Press on Environment and Wildlife
Ludhiana laps up green app (Issue of the week, July Week #2 (2013))
The ever shrinking green cover in the city has made a smart phone application, 'Suggest a tree spot', very popular among Ludhianvis, who have suggested maximum number of spots where trees could be planted.  

Launched throughout India on environment day, the app has so far recorded 78 suggestions out of which 36 have been made by residents in Ludhiana.

The app allows residents to take pictures of the place where trees could be planted by MC. After receiving the pictures, the app will tag the locations on Google Maps and upload the information along with details of the user.
Suggestions made by city will be compiled and forwarded to local municipal authority, which can use the information during tree plantation drives. Users can also give information on the number of trees that need to be planted.


Local biodiversity to be part of primary syllabus curriculum from primary level (July Week #2 (2013))
The programme seeks to sensitise the students from the early level about the biodiversity assets in their areas so that they will in I future become champions of the initiatives to conserve them, said Prof. Oommen V Oommen, Chairman of the KSBB said.

He said the KSBB has approved panchayat biodiversity registers (PBRs) prepared by nearly 670 panchayats across the state. The proposal is to expose the students to the biodiversity assets available in their areas and these PBRs will form a sort of reference
books for the exercises, Prof Oommen said.

The KSBB and NBA are keen to ensure that biodiversity education is not turned into dull exam-oriented course. Biodiversity will be taught through an across the curriculum'' strategy where its multiple dimensions will be weaved in different subjects including
mathematics and English, apart from science, Prof Oommen said.


US charges 150 accused in online wildlife sales (July Week #2 (2013))
More than 150 people face federal and state charges after authorities disrupted online wildlife trafficking operations involving tiger, leopard and jaguar pelts, elephant ivory and live birds.

Items seized under "Operation Wild Web" include the pelts of endangered big cats such as the Sumatran tiger, leopard and jaguar; live migratory birds such as the California scrub jay; whale teeth; elephant and walrus ivory; and a zebra pelt.  

Working with counterparts in several states, federal officials targeted illegal wildlife sellers who operate through Craigslist, eBay and other Internet marketplaces and classified ads. Wildlife officers in Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia ran similar
operations at the same time.


Leopard enters house, injures man in Belgaum (July Week #2 (2013))
A 55-year-old man was injured in a leopard attack at Chikale village of Khanapur taluk in Belgaum on Saturday night. ...  It is said that the big cat entered the courtyard of Vasudev's house at 10pm and tried to attack the dog tied outside the house. When
the dog began to bark, it woke up Vasudev. He opened the door didn't notice the leopard enter the house.

The leopard is suspected to have come from nearby Jamboti forest. Forest officials have summoned experts from Mysore who arrived late Sunday evening. The department brought a cage from Dandelli. They will start the operation to catch the leopard on Monday.


Bombay Natural History Society to study conservation of giant clams in Andaman & Nicobar Islands (July Week #2 (2013))
"When it comes to marine ecosystems, the reality is that conventional measures of declaring protected areas are not successful. We must look at newer approaches for conservation. While there is a lot of ambiguity over the conservation reserves in the Wildlife
Protection Act, 1972, it may be the way forward," Apte said. Conservation reserves allow for greater participation from local communities, he added.

Extending the project to Andaman and Nicobar, where there are many more species, will throw up challenges. Lakshadweep had only two species of giant clams, whereas Andaman and Nicobar have five species, Apte said.

"The greater challenge in Andaman and Nicobar is that there are more stakeholders. Unlike the homogenised human habitation in Lakshadweep, communities in Andaman and Nicobar are numerous and varied,"he said.

The project received a shot in the arm after the UK-based Whitley Fund for Nature recently announced a grant of £70,000 (about Rs 64 lakh) for the initiative.


Himalayan Blunders (July Week #2 (2013))
In 1991, environmentalist Anil Agarwal, after months of research for the publication Flood, Flood Plains and Environmental Myths, brought to attention facts that were considered inconvenient. He wanted to understand why floods occurred with greater intensity
in the plains of India. The general perception was that deforestation in the Himalayas caused floods in the plains, and that planting trees upstream would "fix" the problem. His research showed that the Himalayas were geologically dynamic and prone to landslides,
which would in turn block rivers and create natural dams. The bursting of these dams - which were made of rubble, stone and silt - would wreak havoc downstream. He then went on to argue that we needed to consider a Himalayan policy that took into account the
fragility and vulnerability of the region. Road activity had already started to scar the hills, and landslides were increasingly becoming frequent. This, in turn, made it more dangerous for people to live in those areas.

His message was tough: stop blaming the people living in the Himalayas for the floods in the Indo-Gangetic plains. Instead, focus on building a management system to live with floods - harvest the excess water in ponds, tanks and groundwater recharge systems.
It was the wilful destruction of the flood plains through unchecked construction of buildings and drainage systems that exacerbated floods. The Himalayas, he said, would remain vulnerable to landslides and flash floods and development would not work if it
did not take into account the true nature of the region. Learn, therefore, to live with the hazards of the Himalayas. The bottom line is that we need to learn to live with nature and not have the temerity to think that we can overcome it.


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