Thursday, May 31, 2018

Lion cub triplets melt hearts at Frankfurt zoo

Hyderabad zoo’s ‘adopt an animal’ scheme finds takers

Lakshmi Ramakrishna May 31, 2018 13:41 IST
Do your bit Animal lovers can give an animal a healthy life BY ARRANGMENT Do your bit Animal lovers can give an animal a healthy life BY ARRANGMENT   | Photo Credit: BY ARRANGMENT
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25 animals from Nehru Zoological Park have been adopted during 2016-17

What is common between Anil Kumble, MS Dhoni, Zaheer Khan, Javagal Srinath, Dia Mirza and Priyanka Chopra? Apart from sports, they all share a love for animals. At some point of time, they have ‘adopted’ animals in zoos across the country, to give them a healthy life. In Hyderabad, though no celebrity has adopted any animal in the Nehru Zoological Park, some individuals and companies have together contributed a sum of ₹43.62 lakh towards care of 25 animals during the year 2016-17.

Hyderabad zoo’s ‘adopt an animal’ scheme finds takers
The Nehru Zoological Park, Hyderabad, spread over 380 acres, located adjacent to the 600-acre Mir Alam Tank, houses nearly 155 indigenous and exotic species numbering about 1550 animals, birds and reptiles. The 55-year-old-zoo is a popular destination and draws nearly 30 lakh visitors annually. The zoo plays a vital role in ensuring the survival of many wildlife species, conservation and breeding of rare and endangered species.

The scheme

The zoo started the ‘Adopt an animal scheme’ first in 2014, but it did not find enough takers. Ratnakar Ari, manager, Nehru Zoological Park, says, “One can adopt any animal, big or small. The adoption programme enables individuals, corporations, schools, clubs, families and groups to participate and make a valuable contribution towards the care and enrichment of the animals living here.” He believes that the adoption fee not only helps the zoo to take care of the animals, but also goes towards the protection of endangered species. The zoo has successfully completed the reproduction protocol for mouse deer which is being reintroduced in the wild, he shares.

Hyderabad zoo’s ‘adopt an animal’ scheme finds takers
Sidhanand Kukrety, additional principal chief conservator of forests and director of Nehru Zoological Park, states that although a government initiative, the Hyderabad zoo is slowly inching towards self-sufficiency. “We endeavour to upgrade our facilities, from our esteemed donors and visitors under the aegis of Zoo and Parks Authority of Telangana. However, owing to our large number of exhibits, the funds for supporting all species, upgrading facilities, and other educational programme are insufficient. Therefore, contribution from animal lovers would provide the much needed help in advancing the zoo’s work with wildlife conservation,” he explains. He shares that it is also a rare opportunity to teach children and adults to take care of living creatures and understand the environment that wild animals belong to.
According to Ratnakar, all animals adopted are symbolic adoptions and remain within the zoo. Animal choices are subject to change; if for some reason, the animal that has been adopted needs to be removed from the zoo, then the adoption will be transferred to another animal of one’s choice. “If one is interested, one can adopt Royal Bengal Tiger, Asiatic Lion, giraffe, hippo, rhino, elephant, chimpanzee, black buck, bear, monkey and many more.”

Hyderabad zoo’s ‘adopt an animal’ scheme finds takers
“Organisations like Suryalakshmi Cotton Mills, Sujai A Persa Adia Trust, State Bank of India, and some individuals like K Vishnu Priya, C Rama Devi, Sricharan Veeramachineni, Minu, Gattoji Balagangadhar Achary, Saroj Devi, Ashalatha Pentala, Kalpana Vishwas and N S Ramjee have adopted elephants, squirrel monkey, common langur, lion safari, leopard, jaguar, chimpanzee, giraffe, ostrich, parrots, tiger, cheetah and panther, peacock and Indian gahrial to name a few,” Kukrety mentions. He reveals that the State Bank of India has been paying ₹15 lakh every year by adopting tigers.

