Press on Environment and Wildlife
Presence of leopards, wild dogs detected in Krishna forests (Issue of the week, May Week 4 (2006)) Census reveals no sign of tigers, bears and hyenas
· Nearly 40,000 acres of pristine jungle exists in the reserve forest areas
· Census conducted using the `line transact method' to locate carnivorous animals
In the reserve forests of Krishna district, leopards and wild dogs top the list of carnivores in food chain in the absence of tiger population. This came to light in the census of carnivorous and herbivorous animals conducted by the Forest Department recently.
According to statistics, nine per cent of the total geographical area of Krishna district is covered by forest. Huge stretches of the 1.94 lakh acres of the forest have become degraded and partly have fallen to encroachments. But there is 30,000 acres of pristine jungle in Kondapalli Reserve Forest and another 10,000 acres in the Gaddamarugu Konduru Reserve Forest. Large carnivores and herbivores often stray into the G. Konduru Reserve Forest from Khammam district. The Forest Department conducted the census using the line transact method to search for all carnivorous animals like tigers, leopards (also referred to as panthers), wild dogs, bears, hyenas, jackals and wolfs. Pugmarks and faecal matter have confirmed the presence of leopards (Pathera pardus) and wild dogs (Cuon alpinus).
Official confirms
Divisional Forest Officer K. Suryanaryana says that Forest Department staff and others have confirmed the presence of wild dogs, which is evident from the howling and other vocalisations often heard in the jungles. However, there are no signs of tigers, bears and hyenas in the reserve forest of the district.
A large number of jackals (Canis aureus), one wolf (Canis lupis pallipes) and one civet cat (Vivarricula Indica) have been also recorded in the census for carnivores.
Plenty of wild boars (Sus scrofa) are found in the survey for census of herbivorous animals. Marks of many large herbivores like Sambar (Cervus unicolor) and Chital (Axis axis) have also been recorded.
A limited number of barking deer (Muntiacus muntjak) and four-horned antelope (chowsingha) (Tetracerus quadricornis) have also been sighted. Other mammals like Rhesus monkey (Rhesus macaque) langur (Presbytis entellus), hare (Lepus nigris collies) porcupine (Hystrix indica) exist in good number. Peacocks and jungle fowl are the large birds that inhabit the forests.
The Forest Department has created several water holes and salt licks to help the large animals to protect themselves from the heat of the summer, Mr.Suryanarayana says. The Sattemma Talli temple tank in the heart of Kondapalli reserve forest and other tanks date back to the British times, he says.


SOURCE : The Hindu, Thursday, May 25, 2006
Diclofenac banned, to be phased out in three months (May Week 4 (2006)) The Drug Controller-General of India, Ashwini Kumar, has issued a directive seeking withdrawal of Diclofenac, a painkiller for cattle. He has asked for phasing out of all such formulations within three months.
Finally agreeing with environmentalists and bird lovers the world over, Mr. Kumar has admitted that Diclofenac is the main cause of deaths of vultures in the subcontinent, which consume carcasses of animals administered with the medicine. Mr. Kumar has suggested an alternative drug once Diclofenac is phased out.
The decision to ban Diclofenac has been taken after consultations with the Director-General of Health Services and the Union Agriculture Ministry. Sources said directives had been issued to Drug Controllers in all the States to carry out the ban with immediate effect.


SOURCE : The Hindu, Thursday, May 25, 2006
Govt to move out swamp deer to other habitations (May Week 4 (2006)) The Wildlife wing of the Madhya Pradesh Forest Department would start working on an ambitious plan to relocate the swamp deer (Cervus duvaucelii branderi) or barasingha from the Kanha National Park to other sites in the state. The idea behind the move is to have the barasingha population spread over other locations, apart from Kanha, in order to shield it from possible epidemics that could take a heavy toll on the deer population.
Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) PB Gangopadhyay, while speaking to the Pioneer, said work on the plan would begin soon with the identification of alternative sites. "A site, which was formerly a human settlement with open spaces in the form of a meadow and swamps, would be ideal for the relocation of barasinghas," he said. Such sites would be scouted around and the possibility of finding one would be high in Satpura National Park.
Presently, the entire barasingha population in the state is concentrated in Kanha National Park. The subspecies Cervus duvaucelii branderi at Kanha is not found anywhere else in the country and is classified as endangered. There are about 300 species found in Kanha.
The state forest department has been attempting to get Asiatic lions from the Gir National Park in Gujarat for the Kuno Palpur Sanctuary in Sheopur district of MP. The efforts have not borne fruit as yet but the relocation is being sought on the grounds that if an epidemic were to strike at Gir, the entire lion population would be susceptible to it. The forest department is applying the same logic to the barasingha population in the state and is now looking out for alternative sites for its relocation.


