Tragic death of young anti-poaching guard

This is taken from information on the Internet in September 2016-
REST IN PEACE, GP JULES KOMBI KAMBALE
He Died Protecting Gorillas

ICCN Virunga Ranger Jules Kombi Kambale was killed in action on Thursday, 1 September, in a militant attack at Gatovu. The ranger team was tracking gorillas, which have been the increased focus of militants in the area. He and his ranger team were tracking gorillas which were being protected from poachers.
He left behind his wife who is five months pregnant.

I include this tragic news on my blog this evening to remember those that we may never meet or hear about, but they are out in the world protecting people or animals. In this case, we have a young man who gave his life in service to protecting gorillas and other wildlife in Rawanda.

When I think about the way we have bull dozed our way over our native wildlife habitat and then kill them to build our homes – I feel such anger and sorrow. Let’s treat all animals like they are worth protecting.

While many of us have comfortable homes – we forget we are living, working and driving on what was once the sacred ground of other species.

So tonight let’s honor ICCN Virunga Ranger Jules Kombi Kambale – who most of us would never have heard of without social media such as Facebook which is circulating memorials to him in honor of his service to wildife protection. He died young and died in service to our imperiled African Wildlife.

The War on Deer

Starting in the 1990’s – intense anger and calls for killing deer echoed throughout the Washington, DC suburbs. I never understood all the anger and harshness towards the deer – for all they suffer at our hands – we should be apologizing to them. As forests and meadows were replaced with housing developments and strip malls, deer and other wildlife had their habitats destroyed and replaced with pavement and houses.

People no longer saw the sacredness in the deer – now all they could do is rage at them for eating in their gardens. Well their gardens are planted where there was once free roaming land and wildlife corridors. Deer and other animals were forced to live among suburban houses and busy roads.

I hear spirit telling me that we hold no accountability for how we drive and leave animals to suffer and die on our roads. How did we come up with this idea that we can just speed along, hit animals and leave them to die…as though they are a piece of trash? This is one of the most over looked tragedies of our modern world. The way we are so apathetic to the remains of animals hit on the roads is way to de-sensitized.

I say this all the time – but simply SLOWING down and making a point to avoid hitting wildlife is the key to this. Killing massive amounts of deer in order to control their populations is not the key to stopping deer – auto collisions. Quite the opposite is true. We need to drive with responsibility and accountability – by slowing down and making it a priority to avoid hitting wildlife. We live in the era of technology and distractions.

Whenever I hear people complaining about deer in their neighborhood – I am quick to remind them that the deer have something to teach them.

What Can We Do To Create A More Balanced, HUMANE World?

I believe that one of the most important things that we can do to create a greener more humane world is to develop land and build in far more harmony with the earth and wildlife. Over the last several decades the emphasis has been on high density development and developers and city planners rarely leave any green space and forest for deer and many other species of wildlife.

In the area I grew up in, Montgomery County Maryland, I have seen forests, meadows and green spaces be systematically paved over for houses, shopping centers and highways. The deer and other creatures were driven to try and live in fragmented habitat that leaves them among the suburban houses. Then the intolerant people who now live in fancy houses on the animals habitat complain and often have no compassion or insight into the fact that they are Deer Peeks  In Kitchen Window at Ancient Oakliving where the animals once roamed and fed.

The amount of ignorance about nature and wildlife is growing as people live with nothing but electronics, apps, I-Phones and Plasma TV’s. What do they know about the creatures and what the creatures are trying to show them? I have seen the violence and anger at the deer escalate to intense degrees. And mass killing of deer is used as a failed attempt at restoring our forests and green spaces.

At all levels of government we need to have some type of governing laws that say “let’s keep half this area in a natural state – and leave forest and green areas for the wildlife”. But that rarely happens and the imbalance that grow as the result of this type of “let’s shove as much development as we can into this space” leaves little to the imagination and leaves the animals with severely fragmented habitat – if any habitat.

