Asiatic Lion

Lions not fully safe in Gir

Posted by Indranil Datta on March 03, 2011

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Ten thousand years ago,their habitat ranged from the Mediterannean to the wilds of India.They now cling precariously to theirmodern habitat,an impossibly small domain Gir National Park.A rough census at the time of independence shows about 250 lions,the 2010 census quotes 411.This may sound like good news but this large number is ironically the main cause for concern.It may be odd to think of the Asiatic lion as endangered,but the truth is that Gir is way overpopulated and needs quite a few of its lions relocated urgently.Ignorance and false pride from the state goverment's part can have disastrous consequences as the sanctuary is proving to small for the big cats.With the shortage of territory to command,lions are fast moving out of the sanctuary.Some of them have even taken to the beach!.To survive the lions have to put up with factors such as acute inbreeding given that the 400 plus population has been said to have been derived from around a dozen individuals.
 

A broader look to know what inbreeding actually means-

Inbreeding is the reproduction from the mating of two genetically related parents,which can increase the chances of the offspring being affected by rrecessice traits.This generally leads to a decreased fitness of the population,which is called inbreeding depression
 
Results of inbreeding-
1.Increase in genetic disorders
2.lower birth rate
3.slower growth rate
4.Reduced fertility
5.Higher infant mortality rate
6.Loss of immune system
7.Small adult size

O'Brien,a renowned genecsist suggested that "If you do a DNA fingerprint,Asiatic lions look like identical twins because they descended from as few as a dozen individuals that was all left at the turn of the century".This makes them specially vulnerable to diseases.As it is perpetuating the species is a difficult task as the big cats have to copulate no less than 500 times to produce a litter.The most serious threat is the fear of the outbreak of a disease that could wipe out the entire population,bringing into account the fact that this has already happened once before.In 1994 canine distemper killed more than a third of Africa's serengeti lions.Lets pray our lions dont meet the same fate.


Hopes of a secure future in the Reintroduction Project Plan-

The Asiatic lion Rentroduction project plan aims to establish a second independent population of Asiatic lions at the Kuno Wildlfie santuary in the state of Madhya Pradesh,in an effort to save the lions of Gir which are living under the threat of natural disasters and epidemics.Wildlife Institute of India researchers confirmed that Palpur-Kuno WLS is the most promising location to re-establish a free ranging population and certified it ready to receive its first batch of translocated lions.Kuno WLS was selected as the reintroduction site because it is in the former range of the lions before they were hunted to near extinction.Twenty four villages which lived inside the remote core area set aside for the reintroduction of lions have been moved out with adequate compensation and promise of better facilities and provisions given to each family.However,it was still a controversial case of species preservation  via dislocation of human population.

The most shocking thing so far is that,the Chief minister of Gujrat,Narendra Modi has strictly opposed relocation plans arguing that lions were the main tourist attraction of the state saying that the lions are 'Gujrat's pride'.Perhaps he does not want Gujrat to lose its Status as the only state home to Asiatic lions.It is unclear whether there is any political agenda behind it,but so far the goverment's constant refusal has only underlined its ignorance.Modi continues to put ona resistance despite our Uninion environment and forest minister,Jairam Ramesh pressuring Gujrat to part with some of its lions with Madhya Pradesh,he has also expressed concern over the fear of inbreeding and a potential epedemic.So lets just keep our fingers crossed and hope that whatever being done is done with the lions best interests in mind.

The other less damaging but nevertheless serious threats to the lions-

1.Poisoning by farmers as an act of revenge for killing livestock
2.Natural or man made calamities such as floods,forest fires and epedemics(Drought does not count as a threat as the construction of 4 new dams and 300 water points makes sure problems related to water insuffiency for the animals do not arise.
3.Wells dug by the farmers for irrigations act as trap,leading to lions drowning
4.Farmers on the periphery of the Gir forest use crude and electrical fences which are powered from high volatage electricity deom the overhead power lines.This is primarily done to protect their crop from nilgais but are also responsibly for many lion deaths.
5.Habitat decline due to overgrazing.

Environmental Education

Biomagnification

Posted by Tulip Das on March 03, 2011

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Pollutants (or materials) in the environment are broadly of two types- a. biodegradable ones and b. Non- biodegradable ones. Biodegradables are subjected to microbial decomposition and thus with no or minimum persistence time in environment, and accordingly follow the regular cyclic material flow. While non-biodegradables are not decomposed by microbes. They have thus long persistent in environment, and are introduced in the biotic organisms along with nutrients food-stuff. They are neither metabolized nor excreted, but retained in unaltered state in higher concentration in organisms of higher trophic levels in the food-chain of an ecosystem. Thus they lead to irreversible disease and death of the organisms and misbalancing the ecosystem.

