-Text and photos Anita Nandkumar

I had the once in a life time opportunity of visiting Masaimara in December 2014.  Having seen many National Parks in India, I am familiar with the behavior of wildlife in India.   I have also observed that our N.Ps have villagers living within, so it was no surprise when I saw herds of cattle roaming inside Masasi Mara.  

In fact the animals seem to have accepted human presence quite well as I saw zebras grazing near our resort and hippos coming in at night (and day as well) to munch on the water hyacinth near our resort.  

Of course the sight of giraffes roaming the Mara 's vast expanses is something I can never forget.

When our jeep driver raced through the Masai roads to show us "the most unimaginable " sight, I was reminded of the jeeps racing in our N.Ps to have a glimpse of the elusive tiger.  But what this driver had taken us to see, was truly an unimaginable sight

A leopard with a Cheetah kill!!!


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Quiz of the week

Attempt a quiz  has answered all ten questions on the quiz "Quiz on Elephants-Part II"  correct  and his submission was the first to reach us.  Congrats Tarun.  You will get a surprise gift soon.
Now, attempt a  Quiz on Pheasants at

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Are pheasants game birds or endangered species?  Please answer our poll question on the home page.  You may think the answer is obvious.  But the poll results will surprise you.

Peacock dance Sariska Dec 2014-photo Susan Sharma

Corporates and Environment

Green energy is energy security

Green energy is energy security

Technology is turning China from carbon villain to carbon messiah, says S.Ananthanarayanan.

The Kyoto protocol on reducing CO2 emissions came to an end in 2012. Most member countries have reported success in achieving reduction targets, but global greenhouse gas emission has grown faster than before. While emissions continue to grow, a series of articles in journals the world over has reviewed what has gone wrong. But China, the greatest emitter of them all so far, is now showing the way to reverse the trend.

One trouble with the Kyoto protocol was that it set emission cap targets for developed countries but gave developing countries a free hand. This is why the USA, after first having signed the treaty, refused to ratify it and stayed out of the protocol. The treaty was left with 37 members, USA, then the largest emitter of CO2, not among them, and emitter giants, like China and India, were without any emission reduction targets. The graph, Carbon Climb, would show that the Kyoto protocol had no effect on global emissions.

The emission reduction achieved by developing countries was partly by reduction in manufacture and generation and partly by the economic crisis during the period. But the reduction was also illusory - what developed countries did not produce, they imported from China – the same carbon was still burnt, only somewhere else. Power intensive industry in the west relocated to China and India, who celebrated ‘Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)’, as reflecting the confidence of investors in political stability, and in the west it was business as usual, with full marks for reducing carbon emission. “The reasons for the ineffectiveness of the Kyoto protocol are in its architecture,” says Dieter Helm, economist and professor of energy policy at the University of Oxford, “It is based on carbon production, not carbon consumption.”The energy-intensive goods that China and India export to Europe and the USA make up about 50% of the world’s GDP, Helm says. China is now an importer of coal and accounts for The expansion of the renewable sector in China is also reducing the need to import oil and natural gas. Achieving the 2017 targets of water, wind and solar power, Mathews and Tan reckon, would lead to a 45% reduction of the oil and gas import bill. The expansion of the sector has also created a huge market for the sector’s many components, like wind turbines and photovoltaic panes, and the economy of scale has brought prices down. From 2010 to 2013, the solar generation capacity in China has gone up from less than a GW to 8 GW, a 22-fold increase, while the global market, which was already at 40GW increased only to 140 GW. The economics of supplying the domestic and international markets has then benefitted solar power users the world over.50% of the world’s coal trade, producing more coal than four times the oil produced in Saudi Arabia, he said in November 2012. But a review by John Mathews and Hao Tan, from Australia, just published in the journal, Nature, describes China’s current energy initiatives, which may change China’s profile from being polluter No 1 to the world leader in switching from coal to renewable energy sources, like wind turbines or solar cells.

