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Grameen Bank founder wins Nobel Peace prize

Posted by Susan Sharma on December 07, 2006

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The award of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize to Muhammad Yunus is a tremendous accomplishment for the founder of Grameen Bank, Bangladesh and for the field of social entrepreneurship.

The media describes Yunus as an economist, professor, or banker, but really why the Nobel Committee selected him is because Yunus is the quintessential global social entrepreneur. His brilliant microcredit strategy is based on unleashing the potential of every person to change his or her life.

Any other

Increasing Stakes of Local Communities

Posted by Susan Sharma on October 20, 2006

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A workshop on `Rising stakes of local community in conservation of forests and wildlife: Institutionalisation of eco-tourism involving local communities' was organised by the Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India (WII) and sponsored by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests at the Periyar Tiger Reserve in Thekkady.

Senior IFS officers noted that though a few States had come out with their own policies on eco-tourism, a national level policy was necessary to address the ecological needs of the forest and environment, create people's involvement giving due regard to their ethnicity and culture so that they feel involved, promoted and empowered. Such a policy would ensure that eco tourism programmes were not hijacked by vested interests.

The forests of the country were burdened with biotic pressure coming from the traditional dependency of the local communities. The traditional type of forest management deprived the local people of any significant stake and role in the protection of the forests. Eco tourism, being a non-consumptive use of the forests, was emerging as an important alternative to strengthen the stakes of local communities for the protection of forests and wildlife.

The officers wanted eco tourism programmes to find a place in forest management and working plan provisions. The thumb rules for an eco tourism programme should be minimum investment on infrastructure, maximum benefit to the local communities, a link between the programme and the local communities and respect to local culture and traditions.

 It was recommended that in ecologically sensitive areas, the principle of high value, high adventure and low volume tourism should be followed.Local communities should have a major role in the implementation of any eco-tourism project. Draft recommendations for a national policy for the implementation of eco-tourism programmes in forest, wildlife and other natural eco-system areas in the country were adopted


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A unique solution to Human-Elephant Conflict

Posted by Susan Sharma on September 02, 2006

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A three phase project to protect  tribals and earmark biologically sustainable forests for an elephant reserve, is taking shape in Chattisgarh. 

'Chhattisgarh has been attracting migratory elephant herds displaced from Jharkhand due to mining and deforestation since the early nineties.  Today the State has about 130 elephants and this has led to frequent man-animal conflicts. 

Helping Chhatisgarh in solving the "HEC' is Mike Pandey, his Earth Matters Foundation and a team of veteran elephant and habitat experts, including former Project Elephant Chief Vinod Rishi. 

The three phase plan involves:

  • Rapid mapping of conflict zones and positioning trained kunki elephants from Southern States or Assam at strategic points so that they can push back wild herds.

  • Short-term study to ascertain location-specific problems and find solutions (electric or chili fencing, dithches, buffer crops, fire crackers) and restructuring compensation models.

  • Long term study to find appropriate forests: possible locations include Timur Pinga, Guru Ghasi das, Badlkhol amd Samer Sot.  Examining the possibilities of insulating breached corridors or creating artificial ones for setting up an elephant reserve and introducing strategic water bodies, elephant- friendly plantations and natural fodder plants in that designated reserve."

(Excerpts Indian Express Sep 1, 2006)

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Human elephant conflict

Posted by Susan Sharma on August 21, 2006

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" 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 )


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Tigers in Trouble - Protect Them

Posted by Puja on July 17, 2006

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TIGER, the most potent symbol of Asia, the pride of the Jungle is facing trouble. Today there is little ground remaining for our national animal. According to researchers the tiger population has dropped over the past 100 years from an estimated 100,000 in 1900 to only 4000 in the 1970's. In wake of the tiger crisis, government launched the Project Tiger in 1972 and we achieved little improvement in population of tigers from 4000 in 1970 to 5000-7500 tigers at present. So let us all unite to re-establish the dignity of the “Greatest Cat” that they deserve. If you really want to save this magnificent creature from becoming extinct, then come forward and voice your concern with merinews. Merinews, a participatory media platform have recently started a special coverage on the Tiger Conservation, in which we have a discussion going on regarding tigers’ future in India. I’m sure you have something interesting on the subject to share with our readers. You can voice your concern and share your experiences and insights on this subject by registering on our site and posting your articles here." To read more articles, Puja

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Decline in the population of sparrows

Posted by AVINASH on May 25, 2006

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Hi guys,

 I am not an expert in ornithology nor am I an avid bird watcher. But the simple concern over the fact that the most common bird of India is rapidly dissapearing, brought me here.

