Press on Environment and Wildlife
Cyclo-walk for tiger conservation (November Week #2(2013))
60 days, 1200 kms, a group of 45-odd participants will walk and cycle the distance from the dense forests of Tadoba Wildlife Sanctuary in Vidarbha all the way to Mumbai. The aim is to increase awareness of the Royal Bengal Tiger.

Led by Thane-based avid trekker Sunil Joshi, the walk will start from December 14 to Febuary 10 and pass by 14 wildlife sanctuaries.

Joshi conceptualized this idea of "Tiger cyclo-walk'' about two years following his own experience. In 1985, he was a part of the "walk Norway'' programme that involved traversing 2,560 km from North Cape (Northern tip) to Lindesnes (Southern tip) aimed
at creating awareness about re-forestation.

"Such a concept of walking long distances for a cause is quite prevalent in western countries. Two decades ago, trekking groups could walk from Thane to Borivali through forest area. Now with humans encroaching on forest land, leopards entering settlements
have become common. No one treks on this route anymore, '' Joshi said. "We therefore, need to spread awareness of protecting our jungles and also balance the ecology. Protecting our wilderness will in turn, protect the tiger and other species,'' Joshi, who
makes a living of manufacturing mountaineering gear from his passion in adventure activities, said


In a first, sambars to be shifted and reintroduced (November Week #2(2013))
For the first time in the country, a non-endangered animal, the sambar, is being shifted and reintroduced to ensure that they procreate at a fast rate and provide prey base to tigers.

So far, only tigers (Sariska), bisons (Bandhavgarh) and rhinos (Manas in Assam) had been reintroduced. Maharashtra becomes the first to do so for sambars.

The Pench Tiger Reserve is set to reintroduce sambars, animals listed under Schedule III of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972, in the Tipeshwar Wildlife Sanctuary, 180km from here and located in Yavatmal district.

There are about 5-8 tigers, including cubs in the sanctuary. Studies conducted show that sambars are the favoured prey of tigers. The existing prey base in Tipeshwar is very poor when compared to the number of tigers.

The herbivores will be shifted from Bor Sanctuary and Pench, which is 100km and 250km, respectively, from Tipeshwar. The state government has given a green signal to reintroduce the species, which has vanished from the sanctuary in the 1990s.


Tiger found dead in Kanha National Park (October Week #5 (2013))
A fully-grown tiger was found dead under mysterious circumstances at Kanha National Park on Thursday sending shockwaves among conservationists and forest department officials. The reserve was thrown open for tourists on Tuesday. 

Earlier in the evening, a villager had nearly fallen prey to a big cat on the prowl in the same reserve near Khatiagate. 25-year-old Ghanshyam Yadav survived the grizzly attack. 

Yadav, who hails from village Mocha village, had taken buffalos to a forest pond for grazing. While he was busy tending his cattle, a tiger lurking in the area attacked him. Yadavwho sustained fatal injuries and was rushed to district hospital in Mandlafor
for further treatment. 

A tiger, could have been poisoned in what is suspected to be an act of revenge, it's learnt. Officials claim, the postmortem report and visceral analysis will solve the mystery.


Nal, a new home for spiny-tailed lizards (October Week #5 (2013))
Indian spiny-tailed lizards are found in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. In India, these lizards are confined to the drier areas of the Thar desert in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and parts of Kutch. Spiny-tailed lizards are mostly
herbivorous reptiles, and are categorized in Schedule II under the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act.

Karuppasamy said STL is on the edge of extinction from the illegal trade of its meat, skin and oil - for believed medicinal value - and habitat destruction though land development.


Ajit gang killed one more tiger near Mansar (October Week #5 (2013))
Saranki, the poacher arrested from Umariya in Madhya Pradesh, has revealed during his three-day forest custody that gang leader Ajit, whose MCR was extended till October 24 on Thursday, was involved in the killing of another tiger, near Mansar, in November
last year.

 According to forest department sources, Saranki showed the spot on Wednesday, which is 7 km away from Mansar and in Paoni range. Saranki told officials that he along with Ajit, Khatia, Sheru and Kaka executed the plan to kill a tiger, while 40-50 other
members stayed at a temporary camp near Amdi railway station. The poachers commuted by a shared auto rickshaw to reach the spot.

Simultaneously, the forest officials also seized a steel trap which was used in the killing of a tiger in Umred-Karhandla Wildlife Sanctuary in May this year. Saranki led the investigators to the farm of Shriram Bele, 10 km away from the sanctuary towards
Torna village, where the steel trap was hidden. It was seized with the help of metal detectors.


Activist voices concern for Ganga (October Week #5 (2013))
Aware that changing a religious custom that has been practiced for centuries is a sensitive matter, Datta wants religious leaders to be part of the committee that decided the new process along with environment experts. "We did find an alternative to goat
sacrifice during Kali puja. Now, vegetables are 'sacrificed'," he pointed out.

It was Datta's PIL that led to a court order in 2001 for immersed idols to be removed from the river within 24 hours. But it took nearly a decade to implement the order as Kolkata Port Trust and Kolkata Municipal Corporation initially refused to shoulder
the responsibility.

. In 2010, the two agencies finally joined hands - KoPT removed the structures from the water and KMC carried them away from the riverbanks.

"It is time to take a step forward and have a symbolic immersion instead of actually submerging the idols in water. We want to arrive at a well-accepted, practical and pragmatic solution," Datta said.


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