Lapang Islanders in Indonesia

"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."

(Live Kryon Channelings was given 7 times within the United Nations building.)


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.

Japan's Antarctic whaling hunt ruled 'not scientific'

Japan's Antarctic whaling hunt ruled 'not scientific'
Representatives of Japan and Australia shake hands at the court in The Hague. (NOS/ANP) - 31 March 2014
"Fast-Tracking" - Feb 8, 2014 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Reference to Fukushima / H-bomb nuclear pollution and a warning about nuclear > 20 Min)

China calls for peaceful settlement of maritime disputes

China calls for peaceful settlement of maritime disputes
Wang Min, China's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, speaks during a meeting to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the enforcement of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, at the UN headquarters in New York, on June 9, 2014. The Chinese envoy on Monday called for a harmonious maritime order, saying that maritime disputes should be settled through negotiation between the parties directly involved. (Xinhua/Niu Xiaolei)

UNCLOS 200 nautical miles vs China claimed territorial waters

UNCLOS 200 nautical miles vs China claimed territorial waters

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Protected nuisance gulls must go, say Rotterdammers

DutchNews, January 9, 2019 

A lesser black-backed gull flies through a Dutch street. Photo: Wim Verhagen via HH 

Rotterdammers whose lives have been made a misery by black-backed gulls for the last seven years, have written a letter to the city council asking for help, local broadcaster Rijnmond TV reports. 

The gulls, a protected species, have taken up residence on the flat roofs of homes at the Telderweg, Kemperweg, Van Poeljeweg and Moltzerstraat, and are keeping the inhabitants awake with their incessant and piercing screeching, especially between March and September when they are breeding. 

The birds are also more aggressive when they have chicks and have been known to attack adults and children. 

The council and housing corporation Havensteder have said they cannot do anything because the birds are protected but the harassed locals are pointing to Alkmaar, Haarlem and Leiden which have taken measures against nuisance gulls by dipping the eggs in corn oil which stops them from hatching. 

They also want a subsidy to put up netting on the roofs, a measure they claim is allowed, even taking into account the birds’ protected status.

‘Young gulls will always return to the nests to breed. In 10 years’ time they will completely dominate the streets whilst still being protected. Who is protecting the citizens?’, the letter reads.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Ocean clean-up halted as plastic waste project hits new snag

DutchNews, January 4, 2019

Photo: The Ocean Cleanup

A Dutch project to clear plastic waste out of the Pacific ocean has had a second setback in a month – this time, one of the end parts of the boom used to catch rubbish has broken off.

This ‘structural malfunctioning of the cleanup system’ means the team is returning to port earlier than planned, the project founder Boyan Slat said on the organisation’s website

The 18 metre piece of the boom which has fractured off contains sensors and satellite communication systems. 

‘We are, of course, quite bummed about this as we hoped to stay out for a bit longer to collect more data on plastic-system interaction, and it introduces an additional challenge to be solved,’ Slat said. 

The boom is now being towed back to Hawaii for repairs.


In early December it emerged that the plastic catcher, a 600 metre floating tube with a skirt attached to sweep up the plastic debris, was not moving fast enough to be able to hold on to the plastic. However, the problem is ‘fixable’, Slat said at the time. 

‘Although we would have liked to end the year on a more positive note, we believe these teething troubles are solvable, and the cleanup of the great Pacific garbage patch will be operational in 2019,’ he said.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Ship loses potentially dangerous cargo in North Sea: Coastguard

Yahoo – AFP, January 2, 2019

Ship loses potentially dangerous cargo in North Sea: Coastguard

The Hague (AFP) - A cargo ship caught in rough North Sea weather lost at least 270 containers, including four holding potentially dangerous substances, the Dutch and German coastguards said Wednesday.

The Panama-registered MSC Zoe shed the containers containing mostly toys, furniture and auto spare parts while battling a storm off the Frisian Islands, an archipelago off the northwestern Dutch coast also known as the Wadden Islands.

