Nature Conservation in India News & Discussion

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Re: Nature Conservation in India News & Discussion

Postby Pranay » 30 May 2013 06:50

http://www.frontline.in/environment/wil ... epage=true

A close encounter with the Nilgiri marten, the elusive mammal endemic to the Western Ghats, after a 20-year-long wait.

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Re: Nature Conservation in India News & Discussion

Postby Pranay » 30 May 2013 19:23

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home ... 347819.cms

The highly threatened Nicobar islands of India - home to 1,800 animal species and some of the world's most endangered tribes, has now been designated as a world biosphere reserve.

The island is home to the indigenous Shompen people, semi-nomadic hunters living inland and the Nicobarese, who are coastal dwellers dependent on fishing and horticulture.

The International Coordinating Council of Unesco's Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB) which is meeting in Paris added 12 sites to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves on Thursday.


Talking about why the Nicobar Islands were chosen, Unesco said, "This island biosphere reserve, covering 103,870 hectares, is characterized by tropical wet evergreen forest. It is home to 200 species of meiofauna in the coastal zone. The 6,381 inhabitants derive a wide variety of biological resources from their environment such as medicinal plants and other non-timber forest products."

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Re: Nature Conservation in India News & Discussion

Postby Pranay » 30 May 2013 19:46

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-22713143

Three elephants have been killed by a train in the Indian state of West Bengal.

One more elephant is reported to be seriously injured.

The express train hit the animals near Marghat forest, 385 miles (620km) north of the state capital Calcutta, forest minister Hiten Barman said.

Activists have called for trains to lower their speed through such areas following the death of dozens of elephants in recent years.

"The train knocked down the elephants due to negligence of the driver," Mr Barman told AFP news agency.

But railway spokesman Jayant Sharma told AP news agency that the accident site had occurred outside the state's elephant corridor.

There had been no warning from the forest department about the movement of the elephants, he added.

"Train accidents of this sort have of late become a concern in the northern districts of West Bengal," Mr Barman said.

Official figures show at least 42 elephants had been killed in West Bengal since 2004, he added.

India is home to around 25,000 elephants. Their numbers are dwindling due to poaching and the destruction of their habitats by humans.

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Re: Nature Conservation in India News & Discussion

Postby Pranay » 04 Jun 2013 22:23

http://india.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/06/ ... ?ref=world

Tigers and Tourism....

In July last year, the Indian Supreme Court banned tourism in the core areas of 41 tiger reserves in an attempt to protect the 1,700 tigers in the country. Three months later, the court reversed its decision but told the state-managed reserves to abide by new guidelines drafted by the National Tiger Conservation Authority.

Since then, the guidelines, which call for restricting tourism to 20 percent of the parks’ core areas and limit construction in the tigers’ primary habitat, have created confusion among states over how to interpret the ministry’s vague mandates. Much is at stake in these interpretations, as one Ranthambhore tigress can generate some $130 million in direct tourism revenue in her adult life, according to one estimate.

“Some states have not changed much — they have carried on what they were doing earlier,” said Krishna Kumar Singh, a founding member of the Ecotourism Society of India, a nonprofit organization that promotes environmentally responsible tourism. “Some states have implemented these guidelines in a way that has restricted tourism to quite an extent.” The interpretation of the rules might even vary within different state parks, he said.

“When you look at it from the outside, you say, well, is it to control tourism and for the wildlife and the environment, or is it to kill tourism?” Mr. Singh said. “People are now wondering whether they can survive this kind of drop in business.”

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Re: Nature Conservation in India News & Discussion

Postby Vasu » 07 Jun 2013 11:37

Rajasthan launches campaign to save Great Indian Bustard
Rajasthan became the first state in the country to launch a campaign to save the Great Indian Bustard, which is on the brink of extinction.

Once in contention for being nominated as the national bird of India, the Great Indian Bustard (GIB) is now on the brink of extinction with just 200 or so left in the wild.

Rajasthan will implement a state-level action plan for the recovery of the state bird, known locally as the Godavan.

The state is currently home to the largest global population of the bird.

The bird also survives in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

GIB is an indicator species for grassland habitats and its gradual disappearance from such environments shows their deterioration. The destruction of grasslands has also affected other members of the bustard family—the lesser florican, the Houbara Bustard and Bengal florican—and animals such as the black buck, the chinkara, the Indian wolf, the golden jackal, the Indian fox and the nilgai have also come under threat. This also brings many of these animal species into conflict with humans, according to a BNHS statement.

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Re: Nature Conservation in India News & Discussion

Postby Pranay » 08 Jun 2013 02:37

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home ... 484834.cms

Good news from Sundarbans...

It's official now. Sunderbans, one of the last surviving natural tiger habitats in the world, has a minimum of 103 tigers.

And what's more, each swamp tiger is believed to be maintaining a territory of over 20 square kilometres on this critical habitat, a fact which was challenged several times.


"But these are only the individuals which could be captured in the camera trap exercise. So, there can be many more," said Soumitra Das Gupta, field director of Sunderbans Tiger Reserve (STR).

The tiger density, according to the new finding, has also managed to beat the official estimates. "Going by this study, Sunderbans has a minimum 5 tigers per 100 square kilometres, compared to the figure 4.3 thrown up during the national census in 2011," said additional PCCF (wildlife) Pradeep Vyas. According to him, the territory of 20 square kilometres for each tiger can also be compared with that of other mainland tigers in Kanha or Corbett.

Meanwhile, foresters are happy with the number of tigers in tourism zone Sajnekhali - 19.

They are also planning to utilize small pockets in the core area for tourism. "We will again start tourism on a 10 square kilometres area at Netidhopani. The tourism activities in the area had to be stopped last year following a Supreme Court directive," said Das Gupta. However, head of forest force S B Mondal said that tourism will have to be restricted since the apex court has directed utilization of up to 15% area inside core forests for tourism.

While the camera-trap exercise for South 24-Parganas forest division, Sajnekhali, National Park East and Basirhat was conducted by WWF-India, officials of Wildlife Institute of India ( WII) conducted the study in National Park West.

Eminent conservationist Valmik Thapar said: "Considering the habitat of Sunderbans, the population of big cats there should be in the range of 75 and 100. So, a maximum limit is necessary so that we can compare the minimum and maximum ranges for a reliable figure.

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Re: Nature Conservation in India News & Discussion

Postby Pranay » 08 Jun 2013 02:40

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home ... 473646.cms

...and more good news ...

ERODE (TN) : The Sathyamangalam forest in the district has registered an increase in its tiger population with 25 tigers being enumerated by the forest department.

This is higher than the 2011 population of 22 when the enumeration was last done, officials said.

Meanwhile, the conservator of forests, Erode, has prepared a Rs three crore development plan under Tiger Reserve Project and sent it to the Union government, officials said.

The forest department had already said that people staying in the Tiger Reserve Project area would not be evicted and their livelihood would not be disturbed and all protection would be given to them under Forest Rights Act.

Further, seven tribal settlements in the core zone have been excluded from the project, sources said.

Sathyamangalam is the fourth Tiger reserve in Tamil Nadu. The three others are at Mudumalai in the Nilgiris district, Anamalai in Coimbatore district and Kalakad-Mundanthurai in Tirunelveli district.

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Re: Nature Conservation in India News & Discussion

Postby Vasu » 11 Jun 2013 17:50

India losing 135 hectares forest daily: RTI

According to recent data acquired through RTI from the ministry of environment and forests by a group of environmentalists, the extent of forest land being diverted across the country on an average stands at 135 hectares (around 333 acres) per day. Such diversions are done on various pretexts, say for coal mines, thermal power plants, industrial or river valley projects.

