Apr 27, 2019

Snapped! Selfie of Congo ranger witn gorillas goes viral


LONDON (AP) -- A park ranger in Congo has described how he captured a selfie with two gorillas that went viral.

Mathieu Shamavu, a ranger at Virunga National Park in eastern Congo, said he was checking his phone when he noticed two female orphaned gorillas, Ndakazi and Ndeze, mimicking his movements, so he took a picture with them.
The gorillas look as if they're posing for the camera and when Shamavu posted the picture on social media on Saturday it quickly clocked up thousands of likes and comments.
According to rangers at the sanctuary, Ndakazi and Ndeze were orphaned 12 years ago when their families were killed by poachers.
They were the first orphans to be cared for at the center, which according to Virunga park's management, is the only place in the world dedicated to the care of orphaned mountain gorillas.

As the gorillas arrive in the sanctuary at a young age, they learn from their caretakers, said Shamavu.
"In terms of behavior, they like to mimic everything that is happening (around them), everything we do," Shamavu told The Associated Press.
He said the caretakers at Senkwekwe Mountain Gorilla Orphanage Center try to give the animals as much access as possible to their natural environment, but they inevitably exhibit "almost the same behavior as humans."
Senkwekwe is named after one of the wild silverback gorillas that was killed in Virunga in 2007.
The orphans need constant care, so the rangers live nearby and spend their days with them - feeding them, playing with them, keeping them company.
"Gorilla caretakers with those gorilla orphans, we are the same family," said head caretaker Andre Bauma.
He said without their own relatives nearby, the gorillas treat the rangers as their family.
"They know we are their mum. They are a member of the family. We are their friends," said Bauma.
Virunga is billed as Africa's most biodiverse national park, spanning tropical forests, snow-peaked mountains and active volcanoes.
It's also one of the last bastions of wild mountain gorilla populations. Parks in the mountains of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda have the last remaining mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.
But it's in eastern Congo, an area that has suffered from years of armed conflict.
Virunga's management has had to take extraordinary measures to keep its visitors safe from the on-and-off fighting in the region - protecting them with a highly trained guard of elite rangers and sniffer dogs, and working closely with communities surrounding the park.
After a park ranger was killed by gunmen and three foreign tourists were briefly held captive, the park closed until it could secure the safety of visitors. It reopened in mid-February this year.
But all this costs money, and the state park says it wouldn't be able to survive without private donations from visitors.
Virunga's management hopes the viral gorilla selfie will help boost the park's profile, and encourage more people to contribute to the vital work of conserving the mountain gorillas and their unique natural habitat.
AP journalist Khaled Kazziha in Nairobi, Kenya, contributed.


copied from you tube and Yahoo News.

Apr 21, 2019

Apr 16, 2019

2019 Nominations Now Open for CNN Heroes: Nominate Diana George Babish--Animal and Environment Association Bethlehem




I have nominated Diana George Babish for a 2019 CNN Hero.

Others may nominate her, as well.

Here is a link to the page if you would like to nominate her, too:

http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/cnn.heroes/2019/nominations/



Here is a link to the main page that tells about the whole thing:

https://www.cnn.com/specials/cnn-heroes



Right now it is the nomination phase.


If she will be selected then we will be able to vote for her later.


I may only nominate her once but others may nominate her, too.

If she would be selected this would give her shelter and the work she does a lot of exposure.

Diana George Babish is working very hard to save dogs in Bethlehem.