The Dutch coastguard tweeted that three of the containers contained, in powder form, highly flammable, potentially dangerous organic peroxides used in making plastics which can cause irritation if breathed in.

German coastguard sources said they had located one container holding organic peroxide among six containers that reached the country's coastline.

They also warned the public not to touch the containers if found, but to call police or the fire brigade.

The Dutch coastguard, which said the containers went overboard not far from the German island of Borkum, added they did not have information about the content of cargo beyond that of the 20 or so containers which washed up on the islands.

Dutch broadcaster NOS showed local people around one of the containers and pictured toys and other materials strewn across beaches as well as one man carrying off a flat screen television.

A Dutch coastguard spokesman told NOS it was likely the containers holding the peroxides had sunk.

A Dutch coastguard plane was due to undertake a new search on Thursday morning while strong winds were hampering the MSC Zoe's own attempts to carry out an inventory.

The mayor of Terschelling island, where some of the cargo washed ashore, told NOS he expected it would take several days to clear the beach of stray items from the containers.

The 2015-built MSC Zoe, which was headed to the northern German port of Bremerhaven, is one of the world's largest container vessels at 396 metres (1300 feet) long and 59 metres wide.


Photo: Kustwacht

Related Articles:

Photos show chaos on container ship as Dutch beach clean-up begins



Saturday, December 29, 2018

Japan bolts whaling commission, but tensions may ease

Yahoo – AFP, Shaun TANDON, 28 December 2018

Japan has put a halt to its most provocative whaling -- annual expeditions to
the Antarctic

Japan has made good on years of threats by bolting the International Whaling Commission, but its decision may also offer a way out of tensions that looked inextricable.

Japan, which calls whaling part of its cultural heritage, said Wednesday it would withdraw from the seven-decade-old commission which since 1986 has banned commercial killing of the ocean giants.

But while Japan vowed to forge ahead with full-fledged commercial hunts off its coast, it put a halt to its most provocative whaling -- annual expeditions to the Antarctic which use an IWC loophole that permits whaling for scientific research.

Australia and New Zealand have been outraged by Japan's incursions into waters they consider a whale sanctuary and activists harassed the whalers in often dangerous chases.

Patrick Ramage, a veteran watcher of IWC negotiations, called the announcement an "elegantly Japanese solution" that looks on the surface like defiance but will likely mean a much smaller hunt.

"What this provides is a face-saving way out of high seas whaling. And it is difficult to see that as anything other than good news for whales and the commission established to manage and conserve them," said Ramage, program director for marine conservation at the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

Ramage said that the IWC, where Japan will now have observer status, can focus on increasingly serious threats to whales such as climate change, plastic pollution, ship-strikes and accidental net entanglement from the soaring fishing industry.

"It will be a net positive to allow the commission and its member countries to move beyond what has been a disproportionate and warping debate on whaling," he said.

Norway and Iceland also hunt whales but remain within the IWC, instead formally registering objections to the ban.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which opposes any killing of whales and attempted to stop Japan's fleet forcibly in the Antarctic, declared victory over Tokyo's announcement but vowed not to accept any whaling by the three countries.

Mounting obstacles

For Japan, which generally prides itself on its contributions to international organizations, whaling has been a rare space in which it confronts its usual Western allies, with Japanese officials at IWC meetings railing against what they see as cultural imperialism.

While whale meat is rarely eaten in modern Japan, whaling has become a matter of principle for the powerful fishing business and port cities such as Shimonoseki, the home base of conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Japan, which calls whaling part of its cultural heritage, said it would withdraw 
from the seven-decade-old International Whaling Commission, which since 1986 
has banned commercial killing of the ocean giants

But Japan's whalers also faced serious obstacles outside the IWC. The Nisshin Maru, the world's only remaining whaler factory ship and flagship in the "scientific" expeditions, is 31 years old and set for replacement.