Hyderabad zoo’s ‘adopt an animal’ scheme finds takers

Benefits to donors

The adoption fee is eligible for income tax deduction under Section 80G (2) & (5) of IT ACT 1961. Other benefits include free entry to the zoo and car park, allotment of guest house for the day when the donor visits the zoo, certificate of adoption with a photo of the animal, zoo souvenir and innovative merchandise and the individual’s name/company logo displayed near the enclosure, zoo website and mobile application.

http://www.thehindu.com/society/hyderabad-zoos-adopt-an-animal-scheme-finds-takers/article24044845.ece

DCF who refused dam desilting shunted

| May 31, 2018, 04:00 ISTAhmedabad: In a move that raised eyebrows, the state government late on Wednesday night transferred deputy conservator of forests, Sasan Gir Ram Ratan Nala. The officer had refused to permit desilting work at Singhoda dam, which is situated within the Gir sanctuary.
Nala had come under the scanner of the district administration twice earlier too. Nala had denied permission for a religious programme earlier this month at the Kankai Mata Temple — which is within the forest area — that was to be attended by chief minister Vijay Rupani. Recently, officials said, the forest department had also stopped construction work on the Sasan Talala road as there was no permission taken from the State Board of Wildlife for the road widening.

The Singhoda desilting issue led to a dispute between the forest department and the district administration. Officials said the forest department opposed the desilting, because the rules stipulate that permission from the National Board of Wildlife has to be sought. The administration, ostensibly to please the government, wanted to the desilting to go ahead.
The issue reached the Gujarat high court, which directed the state government and forest authorities concerned to report whether desilting of Singhoda dam would affect the forest and wildlife at the Gir National Park.

Forest minister Ganpat Vasava said, “This is a routine transfer and has nothing to do with the denial of permission for desilting of Singhoda dam.”

Meanwhile, forest officials claimed that the issue was taken up before the additional chief secreatry, forest and environment, wherein it was alleged that Nala had refused to give permission for desilting work despite several requests from the district administration. Specualtion was also rife that Nala was opposing the work despite the permission being granted by the district collector office.

Ajay Prakash, the collector of Gir Somnath, clarified that he had not issued permission. “I do not have the right to give permission. All I can say is that the forest department had not issued permission for desilting as it would be sent to the collector as soon as it is issued.”

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/dcf-who-refused-dam-desilting-shunted/articleshow/64391847.cms

Pune Katraj zoo to get sloth bears, grey wolves

There are a total of 400 animals and 63 species in the zoo. The number of visitors to the zoo has increased during the summer season and the Asiatic lion is an added attraction.

pune Updated: May 30, 2018 14:57 IST
We are getting a pair of sloth bear from Bilaspur zoo in exchange for a pair of Chinkara and a pair of grey wolves and a female Gaur from Mysore zoo in exchange for a pair of jackals, pair of barn owl and a pair of grey parrots,” said Rajkumar Jadhav, director of Katraj Zoo. “The program of getting them here is underway, and the animals will reach here within two months. Visitors will love to see the sloth bears and the grey wolves,” he added.
There are a total of 400 animals and 63 species in the zoo. The number of visitors to the zoo has increased during the summer season and the Asiatic lion is an added attraction. There are also Bengal tigers, elephants, two male gaurs and a king cobra in the zoo.
https://www.hindustantimes.com/pune-news/pune-katraj-zoo-to-get-sloth-bears-grey-wolves/story-mpJayI9xDUIpqumMtsDGMP.html

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Court seeks report on desilting of Singhoda dam in Gir Sanctuary

| May 29, 2018, 04:13 IST
 
AHMEDABAD: Gujarat high court on Monday directed the state government and forest authorities concerned to place a report before it on whether the desilting of Singhoda dam has affected the forest and wildlife in the Gir National Park





Justice Biren Vaishnav has also sought the government and forest department’s answer on whether the desilting of the dam in the protected area, which is the last abode of Asiatic lions, required any prior permission from the Chief Wildlife Warden as per section 35(6) of the Wildlife Protection Act. The HC has sought the report by June 18.

The HC has also issued notices to the state government, the principal chief conservator of forest (wildlife), Junagadh’s top forest officials and the collector of Gir-Somnath district and asked them to file their replies by June 11 in response to a PIL, which has objected to the desilting of Singhoda dam in the Gir National Park, said petitioner’s advocate Nandish Thackar.

The PIL has contended that the Gir-Somnath district collector passed an order on May 8 for desilting of the reservoir without following any procedure of the law. “Permitting about 1,000 tractors per day inside the prohibited area would adversely affect the habitat of innumerable crocodiles in the dam and a pride of 10 lions residing in the area,” the petitioner had contended.

