Archive for the ‘Wild animals’ Tag

LEGO Safari Hunt – Easter 2018   11 comments

The Great Brick Safari LEGO Hunt 

Lego Bricks Safari Tour was a fun interactive family event held over Easter at the Festival Place shopping Centre in Basingstoke, North Hampshire by the UK’s sole LEGO-certified building company – Bright Bricks, based in Bordon, Hampshire.  

I chanced on this fun jungle trail quite by accident and consequently didn’t know what it was and therefore, only discovered the animals inside the shopping centre. So! Not too many photos got taken! But I have included a selection of the ones I did have the good fortune to encounter along the way. I was a touch disappointed to learn there were no LEGO Icewolves on display but still 😉 

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The aim was to find as many animals as possible to win prizes, and there were also creative workshops for the children, of which there were many! Here they had the opportunity to build either their own LEGO tiger or lion face, which they could then take home with them. Wolfie considered this idea but decided an Icewolf was unlikely to be allowed access! However, the LEGO Safari jeep where selfie-lovers could indulge themselves with endless selfies was a tempting proposition 🙂 

 

 

 

 

 

There were in total, 20+ sculptures of LEGO zoo and jungle animals on display which had natural appeal to all age groups, and they were built to impressive life-size proportions. Shame Wolfie didn’t realise they were also to be found in a variety of different spots outside Festival Place Shopping Centre as well as inside it, but hey ho! Such is the life of an Icewolf! 😉

Sculptures included crocodile, which I did manage to find, an ostrich, gorilla, warthog, and lion, which I assume were outside somewhere, and apparently there were parrots and spiders on show…somewhere! No problem missing the spiders but I would have liked to see the parrot. The pictures of it all appear to be copyrighted so are not here (the photos on show are my own) but it was very bright and parrotish!! 1 million+ LEGO bricks were used to construct the safari sculptures, and an eye-watering total of 6,241 building hours spent doing so, by a specialist team. Pretty awesome job done, in the eyes of Wolfie 🙂

(Photos: ©Europa’s Icewolf 2018) 

 

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ZSL London Zoo – Working To Achieve Worldwide Conservation   15 comments

 

ZSL London Zoo – Centre For Conservation

 

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(Photos: Copyright Europa’s Icewolf 2013)

ZSL London Zoo, located on the edge of Regent’s Park, is designed as a sanctuary for animals, a centre for conservation. ZSL – The Zoological Society of London, a specialist charity backing up London Zoo ensures that genetically healthy populations are bred and cared for by specialists as back up for endangered species in the wild. They research diseases that threaten wildlife and rebuild habitats, monitor populations and are also working with worldwide local communities. Consequently the zoo has world-leading enclosures, and the discoveries made at the zoo impact on international community work.

Enthuse the conservationists of tomorrow!

Find out more about helping to achieve worldwide conservation aims at: www.zsl.org

Japanese Wolves ~ “Guardian Dog of the Mountains”   66 comments

 

Japanese Wolves

“Yama no Bankun” (Guardian Dog of the Mountains)

Japanese Wolves_The Guardians of the Mountains

Ōkami (wolf)  狼(おおかみ)

Also known as: Okuri-inu 送り犬 (escorting dog), Okuri-ōkami 送り狼 (escorting wolf), Yama-inu 山犬 (mountain dog)

Officially, the last of the Japanese wolves was extinct in 1905 and no wolves now exist in Japan. The Hokkaidō or Ezo wolf, cousin to the grey Honshū wolf (Canis lupus hodophylax, or ōkami, the smallest of all wolves) located in Hokkaidō fell victim to extinction in 1889.

                               Japanese Wolf Japanese Ezo Wolf Japanese Honshu wolf_National Museum of Science and Nature 

It is however thought locally, that the wolf, also very much a creature of folklore and religion is still living, deep in the Japanese mountain forests and many people continue to claim they have seen one. This is probably based on the Wolf’s unique ability to keep so well out of sight of man, that it was almost invisible, allowing it to also keep an unwatched eye on man! Local Hongu saying: “The wolf can hide even where there is only a single reed.”

