Friday, August 31, 2018

Gujarat: Gir monsoon festival 2018 to begin from September 1 Read more at:

Buzz off! Bees swarm Times Square hot dog stand

This photo provided by Elizabeth Yannone shows a section of a street in Times Square, cordoned off after being swarmed by bees in New York on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018. A swarm of bees caused a brief commotion in Times Square after they made their home atop a hot dog stand. The New York Police Department's bee keepers unit responded to the scene and safely removed the bees. (Elizabeth Yannone via AP)
NEW YORK (AP) — A swarm of bees caused a brief commotion in Times Square in New York City after they made their home atop a hot dog stand.
It happened at 43rd Street and Broadway at about 2 p.m. Tuesday.
The New York Police Department's bee keepers unit responded to the scene and safely removed the bees.
WABC-TV shows thousands of bees crowding the top of the vendor's umbrella as a beekeeper sucks them into a hose.
In a tweet, the NYPD said that "no tourist was harmed and no bee was left behind."
This photo provided by Elizabeth Yannone shows a section of a street in Times Square, cordoned off after being swarmed by bees in New York on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018. The swarm of bees caused a brief commotion in Times Square after they made their home atop a hot dog stand. The New York Police Department's bee keepers unit responded to the scene and safely removed the bees. (Elizabeth Yannone via AP)

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Kuno Palpur Sanctuary area to be extended by 413 sq km

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 28 Aug 2018 14:46:22

By Ankita Garg,
If the proposal sent by wildlife wing of Forest Department sees the day light then Kuno Palpur Wildlife Sanctuary will be preparing to extend its limits. The proposal sent by Wildlife Wing envisages extension of sanctuary by another 413 square kilometres.

This will not only increase the area of Kuno Palpur Sanctuary but will also make it fit to stake claim for national park status as well. Moreover, if its area is increased then it will be also fulfilling the condition of Gujarat government for translocation of its world famous Asiatic Lions.

After extension of its area, Kuno Palpur Sanctuary, which has been developed for translocation of Asiatic Lion, will spread over 1,288 sq km of area. There is proposal to de-notify the 202 sq km area of Karera Wildlife Sanctuary under district Shivpuri and 80 sq km of area of Ghatigaon Sonchidiya Sanctuary under Gwalior.
After de notification of both areas, Government would add them into Kuno Palpur Sanctuary.
Karera Wildlife Sanctuary was established in year 1981 to protect the population of Great Indian Bustard in the area. Now the area is being notified by Government due to protest by the local people and extinction of the Great Indian Bustard bird locally.

“We proposed Government to extend the area of Kuno Palpur Wildlife Sanctuary by another 413 sq km and also provide it status of National Park. Sanctuary has been developed for translocation of Asiatic lion project which is pending from over the years,” said Alok Kumar, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (APCCF).

Talking to ‘The Hitavada, he said the biggest condition set by Gujarat government was to extend the area of Kuno Palpur sanctuary for translocation of Asiatic Lions and if the area of sanctuary is increased by another 413 sq km then automatically, Gujarat demand would get fulfilled. At present, Kuno Palpur Sanctuary is spread over 345 sq km of area and now proposal has been come up to add another 413 sq km area into it. If sanctuary gets national park status then this 413 km of area will be developed as core area and 530 sq km of additional area will be buffer zone. He said that at present Asiatic lion is only in Gir National Park of Gujarat. In year 1991, proposal came up to translocate few Asiatic Lion in Madhya Pradesh to save the endangered species from extinction.
Madhya Pradesh Government selected Kuno Palpur area for the project and started preparing the jungles of Kuno Palpur Sanctuary. In year 2003, State Government staked claim for translocation of Asiatic lions from Gujarat by saying that Kuno Palpur sanctuary is ready in this regard. However, Gujarat Government had certain objections over the issue and still issue pertaining to translocation of Asiatic lions which is in doldrums.
He said after getting final nod in Cabinet meeting, proposal will be sent to the Central Forest, Environment and Climate Change Ministry. The proposal will also be presented before National Wildlife Board for final nod.


August 25, 2018 10:48 IST
A Crocodile about to hunt a fish at Asiatic Lion Gir Sanctuary near Veraval, Gujarat. A Crocodile about to hunt a fish at Asiatic Lion Gir Sanctuary near Veraval, Gujarat.   | Photo Credit: Vijay Soneji

Willing to go on for Wildlife? Check these Top 30 National Parks For Best Wildlife Safari in India

According to the Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests, there is a total of 103 national parks in India. Jim Corbett National Park was India’s first national park and additionally first to go under the Project Tiger initiative. So, let us check out some of the finest and the biggest Wildlife National Parks in India!

Top 30 National Parks For Best Wildlife Safari in India

1. Gir Forest National Park, Gujarat

Gir Forest National Park
Gir Forest National Park is the only place on the planet where Asiatic lions are found. The park offers the safe house to the biggest population of lions in Gujarat and the total population of Asiatic Lions in India is 523.

2. Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan

Ranthambore National Park
Ranthambore National Park is well known for its Bengal tigers, particularly the ruler tigress of Ranthambhore – Machli. The park has vast tiger population and best place in India to spot wild Bengal tigers in their natural wilderness living space.