 

The process where the stable and persistent non-biodegradable pollutants (matters/ chemicals) are accumulated in tissues of biological organisms in a concentration that is much higher than its environmental concentration, which usually causes irreversible disease and death of organisms, ultimately lead to ecological imbalance is known as biomagnification.

 

Causes- Usually stable and non-biodegradable pollutants are lipophilic in nature, means they have the attraction towards lipid. For this lipophilic character, they are partitioned from surrounding water into the lipid or adipose tissues of organisms. Examples are DDT, PCBs (Poly Chlorinated Biphenyls), salts of heavy metals (mercury, lead, cadmium etc.) and so on.

Tulip Das.

Environment Awareness

Biological oxygen Demand(B.O.D.)

Posted by Tulip Das on February 22, 2011

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Bacteria and other micro organisms are responsible for decomposing organic waste. When organic matterials like dead plants, leaves, manure, sewage or food waste are present in water supply, bacteria started to break them. By that time, much of the available Dissolved Oxygen (D.O.) is consumed by bacteria from other aquatic organisms of the oxygen they need to live.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Biological Oxygen Demand (B.O.D.) is one of the most common measures of the oxygen used by micro organisms to decompose the waste. If  there  is a large amount of organic waste is present in the water supply, there will also be a lot of bacteria present which decompose the waste. In this case, the demand for oxygen will be high. As a result, Biological Oxygen Demand (B.O.D.) level will be high.

 

A high B.O.D. value indicates pollution, i.e; water containing higher level of organic wastes that consumed the Dissolved oxygen (D.O.)  and is thus unsafe for human consumption.

Tulip Das

Wildlife

ENDEMIC BUTTERFLIES OF SRI LANKA

Posted by randima mahagamage on February 21, 2011

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There are 243 species of butterflies in Sri lanka.21  Species are endemic. 

                    Common Name                                       Scientific Name
                
  1.                Ceylon Birdwing                                Troides darsius
  2.                 Ceylon Forester                               Lethe dynaste
  3.                 Ceylon Palmfly                                 Elymnias singala
  4.                 Ceylon Tiger                                    Parantica taprobana
  5.                 Tree Nymph                                    Idea iosonia
  6.                 Ceylon Rose                                    Pachliopta jophon
  7.                 Blue Oakleaf                                    Kallima philarchus
  8.                 Ceylon Treebrown                            Lethe daretis
  9.                 Gladeye Bushbrown                          Nissanga patnia patnia
  10.                 Jewel Four-ring                               Ypthima singala
  11.                 Ormiston's Oakblue                           Arhopala ormistoni
  12.                 Clouded silverline                            Spindasis nubilus
  13.                 Ceylon Indigo Royal                         Tajuria arida
  14.                 Woodhouse's 4-line blue                   Nacaduba ollyetti
  15.                 Pale Ceylon 6-line blue                     Nacaduba sinhala
  16.                 Ceylon Cerulean                             Jamides soruscans
  17.                 Ceylon Hedge Blue                          Udara lanka
  18.                 Decorated Ace                               Halpe dacorata
  19.                 Rare Ace                                       Halpe(? homolea)egena....2 more....

               (See these Images : Gehan de Silva Wijerathne on facebook)    By:M.K.Randima.

General

Enzymes

Posted by Tulip Das on February 18, 2011

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Living system controls its activity through enzymes. Enzymes are biological catalysts. They increase or decrease the rate of chemical reaction in the cell, but enzymes remain unchanged after the reaction. Most cellular reaction occurs about a million time faster with the help of the enzymes rather than in the absence of it. Enzymes work on which chemical substances are known as substrate. Enzyme works on substrate to form an enzyme-substrate complex. After reaction, this complex split and produce the Product and enzyme get released. In the end of the reaction, enzyme remains unchanged and paired with another substrate. A small amunt of enzyme can work on a huge amount of substrate.

 

The term, enzyme was first used by Kuhne(1878). Buchner (1897) first collected enzymes from Yeast cell.

 

The general properties of enzymes are

1.      All enzymes are globular protein and catalyst.

2.      Their presence do not affect on characteristic and type of the Product.

3.      Enzyme reactions are bi-directional.

4.      Enzymes are selective for their substrate.

5.      Enzyme’s activity can be influenced by other molecules. Inhibitors are the molecule that decreases enzyme’s activity. Activators are molecule that increases the activity.

6.      Enzyme works in definite pH, temperature and concentration.

7.      The protein parts of the enzymes are apoenzyme, and non-protein part is known as co-factors.

 

International Union of Biochemistry (IUB) and Enzyme Commissiob (EC) classify and name the various enzymes. Generally, -ase is added with the name of the substrate to form the name of an enzyme, eg; the enzymes function on arginine and urea are respectively known as arginase and urease.

