysia's Sabah state on Borneo island.

In one case, officers rescued a 3-month-old calf that was trying to wake its dead mother.

Poisoning appeared to be the likely cause, but officials have not determined whether it was intentional, said Sabah environmental minister Masidi Manjun. Though some elephants have been killed for their tusks on Sabah in past years, there was no sign that these animals had been poached.

"This is a very sad day for conservation and Sabah. The death of these majestic and severely endangered Bornean elephants is a great loss to the state," Masidi said in a statement. "If indeed these poor elephants were maliciously poisoned, I would personally make sure that the culprits would be brought to justice and pay for their crime."

The WWF wildlife group estimates that fewer than 1,500 Borneo pygmy elephants exist. They live mainly in Sabah and grow to about eight feet tall, a foot or two shorter than mainland Asian elephants. Known for their babyish faces, large ears and long tails, pygmy elephants were found to be a distinct subspecies only in 2003, after DNA testing.

Their numbers have stabilized in recent years amid conservation efforts to protect their jungle habitats from being torn down for plantations and development projects.

The elephants found dead this month were believed to be from the same family group and ranged in age from 4 to 20 years, said Sen Nathan, the wildlife department's senior veterinarian. Seven were female and three were male, he said.

Post-mortems showed they suffered severe hemorrhages and ulcers in their gastrointestinal tracts. None had gunshot injuries.

"We highly suspect that it might be some form of acute poisoning from something that they had eaten, but we are still waiting for the laboratory results," Nathan said.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

EU Recognizes Indonesian Timber Certification System

Jakarta Globe, ID/Alina Musta'idah, January 22, 2013

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The European Union is now unconditionally accepting Indonesian timber products that come with a wood certification document based on the Timber Legality Verification System (SVLK), EU Ambassador Julian Wilson said on Tuesday.

“If a product carries the logo V-legal, it can be ascertained that the product is legal and has clear origins so that there is no need to impose additional controls,” Wilson told a press conference in Jakarta.

The European Union will begin imposing additional controls on its timber product imports under the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) starting in March. The program aims to ascertain whether wood products are derived from legal sources.

Indonesia developed the SVLK as part of its commitment to curbing trade in illegally harvested wood. The verification system was effective for Indonesia’s wood exports as of Jan. 1.

Indonesia and the European Union are also working on a voluntary partnership agreement on law enforcement, management and trade of forestry goods (FLEGT VPA) that is expected to be signed in April. The ratification process is expected to be completed by September.

The FLEGT VPA will provide unequivocal legal recognition of Indonesia’s SVLK certification system. Wilson said that although the partnership is only expected to come into force later this year, he believed that there would be no hindrance to the importation of legal timber and wood products from Indonesia.

“The EUTR will not give rise to any additional control at the borders of EU countries,” he said.

Wilson also promised to work together with the Indonesian government and other concerned parties to promote the recognition of the SVLK among EU consumers.

Hadi Daryanto, the secretary general of the Forestry Ministry, welcomed the EU recognition of SVLK certification, and expressed hope that Indonesia’s forestry product exports would rise substantially from the current $1.2 billion annual level.

“The European Union is one of the main markets for Indonesian forestry products,” Hadi said.

Meanwhile, Purwadi Soeprihanto, the executive director of the Association of Indonesian Forestry Entrepreneurs (APHI), said he hoped that the recognition would rapidly enter into force.

“So that there is a guarantee that the wood product exported is really free from any additional test when entering the European Union,” said Purwadi, who also attended the press conference.

Based on data from the Forestry Ministry, in the first 22 days of 2013, there were 3,427 legal certifications issued for exports covering a volume of 1,011,1023 square kilometers and with destinations covering 94 countries.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Local People Must Benefit, Minister Says

Jakarta Globe, Willy Masaharu, January 21, 2013

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South Lampung, Lampung. Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan says that local people must have the right to benefit from forests in their areas, as civil society groups continue to accuse the government of neglecting the rights of indigenous peoples to their homeland.

On his visit to a village in Lampung, Zulkifli said the government would prioritize local people in managing resources.

“The government will make people prosperous. Of course, they can utilize the forest as long as it’s in a wise way,” he said.

Activists and scholars have criticized the government for sacrificing indigenous people for the interests of big plantation companies when formulating regulations on natural resource management, with the sectors becoming increasingly synonymous with cases of land grabs, environmental damage and violent clashes.

They urged the government to consider people’s rights in formulating and executing policies.

Mohamad Choirul Anam, deputy executive director of the Human Rights Working Group, said the government should be held accountable for the many cases of conflict linked to land disputes, arguing it had failed to ensure people were fairly compensated for their land or to anticipate overlapping claims before issuing permits for plantations and mining concessions.

Zulkifli said the villagers would be protected from violence and any illegal practices of the companies and state agencies as long as they did not violate the law.

He said that each family could manage up to two hectares of forest, and no other parties could claim the land.

“However, the land can not be sold, and must only be utilized wisely,” Zulkifli added.

He said the government had also provided soft loans for local people so that they could buy seed and fertilizer.

The Consortium for Agrarian Reform (KPA) has recorded that at least 25 farmers were shot and three killed last year across Indonesia as a result of land disputes and agrarian conflicts.

Although 2011 was a more deadly year for agrarian conflicts, with 22 deaths linked to land disputes, the total number of conflicts rose to 198 in 2012, the KPA said.

The group highlighted cases over the past two years in South Sumatra and Lampung, where bloody conflicts between farmers and large oil palm plantations persist. Tensions first erupted in 2011, but a lack of government commitment to addressing the problem’s root causes prompted the conflict to resurface again last year, HRWG’s Choirul said.

