Press on Environment and Wildlife
Estuarine mangrove forest under reclamation threat (October Week #3 (2013))
The yellow mangrove, long thought to be extinct, was discovered on Vincent Island by mangrove enthusiasts in 2011. Experts also found another species of mangrove on the island recently. The yet-to-be-identified species has
the combined characteristics of the critically endangered Brugulera sexangula and Brugulera gymnorrhiza species, experts say. This species was also noticed by the Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies team during its visit.

The island is a prime destination for several marine fish species to spawn. A large concentration of juvenile fish can always be found within the mangrove protection of the island.

The destruction of the mangroves will lead to the coastal areas getting exposed to erosion, flooding, and storm damage; altered natural drainage patterns; increased salt intrusion; and destruction of critical habitats for many aquatic and terrestrial species,
with serious implications for biodiversity, conservation, and food security.


Reptiles' existence threatened by superstitions: Researcher (October Week #3 (2013))
Hoshing said that though it is well known that none of the lizards found in India are venomous, the superstitions about geckos being poisonous persists. "Another common misconception about reptiles is that bright coloured snakes are always venomous, but
there are several snakes such as the Royal snake, which has brilliant colours, but is non-venomous. Some superstitions about these creatures now threaten their very existence," he said.

"There is a belief that if spiny-tailed lizards are boiled in oil, it can be applied on joints to cure arthritis. There is no basis for this belief, but it persists. As a result these lizards are caught, their spines removed and then boiled alive in oil
and peddled as a medicinal mixture," Hoshing said.

Hoshing's lecture was interspersed with information about curious phenomenon such as how snakes utilize their tongues and the Jacobson's organ "to smell" their prey or the process of moulting - the shedding of skins that is done by nearly all reptiles.
"There is a need to spread awareness about reptiles and snakes," he said.

In the past snakes used to be extensively hunted for their skin. Today, the trade in exotic snake skin has gone down but the number of these reptiles continues to decline because of habitat loss, he said.

Hoshing rued that research on reptiles and amphibians in India is limited with most of the studies concentrated on birds and mammals


Can’t destroy mangroves for coal plant (Issue of the week, October Week #1 (2013))
The Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority has rejected a proposal from Tata Power to relocate 520 mangroves from the Mahul creek as part of a plan to turn one of its Trombay power plants into a fully coal-powered unit. 

Placing its proposal before the MCZMA, Tata Power said it will set up a Flue Gas Desulphurisation plant to control sulphur dioxide emissions. In order to construct a cooling channel for the FGD, the company sought permission to remove 520 mangroves in
the Mahul Creek that were in the way. In return, the company promised to plant mangroves on 25 hectares of land at Sarsole, Navi Mumbai, with the help of the forest department. The MCZMA was not in favour of this proposal and has asked the company to look
for better alternatives. 

The state environment department is of the view that Tata should consult a hydraulic engineer to design a plan to remove silt without disturbing the mangrove vegetation. 


Save Ganga' activist's fast enters 102nd day (October Week #1 (2013))
Environmentalist and former IIT professor GD Agrawal started his fast-unto-death to save the Ganga but the event has been completely ignored by the powers that be, including the UPA government at the Centre.

The octogenarian has now stopped taking water. Agrawal has been pleading with the central government to take strong measures to protect the Ganga river and its ecology and keep its flow uninterrupted.

Water rights activist Rajendra Singh, Ravi Chopra and Professor  Rashid Siddiqui – resigned, for the second time, from the  membership of the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) on Friday.


Survey finds realtors violating norms near Okhla sanctuary (October Week #1 (2013))
In a joint effort involving Noida Authority and Noida Police, a survey was conducted to identify realty projects being developed within a 10 kilometer radius of the Okhla Bird Sanctuary. The team found that around 40 developers were carrying on construction
without any environmental clearance. The National Green Tribunal, in its August 14 order, had ordered for such surveys.

Gautam Buddh Nagar forest department said the realty projects of more than 50 developers are falling within 10 km radius


Mockery in the name of relief: Uttarakhand flood victims get as little as Rs.150 compensation for cattle & property losses (October Week #1 (2013))
A tragedy has visited Uttarakhand a little over three months after heavy rainfall triggered disaster across the Himalayan state

Data released by the Information and Public Relations Department of the Uttarakhand government for Bageshwar shows that Rs.2,27,38,756 has been distributed to the victims till date.

On the ground, it doesn't add up. A village in district Bageshwar called Kanda has received only Rs.8,680 as compensation after landslides left cattle, farms and houses damaged. Many residents lost their entire families.

The details of cheque numbers and amount given to at least 25 farmers are available with Mail Today, and make for pretty sorry reading.

People are still contributing from their income for the victims, but that help does not seem to have reached the right destination.

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