Members of the Environment Impact Assessment Resources and Response Centre (eRc), instrumental in compiling the data, said the figure in reality is much higher as their analysis pertains only to projects which have sought more than 40 hectares of area.

Ritwik Dutta, an advocate with Legal Initiative for Forest and Environment (LIFE) and closely associated with eRc, said Karnataka is one of the states that has been diverting forest land. "Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Arunachal Pradesh and Jharkhand are some of the other states which are into largescale diversions. We are compiling state-specific data on the extent of land being diverted," he added.

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Re: Nature Conservation in India News & Discussion

Postby Pranay » 12 Jun 2013 04:08

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home ... 518559.cms

The new ghariyal hatchlings at the national chambal sanctuary give a boost to ghariyal conservation. After more than 100 ghariyals died in Chambal between December 2007 and March 2008, their number has increased to 785, at present, from 300-odd ghariyals three years back. One of the major reasons why ghariyal population is going down is the destruction of the habitat. Illegal sand mining and illegal fishing along the banks of Chambal river destroy the habitat of ghariyals.

"These are the two direct threats to ghariyals," said DFO, Chambal national sanctuary, Sujoy Banerjee. The illegal sand mining on the banks of the river destroys the habitat of ghariyals and disturbs their basking area. More than that, since ghariyals lay their eggs under sand beds, illegal sand mining destroys their nests.

Similarly, illegal fishing in the sanctuary area also threatens their existence. Ghariyals get caught in the nets and die due to drowning or, at times, fishermen break their snouts to free them from the nets. "We have been trying to control the illegal activities and the results are showing," said the official. The census 2012-13 counted 785 ghariyals in the chambal sanctuary this year in Uttar Pradesh.

The forest department has also located nesting sites like Barenda village where 24 nests have been identified. "At least 14 of these tests have been protected by the department," said the official. The forest department has protected about 42 nests at several locations like Bamrauli, Gudha, Mau Imli Khar, Chiknipura ghat, Udaipur Khurd, Gohra top and Kyori. Each nest houses 35-40 eggs. This is done by fixing a wire mesh and securing the nests on four sides with long iron staves. This is to protect the eggs from jackals, dogs and other animals who dig up the nests to eat the eggs.

If the eggs hatch safely, more than 2,500 to 3,000 hatchlings will find their way to Chambal river. Since some of these areas are communal nesting sites of ghariyals, there would be more nests than the number counted. The official said that the survival of hatchlings depends more on the intensity of flooding in the river. The width of the river which is not even 50 meters at the time of hatching is more than a kilometer wide with swift flowing water during rainy season. "Many of the hatchlings eventually do not survive beyond the rainy season," he said.

The population of ghariyals, despite all odds, has registered a remarkable increase in the sanctuary. There were 307 ghariyals in 2008-09, the number rose to 674 in 2011-12. Similarly, the mugger population in the Chambal sanctuary, UP has also gone up from 74 in 2008-09 to 122 in 2011-12 to 181 in 2012-13.

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Re: Nature Conservation in India News & Discussion

Postby Pranay » 17 Jun 2013 06:09

http://www.openthemagazine.com/shorts/s ... 13-06-22#3

Saving the Indian Bustard

There are only about 250 Great Indian Bustards left in the country. But now there is hope of the species’ survival. The Rajasthan government has launched a Rs 13 crore conservation drive for the Bustard, which has a wingspan of about eight feet and is known to be one of the heaviest birds capable of flight. It can be found in arid areas of Gujarat and Rajasthan. The Great Indian Bustard was once in contention for being named India’s national bird, but lost out to the peacock. It is, nevertheless, the state bird of Rajasthan. The conservation project involves creating a secluded space for bustards where they can mate. It will also look at ways to combat poaching in Rajasthan.

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Re: Nature Conservation in India News & Discussion

Postby Pranay » 25 Jun 2013 02:55

http://www.openthemagazine.com/article/ ... versus-red

Green versus Red
The future of conservation in some of India’s most resource-rich forests hinges on how battles shape up between rebels and the State

BY Jay Mazoomdaar EMAIL AUTHOR(S)

ALL FOR ITS HORN: A rhino killed by poachers in Assam’s Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary (Photo: UB PHOTOS)
The first time I entered the Indravati National Park in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district, I had only a village youth who I met barely an hour ago for company. Lakshminath Nag, the lone beat guard manning the Farsegarh chowki on the park boundary, had refused to accompany me. To be fair, he did offer to take me on a “brief walk inside”, but would not venture into the park in my car. “I was beaten up very badly [by People’s War Group cadres] inside the park before I sought this posting. This chowki is not safe either and no forest staffer other than me will stay here overnight. I really don’t know why and how far you want to go inside,” reasoned Nag.


The previous evening, I had met K Murugan, then field director of Indravati, at his Jagdalpur office 200 km from the tiger reserve. He had explained his predicament thus: “Our chowkis have been demolished. Naxalites don’t allow road maintenance, so the park is inaccessible by car. Our men try to go in on two-wheelers and foot. Villagers may not see us because we avoid them unless necessary.”

So were the forest and wildlife safe? Sub-divisional officer SG Parulkar took over from his boss: “Naxals have already banned hunting and tree-felling here. Even the month-long annual hunting festival of Tribals—paradh—is under check. We are happy that Naxals are doing our job. You can take the data from us.” His helpless smile did not explain how his men had conducted a tiger census of a 1,250 sq km area without vehicular access to it.


Most guerilla outfits in India follow the uncomplicated modus operandi of Veerappan, the late brigand. He and his band of dacoits needed the forest cover to dodge or ambush security forces. So, barring sandalwood trees, the forests of Sathyamangalam were never more secure than while under Veerappan’s watch. But for ivory, his men butchered so many elephants that it triggered a genetic response. The average weight of tusks in the region dropped from 20 kg to 10 kg and the number of makhna (tuskless by birth) males shot up.

A look at Project Tiger’s census data reveals an obvious pattern. All six tiger reserves—Valmiki in Bihar, Palamau in Jharkhand, Indravati and Udanti-Sitanadi in Chhattisgarh, Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam in Andhra Pradesh and Simlipal in Orissa—that fall in the Red corridor record very poor tiger numbers. The fate of a few other reserves—such as Buxa in West Bengal, Manas in Assam and Namdapha in Arunachal Pradesh—affected by other insurgent groups is similar.

What explains this? Have militants been poaching these prized animals?


Rhinos are easier to kill and a carton of horns fetches as much as a carload of tiger derivatives or tusks would. This had lured insurgents groups of the Northeast to opt for ‘cashless arms deals’. Operators in Myanmar have been more than happy to barter weapons for rhino horns.

In the process, the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) wiped out the entire rhino population of the Burachapori forests, even as the National Democratic Front of Bodoland emptied Manas. Ironically, the ULFA in 1989 killed a prominent rhino horn trader and had a stated policy against harming ‘the pride of Assam’ till its cadres joined the loot. While Manas has recovered significantly since the Bodoland Accord, a number of former militants, along with members of the Karbi People’s Liberation Tigers and Kuki People’s Army are now targeting the Kaziranga populations.

Local and Bangladeshi Islamist groups such as the Muslim United Liberation Tigers of Assam, Harkat-Ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI) and Jamaat-ul Mujahideen Bangladesh have also joined the rhino trade. The ULFA had a change of heart again, but its recent warnings to rhino poachers did not prevent the killing of at least three dozen animals in and around Kaziranga since last year.

It was also provincial pride that moved underground groups in Manipur to ban the killing of Sangai, the brow-antlered deer endemic to Loktak Lake, and even chop off a poacher’s arm a few years ago.