The petitioner cited section 35(6) of the Act which prohibits any destruction, removal or change in habitat of animals in national park without permission from authority from the Centre. If such a permission is granted, it should also contain particulars of vehicles to be used inside the reserved forest. Since there is absence of this permission for desilting the dam, the collector’s order for the same is required to be quashed, the PIL said.
https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/court-seeks-report-on-desilting-of-singhoda-dam-in-gir-sanctuary/articleshow/64360619.cms

Govt Allows Limestone Mining Near Gir Lion Sanctuary, But What About Safety Of Asiatic Lions?


 L Gir Mining

Indiatimes
Updated: May 28, 2018
A committee of the Ministry of Environment and Forest has allowed a private company to do limestone mining near Gir Wildlife Sanctuary, the only abode of the Asiatic Lion in the world.
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The 417 hectares of land where mining has been allowed is located 6.25 km from the sanctuary. The project has been allowed despite the Gujarat High Court has put a stay on the final notification of eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) of Gir Protected Area.
The Standing Committee of the National Board for Wildlife recommended the proposal of mining over a 417.35 hectare of land at Sugala and Jagatiya villages in a meeting on March 27 falling outside the Lion sanctuary, “Along with the conditions and the wildlife mitigation measures stipulated by the State Chief Wildlife Warden”.
Usually, the ESZ limit is 10 km from the wildlife sanctuary, but the states have been asked to demarcate ESZ around all wildlife sanctuaries and protected areas.
https://www.indiatimes.com/news/india/govt-allows-limestone-mining-near-gir-lion-sanctuary-but-what-about-safety-of-asiatic-lions-346302.html

Environment ministry panel allows mining near Gir Wildlife Sanctuary

A committee of the Ministry of Environment and Forests has given a go-ahead for limestone mining by a private company near Gir Wildlife Sanctuary, the only abode of the Asiatic Lion in the world.
Published: 28th May 2018 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th May 2018 05:00 AM
Lions at Gir Wildlife Sanctuary. (File Photo)
Express News Service
NEW DELHI: A committee of the Ministry of Environment and Forests has given a go-ahead for limestone mining by a private company near Gir Wildlife Sanctuary, the only abode of the Asiatic Lion in the world.
The 417 hectares of land where mining has been allowed, is located 6.25 km from the sanctuary. The project has been allowed even though the Gujarat High Court has put a stay on final notification of eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) of Gir Protected Area.  
The Standing Committee of the National Board for Wildlife, in its meeting on March 27, recommended the proposal for mining over a 417.35 hectare area at Sugala and Jagatiya villages falling outside the lion sanctuary “along with the conditions and the wildlife mitigation measures stipulated by the State Chief Wildlife Warden”.
The Ministry issued guidelines to restrict damaged caused due to developmental activities around wildlife sanctuaries and national parks. In general, the ESZ width is up to 10 km but states have been asked to demarcate ESZ around all wildlife protected areas. The panel has asked the user agency to ensure construction material is not dumped and polluted water does not enter the sanctuary, to put up a plan to develop forest after completion of mining, and to have a wildlife conservation plan in place.  
The National Board for Wildlife, in the minutes of the meeting, a copy of which is with TNIE, mentioned that the High Court, while hearing a PIL in 2017, issued a stay order on final notification of eco-sensitive zone of Gir Protected Area. The PIL was about the Gujarat government submitting a proposal to the Centre for reducing the eco-sensitive zone from 3.33 lakh hectare area comprising 291 villages surrounding Gir to 1.14 lakh hectares consisting of 191 villages. The Sugala and Jagatiya villages were a part of the ESZ as per earlier demarcated area, but were removed in the new proposal by the state.
As per the 2017 Census, there are 650 Asiatic lions in Gir and nearly one-fourth of them live outside core habitat. There were several reports of threat posed to them by illegal mining. Environment lawyer Ritwick Dutta, who is also handling the case related to translocation of lions in the NGT, said the approval will pose a threat to their existence.
“It is very surprising that the standing committee recommended the proposal without even conducting a field visit or assessment of the impact of mining on 417 hectares of land, which is a significant area falling within 10 km of eco-sensitive zone,” said the lawyer. “The conditions say the user agency shall not harm or destroy wildlife habitat, including fauna and flora. How will a mining project in an area like this not harm environment? The Ministry didn’t even bother to conduct a site inspection.”
http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2018/may/28/environment-ministry-panel-allows-mining-near-gir-wildlife-sanctuary-1820315.html


