Study says cellphone towers damaging biological makeup of birds, bees
PUNE, October 28, 2011: The rapid growth of the cellphone industry in India has fuelled
haphazard building of base stations without prior planning or regulation, which is
impacting the birds and bees biologically, an experts' committee has found. The panel has formulated guidelines to
check their installation in the country.
Nearly 800 million Indians have cellphones, making it the second largest
cellphone- subscriber population in the world after China. A 13-member
committee was set up by the union ministry of environment and forests in
August 2010 to assess the possible impacts of growth of these base stations on wildlife. The members included scientist BC Choudhary of the
Wildlife Institute of India, Sainudeen Pattazhy associate professor in S
N College, Kerala and Asad Rahmani, director of Bombay Natural History
Society. Rahmani was the chairman of the committee. The other experts included PA
Azeez, director of Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History, HS Jamadagni of the Indian Institute of
Science, Bangalore, PK Panigrahi of the department of telecommunications, Naresh Kapalia and Parikshit
Gautam from World Wildlife Fund, RK Patney of the department of electrical engineering, Indian Institute of
Technology and Prakriti Srivastava, director general, wildlife, MoEF.
Recent studies indicate the harmful impact of electromagnetic radiation
(EMR) from transmission towers on humans and bees, with birds exposed to
a greater risk, the report said. Such radiation also resulted in aversive behaviour in bats and sparrows, abnormal behaviour in tits and
kestrel birds and reproductive failure in white storks.
Law to protect wildlife from the electromagnetic-field radiation
New Delhi, October 15, 2011: India should bring out a law to protect its wildlife from the
ill-effects of electromagnetic- field radiation from mobile phone towers,
which may be endangering birds, bees and disturbing wildlife across the
country, a government panel has recommended. A 10-member expert panel of the Ministry of Environment and Forests
formed earlier this year under bird expert Asad Rahmani, director of NGO
Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), studied the phenomenon worldwide
and recommended that India should regulate the installation of mobile
phone towers recognising electromagnetic field? or EMF? as a serious
pollutant hurting wildlife.
Speeding train mows down jumbo in Dooars
JALPAIGURI, October 5, 2011: The fact that the railway
tracks in North Bengal are the biggest threats for wild elephants has been once again established with the death of yet another jumbo.
On Monday night, a female elephant died after it was hit by a speeding train, which was ferrying jawans of the Indian Army from Alipurduar to
New Jalpaiguri, at the Mahananda wildlife sanctuary. On an average, five elephants are killed every year
and scores injured in this 168-km stretch between Alipurduar and New Jalpaiguri.
A herd of elephants was crossing the railway track inside the sanctuary
on Monday. After being hit by the train, the body of the elephant was dragged to some 300
meters before the cowcatcher of the engine finally tossed the body off
the track. In a similar incident in June this year, two adult elephants were killed
near the Dyna forest in the Dooars after it was hit by an Asansol-bound
train. Source: Times of India
Most sanctuaries but very less funds
NAGPUR, October 2, 2011: With 36 wildlife sanctuaries, six national parks and one
conservation reserve, Maharashtra has the highest number of protected
areas (PAs) in the country. Yet, it has been consistently losing out on
allocation of central funds for these. Maharashtra has 15% of the total network of 664 PAs in India.
The PAs in the state may be in for more trouble if planning commission decides to merge three centrally sponsored schemes (CSS) - Integrated
Development of Wildlife Habitats (IDWH), Project Tiger and Project Elephant. TOI on Thursday reported plan
panel's move to merge the three schemes into one. All the nine members of the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) have opposed the move.
Funds released under the Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats
scheme for sanctuaries, during the XI five year plan reveal that in the last four years (2007-2011), neighbouring Madhya Pradesh, that has 34
PAs, received Rs 26.80 crore whereas Maharashtra received Rs 12.37 crore. Even a small state like Chhattisgarh, which has 14 PAs, received
Rs 18.34 crore during the same period.- Times of India
12 new frog species discovered, 3 rediscovered by Delhi biologist
Delhi, September 19, 2011: Sathyabhama Das Biju, an Indian amphibian biologist,
who teaches at the University of Delhi has been credited with more than a hundred
discoveries in the field of amphibian research, including the latest 12 species he
chronicled. He and his team have spent their time either in the lab or combing
tropical mountain forests, looking under rocks and waiting for croaks in
the night. Finally, they have come out with new 12 frog species and another three that many other researchers thought were extinct.