Tulip Das

Photography

Jayamangali Black Buck Reserve - Mydanahalli village, Madhugiri town

Posted by Akshay.S on February 12, 2011

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Myself and my father with his friend went to the Jayamangali Black Buck Reserve, situated near Mydenahalli, a small village about 23 kms frm Madhugiri Town. The place boasts of about 4000 to 5000 Black Bucks, 6 leopards, jackals and the famous Indian Fox and about 20 to 30 species of birds including the most endangered Montagu's Harrier , Red Necked Falcon and the Steppe Eagle. The place is totally comprised of grasslands similar to the African Savannas.

Mydanahalli is a place for Black Bucks making it the second sanctuary apart from the famous Rani Bennur Black Buck Sanctuary. Recently, The forest department sanctioned funds for the construction of two rooms near the entry gate for the sanctuary. The rooms are available at an affordable price of . Booking are to be made from the Forest Department, Tumkur( address is given in the next page ). Mydenahalli is a total grass landed area providing the Black Bucks to roam around the sanctuary .

Mydanahalli is not difficult to be reached. Here is some info :-
 

Nearest hotel for good food       : KYATASANDRA            Distance : 38  kms

Nearest Bus Station                  : MADHUGIRI                   Distance : 23  kms

Nearest Railway                       : KYATASANDRA            Distance : 38  kms

Nearest Airport                        : BANGALORE                   Distance : 163 kms

all the above given data is in approximate calculation .

REACHING THERE

Mydanahalli can be reached from two different routes. They are :-

1) FROM BANGALORE TOWARDS TUMKUR :-  
    Bangalore -----> Nelamangala -----> Kyatasandra -----> Tumkur ----->

    After reaching Tumkur, cross 3 flyovers and then after a few yards a mud road comes to the right side of  the higway main road . Follow that road.

     After about 40 kms you will reach a village called Koratagere, continue further about 5 kms to reach a town called Madhugiri. Again Continue further 23kms

     to reach Mydanahalli and from the main road. A mud path leads to the right, follow that and there you will reach the main gate of  the  Reserve.


2) FROM BANGALORE TOWARDS DODDABALLAPUR :-

    Bangalore -----> Hebbal -----> Yelahanka -----> Doddaballapur -----> Gowribidhanur -----> Thondebavi ----->

    Kodigenahalli -----> Maidanahalli

    I don't know when and where to deviate from the main road as i forgot to note down the names of small villages though i feel this is the best route to enter the black buck reserve. I will try to note them down when i go there next time .

AVAILABLE ACCOMMODATION

When you travel to mydanahalli, i suggest you to stay the whole day in the sanctuary because you may get rare happenings in nature. Usually I would stay till 5'o clock in the evening and I would return, but now the Karnataka Forset Department has sanctioned funds in building two rooms in the sanctuary. U can stay there. The rooms are luxurious and are at an affordable price.


Cost of the rooms              : Rs. 300/- per room
Booking to be made at       : Aranya Bhavan,R.K. Nagar,Kunigal Road
                                           Tumkur
                                           Ph :- 0816 - 2201196 / 97
 

Person to contact                : RFO


WHAT YOU MAY GET TO PHOTOGRAPH

Apart from the Black Bucks , you can get a wide variety of various wildlife subjects to shoot.
Wildlife what you can sight are :-
* Indian Fox ( exception )
* Leopard ( i have not even seen once )
* Montagu's Harrier
* Red Necked Falcon
* Steppe Eagle
* Short - Toed Snake Eagle
* White Eyed Buzzard
* Marsh harrier
* Oriental Honey Buzzard
* Snakes ( If you are lucky )

The existence of Leopards in Mydanahalli is not known to me. I have just listed it because i remember my father telling me that one of the photographers team had spotted a leopard pug mark.

THE BEST SEASON FOR PHOTOGRAPHY

According to me, the best season for photography is during winter. It is because you get not only

Black Bucks, but also you will get the birds of prey as they will be available to photograph only

during the winter in whole of south India. Even the sanctuary will be green. You can also enjoy

the pleasant winter climate. Hence you can leave your place at an ideal time around 4:30 am in

the morning so that you can reach the sanctuary around 8:00 am.

 

Dont forget to have your breakfast packed or you can have it on your way to Tumkur, you will

not get to eat anything in and around the sanctuary in 5 kms of radius.

 
WILDLIFE I WITNESSED AND PHOTOGRAPHED

On my first trip to Mydanahalli I saw only the Black Bucks and the White eyed buzzard and also

the Red Necked Falcon. But my second trip was somewhat successful. I got to see 10 species of birds and 2 species of animals. As you well know that you may not be successful in all the outings you go, you maybe successful in one of the ten trips. That happens for all of us. Hence I didn't get disappointed when I first went to this sanctuary.

