'Blue Moon' of 2012: See the First Photos

The first photos are starting to appear from today's (Aug. 31) blue moon, the last such sight until 2015.

A blue moon is the name given to the second full moon in a single month, a rare occurrence that won't happen again for three years.

Though blue moons don't actually appear blue, one stargazer named Tom Sajinsa whimsically tinted the moon blue in a photo he took of the full disk this morning from New York City.

The moon technically became full at 9:58 a.m. EDT (1358 GMT), marking the second time in August that it's reached full phase. The month's first full moon occurred Aug. 1. But to the average night sky stargazer, the moon can still appear full in the day before and after the actual full moon time.

Some parts of the world are already catching views of today's moon, such as Japan, where the sun set at 6:26 p.m. Japan Standard Time on Friday (Aug. 31), or 5:26 a.m. EDT (0926 GMT).

Angela Saeki captured the moon from her balcony on the 34th floor of an apartment building in Osaka, Japan. (Source)

August Full Moon Names From Native American and Other Different Cultures

Joyful Moon (Hopi).
First Acorns (Pomo).
Ripen moon (Dakota).
Dispute Moon (Celtic).
Cutter Moon (Abernaki).
Dog Days moon (Yuchi).
Corn Silk Moon (Ponca).
Harvest Moon (Chinese).
Berry Moon (Anishnaabe).
Women's Moon (Choctaw).
Mulberries Moon (Natchez).
Middle moon (Potawatomi).
Freshness Moon (Mohawk).
Yelow flower moon (Osage).
Blackberry Moon (Wishram).
Acorns Ripen Moon (Maidu).
Wheat Cut Moon (San Juan).
Lightning Moon (Neo Pagan).
Black Cherries Moon (Sioux).
Yellow Leaves moon (Kiowa).
Edible Corn Moon (Agonquin).
Young Ducks Fly Moon (Cree).
Lightening Moon (Neo-Pagan).
Black Cherries Moon (Assiniboine).
Dog Day's Moon (Colonial American).
Autumn Moon (Taos Native American).
Corn Moon, Wort Moon (Medieval English).
Geese Shedding Feathers Moon (Arapaho).
Feather Shedding Moon (Passamaquoddy).
Dispute Moon (Full Janic), Harvest Moon (Dark Janic).
Big Harvest moon, Heat Moon, Big Rippening Moon (Creek).
Fruit Moon, Drying Moon, Last Fruit Moon, Grain Moon (Cherokee).
Red Moon,Sturgeon Moon, Green Corn Moon, Dog Days Moon (Algonquin).

Other Moon names : Wyrt, Barley Moon

Blue Moon of Osaka, JapanCredit: Angela Saeki Night sky watcher Angela Saeki caught the blue moon from her balcony on the 34th floor in Osaka, Japan, August 30, 2012.

Almost Blue MoonCredit: Tom SajinsaNight sky watcher Tom Sajinsa sent in the following picture of the moon. He writes: "Setting up for the blue moon, 8/28/12 11:15 pm NYC moon."

August 2012 Blue Moon in Minot, SDCredit: David StockingerNight sky watcher David Stockinger took this photo of the August 2012 blue moon in Minot, SD, on August 30, 2012.

Blue Moon of Osaka, Japan #2Credit: Angela SaekiNight sky watcher Angela Saeki caught the blue moon from her balcony on the 34th floor in Osaka, Japan, August 30, 2012.

Full Moon and Airplane: Sid VedulaCredit: Sid VedulaPhotographer Sid Vedula captured this amazing view of the full moon of Aug. 1, 2012, from Houston, TX, with a passing airplane in silhouette.

Squashed Full Moon of Aug. 1, 2012Credit: NASAThe Aug. 1, 2012, full moon appears squashed due to distortions by Earth's atmosphere in this photo by an astronaut on the International Space Station.

Perseid Meteor with the Moon, Venus and JupiterCredit: Robb Rosenfeld

VIDEO Blue Moon August 31 2012

Take action for the right to water

Water is considered a basic human right according to many international treaties, including the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. But in Canada, running water is not available to Indigenous People living in Manitoba.

The Island Lake area of four reserves has a population of 10,000 and half of its homes Do Not Have Running Water. The Indigenous people of the Island Lake region have less clean water than people living in refugee camps overseas. This isn’t happening in the third world, it’s happening in one of the World's Richest Countries.

Indigenous people in Canada live in third world conditions and Most Canadians are Not even Aware of it.

United nation general assembly declares access to clean water and sanitation is a human right:

28 July 2010 – Safe and clean drinking water and sanitation is a human right essential to the full enjoyment of life and all other human rights, the General Assembly declared today, voicing deep concern that almost 900 million people worldwide do not have access to clean water.

United Nations News Centre

1 October 2010 – The main United Nations body dealing with human rights has affirmed that the right to water and sanitation is contained in existing human rights treaties, and that States have the primary responsibility to ensure the full realization of this and all other basic human rights.

While the General Assembly declared in July that safe and clean drinking water and sanitation is a human right essential to the full enjoyment of life and all other human rights, this is the first time that the Human Rights Council has declared itself on the issue….


Water is vital to people’s health and livelihoods. In Canada, there is no national strategy to address urgent water issues and no federal leadership to conserve and protect our water. The Federal Water Policy is over 20 years old and badly outdated. Our freshwater faces crises including contamination, shortages and pressure to export water to the United States through pipelines and diversions.

