Category: ANIMALS

Editor’s Choice #945 – National Geographic’s Animal Photo of the Year

A male oragutan peers from behind a tree while crossing a
river in Borneo, Indonesia. Rampant palm oil cultivation
threatens this critically endangered ape, forcing the normally
arboreal species to resort to unusual behavior – such as wading
through crocodile infested rivers – in order to survive.

Bill Writes:
The photo above haunts me every time I look at it, and I’ve looked at it
periodically over the past several days. I don’t know that it will impact you in the ways that it has me, but I’m attaching the link so you can view it full size on your computer screen. When I do so, what I see is a remarkably humanoid creature whose facial expression ‘says so much.’

I initially keystroked a comment for today’s Editor’s Choice on Weds, the 13th,  which is nine days prior to the date of the final entries in Still Faith-FULL It is time to make different choices as to how time will be spent that Kathy and I currently invest in seeking to insure that what I, or she, enter in one or another part of the ‘family’ of offerings that go out via Constant Contact and the website

I am editing my comments on the morning of the 26th, and in reviewing the paragraph above, I realize how much has changed between the 13th and now the morning of the 26th. I wrote the following message on that date:

I will stop blogging, at least through the vehicle of Still Faith-FULL.   A check of the Constant Contact stats, indicates that an astounding-seeming 3,421 separate communications of differing types have been circulated since I first used their services on March 2, 2013. It has (hopefully obviously) been a labor of love on our parts, so I don’t wish in any way to imply that I am whining or regretting the time invested, but I do know that it is now time to use my and our time differently.

A few days later I received an e-mail from a gentleman in Mt. Vernon, OH, which is about 25 or so miles from Mansfield. He asked if I would consider being the ‘pulpit supply’ or ‘transitional’ pastor for Mt. Vernon First Presbyterian Church. Since that time, he and another elder from the congregation have visited us in our home, and this past Sunday a.m., Kathy and I were present for the Christmas Eve Sunday morning worship service.

The elder with whom I’d been in e-mail contact, and who along with another elder had visited Kathy and me in our home earlier in the week, was the individual who led worship and preached. We had a wonderful conversation in our home, and this layperson whose background is in a scientific field, was the worship leader and gave the sermon, doing a masterful job in both roles. But the attendance was sparse, which was made even more apparent in that the sanctuary is a beautiful and large facility.

So, once again, in ways that remain a ‘mystery’ to me no matter how many times I’ve experienced them in my life, there truly is a Spirit of God that moves in remarkable ways to let me know that while I may think or even believe ‘I’m in charge of my destiny,’ there are spiritual realities and forces far beyond my comprehension (even though stories of such appear again and again in Scripture), which remind me to avoid getting smug and content in my self-driven false sense of reality.



Editor’s Choice #914 – New Species of Orangutan

World Wildlife Fund

New species of orangutan announced

Nov. 2, 2017

Photo Credit: Maxine Aliaga


A new great ape species-the Tapanuli orangutan-was officially announced by an international team of scientists today. With 800 or fewer individuals, the Tapanuli orangutan is the rarest of all great apes.

Previously, two species of orangutans were known-the Bornean orangutan and Sumatran orangutan. This new third species lives in North Sumatra, but is genetically and behaviorally distinct from the two other species.

An international team of scientists described the new species in Current Biology. The Tapanuli orangutan (Pongo tapanuliensis)is distinguished from other orangutan populations based on morphological and genomic evidence. The new species is endemic to 475 square miles of upland forest in the Batang Toru Ecosystem of Sumatra and is believed to have been isolated from other orangutan populations for 10,000-20,000 years.


Photo Credit: Maxine Aliaga


The Tapanuli orangutan was first discovered in 1997 during an orangutan survey in the region. Over the next decade, the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP), together with other non-governmental organizations, universities, and Indonesian authorities, focused on learning more about the population. By 2006, a research station was established to study the orangutans’ behavior and genetics.

A breakthrough came in 2013 when researchers examined the skull of a male orangutan killed in human-wildlife conflict. When compared to orangutans from other populations, the skull from Batang Taru showed noticeably different characteristics. This discovery prompted the largest genomic study of wild orangutans to date. As a result, the data collected clearly identified three distinct evolutionary lineages among all orangutans.