In Kashmir, the decade-long unrest nearly exterminated the Markhor (spiral-horned mountain goat) populations in the hilly forests along the LoC. The mighty goats have made a comeback since the Indo-Pak ceasefire of 2003, though. A threat to the Markhor’s future today is the new Mughal Road that connects Srinagar to Rajouri. Seven years ago, the project refused to make a minor change in its alignment to avoid cutting through the Hirpora sanctuary. Such infrastructure projects were never easy to implement during the peak years of militancy.


Depending on which side of the growth-versus-green debate one stands, the Maoist insurgency can be viewed as the biggest obstacle to India’s economic growth or the most effective deterrent to the ‘connivance’ of State power with big money that seeks to destroy the last of India’s great forests still in Tribal custody.


In Assam, since the beginning of the Bodo insurgency in the late 1980s, the leadership encouraged its people from all over the state to shift to the proposed Bodoland areas to ensure a Bodo majority. In the process, all 81 sq km of the Naduar reserve forest and two-thirds of Biswanath and Charduar reserve forests were wiped out. Balipara, Sonai-Rupai and Behali forests also came under the axe. But the wilderness along the state borders with Arunachal is fiercely protected by militants who are against felling so that they retain the operational advantage of sneaking in and out of Assam under dense forest cover.


A few years ago, the commander of an SSB camp in Bihar’s Valmiki defended—off-record—his men for “hunting occasionally” to compensate for their “limited rations” while posted in forests. In Simlipal, where four CRPF battalions are camping, it is difficult to ignore the telltale absence of wildlife near forest roads that the forces use for patrolling. In Assam, Army units have even encroached upon elephant forests and set up shooting ranges. “It is not easy to stand up to the security forces because our field staff depend on them for protection. Anyway, [Army] officers try to brush aside our objections,” rues a former divisional forest officer in charge of Assam’s Sonai-Rupai sanctuary. “Nobody bothers about conservation in the time of conflict.”


Be it minerals, timber, wildlife or just real estate, the last remaining forests are India’s biggest assets. As long as guns blaze in this wilderness, as a forest officer laments in Chhattisgarh’s Kanger Valley, conservation will be the ultimate casualty. “When Maovaadis gain ground, villagers clear the forests like there is no tomorrow,” he says, “When the sarkar takes control, it opens up every little patch for miners.”

In the final analysis, India’s tragedy is this: a fair settlement of forest rights and an ecologically sound land-use policy do not seem to suit either Maoists or the State.

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Re: Nature Conservation in India News & Discussion

Postby Pranay » 25 Jun 2013 02:55

http://www.openthemagazine.com/article/ ... versus-red

Green versus Red
The future of conservation in some of India’s most resource-rich forests hinges on how battles shape up between rebels and the State

BY Jay Mazoomdaar EMAIL AUTHOR(S)

ALL FOR ITS HORN: A rhino killed by poachers in Assam’s Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary (Photo: UB PHOTOS)
The first time I entered the Indravati National Park in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district, I had only a village youth who I met barely an hour ago for company. Lakshminath Nag, the lone beat guard manning the Farsegarh chowki on the park boundary, had refused to accompany me. To be fair, he did offer to take me on a “brief walk inside”, but would not venture into the park in my car. “I was beaten up very badly [by People’s War Group cadres] inside the park before I sought this posting. This chowki is not safe either and no forest staffer other than me will stay here overnight. I really don’t know why and how far you want to go inside,” reasoned Nag.


The previous evening, I had met K Murugan, then field director of Indravati, at his Jagdalpur office 200 km from the tiger reserve. He had explained his predicament thus: “Our chowkis have been demolished. Naxalites don’t allow road maintenance, so the park is inaccessible by car. Our men try to go in on two-wheelers and foot. Villagers may not see us because we avoid them unless necessary.”

So were the forest and wildlife safe? Sub-divisional officer SG Parulkar took over from his boss: “Naxals have already banned hunting and tree-felling here. Even the month-long annual hunting festival of Tribals—paradh—is under check. We are happy that Naxals are doing our job. You can take the data from us.” His helpless smile did not explain how his men had conducted a tiger census of a 1,250 sq km area without vehicular access to it.


Most guerilla outfits in India follow the uncomplicated modus operandi of Veerappan, the late brigand. He and his band of dacoits needed the forest cover to dodge or ambush security forces. So, barring sandalwood trees, the forests of Sathyamangalam were never more secure than while under Veerappan’s watch. But for ivory, his men butchered so many elephants that it triggered a genetic response. The average weight of tusks in the region dropped from 20 kg to 10 kg and the number of makhna (tuskless by birth) males shot up.

A look at Project Tiger’s census data reveals an obvious pattern. All six tiger reserves—Valmiki in Bihar, Palamau in Jharkhand, Indravati and Udanti-Sitanadi in Chhattisgarh, Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam in Andhra Pradesh and Simlipal in Orissa—that fall in the Red corridor record very poor tiger numbers. The fate of a few other reserves—such as Buxa in West Bengal, Manas in Assam and Namdapha in Arunachal Pradesh—affected by other insurgent groups is similar.

What explains this? Have militants been poaching these prized animals?


Rhinos are easier to kill and a carton of horns fetches as much as a carload of tiger derivatives or tusks would. This had lured insurgents groups of the Northeast to opt for ‘cashless arms deals’. Operators in Myanmar have been more than happy to barter weapons for rhino horns.

In the process, the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) wiped out the entire rhino population of the Burachapori forests, even as the National Democratic Front of Bodoland emptied Manas. Ironically, the ULFA in 1989 killed a prominent rhino horn trader and had a stated policy against harming ‘the pride of Assam’ till its cadres joined the loot. While Manas has recovered significantly since the Bodoland Accord, a number of former militants, along with members of the Karbi People’s Liberation Tigers and Kuki People’s Army are now targeting the Kaziranga populations.

Local and Bangladeshi Islamist groups such as the Muslim United Liberation Tigers of Assam, Harkat-Ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI) and Jamaat-ul Mujahideen Bangladesh have also joined the rhino trade. The ULFA had a change of heart again, but its recent warnings to rhino poachers did not prevent the killing of at least three dozen animals in and around Kaziranga since last year.

It was also provincial pride that moved underground groups in Manipur to ban the killing of Sangai, the brow-antlered deer endemic to Loktak Lake, and even chop off a poacher’s arm a few years ago.


In Kashmir, the decade-long unrest nearly exterminated the Markhor (spiral-horned mountain goat) populations in the hilly forests along the LoC. The mighty goats have made a comeback since the Indo-Pak ceasefire of 2003, though. A threat to the Markhor’s future today is the new Mughal Road that connects Srinagar to Rajouri. Seven years ago, the project refused to make a minor change in its alignment to avoid cutting through the Hirpora sanctuary. Such infrastructure projects were never easy to implement during the peak years of militancy.


Depending on which side of the growth-versus-green debate one stands, the Maoist insurgency can be viewed as the biggest obstacle to India’s economic growth or the most effective deterrent to the ‘connivance’ of State power with big money that seeks to destroy the last of India’s great forests still in Tribal custody.


In Assam, since the beginning of the Bodo insurgency in the late 1980s, the leadership encouraged its people from all over the state to shift to the proposed Bodoland areas to ensure a Bodo majority. In the process, all 81 sq km of the Naduar reserve forest and two-thirds of Biswanath and Charduar reserve forests were wiped out. Balipara, Sonai-Rupai and Behali forests also came under the axe. But the wilderness along the state borders with Arunachal is fiercely protected by militants who are against felling so that they retain the operational advantage of sneaking in and out of Assam under dense forest cover.