In the next post – we will look at more ways we can save green space for people and wildlife.

Why Are We Treating Wildlife As The Enemy?

Deer in back meadow at Ancient Oak

I have never understood why the very people and government agencies that make policies and mandates regarding wildlife so often turn to violence in their attempts to deal with wild animals. As a person that grew up in Montgomery County Maryland I was horrified to see the attitudes towards deer become so intolerant, hateful and violent. I sat in so many civic and environmental meetings where people never once spoke about the plight of the deer. I am an avid environmentalist, but I do not share the view that mass killing of animals is either ethical or any type of environmentally balanced solution. Deer are often scape goats for our own imbalances.

Why do we think it is normal and acceptable to shoot deer and other wild animals with bullets and arrows? Why is it called management to kill deer with arrows, including pregnant does? Many years ago at Brookside Gardens in Montgomery County Maryland the deer in the gardens were shot to death. I heard horror stories about fawns running to the edge of the fence trying to get out of the gardens. How did Brookside Gardens become a mass murder scene? Unfortunately this was massively supported – accept by humane groups of course. And that is the sickness of the era in which we live.

What we call wildlife management is perceived quite differently by those animals whose lives and families are being killed. Why don’t we look at the issue from their perspective?

:)

Take Responsibility When Driving

Part Two of Avoiding Hitting Wildife

In my continuing discussion of the importance of compassionate and safe driving ,we are going to look at “taking responsibility” when driving. I continue to be shocked and dismayed at the flagrant abuse of cell phone, texting and general distractions that people have when driving. Just today a good friend of mine posted on her Facebook Page that she had almost been hit yesterday by a man driving a pick up truck and speeding through a red light. She was almost broadsided by him and was saved by seeing him at the last minute.

Focusing and avoiding distractions is the best way to keep your eyes on the road and avoid hitting wildlife. On a drive up Route 29 in Madison County Virginia yesterday, I was horrified to see many deer hit on the side of the road. Who knows how long they laid there dying on the hot summer pavement. One deer had a piece of metal, maybe a car side view mirror jarred right into his skull.

The spiritual message that I get is that we need to have accountability when we hit animals or people. This idea that we can hit and run other sentient beings is sick and making for no ethics in driving. Where did we ever get this idea that if we hit an animal, we can just keep going and be so apathetic?

I think the issue of animal deaths on the roads is one of the most under estimated issues in our personal ethics of driving. Just slowing down and taking the time to focus and intend to avoid hitting animals is a highly effective way of reducing animal and of course human fatalities on the road.

 

 

My New Book – Mystical Animals of Ancient Oak is Now Available On Amazon.com

My new book Mystical animals of Ancient Oak is now available on Kindle and Paperback on Amazon.com.
https://www.amazon.com/Mystical-Animals-Ancient-Cynthia-Fain/dp/1523955228/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1468726726&sr=8-1&keywords=Mystical+Animals+of+Ancient+Oak

https://www.amazon.com/Mystical-Animals-Ancient-Cynthia-Fain-ebook/dp/B018BJKK7O/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1468726726&sr=8-1#navbarDeer in back meadow at Ancient Oak

Effective Strategies for Avoiding Hitting Deer and Other Wildlife While Driving

Deer Peeks  In Kitchen Window at Ancient Oak

Deer Peaks in the Kitchen Window at Ancient Oak

 

After decades of driving, I have found that my ability to avoid hitting deer and other animals on the road has been tremendously enhanced by the simple act of slowing down. Our speed limits are set for our convenience, but the speeds we drive at make it impossible to avoid hitting animals, and other people for that matter.

My first suggestion is to make a “Conscious Intention” to slow down (obviously stay in the right lane to do this) and make it a “Priority” to avoid hitting wildlife.

