Wildclickers #73: Brown - The progression of life

Reply Sun 23 Jul, 2006 01:24 pm
We are approaching the statistical midpoint of summer, with high heat and scorching sun turning growing things to a bleached out shade of yellow. Ultimately, the colors will progress to the end of the growing cycle - that of brown, To all things there is a season.....

For this thread we turn our attention to a variation of that color and hue - in celebration of the progression of life. Some things are associated with that color. Some things just become that color over time.

In this thread we will take a virtual tour of Mexico. One of our members will be taking an actual tour to parts of that country soon, and we will hitch a ride to enjoy it with her, and to learn some interesting things along the way.

And we will of course bring back photographs.

We are the wildclickers, and we have now saved, through purchasing efforts, over 57 acres of rain forest ecosystem land. We click daily toward that end, and wonderful companies do the rest.

Here is a copy of a recent introduction to our site, and efforts on it:

"We are currently the Number One team in the world, among thousands of teams and over a million people participating.

Please join us and help preserve rain forest!

To join, go to the Race for the Rain Forest at Care2.com. Just click on a button and somewhere in the world, you'll save a lot of square feet of rain forest, prairie, or wetlands, -- you choose! Corporate sponsors show their logos when you click, and in return, they pay for the habitat saved.

Just click: http://rainforest.care2.com/welcome?w=856730509

To register for the first time, create your own Distinct Log-in name
and Password. Then each time you visit the site to click you simply
Log-in and click on the Rainforest button. It's that simple. The
site is FREE. If you have a question, we have plenty of answers. FREE.

After clicking, feel free to post on this thread. We have the most
wonderful and helpful group of people clicking here. Any time you can't
click, we can arrange for a substitute to click for you. "
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Reply Sun 23 Jul, 2006 01:32 pm
We will start with a book report-type coverage of the country, and then go on to more specifics.

Our neighbor to the south, about one quarter the size of the US, is a much older civilization (we think) than that of the US. Most notably, pre-Columbian cultures:

The following information was taken from Wikipedia at:

Between 1800 and 300 BC, complex cultures began to form. Many matured into advanced Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican civilizations such as the: Olmec, Izapa, Teotihuacan, Maya, Zapotec, Mixtec, Huaxtec, Purepecha,Toltec and Mexica (Aztecs), which flourished for nearly 4,000 years before first contact with Europeans.
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Reply Sun 23 Jul, 2006 01:34 pm
To give you an idea of how the encyclopedia approaches the conceptualization of the country, here is its Table of Contents:

1 History
1.1 Pre-Columbian Mexican civilizations
1.1.1 Accomplishments
1.1.2 Major Civilizations The Olmec Civilization The Teotihuacan Civilization The Maya Civilization The Toltec Civilization The Mexica (Aztec) Civilization Allies of the Mexica (Aztecs)
1.1.3 Legacy of the Mexica
1.2 Spanish conquest
1.3 Colonial period
1.4 Mexican war of independence
1.5 War with the United States
1.6 French intervention and Emperor Maximiliano I
1.7 Order, progress, and the Díaz dictatorship
1.8 Mexican Revolution
1.9 Zimmerman telegram
1.10 Cristiada
1.11 Mexican economic miracle
1.12 NAFTA
1.13 The end of the PRI's hegemony
1.14 Recent problems with the United States: Immigration and Drugs
2 Government and politics
3 Political divisions
3.1 Largest cities
4 Geography and climate
5 Economy
6 Demographics
7 Culture, media, and sports
8 Languages
9 Religion
10 Education
11 Crime and poverty
12 Zapatista conflict
13 Origin and history of the name
14 Further reading
15 See also
15.1 Geography, History and Politics
15.2 Culture and Education
15.3 Communications and Transportation
15.4 Electronic Commerce, Technology and Consumers
16 References
17 External links
17.1 Government
17.2 Information about Mexico
17.3 Mexican newspapers and news agencies

