November 11, 2013
Losing Habitat of Migratory Birds : Mote Majra
Mote Majra is a small village near Mohali which boasts of having a rich fauna and flora too especially a great variety of birds. Last week there
was a photograph with a caption
“ Winged Guests Are Here; Migratory Birds At Mote Majra in Mohali” by Vicky Gharu in The Tribune. These migratory birds are not here for the entire
winter but for a halt on their great migratory leap. So we planned to visit the visitors this weekend. To our utter surprise we could not locate even a single out of the flock despite waiting patiently for a long time. Yes there were some other birds of course
like the common kingfisher, red wattle lapwing, Intermediate egret; Black winged Kite,Crow Pheasants and cormorants.
After a long wait we finally approached a local villager who told us that a person has hired the local pond on a contract for fishing and has put
some people to work for him to put a net all over the pond so that the migratory birds are unable to catch the fish. This labour has been hired for an amount of 30000/. Now with no food on arrival, the migratory birds have no option but to carry on their migration
path ahead. It’s really disheartening to see such human interference.
Water Bodies are providing the habitat to the local and migratory bird species and playing key role in maintaining the balance in natural environmental
parameters. The human activities and interference are destroying the natural water bodies' characteristics thereby depriving the migratory birds of their natural habitat
at many places. There is a need to study such aquatic ecosystems for understanding the gravity of environmental problems and to find solutions to improve the habitat of migratory birds which directly help
in protecting the bird species. The governments of such places should come forward to save the natural environment.
July 19, 2012
Western Ghats, the ancient mountain range in the southern India which is older than Himalayas is a new entrant to the league of Word Heritage sites for its rich biodiversity. However, new studies show that incidence of foreign type of organisms in these
riverine environments is a main hazard for this World Heritage site. These non-native organisms introduced in the rivers of Western Ghats for agricultural purposes or as biological controllers, are gradually wiping away organisms found in these rivers, according
to certain research outcomes.
Plants like Eichhornia crassipes and
Pistia stratiotes serve as good examples of alien plants in these rivers. Similarly,
Salvinia molesta, Hydrilla and
Ipomea fistulosa were first introduced as ornamental plants in aquariums but later became major weeds in these rivers. They cover the water surface, often increasing the rate of sedimentation. They also hinder the daylight which is essential for the
underwater plants for photosynthesis. Mikania macarantha, is a similar plant now
threatening biodiversity in the area. It forms a thick layer over the river surface and the connected riparian forest, blocking the sunlight.
Exotic fishes add one more name to the list of foreign organisms causing
threat to innate organisms in the Western Ghats Rivers. Introduced to control mosquito and diseases caused by them, these aquatic organisms have turned out to be enemies in course of time.
Gambusia affinis, was widely introduced as a biological agent to control mosquitos. But now they have entered Western Ghats streams, raising stiff competition for resources with native species, wiping away them locally.
This is dangerous when for the endemic fishes in Western Ghats Rivers.
Clarias gariepinus, was brought in by farmers who wanted a fast growing fish which eats up everything including waste from slaughter houses,
to increase fish production. But the fish known for its ability to survive in drastic conditions has turned out to be a serious threat to native species of fishes and other organisms when invaded main stream rivers.
Unlike other threats which destruct a river ecosystem, foreign species and the extent of the damage caused by them are often invisible for the naked eye for a long time if detailed research is not being carried out. So the current studies show that there is
a need to conduct more in-depth studies and take up conservation efforts to help the world heritage site from degrading further.there is also an urgent need for the government to formulate and implement a policy for the management of the invasive species in
October 04, 2011
The subcontinent has approximately 1,300 of more than 20,000 butterfly species known, said Kishen Das, a US-based lepidopterist. That’s about 6.5% of the global butterfly diversity.
However, the problem is that around 100 of the butterfly species found in India are nearing extinction, according to Surya Prakash, a professor at the department of life sciences at Jawaharlal Nehru University. “Few are aware of the crucial pollination role
the butterfly plays, which is second only to the honeybee,” he adds.
There’s bad news on that front too.
Read more at
September 07, 2011
September 06, 2011
September 02, 2011
........."This is where policy gets practice fundamentally and fatally wrong. This is not useless wasteland as the revenue office described it when it gave it to the thermal power company at a pittance. This is highly productive land, both in terms of
its ecological functions and economic uses. But we cannot see it or won’t because it is not in our interest.
Just consider. This dead swamp is a living sponge, which soaks water, reducing the intensity of floods; the delicately maintained freshwater balance reduces the advance of salinity, which would infiltrate groundwater and ruin drinking water sources. This is
a living ecosystem. It plays critical life functions...................
Read more at the link
August 24, 2011
Sounds in a National park
............The impact of noise on wildlife ranging from birds to whales to elk has been a growing focus of scientific study. Increasing evidence suggests that animals in natural settings modify their behavior, though sometimes only briefly, in response
to human commotion..........
One of the first things that a visitor to Muir Woods National Monument sees is a monitor that measures sound levels.....