Then you have to turn off typical distractions, such as cell phones, I Phones etc. The obsession we have with electronic gizmos while driving is severely dangerous and should NOT be a habitual part of anyone’s driving. How many times have I seen people looking down texting, drifting off in a cell phone conversation and speeding obliviously along the road. I see this all too often.

If you see any animal by the side of the road, assume they might run out. Don’t wait for the last minute when they run…anticipate it…and slow down…and be prepared to stop.

At night, you can see the reflections of an animals eyes as they glow in the dark. Those shining bright objects hovering in the dark woods, could be an animal and not just a beer can reflecting in your headlights.

Any where there are woods, there are bound to be wild animals. Assume that at some point an animal might run out. Always look for places where animals are likely to cross the road. If you drive past an area where you often see animals that have been hit and killed – slow down in that area. You are driving where they need to cross! Often I see where racoon families have all been killed together.

In the autumn, deer our mating and are likely to run onto the roads. During the autumn months many deer are killed by automobiles. To save your own life, and that of the deer, make certain to slow down and maintain awareness during the fall.

If we shift our attitudes away from viewing the deaths of wildlife as just “road kill’, and if we view their lives as important, and worth honoring, then we have taken the first step in avoiding them on the roads. One of my passions is teaching people that all those creatures we share the planet with don’t enjoy being hit and left to die on our roads. They would deeply appreciate it if we would view their lives, daily journeys and crossings as sacred.

Journey Into The Heart of Nature

I started this blog three years ago when I lived in Rockbridge county Virginia. From my hilltop home, over looking the inspiring Blue Ridge Mountains, I reflected on my many years of living in the crowded, chaotic Washington, DC suburbs. My heart opened up to the plight of all the wild animals whose habitat and trail ways were being decimated in order to put more humans, their houses and cars on the planet.

As people became increasingly fascinated by electronic gadgets like I-Phones, Texting, Apps etc. – their appreciation for the difficult trials that our wild animals face began to disappear. Seeing animals hit and killed on our roads became more and more of a daily sick acceptance. And the human attention span ignored the needs of wildlife who are forced to cross our impossibly chaotic roads.

With my first book, Mystical Animals of Ancient Oak about to be published on Kindle and Barnes and Noble Nook Press- I am determined to raise human consciousness to a new level about what we have long forgotten. Our priorities need to shift back into compassionate awareness.

In my first book, I chronicle the stories of many animals, through insight, honor, humor, mystical occurrences and compassion. I learned to stop everyday and find time to enjoy nature – even if just for a few minutes. It is profoundly important to  slow down, honor life and enjoy nature. This is part of our heart and soul.

I want readers to take time every day to notice the animals and wildlife around them and honor their daily passages. Our world will transform when we all learn to be more respectful and life affirming to one another as well as animals.

If you have stories about your own healing experiences with animals, please share them on my blog.

