Wildlife

LIFE YOU LOVE

Posted by Nithilan Paul on September 17, 2013

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Love for wildlife

                   The most important factors that makes the very existence of mankind on earth possible and enchanting, are the life forms surrounding us. We share this planet with numerous plants and animals but we seldom find time to cherish the beauty of them. Everyone must at some time, take a break from what they do for a living and live with nature, with all her wonderful creatures.

                    I would like to share some of my experiences, photographs of creatures of such beauty and elegance that we find around us. According to me, it is not necessary for people to take a long and expensive vacation to get a taste of this world. Instead, these can be observed around us, next to where we live… at our native village.. at our workplace etc.

                    Hence please do read and express your opinions and share your experiences with me.

Love for little creatures

Dear readers,

 How many of you would agree with my opinion that, of all the creatures, reptiles (lizards, snakes, etc,.) and insects are highly detested and most of the times, killed for no apparent reason by humans. We are not aware of the chaos that will follow as a result of uncontrolled destruction of these life forms. Lower life forms such as insects,reptiles and amphibians  (eg :frogs, toads,.etc) form the very foundation of nature’s food chain and as a matter of fact, they are the core of life’s existence on earth.

                    These creatures such as snakes, lizards etc,. are not vicious killers as they are pictured or feared to be. But on the other way, they help us by keeping in check the population of pests.

                     Here I write about one such creature…  the SAND BOA. These snakes are found in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and in parts of African continents.

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                                                                                                                   - Photo by Nithilan Paul.

 

This particular snake in absolutely non-poisonous and harmless. It lives on small animals like rats, mice, moles, lizards, frogs and insects. It constricts the prey and swallows the prey. This snake helps in controlling rat population and other pests, hence a friend of farmers. But the sad part is that these snakes are often mistaken as poisonous and killed. These snakes also deserve the right to live and they must not be harmed. People who are ignorant about snakes must be educated about the role of snakes in the eco-system.

                 So dear readers, whenever you come across snakes about to be harmed, please do act to conserve them and preserve the eco-system.

  Pest control agency of nature        …

Most of us are familiar with garden lizards. Unlike the ones that we find on our walls, these creatures live mostly in the trees. They eat up insects such as grass hoppers and worms that destroy crops thereby acting as natural pest controlling agents. These creatures are well adapted to different environments and they vary accordingly.

Below is the photograph of a Green Forest Lizard, found at a farm. These lizards are completely harmless. They are non-poisonous and they can never harm a human being. It is observed that they may display a threatening stance when they are cornered which is only for self-defense, but generally they avoid human contact.

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                                                                           - Photo by Nithilan Paul.

In the below photograph, a Green forest lizard, found in a warehouse being safely returned to the wild.                                                                 

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Yet another species, commonly found in the forests and surrounding areas is the Rock Agama. These are similar to the Green forest lizard but for a slight difference in thier habitat. These creatures live in bushes, scrub forests and on rocks. They can tolerate high temperatures and though they have some threatening tatoos on them, they never harm humans!!!

A male Rock Agama, devouring a beetle, found on the outskirts of forest in South India.

                                                 -Photo by Nithilan Paul.

 


These creatures does not need human intervention for their survival, but only their absence. By conserving their habitat i.e,. trees and scrubs, these life  forms can be protected.                                

                                 -Photo by Nithilan Paul.

                                                                                                       (A female rock agama.)

                Sometimes folks, it is good to stop by and look at a beautifully coloured reptile perched on a stone where we go for a walk. The more we observe them, the less we detest or ignore them. This simple attitude helps a lot in the conservation of these species.

Water striders / Pond skaters

 

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                                                                                                           -Photo by Nithilan Paul.

The above photograph was at a pond nearby. How many of us have ever noticed these little creatures found on lakes and ponds, skating on the water? These insects use their long legs upto twice their size to move and navigate on water surface. They use the high surface tension of water to literally walk on them!!
Surprisingly, these are predators that kill and eat small insects that fall on water like fly, bees, etc, But friends, they are harmless to humans and they certainly help in balancing the Eco-system and of course, Pest control.