Wolf Deities – The Wolf in Myth and Legend

 jap wolf agyo at Mitake jinja in shibuya2

The wolves association with the mountains also remains very clear with places names such as Okamitaira (Wolf Plateau), Okamizawa (Wolf Marsh), Okami’iwa (Wolf Rock) and Kobirotoge (Howling Wolf Pass) in the Kii Peninsula mountains abounding.
The wolf, closely connected with the god (kami) of the mountains is considered to be the gods pet or their messenger (otsukai お使い) in the Tamaki Jinja and Takataki Jinja shrines located in Totsukawa Mura. In some cases it is even thought to be a god in its own right, "great kami (大神)", and the Ōguchi-no-makami (大口真神, "true god of the great mouth") is a wolf figure that is worshipped at Mitsumine Shrine in Saitama Prefecture,

“Yama no Bankun” (Guard Dog of the Mountains)

                                                  Guard Dog of the Mountains_Yamu no BankunJapanese_wolf_poster_Canis "Hodophylax"

The Japanese wolf is commonly known as Yama-inu,(mountain dog), and as with domestic dogs that display guard-like behaviour, in myth and legend the okuri-inu or okuri-ōkami ("escorting wolf") can also be seen as man’s protector, frequently from the dangers of other wolves when they are alone in Japan’s deep mountain forests. Another type of wolf is thought to escort in the form of stalking mankind as prey, malevolently attacking if their human “prey” should fall or trip and taking many different forms in order to deceive and bewitch humans. This has led in South/Central Honshū and Shikoku, to the belief that the wolf is a supernatural being. But one which if treated with respect by humans is also an honest creature, willing to offer protection when asked to spare a life and in the face of submissive human behaviour towards them.

Canis hodophilaxCanis Hodophylax – the Japanese scientific name linked to the legend of the benign okuri-ōkami ("escorting wolf") derives from the Greek word for “way/path” – Hodo, and the Greek word for “guard” – phylax, together creating “guardian of the way.” ** This also relates to the Ice wolves of Europa – Guardians of the Wolf-Gates and Pathfinders of the Wolf-Ways (interstellar pathways/gateways between worlds)

Such wolves are encouraged to remain protective with rewards consisting of their favourite foods (salt or sekihan -azuki beans and rice) when they have ensured safe passage for those concerned, helping to cement the relationship between man and wolf. Sekihan was also offered in congratulation, according to tradition in Yamanashi Prefecture, to the She-wolf when her wolf-cubs were born. It was believed that by the giving of this ceremonial food, usually served at the time of newly birthed human babies, would lead to return gifts of congratulation from the wolf when the villagers babies were born, in the form of deer, boar, hares etc.

“The Cypress of Dog Howls”

http://youtu.be/tupOeH4bcfw Wolf Howl in Asahiyama (Hokkaido, Japan)

               honshu-wolf_statue2and Japanese Wolf SymbolThe Cypress of Dog Howls Symbolism

North of Hongu high in the Tamaki mountains “The Cypress of Dog Howls” is found – a giant tree where on the eve of the 1889 Great Flood that killed numerous inhabitants of Hongu and surrounding areas, prophetic wolves howled continuously. They materialised on the Tamaki mountains to protect and aid the vulnerable villagers from the disaster that had overtaken them.

Wolf Charms and Boar Deterrents

Villagers would often pray to the wolf. "Lord Wolf [oino tono], please protect us and stop the ravages of the deer and wild boar.”  Especially in the Sendai region, this would happen whenever the wolf was spotted, as it was believed they would protect the mountain farms and help to control the ever increasing and destructive boar population. So strong was this belief, that even charms were used in the wolf’s absence, enshrined in the shrine of the village. In Hongu and even across Japan they had and still do, a wolf charm (ofuda) they called a boar deterrent (shishiyoke) to guard against the wild boars.

Japanese Wolf’s Natural Symbolism of Society in Japan

Japanese Wolf The quality and nature of the wolf’s relationship to humans, also reflects its moral relationship to them. This can be clearly seen in “Japanese wolf lore” which relates tales not of good or bad wolves but of good or bad people. Wolf lore promotes the wolf as a “natural symbol of society”

There is a strong message to the Japanese people that the exchanges they share with the wolf are also a model of how they should conduct the relationship between themselves and nature.

The wolf symbolises both the wildness and the control of the mountains (Yama) and although the original Japanese wolf may now be extinct, it is most certainly not out-dated or superseded. The reintroduction of wolves to Japan – as has been appealed for over recent times would have many positive influences:

· The wolf would help restore order to the ecology of Japan’s forests

· Nature would also be restored in the process 

· Human control would be reinstated

· The Japanese mountains would become manageable again…..

But in order for human control to be reinstated, first the return of the Yama no bankun, the "guard dog of the mountains"  is a required necessity.

                                  Kuroinu_Japanese Wolf Mask

Sources: 
1.  John Knight ~ "On the Extinction of the Japanese Wolf." Asian Folklore Studies

2. “Japan Guide Book” ~ japanguidebook.com