China’s economy grew by giant strides since 2001, when it joined WTO, with new railway lines, manufacture, megacities and most of all, ample electric power, mostly from coal fired plants. Today, China generates more than 5 trillion units (kWh) of electricity, which is a trillion kWh more than USA. And China consumes 23% of the world’s coal production for electricity. But fossil fuels alone cannot provide all the power that China needs and since the mid-2000s, she has invested heavily in hydro-electric, wind, solar and nuclear power generation. Between 2008 and 2012, the Mathews-Tan review says, investment in this sector increased by 40%, while the share of investment in fossil fuel based facilities fell from 50% to 25%.

“As a result, China’s wind power capacity has increased five-fold. And in 2013, the generating capacity from new water, wind and solar sources surpassed that of new fossil-fuel and nuclear facilities,” the review says. Along with increasing wind farms and area under solar panels, China has also created means to integrate electricity from these sources with the existing electric distribution network, and is an exporter of ‘intelligent grid’ technology. ”Zero carbon sources now contribute 9.6% of the energy used in China, up from 5.6% in 2000,” the review says. “In 2013 China hit its target – two years early - to generate almost 30% of electricity from renewables. No other country is investing so much money or generating so much renewable energy.”

The expansion of the renewable sector in China is also reducing the need to import oil and natural gas. Achieving the 2017 targets of water, wind and solar power, Mathews and Tan reckon, would lead to a 45% reduction of the oil and gas import bill. The expansion of the sector has also created a huge market for the sector’s many components, like wind turbines and photovoltaic panes, and the economy of scale has brought prices down. From 2010 to 2013, the solar generation capacity in China has gone up from less than a GW to 8 GW, a 22-fold increase, while the global market, which was already at 40GW increased only to 140 GW. The economics of supplying the domestic and international markets has then benefitted solar power users the world over.

The transfer, so vigorously pursued in China, from fossil to renewable, is not only a change to carbon-free energy, it is also an assurance of secure energy sources. Fossil fuel resources are limited and as they get depleted, developing economies urgently need alternatives. Conversely, sources of water, wind and solar energy are perennial – all one needs is for wind and solar is vacant land. Creating renewable capacity further supports manufacturing and frees the state from dependence on markets and imports.

The Kyoto protocol, now past and to be replaced in 2015 with a new international understanding, has been Europe-centred and has relied on mechanisms like taxes and trading in carbon credits. Creation of a low carbon regime through market forces may take too long, given the rate at which the economies of China and India are growing – they are slated to double by the year 2020. A regime based on consumption of carbon, rather than on creation, would clearly address the relevant concern more directly. Import levies on products would also be a restriction, though tax on their production would help the producing nation benefit, rather than the importers’ government.

But a more direct route to low carbon would be through technology and creating competitive renewables. This is what is happening in China, with the growth of the wind turbine and the solar panel market. The understanding that manufacture in China is largely based on coal driven power has brought about a misguided import levy on Chinese photovoltaic cell panels. This is most counter-productive, as use of coal based power, howsoever harmful, to manufacture solar panels is vastly more productive than use to manufacture the many consumer goods that developed countries import from China and India.

The regime of carbon pricing and trading is viewed as the only way incentivize investment in low carbon technology. But effective state policy to leverage technology and increasing the market for renewables would change the perspective and it is for using other means that one would need incentives. Yes, China gained the dubious distinction of being the world’s greatest polluter, but now China is showing the way, politically and socially, to go for renewable energy and reduce carbon.

Author's note:
Local communities trading in carbon savings could often be creating illusory economics. The true villain of CO2 generation is coal and what counts is ways of burning less coal. An instance of real carbon saving is the investment that the Mumbai suburban railway, India, made to switch over its 88 year-old traction network from 1,500 V DC to 25,000 V AC. This single change, which is more easily spoken of than executed, reduced transmission loss and enabled regenerative braking of trains, which recoups energy, and saved 40% of the power consumed.