The Council of Canadians’ water campaign is calling for a national water policy that protects Canada’s water from bulk exports and privatization, because:

The free market doesn’t guarantee access to water;
Bulk exports could open the floodgates to trade challenges;
Canada’s water supply is limited;
Public water is safer, cleaner and more affordable; and
Water is essential for people and nature.


MEDIA RELEASE: Water justice activists demand action on 2nd anniversary of UN human right to water resolution, July 27, 2012. Read the open letter here (English) and here (Spanish).

MEDIA RELEASE: Canada Declares Support for Human Right to Water: Now is the time for action, says Council of Canadians, May 30, 3012

Join us in putting pressure on the federal government. Download a copy of the "Appeal to Parliamentarians on the Human Right to Water and Sanitation" letter and our Parliamentarian Pledge on the Human Right to Water and Sanitation. Arrange a meeting with your elected Member of Parliament and ask them to sign the pledge. (Télécharger en français : Appelaux parlementaires sur le droit de l'homme à l'eau et à l'assainissement, Libellé d’engagement pour les parlementaires sur le droit humain à l'eau)

Send your signed Parliamentarian Pledges to We will post a list of Members of Parliament who have committed to push for the government to meet Canada's obligations under international law for the human right to water and sanitation.

By working together we can all help make the human right to water and sanitation a reality in Canada!

Do black bears count in the woods? Possibly, according to a recent study that shows the mammals are as smart as primates.

In experiments, captive bears showed that they could perform numerical tasks, including distinguishing the number of dots on an image.

Even though bears have the largest relative brain size of any carnivore (still not as big as primates), surprisingly little research has been done on their cognitive abilities, according to the study.

The new research shows for the first time that "bears and other animals that have been neglected by cognitive scientists ... may show abilities similar to species more like humans," study co-author Jennifer Vonk, a comparative psychologist at the University of Oakland in Rochester, Michigan, said by email.

Will Work for Food

For the experiment, three black bears in their enclosure in Alabama's Mobile Zoo were given the opportunity to approach a touch-screen computer on a rolling cart. The large carnivores, which are generally "motivated to work for food," proved willing participants, Vonk said.

When a bear walked up to the computer, the screen flashed two images—for instance, a set of large dots and a set of small dots, which were both randomly colored black or red. Each bear was already trained to touch the computer with its nose or paw, and would do this to choose an image, according to the study, published in June in the journal Animal Behaviour.

The black bear (file picture) may have evolved its smarts to find food.
Photograph by Michael Nichols, National Geographic

If the bear touched the "correct" category—randomly determined by the scientists—the computer beeped melodically and the animal got a food reward. If the bear touched the incorrect category, the computer buzzed and the next pair of images was shown.

To show if the bear had learned what image was correct (say, a high or low number of dots), the scientists showed them a new set of images that were of the same type as the previous ones.

The results showed all the bears were able to choose the correct image that got them food. It set the stage to look closer at their ability to "count."

"Counting" Bear

A further experiment discovered that one bear, named Brutus, could also discriminate numbers.

Brutus was shown two images—one with a set of large dots and another with a set of small dots. This was followed by another two images, in each of which the dots were moving and placed on a background of a different size than the previous images.

The bear still chose the correct image despite these "conflicting cues," suggesting he can "count" the dots to distinguish the one to get him a treat, Vonk said.

Even so, "it's too early to call it counting per se," she noted.

Because the task was voluntary, Vonk struggled with the bears all trying to participate at once—knowing a treat was imminent. "The hardest part was giving only one access to the screen," she said.

Dave Garshelis, who was not involved in the study but serves as bear project leader at the Minnesota Department of
 Natural Resources, said that the bears may have found it relatively easy to respond to the color of the dots because they resemble berries, one of the black bear's main food sources.

For instance, black bears are able to discern the preferred ripe blackberries—which are black—from unripe blackberries, which are red.

He also added that the experiment was geared toward visual acuity—the most comfortable sense for humans, but not so much for bears, whose sense of smell is a thousand times greater than a person's.

In the experiment, "you've actually stripped them of their main sense that they make decisions by, which is their sense of smell," he said.

Garshelis suspects the bears would have performed even better on the tests if there'd been smells emanating from the screen.

Bears Evolved Smarts to Find Food?

It makes sense that bears would be smart—as loner omnivores, the animals must problem solve to root out a variety of food sources, the authors noted.

Garshelis agreed that bears' cognitive abilities may result from them having to respond to rapidly changing food sources.

"Imagine if you were on a buffet line and you're moving through and making the choice of what to put on your plate, and the people who set the food up are constantly changing it in front of you and you never know what's coming," he said.

That's what bears face when finding fruit each summer, which can be abundant one year but scarce the next, he said.

Roger Powell, a bear expert at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, agreed, adding via email, "All I can say is that from over 20 years of doing research on bears, I was constantly impressed with their intelligence.

"They are highly adapted to find new foods that become available and to take advantage of foods that are very different and that must be acquired in new ways the bears have never used before," said Powell, who was not involved in the research.

Overall, the finding may open up possibilities for comparing the cognitive abilities of bears and primates, Vonk said. Primates have been performing computerized tasks for decades.

