Bio-Diversity

Ways to dialogue

Posted by Himani Kala on December 12, 2012

 
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Ways to Dialogue..........

Annual river in Kumbhalgarh WLS
I do not know how to express my view today….I was in the field “Kumbhalgarh WLS” to share our research findings with local community called “Raika”. Raika is a community whose main occupation is livestock rearing especially sheep and goat rearing and they are traditionally dependent on the forest for their need.


View of Aravalli Hills


Garasia Tribal

Raika community









                            This workshop cum field visit was organized by an NGO called “Lok-hit Pashu Palak Sansthan (LPPS) that is working with Raikas for the welfare of this community in the vicinity of Kumbhalgarh WLS. Then being with Foundation for Ecological Security (FES) (presently with Green Future Foundation, GFF) my colleague and I was asked to share our research as well as “what we are doing inside and outside the protected areas for the benefit of local communities and on conservation aspect”.  Other participants were from Kalpvriksh (NGO from Pune) and Sahjeevan (NGO from BHuj-Kachchh) along with few members of Maldhari community from Banni Grassland (Kachchh- Gujarat). This Maldhari community was invited to share their views about the conservation of grasslands in extreme western part of country. Apart from this they did share their notion about Forest Right Act (2006) and how they are managing their resources in sustainable manner.  
Grass potential of Kumbhalgarh WLS
Known person from Kalpvriksh was very clear in telling about the Forest Right Act, Individual Property Right (IPR) and Community Property Right (CPR).  Many things are very much clearly mentioned in the Act but some of the NGOs are trying to misinterpret the information available and the local community vivaciously grasping this information. It is so disheartening to see how the real facts are getting distorted!!!!! I wanted to tell many things but I didn’t find it as a suitable platform. Though, it was very difficult for me to keep myself quiet, and I did communicate with local community but in a different perspective. One thing which came up, was the management aspect, it’s not that local community cannot manage their resources but lack of collective efforts or you can say lack of UNITY is becoming a major problem.  Most of my friends think that these tribal and local communities are innocent people but increased impact of technology and politics has grown its root deeper at the village level and that is where their innocence is paying interest. Literate people are taking advantage of their innocence and lack of accord to earn their bread. It’s so ridiculous!


I am a wildlife biologist, I do care about the forest and practically I am against any type of developmental activities inside the forest, I do believe in natural flow of nutrient and natural regeneration of forest but on the other hand I do aware of the rights which are being asked by local community. Here comes my concern of transient the information, passing on the right information and in precise way should be the criteria in engaging these people with us. Dialogue with respective department and local community should be in agenda. If government has brought some Act for the welfare of the tribal community, then we all should join hands together towards the sustainable management and conservation of our resources.
Some of the NGOs are behaving like a rival of forest department. In this way the differences and clashes between the forest department and local community cannot be filled.  These NGOs should work like cement instead of working like a negative catalyst.  Overall these resources are all ours and it’s our duty to conserve these resources in sustainable manner. If economic growth is necessary for the country then same thing should apply for the tribal also and I don’t think anyone will deny this fact of economic and social uplifting of local and tribal community but in this social and economic uplifting one should never forget our environment and sustainable use of natural resources.  

Bio-Diversity

A Majestic abode for Wildlife………..

Posted by Himani Kala on December 12, 2012

 
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A Majestic abode for Wildlife………..

