News and Views



Susan Sharma Founder,

When poachers poach it is no longer news, unfortunately. But when poachers give up poaching and turn protectors, it is news with a capital N and wonderful news at that.

"God'Own Country', Kerala has shown that involving the local community in forest management can pay high dividends to all concerned including the forest' s animals. The number of poaching incidents in the Periyar Tiger Reserve in Thekkady, Kerala has fallen from around 60 a year earlier to about three now. And who are helping the Forest Department in this task? 23 former poachers who used to make a living plundering the wildlife and sandalwood trees of the forest. These 23 people are now forest guides, members of the Eco-development Committee and are earning salaries for guiding tourists on treks in the forest. Having been poachers once, they are the first to tip off the officials if any thing untoward is found in the areas they trek.

What has made these men transform is the acceptance that society has accorded to the reformed criminals. With steady incomes and access to loans, the reformed men refrain from illegal activities. Great effort is made to prevent a backslide to poaching- A contributory corpus fund gives loans to the forest guides for buying plots, building houses, buying rickshaws etc. The Forest Department also conducts literacy classes for members of the Eco development committee comprising reformed poachers.

Private tour agencies have put together attractive trekking trails for those who are environmentally conscious. The income earned from these treks help pay the guides' salaries.


Jayant Deshpande, Team leader, Pune Chapter has sent in this write up on the progress of the Butterfly Project at Pune.'

Millennium National School in Pune has set up a very high standard for infrastructure, delivery and quality of the education system. Keeping the progressive attitude of the school in mind the members of the Pune Chapter of the IWC approached the management of the School with the idea of having a butterfly garden in the school premises, wherein the school children would be free to watch, observe and learn the insect ecology. Dr. Sudheer Phatak, the Director of the School immediately welcomed the idea and agreed to give space, and maintain such a garden.

The Pune chapter studied the butterflies commonly found the area and came up with their list and their larval host plants. In the First phase the following larval host plants are decided to be planted.

1. Common Mormon - Curry leaves & Citrus ssp.

2. Tailed Jay - Mast Tree

3. Lime Blue - Citrus ssp

4. Common Crow - Oleander

5. Plain Tiger - Calatropis ssp

6. Pale Grass Blue - oxalis ssp.

7. Common Emigrant - Cassia ssp.

8. Red Pierrot - Kalanchoe

Best of luck Pune Team!!


( Saraswati has an egroup called ' earthscapes@ yahoogroups', which all are welcome to join.)

Gandhiji and Environment:
It is not very fashionable to talk about Gandhian thought and principles in this day of fast track development and tech-driven lifestyles. But the more I think of it, the more I am convinced about his views on lifestyles. They were more closer to being Eco-friendly and sustainable than any other alternatives that we have today. His first aim was to bring back khadi, which is till date the most Eco-friendly fabric - it causes zero pollution in its entire manufacturing process - hand spun cotton, vegetable dyed and then hand woven. He promoted nature cure which requires no chemical medication what so ever and believes in the inherent capacity of the human body to cure itself. For the fashion conscious let me assure that this is a system of medicine that is holistic and originated in the west. So, you may take it that it is scientifically approved as well. He advocated to promote cottage industries- most of which are Eco-friendly. And most important of all is to adopt simpler lifestyles which is an urgent need today if we should save the environment for our sakes. Our greed for more has resulted in the plundering of the earth with irreversible damage. So, perhaps it is time to stop and think about what this great visionary had said to us: "There is enough for everyone’s need but not for some peoples greed".

Saraswati Kavula,
member Indian Wildlife


Bhavin A Shah 
member Indian Wildlife, sent in a calender which glorifies the outlawed blood sport of 'CockFight' as a form of 'folk entertainment'. The caption of this picture in the calender for the year 2002 by P.V.S Group, Mangalore mentions that ' Koli Anka or cock fight is usually arranged during temple fairs or on other special occasions. A sharp knife like blade called "Bal' is tied to the legs of the specially reared fighter cock before being let loose on its adversary' The fiery fight that ensues is watched by all, the winning cock bringing honour and glory to its master.'

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