Press on Environment and Wildlife
Action plan for conservation of Great Indian Bustard gets Rajasthan chief minister's nod (June Week #2 (2013))
The action plan envisages increasing the population of these birds by addressing primary factors of habitat improvement and habitat protection. While the GIB population at present has been estimated around 250 in five states where they are found, the numbers
in Rajasthan are estimated around 100. "The species, known as ardeotis nigriceps, is critically endangered because it has an extremely small population that has undergone a rapid decline owing to a multitude of threats including habitat loss and degradation,
hunting and direct disturbance.

"This will be an important step towards conservation of the GIB. An enclosure of 2500 hectare, creating a clear space of 2000 ha, creating water holes and adequate security supervision of the birds will be taken care of under the project. Besides, cases
of poaching will be dealt with strictly," said Kak.


Bhadra earns its stripes, tiger numbers rise in two years (June Week #2 (2013))
The population of the endangered tiger in the Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary at Chikmagalur has shown a spurt over the last two years. From 28 in 2010-2011, the number of tigers has gone up to 36 in 2012-13.

Wildlife DCF Udupudi told : “Bhadra is a safe zone for tigers. Unlike other tiger reserves, the intensity of human habitation is less on the periphery of Bhadra. There are coffee plantations all around, providing artificial forest cover. Even if wild animals
stray beyond the boundaries of the reserve, they are safe.’’

Besides this, Udupudi pointed out that water sources from the Shola Forests of Mullayyanagiri, Bababudan Giri and Kemmannugundi are abundant and water flows perennially in the forest.

“Owing to the year-round water flow, forests here are evergreen, leading to an increase in the population of herbivorus animals that are prey for predators like tigers. There is also an added source of water from the Bhadra reservoir backwaters,’’ he said.


Re-allotment of category C mines in Bellary opposed (June Week #2 (2013))
In the memorandum, the villagers urged the state government not to allow 51 category C mines to resume operations in the state by re-alloting them for captive mining through auctions.

They stated that mining activities had caused serious health problems among villagers and their livestock. Agriculture activities have been severely affected by the rampant illegal mining in Sandur taluk.

Mining activities in Sandur taluk have damaged the entire forest, water bodies have been polluted and filled with mining silt and the underground water level has drastically reduced, they said and urged the state government to impose a ban on C category
mines considering its affect on the villages, the eco-rich Sandur forest and the historical Kumaraswamy Temple among other tourist spots in the vicinity.

They also stated that the CM had seen the problems of mining-affected villages in Sandur when he visited the area.


Green energy: Lakshadweep to generate electricity from coconut leaves, stem, husk and shells (June Week #2 (2013))
Choudhury, a nationally renowned solar power expert, was invited by the Lakshadweep authorities to suggest ways to set up solar power generation systems on the islands for minimising pollution. "After studying the landscape of the cluster of islands, its
habitat and the ecological system, despite being a solar expert, I suggested setting up small bio-mass power generation systems on each island that will use coconut leaves, husk and the shells."

Assured, cheap fuel supply

Wind power has also been ruled out due to land constraints," Choudhury said.

He claims power from coconut is a global first. These trees being an intrinsic part of the island and available in such abundance, fuel for the power plants is assured and comes almost free of cost. "Energy content in the fuel is very high and it will
bring down cost of generation from 28 per unit to 11 per unit," he said.

Ravi Chandar, executive engineer at the Lakshadweep power department, says: "It will reduce emissions by 80-90% in comparison to diesel generators and outgo on account of subsidy will reduce from 80 crore per year to a meagre 8 crore every year."

The plan is to set up biomass units with a total installed capacity of about 10 mw that will meet the power demand of the population. "Investment for the project has been pegged at 80 crore. It will be set up on a built, operate and transfer basis. The
company that builds the units will run it for 10 years after which it will be transferred to the government," said Chandar.


Green funds for relocating people from wildlife areas (Issue of the week, May Week #5 (2013))
Dedicated money for developing green cover would now also be utilised for relocation of people from the tiger reserves and national parks.

The environment ministry has approved a proposal of National Tiger Conservation Authority to provide money from the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) to relocate people living inside tiger reserves and other protected

Around 1,78,000 families live inside protected areas including tiger reserves and are considered a threat to wildlife because of increasing man-animal conflict. The ministry’s latest data shows that 652 people were killed and around 17,000 injured in attacks
by wild animals between 2002 and 2012. In retaliation, around 100 ferocious animals were also killed during the period.

In a bid to check this conflict, there had been a government scheme to give compensation of up to Rs. 10 lakh for a family willing to relocate in 41 tiger reserves. The fund provided in the 11th five year plan (2007-08) of around Rs. 600 crore for tiger
reserves had fallen awfully short for quick relocation


Delhi plays host to South Asian winged visitors (May Week #5 (2013))
At a time when most of its water bodies are drying up due to the scorching heat, Delhi is witnessing a rare wildlife phenomenon at Shanti Van where nearly a dozen species of South Asian waterbirds have found a safe refuge in a small seasonal wetland which
is still alive. Ecologist T. K. Roy is thrilled at the development and says it is rare for such waterbirds to be found in Delhi at this time of the year. “Wetlands, whether big or small, seasonal or perennial are very important for the aquatic ecosystem, biodiversity
and waterbirds’ habitat. While wetlands in Delhi either get completely dried up or are quickly degrading, the seasonal wetland in the middle of Shanti Van, which usually is full of waterbirds during winters but dries up in the summer months, has sprung a surprise
this time round.”

Mr. Roy, who is involved with the annual waterbird census in Delhi, says: “Among the waterbirds which can still be seen at Shanti Van wetland are the spotbill duck, little cormorant, little grebe, white-breasted waterhen, black-winged stilt, common moorhen,
little egret, intermediate egret, red-wattled lapwing, white-throated kingfisher, cattle egret and pond heron.”


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