Japan -- adamant that it has always followed the letter of the law -- also in 2014 lost a lawsuit filed by Australia at the International Court of Justice, which rejected Tokyo's argument that its whaling was for science, although the narrow ruling allowed Japan to reconstitute its program.

And CITES, the global conference that governs wildlife trade to protect endangered species, in October reprimanded Japan for shipments of meat of sei whales, the main type it kills on the high seas.

Japan's coastal whaling is expected to focus on minkes, the smallest of the great whales whose stocks are widely considered healthy.

Latest shift for IWC?

The Cambridge, England-based IWC was established after World War II to manage whaling, seeking to ensure meat for a hungry Japan and, less successfully, to contain the Soviet Union's prolific slaughter of whales.

After the IWC voted for the moratorium, Japan sought to pack the commission with allies -- often small developing countries with no whaling tradition -- but has continuously failed to reach the two-third threshold it needed.

As one of the earliest results of international environmental diplomacy, the IWC has advocates who say it must be preserved.

Peter Stoett, a professor at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology who has written a book on the IWC, said Japan's withdrawal marked a setback for the commission which will no longer have universal membership.

But he said Japan's absence could reorient the IWC once again to focus on science and diplomacy to address climate change and other urgent threats to whales and other cetaceans.

"As dramatic as this is, the major threat to cetaceans today is not coming from harpoons," Stoett said.

"The end of all whales could come, but that would be because the oceans are just too warm for the ecosystem support structure that they need," he said.



Related Articles:

The Celebration! - What's next? –  Dec 8, 2002 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll - (Text version)

“… The Circle of Responsibilities

The age of responsibility. There are many who don't even like that word. They don't want to be responsible. Yet it's a word dripping with truth and joy. The Human Being who is responsible is the one who knows their God! Let's give you some of these responsibilities. They exist in a circle, with one not taking precedence over the other. 

To God

What is your responsibility to God? Whatever that word means to you - Spirit, Source, Family? What is your responsibility to God? It's easy, yet so difficult. It's easy for the feminine Kryon to invite you to see the wings, yet so hard for you to believe that such a thing could be. What's your responsibility to God? I'll tell you what it is: It's to understand that you're it. It's the responsibility to seek out that part of you that will finally acknowledge that you're divine. Do you think that it's some kind of mysterious error that most of humanity believes in eternal life after death? Do you think that's it's just mass wishful thinking? It isn't. It's intuition! It's knowing! Let me give you another "accident." What do you think about one mammal on the planet, only one - the whale - that has treaties around it signed by hundreds of countries - even ones that have no water - to protect it? Do you think that's an accident? When all humanity is gathered together, despite all the differences and the fights and the religious ideas, they vote to protect one mammal. You want to know why? Because the whales carry the storehouse of knowledge on how to change the past! Humanity at the cellular level knows it.

These mammals also know how to work with the Indigos. Did you ever think about that? And who are the whale's first cousins? The dolphins. Let me tell you about the dolphins and the Indigos. These new children are going to bring you the potential of peace on Earth, and it may not be fast enough for some of you, but believe me, it's in the works. Someday Indigos will stand up in that troubled area called the Middle East and cause a real stir. Palestinians and Israelis will look at each other and say, "It's about time to drop the past. Let's talk about now. Let's talk about what can happen now, away from anything that was on the old track that your parents traveled."

We made the statement long ago: "As go the Jews, so goes Earth." Let's be very clear that we include the Palestinians in the Jewish attribute. Same father. We see them as one family. We also don't see Earth's destruction. Perhaps there are those who would say, "Well, you know you're on the other side of the veil, Kryon. You don't have to walk in Human's shoes." Oh, are we aware of that! That's why we love you so much. Blessed is the angel pretending to be Human. He gets out of bed in the morning and stumbles to the mirror and doesn't see the whales...doesn't think about them. Instead, he wonders how his day is going to go. He worries about the processes within his body. He worries about his society, his lack of abundance, and about the things that are in the dark that he can't see. He seldom sees the angel in the mirror. Well, we have some advice for you: Perhaps it's time to turn on the light! And when you do, all of those things you've been stumbling over will be your treasures. Some of you have done that. We know who's hearing and reading. Some can look backwards and say, "I've changed my past. I've changed my past." Blessed are those who are moving into that dimension! ….”



