Book Reviews

Iora and the Quest of Five

Iora and the Quest of Five

Author: Arefa Tehsin


Arefa Tehsin has been inspired by her father Dr. Raza H Tehzin, whose undiluted love for the the wild is evident in his various original writings.  The daughter, inspired by this llove for all living beings, has taken it upon herself to bring the joys of her childhood to many more generations.

Any child has the capability to dream, create, design and build a wonderful place in the world.  This world is enriched by her interaction with flowers, butterflies, birds and animals.   The virtual world can expand imagination but also limits the imagination in some ways by information overload.     Arefa's world, I mean Iora's world, is rich with unspoilt and unlimited imagination-a real roller coaster ride for any child.   As an adult I was transformed to the beautiful world of fairy tales when I read the book.  

Iora is a resident of Twitterland, a hidden rainforest civilisation.  Through her adventures in the Whacky Wilderness-an enchanted jungle- along with dwarf Beetle and bosom foe Owlus, Arefa takes us through many tribes, clans and creatures of the wild.  For a generation who has lapped up films like "Avtar" and the" Harry Potter" Series,  visualising the world of Iora is easy.   As  identification with the imaginary world grows- which it is bound to- thanks to the very "suggestive" names of creatures in the Whacky Wilderness,  the reader is made to think.  Are we destroying the known and unknown treaures of the wild in our unbridled quest for development?

Written in a racy, yet simple language it is a must read for all children and the adults who look after them.

 Review by Dr.Susan Sharma

Burning Issues

Save Aravalli Hills Petition

Save Aravalli Hills Petition

- Susan Sharma


Gurgaon and Faridabad have seen Surajkund, Badkhal and Dumdama lakes disappear within the last 25-30 years, once vegetation in Aravalis was destroyed and hilllsides dug up for minerals/stones for construction and/or levelled for putting up buildings. The ban by the Supreme Court on all mining cant restore those water bodies, they are gone for ever.

The Aravalis also consist of unspoilt forests like the Mangarbani.  Besides the Bani being the preserve of fauna and flora endemic to the Aravalis (probably the only patch in Rajasthan-Haryana-Delhi, where Aravalis have survived in their original glory), this unspoilt forest is most likely responsible for water recharging and safeguarding water veins underground.  Destroy this vegetation cover, build on it and we could end up blocking/destroying any number of water veins under those impenetrable rock-systems.
 
Will the Gurgaon-Faridabad-Delhi residents let the unspoilt Aravalis in and around Manger Bani disappear? They could be destroying the most important water-recharge System/Preserve that could have sustained the coming generations by providing much needed elixir of life 'WATER' 

SAVE THE ARAVALIS THAT WE STILL HAVE------REHABILITATING THEM MAY BE BEYOND ALL OF US.

Tell Haryana Govt to modify the Sohna master plan and save the Aravallis! 

- Zone Aravalli hills as water recharge zone and sanctuary - Sign the Petition! And forward to your friends
Please join this campaign:

https://www.change.org/en-IN/petitions/town-and-country-planning-department-haryana-india-zone-aravalli-hills-as-water-recharge-zone-and-sanctuary?share_id=cgPLRNKgoF&utm_campaign=mailto_link&utm_medium=email&utm_source=share_petition

 

Mangarbani is a village in the Aravalis, which is a living natural museum of endemic trees of the Aravalis.  Read a blog on this village at

http://www.indianwildlifeclub.blogspot.in/2012/07/mangarbani-sacred-grove.html


Calendar of the month

Desktop calendar for September 2012




RagooRao from Mysore has done some beautiful digital paintings, which we have converted into monthly calendars.  Please download these calendars free and use them as your desk top wall paper.

By clicking on RagooRao's name, you can read the numerous articles he has written for IndianWildlifeClub.com.  He is also a superb nature photographer.



To download the calendar suitable for the size of your desktop, please click on the link below.

http://www.indianwildlifeclub.com/Calendar/MonthlyCalendar.aspx



Common Snakes of India

The Rat Snake

The Rat Snake

-Jitender  Dhir


Snakes, as we mostly imagine are a matter of “fear” to most of us. But they are actually   beautiful creatures if we care to understand them.  One only needs an eye to see this beauty of nature. 

In India  many  types of  snakes are  found in a variety  of  forests/vegetations;  most  of them are non venomous with only  around  four  species being  venomous.  One commonly found   non venomous species is Rat Snake.  As is clear from the name, it mainly feeds on rats, frogs and such small preys.   So it is commonly found in all such places where these preys are abundant like fields (mainly rice) and other human habitats.  Their length can vary and can be even more than 2 meters.  Their color also varies and can be yellowish, grayish or black.  It  has  beautiful  black markings  all over the   body and  the  markings  on the  jaws and  head   just  nearly  co inside.  The markings on the body differ from that on the tail.  Rat snakes are light weight snakes.  Also note that their look has some look- a likes which they resemble. One of them is the Cobra. 
When I  encountered the  snake  ( in the experience I  have  narrated ) I  wrongly identified  it  as  a  female Cobra. 

This snake is widely distributed throughout India and also in other parts of Asia. It is a day hunter and remains completely hidden in the night at various places like under the rocks, holes, dark places like pipes etc.  Its  habitat varies  from   sea side  to  densely  forested areas.  The  main habitat  types  where it  is  found  include agricultural lands, forests, human habitats like  near  food storage, under  the rocks and  bricks or  such  other  debris dumps.  It  is  also  one of the  fastest  snakes  of  India and this  characteristic  makes  it  fit  to successfully  hunt and  survive in even the toughest  conditions.   It also has good climbing and dropping capability. It  can stand  tall  at  about  half  meters  from ground and  show  its  anger by  making a  sound  when the  need  arises.  Like Cobra  it can stretch is  upper  body  to  look big and  defend itself  from the dangers.

