National Parks

Kishanpur Wild Life Sanctuary

Posted by Vikrant Nath on February 22, 2008

 
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VISIT TO THE KISHANPUR WILDLIFE SANCTUARY

“Well the beautiful dream is over!” that is exactly what I felt, when I returned from back from the Kishanpur Wildlife Sanctuary. The two days at Kishanpur were like a dream, a dream come true.

My friends and I started from Lucknow on a Saturday morning at around 8 A.M.  Kishanpur Wild Life Sanctuary, a 4 hour drive from Lucknow, lies 13 km from Bhira town in Lakhimpur Kheri District. Spread in a compact area of 200 sq Km, it is a part of Dudhwa Tiger Reserve.  We reached Kishanpur Forest Rest House at around 1 P.M. The Rest House lay 6 km deep inside the Sal and Teak forest. It is an austere British style mansion with two suites, a kitchen, dining room, fireplaces, flush toilets and solar light arrangement. It was a real paradise; a place where I oft dream to live.
We had our packed lunch and were ready by 2 P.M. to visit Jhadi Tal. Jhadi is a large clear water wetland formed by the flood waters of the Sharda.  But we were told that we could only visit after 4 P.M. So, we stationed ourselves on the resting chairs under the shade of a huge Ailanthus tree. Here we spotted the grey tits, treepies, woodpeckers and black headed orioles.

By now, a Forest personnel was ready to take us to Jhadi Tal. It was a great pleasure driving on the forest dirt track canopied by the tall Sal tress. In fact, this was a real ‘long drive,’ a city dweller ‘longs’ for. With no other vehicle on the track, the smooth forest road was a treat.   We soon reached Jhadi Tal. A number of migratory birds graced the Tal.  On the far end, we could see the grasslands locally referred to as the phantas. We spotted a large herd of barasingha or swamp deer. It was, in fact, a harem dominated by a solitary handsome stud in the company of some 24 females. They were all squatting on a circular island like mound.  We made our way to the second machan. Here we saw an even bigger herd of swamp deer. I counted 47 of them. Most of the members of the herd were males. Their mighty antlers glistened brightly. Most of members were seated near the grassland. The herd was waiting for the dusk so as to proceed concealed into the jungles to munch the soft grass. This was the largest herd of any deer species ever seen by us. Infact Dudhwa Tiger reserve, particularly Jhadi Tal is the last refuge of Northern Swamp Deer.

We drove further ahead to the Sharda River. A narrow stretch of silted land separated the river from the Jhadi Tal. The river has been rapidly changing its course. It has shifted almost 4 km towards the Jhadi Tal over a short period of time. We could see a number of uprooted trees on the banks. We also spotted a lonesome croc on the far bank. We made our way back to the second machan, eager to glimpse the evening retreat of the Swamp Deer into the Sal Jungles. But, unfortunately, the forest guide insisted that he had orders to return.  It was soon nightfall. The waxing moon was shining bright. We could not see many stars in the sky. We spent some time with the Forest Staff. Around the fire, we discussed about the mystical ways of nature. The jungle was now wide awake. We heard the scary sounds of the jungle. The owls announced their presence. At close quarters, a cheetal hurled a call of alarm. The very feeling of the jungle king, the tiger, lurking around and observing you, was very exciting.

We went back to the Rest House tand had barely switched off the light, when I was awakened by some scratching noise. I fidgeted for a while wondering what it was. But the noise continued and continued, for ages it seemed. I reckoned that some people were trying to barge inside the Rest House. Fearful, I awakened my friends. We braced ourselves for an impending crisis. After a little awhile, we discovered the cause; a stout rat perched on the tube-light. He made a mess  the entire night with nibbling antics. We couldn’t catch a wink of sleep.

Next morning, armed with binoculars, bird-books and breakfast, we were ready to visit Jhadi Tal again. As we moved on the jungle track, we saw the pug marks of a tiger. He was brazing our trail. I am certain, he saw us, liked us and blest us as well.  We reached the second machan. The moment we stepped out of our vehicle, the birds started to literally run away on the waters of the Jhadi Tal. We stationed ourselves on the machan and enjoyed the bread, butter, jam and grapes and watched birds at ease and peace. It was for the first time that we saw the Red Crested Pochard. The distinct reddish pink beak was glittering. The tufted orangish hair on the head of the drake was very interesting; while his white body was a total contrast. The duck had a brown head. We also saw the dabchicks, grebes, common pochards, pintails, mallards, shovellers, river terns, the distinct white eyed pochard, spoonbills, egrets, snakebirds, herons, black necked storks, Indian Water hen, purple moor hens and the cormorants.