-Nithilan Paul.

 

 


                 

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".

Wildlife

India Wildlife

Posted by Gajanan Bapat on September 25, 2012

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Indian Forest

Wildlife

Madhya Pradesh Wildlife

Posted by Uday on July 11, 2012

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Situated in heart of India Madhya Pradesh (MP) is well known for its magnificent tiger reserves. With large forest cover still present the wilderness is being conserved in the protected areas. Most of these are critical tiger habitats with abundant prey base survives in biodiversity rich environment.  But the fast shrinking habitats in the state is a cause for alarm. The protected areas are not enough a larger contiguous forest cover is required. This can be achieved by creating corridors and through re-plantation.   


In protected areas complete relocation has not taken place especially in wildlife sanctuaries. There is lot of hesitancy in conducting this exercise due to public pressure and political interference. Funds have been allocated to major protected areas but lesser known and remote wildlife sanctuaries have been devoid. The state has immense capacity to hold much more big cats than at present. But this would require more areas to be developed on the lines of Kuno Palpur.


Typical Central Indian wildlife constitutes tiger, leopard, gaur, sloth bear, sambar, spotted deer, barking deer, four horned deer, Indian Gazelle, jungle cat, wild boar, wild dog, Nilgai, Hanuman Gray Langur and Rehsus Macaque. The rare animals like Hard Ground Barasingha now find hold only at Kanha National Park. Recently mouse deer has been sighted at Kanha National Park while rusty spotted cat was sighted at Bandhavgarh. Indian Tree Shrew as been spotted in Barha Forests of Jabalpur all are in MP. The status of hyena and wolf is in complete darkness. There is a need to accord greater protection to the buffer zone which suffers from indiscriminate resource utilization.         


The major tiger reserves in MP have recently seen a decline is tiger population due to poaching. Panna tragedy has alarmed conservationists and their faith in administrative capacity of the sentinels has dipped low. Nevertheless tourism is growing in these reserves which is a big boon. Apart from acting has vigilance group tourists visiting these places learn about our nature and its importance. Tourism also sustains local communities with jobs and services. The tiger reserves draw substantial revenue from tourists that arrive from far and wide.


The major revenue earners are:


Kanha Tiger Reserve

Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve
Pench Tiger Reserve

Satpura Tiger Reserve    


With introduction of tigers from other parks Panna too is coming back to life. Lesser known wildlife sanctuaries like Nuaradehi and Bori find local visitors. Setting up of proper tourism infrastructure will receive rich dividend via tourist income and will be subjected to greater attention hence protection. Nauradehi Wildlife Sanctuary near Jabalpur is slated for Cheetah Relocation in Central India. 


Though looked by many wildlife tourism in MP has been fruitful in every way. This has been possible due to  controlled tourism by the authorities. Opening up and developing new protected areas for tourism will result in pressure coming off the major reserves. This will also accord greater protection to neglected animals like the wolf and hyena. Nauradehi has substantial wolf population besides the sloth bear, chinkara, Nilgai and fox.       

   

Wildlife

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanag in SRI LANKA

Posted by Chamara Samitha Nanayakkara on April 24, 2012

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File:Pinnawala 02.jpgPinnawala Elephant Orphanage is an orphanagenursery and captive breeding ground for wild Asian elephants located atPinnawala village, 13 km (8.1 mi) northwest of Kegalle town in Sabaragamuwa Province of Sri Lanka. Pinnawalla is notable for having the largest herd of captive elephants in the world. In 2011, there were 88 elephants, including 37 males and 51 females from 3 generations, living in Pinnawala.

The orphanage was originally founded in order to afford care and protection to many of the orphaned unweaned wild elephants found wandering in and near the forests of Sri Lanka. It was established in 1975 by the Sri Lanka Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC).