A few years ago, the commander of an SSB camp in Bihar’s Valmiki defended—off-record—his men for “hunting occasionally” to compensate for their “limited rations” while posted in forests. In Simlipal, where four CRPF battalions are camping, it is difficult to ignore the telltale absence of wildlife near forest roads that the forces use for patrolling. In Assam, Army units have even encroached upon elephant forests and set up shooting ranges. “It is not easy to stand up to the security forces because our field staff depend on them for protection. Anyway, [Army] officers try to brush aside our objections,” rues a former divisional forest officer in charge of Assam’s Sonai-Rupai sanctuary. “Nobody bothers about conservation in the time of conflict.”


Be it minerals, timber, wildlife or just real estate, the last remaining forests are India’s biggest assets. As long as guns blaze in this wilderness, as a forest officer laments in Chhattisgarh’s Kanger Valley, conservation will be the ultimate casualty. “When Maovaadis gain ground, villagers clear the forests like there is no tomorrow,” he says, “When the sarkar takes control, it opens up every little patch for miners.”

In the final analysis, India’s tragedy is this: a fair settlement of forest rights and an ecologically sound land-use policy do not seem to suit either Maoists or the State.

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Re: Nature Conservation in India News & Discussion

Postby Murugan » 26 Jun 2013 15:06

How, a small group of 200 Ex-Servicemen brought sea-change in local climate by sheer determination and steadfastness... Read

The Army has played a vital role in reviving the degraded ecology by massive plantation on the vast stretches of the Shivalik hills. This has helped in restoring snowfall in Mussoorie and added to its pristine beauty.

The idea of employing the Army in the ecological construction work was crystallized in the form of 127 Infantry Batallion (Territorial Army) Ecological Unit – a dedicated unit for environment and ecological protection of Shivalik Hills and Garhwal Himalayas. Raised in 1982 at the Garhwal Rifles Regimental Centre, Lansdowne in Uttaranchal, it was the first experiment of its kind in the world.

The Unit was affiliated to the Garhwal Rifles as a Territorial Army Unit and the ex-servicemen of Uttaranchal hills were enrolled for the assignment. The Unit was entrusted with the task of restoration of the degrading ecology of the Shivalik Hills and the Garhwal Himalayas through afforestation and soil conservation techniques.

Till about 25 years back, Chunakhala, 10 kms, from Mussorrie, was the epicenter of mining which resulted in the drying up of natural spring in the area and depletion of the flora and fauna. Norman Burlow, a British, who had been to Mussoorie in 1979 was pained to see the plight of the Queen of Hills. He brought the matter to the knowledge of the then Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi and the concept of a separate Task Force for promoting environment emerged.

The Unit has been a joint venture of the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Environment and Forests and the Uttaranchal Government. The Ministry of Defence bears the initial expenditure which is subsequently reimbursed by the Ministry of Environment and Forests. The State Forest Department provides technical and other project support.

The Unit was initially assigned the task of afforestation in Shahjahanpur ranges near Mohand in 1982. Apart from afforestation, the Unit had carried out soil conservation also. During the period from 1982 to 1984 the Unit covered an area of 700 hectares by planting 3,18,000 saplings.

In 1985, 127 Infantry Battalion (TA) Ecological Unit was shifted to the southern parts of Mussoorie hills which had lost it lustre and pristine beauty due to unscientific mining and deforestation by large scale cutting of trees. The Unit was assigned the task of treatment and reclamation of mines, soil conservation and afforestatin under Kyarkuli Micro Catchment Development Project. The gigantic task involved fencing, filling of pits, collection of humus, raising grass plants, weeding of plants, local cutting and watering of saplings on the difficult hilly terrain at a height ranging from 5,000 feet to 6,000 feet above sea level.

With limited resources and a strength of 200 ex-servicemen, the Unit rejuvenated an area of 3,400 hectares by planting 27 lakh trees and reclaiming 26 mines by 1994. The efforts of the Unit proved fruitful and Mussoorie had its first snowfall in 1997 after a gap of 17 years. Not only this, Dehradun too started experiencing improved rainfall. The Unit accomplished the task in 9 years, which was to be completed in 13 years.

After successful completion of the project at Mussoorie the Unit took up the ecological reconstruction project of the Aglar Watershed. The Aglar river is one of the main tributaries of river Yamuna. The Aglar Watershed Project is in the catchment area to the north of the river and across the Mussoorie ridge. These hill tracts are barren and bare due to the incessant felling of trees and fodder collection. Being in the rain shadow area these hill tracts are on the southern slope and get scanty rainfall. The Unit has taken up the challenging an difficult task with dedication and sincerity. So far the unit has planted 35 lakh saplings in 4,400 hectares of land. It has another 9 years to complete the project. It is estimated that 30 lakh saplings would be planted in an area of 4,000 hectares of the ridge behind Mussoorie during the remaining period.

The survival rate of tree plantation by Eco Task Force is higher than any government agency/non-government agency engaged in the plantation work. During the year 2000-2001 the survival rate was 75 per cent and it has not fallen below 70 per cent even in drought-affected years. The care and protection of the plantation is a continuous process spread over a period of three years, which is sufficient enough for the saplings to grow into healthy trees.

Involving People

In addition to plantation, the Unit is actively engaged in executing mass awareness programmes in its project area since it was felt that this was the only way to sustain the preservation momentum in the long run. It has been getting willing and voluntary co-operation from the local residents for protection of its plantation. The inhabitants of the area have been motivated to grow fruit bearing trees also. As a result, some clusters of villages now have fruit gardens. The residents who had been solely dependent on agriculture so far have now taken to horticulture at the instance of the members of the Eco Task Force operating in the area.(PIB Feature)


http://pib.nic.in/release/rel_print_pag ... relid=4711

(Dated article,2004)
***

The only answer to mitigate effects of cloudburst and landslides is afforestation and reforestation.


***

Trees Increase Water Retention and Quality

Trees have been shown to influence the flow of water. Trees reduce topsoil erosion by catching precipitation with their leaf canopies. This lessens the force of storms and slows down water runoff which in turn ensures that our groundwater supplies are continually being replenished. Research has indicated that 100 mature trees intercept approximately 100,000 gallons of rainfall per year and for every 5 percent of tree cover added to a community, storm water runoff is reduced by approximately 2 percent. Along with breaking the fall of rainwater, tree roots remove nutrients that are harmful to water ecology and quality. Leaves that have fallen from the trees and begun to decay form an organic layer that allows water to percolate into the soil which also aids in the reduction of runoff and soil erosion. All of this also helps reduce street flooding and sedimentation in streams.

http://urbanforestrynetwork.org/benefits/water.htm


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Re: Nature Conservation in India News & Discussion

Postby Vasu » 28 Jun 2013 13:50

Its painful to hear Vijay Bahuguna rant against environmentalism and sustainable development. He wants the rest of the country to compensate UK for protecting its natural resources.

He does not believe that many of the lives lost lived in the illegal hotels and guest houses constructed on the banks of the rivers flouting all environmental rules.

He does not believe that the many small dams that divert river water and blast tunnels into the mountains have anything to do with the tragedy.

He is but one cynical politician who pooh paahs any idea of containing the gratuitous exploitation of the state's resources. Since the state was formed, crores have been made by politicians and developers and investors by exploiting these resources and flouting norms. I don't doubt for once that no lessons will be learnt. I sincerely hope I am proven wrong.

Nobody wants to get off the gravy train, the environmentalists can cry themselves hoarse.

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Re: Nature Conservation in India News & Discussion

Postby Vasu » 28 Jun 2013 14:14

204 Brow-antlered deer found in Manipur

The number of the endangered brow-antlered deer stands at 204 in its lone habitat in Manipur's Keibul Lamjao National Park in Bishenpur district as per the latest census.

Locally known as 'Sangai', the animal is found only at the Keibul Lamjao National Park.