"... Question Two: What happens when you die?

This is so complicated, but I'm going to divide it into two parts, both spiritual. The death of a Human, which all of you in the room have experienced, is not the end. This is intuitive within you, because you've gone through it before. But the truth of it hides just under the surface. You're not really quite sure what will happen to you, but your intuition tells you it's not the end.

There is no sting in death. Not for you. But for the ones around you, there is. So the first thing I want to tell you about death is that those around you often suffer. Sometimes that is appropriate, for it brings them to their knees, especially when you leave too soon. Sometimes, because of that, they will discover what is inside of them, incredible spiritual solace, and then realize that your death was the catalyst for their enlightenment. Do you understand that process? Sometimes you are partners in this, with agreements in advance for potentials to help each other even through Human death. So it's not something to mourn at all. Often, it's the completion of a beautiful arrangement.

What happens when you die physically? That's easy - you return to the dust of the planet. What more do you want to know? Corporeal? Easy. That's just part of the Gaia process. But let me tell you about the moment of transition. You lose three ounces of something that no one knows about. The three ounces is quantum information. It's the quantum part of your spiritual core, everything that ever was of you, and it doesn't go up, it goes down. It goes back to the Cave of Creation and beyond.

We've told you this before. Part of it also goes to the Crystalline Grid. Some of it even goes to the cetaceans of the earth. There is a system here that allows Gaia to remember your life, and it's stored in the planet. Your spirit comes home, but not your Akashic Record. It stays on the planet because the planet owns it. You have changed the planet by what you've done, but you don't bring it home with you. When you come home, however, we have a party. I've told you that before. Oh, dear one, there's no sting in death. Not your own. You will know it right away, within three days. By then, you are "fully aware" that you're a piece of God. You remember. You hear the music again.

Then soon, you come back here (Earth), and when you do, it's sometimes faster than you've been told, for things are speeding up. Sometimes you come back born into your own family as grandchildren within your same karmic group. That's a process of the Lightworker so that your grandparents can teach you things that only they can teach you.

And when you take your first breath, you pick up something. You pick up all of the soul energy from the Cave of Creation and the Crystalline Grid that you stored there when you left. That is called Akashic inheritance. Artists become artists. Policemen become policemen. It's in your genes. It's in your DNA, who you used to be. Even the proclivities for the things you like and don't like - like food, choices - come in with you from the past Akashic inheritance.

Sometimes the question is asked, "Should I be a vegetarian? What is correct for my body spiritually?" I will tell you what is correct for your body spiritually - the thing that makes sense to you! If you've spent lifetimes in Tibet or India, you're probably craving different foods than that which is in the United States. That's how it works, dear ones. Your body reacts to what it remembers, and if that serves you by not eating meat, then that is what you should do for your health. Do not project it onto your friends, for they have their own Akashic health remembrance. They have their own system that works for them.

Humans love to compartmentalize everything and, therefore, when someone finds something good for them, they wish everybody to do it. Do not criticize others because they don't have your unique remembrance. This also applies to the belief systems of others. The ones who have found God or have found joy in a system that works for them is because they are tuned to it. Perhaps they were the very disciples of the masters! They're tuned to it and they want for everyone what works for them. Much of it has integrity, but it may not be for you.

What happens at death? It's a system - beauty, honor, and you become the piece of God that you know you are. When Elijah ascended, you got to see it through the eyes of Elisha. Elijah turned into a light so bright that Elisha couldn't even look at it. Then it split into parts. Elisha saw the Merkabah, the field around the Human, the chariot that Elijah rode in. He saw it and reported it. What do you think it was? The Human got to see ascension. That's death. ...."