I shall not make this somewhat boring by discussing only the biological features of Rat snake.  Now, about my experience in this encounter with Rat snake! 

One rainy   morning of  this  August,  weather  was  pleasant  after the  rainy showers  at  night,  I  was on my  way  to  photograph  birds. I stopped at the point near fields to photograph the Indian roller bird for its instincts. I was busy capturing this colorful bird’s beauty.  I was on the  pathway  photographing  the  bird in the  fields which were at somewhat lower level than path way.  I suddenly noticed a stick sort of thing just beside the pathway.  As this  was my  first encounter with rat snake , my  mind  just gave  a passing thought  of it  being a sort of  shrub standing, but  I  decided to  look more  closely  through my  lens and that was it !  My senses   became more tense with  less of  caution but more  of  excitement.   There was no end to excitement of that moment.  I was only 2 meters away from the Rat snake beauty.  I  made  no  delay  in capturing it through my  lens  to  get  it recorded forever. 


Thrilling moment it was for me.  It seemed  as if  it  has come  only  to  give  me  his/her glimpse and  to  get photographed. You  know, such  moments are rare and  lucky  when you  get  such  rewards  from nature,  mostly  you  have  to  hunt at  large for taking them into  your  cams. 

All in all,  with this writing, I want  to convey  the message  that  Nature in every  form is  beautiful and  should be explored.  Be it the  beauty of a Rat Snake or  a  beautiful woman, you  only  need to  give time and effort  to find  and  explore  them  and  you  get  your  rewards.  Just take time to explore that beautiful world around you. You will realize that the human is not the only beauty God has made. 

Jitender  Dhir

Wildlife Enthusiast and Birdwatcher

Jitenderdhir@indiatimes.com

 

Events

IndianWildlifeClub gets Innovation Award!

Excellence Award 2012 for Innovation in Protection and Preservation of Environment and Wildlife Habitat

-Susan Sharma


Your club received yet another award in August 2012.  Excellence Award 2012 for Innovation in Protection and Preservation of Environment and Wildlife Habitat  The award was presented to www.IndianWildlifeClub.com 
by the Knowledge Resource Development and Welfare Group (www.krdwg.org) on 31st August, 2012 at a function organized at IIT, Delhi.



Award being received by Dr.Susan Sharma and Alok Kaushik from Dr.Anil Wali, MD, Foundation for Innovation & Technology Transfer, IIT Delhi. Dr.Naresh Gill, secretary, KRDWG, New Delhi is on the left.


At the function organized in IIT Delhi, Dr.Susan Sharma , Founder and Mr.Alok Kaushik , Chief Technical Advisor to IndianWildlifeclub.com made  presentations  explaining  the  evolution and structure of the club.
IndianWildlifeClub.com is an initiative to involve the common man in the cause of environment conservation.  The interest and experience of the common man falls in the various levels of the modified Maslow Pyramid depicted below.
 Innovation is in the content developed and structured such that it caters to people at any of these stages.  Irrespective of what stage anyone is, there is something in the site for him/her. 
Content is continually being developed and structured suitably.
The second innovation is getting members to contribute content, thereby increasing their ownership of the site.
The third innovation is in leveraging social media to link the Club and its members.

General

Wilderness Conservation Exchange (WCE)

 Wilderness Conservation Exchange(WCE)

-Susan Sharma




 Our Club's Journey over the course of time

The Journey has been inspiring
1.Our portal is now recognized by major NGOs and Govt Institutions in India as a serious community of nature lovers. We have taken serious discussion on conservation out of the seminar circuit and achieved involvement/participation of the common man.
2.  We have managed drawing a distinction between wildlife conservation and animal rights
3. Participation in our interactive features are slowly picking up
4. As compared to talking to the 'converted' IWc encourages sharing of information and thoughts from anyone who is vaguely interested in nature.  We act as a link between the expert and the common man.
5.Analysis of the participation in our quiz programs has indicated gradual increase in interest in the members.
6. Our growth has so far been organic, in response to member feedback.  Currently we are poised to implement an interactive forum
7.  The WCE project is also conceived based on member feedbcak, which was further refined based on a questionaire survey among members.


 WCE will be our flagship program, the first on ground, combining online and offline capabilities.

There are many volunteering opportunities all over India and many of our Club members have been writing in asking for volunteering opportunities.  If the Club creates an exchange connecting Institutions needing Volunteers with potential volunteers,  we can fulfil a long felt need.

That is how the project "Wilderness Conservation Exchange" was born.  We have entered the business plan for the same in a Business Plan Challenge Round initiated by SWF (Switzerland Wildlife Fund). SWF, are seeking to draw attention to the health of Tropical Forests by supporting Initiatives that will help conserve Tropical Forests.  Among other parameters, a business/action plan  participating in the Challenge will be shortlisted based on the number of Votes a Plan garners. 

The voting for the WCE project is now over.  Our project tops the start-up category with 183 votes.  There are 21 projects short listed under this category.  One winner selected out of these will be announced on December 17, 2012.  The winner will receive in kind support from WWF-Switzerland.  





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