The rustic platter

If you are one of those craving something spicy and hot in Gujarat when your palate does not approve of the sweetness in Gujarati thali, Kathiawari cuisine comes to the rescue.
Published: 27th May 2018 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th May 2018 07:30 PM
Express News Service
If you are one of those craving something spicy and hot in Gujarat when your palate does not approve of the sweetness in Gujarati thali, Kathiawari cuisine comes to the rescue. And no matter how good the Kathiawari thali is in any other town of Gujarat, you will get the most authentic when you travel to the place it belongs to—Kathiawar peninsula. In the interiors of the semi-arid land of western Gujarat, where water is scarce and cultivation of vegetables is less, the hardy people have used ingenuity in preparing assortment of delectable food. 
Traversing the roads while visiting the Devbhoomi, Dwarka, where Krishna ruled; Mahatma Gandhi’s birthplace Porbandar; the historic Junagadh; and Asiatic lions’ last refuge, the Gir Forest Reserve, don’t miss the lonely dhabas in the dusty landscape, for you don’t know what authentic Kathiawari thali is there on the menu for you. However, be warned that Kathiawari food is an acquired taste and the rustic flavours might not be for everyone’s liking, especially on roadside dhabas and in obscure villages. But hospitality of the locals makes you experiment. Looking for a place to eat as the car pulls outside a dhaba on way to Dwarka from Rajkot, the freshly plucked heaps of radish with green leaves intact look appealing on tables. And it looks so authentic as locals clad in traditional white dress topped with white pagdis arrive and sit down for lunch. 
The spicy Kathiawari food is generally accompanied by tadela marcha (fried green chillies) but bajra rotla dipped in kadhi with chhachh (buttermilk) is the best body coolant for summer. The Kathiawari thali and farsan (snacks) are vegetarian and no meal is complete without milk products.         
The most distinctive feature of the food is liberal use of garlic, onion and chilli, and every meal includes chhachh, lassi, papad, and jaggery with dollops of shudh ghee. Those with sweet tooth can have the laddoos and syrupy jalebis on offer. There is assortment of seasonal vegetables with spices and besan (chickpea flour). In contrast to the sweet Gujarati food, no sugar or jaggery is used in vegetable preparations in Kathiawadi cuisine. 
The most popular food items include patras that are made using colocasia leaves, gram flour and spices, debras that are prepared using wheat flour mixed with spinach, green chillies and yogurt, and are usually eaten with chhundo. The list is endless as there is gaanthiya that is served with Rajkot sweet chutney and fried chillies, dhokla, and dhokli. Kathiawar also has a special methia masala (dry powder made of fenugreek seeds, chilli powder and salt) that is sprinkled on raw vegetables to enhance their flavour. A Kathiawadi thali highlights a lot of flavours and textures.
A dhaba in between Somnath and Junagadh serves a Kathiawadi thali with so many varieties that only a spoonful of each vegetable is enough to satisfy your hunger. To balance deep fried mirchi and spicy vegetables topped with sev (made of besan), there is moong khichdi and appetising kadhi. Khichdi-kadhi combination is a staple Kathiawadi fare. The hot rotlo (large thick rotis made of millets like jowar or bajra and maize) straight from the tawa are served with white butter. The earthy aroma of the melting butter on rotlo is enough to drool over the rustic fare. The big roasted papad, salad of raw onions, tangy chutneys and pickles are star accompaniments in the thali. 
Cabbage, potato, tomato, onion, brinjal, ladies’ finger, fenugreek and chillies make their presence felt with lots of besan in the form of kadhi or sev (deep fried noodles made of besan) sprinkled on curries. Owing to scarcity of green vegetables, one even finds papad in curries in the form of papad ki subzi.
Those not attuned to the names of vegetable preparations in Kathiawar could find them to be tongue-twisters, but the meal that concludes with a paan will stimulate your taste buds for sure.
http://www.newindianexpress.com/lifestyle/food/2018/may/27/the-rustic-platter-1819037.html