With 32 percent of the world’s known amphibian species threatened with
extinction, Global Wildlife Conservation warns that these are indications to ultimate danger to our environment and pollution.
“Frogs are extremely important indicators not just of climate change,
but also pollutants in the environment,” says Biju.Biju and his student researchers have listed the new species by
description and genetics.
261 leopards die in 2011 as conflict gets bloody
Delhi, September 15, 2011 (PTI): As many as 261 leopards have died between January and early-September of
this year alone, across the country, mainly as a result of the rising
human-animal conflict, according to the Wildlife Protection Society of
India (WPSI). But poaching too is playing a big role in their disappearance.
In fact 54.87 per cent of the 328 leopard deaths across the country in
2010 were due to poaching. “Most leopard deaths are caused when they wander into human habitation and the scared people try to drive them
away. As long as this attitude persists, their numbers will continue to fall.
“This is an issue that needs to go beyond the law. We need to place more
emphasis on creating awareness among the people on the need to protect
these animals,” says Belinda Wright, executive director, WPSI. Worryingly, Karnataka stands fourth where leopard deaths in 2011 are
It lost 14 leopard from January to September 2 this year mainly to
conflict with humans. Although no exclusive census has been done for the
leopards, the government of India put their population at 12,014 in January, 2008. Wildlife experts are not only worried about the accuracy
of this figure, but also about the efforts being made to protect the
animals that remain, so that their numbers don't fall any further. “Leopards may be an ecologically resilient species, but it doesn't take
away from the fact that they need to be protected,” they say.
Indian Eagle Owls help farmers control rodents
PUNE, September 4, 2011: In a study conducted in several locations in the state,
including Pune, the Deccan Plateau, and in and around Alibaug and
Chiplun, researchers from the city-based Ela Foundation and the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research
(IISER) has found that the Indian Eagle Owl (IEO) Bubo bengalensis plays a positive role in the biological control of crop pests.
The team studied the habitat preference, diet and reproductive behaviour
of IEO, and found that its diet is dominated by agricultural pests, which contribute 88% of the total prey biomass. Out of the 13 rodent
prey species, which comprise a major part of the diet, seven have been
identified as major agricultural pests. Since the owl species is still
hunted due to superstitious beliefs, scientific evidence elucidating the
importance of the IEO in agricultural pest control can be an important motivation for its conservation.
Satish Pande, ornithologist and founder-president, Ela Foundation, an
NGO said chemical control using pesticides and biological control
through predators and pathogens have been suggested for pest control.
"However, chemical pesticides and control of pests using pathogens often
affect the environment and human health. Hence, utilisation of natural predators is an environment-friendly solution. If the importance of
wildlife in pest control can be backed up with convincing data, predation by wildlife can be promoted as an environment-friendly pest
control method," Pande added. This is particularly true for predators like owls, which are often
killed as they are considered bad omens, and also for their use in black magic.
Wildlife trade ring kingpin arrested
New Delhi, August 8, 2011: Chhattisgarh police has arrested a man alleged to
be the kingpin of an extensive network of illegal trade in animal and
plant wildlife that extended to other Asian countries, wildlife officials said today after an 18-month cloak-and-dagger operation.
Veeriya Shekhar, a resident of Moreh in Manipur, was detained by immigration authorities at Chennai airport on July 13 while he was
trying to flee to Bangkok after India's Wildlife Crime Control Bureau issued a lookout circular for him, WCCB officers said.
"This is a big catch " and it has come after months of hardcore intelligence on his clandestine activities," said a senior WCCB officer.
"We believe he has been the kingpin of a vast network of trade in tiger and leopard bones, deer antlers, pangolin scales and red sandalwood."
Pangolin scales are the outer skin layers of an anteater and are in great demand in traditional Chinese medicine, the official said. Red
sandalwood, also called red sanders, is an expensive type of wood valued
for its quality of timber.
PETAs call to protect snakes
BANGALORE, August 03, 3011: In the wake of Nag Panchami on August 4, People for the
Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), an NGO working for the welfare of
animals has called upon the public to avoid snake shows and report about such activities to PETA authorities in the city.
According to the Wildlife Protection Act (1972), exploiting snakes for
business purpose or even owning them is an act of crime. "Nag Panchami is held in the honor of the serpent god Nag Deva, but snake charmers
captivate snakes, yank their teeth out and take them to cities to make money," said Poorva Joshipura, India chief functionary, PETA.
"We request the public to show compassion for these tormented animals by
being snake guardians and reporting snake collectors and snake charmers to authorities," he added.