Sitamata Wildlife Sanctuary is a beautiful abode for the birds of different regions. It is supposed to believe that Goddess 'Sita' had spent her few years of exile in this area, hence this sanctuary named as Sitamata WLS with three perennial rivers in its account. This sanctuary has its immense importance in Southern Rajasthan mainly because it forms the northwestern limit of Teak-bamboo forests and the fauna occurring there in. It is exceptional for diversity and interspersion of habitats, which includes area of teak stands, wetlands, perennial streams, gentle undulating mountains, natural deep gorges and fine grooves of mixed woodlands. The location of this sanctuary being at the inter junction of the Aravalli, Vindyan hill ranges, and Malwa Plateau makes it zoo-geographically important and more unique as floral and faunal elements of both ranges could occur.
This majestic Wildlife Sanctuary (SWLS) lies in the districts of Chittaurgarh, Udaipur and newly formed Pratapgarh district in the southwest region of Rajasthan State extending upto 422.95 km2. Three perennial river i.e. Jakham, karmoi and Sitamata wet the sanctuary through out the year. General topography presents a picture of tangled wilderness of ridges, plateaus, valleys with network of streams and at places fairly wide plains.
The climate is characterized by distinct winter, summer and monsoon season.The winter commences from November and becomes cold in December –January with the minimum temperature of 6oC. Summer starts from mid March and the heat become intense in April with the maximum temperature of 45oC. Rain showers from mid June and continues up to mid September. Sometimes winter showers also occur in January-February. 
Bauhinia racemosa
Bolssom
Peristylis spp.
  When talk about Rajasthan, only scene comes in mind is vast sand dunes, desert, dry areas but seeing this sanctuary would surely surprise everyone by seeing network of three rivers Jakham, the Karmoi and the Sitamata and accompanied lush green riparian vegetation is main characteristic of this sanctuary.All this have resulted in diverse micro and macro habitats that are home to quite a few conservation significant floral species like Sterculia urens,Dendrocalamus strictus, Chlorophytum tuberosum, Buchanania lanzan, Desmostachya bipinnata, Gloriosa superba and Orchid like Vanda and Peristylis.
 

 
With so many characteristics, this sanctuary is interspersed with about 26 villages and their agriculture field that creates a typical mosaic; while along the periphery there are nearly 20 villages. The agricultural activities coupled with the heavy biotic pressure of domestic livestock, illicit cutting of wood, timber and bamboo and other MFP collection, encroachments, both inside and the periphery exerts enormous pressure on the PA.
Indian Peafowl
This entire geographic feature makes this sanctuary perfect abode for more then 300 species of birds including Indian Pitta, Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Black-naped Monarch, Verditer Flycatcher, Ultramarine Flycatcher, three type of Kingfisher and major attraction is Stroke-billed Kingfisher in the riverine, Tit species like Black-lored Tit, Great Tit, small birds like munias and winter visitors like warblers, and even can see dancing Indian Peafowls everywhere in the monsoon season. 
Peacock Pansy
Butterflies like Lime butterflies, Mormon, Blue Tigers, Grey, blue, peacock and chocolate pansy can be seen feeding on many flowering species.                                                                           
Tiny spiders are of course can bring joy of being in the forest.
Mammals like Palm and Small Indian Civet are an attraction in the night feeding on some fruiting trees. Jungle Cat and smallest Rusty-spotted Cat is also a feature of attraction in the sanctuary along with endangered Four-horned Antelope. 



Indian Rock Python
Reptiles like Fan-throated Lizard, to poisonous Kobra, Krait to Python, even crocodiles can be seen at the bank of Jakham Dam.






Overall this sanctuary is a must visit place in southern Aravallis. Even Sitamata temple is located at the heart of the sanctuary midst of lush green forest with riverine all along. 
Ravines
Waterfall near Sitamata Temple
One could ever imagine a walk in the forest listening chirping birds all over, fishes and even small crabs in the river, water is so clear that one can even see river-bed full of small pebbles, deep gorges and valley and after that a small water fall. It’s so comforting to be in this protected area. I would advise to all my friends to take some time off from their busy life and visit this place at least once in their life.

2 comments:

Wildlife

bishnoi

Posted by vinay kumar on December 11, 2012

 
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save animals and trees and always believe in the words "live and let live".

Any other

snakes

Posted by kaivalya on November 11, 2012

 
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Little Known Destinations

A small lake near my place

Posted by Soham on November 08, 2012

 
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I live in a captivity where there is wonderful nature and a vast flora and fauna. 
I love being here.

Just a few kilometers away from my home is a lake which is home to more than 100 species of birds.
Anyways, this is not a "lake" but is a wasteyard with sewage treated water dumped there.