Wikipedia Entry on Sangai

The Sangai is an endemic, rare and endangered Brow-antlered deer found only in Manipur, India. Its common English name is Manipur Brow-antlered Deer and the scientific name, Rucervus eldi eldi [1] McClelland. It lives in the marshy wetland in Keibul Lamjao about 45 km from Imphal. Its habitat is located in the southern parts of the Loktak Lake, which is the largest freshwater lake in Eastern India. It is also one of the seven Ramsar sites of international importance. The habitat of the Sangai is now protected as the Keibul Lamjao National Park. Sangai is also the state animal of Manipur.

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Re: Nature Conservation in India News & Discussion

Postby Bade » 04 Jul 2013 05:38

How to green the world's deserts and reverse climate change
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-AnRUhxRDA4

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Re: Nature Conservation in India News & Discussion

Postby Pranay » 20 Jul 2013 21:34

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home ... 176444.cms

JAISALMER: The state bird and critically endangered Great Indian Bustard has found a new habitat.

A flock of 24 GIBs was recently spotted in the grasslands of Salkha area, 45 km from Jaisalmer district. Of them, 21 were males and three females.

The area is situated outside the Desert National Park and the forest department, for security reasons, has set up a temporary check post.

Conservationists and wildlife enthusiasts are excited at the prospect of the birds finding a new habitat. The state government has approved Rs 4.5 crore for conservation and promotion of GIBs, which fall under schedule-1 category of endangered species.

Chief conservator of forest (wildlife) Dr Govind Sagar Bhardwaj confirmed the spotting of GIBs in the Salkha area. The area is new for the birds as earlier they were spotted at Sudashri closure or the national park.

The recent development has given hope to the forest department to make all possible efforts for conservation of the birds.

"The grassland is part of sacred groves or 'oraans' spread over 40 sq km. Little human disturbance, low grazing pressure and minimum encroachment for human settlement provide an ideal location for the GIBs. In just two hours, I could spot 24 birds," Bhardwaj said.

He said the area can be developed as an alternative habitat for the birds. "It is located 30km north of the Sudashri enclosure. There is a need to create awareness among locals to conserve the habitat," he said.

Chairman of Wildlife Trust of India Ranjit Singh said the immediate efforts have to be made to conserve the new-found habitat. A high-level meeting was organized in New Delhi to discuss ways to conserve GIB habitats and directions in this regard were given to the officials.

Singh said this is the mating and breeding season of the birds and priority must be given to ensure the eggs of GIBs are safe. In some instances, tourists carry the egg from a place to another, therefore, denying it the mother's warmth required for hatching.

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Re: Nature Conservation in India News & Discussion

Postby Pranay » 03 Aug 2013 19:08

http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?287236

Merlin - Here comes the book review to the "mind bender: of a book you had mentioned earlier...

As for lions, the very symbol of today’s India, the Ashoka pillar, seemed to intuitively suggest they existed in Ashoka’s third century BC reign, when they symbolised the Mauryan king’s ‘supremacy and authority’. But take another look at the Ashoka pillar. Those lions look nothing like the ones we see in Gir today. Their manes are not just thicker like those of Assyrian lions, but they were manicured such that they hung only to their knees. Clearly, these were tame lions. So where lies the truth?


Pranay wrote:
merlin wrote:The book argues that the lion and cheetah are imports into India and did not occur naturally. IOW, the Gir lion is not an Asiatic lion but an african one and the "distinctive features" are a result of a genetic bottleneck.


This kind of reasoning makes me wonder - what's the point behind this? A few years ago someone came up with a theory that the "Bengal" Tigers in Corbett NP were "polluted" with Siberian Tiger blood and that "corrective" measures were needed. Guess he was looking for a full time job somewhere...

Are such endeavors scholarly/scientific?? Or is this to pry out funding for further "research"?

Or is it to label the lion along with the Cheetah (as the Supreme court has done) as non - native species that should be banished to where they came from and not be at the receiving end of official and public indulgence??

Merlin - do post a summary of the conclusions that the three authors come up with. Looking forward to it...

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Re: Nature Conservation in India News & Discussion

Postby ArmenT » 03 Aug 2013 23:19

Pranay wrote:
merlin wrote:The book argues that the lion and cheetah are imports into India and did not occur naturally. IOW, the Gir lion is not an Asiatic lion but an african one and the "distinctive features" are a result of a genetic bottleneck.


This kind of reasoning makes me wonder - what's the point behind this? A few years ago someone came up with a theory that the "Bengal" Tigers in Corbett NP were "polluted" with Siberian Tiger blood and that "corrective" measures were needed. Guess he was looking for a full time job somewhere...

Are such endeavors scholarly/scientific?? Or is this to pry out funding for further "research"?

I believe there was some mixing of Bengal Tiger and Siberian Tiger blood in Dudhwa National park. If you remember Prince "Billy" Arjan Singh, the famous conservator, he may have been responsible for it (but not intentionally). Back in the 70s, he made efforts to reintroduce big cats into the wild in India. One of these was a tigress named "Tara", who was hand reared by humans in a zoo in England. The reintegration went successfully and Tara eventually became independent of human beings. Unfortunately, in the 1990s, some tigers in Dudhwa were noticed to have some siberian tiger characteristics (DNA testing confirmed this) and it is suspected that Tara was a hybrid bengal/siberian mix (still unproven allegation).

I wouldn't be too hard on Billy Arjan Singh though -- he was the one most responsible for establishing Dudhwa National Park in the first place. Better to have SDRE/TFTA tigers than no tigers at all.

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Re: Nature Conservation in India News & Discussion

Postby merlin » 07 Aug 2013 19:24

Pranay wrote:http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?287236

Merlin - Here comes the book review to the "mind bender: of a book you had mentioned earlier...



Am sure the book will be interesting. What gives me pause is that Romilla Thapar is one of the authors - don't know if I should be spending any money on her no matter what the topic. Am sure Valmik Thapar would have done a good job though.

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Re: Nature Conservation in India News & Discussion

Postby Pranay » 15 Aug 2013 19:54

ArmenT wrote:I believe there was some mixing of Bengal Tiger and Siberian Tiger blood in Dudhwa National park. If you remember Prince "Billy" Arjan Singh, the famous conservator, he may have been responsible for it (but not intentionally). Back in the 70s, he made efforts to reintroduce big cats into the wild in India. One of these was a tigress named "Tara", who was hand reared by humans in a zoo in England. The reintegration went successfully and Tara eventually became independent of human beings. Unfortunately, in the 1990s, some tigers in Dudhwa were noticed to have some siberian tiger characteristics (DNA testing confirmed this) and it is suspected that Tara was a hybrid bengal/siberian mix (still unproven allegation).

I wouldn't be too hard on Billy Arjan Singh though -- he was the one most responsible for establishing Dudhwa National Park in the first place. Better to have SDRE/TFTA tigers than no tigers at all.


Armen T - Thanks on the feedback - yes, i am familiar with the work of Billy Arjan Singh and the story of Tara.

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Re: Nature Conservation in India News & Discussion

Postby Pranay » 15 Aug 2013 19:56

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/18/magaz ... ml?hp&_r=0

Life of Celebrity Elephants in Kerala - a good read...

The demand for elephants is skyrocketing just as the supply is plummeting. In 1982, India banned the capture of wild elephants except to protect the animal or its human neighbors, and it has been illegal to import captive elephants from other states since 2007. Despite their history in domestic situations, there’s no such thing as a domesticated elephant. Nearly every captive elephant in India was captured from the wild, and in Kerala, captive breeding is almost unheard-of, mostly because Keralites overwhelmingly prefer their elephants to be male (since they have tusks), which considerably shrinks their mating pool. When the Forest Department finished microchipping Kerala’s captive elephants in 2008, it said there were more than 700. Now the department estimates that there are fewer than 600, pressed into service at an ever-growing number of festivals.