stados Unidos Mexicanos
United Mexican States
Flag Coat of arms

Anthem: Himno Nacional Mexicano

Capital Mexico City
19°03'N 99°22'W
Largest city Mexico City
Official language(s) None at federal level
Spanish (de facto)
Government Federal Republic
- President Vicente Fox Quesada
Independence From Spain
- Declared September 16, 1810
- Recognized September 27, 1821
- Total 1,972,550 km² (15th)
758,249 sq mi
- Water (%) 2.5%
- 2005 est. 107,029,000 (11th)
- 2000 census 101,879,171
- Density 54.3/km² (142nd)
136/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2005 estimate
- Total $1.073 trillion (13th)
- Per capita $10,186 (64th)
HDI (2003) 0.814 (53rd) - high
Currency Peso (MXN)
Time zone (UTC-8 to -6)
Internet TLD .mx
Calling code +52
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Reply Sun 23 Jul, 2006 01:36 pm
Mexico is divided into 31 states (estados) and a federal district. Each state has its own constitution and its citizens elect a governor as well as representatives to their respective state congresses.

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Reply Sun 23 Jul, 2006 01:38 pm
SInce that didn't work, I'll have to figure out something else.
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Reply Sun 23 Jul, 2006 01:43 pm
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Reply Sun 23 Jul, 2006 01:44 pm
Posting images has never been a strong suit of mine. Perhaps I had better go learn how to do it.
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Reply Sun 23 Jul, 2006 01:47 pm

Mrxico from space
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Reply Sun 23 Jul, 2006 02:00 pm

"Ocean 'Gummy Bears' Fight Global Warming

Robin Lloyd
Special to LiveScience
Sat Jul 22, 8:15 AM ET

Swarms of lowly thumb-sized ocean creatures that often resemble chains of transparent Gummy Bears play a critical role in transporting a greenhouse gas deep into the deep sea, scientists report.

The semi-transparent barrel-shaped creatures, called salps, emerge by the billions in groups that occupy as much as 38,600 square miles of the sea surface (about the size of the state of Indiana), Laurence Madin of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution wrote in a newly published study.

Madin and his colleagues have now estimated that "hotspots" of salps could spell a dead-end for carbon, transporting tons of it daily from the ocean surface to the deep sea and preventing it from re-entering the atmosphere and contributing again to the greenhouse effect and possibly to global warming.

In and out

Scientists have long known that ocean water and marine creatures absorb excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, much of which results from the fossil fuels we burn.

Tiny marine plants called phytoplankton extract the carbon from atmospheric carbon dioxide to build their skeletons and shells. Larger ocean animals then eat the phytoplankton. When the animals die or defecate, the carbon dissolves back into the oceans.

Salps are among the larger creatures that eat phytoplankton, consuming up to 74 percent of them from the surface water in a day. The salps then defecate, and their sinking pellets transport up to 4,000 tons of carbon daily to deeper water.

"Salps swim, feed and produce waste continuously," said Madin, who headed up the study recently published in the journal Deep Sea Research. "They take small packages of carbon and make them into big packages that sink fast."

[In a separate study, giant ocean "snot balls" were found to use a different method to same end.]

Round tripDeep deposits

The result is that salps release fecal pellets in deep water, where few animals consume them, making them efficient transporters of carbon away from the atmosphere.

Salp pellets can sink even more than half a mile per day. And when they die, salp bodies take carbon down with them, sink rapidly up to a quarter mile a day.

Different species of salps have also been documented in recurring dense swarms in waters off Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Africa, the southeastern United States, the Western Mediterranean Sea, the eastern North Atlantic Ocean and the Southern Ocean.