Part Two – Powers of Observation

I will continue to discuss the subject of Powers of Observation. Our tendency to accept animal  fatalities on our roads as a normal by product of our daily, busy lives, is truly sad. This is something that gets so little attention, but we need to take responsibility for taking time to learn how to avoid hitting wildlife, and of course human pedestrians. I believe that most of this could be avoided by making it a priority to slow down and concentrate on driving. We are way too distracted and anxious today. I have attended many civic organization and environmental meetings over the last two decades. Listening to most of the people who come to these meetings you would think that deer are being singled out as being all wrong, way too many of them, and they need to be eradicated. If these groups adhered to the concept of Powers of Observation – these people and organizations would honor what the deer have to go through in order to live among the human chaos. Instead, most of what I have heard over the year’s when attending meetings is that the deer are nothing but a nuisance. I differ with that, and believe they might think we are a nuisance to them. What I would suggest, is that if we had developed our cities and suburbs with a far more holistic, humane, compassionate and ecologically balanced view, all the wildlife, including deer, would have their travel ways, their habitat and their way of life honored. Instead, what we have ended up with is severe loss of forest habitat, massive forest fragmentation, killing off of large predators such as mountain lions, severely degraded watersheds, way too much impervious surface etc. Furthermore, we totally forgot to included wildlife in our traffic plans. Can you imagine being a deer or other wild animal and ending up having your habitat totally paved over, and then have to cross a mega highway? Well, that is the mess our wildlife face. So when I hear about all the outrage about deer, I say well what the heck did we ever do to honor them to begin with? We absolutely must get back to a far more compassionate and responsible way of living on the planet. I believe that much of what is blamed on the deer is just a severe reflection of what humanity is doing to the ecosystem. I have a homework assignment for anyone reading this blog. The next time you get angry at a deer or some other wild animal – walk in their shoes! Start a journal and see what it would be like to become that animal for a day or a week. Keep a list of all the things you see that animal having to go through to manage around traffic, people etc. As I have written in previous journal entries – I have been a long time member of both the civic, and environmental movement, but I hold very different views about deer and other wildlife issues. And I strongly believe we way over persecute deer instead of honoring them. I always see the environmental and civic groups holding “deer forums”. In all these cases there is usually nothing but a forum for people to continue blaming deer and not seeing what the deeper ills are. Deer don’t always cause car  accidents. We cause an enormous amount of these deer auto collisions. And I have written a paper based on my own experiences and this paper teaches people how to avoid hitting wildlife. I am 53 years old and have never hit a deer. and that folks is not an accident. It is entirely due to SLOWING DOWN and honoring life. Folks, it works. SLOW DOWN and RESPECT LIFE. In my next blog entry I will discuss many of the things that are typically blamed on deer and how we need to re-frame this view. We will discuss the concept of promoting and using non violence to deal with deer issues.

We Have Forgotten Our Powers of Observation

Over the last several decades, as technology has engulfed us, we have totally forgotten about Powers of Observation. What are powers of observation? The powers of observation begin with the realization that our one agenda for the day – is not the only agenda. Other people, and animals also have their daily agendas.

I believe that this loss of honoring one another, in our daily rush and crazy driving, is largely behind the enormous amount of animals and people killed on our nation’s roads. We must begin with honoring life again. Every time we get in our car, we need to SLOW down. Instead of driving as fast and furious as we can, we need to always look around and pull ourselves into sync with the natural world.

I encourage people to slow down, always think about the terrain where you drive. If there are woods, there is bound to be an animal that jumps out. Drive with your peripheral vision. Never take your mind off the realization that another car, a pedestrian, or an animal will suddenly appear. The way we drive today, we are incredibly self absorbed and hooked into cell phones etc. This electronic fascination, does not belong on when we are in the car driving. Every day make it a priority to avoid hitting wildlife when you drive. I guarantee it will reduce the amount of animals killed on our roads.

At night, look for the glow and red of eyes on or right off the road. Anticipate animals will always jump out at night, and be prepared to yield to them. I see many animals run right over at night, and the driver did nothing to avoid hitting them!! This is all too regular of an occurrence on our roads.

Another power of observation exercise is to look for animals every day that are in your home, work or travel environment. What is that animal’s important mission for the day? Learn about the activities of the animals and nature around you. Another important power of observation is to know when you hear a person or animal in distress! If you ever wonder if an animal or person is in distress, go by your gut, and call for help.

A few years ago there was a terrible crime at a store in Bethesda, MD. A woman was being bludgeoned to death, and workers in an adjoining store, heard someone calling out for help, and yet they did nothing about it. This is simply inexcusable. When you hear an animal or person in distress – do not ignore them – do  something and call for help. This woman in the retail store might be alive today, if the workers in the adjoining store had banged on the wall and said we are calling the police. The same thing applies to animals in distress. Use your powers of observation. If you see an animal hit on the road, call for help. Do not just leave the animal to die a slow death. Call the local animal control and tell them there is an emergency and an animal has been hit and needs immediate help.

In my next entry, I will continue writing about this very important issue of powers of observation.

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