Photo Credit: Maxine Aliaga


The discovery of a new species of great ape in the 21st century is a cause for celebration. But it is also a call to action. Like all orangutans, the Tapanuli is under serious threat. Human encroachment-in this case from mining and a plan for a hydroelectric dam-as well as hunting put these orangutans in immediate peril.

If steps are not taken quickly to reduce current and future threats to conserve every last remaining bit of forest,” the scientists point out in their article, “we may see the discovery and extinction of a great ape species within our lifetime.”

WWF has identified the Batang Toru landscape that includes the Tapanuli orangutan’s habitat as one of its priority landscapes for species conservation.

This discovery not only demonstrates how much we still don’t know about the biodiversity on our planet, but also sheds light on the precarious position species like the Tapanuli orangutan are in, as their forest homes are increasingly threatened by conversion,” said Nilanga Jayasinghe, senior program officer for Asian species, WWF. “It’s critical to address the many threats to their habitat if we want to secure their future.”

Editors Choice Photo Diary Entry #892

Photo Source: Pinterest

Feedback on the WOW! entry on Unions
Dick Nelson, of West Lafayette, IN, a former Purdue faculty colleague and continuing friend, responded to the David and Goliath metaphor with the following message. I’m sharing it here with Dick’s permission.
 . . . . . . .


Back in January 2012 I wrote a Letter to the Editor that was printed in the Lafayette Journal and Courier that made the case of unions (now no letters are printed in that newspaper any more, more’s the pity).  I think the need for unions is even stronger now, and this Daily Kos makes the case on religious grounds and points out that the Davids of this world have to have considerable backing or their efforts are likely to come to nothing.


Back then I wrote:


Sometimes unions overstep their bounds.  Who hasn’t heard stories about electricians called in and paid handsomely to move stage lights just a few inches, for example? But the gross attacks on unions in recent years are like “throwing the baby out with the bath water,” correcting a few questionable union practices by implementing rules designed to permanently emasculate unions.  If you have ever worked for hourly wages, you have certainly enjoyed such benefits as the eight-hour day, the five-day week, sick leave, improved working conditions, health care, child labor laws, etc. – all results of significant struggles on the part of union members that have had huge spillover effects for non-union workers – if only so those workers would not unionize.  The assertion that Right to Work will result in the Right to Work for Less will prove [is proving] true – for union workers, and for non-union employees as well.  And who will be [are] the beneficiaries?  CEOs and managers, for example, who once earned ten or twenty times the average worker, now receive salaries and other compensation that often surpass the average worker by hundreds, even thousands, of times.  I have never been a union member, but I strongly believe we need to appreciate what union workers have done for all of us, to avoid putting at risk any or all of the significant gains they have worked so hard to attain, and to support their efforts to create wages and benefits that are commensurate with their contributions to the economy of our great country.

Richard C Nelson

Editors Choice Photo Diary Entry #869 – The Several Meanings of the Word ‘Pride’

Photo Credit: African elephants © Martin Harvey/WWF; Rainforest © Blanka Berankova/Shutterstock

Anyone who has opened the various Still Faith-FULL entries for any length of time surely knows that both the Editor (that would be me), and the Associate Editor (that would be be Kathy), are both suckers when it comes to loving animals. We especially (though far from only) love animals who qualify as ‘wildlife.’  

That is the reason that, just this morning, I gladly rejoined the ‘Pride’ by renewing my membership in the World Wildlife Fund and – via a ‘screen shot’ – copied the photo above.

Out of curiosity, I also went to

and looked up the definition(s) of the word ‘pride.’
Here is what I learned:
Pride is the state of holding one’s self or another in high esteem.
An example of pride is the feeling a parent has when his child graduates from college.

The definition of a pride is a group of lions.
An example of pride is the family of lions in The Lion King.
Whew! I feel more informed <vbg>

Then, after keystroking the above message, I clicked on another ‘logo’ on my computer and learned I had left the Word Wildlife Federation site ‘open’ and to my delight, the following photo appeared:
This ‘Thank You’ photo was followed by a link to a short video
portraying in words and images the World Wildlife Federations’s Manifesto.
If you’ve read and/or clicked on the options and are still reading this, my thanks as well.