Any other

Human elephant conflict

Posted by Susan Sharma on August 21, 2006

Forum Post

" I think that compensation can only be a temporary solution and that too in areas with low levels of conflict. In the long term, we can solve the conflict( or should I say minimise the conflict) only by maintaining the integrity of elephant landscapes. This means that we should begin in earnest the reversal of fragmentation through protection, strengthening or creating corridors. I think the resources are now available but I am not sure about the will"

                                            -Dr Raman Sukumar

 ( Read the full interview at )



Leatherback turtles

Posted by Susan Sharma on August 20, 2006

Forum Post

The Decmber 2004 tsunami has seriously disrupted breeding patterns of the endangered leatherback turtle in the Andaman and Nicobar islands where 400-600 used to nest during the winter, according to a UNDP report.

The report also said the turtle population had become virtually extinct in Malaysia and had deprived the country of one of its most "charismatic tourist lures". The tsunami had caused localised damage to turtle habitats in 11 countries, the 166-page United Nations Environment Programme report observes.

India, Thailand and Sri Lanka are the worst affected, with some nesting beaches completely destroyed. Marine turtle conservation projects in these countries also suffered significant because of the loss of lives of conservation staff.

"It's far too soon to say whether this is a long-term downward trend or simply a natural fluctuation in the population size," the report says. The main threats to the pre-historic creatures of the sea, which can grow up to 700 kg or more, include mortality in fisheries, human egg harvest, depredation of eggs by pigs and dogs and loss of critical habitat -- especially beaches needed for nesting.

Engineers and Environment

Free booklets on birds and butterflies

Posted by Susan Sharma on August 20, 2006

Forum Post

Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne, an Engineer and Chartered Accountant for 15 years in the U.K, returned to Srilanka with the aim of creating a million wildlife enthusiasts in Srilanka by 2025.

“Gehan’s Photo Booklet” series published by Jetwing Eco Holidays, Srilanka, is now available as booklets in downloadble form ( free download).

The first booklet of this series is the Butterflies of Sri Lanka and Southern India. Photographs of 96 of the 242 species of butterflies and skippers found in Sri Lanka are included in the booklet. Many of the species have two images each, depicting both the underwing and upperwing of the butterfly. For some of the species where sexual dimorphism is present, images of both sexes are included. Images of Sri Lanka’s largest species of Butterflies such as the Blue Mormon, Common Birdwing and the endemic Ceylon Tree Nymph are included in the booklet.

The second booklet of the series is the Birds of Sri Lanka and Southern India. All the photographs in these booklets have been taken by Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne, CEO of Jetwing Eco Holidays. To encourage and facilitate a wide a audience, especially school children to learn and identify the butterflies and birds they encounter, the species names have been given in three languages (English, Sinhala and Tamil). The booklets can also be used in Southern India as Sri Lanka shares many of the butterfly and bird species with Southern India.

Here is the link for the downloads


nature/wildlife films


Posted by Susan Sharma on August 10, 2006

Forum Post

A country with no natural wealth of its own, is attracting tourists worldwide who want to study animal behavior. This country is Singapore. Jurong Bird Park and Santosa Island are must visits for wildlife lovers.

The open zoos of Singapore educate, conserve and entertain. The need to protect endangered species is communicated so well through these efforts that corporates invest liberally in the upkeep of the Singapore Zoological Gardens. The butterfly and insect sections, the Dolphin Island and other nature related sections of the Zoo are crowd pullers.

Short two minute video clips of my visit are uploaded at the following links

NOTE:   In case the links do not open, cut and paste the urls in your browser. Use the BACK button in your browser to come back to IWC Blog.

"Sky Meets Sea"

"Animals Teach"

Hope you like watching them. I look forward to your comments.


Environmental Education

Educating the greedy of the world

Posted by Susan Sharma on August 06, 2006

Forum Post

Illegal trade in endangered species can't be attributed to socioeconomic factors. People doing this, in most cases, have other means of finding income. It is pure greed and the ability to manipulate the uneducated tribals which fuel a flourishing trade.

