Press on Environment and Wildlife
Jungle safari to start in Mandu forest areas (September Week #1 (2013))
The eco-tourism department of Madhya Pradesh forest department will soon come up with a jungle safari in forest areas of Mandu. Mandu is noted for its historical sites and picturesque landscape. However, movement of tourist was restricted only to certain
sites. With development of the jungle safari, tourist will have access to nearly 10,000 hectare of forest area.

The forest department will pump in around Rs 1.5 crore in the project. The work is expected to start after the monsoon season is over and is expected to be completed within a year.

Tourists will also get a chance to see leopards, jackals, neelgais, deers, sambhars, hornbills and other species from close quarters. They will also get a chance to camp inside the deep forest.

Elaborating on the project, the forest official said that water bodies inside the forest will be deepened further. The idea is to make it perennial and ensure that wild animals keep visiting it all through the year, along with landscape development and
plantation. Moreover, there will be 10 access points to enter inside the forest area.

Official said that the proposed jungle safari will be similar to those in Panna, Delawadi and other wildlife tourist spots.

The department is hopeful that with this project, the number of tourist inflow will increase significantly and will also help preserve forest and create awareness about environment.


Smartphones for Western Ghats conservation (September Week #1 (2013))
The pocket-sized smartphone is set to give a fillip to conservation activities in the Western Ghats.

The Kerala State Biodiversity Board (KSBB) is joining hands with the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), U.S., for a project on using smartphones in a big way for crowdsourcing, a participatory exercise to generate data, for ecological research
and conservation of the Western Ghats region.

The project has been submitted to NASA for funding under the Applied Science Programme, Udaysankar. S. Nair of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences, UAH, said.

The increasing availability of mobile devices equipped with global positioning system and improved camera features had opened up the possibility of crowdsourcing, he said. “It is something everybody can do. Armed with mobile phones, volunteers, including
schoolchildren, would collect data that can be used along with satellite images to assess the impact of land use and land cover changes in the Western Ghats


Water at 75 locations in major rivers not fit for drinking: Govt (September Week #1 (2013))
Water at 75 locations of major rivers, such as Ganga, Yamuna, Chambal, Sone and Wainaganga are not fit for drinking, the Government said in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.

The Central Water Commission (CWC) under the Water Resources Ministry, which monitors water quality at 396 stations located in all the major river basins, published a report Water Quality Hot Spots in Rivers of India in 2011, Water Resources Minister Harish
Rawat said while replying to a question in the Lok Sabha..........

Maharashtra topped the list of having the maximum number of rivers having 28 polluted stretches, namely Bhima, Godavari, Mula and Mutha, Pawana, Panchganga, Patalganga, Indrayani, Koyna, Kundalika, Kalu, Kanhan, Kolar, Mithi, Tapi, Girna, Nira, Weinganga,
Wardha, Krishna, Purna, Nira, Chandrabhaga, Venna, Ulhas, Rangavali and Bhatsa.

The Minister told the House that 19 such polluted stretches were found in Gujarat by CPCB..


Birds take flight as realty boom jolts Okhla sanctuary (September Week #1 (2013))
Okhla Bird Sanctuary is in danger . At least 10 realty projects within a kilometre radius of its Noida boundary might just sound its death knell. High rises , flyovers , malls and heavy traffic on roads on both sides of the ailing sanctuary have not just
driven away the winged visitors , but also destroyed the microhabitat that could have been an excellent groundwater recharge system as well as the city's lung . 

The projects have come up on the potential eco-sensitive zone (ESZ ) of the sanctuary without environmental clearance or the wildlife board's permission , exposing the collusion between realty giants and the government . When TOI visited the sanctuary
, it found a strip of small trees on the Noida side, which could hardly protect the fragile habitat of the sanctuary from the pollution caused by the projects that have encroached upon the eco-sensitive zone occupying 10km radius , as defined by the Supreme
Court . The Delhi side is absolutely bare . The boundary wall towards the Jamia Nagar side in Delhi has been broken up in places to dump waste . Uttar Pradesh is one of the many states that have not notified the ESZ around its national parks and sanctuaries
, leading to degradation of the Okhla sanctuary's rich wetland ecosystem . Data with the Noida Authority shows there are 53 projects in various stages of construction within the ESZ .


Shifting lions from Gujarat: MP govt seeks Rs 7cr from Centre (Issue of the week, August Week #5 (2013))

"... the Supreme Court has passed final orders on the shifting of Asiatic lions from Gujarat to Madhya Pradesh directing the ministry of environment and forests to take urgent steps for their reintroduction,"
former Madhya Pradesh principal chief conservator of forests (Wildlife) PK Shukla has said in a letter to enviroment ministry (MoEF).

Shukla had sought grant of Rs 737.42 lakh for various works, including transportation of animals, strengthening of protection infrastructure and 

habitat development among others at the sanctuary, located about 300 kms from here.


Kaziranga reels from twin blows (August Week #5 (2013))

Kaziranga National Park suffered a double blow today with poachers killing two rhinos in the wee hours of the morning and the Union defence ministry turning down a proposal of deploying unmanned aircraft at
the world heritage site.

The rhinos were killed at the Burapahar range of Kaziranga National Park around 3am. The poachers managed to remove the horn of the female rhino before fleeing.

Forest guards responded and there was a shootout with the poachers after which four cartridges of AK-47 rifles were recovered. Today's incident takes the number of rhinos killed in the park this year already
to 18. Last year, the park had lost 17 rhinos.


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