Scientists still don't know how often salp swarms emerge, but it is clear that they can quickly take advantage of sudden blooms of phytoplankton, efficiently feeding on them with their mucus membrane filters and growing rapidly. Swarms can emerge in just a few weeks, to the point where they interfere with fishing, Madin said. "
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Reply Sun 23 Jul, 2006 02:09 pm
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Reply Sun 23 Jul, 2006 02:17 pm
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Reply Sun 23 Jul, 2006 02:46 pm

Oaxaca state
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Reply Sun 23 Jul, 2006 02:48 pm

Beach on Zipolite with cabin, near Pochutla
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Reply Sun 23 Jul, 2006 02:50 pm
Oaxaca is located in a tropical zone and its average temperature is of 29º C.,

Puerto Angel has abundant tropical vegetation and beautiful beaches with gentle waves.


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Reply Sun 23 Jul, 2006 02:52 pm
From a site about ecotourism around the world:
ecotourism website

First the turtles. Thousands of Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys) turtles arrive en masse to lay their eggs in nearby Escobilla Bay.

The nesting season usually begins in May and lasts for several months. Although an endangered species, the turtles come to the beach in large numbers (called arribadas) for a few nights after a full moon.

There is nothing particularly fancy here, and Puerto Angel look like a metropolis in comparison. But everyone is eager to share stories of how Mazunte has changed.
Before the 1960s villagers harvested enough eggs to satisfy the local demand for food and aphrodisiacs. But commercial trade raised the price, and the demand rose. The slaughterhouse became the town's major source of income. A 1990 prohibition against killing sea turtles put the breaks on the town's economy. But rather than go under, the town shifted the economy from turtle slaughter to promotion.

The fishing village is now home to the National Mexico Turtle Center (Centro Mexicano de la Tortuga), a laboratory/aquarium dedicated to the study and protection of sea turtles, located on the Avenida Principal. (http://tomzap.com/turtle.html)

The number of turtle nests increased from 60,000 in 1988 to nearly 700,000 in 1995 and the number continues to rise. Here is one of Mexico's conservation success stories -- due largely to the interests of travelers who support responsible tourism.

LOCATION -- Mazunte is 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) west of Puerto Angel on Highway 200. There is local bus service almost every half hour. Puerto Escondido is 50 kilometers (31 miles) to the West and Pochutla is 22 kilometers (14 miles) away.
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Reply Sun 23 Jul, 2006 02:56 pm
Turtles of the Oaxacan Coast

English Spanish Latin Description
green turtle tortuga verde ó blanca Chelonia mydas

sea turtle, 3 to 4 feet long, weighing 100 to 200 pounds, vegetarian. Although an endangered species, they are found in relatively large numbers.

hawksbill tortuga carey Eretmochelys

sea turtle, 3 to 4 feet long, weighing 30 to 100 pounds, usually brown with shingle-like overlapping scales, omnivorous.

leatherback tortuga laud,
de altura,
machincuepo Dermochelys
sea turtle, 7 to 8 feet long, weighing almost a ton, world's largest turtle. The shell is smooth with several lengthwise ridges. Rarely seen.

olive ridley golfina Lepidochelys

the smallest and most abundant of the sea turtles, 2 to 2.5 feet long. In the reproductive season they arrive in large numbers for nesting; this event is called arribadas.

Sea turtles reach breeding age in 6 to 8 years. Many factors influence the return to the nesting beaches, such as "imprinting", kind of sand, temperature, streams, etc. The presence of a metallic mineral in the turtle's brain is a theory.

Playa Escobilla is the main breeding ground for the Olive Ridley or Golfina turtle. The nesting season usually begins in May and lasts for several months. The turtles come to the beach in large numbers during the nighttime hours for 2-3 evenings after a full moon. They scoop out holes in the sand 2-feet deep, deposit their eggs and cover them up. At the peak of this activity, turtles number in the thousands. The eggs look like slimy Ping-Pong balls. The eggs are valued for food and many Mexicans believe they are powerful aphrodisiacs. The beaches are patrolled by military guards carrying M-16's to protect the turtles and their eggs from poachers.