The Millennium Elephant Foundation is a separate registered private charity organization which is a retirement home for 7 elephants and a tourist attraction.

Wildlife

baiju krishnan

Posted by baiju krishnan on February 22, 2012

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APPLICATION OF GENETIC TECHNIQUES IN WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT

                                  The use of molecular genetic techniques in conservation biology and wildlife management has become increasingly important during the last decade.  This is mainly catalyzed by the development of the Polymerase chain Reaction (PCR) which requires only minute amounts of DNA for genetic analysis and the possible sources of DNA can be hair, scale ,feaces, feather, urine, buccal cells, egg shells and even foot prints.  Thus it is no longer necessary to obtain blood or tissue samples to study population genetics in animals.  Analyzing ad comparing , the genetic make up of plants and animals, not only improves assessments made using traditional methods, but also yields information otherwise inaccessible.  Even though molecular techniques are too labour intensive and expensive for regular use, they have been made more widely available in recent years due to retirements in laboratory techniques, improvements in computer power and lower equipment cost.  The major challenge for the developing nations to conduct genetic research is of economical one, while for under developed nations is the non availability of technology.

 Techniques
  
      Deoxy Ribo Nucleic acid(DNA) is the principal constitute of genes, and is found in the cells of living organisms including components of blood, skin , hair, nails etc.  DNA molecules are made up of a linear sequences of compounds called nucleotides, and form a long, continuous strand inside a structure called chromosome.  The unique sequence of the nucleotide in a chromosome determines the hereditary characteristics of an individual from its species, sex and to traits such as eye colour.  Each gene occupies a particular location on the DNA strand  making it possible to compare the same gene in a number of different samples.

    Many genetic techniques involve a process in which short segments of a DNA strand are replicated to produce a sufficient quantity of material for analysis.  These segments can then be examined for differences in size between individuals or for differences in the actual nucleotide sequence of the segments.  In contrast, other techniques cut DNA into segments using enzymes and certain of these segments are radio actively tagged to create a visual pattern on x-ray film.  DNA finger printing is the most popularly known of these techniques.  The finger print of one individual can be compared with other fingerprints to determine if two or more samples originated from the same individuals or to identify close relatives such as parent and sibling.

Applications

    Molecular genetics provides powerful tools for wildlife conservation and can similarly play an important role in wildlife management.  First an understanding of genetic population structure of a particular species may aid in the identification of management units and the development of management strategies.  The practical application would be the ability to determine the geographical sources of individuals during certain time periods or in certain locations.  It is a powerful tool in all demographic surveys as well as experiments .  Habitat fragmentation is a threat to survival of wildlife populations in human dominated landscapes.  Connectivity among populations is distinct fragments may play an important role in population dynamics and resistance.  New genetic techniques are used to assess the connectivity in spatially structured and population of threatened species

 Cloning and Biodiversity conservation: 
                         Nuclear transfer technology, popularly known as cloning , where new      “ true to type” individuals are created in the laboratory from the nuclear DNA of other individuals.  Reproductive cloning or the production of offspring by nuclear transfer is often regarded as having potential for conserving endangered species of wildlife.  Factor that govern the desirability, feasibility and practicality of cloning vary among different class of vertebrates, depend upon the peculiarities of the biological systems, the type of species under threat and even the chances  of obtaining suitable funding since the research is very expensive.  Cloning is one of the several ways of increasing the number of individuals within a population.  When populations of free living species are found to be in decline, conservation biology begins to seek methods of showing or reversing the threatening process, many such threats exists including habitat loss through human activity, hunting or over fishing, effects of pollution on fertility and fecundity, predation by introduced species or indeed poor diet through loss of prey species.  In  a few cases these threats can be allevated but this may require the development of nation and international policies that support the conservation goals.  Reproductive technologies may then provide support the conservation goals.  Reproductive technlogies may the provide support usually by assisting genetic management.  An important common aim of conservation breeding programmes with or without the use of assisted reproduction, is the avoidance of inbreeding depression.
    Nuclear Transfer Technology can play  a significant role in the conservation of species, which are on the edge of extinction.  Now captive breeding techniques are adopted for saving such species . For example the population of Mauritius Kestrel declined to about nine individuals in the early 1970’s , four were reintroduced to the island of Mauritius later, and the population is now estimated as 700-800.  In such cases we can seek the help of nuclear transfer technology.  However the population of the species facing extinction is very less and they possess minimal genetic variation.  it is therefore desirable to avoid further loss of diversity.  A subsequent generation resulting from natural breeding or artificial insemination would contain some, but no all of genetic variability of its parents.  Loss would occur if any of the individuals failed to breed, which is a strong possibility with small populations.  If cloning is guaranteed to be 100% successful, a good strategy might be to clone every individual, then allow the off spring to mature and breed naturally.  The probability of losing genetic diversity would then  be reduced especially if each parent gives rise to more than two identical copies of itself.  Thus an interesting and novel theoretical principle in animal conservation emerges; where individuals are effectively induced to reproduce asexually something similar to some plants there by improving the long term fitness of the species through the retention of genetic diversity.