I also have my own website, under the name, http://www.wildlifeventures.com,
please visit the site and also please give your suggestions by writing in the guestbook

Bio-Diversity

BEEJ BACHAO ANDOLAN

Posted by Tulip Das on February 04, 2011

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The ‘Beej Bachao Andolan’ [BBA], begun in the late 1980s, is twenty five year old, led by farmer and social activist Vijay Jardhari. The Andolan started in the village Jardhargaon of district Tehri, Uttaranchal, famous for its unique movement to save the traditional seeds of the hills.

 

The ‘Beej Bachao Andolan’ [Save the Seed Movement or BBA] is not only a crusade to conserve traditional seeds but also to promote agriculture and local tradition.

 

A farmer and social activist, Vijay Jardhari realized that modern agriculture was destroying traditional farming. Crop yields of the high-yielding varieties in the modern agriculture were actually low; soil fertility was declining leading to an increasing dependence on toxic chemicals. Along with other activities of chipco movement, Jardhari formed the BBA to promote traditional agriculture and crop varieties.

 

In the valley of Ramasirain, Uttarkashi district, Farmers were growing a distinctive variety of red rice called chardhan. The rice was nutritious and suited to local requirements and conditions. Farmers also grew indigenous varieties like thapchini, jhumkiya, rikhwa and lal basmati. Agriculture here was untouched by modern practices and good yields were obtained without the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. What the farmers here were doing was avoiding monoculture in a method called baranaja [12 grains] that involves the multicropping of a no. Of cereals and legumes. This diversification is security against drought and crop failure. Different crops are harvested at different times of the year and ensure year-round supply of food. This also maintain soil fertility replenishes nitrogen.

 

Today BBA has about 150 varieties of paddy from which 100 different varieties can still be grown. BBA has also collected 170 varieties of rajma. Effective pest control is accomplished by using the leaves of the walnut and neem, and the application of the ash and cow’s urine. The use of traditional farming methods and seeds has resulted higher yields, improved health of humans and increased conservation of soil fertility and agro-biodiversity.

Wildlife

Dr Clay wildlife veterinarian and Game warden Chobe Botswana

Posted by clay wilson on January 10, 2011

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I was very kindly invited to join your club by Susan Sharma. I am amazed at how much support and love i receive from the people of India.I would one day like to visit your beautiful country. i have been volunteering my services and personal funding to save and promote wildlife conservation in Chobe Botswana.Here we have over 160 000 elephants compromising over half the entire elephant population of the world. i alone provide veterinary services for the park. i have 2 Major projects which i need to implement One is to save the declining lion population that was wiped out by a canine distemper outbreak last year, The other is introduction of UAV IE Unmanned aerial vehicles for patrol and identification of poachers. These are very expensive and i need your assistance in doing this. i have  no source of income and have expended my lifes savings. please visit my website at http://chobewildliferescue.org/ to see what i am doing.
Any help would be much appreciated
Brgds
Dr Clay Wilson
Kasane

Wild Elephants

Human Elephant Conflict

Posted by Ankur on December 27, 2010

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The combined wild Elephant Population of North Bengal is about 500. The vegetative degeneration in addition to innumerable human habitations inside the forests has rendered the existing habitats in the area redundant. Moreover, the forests have become too fragmented even to support the 300-odd elephants, thus the elephants are compelled to move through tea gardens, villages and agricultural fields killing more than 60 persons annually. In contrast to the figures for north Bengal , only 30 to 40 deaths are caused by human-elephant conflict in southern India , even though the elephant population is more than 20 times the Wild elephant population of North Bengal.

The locals use spears, arrows, firecrackers and even firearms to drive away the elephants. Invariably the Elephant gets injured and unable to bear the pain goes berserk, causing even more damage. A lot of Elephants face an agonising death each year.

A recently upgraded Railway line from Siliguri to Alipurduar has added a new dimension to Human Elephant Conflict. Since the conversion of the tracks a few years back, over 25 Elephants have been hit by trains. On the night of 23nd September’2010, seven elephants including a four year old calf died when a Guwahati bound goods train passing through dense forest knocked them down. Four of the elephants died on spot including one female that was dragged along for 300 meters by the train, The baby elephant was outwardly without any wound; but it slumped to the ground and died later in the morning.

Please assist us in raising awareness about the issue. All suggestion and inputs are welcome.

General

Vacancy At Orange County Kabini, Karnataka

Posted by Joydeep Banerjee on November 22, 2010

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We have vacancy for the post of Executive Naturalist at Orange County Kabini. Candidates with pleasing personality, communications skills and knowledge on wild life and conservation can apply.

http://www.orangecounty.in/kabini/home.php


Warm regards,

Joydeep Banerjee
Resident Manager
Orange County kabini
Website: www.orangecounty.in
Email: joydeep.banerjee17@gmail.com
joydeep.banerjee@orangecounty.in
Mob: 9980137141



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