My recent trip on 3 November 2012 yielded me with :
  • Cormorants
  • Marsh Harrier
  • Crested Honey Buzzard
  • Asian Paradise Flycatcher
  • White Eyed Buzzard
  • Tufted Duck
  • Common Moorhen
  • Rufous Tailed Shrike
  • Rufous Lark
  • Dalmatian Pelican
  • Isabelline Wheatear
  • Shikra
  • Glossy Ibis

Man Animal Conflict

The Blackbucks of Koppal District

Posted by Krishna Kulkarni on November 01, 2012

 
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In this blog its about the Blackbucks (a species of antilopes) in and around the Koppal district of Karnataka, the place where I hail from.

A Blackbuck in dry grasses.

    Now these Blackbucks (Antilope cervicapra) are a species of Antilopes native to the Indian sub-continent. These have been classified as endangered by IUCN since 2003. Blackbuck is the only living species of genus Antilope. Today, the blackbuck population is confined to areas in Maharashtra, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, with a few small pockets in central India.

Female ones can be identified without horns.

 

         There are about a few thousands of blackbucks found in Koppal and Yelburga taluqs(sub-districts) about 15km away from Koppal district. These herd of blackbucks graze in a group of 5 to 20 individuals in the dry grasses near Koppal. Though these are prohibited against hunting and poaching, occasionally these are hunted down for their flesh and skin. The only natural predators of these blackbucks are wolves other than man. The main food of these animals is the leaves of thorny shrub, Prosopis juliflora found abundant through out the district.

         The most of area in which these animals graze is black soil. These herds are found nearby small streams and more often graze into the crops of nearby villagers. The people have found it tough to avoid them from grazing into the fields. There has been a loss of Rs. 1 crore to the farmers in the year 2010. However the farmers do no harm to these antilopes instead they request the Forest Dept. Officials to shift these herbivores to nearby sanctuaries and save their crops.

         However, since there is no or very less forest land in the Koppal district, it is not possible to shift them. Also the blackbucks are sensitive animals and they may die of shock if they are tranquilized and physically shift them to nearby sanctuaries. Since there is no forest land in Koppal district, the department may require around 400-500 acres to set up a blackbuck sanctuary. However there are no plans to setup a sanctuary as it involves a long process like huge funds to buy agriculture land from farmers and taking permission from the state and union governments.

 

        However the union and state governments are not in a mood to take a positive step.

General

Proteins sweeter than Carbohydrates!

Posted by Kumarasamy on October 23, 2012

 
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National Parks

TRIP TO CORBETT NATIONAL PARK.

Posted by salil sharma on October 20, 2012

 
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                                                                    Our Corbett Visit


The day I am sharing was just like another normal scheduled day to work when I was getting ready & was about to leave home for my job. Suddenly my husband asked a very surprising but interesting question Hey! Would you like to visit Jim Corbett National Park. Amazed & awed unable to make out I said “no” I cant, I have to reach my work place in time and moreover I have not applied for any leave. During this time, examination were going on in the college and I was on examination duty. But unable to control my zeal and emotions I applied for leave, got it approved and within an hour of packing and arranging we left for our journey to Jim Corbett National Park. The most interesting part being, no bookings were made in advance, neither did we have any idea of the way to be followed. Unaware of anything we decided to move on. From Chandigarh we started at 11.30am & through Jagadhari , Yamunanagar & Rorkee at 5.12p.m. we were at Haridwar.  Now there was no idea and while on the way we checked for hotels, resorts and jeep safari ‘s on the internet. We got in touch with a travelling operator who kept us guiding from New Delhi. He gave us the address of a resort called ‘ Jagaar Jungle Resort’. Lateron we came to know that he was the owner of the resort and the couple handled their business from New Delhi. I would like to mention that they were cooperative to an extent and kept guiding us till we reached the resort.

