Environment Awareness

Kids and environment

Posted by Susan Sharma on September 06, 2011

 
Forum Post

Why Is America's Youth Staying Indoors?

•80 percent said it was uncomfortable to be outdoors due to things like bugs and heat
•62 percent said they did not have transportation to natural areas, and
•61 percent said there were not natural areas near their homes.

Read an interesting article at the link

http://www.nature.org/newsfeatures/kids-in-nature/kids-in-nature-poll.xml?src=gp

Environment Awareness

Wetlands not wastelands

Posted by Susan Sharma on September 02, 2011

 
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........."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...................
 
-Sunita Narain
Read more at the link http://www.downtoearth.org.in/content/lessons-kakarapalli


Environment Awareness

Sounds in a National Park

Posted by Susan Sharma on August 24, 2011

 
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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


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/22/science/earth/22sound.html?_r=1&ref=nationalparkservice

Environment Awareness

Nag Panchami

Posted by Susan Sharma on August 04, 2011

 
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Read Nirmal's Kulkarni's Blog on Nag Panchami at

http://goawildwatch.blogspot.com/2011/08/nagpanchami-and-snake-bite-protocol.html

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........

Environment Awareness

Biological oxygen Demand(B.O.D.)

Posted by Tulip Das on February 22, 2011

 
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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 live.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

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 high.

 

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.

Tulip Das

Environment Awareness

Forest Fires

Posted by Aparna V K on June 23, 2010

 
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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.

Environment Awareness

Threats to Melagiri forests

Posted by Aparna V K on June 23, 2010

 
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A strong odour of cattle dung hit us even before our eyes caughtsight of it littered everywhere like shopping freaks in Bangalore'sMall. And here we were  in the middle of a thick scrub jungle come todo a census on the flora and fauna of the Hosur Forests also called asMelagiris. Kenneth Anderson Nature  Society together with Asian NatureConservation Foundation have taken up several surveys in this regionthat spreads over an area of almost 1200 sq kms  containing a mix ofseveral vegetation but mainly abounded by the dry scrub forest to studythese forests and restore the region back to its original state.



Theseforests  face manifold threats and perhaps the one by cattle grazingtops the list. Cattle here are grazed in large numbers and pegged downin large  cattle-pen called pattis. The absence of large carnivores anda blind eye by the forest department has made the Hosur forests acattle grazing grounds for  the locals. There is a suspicion that thecattle that's been grazed belongs to the wealthier families in TamilNadu living far away from Hosur employing the  services of the local.While the locals are allowed to graze cattle and sheep, grazing goatsis illegal, though one can frequently come across goats grazing  in theMelagiris. This has been made illegal because while the cattle/sheepfeed mainly on grass the goat eats up tender shoots thus denying theforests to  rejuvenate.


Chital that is so abundant inthe other side of the Cauvery, on the Karnataka side, that you yawnwhen you sight herd after herd thudding away in your wake  has in thisregion become a sight to feast on. So why have the herbivores beenthinning out even as the forests remain? Answer, human interference andCattle  Grazing. These herbivores have been hunted down for meat andskin. Also since they naturally avoid man increased human interferencehas made them to flee  these forests. The dwindling grass cover by thecattle even as it sprouts and the foot and mouth disease, poaching formeat has all played a major role in  wiping out the larger populationof the herbivores. With such a small prey base and poaching has wipedout the tigers, not to mention cattle-kill poisoning  carried out bytheir distraught owners long ago. Although we have recorded pug marksof leopards and wild dogs, tigers and hyena have are no longer to be found although the locals claim to have seen one or two a while.




Thick lantana jungle has sprung up everywherewiping away the native plant species. Its likely that these dry bushescatch up fire at the slightest chance  building up into a roaringfurnace and destroying the forest. KANS (Kenneth Anderson NatureSociety) has drawn plans to employ locals to remove this invasive  weedfrom the roots. However no amount of de-weeding can remove themforever, the seeds of lantana are spread by birds and need but a briefspell of rain to  grow back to numbers. A sustained effort over timeonly can put a cap on the lantana jungle.