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Protected Chilean sea lions are the 'enemy' of fishermen

Yahoo – AFP, Miguel SANCHEZ, December 22, 2018

Chilean fishermen have branded sea lions "a plague" because of the competition
they provide in catching fish (AFP Photo/Martin BERNETTI)

Valparaíso (Chile) (AFP) - Off the coast of Chile, fisherman face competition from a cunning carnivorous hunter that has decimated their industry due to its voracious appetite.

For Chile's fishermen, sea lions are a "plague."

"They're an enemy!" complained Mario Rojas to AFP. "We try to make them go away but it's impossible!"

Part of the wider seal family that was once hunted mercilessly all over the world, leaving some populations close to extinction, the South American sea lion in Chile has been protected for the last 28 years.

Hunting them for their richly prized fur is illegal.

Liberated from their most dangerous predator -- they are still prey for sharks and orcas -- the sea mammal's population has been on the rise, helped in no small part by the abundant fodder they manage to steal from fisherman.

Sea lions hang around on the beach or under the wharf at San Antonio port waiting for 
fishermen to discard the scraps and entrails from their catches (AFP Photo/
MARTIN BERNETTI)

They have learnt to distinguish the sound of the fishing boats' motors, allowing them to follow the vessels as they head out to sea.

"The sea lions don't hunt anymore. They hear the noise of a boat and they know that the food is there," said Rojas.

With their sharp teeth and the enormous power in bodies that can weigh around 650 pounds (300 kilograms), they manage to destroy the fishing nets and gobble up the treats inside.

And they have some appetite, consuming 90 pounds of fish each a day.

Rojas says more than 80 percent of the boats working in his area, around the port of Valparaiso, return from a day's work empty, with their nets shredded.

There, sea lions hang around on the beach or beneath the wharf, waiting for the scraps and entrails thrown back into the water by fishermen.

Around 40 percent of the world's sea lion population, some 200,000 animals, live off the coast of Chile and pose a serious threat to the fishing industry.

Local fishermen want to be able to cull their numbers.

Not everyone is as angered by sea lions as Chile's fishermen, and the country's
 fisheries under-secretary Eduardo Riquelme says humans must learn to live 
with the eared seals (AFP Photo/MARTIN BERNETTI)

'A crisis'

A decade ago, at the Portales cove at Valparaiso, where Rojas is the fishermen's leader, around 1,300 pounds of fish were caught daily, but that is now down to just 110 pounds.

It's a similar situation all along the coast.

"We're going through a crisis specifically because of sea lions, but we also have fishing quotas. People are desperate," said Jose Alvarado, leader of the fishermen at Hualaihue, around 700 miles (1,000 kilometers) to the south of the capital Santiago.

Fishermen want the ban on sea lion hunting lifted so they can control the numbers.

"The only viable solution for the fishermen is to eliminate the sea lions and this won't happen," fisheries under-secretary Eduardo Riquelme told AFP.

He admits that sea lions are creating problems for the fishing industry but the first step in addressing the issue will come in February with a census to establish the size of the Chilean population of these eared seals.

The government has also agreed with fishermen to convene a commission of experts to study the problem, while also eradicating some of the fishermen's bad habits, such as throwing fish entrails, which sea lions feed on, back into the sea.

With a ban on hunting them, the South American sea lions have almost no 
predators now and compete with humans for fish (AFP Photo/Martin BERNETTI)

They've agreed to begin tests on boats fitted with ultrasound equipment to scare away sea lions, and machines that will reel in nets quicker.

'Catastrophic problems'

The hunting ban was imposed to preserve the South American sea lion, after two closely related fur seal species were almost driven extinct during the 20th century.

Chile has signed international accords to protect the sea lion and any violation would engender serious penalties, such as the suspension of salmon imports from the United States, an industry that generates almost $4 billion a year.