As a result of the preoccupation of government forces at Huatulco with searching for the rebels involved in the August 1996 attack on Huatulco, their previous duties of guarding Escobilla beach where the Golfina, an endangered sea turtle, lays its eggs were abandoned. This resulted in the looting of turtle eggs and the slaughter of the mothers. It is estimated that 800,000 to 1,000,000 eggs were taken. There were several arrests of looters and one truck was reportedly seized with a cargo of 526,000 eggs. See comment. The protection of the beaches has since resumed.
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Reply Sun 23 Jul, 2006 03:09 pm
Of Turtles and Things

Of Turtles
and Things

From the Jul/Aug 1996 issue No. 30 of the
Mexican Meanderings Newsletter.

Why and Where
A few miles west of the small and delightful fishing village of Puerto Angel, on Oaxaca's Pacific coast, lies the even smaller fishing village and beach called Mazunte. A sign near the museum says that, according to INAFI (the National Institute of Archaeology and History), the word Mazunte evolved from a Nahuatl word (Maxontetia) meaning, in all its parts, "Please lay eggs." Until 1990, when Mexico outlawed the practice, Mazunte beach was an abattoir. Some 50,000 turtles were slaughtered each year as they came on shore to nest, and their weathered white bones and shells were strewn about for the tides and storms to remove. The creatures were viewed as an infinitely renewable source of turtle steaks and eggs. Endangered? Didn't they return by the thousands year after year after year? Then the numbers began to decline not only at Mazunte, but at other killing beaches throughout the world, and scientists realized that a crisis was at hand.

Not all the world heeded the message simultaneously, nor reacted with the same gusto. Demand for sea turtle eggs, oil, meat and shell was difficult to placate. The creatures were easy to find and kill, and offered no danger to the hunter. The international fishing industry still accounts for a large annual number of turtle kills through entrapment and drowning in nets. Turtle excluding devices (TEDs) for fishing nets are costly, and the industry objects strenuously to this added outlay. Ongoing pollution of the seas includes untold quantities of plastic bags, which to turtle eyes seem to bear an uncanny resemblance to a staple of their diet, the jelly-fish. Ingested, the plastic blocks the digestive tract, causing starvation.

Since 1984, Mexican scientists have held inter-university symposia and conferences on the subject of the marine turtle. By 1990, these experts had accumulated sufficient evidence of the plight of these "armored fish" (the chimalmichin or ayotectli of the ancients) to convince their government to impose a total ban on their harvest. Mazunte, the former killing beach, was chosen in 1991 as the site for the Centro Mexicano de la Tortuga (CMT). Located about 7 miles west of Puerto Angel, this laboratory and aquarium is dedicated to the study, protection and preservation of the sea turtle. At the same time it serves as an educational site, providing both local residents and tourists alike with a greater knowledge of their environment and of these fascinating creatures.

The modern plant includes a large main building containing central and peripheral tanks devoted to examples of the seven species of marine turtles frequenting the Mexican Pacific, Gulf and Caribbean beaches. A small gift shop is also resident here. Outside, beneath protective roofing, are large tanks for the observation of both juvenile and adult individuals. Other areas are devoted to laboratories for the study of their diet, development and life habits. Teams of biologists and veterinarians are ably supported by technical staff and student interns. And for five days in June of 1995, the Center hosted the Twelfth International Conference on the Conservation of the Marine Turtle.

Although the CMT functions primarily as a marine turtle research center, it is also known locally as the "Turtle Museum," for here may also be seen examples of Mexico's six species of fresh water turtles as well as the two species of land turtles. You have to look closely to spot the latter; they are usually well hidden in the small cactus garden created for their benefit. And all of this may be seen Tuesday through Sunday from 9am until 6pm. It is closed to the public only on Monday.

So what is this creature called a turtle? Surely you've always heard of turtle steaks, turtle soup, and tortoise shell combs and other ornaments. But did you know that these came from a reptile? Certainly much more endearing creatures than, say, snakes or iguanas, but reptiles nonetheless.

