Vishakhapatnam a coastal town in Andhra Pradesh was once known for the abundant nesting grounds of Olive Ridley Turtles along its sea coast. But now the town is gradually losing ground due to increased development, poaching and pollution along the coast line. To save the endangered sea turtles and prevent them from extinction, an organisation Visakha Society for Protection and Care of Animals (VSPCA) has taken an active role by its rangers, constantly patrolling the beaches, monitoring nesting sites, eggs and their hatchings. By taking a step further the organisation is involving local villagers, fishermen, in the endeavour by employing and educating them to the cause.
Manjira river is a tributary of Godavari river that flows in three states of India namely – Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. Of late the Manjira River running about 60 km from Hyderabad has seen a surge in freshwater crocodile population nearing 300 in number. This is a direct outcome of the efforts put in by the forest officicers to save the species from becoming extinct as the number had alarmingly fallen to less than 4 pairs in 1974.
The name Dugong probably may not ring a bell to most. Otherwise known as Sea-cow, Dugongs are marine mammals akin to sharks, whales, seals and dolphins. These are harmless underwater animals, big in size and feed only on sea grass, coming on to the surface of water at regular intervals to breathe like whales and Gangetic Dolphins. They spend most of their time feeding on sea grass; because of this, their habitat is restricted to coastal waters of Indo-west –Pacific tropics and ranges across 37 nations. Once found in abundance, today their species are in extreme danger due to uncontrolled mechanized fishing, poaching and habitat loss. Dugongs are categorised as threatened species coming under the IUCN Red list. Quite a few important conservation measures are being undertaken by organisations including Government of India.
In an altogether different kind of offensive, an intense counter poaching operations training is being undertaken by around 50 park rangers of Asia including India in an effort to save and provide security to Asia’s forest reserves. Named ARREST (Asia’s Regional Response to Endangered Species Trafficking), the program is aimed at equipping forest rangers with improved patrolling techniques and law enforcement. The two week long training course, is being funded by the US Government.
Discovery of new frog species at the Western Ghats of India has further strengthened the claim that these Ghats are the heart of biodiversity. While frog species round the world are driven to extinction due to habitat destruction, pollution, climate change and of late, much sought frog legs, the discovery of new frog species is refreshing news. The expedition in the Ghats was carried out by biodiversity researches, voluntary researches and nature enthusiasts without any funding from agencies and they succeeded in discovering ten new frog species.
Man’s increased preference for frog legs to satisfy his palate has been posing a great threat to the survival of amphibians round the world driving them to near extinction. The first ever comprehensive study on frog leg market reveals how their reduced numbers and extinction can have devastating effect on the environment and the natural ecosystems; the situation warrants immediate action by way of stopping use of frog species for international trade.
Finally Wildlife of India is getting some high-tech attention. A team of scientists have planned to use surveillance technology and Information Technology for creating a ‘Virtual Fence’ to prevent wild animals from straying into human habitation. The proposal has a holistic approach intended to monitor poaching and illegal activities. It is also aimed to protect both man and wild animals
A complete mapping of Religious forests in the world, India included, is being undertaken by Oxford researchers with an objective of identifying religious forests that are rich in biodiversity and having highestRead More…
While news of the tragic attack of a leopard on villagers in India’s eastern parts and subsequent killing of the animal filled newspapers all of last week in more refreshing news a wild Leopard stuck in a pipeline near a school in Gujarat was rescued by forest officials.
A Gene Bank for wild animals akin to humans is being proposed by the Government of Gujarat backed by the environment ministry, with a view to protecting Lions from inbreeding and eventual extinction. This project, a first for India is estimated to cost Rs. 67 crores.
Researchers have repudiated Government claims that India’s forest cover has increased by up to 5% in a span of 10 years. The research conducted by two Indian and an Australian scientist reports that in reality there is decline in natural forest cover by 1.5% to 2.7% each year.
This time it is poaching of a different kind and a threat of a different magnitude. Live, endangered Indian animals like turtles, tortoises, gharials and even bear and leopard cubs, are being trafficked by air, stuffed in suitcases, to Bangkok, to be sold as pet animals. These unfortunate animals are traded at chatuchak market area in Bangkok and the Suvarnabhumi air port is being used as transit point for this illegal activity.
A major challenge faced by animals bred in captivity is their struggle to adjust in the wild where they need to feed and protect themselves. The Darjeeling Zoo seems to have sorted out the problem for some of the Himalayan endangered species by planning to set up an off display breeding centre. The primary objective of such an initiative is to release the zoo bred animals to the wild with the near wild environment of the proposed centre facilitating both breeding and honing of hunting skills of these animals.
Madan lal Punjabi of Jaipur, Rajashtan is a man with a mission. In a span of 7 years, he has planted 1,600 saplings for the benefit of Jaipur residents to provide green cover to the city and solace to people from the hot sun. Himself in the golden years of his life, so deep is Madan lal’s commitment to the cause that he says the trees our like his own children and he will continue to care for them till his last breath.
They may not be Dhoni, Zaheer Khan or Priyanka Chopra , but for the animals of Van Vihar National Park in Bhopal, each of their benefactors is a celebrity. A unique scheme launched by the park has witnessed thirty three wild life lovers adopting animals and ensuring they are well looked after at the park. After the rise in celebrity adoption of animals the novel scheme has succeeded in creating awareness among public and inspiring many to do a good deed or two for the animals.