Book Reviews

Lakshadweep Adventure

Lakshadweep Adventure
-Deepak Dalal

Adventures of Vikram Aditya continues in the islands off Arabian Sea.  
Far out in the Arabian Sea, where the waters plunge many thousands of meters to the ocean floor, lie a chain of bewitchingly beautiful coral atolls – the Lakshadweep Islands.

Their lagoons have crystal-clear water and their reefs are deep and shrouded in mystery. Vikram and Aditya discover the secrets of the reefs by diving in their midst. But, when they stumble on to a devious kidnapping plot, their idyllic holiday suddenly turns into a desperate struggle for survival. Driven to the high seas in the face of a terrible storm, their fate hangs on the skills of a young islander.
A breathtaking adventure tale of scuba-diving, sharks, windsurfing, survival, sea turtles and sabotage; set in one of the most beautiful locales of India.

Buy this book at 

Now being offered at 10% discount to the displayed price!

Burning Issues

Workshop on preventing Elephant Crop raiding

Workshop on preventing Elephant Crop raiding

Here are some excerpts from  "Techniques to protect crops from elephants"   a freely downloadable handbook from the website

Why do elephants come to eat crops in our farms?
Shared Boundaries: We know that many of our farms are located on the border of the forests. While feeding elephants come near the boundary of the forests and then enter our farms. And that is where they see a lot of crops available so they feed onthem. No wild animals recognize man-made boundaries!!

Disturbance in the Forests: Many times we see people cutting lots of trees, bamboo and grasses from the forests. . Fires in the forest also destroy trees and grasses. Because of all this, it is possible that there is a shortage of food plants for the
elephants. Perhaps that is why the elephants are forced to look for food outside the forests

Our farms are in their Home Ranges : Some areas where we have our farms were earlier forests and elephants used to live there. Now since the farms are there, a part of their home is gone. Elephants have excellent memory so they still remember their old homes and visit these areas and instead of forests they enter our farms.

Crops are plenty and tasty: Elephants find our crops very tasty. They love to feed on paddy, corn, sugarcane, maize, sorghum, banana, jackfruit and all other types of vegetables. Also they find it convenient to feed on them as they don’t have to go looking for different food items in the forests. Feeding on crops also saves their time and energy as a lot of food is available at one place.

Opportunist feeders: Elephants are very smart. They come to our crop fields at night when they know they will be safe as no one will be there. They can eat whatever they want and how much they want. That is why fields which are unguarded are always easy targets for the hungry elephants!

What are these elephants doing bang in Kochi town, in front of a Corporate Office? Well, Kerala, which has the dubious distinction of having 700 captive elephants, decided that the festive spirit of Onam 2014, can be enhanced by artificial elephants too!  Photo Susan sharma

If we start practicing crop guarding regularly it is easy to keep the elephants out of the crop fields.

How to keep the elephants out of your farms

Elephants have strong sense of smell and they do not like the smell of chilly as it irritates their nose and eyes. Therefore, spicy chilly mixture acts as good barrier against elephants. But remember to use only spicy chilly pods such local variety of
guntur chilly or spicy green chilly. These barriers are effective for preventing the entry of elephants and give us time to detect the elephants. 

Chilly Rope

Take very spicy variety of chilly pods, powder it, make into a thick paste with grease and engine oil and apply the paste on a coir rope. Hang this rope around the boundary of your farm. This is called the “Chilly Rope”. The smell of the chilly mixture is so strong that it masks the smell of ripe paddy also. When the paddy is in mature stage, the mixture should be applied every 3 days on the rope. And in rainy season, make sure that the mixture is applied daily.

Chilly Curtain

Using the same method, we can use old clothes dipped in chilly mixture and hang it on the coir rope. This is called the “chilly curtain”. 