Mythology and History
The Marine Turtle has featured throughout much of recorded human history. Greek mythology credits Apollo with creating the first lyre by stretching strings across the shell of a sea turtle who had given his all for music. The ancient Mexicans ranked the turtle next to the goddess of flowers, while the Toltecs believed their ancestors rode on the backs of turtles in crossing the sea to arrive on this continent (near the site of present-day Veracruz). And throughout Asia the turtle is a principal in mythology.
Sea turtles have been around and recognizable for a long, long time, their fossils first appearing in rocks of the late Jurassic period, some 200 million years ago. During the course of the next 100 million years or so, one now extinct (thank goodness!) Late Cretaceous species attained a length of almost fifteen feet. He (or she) must have been truly formidable!

General characteristics
Eight species of marine turtles are recognized and all are found in the tropical and subtropical seas of our planet. Seven of these species frequent Mexican waters and are represented at the CMT. The green (so called because of the color of its fat), loggerhead, olive ridley, hawksbill and leatherback are found in the Pacific, Gulf and Caribbean. The black normally dwells only in the Pacific, while the Kemp's ridley is generally restricted to the Gulf of Mexico waters. The flatback sea turtle, the only one not found near the American continents, resides in Australian waters only. All marine turtles have lungs, but their oxygen exchange mechanism is unique. That, combined with a low metabolic rate, allows them to remain submerged for extended periods of time. Turtles are a delight to watch swimming; they soar through the water, sedately using their front flippers to propel themselves while steering with their rear flippers. Unlike their landlubber brethren, sea turtles cannot retract head and appendages within their shells.

In The Beginning
In spite of their need to breath air, marine turtles are truly "old salts," spending most of their life at sea. The principal exception is when the female returns (usually) to her natal beach to lay her eggs. Some species nest every year; others only every two or three years. The female ridley (olive and Kemp's) often come onshore in large groups (several thousand strong); locally these onslaughts are called arribadas, or arrivals. Once a few yards above the high tide line, each turtle scoops out a trough deep enough to keep her


Juvenile Green Sea Turtle

somewhat hidden while digging out a smaller egg chamber. Into this she deposits anywhere from 50 to 200 ping-pong ball size leathery-shelled eggs. She then covers the entire excavation with damp sand and heads back to sea. Depending on the species, she may linger a few days or weeks offshore then come back for another one or two egg-laying sessions. Or she may head straight out to sea and her normal feeding grounds. Not exactly a model of maternal domesticity. The role of the male is even more momentary in nature.

The eggs will incubate for some 6 to 10 weeks before the hatchlings break from the shell. Interestingly, their sex has been determined sometime after fertilization. Some experts believe sexual development may be a function of incubation temperature: warmer, more females or cooler, more males. Three or more days may be required for the three-to-four-inch hatchlings to dig their way to the beach surface. They usually break out at night and make their ungainly flight to the water, somewhat protected by the darkness from innumerable predators. Despite their numbers, scientists consider the survival rate to be very low. And little is known about where they go or what they do to survive during the next year or so.

Marine turtles are migratory feeders and their feeding grounds are generally within 10 to 20 miles from the shoreline; however, for a particular species these grounds may be hundreds of miles away along the


Mock-up of turtle with eggs
on display at the Turtle Center

shoreline or even across wide expanses of ocean on another shore. Based on DNA testing, some loggerheads found feeding off the Baja California coast are believed to have hatched at nesting sites in Japan or even Australia. A turtle could get mighty hungry on that trip, even though all species are strong swimmers. Cruising speeds vary from about 1 mph (green) to almost 6 mph (leatherback). Sea turtles reach breeding age in from three years (hawksbill) to as many as thirty years (green). The life span of the smaller species is some 20 to 30 years, while the larger can reach ages of 50 to 80 years. Some are by preference vegetarian (green and black) while the others prefer to munch on mollusks, shrimp, crabs, jellyfish, etc.

The navigation system which enables these creatures to home in on their birth beach after several years and many hundreds of miles is a phenomenon shared by other seafarers (salmon for one) and aerialists such as swallows, monarch butterflies, etc. In the turtle, the capability is now thought to hinge on a metallic mineral in their brain which responds to the earth's magnetic field. Somehow the beach location is imprinted at birth or in the first few frantic hours or days of life before they embark on their lifelong voyage.