SOURCE : The Pioneer, Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Tribal Bill sparks forest fears (May Week 4 (2006)) The Centre’s plans to open up forest land for use by tribals has alarmed conservationists who say this will spell doom for national parks and sanctuaries from Kanha to Kaziranga.
And with that, the efforts to protect wildlife — such as the plunging tiger population — will go up in smoke, they argue.
Changes suggested by a joint parliamentary committee to the tribal forest rights bill, to be taken up in the next session of Parliament, has escalated the long-drawn war between conservationists and champions of tribal rights.
The revised Scheduled Tribes (Recognition of Forest Rights) Bill, 2005 — tabled in Parliament last week — seeks to regularise forest dwellers’ rights on the land they have been cultivating as well as forest produce.
The original bill provided land rights to those living in forests since October 25, 1980; but the revised bill pushes the cut-off date to December 13, 2005, allowing virtually everyone, including encroachers, to have land rights.
It also transfers the crucial powers to implement the new law from the forest department to local communities.
Environmentalists fear these measures virtually hand the land and forest mafia a licence to plunder.
The bill comes at the cost of the Wildlife (Protection) Act Amendment Bill, 2005, which proposed, among other things, measures to check the dwindling tiger population in the country. The wildlife bill has now been shelved.
The tribal bill in its original form had been tabled in Parliament on December 13, 2005, before being referred to a 20-member standing committee.
The original bill allowed village gram sabhas to make proposals on land rights and government officials to decide on them, but the House panel wants matters to be settled in the village assembly itself.
The committee also wants forest-dwellers to have the right to make regulations to protect wildlife and forests, which, environmentalists fear, may be abused to plunder forest resources.
The shelving of the wildlife bill is itself an issue. The bill proposed a National Tiger Conservation Authority, allowing the Centre’s Project Tiger to have direct control over the sanctuaries and reserve forests where tigers are disappearing. They are now under the control of state governments.
The Telegraph, Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Three elephants, a bison killed in last 24 hours in N Bengal (May Week 4 (2006)) The conflict between man and nature snuffed out the lives of three tuskers in the jungles of north Bengal today.
Early in the morning, a one-month-old elephant calf was killed by a speeding passenger train bound for Alipurduar. The mother-calf duo were crossing the railway tracks near the jungle division of the Good Hope Tea Estate in Damdim (Dooars), about 40 kms from Siliguri. The mother also suffered serious injuries.
In the evening, around 5.30 pm, a herd of 10 to 12 elephants gathered near the spot. One strayed from the herd and was run over by the NJP-bound Mahananda Link Express. The elephant was critically injured and has reportedly died. The Forest Department is yet to confirm the death.
Last night, another tusker was killed under similar circumstances at Rajabhatkhawa near the Buxa Tiger Reserve in Jalpaiguri district. Also, a bison was killed by a speeding goods train last night near the Chapramari railway station in North Bengal.
The speeding trains in the Siliguri-Alipurduar broad gauge line has led to such incidents. The issue has become a major point of concern for the state’s forest department.
“We have been opposed to the idea of having broad gauge lines through the forest areas. Sadly, such incidents have occurred in the past too. It only proves that the High Court guidelines have been flouted by the Railway,” said VK Yadav, Deputy Chief Wildlife Warden.
These areas lying near the forest have been demarcated as “elephant crossing zones”. According to the guidelines, all trains passing through these areas and while taking a turn, have to lower speeds—the specified maximum speed being 30 km/hour. They are also required to blow their whistle continuously while passing through these areas to alert any wild animal that might be crossing the tracks.
More water in Bhakra ensures cool summer for northern states (May Week 4 (2006)) In the next two months of summer, the North India will not face the shortage of water supply from the Bhakra Dam. Because from the beginning of the filing period of the Bhakra Dam reservoir from May 15, the water level of Bhakra Dam was today reached 48 feet more than last year’s level. The high-level of water in Bhakra Dam will also help to generate more power and the consumer states to get more power than last year.
The water level of Bhakra Dam was 1584 feet yesterday while last year the level was 1536 feet on same day.
Officials of the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) said that so for the consumer states, including Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi are getting water supply as per their demand. In June and July when the water consumption would increase much more, then the demand of water supply to these states will be met due to high-level of water in Bhakra Dam.
As the monsoon is expected normal and water flow from the melting of the glacier is much more than last year so on the end of the filling period the water level of the Bhakra Dam will also touch 1680 feet, the optimum level to store water.
A good sign at present is that the inflow of the water due to the melting of the glacier is 48,000 thousand cusec while last year the inflow of the water on the same day was 10 thousand cusec. While the water level is high the discharge of the water to the consumer states is also ho high. The outflow was 29 thousand cusec this yeaar while last year the outflow was 16 thousand cusec.
The water in the Bhakra Dam reservoir is stored during the filling period from May 15 to September 15. In May and June, the inflow of the water in the Bhakra Dam is mostly due to melting of the glacier besides the rainfall while in July and September the inflow of the water in dam is mainly due to rainfall in its catchments area and lesser due to melting of the glacier, the officials added.
When contacted the Chairman of the BBMB, Mr Rakesh Nath, said, “We have been supplying water to the consumer states as per their demand and power supply more than last year. The water supply to these states will remain as per their demand as water level of Bhakra Dam is much higher than last year”.
The Chief Engineer (Generation) BBMB, Nangal, Mr H.S Nag, said that power generation was much more than last year. As the inflow water was high they would have more water to generate power.


SOURCE : The Tribune, Tuesday, May 30, 2006
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