Here she is in The Times of Israel:


'SHE IS FIGHTING AN ENTIRE SYSTEM; SHE'S A HERO IN OUR EYES'

Palestinian ex-banker’s dogged West Bank animal shelter fights for its life

Diana Babish runs a unique dog and cat shelter at Beit Sahour, and defies Palestinian critics to work closely with Israeli animal welfare volunteers; now she’s facing eviction

Diana Babish, an ex-banker from the Palestinian city of Bethlehem, carries a dog at the first dog shelter in the West Bank, in the town of Beit Sahour, on August 25, 2017. (AFP Photo/Musa Al Shaer)
Diana Babish, an ex-banker from the Palestinian city of Bethlehem, carries a dog at the first dog shelter in the West Bank, in the town of Beit Sahour, on August 25, 2017. (AFP Photo/Musa Al Shaer)
The quest to save man’s best friend has brought together an unlikely pair: a former Palestinian bank manager who never leaves home without her makeup and high heels, and a straight-talking Australian volunteer who drives her around as she rescues stray cats and dogs throughout the West Bank.
But with an eviction notice from the Palestinian Authority’s Regional Environmental Health Department for the animal shelter founded by Diana George Babish, a Palestinian Catholic from Bethlehem, hanging over their head for two months now, Babish and Sophie Thompson spend their time rescuing homeless animals and ferrying them to a vet in Tel Aviv for medical treatment. With help from a handful of Israeli animal rescue volunteers and some dedicated Palestinian animal lovers, they are also finding permanent and foster homes for as many of the cats and dogs as they can.
The cited reason for the threatened eviction of the Animal and Environment Association Bethlehem shelter from its cement structure in the Area C location on the edge of Beit Sahour, south of Jerusalem, is “to preserve the public’s health and safety.”
“They are saying we were polluting the water and people are complaining about the noise, but they have no proof. There is also an (awful) petting zoo here and a slaughterhouse (in the area, that is allowed to operate untroubled),” said Babish, who quit her prestigious and well-paying job last year to work full time for the shelter she founded in 2013.
A Palestinian Authority judge postponed a February 5 hearing on Babish’s appeal of the eviction until next month because nobody from the Palestinian Ministry of Health, Health Department or civil government bothered to show up.
Though there are rumors that Babish will be given the opportunity to find an alternative site for her shelter, the manager of the PA’s Environmental Health Department, Dr. Ziad Shqair, declined to comment on the matter, Beit Sahour Mayor Jihad Kheir did not return phone calls and Shukri Radaydeh, general manager of the civil governance, could not be reached.
There a few other Palestinian organizations that take in street animals — including a private cat sanctuary in Hebron — but Babish’s is the only shelter that continuously fights against the torture and poisoning of the creatures, provides them with needed medical care including neutering and vaccines, and actively searches for homes with Palestinian or Israeli families. According to Palestinian volunteer Sari Freitekh, indeed, there is a growing awareness about the plight of street animals among Palestinians largely because of some of the work Babish does.
The shelter takes in mainly cats and dogs, but no animal in need is turned away, and in 2017 it rescued two donkeys and took them to a donkey shelter.
Diana George Babish, founder of the Animal and Environment Association Bethlehem, rescued Dobby from the streets as a puppy. He was then adopted by a family in Hebron but shot in front of their house one night by Palestinian Authority police, she says. (Courtesy: The Animal and Environment Association Bethlehem shelter)
Babish’s goal is to design and maintain a modern state-of-the art animal control shelter to provide high quality rescue, care and treatment for homeless animals in the West Bank.
Babish and Thompson spent Christmas Eve bringing an array of cats and dogs from the shelter to adoptive and foster homes in Israel, fearing that the shelter would be closed at the end of December. During the last torrential storm, Thompson drove their beat-up white van up to Hebron and then to a Tel Aviv veterinarian clinic to rescue a puppy who had been tortured and had his back sliced open down to the muscles.
For the two women, these were just two regular days spent in animal rescue. Most of her animals are treated at the veterinary clinic in Tel Aviv, and she and Thompson travel there several times a week.