I have been observing these birds since childhood and now when I sit and analyse, it is shocking to hear the truth. From different sources, the bird is a rare sight in bangalore, hyderabad, chennai city, Kolkatta and other major cities of India.

We know habitat destruction and scarcity of food can bring down the population of any life. Same is happening in the case of sparrows. The source of food is rapidly declining. Man is directly responsible. The air pollution is so high that few of the toxins are reducing the insect population. The adult may rely on seeds but a bay relys on insects. It becomes hard for the parents to forage insects. This way the infant mortality rate becomes very high. The other reason is quite simple. Open lands are converted into buildings in no time. And these buildings lack the holes where the sparrows generally make their nest.

We have to realize that things are changing pretty soon. There is a possibility that we may lose everything. I believe that it is not too late to protect our natural resources. Lets join hands before it is too late.


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Lions and Tigers re:

Posted by Jason Anthony Fisher on March 30, 2006

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Thanks so much to Raghavendra Rao for the insight about my questions on Lions and Tigers. I'm sorry I haven't been back on this site for months, but I greatly appreciate the answer. Many thanks to you.

I think it's awesome that both Tigers and Lions have great respect and religious reverence there in India. I hope in your country that wildlife habitat and all the wonderful species can be saved and some like the Cheetah can be reintroduced.

Your nation has the tough task of keeping the economy going and providing needs for the growing population. I see similar conflicts of interest in the United States. In our world there seems to be more people with respect to money ($$$) than the environment. And my country has done more than it's share of destruction of natural areas.


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Man Elephant Conflict

Posted by Susan Sharma on March 01, 2006

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Ankur Chaturvedi's article on human elephant conflict has been published at the following link


Please read and post your comments in the blog.

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Tigers & Lions in India.

Posted by Raghavendra Rao on May 16, 2005

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There is a question in "Any Other" from Mr. Jason from USA.  Mr. Jason, Tigers and Lions are still in India, but they do not occupy the same forest ranges.

The Tiger inhabits well covered grassland forests in the rainy forests. The Lion on the other hand inhabits a small pocket in India in Gir- Gujarath. These are scrub jungles, as the bush country in Africa. So there is no conflict between the two great cats in their natural environment. However talking about conflicts,sometimes by mistake a tiger and a lion have been put into the same moated enclosures and the tiger has always come out the victor.  Some zoos in India have witnessed this. Now for the sports arenas-there are no recorded instances of any tiger -lion confrontations for spectator entertainment. 

Lastly the Tiger and the Lion are both revered equally in Hindhu Mythology as the Steeds of Durga Matha - the Godess.  Does this satisfy your query are do you want to know more. Please feel free to ask.

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Tigers and Lions

Posted by Jason Anthony Fisher on May 15, 2005

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Actually, I am fascinated to know that nature's two top cats, once lived in the same country.  (As an American I am also impressed with the widlife heritage of India.)   Anways, according to books I have read, these cats once lived even in the same region.  Thus, I have some questions I am hoping can be answered.

Which species lived in India first? Tigers? Or Lions?  Also, does anyone know if there were any conflicts between these two top predators?  Did one moving into the territory of India cause problems for the other species?  Did past empires of various Indian cultures have them fight each other like in Roman pit fights?  Which cat is viewed as the more dominant of the two in your culture? Or as equals?  Did these species simply avoid each other? If they did have conflicts naturally or man made, who was more often the victor? Has it been so long since the two once lived in the same natural areas that widlife officials won't put them in the same parks for fear of them conflicting violently?

I hope someone knows the answers to these questions.  I also, sincerely, hope that your nation as well as mine(USA) work to save the last remaining wildlife areas all around the globe. I hope they both can be saved. I fear after your cats are poached, they will come after our big cat, the Cougar (bigger than leopards, but much smaller than tigers and Lions).  Our bears are already being poached in California for the markets of East Asian countries.

If anyone has questions about american animals I will do my best to answer them. Thank you, Jason

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