Wildlife

Endangered Gharials

Posted by Susan Sharma on December 14, 2007

 
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Another Rare Species, Another Disease Killing Them Off

What is killing India’s endangered gharials? 17 of the critically endangered crocodile-like critters have been found dead in the Chambal River in recent weeks, a terrible blow to a species whose population boasts just 200 breeding pairs.

Whatever killed the gharials -- most likely a "bacterial disease," according to wildlife conservator V K Pattnaik -- wreaked havoc on their liver and lungs. And the 17 found bodies may not be the only ones affected. According to the news agency UNI, unofficial death tallies could be in the dozens over the last week alone.

According to the IUCN Red List, gharial populations plummeted from as high as 10,000 in 1946 to just 200 in 1974, mostly due to hunting for their skins. Current threats are mostly habitat-related, with irrigation, sand-mining and commercial river traffic destroying the gharial’s river home.

The IUCN downgraded the gharial from "endangered" to "critically endangered" earlier this year. At this rate, it may not be long before it is downgraded again -- if not lost forever.

 
  
Source:
http://www.plentymag.com/blog-mt1/mt-tb.cgi/3811

Wildlife

Endangered Gangetic dolphins

Posted by Susan Sharma on November 07, 2007

 
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The presence and health of wildlife ( birds, squirrels, fish ...) around us is often the best indicator of pollution levels in the air we breathe and the water we drink.

The disappearance of the fresh water dolphin , (a schedule I animal) in a stretch of 7 km of the Ganga where the Simbhaoli Sugar Mill discharges their effluents, is a case in point.

While bureaucratic tussles between the pollutioncontrol board and the sugar mill owners go on about treating the pollutants before discharging the waste,the river is slowly dying.
 

Wildlife

Endangered Vultures in Gujarat

Posted by Susan Sharma on October 09, 2007

 
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There are close to 300 windmills in Kutch area of Gujarat, India.  Bird watchers attribute the decline in number of vultures found in this area (from 70 to 15) to the windmills. 

Dr Vibhu Prakash, Principal Scientist, Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and in charge of the vulture breeding programme says, “Windmills do create problems for birds, especially for large birds like the raptors. They can get sucked into the windmills and get injured. "

Source: http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/Vultures-grounded-by-windmills/218522/

 

Wildlife

Endangered vultures

Posted by Susan Sharma on September 22, 2007

 
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Endangered Vultures

 The two- day statewide (Gujarat) census on vultures, carried out in May 2007 through direct sighting system, has come up with some alarming findings. According to forest officials, in some segments like Junagadh, Banaskanda and Kutch districts, the vulture population has come down to half of the previous census figure of 2002, while some species have disappeared altogether.

Source: http://cities.expressindia.com

Wildlife

Bird watching

Posted by Susan Sharma on August 21, 2007

 
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"Most of bird identification is based on a sort of subjective impression- the way a bird moves and little instantaneous appearances at different angles and sequences of different appearances, and as it turns its head and as it flies and as it turns around, you see sequences of different shapes and angles," David Sibley says.  "All that combines to create a unique impression of a bird that can’t really be taken apart and described in words.  When it comes down to being in the field and looking at a bird, you don’t take the time to analyze and say it shows this, this, and this; therefore it must be this species.  It is more natural andinstinctive.  After a lot of practice, you look at the bird, and it triggers little switches in your brain.  It looks right.  "You know what it is at a glance."

Quote From ’BLINK’ by Malcolm Gladwell

Wildlife

Migrating butterflies protected in Taiwan

Posted by Susan Sharma on March 26, 2007

 
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The milkweed butterflies, indigenous to Taiwan, migrate in late March from Southern Taiwan to the north, where they lay eggs and die. The young butterflies then fly south every November to a warm mountain valley near the Southern part of Taiwan. Conservationists say Taiwan has about 2 million milkweed butterflies.

To protect the migrating butterflies, a 600 meter stretch of highway in Southern Taiwan’s Yunlin County will be sealed off in the coming days as the migration peaks. Authorities set up nets to make the butterflies fly higher and avoid passing cars. They will also install ultraviolet lights to guide the insects across a highway overpass.