A herd of swamp deer, numbering around 29, was also to be seen. Some active members locked their antlers for a rather brief mock fight. Oh! And how can I ever forget the naughty, chubby otter family. We saw five of them. At one moment they were perched on the barringtonia tree just underneath the machan. And soon afterwards, they were swimming merrily and effortlessly in water. They would dive in and pop out their head with a glistening fish in their teeth. They gobbled up their catch in great gusto, gup-gup-gup. They were indeed quite an amusing sight; but they also shooed the birds away. Wherever they went the birds drifted elsewhere. After sometime the otters were back on the same tree, looking very cute in their shinning coat.

We drove towards Jhadi baba (a mighty banyan with pillared ariel roots). Soon the Sal forest gave way to a dried and burnt grassland at the other end of Jhadi Tal, Hence, we entered the dense green riparian forest, which extended till the river. I prayed to Jhadi Baba to save the precious Tal and to call us time and again to this great paradise. In this jungle of jamun, gular, khair, rohini, peepal, bargad we spotted a few chetals, hog deer and peacocks.

We returned back to the rest house at around 12:30 P.M. After lunch, we spent a leisurely afternoon napping in the winter sun on comfortable armchairs.  Around 4:30 in the evening, we drove to the Tar Kothi area with the chowkidar. The track passed through dense Sal and Teak forests. Tar Kothi was an uninteresting forest post near a bio-fenced farm; with a canal flowing nearby.  We returned back through an interesting untouched forest track and spotted a Sambar mother and child duo on the way. In the Terai jungles, the sambar deer is even rarer than the tiger. We also drove to Kishanpur Village around 2 km from guest house. This village of 500 voters is a big threat to the wildlife of the Sanctuary. The villagers have been provided with full fledged track for the movement of their vehicles. From early morning till late night, the rattling tractors and bikes ply on the road, disturbing the tiger habitat. There was not a single sighting or even a trace of wildlife in the dense forest around the track.

On our return to the Rest House, the chowkidar set the fireplace ablaze. It was a real romantic setting for us. We sat near the fireplace for long time chatting, gossiping and philosophizing. The hot food was a treat as well. The troubling rat too was absent and we could finally get some sleep. I was woken by the chital’s alarm call which was followed by the roar from the king himself. The king had come himself to greet us, but we were asleep! Well! We shouldn’t be complaining. It was our fault. We didn’t dare venture outside the Rest House. Early next morning we packed our bags and drove back to Lucknow with indelible memories of the jungles of Kishanpur.

Bird Sanctuaries

Gujarat and Kutch Birding Tour

Posted by Susan Sharma on February 21, 2008

 
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12 Days Gujarat & Kutch Birding and Wildlife Tour - 18-11-2007 to 30-11-2007  
Published by Arpit Deomurari (deomurari AT gmail.com),
Participants: Arpit Deomurari (Birding Expert), Mr. Ken Hatshorn (UK) and Mr. John Hollyer (UK). 

Birds: 283 Spec
 
Kutch (Great Rann of Kutch):

As we  started from Kutch (Great Rann of Kutch), We had very good sightings of 5 White napped tit, 2 pairs were on the same Bush and another single individual was 5-8 mt. away on the other bush. Another important sighting for Kutch was the Red-throated Pipit. We came across this very dark pipit on the coastal wetland near Pingleshwar in Kutch region of Gujarat India on 19-11-2007.
            After seeing this bird only two species come to our notice Pechora Pipit Anthus gustavi and Red-throated Pipit Anthus cervinus. This is the first authentic record for the Gujarat state.   After visiting Naliya Done and other area on the last day we had visited Chari Dhandh, A famous hot spot in Kutch for Raptors and Grey Hypocolious, We sighted 12 Grey Hypocolious on the roosting time. And in the morning in the same area we had seen many raptor species including Steppe Eagle, Tawny Eagle, Imperial Eagle, Common Buzzard, Long legged buzzard, Marsh Harriers, Oriental Hobby etc. This seasonal wetland has also large population of White Storks, and other wetland birds.

