Bio-Diversity

Slow Loris

Posted by Susan Sharma on May 15, 2007

 
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Slow Lorises need your help!

The 14th Conference of Parties to CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Fauna and Flora) takes place in The Netherlands next month. Up for consideration is Cambodia’s petition to transfer this noctural Asian primate to Appendix I. This would mean the animal is considered threatened with extinction and CITES would prohibit international trade except, for instance, for scientific research.

Two NGOs, Care for the Wild International and PROWILDLIFE, are seeking support for the petition. For details on what you can do to help check here:


http://www.wildasia.net/main.cfm?page=contact&contactID=1704

 

Bio-Diversity

Scientists Launch Amphibian Ark to Stave Off Frog Extinctions

Posted by Susan Sharma on February 27, 2007

 
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In February, 2007 scientists from around the world kicked off the Amphibian Ark project, a global campaign to protect the world’s vanishing amphibian species from a ravenous killer fungus, widespread habitat loss and exposure to pollution and global warming. Project organizers are asking zoos, botanical gardens and aquariums around the world to each take in at least 500 frogs from a threatened local species to protect them from the killer fungus, chytrid.

Source: http://www.emagazine.com/view/?3617

 

Bio-Diversity

First white-backed vulture bred in captivity

Posted by Susan Sharma on January 11, 2007

 
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Following efforts that lasted for over five years, the first white-backed vulture baby was born at the Haryana-based Vulture Conservation Breeding Centre (VCBC), run by the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and Haryana’s Forest department at Pinjore, on January 1. "This is the most precious new year gift from nature to the vulture conservation efforts," Dr Vibhu Prakash, principal scientist and head of Vulture Conservation Breeding Programme in India, said here on Monday.

"In the wild, the incubation period is about 55 days. However, in the VCBC the egg hatched in about 54 days. The eggs were laid in November 2006," Dr Prakash said.

 “We will have to be quick in effectively implementing the ban on the killer drug Diclofenac to assure a better future to this newborn vulture," Dr Asad Rahmani, Director BNHS said.

"The Conservation Breeding Programme is the only hope for recovery of vultures. We aim at releasing 100 pairs of the three critically endangered vulture species to repopulate the wild population. The killer drug Diclofenac has to be wiped off before the release of vultures," Dr Rahmani added.

Long considered nature’s most efficient scavengers, vultures are on the verge of extinction. Nine species of vultures are recorded from the Indian subcontinent, of which the White-backed vulture Gyps bengalensis, Long-billed vulture Gyps indicus and Slender-billed Gyps tenuerostris vultures were by far the most populous species in India. Over the last decade, however, there has been a drastic crash in the population of these vultures in most parts of the country. The rapid vulture population decline was first taken cognisance by the BNHS.

Ornithologists initially felt that there might be a variety of reasons for the decline in vulture population. However, in May 2003, they - after marked research - attributed the decline to a commonly used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory veterinary drug, Diclofenac, which is used as a painkiller for the livestock. If the animal dies during or after treatment of this painkiller, and if vulture feeds on the carcass, Diclofenac enters into the vulture’s body. The vulture gradually dies because of kidney failure. Therefore, unless this killer drug is withdrawn from the system with strict implementation of the ban, there is no hope for vultures to be released in the wild from the conservation breeding centres, point out ornithologists engaged in the project.

The Vulture Conservation Breeding Programme of the Bombay Natural History Society is supported by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, the Darwin Initiative for the survival of species, UK, the Royal Society for Protection of Birds (RSPB) of UK, Zoological Survey of London (ZSL), UK, and the State Governments of Haryana, West Bengal and Assam.

Bio-Diversity

Hyderabad Zoo takes up breeding of Mouse Deer

Posted by Susan Sharma on January 11, 2007

 
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Wildlife officials are all set to start breeding of the endangered species Mouse Deer, also known as `Spotted Indian Chevrotain’, at Nehru Zoological Park, which is fast becoming a major centre for breeding of endangered species using technology.