SC clears denotification of GIB sanctuary
NAGPUR, July 25, 2011: Finally, the Supreme Court has cleared the long-pending
denotification of Great Indian Bustard (GIB) Sanctuary at Nannaj in Solapur district. From 8,496 sq km earlier, the sanctuary will now be
restricted to 1,222 sq km.
The SC decision came on Friday. However, MK Rao, chief conservator of
forest ( CCF) for Pune wildlife circle, said, "The detailed order is
awaited but we've heard that the SC has allowed our prayer. The committee on rationalization of boundaries of national parks and
sanctuaries of ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) had recommended an area of 1,222 sq km," Rao told TOI on Sunday.
According to last year's GIB census, there are nine birds in Nannaj, but
the number may be well over 30, if one also considers census figures
over the last four years. The matter was pending in the court since 2006. On October 20, 2008, the
SC had directed the committee for rationalization ofboundaries to recommend the area of the GIB sanctuary.
Vulture population declining in South India
19, 2011 (PTI): Vulture population in Neelgiri Biosphere Reserve and
adjoining wildlife sanctuaries in South India have fallen sharply
mainly on account of continued availability of certain variety of
banned veterinary painkiller given to domesticated cattle. Feeding
on the carcasses of cattle to whom the drug was administered was
found to be fatal to the survival of these bird species, a survey
has revealed. The field survey, conducted by a five-member team from
Bombay Natural History Society recently in the Nilgiri Biosphere
Reserve and adjacent areas, found that vulture population had been declining at a dangerous pace.
The survey covered Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala, Muthumalai
Tiger Reserve and Sathyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu and
Bandipur Tiger Reserve and Rajeev Gandhi National Park, Nagarholai, in
Karnataka. C Sasikumar, ornithologist and chief investigator of the survey, said
that the total population of Oriental White-backed Vultures (Gyps
bengalensis) in the region could be 100-150. A 1992 survey had sighted up to 300 birds of the species in Muthumalai
Rising antelope deaths in Rajasthan rattle officials
JODHPUR, July 05, 2011: Despite being Schedule I animals protected under Wildelife
Protection Act, deaths of chinkara (gazelle) in the Jodhpur and Barmer
last year and blackbucks in Kota and Baran last week in large numbers,
partly due to inclement weather and partly due to dog bites, have rattled forest officials and the wildlife activists. Wildlife activists
hold the officials responsible for these deaths, term the efforts put in
by them as quite inadequate. The officials, on the other hand, primarily blame it on lack of resources and staff.
More than 200 blackbucks have so far been killed in Baran district
following heavy rain in the past 11 days. Official figures, however, put
the toll at about 100, but the wildlife activists and villagers, claim
the toll is much higher. Even the district forest officer of Baran P D Gupta has admitted the
toll may be higher, which could only be known after the flood waters in
Chhabra, Chhipabarod, Anta, Atru and Baran recedes. Some of these
blackbucks have, however, been killed in dog bites after they found themselves stuck in the soil. However, most of them have been washed
away by the rain, which is beyond our control, says Gupta.
Elephants injured by train
Jalpaiguri, June 26, 2011: A herd of elephants were injured in
Jalpaiguri district of North Bengal after being hit by a train on Saturday night.
A herd of 60 elephants entered an area covered with tea gardens. At around 9.45 pm, the elephants were hit by the
Asansol Express as they were crossing the railway tracks. Wildlife officials reached the spot in one hour and herded the unhurt
elephants into the forest. Locals claim four elephants were injured in
the incident, whereas officials have put the number at two. One of the injured elephants has gone into the forest, and was being
treated there. The elephant with serious injuries was crane-lifted onto to a lorry and
taken to the Gorumara National Park for treatment. A similar incident had claimed the lives of seven elephants in
September, last year. Source: NDTV
After tigers, sambhars to be relocated
JAIPUR, June 15, 2011: After tigers, it is now the turn of cheetals and sambhars to get
relocated to various sanctuaries in the state. A decision to this effect
was taken in a meeting of the state wildlife board recently. According to state forest officials, the Delhi Golf Club
spread over 20 acres, has an excess sambhar population in it. "They are in a way harming the golf course as they eat into the
vegetation sown there. Therefore, a decision was taken to relocate the
sambhars to sanctuaries like Kumbhalgarh and Kailadevi in Rajasthan,"
said an official. "There is scarcity of prey base in these sanctuaries.
