March 03, 2011
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
Results of inbreeding-
1.Increase in genetic disorders
2.lower birth rate
3.slower growth rate
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.
March 03, 2011
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.
February 22, 2011
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
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
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.
February 21, 2011
There are 243 species of butterflies in Sri lanka.21 Species are endemic.
Common Name Scientific Name
- Ceylon Birdwing Troides darsius
- Ceylon Forester Lethe dynaste
- Ceylon Palmfly Elymnias singala
- Ceylon Tiger Parantica taprobana
- Tree Nymph Idea iosonia
- Ceylon Rose Pachliopta jophon
- Blue Oakleaf Kallima philarchus
- Ceylon Treebrown Lethe daretis
- Gladeye Bushbrown Nissanga patnia patnia
- Jewel Four-ring Ypthima singala
- Ormiston's Oakblue Arhopala ormistoni
- Clouded silverline Spindasis nubilus
- Ceylon Indigo Royal Tajuria arida
- Woodhouse's 4-line blue Nacaduba ollyetti
- Pale Ceylon 6-line blue Nacaduba sinhala
- Ceylon Cerulean Jamides soruscans
- Ceylon Hedge Blue Udara lanka
- Decorated Ace Halpe dacorata
- Rare Ace Halpe(? homolea)egena....2 more....
(See these Images : Gehan de Silva Wijerathne on facebook) By:M.K.Randima.
February 18, 2011
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
The general properties of enzymes are
All enzymes are globular protein and catalyst.
Their presence do not affect on characteristic and type of the Product.
Enzyme reactions are bi-directional.
Enzymes are selective for their substrate.
Enzyme’s activity can be influenced by other molecules. Inhibitors are the molecule that decreases enzyme’s activity. Activators are molecule that increases
Enzyme works in definite pH, temperature and concentration.
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.
February 12, 2011
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 .
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 .
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
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
February 04, 2011
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
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.
January 10, 2011
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
Dr Clay Wilson
December 27, 2010
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.
November 22, 2010
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.
Orange County kabini