            Also the Rock Eagle Owl, A recent split form Eurasian Eagle Owl was seen nesting on the “PAKHI BHEET” area of chari dhandh. This small hill in the Rann provides very good habitat for many species which also include Red-tailed Wheatear, Brown Rock Chat etc. A pair of Jungle cat with its kitten was observed on both days at PAKHI BHEET area.

LRK ( Little Rann of Kutch):

       The marshy habitat of Vanod Saran, nr. Dasada is also a very good hotspot for birders you can find good number of species over here including, white tailed lapwing, grey lag geese, bar headed geese, cranes, crakes and rails, etc. The show master of this wetland were the rosy pastor they were atleast in 2000-5000 in strength comes here for roosting and their acrobatics are really great to see at sunset. The flocks of rosy pastor were also having small no. of Common or European Starling. 

            The biggest attraction of Little Rann of Kutch was sightings of 45 Sociable Plover. 22-11-2007, at Little Rann of Kutch near Vanod Village. A flock of 45 birds were seen roosting at a site where the author (Arpit Deomurari) has reported 27 same birds last(2006-2007) year also. This flock is considered as the largest flock of sociable lapwing found in India till date.


 

This Lapwing is also listed in the Red Data Book as a Critically Endangered Bird Species. They breed on open grassland in Russia and Kazakhstan. Three to five eggs are laid in a ground nest. These birds migrate south through Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Armenia, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Turkey, to key wintering sites in Israel, Syria, Eritrea, Sudan and north-west India. Birds winter occasionally in Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Oman. It feeds in a similar way, picking insects and other small prey mainly from grassland or arable.

In 2004 BirdLife International categorized this bird as critically endangered, due to a rapid population decline for poorly understood reasons. The current population was estimated to be between 600 and 1,800 mature birds in 2006 (BirdLife International), but is currently being revised.  The current IUCN

 

 

 

 

classification is CR A3bc -  meaning that the population is expected to decline in the next decade or so by 80%, but based on theoretical considerations and the known habitat destruction rather than direct observation of the birds. Thus, the new discoveries might mean that as more data becomes available, the species could be down listed to Endangered.

A Scientist working on the Sociable Lapwing Mr. Johannes Kamp has ringed 140 birds (mostly juv.) in Pavlodar region, NE Kazakhstan, this year (two colour rings on each leg, combination always starting with a yellow ring). These birds are at the easternmost distribution border and thus supposed to go to India/Pakistan. Author (Arpit Deomurari) would like to ask any future observers to check these birds for color rings? The yellow ring is quite obvious to seeing the field. 

Another highlilght of the Little Rann of Kutch were 8  Macqueen’s Bustard (Chlamydotis macqueenii) in a 3 hours game drive and of course the largest lark of the world, Greater Hoopoe Lark(Alaemon alaudipes) 

Reuse and Recycle

Waste to health bioconversion

Posted by Susan Sharma on February 15, 2008

 
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Waste to health bioconversion

The theory propounded by Dr. Uday Bhawalkar that excess nitrates affect abiotic and biotic phenomena which was a Phd Thesis in IIT Mumbai, has since been patented and is awaiting commercial exploitation.

 Pollution reduction through a natural enzyme based bio catalyst, "Biosanitiser", which Dr Bhawalkar developed as a proprietary technology, has been patented in India nad America.
Treatment of waste generated at household, farms and other biological waste generating sources must include segregation, methanation and stabilisation along with the use of Biosanitiser to treat waste in a holistic manner.

Source: http://www.wastetohealth.com/

Reuse and Recycle

Clean cellulose from biomass wastes

Posted by Susan Sharma on February 15, 2008

 
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Clean cellulose from biomass wastes

Khaitan brothers have developed a clean technology, which enables clean cellulose from biomass wastes like rice, wheat straws and bagasse. Modified Kraft Chemical Recovery (MKCR) technology was developed in a straw pulping mill making paper. The black liquor coming out as an effluent from pulping of above wastes contains caustic soda, lignin and silica besides lime. MKCR enables:
· recovery of caustic soda,
· silica as a dry precipitate,
· energy from the lignin, which gets burnt as an unique Wet Mix Fuel in a cogeneration biomass boiler, raising steam and electricity which meet process needs and also a surplus which can be wheeled to the electricity supply grid.
· Lime is also recovered.
It uses biomass wastes like rice husk or straw to enable this recovery process of chemicals and energy. Hence all process needs will be met by biomass wastes and products are clean cellulose, caustic soda which gets recycled, silica as a dry precipitate, lime and energy from the lignin. The whole process would be net zero in GHG emission and energy positive in terms of energy balance and material balance.