Sariska Tiger Reserve

Sariska Tiger Reserve
-Susan Sharma

I had sighted the first wild  tiger in my life at Sariska-much before poachers finished them off in this tiger reserve closest to New Delhi.   Sariska has come a full circle since then.  Visiting the reserve on 30th/31st Dec 2014, I did not spot a tiger but saw many happy faces who had spotted one.  The forest seemed alive once again with sambhar, nilgai and spotted deer showing themselves often.  Jackals and wild  boars were also plentiful.  

Sambar deer at waterhole

We saw this sambar looking ill and not leaving the waterhole on 30th evening.  Our guide said that the forest guards would have put medicines in the water.  Sure enough,  next day morning the sambar was still not far from the waterhole but looking healthy and well.   Guards on Hero Honda bikes were seen active with their walky talkies.  Even the foot soldiers seemed alert despite the biting cold. 

Crocs at Sariska lake

30th, a Tuesday, is the day when public is allowed free entry inside to visit the Hanuman temple inside at Pandupole.  Many had spotted a tiger and tigress.  We could hear the mating cries(roars) but the pair refused to come out of the bushes.  

An excited crowd after spotting the tiger 

Local newspapers printed the photos and a write-up 

Including the eight tigers trans-located from Ranthambhore, the tiger population at Sariska now stands at 13.  

"Initially, two tigers were brought to Sariska, which were housed in in-situ enclosures for a few days before release with radio collars. The protocol provided for translocating five tigers in batches periodically, during the initial phase. Adult tigers over two-and-a-half years of age were considered good for re-introduction owing to their health status and ability to take on the stress of relocation. Great care was taken to ensure the least disturbance to the social dynamics of the tiger population at Ranthambhore itself. After an initial period of barrenness that appeared to prove the critics right, the translocated tigers at Sariska started breeding well. So far six cubs have been littered. This includes two females, which have reached adulthood since then. "  says Jairam Ramesh in Live mint dated 3rd Jan 2015

Bar headed geese sleeping surrounded by painted stork and black stork
The Sariska lake has large crocodiles  basking in the sunlight but these do not deter local and migratory birds like bar headed geese sleeping peacefully while painted storks and black storks keep a watch.  


Upcoming online chat-Restoring degraded lands

"Restoring degraded lands for wildlife" on 25/01/2015
  Moderator Dr.Faiyaz Khudsar
Scientist-in-Charge, Yamuna Biodiversity Park, Delhi
Details DDA and the Delhi University collaborated in establishing the Yamuna biodiversity Park out of degraded wetlands of Yamuna.