The predator's presence is necessary "to balance food chains," Jose Luis Brito, director at San Antonio's natural history museum, told AFP.

Hunting by humans "can produce catastrophic problems with huge consequences, because they are the ones that control life," said Brito.

But, "since they don't have any rivals, and not enough predators," their numbers are on the rise, "provoking them to compete with another predator, which is us."

For Riquelme, there's only one solution: "We have to learn to live with the sea lions."

Friday, December 21, 2018

Smiling at danger, China’s finless porpoise fights to survive

Yahoo – AFP, Kelly WANG, December 20, 2018

Pollution, overfishing, hydroelectric dams and shipping traffic have rendered the
Yangtze finless porpoise critically endangered, worse off even than China's
best-known symbol of animal conservation, the panda (AFP Photo/Johannes EISELE)

In an oxbow lake along the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, a breathy sigh pierces the surface stillness as one of China’s most endangered animals comes up for a gulp of hazy air.

A slick black back with no dorsal fin arches briefly above the water line before plunging back down.

Such glimpses of the shy Yangtze finless porpoise, the only aquatic mammal left in China's longest river and known in Chinese as the "smiling angel" for its perma-grin, are increasingly rare.

Pollution, overfishing, hydroelectric dams and shipping traffic have rendered them critically endangered, worse off even than China's best-known symbol of animal conservation, the panda.

China's government estimates there were 1,012 wild Yangtze finless porpoises in 2017, compared to more than 1,800 giant pandas, which is no longer endangered.

But researchers see signs of hope.

Porpoise numbers fell by nearly half from 2006-2012 to an estimated 1,040. But the rate of decline has slowed markedly since then, suggesting that conservation may be making a dent.

A central component of the rescue effort is the introduction of porpoises to several conservation areas off the busy river, where researchers say numbers have been actually increasing.

One of the world's few freshwater porpoise subspecies, the Yangtze finless 
porpoise is considered a natural barometer of the overall health of China's 
most important river (AFP Photo/Johannes EISELE)id.

Encouraging signs

At the Tianezhou Oxbow Nature Reserve in central China's Hubei province, a curving lake linked to the Yangtze by a stream, around 30-40 porpoises were brought in beginning in the 1990s. There are now around 80.

"We found out animals can not only survive but also reproduce naturally and successfully at Tianezhou. That's very encouraging," said Wang Ding, 60, a porpoise expert with the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Researchers also credit official clampdowns on polluting activities and fish overharvesting, artificial reproduction projects, and growing environmental awareness among China's emerging middle class.

"The voice and supervision of the public has played an important role," said Zhang Xinqiao, the species' project manager at the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

Chinese officials are keen to avoid a repeat of the "baiji", or Yangtze dolphin, the river's only other aquatic mammal, which since 2006 has been considered extinct in a huge conservation setback for China.

Losing the "smiling angel" would be a further tragedy, conservationists say.

One of the world's few freshwater porpoise subspecies, it is considered a natural barometer of the overall health of China's most important river.

Factfile on the critically endangered Yangtze finless porpoise. (AFP 
Photo/Gal ROMA)

'River pig'

The finless porpoise is mentioned in ancient Chinese poems and has been considered a harbinger of rain. Some locals call it the "river pig" for its plump body and rounded headed.

Adults can reach two metres (six feet) long and were sometimes eaten, despite not being considered particularly tasty. Their livers were used in traditional medicines.

Since China re-opened to the world four decades ago, living standards have soared, but so have air and water pollution.

The Yangtze contributes more to ocean pollution than any other world river, according to Dutch NGO Ocean Cleanup.

Hydroelectric dams built on the river to satisfy soaring energy demand have also been disastrous for biodiversity.

But in January 2016, President Xi Jinping called for a river protection push. Steps have included curbs on development, stricter fishing rules and other protection projects.

Later that year, a formal porpoise action plan was launched, including increased relocations away from the river, more reserve sites, and research on artificial breeding.