"It is exciting to consider," the study said, "that such divergent species can be tested in the same way to promote a fuller picture" of animal smarts.
Article Written by
Christine Dell'Amore National Geographic News


France authorises shooting of two wolves

Just this last Monday, the country of France has authorized the shooting of two wolves following attacks on sheep in the southeast part of the country. This is the equivalent of one percent of the surviving population. Around 200 wolves survive in the wild in France, mainly in the southeastern corner of the country but also in the Pyrenees mountains. Local farmers say about 130 sheep have been killed or injured in wolf attacks in the last year. Actually only a few of these attacks have been officially attributed to the wolf, but farmers say coexistence in the area is impossible.

The permit to hunt the wolves started on Monday and will run until September 19th. The decision to order the hunt has been described as a last resort in the effort to protect livestock from the wolves. According to Var prefect Paul Mourier, "We have reached the final stage. The various protection measures and defenses implemented over the past few years have not been enough."

The decision was taken after a recent acceleration in attacks, with an additional 72 sheep taken in an attack last Friday. The orders can be issued when local conservation officials judge that attacks on livestock have reached a threshold which makes it necessary to reduce numbers of the predators.

Var is in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in the south-east corner of France. Var is the second area to recently allow a wolf hunt, following a decision by the prefecture of the Hautes-Alpes after similar attacks in 2012. Although some 99 percent of the attacks in the Var have taken place in Canjuers, the hunt has also been allowed in the municipalities of d'Aiguines, Chateaudouble, Comps-sur-Artuby, La Roque Esclapon, Montferrat and Mons et Seillans.

The Cevennes mountains of Lozère in the southern Auvergne, located in southern France is the home of Roquefort cheese and also a "political" reason behind authorized wolf kills. It is obvious that sheep farmers there resent the fact that they feel that they cannot allow their sheep to roam due to the return of the wolf. Roquefort farmers warn the future of the cheese could now be in jeopardy as they will no longer be able to respect the appellation's strict rules on allowing their sheep to graze freely. These rules stipulate that it is compulsory for sheep to roam on the hilly pastures every day provided there is sufficient grass and weather conditions permitting. Under a "wolf code" established in 2004, these wolves can be shot legally only by licensed "wolf lieutenants" or government marksmen.

Environmentalists and animal rights groups are very critical of the policy of authorizing what are effectively mini-culls of a protected species. They argue that these policies exist purely to placate a farming lobby which is prone to exaggerating the damage done by wolves. France's wolf population has grown to around 200 wolves since being re-introduced in 1992, but there has been only six wolves that have been legally hunted since 2004.

Protecting the Elusive California Wolf

A symbol of wilderness lost, the last gray wolf in California was killed in 1924. The subject of European superstition and viewed as competitors for wild game and a threat to domestic animals and even people, wolves were hunted to oblivion across most of the continental United States.

But wolves are making a comeback. Last December a lone wolf wandered into northern California from Oregon, the first in nearly 90 years. He faces many natural challenges—especially finding a mate!—but his biggest threat is the same human fear, greed and superstition that his distant ancestors faced decades before. Thankfully, though wolves are still far from being a certainty in California, the state’s Fish and Game agency has recommended that wolves, should they return, be protected by California’s Endangered Species law.

Since the 1950s, biologists began to understand wolves’ vital role in maintaining healthy ecosystems. Predation strengthened prey species by weeding out genetically unfit animals and selecting for the strongest to survive and breed. This understanding led to efforts to restore wolves that have brought the species back to several states after decades-long absence.

In Yellowstone, where wolves were reintroduced in the 1990s studies have shown the benefits of predation on not just the wildlife but the entire ecosystem there—even trees! Aspens, once a dominant tree in the park, were nearing elimination due to oversized elk herds that, in the absence of natural predation, lingered along river and stream beds all winter devastating the young aspen shoots. The presence of wolves in winter has forced the elk to keep moving and because they can no longer linger indefinitely on river beds, the aspens are once again growing.

This successful return of wolves has been a cause for celebration amongst most biologists and Americans. Unfortunately, many hunters, unwilling to compete with natural predators for wild game, and ranchers, who fear financial loss, are not happy about the wolf’s return. Calls by their powerful lobbies for wolf trapping, snaring, poisoning and even shooting from helicopters are being heard by state governments.

Caving into pressure from those western state’s lobbies, in May, 2011, the US Congress removed federal Endangered Species Act protection from wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains, leaving the states of Montana and Idaho to “manage” their recently established wolf populations. This unprecedented attack on the nation’s heralded wildlife protection law has had predictable and devastating results. In just a year, Idaho has lost 40 percent of its wolf population to hunting and trapping. Wolf numbers are now estimated at fewer than 600. Meanwhile, Montana is estimated to have killed a third of its wolf population since May, with reports of about 260 wolves killed. State officials there are now moving toward an aggressive anti-wolf policy similar to Idaho’s.

Photo Credit dalliedee

This same mentality poses a threat to Journey and his kin in California. Though there is plenty of room for wolves in California from a biological perspective, his arrival has already sparked fear-mongering by the state’s ranchers and hunters. And our irrational fears are still there too. Just witness the release of the film, The Gray earlier this year, an egregious work of fiction that depicted wolves in much the same way that the movie Jaws depicted sharks—as bloodthirsty man hunters.

