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August 2007
Rev. Celeste Shakti Hill

Reverence for Life
Reverence for life is more than solicitude or sensitivity for life. It is a sense of the whole, a capacity for inspired response, a respect for the intricate universe of individual life. --Norman Cousins
This issue we share stories of rescue, respect, and responsibility to the animal world. As we humans impact our planet, it is important that we understand the repercussions on the other members of our connected family – the animals and plants. This Good News stories will lift your heart. Take time today to pet a friend, or notice a butterfly.

Rescuing the Baghdad Zoo
On March 19, 2003, the United States begins its shock-and-awe campaign, with missiles raining down on Baghdad as the opening salvo of the Iraq war. Four thousand miles away, at the idyllic Thula Thula Game Preserve in South Africa, wildlife conservationist Lawrence Anthony was following the war on TV.
"I was actually standing outside, looking at a herd of elephants, and my attention just kept getting pulled back to the TV I'd been watching," "And I thought, I've got to do something. I'm going to do something."
He knew people were dying, but he felt he could best use his skills to help the animals. In wartime, history shows, they are expendable. Anthony had no game plan, and no official backing.
"When I was in South Africa, I eventually phoned Central Command, and I just said to them, 'Hello?' crossed my fingers and said, "I'm the guy who's going to take over the zoo in Baghdad. How do I do that? Who do I speak to?' Anthony said. And they put me through to somebody in Kuwait. And I said, 'Centcom said I should phone you!'"
A little more than a week later, as aid agencies and money started pouring into the city to help civilians; Anthony arrived at the Baghdad Zoo, the only person who came to help the animals.
"You can't separate man from the animal kingdom. We have ethical responsibilities. If we're going to cage wildlife we have to take responsibility."
When Anthony saw the zoo for the first time, it was "an absolute mess."
"The zoo had been a battleground, but the worst damage came from looters," he said. "Everything had been stripped. There were 650 animals and birds in the zoo before I arrived; when I got there, there were 30."
One bear was in miserable condition, caked in months of dirt with filthy drinking water. "Really shocking condition," Anthony said. "The lions were so thirsty they couldn't even drink; couldn't lap the water up."
Only a handful of zoo employees remained, including the senior veterinarian, Dr. Husham Hussan. "I showed him that I had medicines and supplies," Anthony said. "And he just burst into tears."
For the first few weeks Anthony paid the workers and bought supplies out of his own pocket. And then the cavalry arrived. "Individual American soldiers [were] absolutely outstanding," Anthony remarked. "These chaps were fighting a war. And I mean, they would come back at the end of the day, pick up a shovel, and do whatever was needed.
Capt. Sumner, with no prior background, was assigned the zoo. Very quickly, Capt. Sumner, Anthony and their team became the go-to guys for every stray or endangered animal in Baghdad. Four months after Anthony and Capt. Sumner took control, the Baghdad Zoo officially re-opened to the public. The first visitors were children from a local orphanage. The zoo is now completely in the hands of the Iraqis.
Overall victory remains elusive four years into the war in Iraq. Still, there have been many small, untold success stories, hints of hope. Saving the Baghdad Zoo, it seems, is one of them. (CBS Sunday Morning)

Butterfly Highway
Taiwan cordons off part of a highway to create a safe passage for a huge seasonal migration of milkweed butterflies every March. The butterflies -- indigenous to Taiwan -- migrate from the south to the north, where they lay eggs. The young butterflies then fly south in November to a warm mountain valley near Kaohsiung to escape the winter cold. To protect the migrating butterflies, a 600-yard stretch of highway in southern Taiwan is sealed off as the migration peaks; nets are set up to make the butterflies fly higher and avoid passing cars, and ultraviolet lights are installed to guide the butterflies across a highway overpass.



Sacred You!
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