To participate log in at

Green Jobs

Pench Tiger Reserve Needs Staff

F:\PTCF\BCRLI\BCRLIP Advertisement (2014-15).docx -1-
OFFICE OF THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF PENCH TIGER RESERVE CONSERVATION FOUNDATION, NAGPUR Near Government Press, Zero Miles, Civil Lines, Nagpur - 440 001 Ph. No. 0712-2560727 / 2560748 E-mail:- Website: -
Ministry of Environment, Forest and climate change is implementing an externally aided (GEF/World Bank) Project (2011-18) on Biodiversity Conservation and Rural Livelihood Improvement (BCRLI) in Satpuda Landscape. Pench Tiger Reserve Conservation Foundation, Nagpur is an implementation agency for Maharashtra Part.  Following contractual employees are proposed to be appointed under the BCRLI project.
Sr. No. Post No. Remarks
1. Ecologist 01 (For 11 months on contract, may be extended up to plan period.)
2. Sociologist 01    3. Livelihood Expert 01  4. GIS Specialist 01 5. Social Mobilizers 04 6. Office assistant 01
7. Nature Interpreter 01
Minimum Qualification:-
1. Ecologist: - Masters Degree in Wildlife Conservation/ Wildlife Management/ Wildlife Science OR M.  Forestry/Botany / Zoology and three years is working experience as ecologist in forest wildlife or related area. Working knowledge of GIS will be preferred.
2. Sociologist: - Master Degree in sociology, Social Work with working experience on such projects.
3. Livelihood Expert: - Masters in Social welfare / MBA in Rural Management with creditable experience in livelihood area OR Graduate of any discipline with at least 5 years experience in livelihood generation.
4. GIS Specialist: - Graduate in science or engineering or BA in Geography with at least 3 years experience of GIS handling. Expertise in GIS and Remote Sensing.
Soft skills required: Geomedia, Erdass imagine, ArcGIS, QGIS, GRASS
5. Social Moblizers: - Graduates of any discipline with minimum 1 year experience . Preference will be given to the candidate having degree in sociology or social work and knowledge of tribal language.
6. Office assistant :-
Graduate in any discipline. Typing Speed: 40 - English & 30 - Marathi / Hindi (endorsed by certificate)
Experience in MS Office & Internet handling with good communication skills, Experience in accountancy will be preferred.
7. Nature Interpreter: - Field experience in nature interpretation with good communication skills in Marathi, Hindi and English. Preference will be given to the candidate having knowledge of tribal language
How to Apply:
Send your signed resume to the following e-mail address OR by Post before, 30 January 2015 up to 5:00 pm.
Near Government Press, Zero Miles, Civil Lines, Nagpur - 440 001
Resume should include your educational qualifications and professional experience. Related documents will be verified at the time of interview.
Date and place of Interview:
Sr. No. Post Date Time Place
1. Livelihood Expert 03/02/2015 10:30 Office of CCF & field
director, Pench tiger Reserve, Zero miles,  Civil Lines, Nagpur 440001
2. Sociologist 03/02/2015 12:00
3. Social Mobilizers 03/02/2015 03:00
4. Ecologist 04/02/2015 10:30
5. GIS Specialist 04/02/2015 12:00
6. Nature Interpreter 04/02/2015 01:00
7. Office assistant 04/02/2015 03:00
Executive Director, Pench Tiger Reserve Conservation Foundation, Nagpu

For queries contact prajakta hushangabadkar <>


Sand & Cloud

Poem by Arefa Tehsin, Author

Sand & Cloud


Once a silver cloud passed my way

The reckless wind blew it away

The sun pierced it through its heart

Who could rebuild a cloud from start?

The sand was cool under my feet

Drunken on waves’ endless fleet

The tide came and drowned the sand

Who could reclaim it from ocean grand?

Seasons passed and robins sang

Peacocks danced with lovers’ pang

Gulmohars kissed then went to sleep

Skies remained too cosmic, too deep

One day when I sat alone in a crowd

I found the once lost silver cloud

It dazzled in my loved one’s eyes

A brilliant cloud in darkened skies

I discovered it again in light

The sand I’d lost to the ocean’s might

It shone from trillion stars at night

The sand had sprinkled above in flight

May all you lose come back to you

With sands of time and déjà vu

May no fears cage your clouds in flight

Be it the sun’s arrows or powers ‘right’

2015 MUBARAK!!

Digital painting by Ragoo Rao

Press on environment and wildlife

Press this week

Press this week

NGOs up the ante against Carbide waste disposal  

CPCB gives nod to zero liquid discharge plant at Jajmau  

Giving electric scooters a positive charge 

2014: A year when more of green Goa turned into grey concrete 

Bombay High Court grants stay on cockfight in Ulhasnagar  
Boost for bio-diesel research at GU  

Aviation experts to voice ozone concern

Cusat scientists isolate algae capable of producing biofuel

Coral bleaching in Pacific may become worst die-off in 20 years

Pair of ruddy shelduck feeding in Sariska lake-Photo Susan Sharma

Press on environment and wildlife

Press this week

Restart Kuberpur waste recycling plant: UPPCB to AMC
Easy to carry, effective solar-powered insect trapper 
Polar bears migrate to Northwest Passages for longer lasting ice 
NGO launches device for easy disposal of solid waste
And more......