The recommendation by the California Department of Fish and Game to assure protection of wolves should they establish a population in the state, is a step in the right direction. It signals that the state may put science and healthy wildlife populations above the greed of hunters and ranchers. Its proposal will be considered by the California Fish and Game Commission, which will decide in October whether to accept the recommendation. (SOURCE)

VIDEO Lone wolf looks for love in California
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Massacre of Yanomami Feared in Venezuela
Village of 80 people was firebombed from the air, say activists, by illegal gold miners based in neighbouring Brazil

A massacre of up to 80 Yanomami Indians has taken place in the Venezuelan state of Amazonas, according to claims emerging from the region, prompting the government to send in investigators.

Blame is being placed on illegal garimpeiro miners who cross the border from Brazil to prospect for gold and have clashed violently with Amazon tribes before. According to local testimonies an armed group flew over in a helicopter, opening fire with guns and launching explosives into Irotatheri settlement in the High Ocamo area. The village was home to about 80 people and only three had been accounted for as survivors, according to people from a neighbouring village and indigenous rights activists.

The claims were presented to local authorities in Puerto Ayacucho, the capital of Amazonas state on Monday, asking for an immediate investigation of the site where the alleged killing took place, and for the expulsion of the garimpeiros. The event would have taken place during the first two weeks of July but due to the remoteness of the village it is only now been made public.

A spokeswoman at the public prosecutor's office said the government could not yet confirm the attack nor how many people may have been killed.

Luis Shatiwe, a leader of the Yanomami group, told a Venezuelan newspaper that the survivors were hunters who had been out of the village at the time of the alleged attack. The hunters, he said, heard a helicopter and gunfire and said a communal hut in the village was destroyed by fire.

Survival International, a London-based organisation that seeks to protect native peoples, said in a statement that another Yanomami told the group that tribespeople had found bones and charred bodies in the village.

A member of the team that collected the testimony said: "When we heard the first accounts we flew into Parima-B [the closest town] by helicopter with a contingent of military. In Parima we spoke to Yanomami who had walked six days to get to Parima-B to talk to us. In places this remote that is how people communicate." The man asked not to be identified.

Luis Bello, a lawyer in Puerto Ayacucho who defends indigenous rights, said the allegations were the latest in a series of reports of abuse as garimpeiro activities in the region have increased. "Reports of garimpeiros attacking different communities are becoming more and more frequent, and now we also hear of rivers being poisoned with mercury. We've reported to the authorities but we are so far away that is it all easily forgotten," Bello said.

Bello said a combination of high gold prices and pressure from the Brazilian federal police in their own territory had led to the influx of garimpeiros. "They have also become more sophisticated. They used to fly in and land in clandestine strips, now they come in helicopters and use huge extracting machinery that is decimating the jungle," Bello said.

In 1993, 16 Yanomamis were killed by garimpeiros in what became known as the Haximu massacre. But there have been cases that turn out to be fake. Aime Thilet, a member of Wataniba, an NGO that defends indigenous rights, said that when the latest alleged attack was reported "we were in the Alto Siapo, also on the border with Brazil, because we got radio a very detailed and what seemed credible report of another massacre, which turned out to be false".

Livorio Guarulla, the governor of Amazonas state, said remoteness and military restrictions on access to the area made it difficult to investigate the claims quickly. "This happened in July but because it takes close to seven days to get there we don't really know what happened. The shaponos – the collective community dwellings – house more than 100 people, so it could be 70 [casualties] or it could be more or less."

The minister for indigenous affairs has yet to make a statement. (SOURCE)

Dogs Rescued from Hurricane Isaac: Photos

On the seven year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, many of the heroes who saved animals from the flood waters of New Orleans and coastal Mississippi are back on the scene and already in action. They’re laying hands on dogs and cats being surrendered by families.

This is not an issue of people bringing the pets to safe haven to ride out the storm. This rise comes from people who are leaving their pets behind permanently, and unfortunately, at the worst possible time.

“Yesterday at the Jefferson Parish shelters in New Orleans, we saw a high number of owner surrendered animals,” said Animal Rescue Front Founder Chris McLaughlin. “They have had to shut their doors to any more and have asked for our help.”

Help Has Arrived

Animal Rescue Front was one of the few pearls formed under the crushing pressure of the floods created by Hurricane Katrina. They stayed not just weeks, but months, as they tunneled, rafted, climbed and clawed through every obstacle that stood between them and an animal in need.

Moments ago, it was decided that Animal Rescue Front and In Defense of Animals will be working together to help the animals who will never see their families again, not because they were lost in the flood, but because they were surrendered in sheer anticipation of the storm.

“We have to move these animals out of the shelters so there will be room for the stray and abandoned animals expected in the coming days,” Chris continues.

It’s important to know that there are provisions for animals this time around. Louisiana’s Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain reported today that their temporary shelter in Alexandria is playing host to dogs, cats and other small pets. All of these animals are being cared for until their owners can safely join them again. And some of the human shelters are now welcoming residents with pets.

Puppies, such as this shy one comforted by animal care associate Sam Garza, were also rescued, as were cats and kittens. Shelters in Dallas and McKinney, Texas, received 181 dogs and cats from the Humane Society of Mississippi in Gulfport. This particular puppy was trucked to Florida.

There is already a significant population of homeless and neglected street dogs and cats in the Gulf region. Flooding will put thousands of those animals in danger and they’ll need both rescue and housing.

