Mansinghdeo Wildlife Sanctuary in Maharastra
MUMBAI, November 28, 2010: The official notification for 183 sq km Mansinghdeo Sanctuary was
issued on November 2. It includes 174 sq km reserve forest (RF) and 9 sq km protected
forest (PF). This fulfils a 17 year old demand for declaring the area as
sanctuary. At present, the state had 41 protected areas (PAs), covering 15,331
sq km, which is 5% of state's geographical area. It should be over 7% as per
forest policy. Mansinghdeo is the 42nd protected area.
The original proposal for Mansinghdeo was submitted in July 1993 by
conservationists Prafulla Bhamburkar and Nitin Desai of World Wildlife Fund
(WWF). Since then, the proposal was stuck in red tape. On June 14, 2007, the
State Wildlife Board (SWB), headed by chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, approved
the proposal. Mansingdeo will comprises 74 sq km (23 compartments) area of FDCM; 99 sq km (41
compartments) of Nagpur Forest Division and 9 sq km area as PF including some
rithi (abandoned) area of Bakhari. The area is rich in wildlife and is
contiguous with Pench Tiger Reserve, a prime habitat for tigers, leopards and
other wildlife. Located between Pench, Nagzira, Tadoba and Melghat, Mansinghdeo
will help connect these habitats to each other.
Illegal Owl Trade in India due to Black Magic
November 16, 2010: The use of owls in black magic and sorcery drives the underground trade of
endangered owls, according to a recently released report from India.
The hunting or trade of Indian owl species was banned in India's
Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, but the illegal industry still continues to thrive. Though precise figures are unknown, at least
several thousand owls are traded each year, and this combined with the
loss of suitable forest habitats, leads to the imperilment of certain
species. Black magic shamans often prescribe the use of owls' body parts such as
skulls, hearts, feathers and tears in ceremonial rituals, folk medicine or head gear.
Elephant declared national heritage animal
New Delhi, October 22, 2010 (PTI): Elephants have been declared as national heritage animal by the
government with an aim to step up measures for their protection. A notification in this regard was issued by the Environment Ministry today
as recommended by the task force on elephant project and approved by the
standing committee of National Board of Wildlife (NBWL) in its meeting on October 13.
The long-awaited move has cheered the conservationists who feel that
jumbos, being closely associated with religion and culture in the country since ages, need to be given the same degree of importance as enjoyed by the tiger. The government also plans to amend Wildlife (Protection) Act to pave way
for setting up of National Elephants Conservation Authority (NECA) on
the lines of the NTCA that has been constituted for the tiger conservation.
"We will introduce it (amendment) in the winter session of Parliament,"
Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh had said recently underlining the
urgency to protect the jumbos in the country before they could go the tiger way whose count stands just around 1,411. Declaring elephants as national heritage animal and setting up NECA for
their protection are part of recommendations of the Elephant Task Force,
set up by the government, in its report "securing the Future for Elephants in India.
The report has called for protection of jumbos by creating new reserves,
curbing poaching and restricting development in the corridors to travel between forested areas."
The chirping of birds again in the Keoladeo National Park
Bharatpur, October 20, 2010 (IANS): The chirping of birds can be heard again in the world famous
Keoladeo National Park in Rajasthan. Painted storks, cormorants and grey
herons are all back to their favourite haunt, now that the sanctuary -parched until two months back - has enough water.
Hit by an acute water crisis, the park in Bharatpur district got a new
lease of life when the state government released water from the Panchana Dam in Karauli district and saved it from dying.
"With water reaching the sanctuary, birds have started to come here.
Painted storks, which had been leaving the sanctuary as the area did not
receive enough rainfall, have returned and started to breed," a forest
official told IANS. The painted stork is a large wading bird in the stork family. It is
found in the wetlands of South Asia and extends into Southeast Asia.
These birds usually go back with their newborn in February, the official said. "Besides the painted stork, others like the white eye, spoonbill, grey
heron and cormorant, including the little cormorant, have started to
come to the sanctuary," the official said. "We are also expecting the Indian saras to be here soon," the official added.