We are developing a prey base in them and the sambhars that are relocated from Delhi will find their way here," the official added.
The proposal was cleared by the state wildlife board on Monday. Sources
reveal that even the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun and the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) have given the green
signal. "It is just a matter of time. Once the rain comes, we will begin
the process of relocation of sambhars into core areas of these sanctuaries," said an official.
Rajasthan earning notoriety for poaching peacocks
JODHPUR, May 23, 2011: Rajasthan is earning a notoriety for the poaching of the
national bird peacock. Wildlife activists and bird lovers feel the bird is in peril in the state. The recent killing of five national birds
in Bundi last week is another instance of poaching of peacocks. According to sources, in the past year, about 300 peacocks have been
killed in Bundi district alone by nomadic tribes for their meat. In the
past one month alone, 41 birds have been killed in various villages of
Bundi. But despite this grim scenario, forest officials and the government have not been able to put a check on these growing instances.
Districts like Bundi, Bharatpur, Nagaur and Ajmer are quite infamous for
the poaching of this national bird, which account for 200 to 300 unnatural deaths of peacock per year.
World Migratory Bird Day Observed
Trivandrum, May 15, 2011: “We need to protect our nature and our migratory birds if we
want to sustain this environment,” said R V Varma, Chairman of Kerala
State Bio Diversity Board (KSBB). He was inaugurating the photo exhibition and technical sessions organised by
WWF-India, KSBB and Warblers and Waders in connection with the World Migratory Bird Day.
“We need initiatives for such causes from the public. People are not
aware that their disrespect towards Nature is destroying our planet,”
said R V Varma. He said that the major threat faced by our environment
and migratory birds is pollution. “There were some reports from Wayanad
that there was a rapid increase in the number of pigs leading to the
destruction of crops. Our study revealed that farmers used a certain
pesticide which led to a mass obliteration of foxes which had been controlling the population of pigs. Hence, the number of pigs had gone
up, eventually turning into a menace,” he said.
Save turtle campaign in Assam
Jorhat, May 2, 2011: Seven Look, an NGO, has launched several awareness
schemes in Upper Assam to conserve turtles. "We have identified at least three pockets in
Sivasagar district where three species of turtles - Assam roofed turtle, spotted pond turtle and
Asian leaf turtle are found. We have launched a massive campaign in these areas to make people aware that these pre-historic creatures,
which play a vital role in the eco-system, should not be
harmed," president of Seven Look, Palash Ranjan Goswami, said. "The three turtle species are in the endangered list of Wildlife
Protection Act of India," Goswami said. He said the main threat to these endangered species was degradation of
habitat because of human activity, hunting by local villagers for meat
as well as killing for black magic and other superstitious practices.
"Turtles are hunted and eaten by people here as a delicacy. Very few
people know about their importance to the eco-system. At times, it is
also a ritual to catch turtles and donate them to temples," he said.
The campaign will be carried out at Lalitongkur and Ujantoli Beels in
Panidehing bird sanctuary and at Taroni Beel at Sapekhati in Charaideo
subdivision of Sivasagar district where concentration of turtles have
India's count of wild tigers shows increase
Delhi, April 26, 2011: Census of wild tigers by Indian government
completed last month after a yearlong $2 million sampling exercise with
470,000 forest foot patrols and 880 hidden cameras.
The count, conducted every four years, estimated that the number of
tigers in the wild in India has gone up from 1,411 in 2006 to 1,706. The
government is also investigating and reporting their deaths by sending a
ranger team accompanied by independent observers every time a tiger carcass is found.
Officials say that tight monitoring measures such as these have helped
protect the endangered cat and reduced the chances of fudging the records to inflate the numbers.
A conservation plan on cards for bears
PUNE, April 12, 2011: The solitary and reclusive sloth bear is all set for some
protection in the country. The Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) and (WSPA) will prepare a national action plan for its conservation.
Workshops will be held in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa and Chattisgarh to
draw up the action plan. Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh recently hosted the
first workshop. The species, found in at least four states including
Maharashtra, is threatened by habitat fragmentation and destruction,
human- animal conflict, degradation and loss of forests outside protected
areas. It is also poached for its body parts.Conservationists have been seeking a protection policy.
There are around 15,000 sloth bears in the country, said N P S
Chauhan, senior scientist, Wildlife Institute of India. "Habitat fragmentation
has led to encroachment of the bear's area. A WII study shows that in
some pockets the bear population has declined in the country, but a good
number is seen inside the protected areas," he said.