Although Kerala’s captive elephants are controlled using force, their primary hardship isn’t the beatings. It’s how little their lives resemble what they were before they were captured. The typical wild elephant is a social, nomadic creature that bathes in rivers and spends much of its time eating as it walks. In Kerala, the typical captive elephant is a celibate male chained to one spot (sometimes for 24 hours at a time), bathed with a hose and isolated from other elephants except when working — a marginally better life than in a circus but harder than in many zoos, where the global trend is toward more-natural habitats. The animal that haunts me most is one I saw in the elephant yard at Kerala’s Guruvayur temple, one of the largest collections of captive elephants in the world. He was missing a tusk, and the remaining one had a deep groove worn into it, about a foot from the tip. Day after day he’d been using it to try to file away at his chains.

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Re: Nature Conservation in India News & Discussion

Postby Murugan » 21 Aug 2013 09:13

Ahmedabad district tree cover grows at 13%

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city ... IAhemdabad

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Re: Nature Conservation in India News & Discussion

Postby member_19686 » 16 Sep 2013 01:46

Indian Man, Jadav "Molai" Payeng, Single-Handedly Plants A 1,360 Acre Forest In Assam
Posted: 04/03/2012 1:22 pm EDT | Updated: 09/05/2013 4:51 pm EDT

More than 30 years ago, a teenager named Jadav "Molai" Payeng began planting seeds along a barren sandbar near his birthplace in India's Assam region, the Asian Age reports.

It was 1979 and floods had washed a great number of snakes onto the sandbar. When Payeng -- then only 16 -- found them, they had all died.

"The snakes died in the heat, without any tree cover. I sat down and wept over their lifeless forms," Payeng told the Times Of India.

"It was carnage. I alerted the forest department and asked them if they could grow trees there. They said nothing would grow there. Instead, they asked me to try growing bamboo. It was painful, but I did it. There was nobody to help me," he told the newspaper.

Now that once-barren sandbar is a sprawling 1,360 acre forest, home to several thousands of varieties of trees and an astounding diversity of wildlife -- including birds, deer, apes, rhino, elephants and even tigers.

The forest, aptly called the "Molai woods" after its creator's nickname, was single-handedly planted and cultivated by one man -- Payeng, who is now 47.

According to the Asian Age, Payeng has dedicated his life to the upkeep and growth of the forest. Accepting a life of isolation, he started living alone on the sandbar as a teenager -- spending his days tending the burgeoning plants.

Today, Payeng still lives in the forest. He shares a small hut with his wife and three children and makes a living selling cow and buffalo milk, OddityCentral.com reports.

According to the Assistant Conservator of Forests, Gunin Saikia, it is perhaps the world’s biggest forest in the middle of a river.

"We were surprised to find such a dense forest on the sandbar," Saikia told the Times Of India, adding that officials in the region only learned of Payeng's forest in 2008.

Finally, Payeng may get the help -- and recognition -- he deserves.

"[Locals] wanted to cut down the forest, but Payeng dared them to kill him instead. He treats the trees and animals like his own children. Seeing this, we, too, decided to pitch in," Saikia said.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/0 ... 99930.html

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Re: Nature Conservation in India News & Discussion

Postby Manu » 19 Sep 2013 15:50

http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-09-17/bhopal/42147807_1_panna-tiger-reserve-rabid-dog-bites-badgadi

After the above has happened, this old article is a reminder of our silly laws....even 3rd world countries don't make such loony laws....This has actually become a menace now....

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/07/world/asia/india-stray-dogs-are-a-menace.html?_r=0
Where Streets Are Thronged With Strays Baring Fangs

By GARDINER HARRIS


NEW DELHI — Victims of the surprise attacks limp into one of this city’s biggest public hospitals. Among the hundreds on a recent day were children cornered in their homes, students ambushed on their way to class and old men ambling back from work.

All told the same frightening story: stray dogs had bitten them.

Deepak Kumar, 6, had an angry slash across his back from a dog that charged into his family’s shack.

“We finally closed the gates to our colony and beat the dog to death,” said Deepak’s father, Rajinder.

No country has as many stray dogs as India, and no country suffers as much from them. Free-roaming dogs number in the tens of millions and bite millions of people annually, including vast numbers of children. An estimated 20,000 people die every year from rabies infections — more than a third of the global rabies toll.

Packs of strays lurk in public parks, guard alleyways and street corners and howl nightly in neighborhoods and villages. Joggers carry bamboo rods to beat them away, and bicyclists fill their pockets with stones to throw at chasers. Walking a pet dog here can be akin to swimming with sharks.

A 2001 law forbade the killing of dogs, and the stray population has increased so much that officials across the country have expressed alarm.

In Mumbai, where more than 80,000 people reported being bitten last year, the government plans to conduct a census of the strays by using motorcycles to chase down dogs and squirt their fur with ink. A member of the Punjab Legislative Assembly proposed in June sending strays to China — where dogs are sometimes eaten — after more than 15,000 people in the state reported being bitten last year. In New Delhi, officials recently announced an intensified sterilization campaign.

India’s place as the global center for rabid dogs is an ancient one: the first dog ever infected with rabies most likely was Indian, said Dr. Charles Rupprecht, chief of the rabies program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. Dog bites cause 99 percent of human rabies deaths.

Indeed, tackling rabies on the subcontinent is challenging because the relationships that Indian dogs maintain with humans are ancient. India’s pariah dog, the dominant street breed, is probably a descendant of an early Chinese immigrant, said Peter Savolainen, a professor of evolutionary genetics at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. With pointed ears, a wedge-shaped head and a tail that curls over its back, the pariah is similar in appearance to other prehistoric dogs like the Australian dingo.

For thousands of years, dogs’ relationship with humans was similar to that of pilot fish with sharks, said John Bradshaw, director of the Anthrozoology Institute at the University of Bristol in Britain.

“Dogs essentially started out as scavengers,” Dr. Bradshaw said. “They evolved to hang around people rather than to be useful to them.”

While that relationship has largely disappeared in the developed world, it remains the dominant one in India, where strays survive on the ubiquitous mounds of garbage. Some are fed and collared by residents who value them as guards and as companions, albeit distant ones. Hindus oppose the killing of many kinds of animals.

Malini Jadeja, who lives in Delhi part time, said she was walking her beloved dog Fudge Cake some years ago not far from Lodi Gardens when “two dogs came out of nowhere and attacked.” Fudge Cake was leashed, so he could not run away.

“I tried to grab the strays and pull them away, but just as I got one, the other would attack,” Ms. Jadeja said. “They killed Fudge Cake right in front of my eyes.”

She blames herself for her dog’s death and remains terrified of strays. “It’s very difficult to take a dog for a walk here because of the attacks from street dogs,” said Dr. Radhey S. Sharma, president of the Indian Veterinary Association.

Nonetheless, India’s burgeoning middle class has begun to adopt Western notions of pet ownership, buying pedigreed dogs and bringing animals into their homes. But many pedigreed dogs end up on the street, the castoffs of unsuccessful breeders or owners who tire of the experiment.

Stray dogs are dangerous not only because of their teeth but also because they help ticks and other parasites thrive. But animal welfare advocates fervently reject euthanasia, and some warn that reducing the stray population while doing nothing about the country’s vast mounds of garbage could be dangerous because rats might thrive in dogs’ place.

“The first thing you need to start doing to reduce the stray population is manage your garbage better,” said Arpan Sharma, chief executive of the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organizations. “And the second thing is very aggressive spaying, neutering and vaccinating of animals.”

Jaipur has reduced its stray population, but it is a lonely exception that overcame not only enormous logistical and financial challenges but cultural ones as well.