The Tianezhou reserve, established in 1992, claims to be the world's first and only example of cetaceans -- which include dolphins and porpoises -- surviving and reproducing after relocation.

Local fishermen near the lake were encouraged to change professions and Wang Hesong, 46, became a patrolman at the reserve.

"Look over there, a mother and a baby," Wang said, as his pilot cut their patrol boat's engine at the sight of two arched backs breaking the silvery surface. The shy mammals quickly submerged.

"They only come up for a couple of seconds to breathe... We go out patrolling every day and we see them every day," Wang said.

A Yangtze finless porpoise in a pool at the Baiji dolphinarium in Wuhan (AFP 
Photo/Johannes EISELE)

The 21-kilometre-long (13-mile) lake offers sanctuary, but porpoises within the river face intense pressure.

The WWF's Zhang said the species' days in the river may be numbered.

"They have nowhere to hide in the river," he said.

"As long as danger exists, such as a further deterioration of natural habitat, it's very likely their numbers could drastically decrease again."

Clock is ticking

With the clock ticking, a research facility in the nearby industrial city of Wuhan hosts six finless porpoises for research, breeding, and to engage the public.

Two gracefully circled by an observation window that looks into their huge tank, playfully tilting their bodies to glimpse the human visitors.

"They are saying 'hi' to us," said Liu Hanhui, a volunteer. "I think they understand human feelings."

The WWF says adult Yangtze finless porpoises have the intelligence of a three-to-five-year-old child.

Just before feeding, they are coaxed to open their mouths on cue, show off their smiles, and shake hands by extending a flipper.

Yet they are difficult to breed in captivity.

A calf born in June at the dolphinarium -- founded in 1980 -- is just the second produced there to survive more than 100 days, while wild calves often die before adulthood due to human impact on the environment.

Liu, an aquaculture student at a nearby university, and 40 other volunteers help feed them on weekends and holidays, and take part in various activities to promote awareness.

Conservation programmes and events in the region have proliferated in recent years, backed by scores of businesses and NGOs aiming to instruct the public and encourage greater government protection efforts.

"Our development has caused a species to rapidly disappear. I feel like I'm atoning for mankind's crimes," Liu said.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Ray of hope: scientist use contraceptive to curtail ‘highly fertile’ fish

DutchNews, December 17, 2018

An eagle ray. Photo: Steve Jurvetson via Wikimedia Commons.

Researchers at a Dutch zoo have used a contraceptive method to control the breeding habits of a highly fertile species of ray for the first time. 

The breakthrough by biologist Max Janse and vet Henk Luten at Burgers’ Zoo in Arnhem was announced in the Journal of Fish Biology. The pair used an implant to interrupt a female speckled eagle ray’s hormone cycle and stop her reproducing. 

The zoo was involved in a breeding programme for the eagle ray (aetobatus ocellatus) which is a protected species, but after producing 58 offspring since 2009 it had run out of partner zoos who were willing to take the young rays. 

Previous specimens born in Arnhem have been sent to aquaria in Valencia, Tenerife and Denmark, but the scientists said that trying to rehouse the mother was too difficult. ‘You need a lorry to move a ray that size. And in the meantime she kept on reproducing.’ 

The large number of offspring also risked causing other problems in a confined space, wrote the researchers: ‘We found that 21 young originated from one female ray. If all the fish are from the same specimen, they become too genetically similar, which can lead to complications.’ 

The researchers said the long-term effects of the contraceptive implant were unknown. ‘It will probably stop emitting hormones at some point, but we don’t know that for sure. It could also be that the hormonal balance is permanently affected so that the fish can no longer produce young.’

Monday, December 17, 2018

Dutch build artificial islands to bring wildlife back

Yahoo – AFP, Charlotte VAN OUWERKERK, 16 December 2018

The vast expanse of Markermeer lake was until recently nothing more than a
 cloudy mass devoid of aquatic life

Dutch ranger Andre Donker sighs as he looks out at the rippling grey waters of the Markermeer, one of Europe's largest freshwater lakes. "Once upon a time it was teeming with fish here," he says.