Palestinians are slowly becoming aware of her work through word of mouth and her presence on social media. With the option available to them now, some know to call her when they see an animal in trouble, said Babish.
It was former Beit Sahour mayor Hany Hayet who gave Babish permission to open her shelter at the site, in part because no other construction is possible in the area; it is under Israeli administrative control, she said, and all infrastructure construction is done by Israel, which does not allow Palestinians to build there.
Diana George Babish and a rescued dog. (Courtesy: The Animal and Environment Association Bethlehem shelter)
Babish used $20,000 of her own money to refurbish the current structure. It has been financed with donations, and run in part with assistance from Israeli animal rescue organizations and individuals. Many of the dogs and cats she has rescued over the years have been adopted or are being fostered by Israelis.
She has to date rescued over 400 dogs and more than 100 cats from the harsh streets of West Bank cities. Recently she sent 15 dogs for adoption to Canada.
“Diana is quite isolated among her population as people seem not to be concerned about her mission,” said Rachel Bento-Touitou, an animal rescue volunteer from Tel Aviv who has been coordinating online efforts to find placements for the animals. “She is extremely dedicated and will move mountains for the animals. The fact that she is fighting an entire system makes her a hero in our eyes and we need to support her.”
Babish continues to work with Israeli rescue organizations despite the many critics within Palestinian society, including members of her own family, who complain about her interaction with Israelis and about her efforts helping animals when there is so much need among Palestinians.
“We in the rescue community put aside politics for the well-being of the animals,” said Babish. “I tell (my critics) God gives each one of us our mission and there are a lot of organizations taking care of people. My mission is to take care of the animals, the most vulnerable beings in the world. If we had people who would adopt the dogs here (in the West Bank) I would leave them here, but Palestinians don’t want street dogs. They want purebred dogs.”
She admitted it is not an easy mission in a place where, she said, society traditionally gives little importance to treating animals with compassion and widely considers government-approved shooting and poisoning of stray animals as the best solution to population control.
Diana George Babish and a rescued dog. (Courtesy: The Animal and Environment Association Bethlehem shelter)
Babish’s work is “far from ordinary,” said young Ramallah animal activist Freitekh, and she has survived against all odds in one of the most animal hostile municipalities, he said.
He said Babish and other animal activists like himself have made some inroads with the Ramallah municipality, which recently agreed to look for different methods of dealing with the street dog problem other than shooting the dogs. He noted that there have been attempts by some Palestinian officials who appreciate the work Babish is doing to find her an alternative location.
Freitekh predicted that in the next few years Ramallah will open an animal shelter and start promoting “dog-culture.”
As part of her work, Babish has worked with Father Marwan Di’def, principal of the Franciscan Terra Sancta School in Bethlehem, to raise animal awareness among the students by bringing kittens and puppies into the classrooms.
“Diana is doing really unique work. Animals are one of the creations God gave to us as a gift and we can’t let other people treat them badly. We opened our doors at the school so the students would have this experience of respecting animals, God’s creations. Instead of shutting the shelter down, (the authorities) should help her and give her a bigger shelter,” said Di’def. “She is trying to change the mentality and culture here.”
In Jerusalem, Chaya Beili, a board member of the Jerusalem Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (JSPCA) and the volunteer manager of the JSPCA’s animal shelter in Atarot, north of Jerusalem, said the JSPCA is in touch with Babish, whom it has helped in the past at its spay and neutering clinic, to monitor the current situation to see what assistance will be needed should the Beit Sahour shelter be closed.
“We always try to help,” Beili said. “These animals are being brutalized by the authorities who should be protecting them. Unfortunately the territories are much worse (for animals) than the Jewish parts of Israel.”
READ MORE:



Apr 15, 2019

CNN Hero Nomination: Diana George Babish--Animal and Environment Association Bethlehem--Palestine

Nominating Diana George Babish as a CNN Hero

Others may nominate her, as well.


Here is a link to the page to nominate an individual for a CNN Hero:

https://www.cnn.com/specials/cnn-heroes

The name of her shelter is:

Animal and Environment Association Bethlehem--Palestine


She is making a great difference because she is focusing on the human side of things where we can all have empathy and I think that brings people together.  

There is a whole group of people trying to help her on her facebook page and they are from all over the world and from all faiths and religions.  

That is the cool thing--there are many folks from Israel and Palestine working together to help the dogs.  This looks at people as individuals rather than just politics and war.    She is working so hard to make a difference in an almost impossible situation.



Asking Diana to share a few words in order to make flyers to hand out at a pet adoption event in San Diego:


Thank your for this initiative thinking, it will be a great help, we really need a way we can send dogs to the US, we tried transporting agencies, but it cost 2000 $ each, so if it will be through organizations from the US that come to Palestine and find homes for them. 

If you please you can add in the flyers, we are the only non-killing shelter in Palestine for cats and dogs, we have a lot of difficult challenges with the culture towards dogs, the municipalities have been dealing with the increasing  population of dogs by shooting and poisoning, until I established our organization to spay, neuter and re-home dogs with shots and microchips. 

Our shelter is in danger of being closed caused by the local municipality in Beit Sahour where our shelter is located. 

they gave us the small 100 meetr square and they sent us with the ministry of a health a letter to evacuate. We put a lot of pressure on them by local and international people who defended our cause. We were able to rescue hundreds of dogs with the minimum of resources and funds, yet we saved a lot and looking to find homes to save more from the streets. 

People here, not all ,but mostly abuse, torture,hit by cars, kill, poison ,and shoot with no mercy and no animal rights to protect animals and to punish the abusers. 

Thank you.





Thank you for your consideration.


I would like to tell you about a very hard working lady in the Middle East.  In fact, she is in Palestine just a few minutes from Bethlehem.  He name is Diana George Babish and this is where she has her animal shelter.  She works tirelessly to save all of the dogs, cats and yes, even turtles she finds that are in need of her help.  

On the day I was there to visit her she was very worried about a dog her friends had called for her to pick up.  This dog had been hit by a car and left suffering by the side of the road with broken legs.  Not only was the dog in severe pain but she was also in a state of panic.  Diana went there in the night after working all day and brought the dog to a pet hospital in Jerusalem.  When the dog is able she will look for a home for this animal after she socially rehabilitates her so that she will be friendly and adoptable.

Here is how I found out about Diana......

Last year I went with a group called Bike Palestine and we had a very lovely time biking through the olive groves and almond orchards of the Palestinian countryside.  While we were there I kept noticing stray dogs.  They seemed like they were on their own.  I asked one of out tour guides and they politely told me the folks there are living under occupation and just the chores of daily living are a struggle--they do not have time to worry about dogs.  Keep in mind not only is the tour about the area and the Holy Land but it is also a chance to get to know the people and the issues they encounter living there with the current political restraints.

After I came home to very rich San Diego as far as animal welfare is concerned I found out about Diana George Babish and her animal shelter on the West Bank and the struggle the animals also face.

I contacted her and asked if I may chat with her, take pictures and write about it on my blog as George Snow from Bike Palestine sent an e-mail asking for more riders for the group going in May.

Diana invited me to come to her place for the afternoon.  I could see she was basically a one woman show.  She is spending her time trying to get the word out about her animal shelter, find homes for the dogs, find funds to run the place and feed the animals and take care of injured animals she picks up in need of assistance.

Diana told me that the dogs there face special issue because of the politics and the human struggle but also because of the physical isolation.  She would like to focus on promotion of her shelter and education of the people who live there.  Many folks there view dogs as simply pests even though the sentiment is somewhat changing some individuals still poison dogs and leave them to die.  Often they will be hit by a car and left to perish by the side of a road or they are just hungry and thirsty without food or water.  

She has the dogs ready to go for adoption if she can just find them homes.  It is less expensive if someone will actually go to Tel Aviv and pick up a dog rather than ship them as cargo.  She can easily supply the proper papers and the kennel to take the animal home.  I know this may sound outrageous as it is quite far from San Diego but from the UK there are discount flights--last year one fellow went from Manchester for about 250 pounds and the flight is only a few hours.

It seems like money might be the answer for this very hard working former banker who now runs this very needed facility but i am suggesting that exposure would be extremely helpful for her, as well due to her physical and political isolation.

She has been featured on BBC radio and one can find information about her animal shelter in a few newspapers but one can see if you are there that she is up against a giant barrier in placings these dogs.

All of her dogs were so friendly when I visited and she takes wonderful care of them.  I know she spends a lot of her own money to take them to the vet.