For details on  how to make chilly rope and chilly curtain refer tothe handbook which can be downloaded free at

Elephants raiding a banana plantation near Bannerghatta, Karnataka
Photo courtesy


Elephants in Kerala

Elephants in Kerala
-Susan Sharma

Elephants in Kerala are conserved, protected, worshiped.   The Asian elephant herds in Periyar Tiger Reserve gladden the hearts of visitors who view them from a boat.  The Wayanad forests also boast of herds who roam the corridors connecting the Kalakad-Mundunthurai Tiger Reserve. 

Orphan elephants, often victims of poaching of adult elephants, are taken into the elephant training centre at Konni.  At the elephant camp, visitors can observe the elephants daily routine and activities.  

Kerala also has more than 700 captive elephants, mostly engaged in temple festivities.  Some are owned by temples but most belong to individual owners.

Here are some pictures which tell the story   

Elephants in natural environs of Thekkady

Orphan a "Kraal" in Konni

Training to bathe with tap water

Ready to bow to the Diety in a temple 

Wounds as a result of chaining over the years

Gardening for wildlife

Integrated Farming System ensures Biodiversity

Integrated Farming System ensures Biodiversity
-K. Amina Bibi

Integrated Farming System (IFS) is a judicious mix of agricultural with enterprises like dairy, poultry, piggery, fishery, sericulture which is suited to the given agro-climatic conditions and socio-economic status of the farmers. It brings prosperity in the life of the farming as the web of life is sustained. As an advantage, the farm wastes are better recycled for productive purposes. It introduces a change in the farming techniques for maximum production in the cropping pattern and takes care of optimal utilization of resources. It turns out to be economical as the family labor is one of the major contributions. It facilitates a personal bondage to each life involved in the IFS. 

Mr. Sasidharan of Ilayankudy, Karaikal has a field and cultivates paddy and vegetables which feed him and his family. When he added cows to his farming system, he gets milk and dairy products from the cow. The field gets a regular supply of cow dung and cow urine which are rich in minerals – used as manure. Cow urine has a lot of minerals and acts as growth promoter, pest repellent and elixir of life. The straw feeds the cows and also sustains the microbial load of the soil which is enriched with cow dung and cow urine. This micro-climate encourages the friends of farmers – earthworms, spiders and beneficial insects to act as bio-guard of the paddy field. 

He rediscovered an ancient rice-growing practice involving the use of ducks. Dozens of these birds, raised on the farm, patrol the paddy fields. They feed on insects and weeds, without touching the plants. Their wading oxygenates the water and stirs up the soil. Their droppings are natural fertilizer.

His field is located in the tail end area of Cauvery River; water scarcity prevails in most of the months in a year but receives more rain in two or three months. So he digs a farm pond in his field to harvest rain water. The water in the farm pond not only provides water for the agricultural fields, it also recharges the water table. Water table recharge provides good quality drinking water to the family and good quality water supply for agriculture throughout the year. 

He also decides to rear fish in the available water. The cow dung and agricultural wastes are the feed for fish and the fish provides extra income for every three months. The fish residues are used to prepare fish emulsion. Fish emulsion supply more nutrients and also supplies much more beneficial bacteria from the brewing process. Fish emulsions are good organic nitrogen sources, but they also supply phosphorus, potassium, amino acids, proteins and trace elements or micro-nutrients that are really needed to provide deep nutrition to your soil community and plants. One of the benefits of fish emulsion is that they provide a slower release of nutrients into the soil without over-feeding all at once. He builds a wooden structure over the farm pond and rears stall-fed goats. Cultivation of fodder crops as inter-cropping and as border cropping results in the availability of adequate nutritious fodder for animals like cows and goat.