“People really don’t want us to take the street dogs away, particularly in poor areas,” said Dr. Jack Reece, a Jaipur veterinarian who helped lead the city’s effort. “In other areas, especially Muslim ones, they won’t let us release the dogs back. I have been surrounded by large crowds, angry young men, saying you can’t release the dogs here, even though they were caught from there two days before.”

More than a dozen experts interviewed said that India’s stray problem would only get worse until a canine contraceptive vaccine, now in the lab, became widely and inexpensively available.

Dr. Rosario Menezes, a pediatrician from Goa, said that India could not wait that long. Dogs must be taken off the streets even if that means euthanizing them, he said. “I am for the right of people to walk the streets without fear of being attacked by packs of dogs,” he said.

Arshpreet Kaur was 3 when a stray came in through her home’s open front door and bit her and her grandfather. Within a week, Arshpreet got a headache and then a fever. Her parents took her to a hospital, but she soon slipped into a coma, in which she remained for nine years before finally dying.

“There are stray dogs everywhere in Delhi,” Arshpreet’s mother, Jasmeen Kaur, said in a telephone interview. “We are more scared of dog bites than anything else.”


Malavika Vyawahare and Niharika Mandhana contributed reporting.

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Re: Nature Conservation in India News & Discussion

Postby Murugan » 26 Sep 2013 12:26

60 Laksh Saplings to be planted, nationwide, on occasion of 60 Years of Mata Amritanandamayi

http://newindianexpress.com/nation/60-l ... 763507.ece

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Re: Nature Conservation in India News & Discussion

Postby Murugan » 02 Oct 2013 08:29

X Post from Sanskrit Nukkad

निर्वनो वध्यते व्याघ्रो निर्व्याघ्रो छिद्यते वनम् |
तस्माद्व्याघ्रो वनं रक्षेत् वनं व्याघ्रं च पालयेत् ||

- महाभारत, उद्योग

Meaning:Without the forest, the tiger can not survive. Without the tiger in the forest, the forest will get destroyed (by the people). Hence the tiger must protect the forest and forest must protect the tiger (and other animals)

- Mahabharatha, Udyoga

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Re: Nature Conservation in India News & Discussion

Postby Haresh » 02 Oct 2013 16:19

Manu wrote:a reminder of our silly laws....even 3rd world countries don't make such loony laws....This has actually become a menace now....


Manu
Many years ago when I was alot younger, I was taken to the family village in Punjab. We flew from London to Delhi and then by bus to the village.

My family lived in a enclosed compound with a courtyard.
In the evening and after dark I was warned not to go out because of the dog menace.
We could hear them barking and growling.

My solution??? I made a bow and a collection of arrows and I started to kill them.
The family were horrified, I was banned from doing it. I don't know how people would react in the large cities, how difficult would it be in Delhi to get hold of a Bow & Arrows? I am sure the local Sikh temple could help.
Residents should organise their own cull. It is cruel but you have to protect people first.

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Re: Nature Conservation in India News & Discussion

Postby Pranay » 26 Oct 2013 02:32

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home ... 693290.cms

GUWAHATI: A rhino was shot dead by poachers in Kaziranga National Park in Assam but its horn was left intact, park sources said on Friday.

On hearing gun shots near their camp at Phuloguri in Burapahar Range of KNP, forest guards after midnight yesterday encountered a three-member group of poachers and exchanged fire with them but the assailants managed to escape after killing the rhino, the sources said.

The poachers fled without the horn which they had sawed after killing the rhino by the side of National Highway 37, they said.

The rhino was suspected to have been gunned down with AK-47 assault rifles as two empty cartridges were found near the carcass. A magazine with 26 bullets was also recovered nearby.

This is the 35th rhino killing by poachers this year at the 430-sq km World Heritage Site in Assam which has the highest population of the great One-horn Rhinoceros.

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Re: Nature Conservation in India News & Discussion

Postby Pranay » 15 Nov 2013 19:45

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/15/world ... world&_r=0

:( There has got to be a better way :(

NEW DELHI — A passenger train speeding through northeast India barreled into a herd of elephants as they crossed a set of tracks late Wednesday, killing five. Their bodies were scattered in pieces, so the authorities were at first unable to count them and reported that seven had died.

One female elephant, whose leg was fractured by the train and was unable to stand, fell into a ravine below the track, unreachable by cranes or trucks, so veterinarians descended and set up a camp near her to provide treatment, Bidyut Sarkar, a divisional forest officer in Jalpaiguri district in West Bengal State, said in a telephone interview. One body was left hanging from a railroad bridge.

The authorities said surviving members of the herd returned to the scene of the collision.

“The herd scattered, but returned to the railway tracks and stood there for quite some time before they were driven away by forest guards and railroad workers who rushed to the spot after the accident,” Hiten Burman, West Bengal’s forestry minister, told The Associated Press.

The train crosses through a so-called elephant corridor in Jalpaiguri district, where collisions are frequent. Twelve trains run through the corridor, and the latest accident brought this year’s death toll to 17 elephants, Mr. Sarkar said.

Deepak Sharma, one of four doctors now camping near the injured elephant, said that the others died of internal hemorrhaging and “complete mutilation.” The body of one elephant was trapped between the railroad track and a bridge, and had to be cut into several pieces to be removed. Service on the track was suspended for 12 hours.

Thousands of miles of railroad tracks pass through areas inhabited by elephants, and activists and wildlife officials have repeatedly met with transportation officials in the hopes of minimizing collisions. Dipankar Ghosh of the World Wildlife Fund said that environmental groups urged slowing trains in such areas to 25 miles per hour between 4 p.m. and 5 a.m., when elephants are likely to be crossing tracks.

Mr. Ghosh said officials refused to do so, saying it would hamper economic development.
:(

More than 26,000 elephants are believed to live in India, where they are closely associated with the Hindu god of wisdom. They are used frequently in temple festivals, marriages and social functions. Mr. Ghosh called them “our national heritage” and said the sight of their bodies was deeply disturbing to the public.

Ellen Barry contributed reporting.


http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/201 ... -popup.jpg

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Re: Nature Conservation in India News & Discussion

Postby Sachin » 18 Nov 2013 20:01

In Kerala, the high-range areas and places close to the Western Ghats have been seeing a spate of violent incidents, and the usual "harthaal" & revolutions. For a change both the commies and the Congress government, and the church are united, against the reports of both Madhav Gadgil and Kasturirangan. This was on the policies drafted by both to protect the Western Ghats. Madhav Gadgil's version was more stringent on the provisions, where as Kasturirangan watered down that a bit.

But in Kerala, the "farmers" (who are nothing but large estate owners, many who also encroach into forest lands) are up in arms against this. The policy disallows building of large buildings, and stopping activities like quarrying. People how ever seems to be seeing through this trick.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Koc ... 319939.ece
http://newindianexpress.com/states/kera ... 891098.ece

Bade
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Re: Nature Conservation in India News & Discussion

Postby Bade » 20 Feb 2014 16:58

Was in Kaziranga recently and the same week two rhinos were killed on back to back days. During our Jeep safari did see enough watch towers and forest guards on duty. We even dropped of two of them off the trails into the deep jungle. One of the colleagues who visited Kaziranga a few days before us, did manage to spot a tiger walk past them. There are a hundred odd tigers at Kaziranga National Park and to think of human settlements right up to the edge of the park boundary tells you the stress levels on the habitat there.

On our road trip back to Guwahati we did see 4 rhinos grazing in the fields by the highway in a distance. So these animals are not shy of humans and come close enough for poachers to make an easy kill perhaps. Unfortunate to say the least for these very majestic breed.