Most people committing wasteful acts are doing it out of ignorance. Will creating awareness help? Yes, to some extent. Will Environment education help? Yes to a large extent. Not just informing them about the issues but also providing solutions.

Environmental Education

Media and Educators -a distinction

Posted by Susan Sharma on August 03, 2006

Forum Post

There could be a reason why -quote- the "newly industrialized" countries are not starting from the enhanced ideas on environmental protection unquote-.

The way I see it, it is a communication problem. "Marketing" is an important issue, not only with environmental problems but with most problems in general. It is not only important to identify a problem, it is equally important to be able to present it to the public in a way that people can identify with it and express it in a way that is easy to comprehend.

Problem solving in a developed country has to be adapted to the realities of a a developing country. Who will do this job? Our own environmental educators have this big responsiblity.

Media generates public interest, but stops short of suggesting solutions to problems. That is where environmental educators must pitch in.


Environmental Education

We already have the Information Needed

Posted by Amin Adatia on July 31, 2006

Forum Post
The information needed to protect and enhance the environment is and has been available. The only thing that has not changed is, as you say, the greed and short-sightedness. It is a wonder why the "newly industrialized" countries are not starting from the enhanced ideas on environmental protection. But then, they are neither too concerned about the safety of the workers. Cheap labour and "throw-away" human resources a plentiful. Why would this be any different than the way the IT companies have been treating the workers -- cheap labour so that the "Developed" countries can still exploit. Maybe having been exploited for over 400 years has something to do with it.

Tribal Bill-How it will affect our forests

The Australian Experience

Posted by Susan Sharma on July 28, 2006

Forum Post

Excerpt from an article by Gaurav Gupta in Indian Express dated 28 July 2006

The Australian experience stands as a dire warning not only to the conservationists who are up in arms against this legislation, but most importantly to the Indian adivasis themselves. Experience shows that transfer of land by itself leads to neither a reattainment of lost culture nor economic gains. In fact quite the opposite has occured- previously productive land has been left desolate once placed in aboriginal hands. The problem has been a lack of education, training and support for aboriginal people to conduct sustainable deveoplment on the land coupled with a lack of proper incentives. Aboriginal leaders point out that what aborigines really want as first priorities are education and jobs. Transfer of land plays no role in this..... ....

The Australian experience would suggest that we allow adivasis an inalienable right of access to forest for cultural practices (which does not require actual ownership) but look elsewhere for a solution to their economic livelihood. In short, ownership of land is no longer part of the real concern facing Adivasis and giving it back is certainly not part of the solution...

( Gaurav Gupta can be contacted at

Environmental Education

Food Security

Posted by Susan Sharma on July 27, 2006

Forum Post
For a poor country like India, filling one's stomach is priority. But the poor are not vandalising wildlife or forests. It is the greed of short sighted people which does this. The development vs destruction debate does not serve any purpose when pursued at parallel lines. There is need for environmental education to be part of all developmental projects.

Environmental Education

Does it matter when I have no food?

Posted by Amin Adatia on July 27, 2006

Forum Post
Why would it matter when all I really want is some wood to burn to cook my food? Actually what I really want is some food to begin with. The real culprits are the "educated persons" who need the extras which directly or indirectly cause the polution/land-fills/Greenhouse Gases/. If it needs eduction to realize that polution is bad then I doubt if we are in a position to do anything about it. What kind of education is necessary to convince people in a village that it is not a good idea to use the streets as toilets, not to spit on the roads, not to sit in a smoke filled room, etc. Are we just worried about the North American style polution which is being imported by the rapidly expanding economies of India and China and Brazil? After all the education and talk, why have these new economies not started out with sound environmental practices? It is always the lure of the rupee and damn the environmental consequences; after all people and their lives are really worth very little compared to the profit to be made from the sale of the products.
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