In July last year, police, who many believe were siding with plantation owners, opened fire on a group of protesting farmers in Ogan Ilir district, South Sumatra. The victims of the shooting had accused private plantation companies of encroaching on their lands. A child was fatally shot by police during the protest.

The KPA also claimed that 156 farmers were arbitrarily arrested for protesting against land encroachment by big businesses, while none of the land dispute cases were ever investigated. Agrarian conflicts have also resulted in 55 farmers sustaining injuries from heavy-handed policing and alleged torture, the KPA said.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Kenyan Officials Impound Two Tons of Ivory Bound for Indonesia

Jakarta Globe, January 16, 2013

The international trade in elephant ivory has been outlawed since 1989
after populations of the creatures plummeted. (AFP Photo)   
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Officials in the Kenyan port city of Mombasa have impounded more than 600 pieces of ivory, weighing two tons, they said on Tuesday, the latest in a series of seizures by Kenyan authorities.

"They were labelled as decorating stones and were headed to Indonesia from Tanzania," a police source based at the port told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The head of operations at the port, Gitau Gitau, confirmed the seizure, but said no arrests had been made. Gitau said the documents used to ship the cargo would be used to track its owners, and added that the seized ivory was valued at more than $1 million.

Two weeks ago, officials in Hong Kong seized more than a ton of ivory worth about $1.4 million in a shipment from Kenya.

The international trade in elephant ivory, with rare exceptions, has been outlawed since 1989 after elephant populations in Africa dropped from millions in the mid-20th century to some 600,000 by the end of the 1980s.

Ivory trade is banned under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

East African nations have recently recorded an increase in poaching incidents. A week ago, a family of 11 elephants was killed in a Kenyan park in what officials called the country's worst incident of its kind in the past three decades.

The killing led to an aid appeal by Kenya's Prime Minister Raila Odinga to help the country deal with the escalating poaching menace. Despite the fact that tourism plays a major role in east African economies, poachers have recently expanded their operations to areas previously thought to be safe from poaching.

According to the Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya lost at least 360 elephants last year, up from 289 killed in 2011.

In October last year, Tanzanian police seized over 200 elephant tusk pieces valued at around $1 million dollars from 91 different animals.

Four people were also arrested in the raid and a total of 214 tusk pieces were recovered from the house of a Kenyan living in Tanzania's economic capital Dar es Salaam, officials said.

At the time of the arrests, police said they believed the ivory came from elephants in Tanzania, and that smugglers had hoped to take the tusks by road into Kenya.

Some experts have attributed the increase in poaching to an upcoming meeting of signatories to the CITES treaty in Thailand in March, which may be prompting ivory dealers to boost their stocks in speculation that the conference might result in a lift of the ban on the ivory trade.

The illegal ivory trade is mostly fueled by demand in Asia and the Middle East, where elephant tusks and rhinoceros horns are used to make ornaments and in traditional medicines.

Africa is home to an estimated 472,000 elephants, whose survival is threatened by poaching and the illegal trade in game trophies, as well as a rising human population that is causing habitat loss.

Agence France-Presse

Monday, January 7, 2013

Indonesia arrests suspected rare animal smugglers

The Daily Star, AP, January 07, 2013 

A white-cheeked gibbon discovered at the Bangkok airport bound for
JAKARTA, Indonesia: Four Chinese nationals have been arrested in Indonesia for allegedly attempting to smuggle hornbill's beaks and pangolin scales for use in traditional medicines.

Forestry Ministry official Novianto Bambang says the men were detained Friday with 248 hornbill's beaks and 189 pangolin's skins in their luggage at Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta airport. Both animals are listed as endangered.

He said Monday the four were part of an international trafficking syndicate and they bought the haul from local poachers on Indonesia's part of Borneo island.

Demand for endangered animals in traditional Chinese medicines is driving poaching in countries in Asia and Africa.

Indonesia is home to 14 of the 57 hornbill species, which are on the brink of extinction because of deforestation and poaching.

Anger over photos of Indonesian cattle cruelty

ABC News Australia, 7 January 2013

PHOTO: Workers unload cattle by using
 ropes hanging around their necks in
Surabaya, East Java. (AFP: Juni Kriswanto)
Animal rights activists have denounced the "cruel" treatment of cattle in Indonesia after pictures emerged of cows being lifted by a crane from ropes tied to their heads.

It is another blow to the country's reputation for dealing with livestock following international criticism in 2011 when the ABC's Four Corners program aired footage of Indonesian abattoir workers torturing cows shipped from Australia.

The scandal prompted the Government to suspend live exports to Indonesia for a month.

In the latest pictures, taken by an AFP photographer, a crane is shown transferring three bony cows from a boat in the eastern Javanese city of Surabaya using a loop of rope around their skulls.

Another photograph shows seven live cows being lifted in a similar fashion in one group, with their necks outstretched.

The boat transporting the cattle had come from Sumbawa island, around 500 kilometres east of Surabaya, but it is not clear whether that is where the cattle were reared.

The cattle were to be transported to the capital Jakarta, according to a worker in the operation who declined to give his name.

It is not known which company was transporting the cattle.

While a large number of cattle are transported around Indonesia, an archipelago of more than 17,000 islands, it is not normal practice to lift animals up by their heads.

"It is crazy that cruel practices are still happening," Jakarta Animal Aid Network campaigner Benvika told AFP.

Indonesian Veterinary Association chairwoman Wiwiek Bagja said animal welfare laws in effect since 2009 did not work because they do not actually lay out what punishments people should face for animal cruelty.

"In short, Indonesia is very far from implementing and enforcing the law," she said.

PHOTO: 'Cruel practice': seven cattle being lifted by ropes. (AFP:
Juni Kriswanto)

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Culture or Cruelty?