Press on Environment and Wildlife
One-man army in crusade to save Kolkata's kidneys (July Week #5 (2013))
Subal Chandra, who used to own a fishery at Chowbhaga, was the first to start a legal battle against wetland encroachment in late 1990s. Since then, the family has been relentless in their battle against land sharks, with support
from fellow villagers.

The villagers, of course, understood the imminent threat on their livelihood - sewage-fed fish and agro-farms.

The litigations exposed the unholy nexus of politicians and criminals, backed by land sharks.

"My entire family was picked up by the police on the charge of armed robbery in the Kakdwip police station area. But we were let off after the then SDPO of Kadwip, Kallol Ghanai, submitted a report saying that no such dacoity had taken place," says Biswanath.


Ludhiana laps up green app (Issue of the week, July Week #2 (2013))
The ever shrinking green cover in the city has made a smart phone application, 'Suggest a tree spot', very popular among Ludhianvis, who have suggested maximum number of spots where trees could be planted.  

Launched throughout India on environment day, the app has so far recorded 78 suggestions out of which 36 have been made by residents in Ludhiana.

The app allows residents to take pictures of the place where trees could be planted by MC. After receiving the pictures, the app will tag the locations on Google Maps and upload the information along with details of the user.
Suggestions made by city will be compiled and forwarded to local municipal authority, which can use the information during tree plantation drives. Users can also give information on the number of trees that need to be planted.


Local biodiversity to be part of primary syllabus curriculum from primary level (July Week #2 (2013))
The programme seeks to sensitise the students from the early level about the biodiversity assets in their areas so that they will in I future become champions of the initiatives to conserve them, said Prof. Oommen V Oommen, Chairman of the KSBB said.

He said the KSBB has approved panchayat biodiversity registers (PBRs) prepared by nearly 670 panchayats across the state. The proposal is to expose the students to the biodiversity assets available in their areas and these PBRs will form a sort of reference
books for the exercises, Prof Oommen said.

The KSBB and NBA are keen to ensure that biodiversity education is not turned into dull exam-oriented course. Biodiversity will be taught through an across the curriculum'' strategy where its multiple dimensions will be weaved in different subjects including
mathematics and English, apart from science, Prof Oommen said.


US charges 150 accused in online wildlife sales (July Week #2 (2013))
More than 150 people face federal and state charges after authorities disrupted online wildlife trafficking operations involving tiger, leopard and jaguar pelts, elephant ivory and live birds.

Items seized under "Operation Wild Web" include the pelts of endangered big cats such as the Sumatran tiger, leopard and jaguar; live migratory birds such as the California scrub jay; whale teeth; elephant and walrus ivory; and a zebra pelt.  

Working with counterparts in several states, federal officials targeted illegal wildlife sellers who operate through Craigslist, eBay and other Internet marketplaces and classified ads. Wildlife officers in Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia ran similar
operations at the same time.


Leopard enters house, injures man in Belgaum (July Week #2 (2013))
A 55-year-old man was injured in a leopard attack at Chikale village of Khanapur taluk in Belgaum on Saturday night. ...  It is said that the big cat entered the courtyard of Vasudev's house at 10pm and tried to attack the dog tied outside the house. When
the dog began to bark, it woke up Vasudev. He opened the door didn't notice the leopard enter the house.

The leopard is suspected to have come from nearby Jamboti forest. Forest officials have summoned experts from Mysore who arrived late Sunday evening. The department brought a cage from Dandelli. They will start the operation to catch the leopard on Monday.


Bombay Natural History Society to study conservation of giant clams in Andaman & Nicobar Islands (July Week #2 (2013))
"When it comes to marine ecosystems, the reality is that conventional measures of declaring protected areas are not successful. We must look at newer approaches for conservation. While there is a lot of ambiguity over the conservation reserves in the Wildlife
Protection Act, 1972, it may be the way forward," Apte said. Conservation reserves allow for greater participation from local communities, he added.

Extending the project to Andaman and Nicobar, where there are many more species, will throw up challenges. Lakshadweep had only two species of giant clams, whereas Andaman and Nicobar have five species, Apte said.

"The greater challenge in Andaman and Nicobar is that there are more stakeholders. Unlike the homogenised human habitation in Lakshadweep, communities in Andaman and Nicobar are numerous and varied,"he said.

The project received a shot in the arm after the UK-based Whitley Fund for Nature recently announced a grant of £70,000 (about Rs 64 lakh) for the initiative.


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