Read details at 

Story Of The Month

Nature lauds the 'Perfect 10'

Nature lauds the 'Perfect 10'

Koppillil Radhakrishnan, head of ISRO, is in Nature’s list of the ten people who mattered in science in 2014, says S.Ananthanarayanan.
“Selected after much debate and consultation by Nature’s editors, Nature’s 10 looks behind the major events and discoveries to show that, at its heart, science is a human endeavour,” says Helen Pearson, Nature’s chief features editor.

Suzanne Topalian is a US physician and researcher who has worked on a new approach to tackling the menace of cancer. Even as a medical student, she says, she was fired with the idea of using the body’s immune system to turn on cancer cells, in place of the convention therapy of attacking the tumour with drugs or radiation.    The new drug that she helped pioneer belongs to a class called PD-1 inhibitors (Programmed cell Death inhibitors), which block a defense of cancer cells to prevent the body T-cells from acting. The drug has been approved for use in Japan and the US and analysts say it may become the cornerstone of cancer therapy in a few years.

Indian born Radhika Nagpal leads a team of engineers at Harvard University in the field of biology-inspired robotics. Taking a cue from a mentor when she was a student at MIT, Radhika built on the idea that the simple cell is the ultimate computer, with groups of cells taking cues from the environment and self assembling to perform complex tasks.   Radhika’s team has now got a swarm of 1024 small, three-legged robots, called kilobits, just a few centimeters wide and tall, and communicating with neighbours through infra-red light, to assemble themselves into different two dimensional shapes. This level of cooperative behavior in robots is seen as a remarkable achievement, which can be scaled up to create robotic teams that can rapidly move to deal with disasters or to aid environmental clean-up operations.

Sheik Hummar Khan was the heroic Sierra Leon doctor who succumbed to Ebola while treating patients during the outbreak in his country. He was part of the team that carried out the first genetic sequencing studies of the virus in Sierra Leone.  This research has shown how the virus is mutating and his team is installing sequencers all over West Africa to track its evolution. Hummar Khan had turned down attractive offers to work in Freetown or to teach abroad. He took the best precautions to protect himself but his empathy with patients, which extended to physical contact with survivors, may have been his undoing.

30 year old Pete Frates of Massachusetts, graduate from Boston College and basketball player and coach was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) in 2012. Pete lost the ability to speak or move, but he began advocacy and to raise funds for awareness of the disease. Pete, with his friend Pat Quinn of New York, are now credited as the creators of the Ice Bucket Challenge, an activity involving dumping a bucket of ice water on one's head to promote awareness of ALS, which went viral on social media during the summer of 2014. Over 17 million ice bucket videos have been posted and US$ 115 million have been collected.  The drive has shown the need to get people involved and has caught the attention of other advocacy groups. The National Organization for Rare Disorders in Danbury, Connecticut, had held a seminar on viral fund-raising campaigns, and is planning a follow-up.

Koppillil Radhakrishnan, is head of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), and the success of India’s mission to Mars, in September, comes just before he retires, after forty three years of work on different projects of ISRO, from remote sensing satellites, Tsunami warning systems, the cryogenic engine.  India’s success in its very first attempt is creditable as over half the missions so far have failed. Radhakrishnan plays down his role, “I was like the conductor of an orchestra,” he says. But the achievement has demonstrated India’s ability to develop and implement high-technology enterprises.

Here are five of them;  To see the other five, go to the url


Quiz of the week

Attempt a quiz

Last month's quiz received four all correct answers on the first day.  So we had to look at the time of submission to see who did it first.  Here are the results of the Quiz on pheasants, our server threw up. 2015-01-05 08:13:00 Quiz on Pheasants 2015-01-05 09:45:00 Quiz on Pheasants 2015-01-05 11:27:00 Quiz on Pheasants 2015-01-05 21:30:00 Quiz on Pheasants

Sabina Jayapalan has made it again! Congrats

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Olive Ridley Turtle stamp issued in 2000

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