But this vast 700-square-kilometre (270-square-mile) expanse of water, which regulates the level of water in the rest of the Netherlands, had become until recently nothing more than a cloudy mass devoid of aquatic life.

Now the hope is that a new artificial archipelago of five islands will bring nature back to the area via a typically ambitious engineering project for a low-lying country that has battled the sea for centuries.

It is "one of the largest rewilding operations in Europe", says Donker.

Standing on a wooden bridge over a pond in the middle of experimental plots of different kinds of reeds, he says he has been able to see the first signs of increasing biodiversity.

Experts recently counted 127 kinds of plants on the islets, most brought in 
by windborne seeds

'We had to intervene'

The lake was once part of the Zuiderzee, an engineering wonder of the world completed in 1932, which closed off a huge expanse of water to keep out the North Sea and combat flooding.

Vital in a country where 26 percent of the land is below sea level, the scheme created an inland lake and polders, land reclaimed from the sea, but at a cost to the environment.

Over the subsequent decades, sediment used to create a dyke separating the Markermeer from a neighbouring body of water, the Ijsselmeer, washed away and sunk to the bottom of the lake.

That turned the water cloudy, negatively impacting fish and bird populations, plants and molluscs.

"We had to intervene," says Donker, wearing a woollen hat to brave the storms from the North Sea.

It's hoped a new artificial archipelago of five islands will bring nature back to the area

Combating vulnerability

The solution was a bold one in keeping with a country whose people like to boast that "God created the world, but the Dutch created the Netherlands".

Eight kilometres (five miles) from the port of Lelystad, the ranger walks down the side of an artificial sand dune. Other similar dunes stretch out beyond it as far as the eye can see.

Still-sparse vegetation covers a large part of the 700 hectares that have been built anew in the lake.

The islets plan is among many being worked on by the Netherlands, which is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to climate change.

Since October, the port city of Rotterdam has hosted the headquarters of an international climate commission led by former UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon and Microsoft founder and climate activist Bill Gates.

Three wooden bird observatories have been built on the main island

'Explosion of plankton'

The five islets were built in two and a half years and have already served as a resting place for 30,000 swallows this year.

Experts recently counted 127 kinds of plants, most of which have been brought in by windborne seeds.

In the water there is an "explosion" of plankton that "guarantees a large amount of food for the birds", says Donker, in his fifties and whose weathered face shows the signs of 20 years in the job.

Greylag goose, common tern, several species of waders such as the great egret and the night heron have also returned, testifying to the islands' success.

The main island has 12 kilometres of footbridges and unpaved roads

'Beautiful landscape'

In the distance a dredger is helping to create the final dunes of the archipelago, dubbed Marker Wadden.

The project, initiated by Natuurmonumenten, a Dutch non-governmental organisation working for the preservation of nature, cost 60 million euros ($68 million) -- much of it donated by individuals.

True to their reputation as masters of water management, the Dutch used an innovative technique, forming the islets with silt, a sedimentary formation halfway between clay and sand.

"Building an island with sand is not that difficult, we do it all over the world, and what is unique here is that we use silt," says Jeroen van der Klooster, project head at Boskalis, the maritime service provider that built the archipelago.

His team dug a 1,200-metre "corridor" on the main island which allows the silt, led by strong ocean currents, to form marshy areas, fertile soil and reservoirs where migratory birds can eat.

"And that's how this beautiful landscape was born," says van der Klooster from the top of a wooden observation tower, wearing an orange vest and a white helmet.

Three wooden bird observatories, a house for the island's guardian, 12 kilometres of footbridges and unpaved roads have also been built on the main island, which is open to the public.

The four others are exclusively reserved for wildlife and plants -- a once-sterile space now returned to nature.