Clean cellulose can be converted into many value added products as a basic carbohydrate. Up to 90% of the clean cellulose short fibres can be used in blends to make photocopier grade paper (Map Litho), substituting wood fibres from trees.

Clean cellulose can be hydrolysed into simple sugars. In fact a technology patent has been applied in India, which has already established in lab scale, conversion of alpha cellulose and hemi cellulose into C6 and C5 simple sugars. fermenting the sugars into ethanol is a simple step. Hence this process is unique in enabling clean cellulose production as a first step and then conversion into ethanol with higher process efficiencies in hydrolysis and fermentation stages. While Khaitan brothers have established the basics of the technology, it needs a pilot plant study before engineering and building a full scale commercial plant.

Present stage of development of the technology: They require funds as equity and / soft loan and invite an entrepreneurial partnership.

Contact: Mr Dinesh Khaitan: dkk@kroftaengineering.com at New Delhi

Bio-Diversity

Man and the Biosphere

Posted by Susan Sharma on February 15, 2008

 
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Man and the Biosphere

According to a recent declaration adopted by UNESCO’s ‘Third World Congress of Biosphere Reserves’, it underscores potential for action of biosphere reserves to address new challenges such as the loss of traditional knowledge and cultural diversity, demography, loss of arable land and climate change.

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It also urges the development of cooperation between the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) programme and UNESCO’s other intergovernmental scientific programmes.

Meanwhile, in the meeting, the members also adopted the Madrid Action Plan, mapping out the MAB programme’s strategy for 2008-2013.

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The Action Plan called for concrete activities, which include facilitating integration of urban areas of the reserves, organising training related to the different ecosystems, establishing pilot reserves in order to evaluate their economic contribution at local level, involving the private sector and promoting the biosphere reserve brand for products.

Source:  http://www.igovernment.in/site/biosphere-reserves-can-mitigate-climate-change-un/

 

Environment Awareness

Advertising Indianwildlifeclub.com!

Posted by Susan Sharma on February 14, 2008

 
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See the ad we created for your club!

The tiger in the ad is photographed by Aditya Singh.

Environment Awareness

Eye- catching ads on wildlife!

Posted by Susan Sharma on February 12, 2008

 
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WWF ( World Wide Fund for Wildlife) came out with the following advertisments ( Animals painted on closed fists)

tigerhand

 

crochand

elehand

 Wildlife SOS, another NGO brought out a telling ad as follows

wildlifesosad

WPSI (Wildlife Protection Society of India) grabbed the opportunuty to create awareness about tigers among cricket fans.   These were some of the catchy slogans which were heard and seen during the ICL Indian 20:20 championship from 30 november -16 ecember 2007.

 

LET THE TIGER PLAY

YOU’VE GOT CRICKET
DON’T MAKE US YOUR GAME

YOU DON’T NEED TIGER BONE WINE
TO BOWL A STRAIGHT LINE

THAT’S A 4
DON’T SILENCE THE TIGER ROAR

C alling
R esponsible
I ndividuals to
C onserve NOT
K ill our
E ndangered
T iger

SHERON KO NA MARO
NEHI TO SHAIR MAR JAYEGA

PEELE PAR KALI DHARI KA
BAGH RAKHWALA JAL JEEVAN KA

SHOR MACHAO
SHER BACHAO

BOUNDARY FOR YOU WE NEED SOME TOO
LEAVE US OUR FORESTS

THE FINGER IS UP
THE TIGER IS DOWN

BAT 4 THE TIGER

GO OVER THE TOP
FOR THE TIGER

GREAT
CATCH

NATION’S PRIDE
GOING WIDE

THE TIGER
IN OR OUT?


E-Governance for Conservation

Add your comments please!

Posted by Susan Sharma on February 07, 2008

 
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This forum seems to be the right platform to share some of the comments made by ICSSR(Indian Council of Social Science Research) on my report "E-governance for conservation"   This report formed a part of my thesis submitted  to ICSSR titled’Growth of entrepreneurship in the Country with the growth of Information Systems’.

The report is available online and can be read at the following link.

http://www.indianwildlifeclub.com/ResearchPapers/Governance-For-Conservation.aspx

Comments and Review by ICSSR

"The proposed model for e-Governance for the Ministry of Environment and Forest is one of the major dimensions of the thesis, which merits commendation and makes the thesis a qualitative work.  Cost-Benefit analysis for the suggested model will further enhance the quality of the thesis.