How High Will Waters Rise?

According to, if peak storm surge occurs at high tide, peak water levels above ground could reach 3-6 feet for South-central Louisiana and the Western Flordia Panhandle and as much as 6 -12 feet for Southeast Louisiana and the Mississippi coast.

The first batch of animals is already set to leave the area. Animal Rescue Front and In Defense of Animals will send the first convoy close to 2,000 miles away to receiving shelters in Portland, Oregon. It is entirely possible that additional groups of animals will be sent to the New England area shelters as well.

“We don’t know what the next 24 hours will bring,” Chris continues. “They are forecasting an 8-12 ft. storm surge with a 24 hour system circulating a potential rainfall of 20 inches. An eye is starting to form and it has set its sights on New Orleans. The foremost question on everyone’s mind is ‘will the levees hold?’ We pray they do and we know what will happen if they don’t. And we can’t let the animals die.”

Animal Rescue Front is a founding member of the Harmony Fund network and all donations today will be applied directly to the transport, rescue and care of animals who fall victim to this emergency. Donations are gratefully accepted here.



Help the Iberian Wolf - Don't Let Our Wolves Become Homeless

The Iberian wolf once lived throughout most of the Iberian Peninsula. Today the Iberian wolf inhabits the forests and plains of the northwestern part of Spain, the northeastern top of Portugal, and a few isolated areas in the Sierra Morena, Spain. The gray wolf subspecies, Canis lupus signatus was identified by Spanish zoologist, Angelus Cabrera in 1907. This was backed up by the genetic work of biologist Robert Wayne of UCLA that suggest it is a true subspecies of the gray wolf.

Unfortunately in the 1950s and 1960s, the wolves of Spain became officially recognized as pests by the Spanish government who then offered a bounty for dead wolves. Because of this action the wolves' number decreased to as few as 400 to 500. They were then classified as endangered.

Since then the hunting of wolves has been banned in Portugal and many parts of Spain. Their current number has been estimated at about 2,000 in Spain and another 400 in Portugal. Their overall state has been upgraded from endangered to vulnerable. The wolves of Sierra Morena, however are classified as critically endangered, and the Extremaduran populations are believed to be extinct. The Iberian wolf has over the years become very wary of people and therefore actual sightings of wolves in the wild are very rare.

Iberian wolves are of a medium size with a thinner build than the average Eurasian gray wolf. Males can weigh as much as 90 pounds and females are usually 75 to 80 percent the size of males. Their coat color can vary from a lighter gray in the warmer months to a darker reddish brown during the winter. The name signatus (meaning marked) was derived from the white marks on the wolf's upper lips and the dark marks on the tail and front legs.

In 1987, the organization,Grupo Lobo, created the Iberian Wolf Recovery Center (IWRC), aiming to provide a suitable environment for wolves that cannot live in the wild – giving wolves that have been rescued from inappropriate captivity, or are injured or disabled, a safe and secure sanctuary. The IWRC is located in central Portugal, in Picão (Mafra), about 30km from the Portuguese capital of Lisbon.
Now 25 years old, the Iberian Wolf Recovery Center, has already received more than 100,000 visitors from around the world. The Center has a volunteer program for those, over the age of 18, interested in wildlife conservation. It also has an adoption program that enables people to adopt one or more wolves, helping to keep them in excellent conditions that mimic their environment in the wild.

They are currently campaigning to raise money to buy the 17 hectacre site of the Iberian Wolf Recovery Center, to allow the wolves to have a permanent home.


VIDEO Don't let our wolves become homeless

Remains were found last year in Barren County; KSP says it could be a hate crime

A forensic anthropologist who examined the skeletal remains of a Native American woman found last year in Barren County told Kentucky State Police that the woman had been scalped.

State contractors spraying trees west of Glasgow near mile marker 8 along the eastbound stretch of the Louie B. Nunn Cumberland Parkway found a human skull after sunrise Aug. 15, 2011. The skull had been pierced by a bullet, state police Detective Chad Winn said.

“She is of Native American descent,” Winn said. “It has been confirmed that she was scalped. This may be a possible hate crime.”

In 2010, there were 3,949 victims of racially motivated hate crimes, according to FBI statistics. Of those cases, 1.2 percent were victims of anti-Native American bias.

A year after police found her remains, there is little known about the victim, and police continue to search for clues. “We never close these types of cases,” Winn said. “Our first priority is to identify her.”

Down a steep embankment just off the parkway and near Beaver Creek, KSP and Western Kentucky University anthropology students spent hours combing through weeds looking for additional remains in the days immediately following the discovery of the skull.

Investigators found a floral-patterned, string bikini-type garment near the area where the bones were found. The garment’s weathering was consistent with the skeletal remains. Her remains were scattered in a wooded area spread about 100 to 120 feet apart, Winn said. Investigators last year found bones near the top of the culvert – a cluster of bones beneath some brush and additional bones at the foot of the embankment, suggesting that her body was left on the roadside and washed down, Winn said.

The woman is estimated to have been between 20 to 50 years old and 5 feet 9 inches to 6 feet tall. Her body had been in the wooded area between one and 15 years, Winn said.

Police have sent her remains to a lab that is attempting to extract DNA, a process that can take a year or more, Winn said.

“Unidentified remains are the most difficult cases to work,” Winn said.