( Source: The Economic Times, Delhi dated 25 March 2007)

Wildlife

Bearing the Heat for the Teddy Bear Treat

Posted by Jayanth Sharma on February 01, 2007

 
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I travelled to the lesser known Daroji Bear Sanctuary a few days back. with atleast 22 sightings of the Sloth bears, the trip was very succesful. View Trip report

Wildlife

Marine turtles-two stories

Posted by Susan Sharma on January 24, 2007

 
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Dead Olive Ridleys have been spotted in large numbers at Gahirmatha, Devi river mouth, Jatadhar river mouth, Harishpur areas, Chilika coast and Puri.

The situation went out of control at the Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary after a forest guard by accident killed a fisherman from the Kharnasi village on December 14 last year. Angry fishermen snatched away seized boats, released arrested persons and also burnt down the patrol camp at Agarnasi on December 22. In the absence of armed police, forest guards have refused to carry out sea patrols to protect sea turtles.

Although all trawlers have to use Turtle Excluder Devices (TED), not a single trawler is making use of them. A sum of Rs 10 million given by Indian Oil Corporation to the forest department in 2000 for turtle protection is yet to be used for speedboats. Similarly, the fisheries department had also got Rs 10 million from the Government of India for speedboats, which remains unspent even after eight years.

SOURCE : The Pioneer& The Hindu, January 18, 2007

Contrast the above grim news with the following:


Turtle Festival at Velas, Tal- Mandangad, Dist-Ratnagiri is being celebrated on 10th and 11th February 2007.  Last four years Sahyadri Nisarga Mitra (SNM), Chiplun, has been working in Marine TurtleConservation in Maharashtra.   Velas is 225 Km from both Poona and Mumbai.

 In this period SNM released 7610 hatchlings from152 protected nests. This year 28 nests are protected on entire coast of thestate, and at Velas there are18 nest till today.

On 10th and 11th February, 2007 in the mornings and evenings there is a chance to observe the emerging hatchlings from the nests at Velas. This dates are based on last four years experience. 


SNM is making simple homestay arrangements for tourists and wildlife lovers who would wish to watch the hatching of the turtles on the two dates. They can observe how the marine turtle conservation project is going on, hatcherymanagement, meet the locals who are actually working, film turtles, Coconutgardens and the beach.

SOURCE: Posting in yahoo group Delhibird by Kedar Gore

Wildlife

Clouded leopard

Posted by Susan Sharma on January 24, 2007

 
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Frequently overshadowed by bigger, better known inhabitants of India’s jungles, such as the tiger, elephant and leopard, little is known about the clouded leopard. . A smaller member of the “big cat” group, this creature, weighing between 11kg and 20 kg, is found in the jungles of north Bengal, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya as well as China and parts of south east Asia.


Neora Valley National Park in Darjeeling has begun its first survey of the clouded leopard in an attempt to find out more about this elusive, endangered species. The survey hopes to find out the estimated clouded leopard population of the park, as well as observing daytime and nocturnal behaviour and its prey base.


The year-long study, jointly carried out by the state forest department and Nature Environment and Wildlife Society (NEWS), a voluntary organisation, will also look at eco-tourism prospects in the park. The 88 square kilometre park is also home to the endangered red panda and musk deer. Other species include leopard, five species of civet, black bear, sloth bear, golden cat, wild boar, barking deer, sambar, Himalayan flying squirrel and Thar.

SOURCE : The Statesman, Friday, January 19, 2007

Wildlife

Barasingha and Hangul

Posted by Susan Sharma on December 23, 2006

 
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Barasingha in Kanha N.P and Hangul in  Dachigam N. P ( J&K)


The barasingha, the beautiful deer with twelve tined antlers, were once reduced to just 66 animals in Kanha N.P.  Management interventions like construction of a large enclosure,( main threat to brasingha are the tigers) strict control over grass burning and the augmentation of grassland areas achieved a rebound of the population of this deer. 

Today,  the Hangul or red deer in Dachigam is faced with extinction.  The 2005 census placed their numbers between 170 and 250.  Increase in predators like leopards and the omnivorous black bear who feed on young hangul does  not help matters either. Large scale grazing of sheep and encroahment in the upper reaches of the park have led to shrinking of the hangul's home range, making it easy prey for leopards in the lower reaches. The Wildlife Institute of India Are doing satellite tracking to determine the home range.  Deending on the results a decision has to be made to increase the coverage area or to relocate the predator population.


( Source: Kanha Tiger Reserve by Carrol Moulton and Ernie J. Hulsey and

The Indian Express 22 Dec 2006)

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