From Haridwar taking a right turn towards Nazibabad  we were on the state highway 34.While moving towards Nazibabad we were crossing an area that was under Reserved Forests just close to Raja ji National Park. On the way we could find sign boards showing “ Elephants crossing Area; Drive slowly”. This made us more anxious and little fear had also taken over us. We were heading towards our destination on an unknown road. This led to make more frantic calls to our tour operator asking him every now and then which way to follow, are we on safer road or not? From Nazibabad we moved towards Nagina-Dhampur-Afjalgarh-Kashipur.Our resort Jagaar was close to Kashipur touching the buffer zone of Jim Corbett National Park. It was 9.40 pm that we reached the resort following an unpaved road through a village in pitch dark. The aura and ambience of the resort was completely raw. Small thatched cottages with wooden doors and little bulb lights on the path leading to our cottage gave the resort a complete wild look.As we were enjoying the dinner, conversing with the staff of the resort we came to know about various stories of the tiger especially the man-eater which was killed by the villagers 2-3 months back. Only one small latch on the door was the safety in the cottage. Initially unable to sleep, both of us were lying silently without talking to each other and hearing some strange noises from outside, we slept saying good night as early morning at 5 we had to get a wake up call from the resort staff. At 1.00 a.m. my sleep was interrupted by some noise and I could see my husband still lying in the same position with his eyes wide open.Shockingly I asked, what happened and back came the reply I am unable to sleep.Some stupid scary noises kept him awake.

 So at 5.00 in the morning we got a call and within half an hour, the resort staff handed over to us our breakfast packed and guided us towards Ramnagar the tiny town 8 kms away from the resort. We drove by our own car to Ramnagar. Here I would like to mention one very strange thing. At 5.30 or so we were at Ramnagar and the whole town was bustling with life. Markets open, people shopping at early dawn. I never saw such a thing in my life. On asking some local people we came to know that from this little town buses move to various higher reaches of Uttrakhand which are far away. So markets remain open at Ramnagar to facilitate people who are travelling.  From the Ramnagar forest guest house and ticket counter we took tickets for Dhikaka forest range. We got tickets for a canter i.e. a huge truck open from all sides. Corbett National Park is situated in the foothills of the Himalayas. The present area of Corbett National Park is1318.54 sq. km .including 520 sq. km. core area of and 797.72 sq.km.of buffer area.  Corbett has four forest ranges: Dhikala, Domunda, Sonanadi, Bijrani and Jhirna. Main vegetation found at Corbett National Park is sal, khair, ber, bel, semal, khingan, rohini and bamboo. River Ramganga is the most important river and its tributaries are sonanadi, mandaland palain. River Kosi runs proximate to the park and is also a prominent resource. We were little late and almost all vehicles had already left for the Dhikala range. Our canter started at 7.00a.m.. As we entered the forest we first saw a Sambhar who was about to cross the road but stopped because the canter was too noisy. Suddenly the canter got slow and driver was showing us the pug marks which were fresh. He told us that the tiger may just had passed from here few hours before after having water from the nearby Ram ganga rivulet. This raised the anxiety of every person sitting in the canter. People started watching more cautiously and we were lucky to spot peacock and wag tail within first 10-20 min of our tour.

The canter was so noisy that everyone was getting irritated because as soon as we could spot something the driver was unable to hear us.  It was really surprising why the government has allowed such noisy vehicles inside the forest range. The animals will not come close to noise. Even as the forest department is charging hefty amounts,the vehicles are not properly maintained. What to talk about the tiger, we could see small animals and few birds retreating from noise. Some spotted deer could be seen near the river bed. Wild Boar were moving in a group following a straight line with parents leading their off springs.  Suddenly we asked the driver to stop as a Brown Eagle was sitting in the middle of the road. We clicked 2-3 good shots and moved ahead. But we were only thinking about TIGER keeping our fingers crossed,praying just to have one look of the beautiful creature in the wild. As we approached the Dhikala guest house we spotted tamed elephants nearby. The area was fenced with electrified barbed wires. As the driver parked the canter we saw a big Vulture on the nearby tree, feeding its young ones. People were talking about its extinction due to excessive use of Diclofenac, an anti-inflammatory drug used by farmers to ease pain in cattle. The canter had to stop for 45 minutes so this was the time to talk to strangers exchange views photographs and get fresh. We had maggi and omlette and hot tea. There was a notice board where people shared their tour experiences. A group saw leopard and tiger an hour ago near guest house. So the excitement grew more and we started moving ahead through the grasslands.  As the canter moved through the thick long grass we were gazing every spot with eyes wide open only searching for the tiger. The canter stopped in the middle of the grasslands where tamed elephants were eating grass. Suddenly an elephant came so close that its trunk was almost inside the canter smelling the strangers. The driver told us about the Ramganga river flowing nearby which also is a home to ghariyals, turtles and also a major source of water in the park.  By this time we were exhausted and sad but still we were hopeful to spot a tiger. So we decided to go for another safari to Bijrani but now by a jeep.