Concept of Environmental Genomics
           Environmental genomics bridges the gap between genetics, physiology and ecology.   It involves utilization of abroad range of modern molecular techniques such as gene arrays and single nucleotide polymorphins (SNP) screen to monitor variation in gene structure and expression.  It can pinpoint potentially novel interactions between environmental stresses and expression of specific human, animal and plant genes.  Environmental  genomics is the application of the knowledge gained on gene identification, structure and expression to environmental protection and management.  It can demonstrate deleterious effects at molecular level before organisms level effects are shown.

Importance of Environmental Genomics.:
                Genomics build upon and enhance traditional approaches to environmental toxicology determination.  It is a key objective for environmental science for improved understanding, identification and prevention of  environmental problems.  It can provide the next generation tools to help protect and manage the environment.  It would be very critical in examining biotechnology’s potential impact on the environment.

Biotechnology and Tree improvement:
                Tree improvement and forest biotechnology offer related scientific means to increase forest productivity , achieve sustained timber yields and perhaps enhance forest biodiversity and conservation of multiple values.  Tree improvement provides classical approaches to achieve better timber production.  It has achieved sustainable gain through generation of tree selection and breeding .  Tree important seeks to identify and improves several important tree attributes including growth rates, disease and pest resistance, adaptability to climatic changes, tree form and wood fiber quality, straightness and taper

Conclusion
  The practical application of bio techniques has many difficulties.  Current success rates with nuclear transfer in mammals are very low.  More over 20 to 1000 nuclear transfers would need to be performed to achieve one viable off spring.  There are so many issues like legal, moral and technical in conducting genetic researches.  Sophisticated labs doing genetic research are less in number and the coordination is also less.  But the potential of genetic techniques in wildlife conservation and management shall not be ignored.  They can help many species to keep their foot prints on this green earth.
(Author was a Research scholar in Bio Inorganic Chemistry at Dept. of Chemistry, University of kerala  and now working as Forest Range Officer, Kerala)

Wildlife

African crusader for nature and wildlife

Posted by Susan Sharma on September 26, 2011

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For Wangari Maathai, the preservation of the land and the planting of trees was more than about enriching the lives of people, it was about bringing back animals to deprived ecosystems. Wangari Maathai has been instrumental in bringing an ethic of concern about animals to the attention of the Kenyan parliament and people.

"To speak about Wangari Maathai in Kenya is to speak about the Green Belt Movement (GBM) and environmental conservation. She is the most known environmental conservation activist in Kenya and Africa. Her words get the attention of the who-is-who in global business, politics or funding circles.

Without her, we wouldn’t be seeing or relaxing at Uhuru Park. She was Moi regime’s nightmare – opposing all kinds of attempts to excise government land such as Karura and Ngong forests. Maathai has walked the talk, like the evangelist of the gone days."

Visit the link http://greenbeltmovement.org/index.php  to understand more about the green belt movement in Kenya.