The continued existence of the marine turtle is still not a certainty. The scientific world has become much more cognizant of the potential of their extinction over the past few years, and has been joined by governments, businesses and individuals in a effort to create a worldwide awareness. Poachers still take their toll, as do natural predators and, inadvertently, commercial fishermen. But with the dedicated efforts at stations such as the one at Mazunte, another on the northern Gulf coast of Tamaulipas, and elsewhere, Mexico has joined in the struggle to reverse a trend which a few years ago appeared inevitable.

Getting To Mazunte
As mentioned earlier, Mazunte and the Centro are a few short miles west of Puerto Angel, a bit out of comfortable walking distance if the day is very hot. However, an inexpensive local bus makes the run about every half hour, and taxis abound. The road, narrow and paved (sort of), parallels the beach. West of Mazunte it turns north to join the main coast road, Highway 200, which then connects to Puerto Escondido (about 35 miles west) or Pochutla and Huatulco (about the same to the east). Mazunte and the other nearby beach settlements offer rather rustic accommodations; you might be happier making this a day trip from Puerto Angel (see Mexican Meanderings #25, Sep-Oct 1995), Huatulco or Puerto Escondido (this issue). The many impromptu palapa restaurants do offer cold beverages and FRESH fish, and the swimming is delightful.
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Reply Sun 23 Jul, 2006 03:12 pm
Pochutla is a big coffee growing area too.
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Reply Sun 23 Jul, 2006 03:23 pm
First, thanks for the new thread. Great.

Second, Whew!! You have given us a lot to look at.

The Puerto Angel area is where ul will be next week. It sure looks beautiful.

I have been to many border towns and visited as far South as Puerto Vallarta. It was always a nice and pleasant visit with friendly people.


Very Happy
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Reply Sun 23 Jul, 2006 04:26 pm
Lovely intro, sue! Great new thread! Very Happy


Location of the region of Los Tuxtlas in the southern portion of the state of Veracruz in Mexico. The map shows the original distribution of tropical rain forests in Mexico. Such distribution has changed dramatically in the last six decades as a result of human activity , stressing the need to further investigate and preserve remnant tropical rain forests. The field station Los Tuxtlas of UNAM is an outstanding effort in that direction.

The field station has 700 ha (1400 acres) of forested land. The land is connected to about 14000 ha of rain forest extending west toward the Volcano of San Martín Tuxtla.

The existence of the Estación de Biología "Los Tuxtlas" of UNAM has been pivotal in the development of our research with the three wild primates in Mexico from the start. The logistical and operational support provided by the field station has allowed us to develop colateral projects in localities south of Los Tuxtlas in the states of Tabasco , Campeche and Chiapas.

As part of the infrastructure present at the field station Los Tuxtlas, the primate laboratory houses computer facilities, our data banks, other scientifc equipment, a specialized library of books and reprints on primate studies, and storage for biological samples.


The lab also provides working space for students and scientists that collaborate with us, and access to Internet is a recent addition. The lab is surrounded by rainforest and it is quite common for howlers and, sometimes, spider monkeys and other forest wildlife, to "hang around" the lab.

The orderly and long-term documentation of the diversity and species richness of remaining forest fragments in tropical landscapes is an important scientific task needed to provide qualitative and quantitative information to enhance our data banks on the natural history, biology, ecology and behavior of forest plants and animals. Such information is essential to understand the flexibility of response of species and of plant and animal populations to the process of fragmentation and isolation of native habitat caused by human activity, thus improving the precision of conservation.



The region of Los Tuxtlas by the Gulf of Mexico has undegone a severe transformation by man in the last 50 years. About 80-85% of the original (2,500 km square) tropical rain forest has disappeared. Black areas represent remaining tropical rain forest, white areas indicate pastures

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