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Re: Nature Conservation in India News & Discussion

Postby Lalmohan » 20 Feb 2014 17:28

the only way to not disrupt wildlife is to build bypass forests (around humans) or at worst dig tunnels for roads and trains to go under and so create a coridoor of jungle above. this is way too expensive, but tunnels for animals generally do not work

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Re: Nature Conservation in India News & Discussion

Postby merlin » 27 Feb 2014 14:29

Bade wrote:Was in Kaziranga recently and the same week two rhinos were killed on back to back days. During our Jeep safari did see enough watch towers and forest guards on duty. We even dropped of two of them off the trails into the deep jungle. One of the colleagues who visited Kaziranga a few days before us, did manage to spot a tiger walk past them. There are a hundred odd tigers at Kaziranga National Park and to think of human settlements right up to the edge of the park boundary tells you the stress levels on the habitat there.

On our road trip back to Guwahati we did see 4 rhinos grazing in the fields by the highway in a distance. So these animals are not shy of humans and come close enough for poachers to make an easy kill perhaps. Unfortunate to say the least for these very majestic breed.


Poaching is a threat to rhinos and even though Kaziranga guards can shoot at them, they are not deterred. But a greater threat is heavy and fast traffic on NH-37. Lots of animals, not just rhinos, have been killed on NH-37 where it goes along Kaziranga. When the animals migrate south of NH-37 to the Karbi-Anglong side during the monsoon when Kaziranga gets flooded, they get killed on the highway. They are going to build an elevated highway on this stretch of NH-37 so that animals can safely pass below it.

Did you go to the eastern range? They say chances of spotting a tiger are the highest there. Did you manage a visit to the western range? Most tourists confine themselves to the central range (Kohora) where you can also get elephant back rides, absent elsewhere.

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Re: Nature Conservation in India News & Discussion

Postby Pranay » 11 Mar 2014 18:54

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home ... 813464.cms

Lakhimpur’s killer tigress caught, released in Dudhwa
TNN | Mar 11, 2014, 05.39 AM IST

LUCKNOW: In a first for the UP forest department, a tigress that had killed a man in Lakhimpur Kheri district, was tranquilized, trapped and released back into the wild on Monday. The healthy, two-year-old tigress was released in Dudhwa tiger reserve after being medically examined.

Forest department officials believe the February 20 killing by the predator was a chance encounter. The 35-year-old victim's body was found at least 4km off the forest boundary in Bhira range of South Kheri forest division.

"Even 18 days after the killing, there have been no fresh attacks," said DFO, South Kheri, Neeraj Kumar, adding that the department would keep monitoring the situation.

"It cannot be said for sure that the animal wouldn't kill again," he said, but added that the animal now has the opportunity to stay away from humans.

Since the killing, the department had been tracking the animal. On Monday, it was spotted in a sugarcane field, some 50 metres from the boundary of the forest. It was tranquillized and then released in the Chandpara beat of Dudhwa tiger reserve, some 20km away.

Officials said the site of the release was chosen with care. Since the tiger census is on at Dudhwa, a team from WWF had surveyed the Chandpara beat area and found the area unoccupied by other big cats. "Therefore, there's little chance that the tigress would come in conflict with other tigers. The site is deep inside Dudhwa and has ample prey base," said the official.

The official said it is also difficult to say if it actually strayed out of south Kheri. "There is a regular movement of tigers from Kishenpur to south Kheri. To say this one strayed out of south Kheri is therefore difficult," he added.

However, relocation carries a risk, say wildlife biologists. The predator may get disoriented in the new place and show aberrant behaviour. Relocated tigers have in the past tried to return to their original habitat.

Forest department officials said they were faced with increasing cases of young tigers straying out of the protected area in Uttar Pradesh.

"In most cases, tigers come into sugarcane fields chasing nilgai and wild boars," said former director, Dudhwa, GC Mishra.

Meanwhile, wildlife enthusiasts applauded the forest department's swift move to release the animal in the wild. "We will write to the government appreciating the department's quick action," said green activist Sanjay Narayan.

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Re: Nature Conservation in India News & Discussion

Postby svenkat » 17 Mar 2014 09:32

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/Elephant-calf-found-dead-in-reserve-forest-on-Tamil-Nadu-Karnataka-border/articleshow/31909161.cms

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-tamilnadu/elephant-calf-electrocuted/article5763150.ece]

http://www.one.in/hindu/wild-elephant-tramples-man-to-death-near-hosur-1-3494896.html

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/Elephant-herd-enters-Hosur-suburbs-tramples-two-men-to-death/articleshow/30449409.cms

http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil_nadu/Day-After-Hosur-Kovai-loses-Man-to-Jumbo/2014/02/17/article2060957.ece#.UyZ52_mSwUI

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-tamilnadu/woman-trampled-to-death-by-elephants/article5794463.ece

A rash of tragic incidents involving elephants in past month-three in Hosur,one in Coimbatore,one in Srivilliputhur,elephant calves dying of electrocution/drinking poor quality water with worms.Its equally tragic reading people being killed by elephants.The environment is so fragile in the Hosur plateau,in the eastern side of Western ghats in Coimbatore as development is so rapid there,sathyamangalam and also in the KL western ghats because of plantation owners .

No easy solutions.The elephants are being crowded out of their habitat by plantations,farming in hitherto sparsely populated forests.

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Re: Nature Conservation in India News & Discussion

Postby merlin » 19 Mar 2014 18:36

And encroachments on elephant corridors.

In other news a new WLS has been notified in TN - the Cauvery North WLS. A good beginning.

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Re: Nature Conservation in India News & Discussion

Postby wig » 20 Mar 2014 17:36

India is building Asia's largest secure forest network in Karnataka
excerpt
landmark effort by the Indian state of Karnataka to connect isolated protected forests could lead to the building of Asia's largest unbroken forest
It's been all about connecting the green dots.

Since 2012, the southern state of Karnataka has declared nearly 2,600 sq km (1,000 sq miles) of forests as protected areas, linking a series of national parks, tiger reserves and sanctuaries.

Protected areas cover nearly 5% of India's land mass and come under strict legal protection that makes conversion of land for non-forestry purposes difficult. Tiger reserves and national parks do not allow human settlements.

Karnataka has already built three unbroken forest landscapes spread over more than one million hectares along the Western Ghats, a mountain range that runs along the western coast of India. It is also a Unesco World Heritage site and one of the eight hottest biological hotspots of the world.



http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-26478430

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Re: Nature Conservation in India News & Discussion

Postby Pranay » 25 Mar 2014 00:20

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home ... 597826.cms


GUWAHATI: Kaziranga national park lost its third rhino in a span of five days as poachers continued to bleed the one-horned pachyderm at the Unesco world heritage site.

The latest carcass was recovered on Sunday from Gograi area under Kohora forest range of the park. The poachers chopped off the horn but could not take it away because the forest officials rushed to the spot after hearing gunshots.

"In the gun-battle poachers left the bag behind. The encounter took place on the banks of the Brahmaputra. We also saw the poachers jumping into the river to escape gunfire. They also left behind a .303 rifle and six rounds of ammunition," a park official said.

Between Wednesday and Thursday, two rhinos were killed by poachers, also under the Kohora range.

The latest killing also brought back the spectre of how poachers are bent on gunning down rhinos especially when the state is busy gearing up for the Lok Sabha polls.

With the latest killing the state has lost 12 rhinos from January this year — 11 in Kaziranga alone and one in Manas national park. Last year, 40 rhinos were poached in the state, with the toll in Kaziranga reaching 35. Kaziranga has 2000-odd rhinos.

TOI on Sunday reported that wildlife crime experts had apprehensions about poachers stepping up killing of rhinos in the run-up to the polls, taking advantage of the election atmosphere when security forces, civil administration and other enforcement agencies are busy in running election affairs.


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