We came back to the resort, got fresh had lunch and asked the resort staff to  arrange a jeep safari for us. The booking was done for at 3.30 in the afternoon. It was a tough nut to crack as only limited number of jeeps is allowed to enter the forest in the morning and evening. Now we drove again till Bijrani gate by our own car which is 12 kms from Ramnagar. The zone can be entered via Amanda Gate and the Bijrani Zone can be found 5 kms from there. The tourists are taken around the area by a jeep and presence of guide is mandatory as they help the tourists understand the importance of the park and also the habitats of the animals in the zone. The jeep was waiting for us and we two along with a guide and driver entered the Bijrani forest. The guide a young chap with an experience of over 5 years started telling us about the Bijrani forest its flora and fauna. But we kept asking him so many questions on tiger. He told us what to do if a tiger approaches. Keep your body still without moving and making noise let the tiger go. He told us a story of a group who were forced to stop because a tiger came suddenly in their way. The guide told everyone to sit and the tiger smelled the entire jeep then went. It gave us more anxiety but fear had gripped us by now as the forest was too thick. As we were heading toward Malani, a forest guest house in Bijrani, we spotted a wild tusker near the river. The guide showed  us a big owl on the tree. As we moved ahead we stopped the jeep for some time to hear the calls of the Monkeys, Grey Langoors and Deer for tracing the Tiger. But within minutes we were fearful that if the tiger is around then it can be dangerous so we started again. We saw Wild Boar, Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Red Jungle Fowl, Brown Eagle, Grey Langoors, Rhesus Monkeys & Black Crane. The canopies of the trees were too thick and the forest was very dense. All the jeeps inside Bijrani meet at a centre place where there is a watch tower. The tourists and the guides exchange their tracking routes of tiger spotting if any. The slopes were steep and at times gentle. It made us to think what would happen if the tiger comes as the path followed by the jeep was undulating. We also saw the places were tiger usually comes for drinking water. Some were man made while others were natural sources. Sun started setting and we had to move back as the time for the safari was coming to an end. On way back we saw few settlements near the buffer zone where the forest department had put fenced barbed wires but the people had taken them off and they were fearlessly living inside the park. So the safari was over but tiger could not be spotted. In comparison to Dhikala, Bijrani is more drier and also has more diverse vegetation. Sad yet still excited we came out and to change our mood we entered a souvenir shop where things related to tiger were being sold like t-shirts, caps, key rings,paintings etc. We were back to the resort, had dinner, shared about our tour with the resort staff. Since we had to leave next morning so we slept in time.Next morning after having tea we were taken to a water pump near the fields where the resort had arranged for a rustic bath. My husband enjoyed bathing and then we had our breakfast and packed our stuff. We started our journey at 12.30in the afternoon and halted at Haridwar. Here we went to see the holy river Ganges and we bathed at Har ki Paudi. Since we were running short of time we just picked fruits from a roadside vendor and moved ahead. We had tea at Ambala and reached Chandigarh at about 8.45p.m..Though we could not spot the tiger but we enjoyed the nature at its best!

Environmental Education

IIM Ahmedabad News letter

Posted by Susan Sharma on October 11, 2012

 
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My article which appeared in the Newsletter of IIM, Ahmedabad.  The article is based on our Community , IndianWildlifeclub.com.  You can read it online at the link
http://www.iimahd.ernet.in/egov/ifip/jul2012/sharma.htm

Wildlife

India Wildlife

Posted by Gajanan Bapat on September 25, 2012

 
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Indian Forest

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