Tiger census to be made public on March 28: Ramesh
New Delhi, March 24, 2011 (PTI): Expressing hope that the number of tigers in the country has
increased, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh today said that the census of the big
cats would be made public on March 28. “Tiger census is being released to the people...to the nation on Monday,
March 28. This was the most comprehensive and scientifically conducted
census exercise,” the Minister told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.
The census was carried out by installing cameras at strategic points
like water bodies in the forests, as also in respective territories of
the big cats and a computer analysis was done to collate the data. The 2007 census had shown a sharp fall in the number of tigers in
‘protected areas’ - reserves, national parks and wildlife sanctuaries -
in 19 States across the country.According to it, India had only 1,411 wild cats left in its forests.
Nagpur, Raipur hubs for live owl trade
NAGPUR, March 9, 2011 : While everybody is talking about protecting tigers, other
creatures are also in as much danger if not more. A recent report by
'Traffic', a body that monitors illegal wildlife trade on illegal trade, trapping and utilization of owls says Nagpur is a big
hub for live owl trade in India. Like tigers, owls too are protected species under the Wildlife
(Protection) Act, 1972 and are included in Appendix I or Appendix II of
the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
During this study, a total of 12 owls were recorded - three live
specimens were seen during two visits to Mominpura and nine were recorded in Bastar in Chhattisgarh. The study by Abrar Ahmed warns that
thriving owl trade poses potential conservation threat. Anti-poaching squad officials also say that
Mominpura is a big hub of bird trade. "Although we could not find owls, titar and baters
and parrots are sold to petty traders who fulfil sell it all over city," an official said. Still, the squad officials have never
launched a raid in Mominpura. Domestic trade in owls is highly lucrative and several tribes make a
living by selling them. There appears to be little appreciation of wildlife laws among them, says the study. 'Traffic' is world's largest
wildlife monitoring network.
According to officials, these owls are valued by mantriks and those
involved in black magic and can fetch between Rs 80,000 and Rs 3
lakh. Last month, a great horned owl chick was seized by cops from a Pardhi in
Rajulwadi near Umrer. Mixed forests areas despite limitations," says Samir
Sinha, head, Traffic India. Owls are an essential component of the ecosystem. They feed on small
mammals, birds, frogs, lizards and insects and are at the top of food
chain. Despite that there is hardly any programme to conserve them. The report included information gathered during a nationwide study of
the bird trade conducted between 1992-2000. Besides, additional information was also gathered between 2001 and 2008. Data was collected
by undertaking over 300 visits to bird markets. Source: The Times of India
More peacocks found dead in Rajasthan
Jaipur, February 28 (IANS) Adding to the growing concern over peacock
poaching in Rajasthan, at least seven more of the birds were found dead
in Ajmer district's Bhaghera town. The dead peacocks were found Thursday evening in an agriculture farm
with wheat grains scattered around them.
The police said Saturday they suspected the grains were laced with poison.
The villagers informed the district authorities and the local police
station in-charge and sub-divisional magistrate rushed to the spot.
The carcasses were taken to nearby Kekari town for autopsy. The latest deaths came close on the heels of many incidents of poaching
of peacocks, India's national bird, in the state. Animal rights activists allege at least 10 birds are being killed every day.
Elephants kill 3 women tea plantation workers
Valparai, February 10, 2011: Three women workers of TANTEA, a tea plantation corporation of
Tamil Nadu, were trampled and gored to death by a herd of three elephants at Range II of TANTEA at
Periyakallar, about 20 km from Valparai, on Wednesday afternoon. Valparai is a hill station 90 km from
Coimbatore. A group of 10 women tea pluckers were on their way to deposit the leaf
for weighing. When they were lining up their bags, three elephants emerged from the nearby forest and charged at them. Of the 10 seven
managed to escape, but S. Katheeja (58), S. Chellathai (52) and S.Parameswari (58) were killed.
Protesting estate workers demanded that the District Collector visit the
scene of occurrence, as deaths due to man-animal conflicts had become
frequent in Valparai with no security for the life of the plantation workers.
More peacock carcasses found in Rajasthan
Bikaner, January 23, 2011 (PTI) : Carcasses of three more peacocks were found today in a forest
department nursery in Bikaner, taking the toll to 11. Seven staff members of the state forest and wildlife department were
suspended after recovery of the buried peacocks in the nursery at Dungergarh area in Bikaner, official sources said.
Eight peacocks were found buried in the nursery yesterday following an
anonymous complaint, they said, adding the incident was being probed.