The sanctuary was for years a favourite destination for a variety of
rare birds from India and abroad. But the alarming water shortage in the
sanctuary, not far from Agra, had already taken its toll on the turnout
of migratory birds. Looking at the gravity of situation, the government decided to release
water from Panchana Dam in Karauli district, around 100 km from the sanctuary.
Destroying the wildlife in India: SC
New Delhi, October 05, 2010 : The Supreme Court on October 4, 2010 lambasted poacher Sansar Chand for
"destroying the wildlife in India." While reserving its verdict on an appeal challenging his conviction in a poaching case registered in
Ajmer, the bench said a day would come when human skin would be traded for commercial purposes.
"You are selling the skin of tigers and leopards. Tomorrow, you would
sell even human skin. In this way, the population of tigers and leopards
would be wiped out in the country. There would be no tiger left in
Sariska," the bench said. The court did not accept his counsel's argument that Chand was not
involved. "You've destroyed the wildlife... Now you also want to kill whatever leopards and tigers are left," it said.
The bench adjourned the matter for final disposal and added: "You want
only money... Today, people will sell the skin of animal, tomorrow they
would start selling human skin also." The court had sought a reply from Rajasthan on a parole plea of Chand
who is serving term for smuggling leopard skins.
Train mows down seven elephants in WB
Kolkata, September 24, 2010: As many as seven elephants were mowed down by a speeding goods train in
the Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal late on Wednesday. The bizarre incident occurred near the Kalibari railway crossing between
Banarhat and Binnaguri, when a herd of 15 elephants were crossing the
railway tracks on their way from the Moraghat forest to the Diana forest.
According to forest officials, five elephants were killed on the spot,
while two injured elephants died on Thursday morning. The seven dead elephants included three females, three juveniles and a tusker.
It is learnt that two baby elephants were initially trapped on the track, and the adult elephants came to their rescue.
At this point the speeding train hit the herd. "One of the elephants was dragged for about 400 metres, while the other
four died on the spot," Jalpaiguri DFO Kalyan Das said, adding that the
two other elephants were severely injured. "This area overlaps with the corridor of elephant movement and they
often cross the rail tracks," S. Patel, chief conservator of forest North said.
The forest department has already lodged FIRs under the Wildlife Protection Act against the driver and the railways, alleging that the
train was running at about 70 kmph, in violation of the 25 kmph to 40
kmph imposed speed restriction in the elephant corridor.
Elephants to be declared national heritage animal
New Delhi, August 31, 2010 (PTI): Closely associated with the religion and culture of the country, the
elephant would soon be declared a national heritage animal as a step up
measure for its protection, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said today. "We will soon declare elephant as a national heritage animal as
they have been part of our heritage since ages. We need to give same degree of importance to
elephant as is given to tiger in order to protect the big animal," Ramesh told reporters here.
Ramesh also said Wildlife (Protection) Act would also be amended to pave
way for setting up of National Elephants Conservation Authority on the lines of the NTCA that has been constituted for the tiger
conservation, as suggested by a panel." We will introduce it (amendment)
in the winter session of Parliament," Ramesh said underlining the urgency to protect the jumbos in the country before they could go the
tiger ways whose count stand just around 1,411.
Set up by the ministry a few months back, Elephant Task Force which
submitted its report "Securing the Future for Elephants in India" today
to the union minister also pointed out that "India should protect its
elephant population by creating new reserves... ".curbing poaching and
restricting development in the corridors they use to travel between forested areas."
Concerned at the plight of the captive elephants in the temples as pointed out by the panel, Ramesh immediately directed his officials to
frame a set of guidelines for the animal's welfare to be implemented by
the temple authorities. The 12-member panel said that there were over
25,000 elephants in the country, including 3,500 in captivity in zoos
and temples, particularly in southern and north-eastern parts of the country.