Man-Elephantconflict is on steady rise. The Elephants have taken to crop-raidingdue to a variety of reasons - perhaps because the farms have replacedtheir  original forests? or because they face shortage of food withinforests due to expansive cattle grazing? Some also say the Elephantshave taken a liking to  easily available farm produce while othersvehemently deny it stating elephants are shy of humans and doeverything in their power to avoid human habitation.  And havingexperienced that first hand I must say I agree with the latter belief.Human death toll is getting higher too. Unwary locals and forestguards  have been trampled by bulls occasionally.


Atseveral places Villages have taken permanent residence within theforest boundaries. Re-settling these villages from the Melagiris isessential to give  the forests and wildlife a chance to revive. Howeverthis is a very sensitive issue, the tribals in this region have beenliving in the forests are called  Poojaries and have since timeimmemorial developed a culture that is deeply associated with theforests. It is indeed very difficult to separate the  original settlersfrom the new families that must have taken residence in the recentpast. A fair approach must be followed and enough compensation must begiven for the families  to persuade them to move out of the forests. Afew of the natives could be soaked in as the forest staff as theirknowledge of these forests is exhaustive and indispensable towardsstudying and protecting them.


The locals have beenusing the forests to extract a variety of forest produce includingfirewood, tamarind pods, honey to list a few. KANS has drawn up plans to provide LPG gas to the families to cut down on the firewoodgathering. Farmlands are extending their tentacles into the forestlands steadily. When the  Melagiris assume Sanctuary status, withenough security, it can be said that Timber extraction, poaching andsuch illegal activities can be capped.


RecklessTourism is another contributing factor. Although Melagiris arerelatively unknown patch of forests it can be predicted that with allthe  conservation activities in progress, the limelight on the floraand fauna will inevitably attract a steady stream of picnic-goers.Already tourists are seen  loitering around. At a prominent lake wherethe elephants usually gather in large numbers at dusk touristsunmindful of the danger have been seen in groups.  Although there is nostraight forward solution to the Tourism issue but it must be handledwith caution.


Although the list of threats does notend here, they are not new. Our forests throughout India are reelingunder the same tell-tale signs. We have only  around 3% land underforest cover protecting a fragile eco-system. New lands are almostimpossible to secure for the already threatened plants and animals and the majority of the forests in this 3% fall as reserved forests. Theforest staff are few, they are underpaid and not well equipped to fightthe poachers.  There are many problems and many more solutions. Todaythe cry of the hour is to guarantee the security of our remainingforests, to guarantee a life to the  many beasts and wild plants thatabound our lands. The time is to act.

Environment Awareness

Jellyfish at Kovalam beach

Posted by Susan Sharma on November 08, 2009

 
Forum Post

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kovalam beach is a favourite with tourists for swimming in the sea. There are coast guards around who keep a watchful eye. The beach is advertised as ’jelly fish Free’ on the various travel sites. So it was a surprise to find large number of purple jellyfish being washed onto the shore by the waves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The coast guards assured us they are dead and harmless. The fishermen throw them out when they get caught in their nets. It seems there is a migration of jelly fish for about a fortnight in October, when the sea gets foamy with the gelatine in the jelly fish. Kovalam beach never fails to arouse curiosity! Squids which made jelly fish their home, were seen crawling inside and attracted other beach goers. I am sharing a small clip uploaded in ’wildbytes’ channel of youtube.

Environment Awareness

Solar Eclipse 2009

Posted by Susan Sharma on August 20, 2009

 
Forum Post
Here is a visual journey of the total solar eclipse in New Delhi. The Nehruplanetarium at Teenmurti was surrounded by parked cars in hundreds well before 6 AM on 22nd July 2009. The Sun is about to rise and the video camera of an enthusiast or of some TV channel is hoping to catch it first! Young and old alike are waiting for the solar spectacle to unfold. At 6.40 AM this is how the sun looked to the naked eye. But the screen put up on Teen Murti lawns showed a different picture! The secret was to cut out all other light by looking through the unexposed portion of an X-ray film. Some school girls were seen distributing the X-ray films to those who wanted them. Many were also looking through the X-ray film spectacles sold for the purpose. I decided to put an X-ray film in front of the view finder of my digital camera. Here is what I saw. At 6.44 AM on 22nd July 2009 At 7.19 AM on 22nd July 2009 That was truly a "once in a life-time" experience!

Environment Awareness

Advertising Indianwildlifeclub.com!

Posted by Susan Sharma on February 14, 2008

 
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See the ad we created for your club!

The tiger in the ad is photographed by Aditya Singh.

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