“These cases are especially difficult because you don’t even have a victim (name),” he said. “That’s where we start any investigation.”

From there, investigators question family members and known associates, he said.

“In cases like this ... these are different than your average murder,” Winn said. “This is a well-traveled highway. People from all over the country travel that road. People are routinely picked up at gas stations and rest stops.”

Police have entered information about the woman into a variety of missing person databases looking for potential matches, but so far, no luck.

“We definitely need to get this woman identified,” Winn said. “Then work back and try to find out what happened. There’s lot of hurdles with this one.”

— Police ask anyone with information about this crime to call KSP at 782-2010.
Via AP Associated Press

Meet Austria’s young marmot whisperer. Eight-year-old Matteo Walch’s friendship with a clan of Alpine animals has spanned more than half his lifetime.

“When we come, they run straight to him,” said Matteo's mother, Michaela Walch, a mathematics teacher and amateur photographer.

The mother-and-son team have been traveling from their home in Innsbruck to Hohe Tauern National Park in Grossglockner to spend time with the large ground squirrels since Matteo was just 3 years old.

Like a horse whisperer or dog whisperer, the schoolboy has an uncanny ability to interact with the normally skittish wild animals — even greeting them nose to nose and having them climb in his lap.

“The first time we came, four marmots jumped on top of him and he was falling down, smiling and laughing,” said his mother.

Because Grosslockner is home to some of the world’s most stunning mountains, the marmots are accustomed to busloads of tourists attempting to feed them chocolates and cookies. But “they always keep their distance,” the 46-year-old single parent said.

“It’s different with Matteo; these pictures show how he is with the marmots and how they are so used to him,” she said. “He knows how to feel and manage every animal; I am very proud of how he acts with them.”

Matteo and his mom visit the marmots — about two dozen individuals split between two or three interlinked groups — for two weeks every summer and spend many hours with them every day.

Before becoming a mother, Michaela traveled to such exotic destinations as Alaska, Ethiopia and Israel to photograph wildlife. But, she now sticks closer to home and takes her son on the shoots he enjoys.

The amateur photographer said she always abides by her philosophy that “one has to understand the animals before one can take pictures without disturbing them.” She joked that she will only photograph animals that “want to be photographed,” — a time-consuming effort that yields the best images.

“The picture of a curious animal approaching me is a thousand times more beautiful than the picture of any animal looking at me in fear just before it takes off in flight,” she said.

When photographing Matteo and his marmot buddies, she said, “I want to show the harmony between the boy and the animals.”

Written by Jennifer Carlile Via


Cambodia creates safe zones for Mekong dolphins

Wonderful news from the Cambodian government that was announced on Aug. 24 where they said they will limit fishing in a zone in the Mekong River to protect critically endangered freshwater dolphins. The Cambodian government said the measure was approved in their weekly cabinet meeting. The Mekong River Irrawaddy dolphin has been listed as critically endangered since 2004, according to WWF.

The government estimates there are between 155 and 175 Irrawaddy dolphins left in Cambodia's stretch of the Mekong River, but last year the WWF put the figure at just 85 left. Irrawaddy dolphins are also found in coastal areas in south and southeast Asia, in the Irrawaddy river in Myanmar and in the Mahakam river in Indonesia.

The Irrawaddy dolphin conservation area will cover a 180-kilometer-long (110 miles) stretch of river from the eastern Kratie province to the border with Laos. Fishing will still be allowed inside the zone but the use of floating houses, fish cages and gill nets will be banned as they are a major risk to the dolphins. Getting caught up in gill nets is the leading cause of death in adult Irrawaddy dolphins. The animals also suffer from high calf mortality rates, for which the cause is still unclear, and from habitat degradation.

The newly created protected area will sustainably preserve the dolphins and at the same time serve the eco-tourism sector. Michelle Owen, WWF-Cambodia director, said the creation of the protection zone was "welcome news" that "demonstrates the commitment of the Cambodian government to conserve this iconic and endangered species." Hopefully this is only the start of these type of actions taken by other countries around the world to help preserve endangered animals.

VIDEO Irrawaddy dolphins in the Mekong River

Dog Abused By Mexican Drug Gangs Walks Again With Prosthetic Legs

This is Pay de Limon or Lemon Pie and he lives at a dog shelter in Mexico City. Apparently, Lemon Pie was captured by a criminal drug gang and had his front paws cut off.

Witnesses say they'd seen the dog with members of the gang before he was abused. Shelter officials say the gang was practicing for when they cut fingers off people, who've been kidnapped. They say he was found in a garbage can in the city of Fresnillo.

The dog was brought to the shelter, where doctors decided to try fitting him with prosthetic legs. The shelter had to raise several thousand dollars, and get some help from a company in the United States to make the prosthetics, but they got it done.

They cost a whopping $8,000 and were designed in the United States. Workers at the rescue shelter say that Lemon Pie quickly adjusted to the limbs and can wear them for longer periods of time with each passing day.

And now, Lemon Pie is up, walking around and living a more normal life. To watch Lemon Pie get around, check out this video. (Source)

VIDEO Dog walks again with artificial legs

Miss Native American USA is dedicated to recognize and honor Native American women.

To encourage Native American women achieve their personal goals, build character, enhance self-esteem, and develop leadership skills.