Sporting a brown colour speckled with white markings, the Chevrotain is a nocturnal animal and is considered to be very timid, which vanishes into dense vegetation at the least hint of danger. Chevrotains basically are very shy creatures and because of this, officials point out that it is difficult to study and observe them in the wild. The diet of Chevrotain is quite varied and includes both plants and sometimes even small animals.

Acting on a proposal sent by zoo officials, Central Zoo Authority (CZA) recently agreed to allow breeding of Chevrotain at the zoo. The zoo officials had cited the success of raising a healthy spotted deer by artificial insemination in collaboration with researchers of Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology. "Very soon special enclosures would be constructed for the Mouse Deer at the zoological park.

The zoo has  eight Mouse Deer now and they are hoping that the numbers would be just enough to start the project. CZA has agreed to fund this project.  

Bio-Diversity

Borneo

Posted by Susan Sharma on December 28, 2006

 
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A new report by WWF details how scientists have uncovered dozens of species of plants and animals formerly unknown to science in the jungles and coastal waters of the Indonesian island of Borneo. Scientists working under the auspices of WWF’s Heart of Borneo program report discovering 30 unique fish species, two tree frog species, 16 ginger species, three tree species and one large-leafed plant species.

"These discoveries reaffirm Borneo’s position as one of the most important centers of biodiversity in the world," says Stuart Chapman, coordinator of WWF’s Borneo program. "The more we look the more we find."

Chapman emphasizes the importance of such findings in light of the acceleration of forest clearing on the remote Indonesian island, which he considers one of the world’s final frontiers for science. Since 1996, deforestation across Indonesia has increased by an average of five million acres a year, with only about half of Borneo’s original forest cover remaining. Chapman hopes that the discoveries made by his team and other scientists will help convince the governments of Indonesia, Brunei and Malaysia, which jointly administer Borneo, to institute greater checks on deforestation and resource extraction there.

Sources: worldwildlife.org; alertnet.org

Bio-Diversity

Wiping Out Lantana Weeds

Posted by Susan Sharma on December 27, 2006

 
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Delhi University has developed a technology to wipe out Lantana Camara, a weed which has created havoc invading millions of acres of deserted landscapes. 

 
The technology prescribes cutting the plant from its roots and removing the 'copppising zone', which is normally buried inside the soil and is very crucial for the weeds life.


"The plant has to be cut in a manner so that its coppising zone is removed from inside the soil.  Then the uprooted plant should be put upside down for a few days, so that it will be dead."Prof. C.R Babu, Project Director , The center for Environment Management of degraded Ecosystem(CEMDE), said.


Lantana(exotic plant introduced by the Portugese in 19th century from South America) has the potential to kill the native plants where it grows. The fruits and flowers are not eaten by animals/birds.

Bio-Diversity

Living on a Blue planet

Posted by Susan Sharma on November 04, 2006

 
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“The oceans define our planet, and their fate may to a large extent determine our fate, now and in the future.”

The study ’Impact of biodiversity loss on ocean system services’ showed that the loss of one species accelerates the unravelling of the overall ecosystem, while conversely every species recovered adds significantly to its productivity, stability and ability to withstand stresses.

Data for 2003 shows that 29% of currently fished species were considered “collapsed” –that their catches had declined by 90% or more. This trend is accelerating as per the study.

(Source: The Hindu dated 4 November, 2006)

Bio-Diversity

Yamuna Bio-diversity Park

Posted by Susan Sharma on September 16, 2006

 
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Yamuna Bio diversity Park

 I visited the Yamuna Biodiversity Park in September 2006 and was quite impressed by the work being done to save the Yamuna Wetlands. Read a brief report on this in our yahoo group

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/indianwildlifeclub2/

To view the photographs posted in the group, you will have to join the yahoo group.

Bio-Diversity

Leatherback turtles

Posted by Susan Sharma on August 20, 2006

 
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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.

Bio-Diversity

What can a city dweller do?

Posted by Susan Sharma on July 16, 2006

 
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Simple actions such as maintaining a wildlife friendly garden can actually contribute to biodiversity. Its a long shot but if everyone where to modify their gardens in this way it could actually make a difference to some species e.g. the declining populations of house sparrows to name one.

 Let your lawn go natural for wildlife.

Save trees by reducing your junk mail

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