Wildlife

MY DEAR ANIMALS

Posted by sarath lal k.p on September 18, 2011

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I LOVE ANIMALS VERY MUCH .BACAUSE THE ARE VERY CUTE AND BEAUTIFUL. BUT TODAY MOST OF THEM  IS DESTROYED  AND KILLED BY HUMANS.SO I WOULD LIKE TO  CARE THE ANIMALS AND SAVE MY NATURE "" EARTH IS OUR  GOD '''''@EARTH GIVE US EVERY THING & WE  DESTROYED HER EVERY THING '''' SAVE OUR ''''MATHA''''
 

Wildlife

Saving Indian Wildlife

Posted by Uday on July 16, 2011

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In ancient times and during the Mughal Rule wildlife in India was in plenty. The Maharajahs and Sultans indulged into shooting game indiscriminately. the decline had begun but it was not apparent. The mogul kings in New Delhi trapped a large number of Indian Cheetahs for game. Simultaneously the population had started to increase and the natural land were being occupied. One fine example of destruction of ecosystem for agrarian and habitation purpose in the extinction of Indian Rhino from most of its erstwhile range.


During the British Rule hunting continued with renewed vigor. The Maharajahs and the British big wigs continued with the massacre and the wilderness was substantially reduced. There were some conservation measures as in Kanha and Bori Sanctuary but they were not enough. The Maharajah's inadvertently saved wildlife by denoting remaining ecosystems as private reserves. These were reserved blocks where only the ruler and his British guests could shoot. Most of the our tiger reserves and sanctuaries exists as result of this.


Thanks to Jim Corbett conservation practices in this country were rejuvenated. The first tiger reserve was hence named after him. The Nawab of Jungadh played a crucial role in bringing back the Asian Lion from brink of extinction. Subsequently protected areas where created and in 1972 wildlife protection act was passed. The commissioning of Project Tiger Program initially boosted tiger conservation in India. The status of the big cat is critical in present times due to poaching for tiger bones.      


Many effective NGOs like the WPSI have contributed a lot of conservation of Indian Wildlife especially the tiger. This animal is on the brink of extinction and if proper measures are not taken it will slip into cosmic realm forever. As humans ingress into forest ecosystems man animal conflict and poaching increase. These are the major factors behind the down slide of keystone species in India.          

Wildlife

ENDEMIC BUTTERFLIES OF SRI LANKA

Posted by randima mahagamage on February 21, 2011

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There are 243 species of butterflies in Sri lanka.21  Species are endemic. 

                    Common Name                                       Scientific Name
                
  1.                Ceylon Birdwing                                Troides darsius
  2.                 Ceylon Forester                               Lethe dynaste
  3.                 Ceylon Palmfly                                 Elymnias singala
  4.                 Ceylon Tiger                                    Parantica taprobana
  5.                 Tree Nymph                                    Idea iosonia
  6.                 Ceylon Rose                                    Pachliopta jophon
  7.                 Blue Oakleaf                                    Kallima philarchus
  8.                 Ceylon Treebrown                            Lethe daretis
  9.                 Gladeye Bushbrown                          Nissanga patnia patnia
  10.                 Jewel Four-ring                               Ypthima singala
  11.                 Ormiston's Oakblue                           Arhopala ormistoni
  12.                 Clouded silverline                            Spindasis nubilus
  13.                 Ceylon Indigo Royal                         Tajuria arida
  14.                 Woodhouse's 4-line blue                   Nacaduba ollyetti
  15.                 Pale Ceylon 6-line blue                     Nacaduba sinhala
  16.                 Ceylon Cerulean                             Jamides soruscans
  17.                 Ceylon Hedge Blue                          Udara lanka
  18.                 Decorated Ace                               Halpe dacorata
  19.                 Rare Ace                                       Halpe(? homolea)egena....2 more....

               (See these Images : Gehan de Silva Wijerathne on facebook)    By:M.K.Randima.

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