Visibility of Peacocks has sharply declined
June 12, 2010: While no peacock census has been held in India to assess
their numbers, a scientific survey by the Wildlife Institute of India,
Dehradun, has confirmed that visibility of the bird has sharply declined throughout India. Peacocks is a protected bird under the schedule I of the Wildlife Protection
Act, 1972, Peacocks have been electrocuted and consumption of pesticides
that are used by farmers and poaching for feathers and meat have contributed to their decline.
Animals dying in scorching heat in Rajasthan
JAIPUR, June 01, 2010 (IANS): Due to Rajasthan's searing heat water drying up in ponds and reservoirs
across Rajasthan. There are alarming reports of monkeys, chinkaras and cheetal deer dying
as they stray out of their habitat into nearby villages. In the last three days at least 13 monkeys have died because of water
scarcity in the last three days in Shahabad in Baran district, close to
the famous Ranthambore National Park. Similar reports have come in from the border district of Barmer where
various species of deer are commonly found. As many as 22 chinkaras, or
gazelles, died of dehydration after they were unable to find drinking water.
' Rajasthan's forest department has failed to take care of the wild
animals. Over 22 chinkaras have died due to water scarcity in Barmer and
reports coming in from other parts of Rajasthan also indicate deaths of
animals due to water shortage,' said Naresh Kadyan, representative of
the NGO International Organisation for Animal Protection in India. 'Eleven cheetals have died in a small forest near Chittorgarh fort in
the last five-seven days,' added Babulal Jaju, in-charge of the NGO People for Animals (PFA) in Rajasthan.
Heat kills peacocks this summer
Lucknow, May 27, 2010: Already hit by poaching and use of insecticides in fields, India’s
national bird - the peacock - is feeling the heat this summer. Several deaths, caused by severe heat wave conditions, have alarmed the
state forest department. BK Patnaik, UP’s chief principal conservator of
forests (wildlife), said the department had taken the matter seriously.On Sunday, a dozen peacocks were found dead at Bakewar in Etawah. A few
days prior, similar deaths were reported from Kannauj. More such reports
are pouring in from other parts of the state. Though Patnaik confirmed
only four deaths, he did admit, “Post mortem reports have attributed the
deaths to heatstroke and excessive loss of water.” He also admitted the
weather was more hostile this summer compared to previous years. Many parts of the state have touched maximum temperature of 45 degrees
Celsius this summer. Wildbird Protection Society secretary Neeraj Srivastava said, “Because of the heat, lakes and other water bodies
have been reduced to parched land, making sunburns and dehydration common in such birds.”
Leopards battling for survival
New Delhi, May 18, 2010 (PTI) : Like tigers, endangered leopards too are battling for survival with as many as
160 already dead so far, since this January in the country, against 290 last year.
The trend is not recent phenomenon. In the last 12 years since 1994, India has
lost at least 3,189 leopards, according to an estimate by an NGO, Wildlife Protection of India (WPSI). A member of the Felidae family and the smallest of the four “big cats” in the
genus Panthera, the other three being the tiger, lion and jaguar, the leopard
count is estimated to be between 7,000 to 10,000 in the country. In India, the leopard is protected under Schedule-I of the Wildlife Protection
Leopard coats and trimmings are also used for traditional dances and festivals,
and are sold quite openly in Tibet. The frequent seizures have established this link.
In March, two leopard skins were seized in Hapur in west Uttar Pradesh by the
state’s Special Task Force. Two traders were arrested who confessed of their plans to sell them out of the country.
Government bans sale of peacock feathers
New Delhi, May 11, 2010: The Ministry of Environment has banned the trade of morpankh. All types of sale
and transportation of peacock feathers have been placed under the ambit of the
Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. The act prohibits killing of the endangered
species, however it earlier assumed that feathers had been naturally shed.
Finally the decision makers have realized that the demand of the feathers is so
high and the naturally shed feathers so few, that poaching and killing is bound
to occur. It is now proposed to amend Section 43(3)(a) and Section 44 of the
Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. It will ban the illegal trapping and killing of
the national bird for its feathers. All domestic trade in feathers has also been banned.