Once the diesel engines had been stilled, visitors began falling into line, heeding a subtle signal that human noises are superfluous here.
But some of the signals are hardly subtle: signs posted near Cathedral Grove in the heart of the park call for silence. Near the entrance to the food and gift shop close to the park’s entrance, a decibel meter measures the sound of a visitor’s voice.
Read more at the link http://tinyurl.com/3h4qn2o
August 04, 2011
Read Nirmal's Kulkarni's Blog on Nag Panchami at
Here is a useful quote
The recommended First Aid protocol for Snake bite as practiced today follows the below mentioned points
• Reassure the victim who may be very anxious and scared.
• Immobilize the bitten limb with a splint or sling (any movement or muscular contraction increases absorption of venom into the bloodstream.
• Consider Pressure immobilization for bites by elapid snakes only like the Indian Cobra and the Indian krait including sea snakes but should not be used for viper bites because of the danger of increasing the local effects of the necrotic venom. There is considerable
debate of which technique to be used and I have personally found the use of a local compression pad applied over the wound pressure bandaging of the entire limb to be very effective.
• Avoid any interference with the bite wound as this may introduce infection, increase absorption of the venom and increase local bleeding.
· The patient must be transported to a place where they can receive medical care (dispensary or hospital) as quickly, but as safely and comfortably as possible. Any movement, especially of the bitten limb, must be reduced to an absolute minimum to avoid increasing
the systemic absorption of venom. If possible the patient should not be allowed to walk and carried with the help of a stretcher or bed or sitting on a chair, etc.
And lastly remember, Polyvalent Anti Snake venom Serum is the only effective remedy for a venomous snakebite in India........
February 22, 2011
Bacteria and other micro organisms are responsible for decomposing organic waste. When organic matterials
like dead plants, leaves, manure, sewage or food waste are present in water supply, bacteria started to break them. By that time, much of the available Dissolved Oxygen (D.O.) is consumed by bacteria from other aquatic organisms of the oxygen they need to
Biological Oxygen Demand (B.O.D.) is one of the most common measures of the oxygen used by micro
organisms to decompose the waste. If there
is a large amount of organic waste is present in the water supply, there will also be a lot of bacteria present which decompose the waste. In this case, the demand for oxygen will be high. As a result, Biological Oxygen Demand (B.O.D.) level will be
A high B.O.D. value indicates pollution, i.e; water containing higher level of organic wastes that
consumed the Dissolved oxygen (D.O.) and is thus unsafe for human consumption.
Aparna V K
June 23, 2010
The first learning during my stay at Bandipur during the 3rd week of March was Forest Fires. I was under the impression that Forest fires were caused mainly due to dry boughs rubbing against each other (taking into consideration a large amount of dry
dead leaves littering the forest floor) , due to lightning during storms and sometimes by man. I was in for a rude shock when I came to know that all forest fires in India were caused by Man!
We are so much influenced by American way of life through the medium of television, that we know a lot more about their wildlife than our native species, we know the emu and the ostrich than the Bustard, we know about the cougar more than we know about
our panthers, we know a lot more about African elephants than about their Asian cousins and so also I was under the impression about forest fires through natural causes through the widely televised events shown in TVs about the fires in US.
Indian forests are mostly deciduous type . Even during the driest season they contain enough moisture to rule out fire due to natural causes. Unfortunately the same cannot be told about the invasive species -lantana, eucalyptus and the Australian wattle
which the government has planted everywhere to suck out the underground water, to wipe out the native species and thus deny the herbivores that depend on them for food, and hence to go extinction ( the introduced species neither provide good shelter nor
do they provide fodder) and to support fire to spread easily (these trees are so dry and the leaves litter do not decompose fast and contain oil thus encouraging fire). Of course that wasn't their idea, their logic seemed to simply rotate around the fast
growing nature of these trees. How could the govt without a scientific analysis on the impact from these trees to the native environment do mass planting everywhere ? why do they still continue doing so even after the impact is so visible and screamed
out loud by the scientific community?
Our forests are fragile. Every successive fires caused accidentally or deliberately by people living within and the fringes of the forest areas inadvertently causes irreversible damages to the ecosystem. Fires bring down century old trees that are destroyed
beyond repair and encourage rampant lantana growth in the successive rainy season. Not to mention the animals that perish in the fires. Bandipur this Summer saw fires breaking out all around. The concerned forest authorities were helpless. They lack resources
to control and prevent fires. They lack man-power and motivation. True they don't take steps to secure but dare I point at them? Isn't it true that the number of forest watchers and guards are at their record low? That there haven been any new permanent
posting, the govt happy to appoint guards on contract basis and pay them poorly.
So, what is the solution? Encourage forestation with native species. Check the growth of lantanas. Educate the tribal and villages encircling the forests about the menace of forest fires and steps they must take to prevent accidental fires. Educate tourists
on the same lines. Post more guards and watchers. Raise their salaries to the level of hawaldars in the civil dept. Provide them with equipments to control fire in case of forest fires. Its a big task ahead of us. Educating the masses , mobilizing them
to protect this rare treasure that's in our hands.