To utilize the name Miss Native American USA to help promote, address, support, and collaborate in areas of continuing education, domestic violence, alcohol & drugs, suicide, teenage pregnancy, youth violence, AIDS, diabetes prevention and intervention in Urban and Native Americans Communities.

To encourage volunteerism, provide goodwill service in Native American communities and in urban society.

The concept for Miss Native American World originated in 1983 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Indigenous, young women from all over North America compete for this most prestigious crown. Miss Native American World is selected by acquiring points in a variety of categories and must be knowledgeable about the Tribe(s) and Traditions she will be representing. At the end of the five day competition, the contestant with the highest accumulated points will be crowned Miss Native American World to reign for one year. (Source)

For more details, application, rules & regulations form, or to make a donation, become a sponsor, volunteer please email

General Information
Miss Native American, USA 2012 Pageant and Health & Wellness Committee;
Tashina Atine, Director/Owner
Darrell Marks, VP
Krissy Bergen, Health & Wellness Assistant
Carlena Goodman, Head Volunteer Manager
Jacqulyn Woodworth, Pageant Assistant
DeWayne Dawson, Public Relations
Levi Blackwolf, Official Photographer
Anthony Collins, Official Photographer
Chelynn Benally, MUA
Christine De Angelia, MUA

Photo provided by Levi Blackwolf, Wolfnphotographies

Shaylin Shabi (Navajo), Miss Native American USA 2012-2013. Photo: Anthony "Thosh" Collins.

Sage Honga (Hualapai/Navajo), 1st Attendant 2012-2013. Photo: Anthony "Thosh" Collins.

Scientists Declare: Animals Are as Aware as Humans

Recently an international group of prominent scientists have signed The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness. This declaration proclaims their support for the idea that animals are conscious and aware to the degree that humans are. The list of animals includes all mammals, birds, and even the octopus.

The group consisted of cognitive scientists, neuropharmacologists, neurophysiologists, neuroanatomists, and computational neuroscientists. They were all attending the Francis Crick Memorial Conference on Consciousness in Human and Non-Human Animals. The declaration was signed in the presence of Stephen Hawking, and included such signatories as Christof Koch, David Edelman, Edward Boyden, Philip Low, Irene Pepperberg, and many others.

What is important here is the acknowledgement by the scientific community that many nonhuman animals possess conscious states. Because the body of scientific evidence is increasingly showing that most animals are conscious in the same way that we are, we can no longer ignore this fact when it comes to how we treat the animals in our world.

What has also been found is very interesting. It has been shown consciousness can emerge in those animals that are very much unlike humans, including those that evolved along different evolutionary tracks, namely birds and some encephalopods. The group of scientists have stated, “The absence of a neocortex does not appear to preclude an organism from experiencing affective states. Convergent evidence indicates that non-human animals have the neuroanatomical, neurochemical, and neurophysiological substrates of conscious states along with the capacity to exhibit intentional behaviors.”

The following are the observations made that were the reason for the signing of this declaration:

The field of Consciousness research is rapidly evolving. Abundant new techniques and strategies for human and non-human animal research have been developed. Consequently, more data is becoming readily available, and this calls for a periodic reevaluation of previously held preconceptions in this field. Studies of non-human animals have shown that homologous brain circuits correlated with conscious experience and perception can be selectively facilitated and disrupted to assess whether they are in fact necessary for those experiences. Moreover, in humans, new non-invasive techniques are readily available to survey the correlates of consciousness.

The neural substrates of emotions do not appear to be confined to cortical structures. In fact, subcortical neural networks aroused during affective states in humans are also critically important for generating emotional behaviors in animals. Artificial arousal of the same brain regions generates corresponding behavior and feeling states in both humans and non-human animals. Wherever in the brain one evokes instinctual emotional behaviors in non-human animals, many of the ensuing behaviors are consistent with experienced feeling states, including those internal states that are rewarding and punishing.

Deep brain stimulation of these systems in humans can also generate similar affective states. Systems associated with affect are concentrated in subcortical regions where neural homologies abound. Young human and nonhuman animals without neocortices retain these brain-mind functions. Furthermore, neural circuits supporting behavioral/electrophysiological states of attentiveness, sleep and decision making appear to have arisen in evolution as early as the invertebrate radiation, being evident in insects and cephalopod mollusks (octopus, etc.).

Birds appear to offer, in their behavior, neurophysiology, and neuroanatomy a striking case of parallel evolution of consciousness. Evidence of near human-like levels of consciousness has been most dramatically observed in African grey parrots. Mammalian and avian emotional networks and cognitive microcircuitries appear to be far more homologous than previously thought. Moreover, certain species of birds have been found to exhibit neural sleep patterns similar to those of mammals, including REM sleep and, as was demonstrated in zebra finches, neurophysiological patterns, previously thought to require a mammalian neocortex. Magpies in articular have been shown to exhibit striking similarities to humans, great apes, dolphins, and elephants in studies of mirror self-recognition.

In humans, the effect of certain hallucinogens appears to be associated with a disruption in cortical feed-forward and feedback processing. Pharmacological interventions in non-human animals with compounds known to affect conscious behavior in humans can lead to similar perturbations in behavior in non-human animals. In humans, there is evidence to suggest that awareness is correlated with cortical activity, which does not exclude possible contributions by subcortical or early cortical processing, as in visual awareness. Evidence that human and nonhuman animal emotional feelings arise from homologous subcortical brain networks provide compelling evidence for evolutionarily shared primal affective qualia.