A public project analysis considers the worthiness of shifting resources from the private sector to the public sector and the extent to which a public project should be pursued when its benefits exceed the cost.  Many other factors besides a benefit/cost analysis influence the final decision about funding public projects.

The model recommended to generate entrepreneurship in the rural area can also be evaluated by cost-effective analysis.  The measure of effectiveness which is non-monetary in character can be judged taking into account the reduction in rural unemployment, increase in the wildlife, decline in deforestation and criminal activities and improvement in the environment-Jaan, Jal, Janwar, Jungle, Jameen.

Further , it has been proposed that the model can be worked out by public private paertnership.  The model on application needs a good amount of investment.  Basically it is an economic decision, which is usually subject to an environment of uncontrollable influences.  The longer the planning horizon, the greater the exposure to chance events.  Inputs and outputs for short-term investment alternatives are usually subject to less variability than the long- term investment proposals.  Risk anlysis is a mechanism, which can be used fruitfully when significant outcome variations are likely for different future states and meanigful probabilities can be assigned to these states. The time to consider risk is before one makes a commitment to a course of action.  Perhaps a portion of the potential profit should be traded for partial immunity to risk.  The rural people and the people of the nearby villages of jungle are to be ducated to develop individual skills and temperaments and the only way they can behave impetuously when exposed to the demands of such situations.  The properties of materials vary over time.  environmental factors are never constant and economic conditions change irregularly.

Natural resources are threatened by the demand placed on them by the poor.  Despite several efforts aimed at addressing the problem, environmental degradation continues. Hence, the goal is to achieve poverty reduction through wise, sustainable and economic use of natural resources and the environment.  Strategies include strengthening the legal and institutional framework to encourage local communities to control and sustainaby manage natural resources, develop alternative livelihood strategies and create environmental awareness."

I request the esteemed members of this community to respond and add your comments to finally arrive at a workable model for E-governance for conservation.

Engineers and Environment

Intelligent Electricity

Posted by Susan Sharma on February 07, 2008

 
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Intelligent Electricity

Have you ever wanted to view your electricity consumption at a click of a button and understand your total cost involved in consuming electricity? Have you ever wanted to manage your peak load efficiently and be responsive to utility’s Time of Day tariff programs? Have you ever wondered if you can somehow turn on / off your electrical appliances remotely?

connectgaia.com leverages advanced metering, sensor, proven IP communication technologies and a robust IT backbone to bring intelligence into electricity consumption. The solution integrates the power and internet highways. Ably supported by intelligent meters and a host of wireless sensors, connectgaia.com will empower electricity users to efficiently manage their power consumption over the web.

connectgaia units – gaiaeco (mother) and gaiacell (child) – with Demand Response capabilities, arm consumers with information on their electricity usage that in turn allows them to realign consumption patterns. By curbing their power use during peak periods, they not only save money but also help to ease the demands on power plants and distribution lines.

These connectgaia units though not energy efficiency devices in themselves, enable power users to set up informed energy efficiency and conservation measures by using state-of-art technology and sensor networks. connectgaia.com is the platform that will make possible an era of energy efficiency where better energy management is institutionalized and sustained among electricity customers.

source:http://www.connectgaia.com/wps/portal


 

community reserves

Herbs from forests

Posted by Susan Sharma on February 06, 2008

 
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Herbs from Forests

Converting traditional medicinal knowledge into fortunes—this is what a group of women in a remote village in Chhattisgarh are doing. In the sleepy village of Donga-nala in Korba district, about 160 km from the state capital, Raipur, these women run a unit for making medicines from herbs from surrounding forests.

In just a year, they have earned Rs 15 lakh. From being impoverished agricultural labourers, they have become prosperous entrepreneurs.

After sussing out demand, the group started preparing 30 products, of which medicines for cold, diabetes, joint pains and indigestion, and herbal products such as tea, facepacks, toothpaste, honey and chyawanprash are much in demand. “The compositions are certified by a registered ayurvedic practitioner and approved by a government lab,” says Patel. The group’s yagna products are also in demand—selling up to 1,100 kg a month, fetching about Rs 75,000. “We are self-sufficient now,” says Uma Yadav, secretary of the Self Help Group.


Read the full story at
http://www.downtoearth.org.in/cover_nl.asp?mode=6

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