Rise in sale of exotic birds
PATNA, may 8, 2010: Exotic birds can be sold openly in the market and will not be considered
an offence! No wonder there are increasing reports of rare birds being sold.
Only Indian birds are covered under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, which
entails a punishment of upto seven years. Some time back forest officers seized almost 16 rare birds from the railway
station during transportation to some other location. Arvind Mishra of Mandar Nature Club said the main reason behind the drop in the
number of migratory birds is habitat degradation and poaching. Giving the
example of Kawar Lake, he said earlier birds used to fill the place in lakhs but
now the water body remains choked because of which Rudy shelducks or chakwa have
stopped coming to the area.
Poachers even spread feridon, an intoxicant, mixed with wheat on the sand bars
killing birds in large numbers. They are then sold to nearby hotels. From
Naugachiya to Narayanpur, Fatuha, Begusarai, NH-31 and above all Birbanna which
is the centre of bird trade, birds are being sold openly. At times they find their way to
neighboring markets like Bangladesh and Nepal At times, truck drivers buy these
exotic birds and sell them in different states. The dangerous part about this trade is that traders do not know about
all species and rare birds so at times even highly endangered birds are also
wiped out by them. Mishra has conducted extensive survey of all the habitats of
migratory birds. Generally, poor people are seen indulging in this trade. They make Rs 500 to Rs
1,000 per bird. Earlier, open sale of birds in village or town markets and on
national highways was a common sight. But, since two years, after rigorous
checks were started, they were sold surreptitiously from roadside huts and
homes. At times, truck drivers buy these exotic birds and sell them in different states. Source: The Times of India
India halts tiger tourism
New Delhi, April 28, 2010: India halts tiger tourism in attempt to prevent extinction
Holidaymakers in India will no longer be able spot a Bengal tiger in the wild
after the Indian government moved to phase out tiger tourism in an attempt to
protect the species from extinction. The animals, which now number just 1,411 in their natural habitats, are in
danger of being loved to death, Rajesh Gopal, the head of India's National Tiger
Conservation Authority, said. The number of wild Bengal tigers has dropped sharply from 3,642 in 2002 and some
experts fear the big cats could become extinct within five years. Source: Telegraph
Sariska tiger reserve facing acute water shortage
Alwar, March 26, 2010 (ANI): The Sariska Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan is faced
with acute water shortage due to prevailing heat wave conditions, forcing
officials to create artificial water holes. "Temperature in Sariska is hovering around 35-40 degree Celsius. There
is scarcity of water and animals prefer to stay close to the limited water
holes," said Sunder, a forest official. The officials have set up pumps and boosters to suck in water from the nearby
water holes to make it available in the interiors and the upper ranges of the national park.
"There is no water within 30-40 kilometres from this area. We are putting a new
pipeline to make available water here," said Vidhyadhar, a ranger at the tiger
reserve. The Sariska Tiger Reserve, which is located in Alwar district, is one of the
famous national parks of the country and is home to the Bengal tiger, leopard,
jungle cat, caracal, striped hyena, olden jackal, chital, sambhar,
nilgai, chinkara, four-horned antelope or 'chousingha', wild boar, hare, hanuman
langur, and plenty of bird species and reptiles.
One lakh turtles nest in Rushikulya beach in Orissa
Berhampur (Orissa), March 18, 2010 (PTI): Over one lakh endangered Olive Ridley sea
turtles have laid eggs on the beach adjoining the Rushikulya river mouth since
Monday as scientists observed the phenomenon with interest. The eggs are expected to hatch in the first week of May, about 45 days after the
While 6,000 turtles emerged from the sea to lay eggs in the wee hours of Monday,
around 65,000 swarmed the four-km long sandy beach between Gokharakuda and
Kantiagada the next day. The number of nesting turtles came down thereafter.Kartik Shanker, a turtle biologist from the Indian Institute of Science -
Bangalore and Basudeb Tripathy of the Wildlife Institute of India, who are here
to study the pattern of mass nesting, said the laying of eggs could continue
sporadically for a few more days.