Chief Arvol Looking Horse Speaks of White Buffalo Prophecy

Every culture and religion has prophecies that concern future catastrophe and/or Earth renewal and rebirth. Maybe these are meant to be fate that is written in the stars, or mere warnings about possible futures. The Mayan date of 2012 has brought the discussion to the forefront of many peoples thoughts. Wether it is nuclear fallout from Fukushima, global warming, solar flares, pole-shifts, economic melt-down or political unrest, the "doom and gloom" predictions seem to take spotlight over the more positive notions of renewal. No matter what you believe, it is clear that we are in a time of uncertainty and unprecedented change. The White Buffalo Prophecy, handed down for 19 generations within the Lakota Tradition, has continued to unfold in magical ways that paint a positive future for humanity.

In 1994 Alison "Tootie" Montana, a prominent Black Indian Chief from New Orleans, had a vision of bringing together many tribes to celebrate their shared history. David Carson, Choctaw author of "Medicine Cards" and Kam Nightchase, a Lakota Pipe-Carrier also shared a similar vision. Reverend David "Goat" Carson of New Orleans led the organizational effort to make this vision a reality at Congo Square in Louis Armstrong Park. The gathering was called "Sacred Medicine Circle at High Noon" on Aug. 20, 1994.

Black Indians are descendants of slaves who inter-married with local indian tribes, as noted by the scholar William Loren Katz. Indians would raid plantations, free the slaves and escape into the swamps where they shared and mixed their cultures. This union was clearly seen as a threat to the colonists, who did their best to stomp out the resistance and make sure the history of it was also erased.

Congo Square, located in the Treme Neighborhood in New Orleans, was a place where slaves and free people of color gathered to drum, dance and trade on Sundays. The dance, with origins in Africa and throughout the Caribbean, is called the Calinda and is said to invoke the ancestors. Local American Indians had a prophecy that their ancestors would one day return with songs and dances to heal the nations of the world and the slaves were seen as the fulfillment of this prophecy. The coming together of African poly-rhythms with the Native America pow-wow drum birthed the blues, jazz, rock 'n' roll and hip-hop.

So it was fitting for a sacred medicine circle to be held on Congo Square to bring this history out in the open, bringing people together across tribal lines to celebrate unity and healing. However, the event was considered controversial for bringing up a history that is not much talked about in the deep south. During the ceremony, in acknowledgement of the controversy, Rev. David "Goat" Carson asked for a sign from the Buffalo Nation that this coming together in Unity was good medicine for the people. The event was attended by many tribes, including Lakota, Choctaw, Cherokee and others.

Meanwhile in Arizona, another event had been organized for the same week called The World Unity Festival to honor The Hopi Rainbow Prophecy. This prophecy talks about a time when people will come together from all religions, all cultures and colors, to restore the sacred hoop of life on Earth and bring healing. Neither event organizers were aware of the others event. The World Unity Festival culminated with Drumming Around The World, which included people drumming simultaneously in 38 countries and 42 U.S. States for unity and healing. The drumming was led by the late Baba Olatunji and was attended by members of Hopi, Dineh (Navajo), Havasupai, Apache local tribes and people from all over the world.

During that same week in Janesville, Wis., a White Buffalo was born named "Miracle" thus fulfilling a Lakota prophecy that is 19 generations old. In response to these events the City of New Orleans proclaimed Aug. 27 as White Buffalo Day to be celebrated from this day forward. Eighteen years later, and after many deep and meaningful cultural exchanges between tribes across the country sharing their own stories and prophecies for the future, White Buffalo Day is still being celebrated in New Orleans and all over the world. You can learn more at or read the actual city proclamations here.

Please enjoy the video of Chief Arvol Lookinghorse, 19th Generation Keeper of The Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe and Bundle, speak about the prophecies. As he states, "We all love our kids, we all have a gift of compassion and a gift of responsibility." Political institutions and religious organizations that are supposed to bring unity are currently the cause of so much fighting across borders and religious lines, perhaps White Buffalo is a calling to come together regardless of our backgrounds and create a better world for future generations. As Chief Lookinghorse states, "No one person is better than the other." It is truly a time to find spiritual unity or we may just inherit a doomsday future instead of a positive one.
Article Written by Jacob Devaney


Caught on camera: The amazing moment a giant panda gives birth

A giant panda, Yuan Yuan, gave birth to her fourth panda cub after three hours of labor on Saturday. The birth and footage of the new baby have been caught on video.

The tiny pink cub (who is blind and has no teeth) has been examined by veterinarians at the Chengdu Panda Base (in southwest China) and placed in an incubator.

The new panda was conceived through natural mating ”which Chinese media say is relatively rare in captivity where most pandas are inseminated artificially,” Sky News (Australia) reports. Pandas ovulate only once a year and can only be impregnated in a two to three day period.

Yuan Yuan last gave birth to a set of twins in 2010. The new cub’s gender will not be known for about two more months; its fur will change into the panda’s distinct black and white coloring in about a month.

Pandas are very difficult to breed as females ovulate only once a year and can only become impregnated in a two to three day period.

There are about1600 pandas living in the wild in China, mostly in the Sichuan state, and about 300 are found in captivity, Reuters reports

VIDEO Panda Birth Caught on Film