I admire her work and I was driven after my visit to try and do anything I could to help her and that is why I am telling you my story.

Also, I thought you might like the story because no one ever really sees a true picture of Palestine.

We stayed at lovely hotels and resorts and the food was delicious.  The people are so friendly and hospitable and respectful.  

I also wanted to say that right next door to Diana’s Shelter is the Palestine Wildlife Society.  This man, Amad Qumseih, is working very hard to try and educate the children and citizens of Palestine about the benefits of animals and people working together to help the environment.  Working with the animals instead of against them will benefit both in the long run.  He was so excited to chat with me and tell me about his small humane society type facility.  

Again, he is doing very important work but in reality some of the workers were not getting paid so while both of these places are a great idea they are terribly isolated by politics, war and religion and at the end of the day the animals have  nowhere to go.

The Palestine Wildlife Society also helps the donkeys and horses and the farm animals and helps the farmers to take care of them.

Seriously, this man was friends with a Palestinian Gazelle he rescued as a baby and now he is friends with the gazelle.  It was so cute and funny because the gazelle was trying to get by him.

Everyday we hear about the war in the Middle East but when do we ever focus on the animals or the dogs.

For instance, here in San Diego there are many groups that go over to Mexico and get dogs that are in somewhat of the same situation but we are talking about 30 minutes in the car and we are so rich here.  

I am hoping we can shine a little light on this lady in Bethlehem and she can help her dogs, too--she is in just such an impossible situation.

Thank you for reading and your consideration.

I am including some pictures and some links talking about her place.


My beautiful friends in Jenin:




Diana George Babish and her Animal Shelter in Bethlehem:




Palestine Wildlife Society:




#LovePalestine

Apr 12, 2019

Apr 9, 2019

Executive Director at Guns Down America and author of "Guns Down: How to defeat the NRA and build a safer future with fewer guns," Igor Volsky; @igorvolsky on The Bill Press Show - April 9, 2019








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Apr 8, 2019

Chris Merrill Interviews Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastellum: KOGO at Night--San Diego Radio KOGO 600

So the guy that does my hair lives in TJ.


Who will do my hair?

While this situation may not be an emergency the threat of closing the border by our so called president donald trump does create an emergency for many of the residents and workers of San Diego.

Many folks live on the other side of the border because the rent is cheaper and more affordable for their personal budget.

Many people go to Tijuana or Ensenada on a regular basis because their family is there.

My dog walker's father goes over to Mexico every week because he sees his family and friends and eats dinner.


donald's amazing lack of sensitivity is hurtful.

Chris Merrill, one of the most refreshing voices on KOGO Radio 600 AM in San Diego will always talk about the situation without ridicule.

We will not always agree on the issues but when the problem is talked about, discussed without anger, both sides given we get a new perspective.  The learn the positive and negative points--what is fueling the outrage.

Listen to Chris Merrill chat with the Mayor of Tijuana, Juan Manuel Gastellum, and hear his view on the possible closure of the San Ysidro Border Crossing, the largest border crossing in the country:

https://www.iheart.com/podcast/139-kogo-at-night-28149809/episode/chris-merrill-trump-visits-border-30797541/

Thanks, Chris , for your thoughtful interview.

Well done!


Question:

Does donald trump even care about the problems that are created in the lives of the residents and the citizens of our country by closing the border or threatening to close the border?

Apr 5, 2019

Our Walk Through Balboa Park and The Wildflowers Starring Coco The Doggie Girl.......

Featuring the wildflowers of The Florida Canyon Trails:










The Velodrome at Balboa Park:






The Batting Cages and Baseball Fields:





A very talented dog walker:


The dog park at Morley Field:




Velo again:


The Zoo Parking Lot:



The Nat--The Natural History Museum:

It's there but I can't find it right now...........

Navy Regional Medical Center, San Diego:


Mountain Biking Trails:


Hikers:


The Ranger Station:



Here is a link to all of the pictures on Google Photos:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/ZXfpsHZ6G4bxrTwp6



Thank you for viewing.