(K. Amina Bibi is a Post Graduate in Agriculture with specialization in Plant Breeding and Genetics. She is currently working as Agriculture Officer in Karaikal, Department of Agriculture, Government of Puducherry)

Nature and wellness

Urban Bio Diversity is central to Healthy Urban Living

Sanity of people living in our crowded towns/cities will depend on the availability of good air/water/circulation areas and Greens for emotional stability - health of people is dependent on the natural environment that they live in………

Urban Bio Diversity is central to Healthy Urban Living

Read a very informative chat moderated by Dr.Surya Prakash from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

Blue pansy in our backyard-Susan Sharma

Press on environment and wildlife

Media reports

Tughlaqabad lake heavily polluted (Issue of the week, October Week #5 (2014))
Five lakh trees to stop cyclone devastation (October Week #5 (2014))
Tiny house-fly holds secrets to our better health and environment (October Week #5 (2014))
India bans import of cosmetics tested on animals (October Week #5 (2014))
Crocodiles team up to hunt their prey (October Week #5 (2014))
Forest faces threat from garbage (October Week #5 (2014))

Read details at

(Photo Bandhavgarh-Susan Sharma)

Story Of The Month

Ducks work for this paddy farmer

This Farmer wears many Hats

Ducks here work  at his Paddy farm to

i)                   save labour costs

ii)                 reduce pests

iii)               walk around spreading manure

iv)               Promote bio-diversity         


Read our ezine article -a real case study from Pondichery

Wilderness Volunteers

Be a part of Wilderness conservation Exchange!

Be a part of Wilderness conservation Exchange!

Some time back IWC had conducted an online survey regarding volunteering for  Wilderness conservation Programs.  More than 500 of our members responded to our survey.  We are now trying to create a Volunteering Exchange.  

If you run an organisation ( however small it is) in your neighbourhood for saving environment/wildlife/   we would like to feature you in our exchange.  Please send us a few details about your organization.

a. Contact details
   Name of Organisation to be displayed:
   Website of the Organisation:
   Name of Contact person:
b. Organisation Profile
   Brief description of kinds of Projects undertaken: (CSR projects for corporates/central government projects/local projects /others )
   List of current and upcoming projects :
   Location of your projects: what  is local and what  would require people to travel to remote locations.
   Duration of Projects:
   Strength of staff in your organisation(permanent & temporary):
c. Expectations from Volunteers
   How frequently do you need volunteers in the near future?
   What kind of profile of volunteers/people is required? (Skilled/unskilled- to be trained/ unskilled- no traning required)
d. A brief write-up of your organisation that you would like to showcase:

Please send the details by email to Dr.Susan Sharma at copy to Mr.Sushant Gupta at

Assam roofed terrapin by Prajakta Hushangabadkar

Wilderness Volunteers

Projects on the ground where IWC volunteers can help


Projects on the ground where IWC volunteers can help-Online Club to Ground level activities
-Susan Sharma

1.  Ashish Jain , an SBI Youth for India Fellow*, is in charge of an education  project under the NGO "Gram Vikas" in Orissa. The project involves  working with students of class 3 rd to 7th standard in a tribal school in Ganjam District.  Two IWC members who are proficient in Oriya have volunteered to work with Ashish in his project to create educational tools for children.  We believe that nature around the area can become a learning place for these children who will be able to connect easily  with their immediate surroundings.   The volunteers associated are Satyasarathi Mishra(, an MSc in wildlife and biodiversity conservation and Shankar Kanhar, (  who is a freelance photographer.   

*SBI Youth for India is a fellowship programme initiated, funded and managed by the State Bank of India in partnership with reputed NGOs. It is a movement for India's best young minds who are passionate about fuelling positive change in India. It provides a framework for India's best young minds to join hands with rural communities, empathise with their struggles and connect with their aspirations.  ( ).

2. Anita Nandkumar, who is currently pursuing the Leadership Course in Bio-diversity from Bombay Natural History Society (   has decided to activate the Eco-Club in her neighbourhood school as a part of her BNHS coursework.  On Gandhi Jayanthi Day, she announced the activation of a nature club.  Shashi Sharma of addressed the students for about half an hour explaining the importance of the web of life.  The students were attentive and all hands went up to join the nature club activities.  

Shashi Sharma addressing the students.  Anita Nandkumar is looking on. 


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