Rare Indian wild cats are caught on film
Kathmandu, February 18, 2010 ( BBC News): India's Eastern Himalayan rainforest could have one of the world's
largest number of wild cat species, after seven species were recorded in two years. The wild cats, including the rare clouded leopard, were photographed
by remote cameras with motion sensors. Wildlife experts say the discovery is encouraging considering the ongoing threat to animal life in the area.
The study was conducted over two years in 500 sq km (5,380 sq ft) of
forest by wildlife biologist Kashmira Kakati. All the cats were photographed in the Jeypore-Dehing lowland forests in Assam state north-east India.
The seven species caught on camera include the rare and elusive clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa), marbled cat (Pardofelis
marmorata), and golden cat (Catopuma temminckii), and four relatively widely distributed species — tiger
(Panthera tigris), leopard (Panthera pardus), leopard cat (Prionailurus
bengalensis), and jungle cat (Felis chaus). Deforestation, poaching and major engineering projects, such as hydro-electric dams, threaten the long-term survival of wildlife habitats. Crude oil extraction and coal mining are also taking their toll. Wildlife Conservation Society-India spokesman Ravi Chellam said that
rainforests were important for preserving biodiversity and creating a livelihood for local communities. "The entire forest here should be protected as a single conservation landscape, free of disturbance and connected by wildlife corridors," he said.
Nepal launches 'save tiger' campaign
Kathmandu, February 16, 2010 (PTI): Nepal Sunday pledged to increase its tiger population from
current 300 to 600 by the beginning of the next decade with intensified conservation
efforts and steps to control poaching. Nepal is a major target for the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) Tx2 campaign to save
the declining tiger population. It has become a transit point between China and
India for illegal tiger poaching, according to experts.
There are some 121 breeding tiger population in Nepal and the total number of
tigers are estimated to be 300, said Anil Manandhar, country director of WWF
Nepal, during a press meet organized to launch the 'save tiger' campaign.
Despite the decade-long conflict that made conservation efforts tougher, Nepal has maintained the tiger population from 123 in 1998 to 221 in 2010, he said.
A fashion week to support the cause of tiger
Kolkata, February 8, 2010 (PTI): A fashion week in Kolkata has come to the rescue of the
dwindling population of tigers in the country. With a theme of eco-fashion, the five-day 'Kolkata Fashion and Lifestyle Week'
(KFLW), beginning February 24, is in support of the 'Save our Tigers' campaign
launched by WWF India. "This is a fashion week with a cause. We will try and create awareness to save
the wildlife, especially the tigers. With fewer tigers left in India, now it is high time we became aware of this issue and do our bit to protect the animals," Yudhajit Dutta, organiser of the
fashion extravaganza, told reporters today. Since the United Nations has declared 2010 as the 'International Year of
Bio-diversity', KFLW has decided to take this a step further by aiming to present eco-friendly fashion, he said.
Dolphin as National Aquatic Animal.
January 19, 2010, Ministry of Environment and Forests: River dolphin is critically endangered species in India and therefore, has been included in the
Schedule I for the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. The main reasons for decline in population of the species
are poaching and habitat degradation due to declining flow, heavy siltation, construction of barrages causing physical barrier for this migratory species.
During the first meeting of the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) held on 5th October 2009,
under the Chairmanship of Hon’ble Prime Minister, it was decided to declare River Dolphin as National Aquatic Animal. The important steps taken to protect River Dolphins are as given
(i) River Dolphins have been included in the Schedule-I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act,
1972, thereby affording them the highest degree of protection.
(ii)The important habitats of river dolphins have been declared as Protected Areas for their conservation.
(iii)Financial & technical assistance is provided to the State Governments under Centrally
Sponsored Schemes for conservation and protection of wildlife including dolphins and their habitat.
(iv) Financial assistance is provided for conducting scientific research on the habitat, behavior, population status of river dolphins. .