3. Kaziranga National Park, Assam

Kaziranga National Park
Kaziranga National Park of Assam is home to the most noteworthy thickness of Indian rhinoceros and healthy populations of tigers, wild water bison, and elephants. The enormous five of Kaziranga National Park is known as Indian rhinoceros, Bengal tiger, Indian elephant, wild water bison, and Barasingha.

4. Sundarbans National Park, West Bengal

Sundarbans National Park
Sundarbans National Park is part of the Ganges Delta and secured by mangrove backwoods. The bog tigers of Sundarbans are known to be man-eater and the backwoods is home to in excess of 400 tigers.

5. Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand

Jim Corbett National Park
Jim Corbett National Park was made to ensure endangered Bengal tiger and now the best place for tourists and wildlife darlings. The park and its zones like Dhikala are a notable destinations in the park.

6. Bandhavgarh National Park, Madhya Pradesh

Bandhavgarh National Park
Bandhavgarh National Park of Madhya Pradesh has the most astounding known thickness of Bengal tiger in India along with a vast population of panthers. The park offers best Jeep, elephant and wildlife safari in India.

7. Kanha National Park, Madhya Pradesh

Kanha National Park
Kanha National Park is the biggest national park of Madhya Pradesh and one of the top 10 renowned places for tourist visiting India. The park has a great population of Bengal tiger, barasingha, and Indian wild pooch.

8. Tadoba National Park, Maharashtra

Tadoba National Park
Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve in Chandrapur locale of Maharashtra is one of the best places to Bengal tigers in India. The keystone species of Tadoba save include the Bengal tiger, Indian panthers, and exceptionally uncommon honey badger.

9. Nagarhole National Park, Karnataka

Nagarhole National Park
Nagarhole National Park along with Kabini supply which separates the park with Bandipur is home to endangered and powerless species of wild animals. The lead species of Nagarhole are Indian bison, dhole pooch, Bengal tiger and Black panther otherwise called apparition of kabani.

10. Namdapha National Park, Arunachal Pradesh

Namdapha National Park
Namdapha National Park is the third biggest national park in India and offers the most extravagant biodiversity in the country. The area is home to an extraordinary decent variety of well-evolved creature species including 3 major feline species and blurred panther.

11. Mudumalai National Park, Tamil Nadu

Mudumalai National Park
Mudumalai National Park around the side of the Nilgiri Hills in Tamil Nadu is home to a rundown of endangered and powerless wild animal species. The Indian panther, Bengal tiger, and panther felines are main carnivores warm-blooded creatures of the park.

12. Periyar National Park, Kerala

Periyar National Park
Periyar National Park close Thekkady is a remarkable elephant save of India and backings many undermined species. The park is one of the best places to see important Indian elephants and few of white tigers in India.

13. Hemis National Park, Jammu Kashmir

Hemis National Park
Hemis National Park around the Ladakh region of India is a high height national park and acclaimed for a most astounding thickness of snow panthers in India. The pre-spring is the best season for spotting snow panthers in Hemis national park.

14. Great Himalayan National Park, Himachal Pradesh

Great Himalayan National Park
Great Himalayan National Park bolsters an awesome decent variety of high elevation Himalayan wildlife. The GHNP is home to faunal species, for example, snow panther, Himalayan tahr, blue sheep and musk deer.

15. Bhitarkanika National Park, Odisha

Bhitarkanika National Park
Bhitarkanika National Park in Kendrapara region of Odisha is generally celebrated for extensive size Saltwater crocodile, King cobra, and Indian python. The national park and wildlife sanctuary bolster mangrove timberland and marsh region.

16. Dudhwa National Park, Uttar Pradesh

Dudhwa National Park
Dudhwa National Park is one of the best and lesser-known terai ecosystem in India. The tall wet grasslands of Terai bolsters a vast number of endangered barasingha, jungle feline, and panther feline.

17. Manas National Park, Assam

Manas National Park
Manas National Park is known for a healthy population of uncommon and endangered endemic wildlife. The dwarf hoard, hispid bunny, and wild water bison are key endangered and endemic animals of Manas wildlife sanctuary.

18. Rajaji National Park, Uttarakhand

Rajaji National Park
Rajaji National Park close to the lower regions of the Himalayas in Uttarakhand is a thick wilderness and home to vivacious wildlife. The thick green wildernesses of Rajaji offers most appropriate natural surroundings for various wild animals.

19. Simlipal National Park, Odisha

Simlipal National Park
Simlipal National Park in the Mayurbhanj locale is a fortune house for all the more than 42 species of well-evolved creatures. The park has a great population of snakes, birds, animals and gives grasslands and the savannas to grazing.

20. Desert National Park, Rajasthan

Desert National Park
Desert National Park close to the town of Jaisalmer underpins the most special ecosystem and amazing winged animal life. The sand ridges of Thar desert is an asylum for migratory birds, for example, laggar falcons, brownish hawks and swamp harrier.

21. Indravati National Park, Chhattisgarh

Indravati National Park
Indravati National Park is the most acclaimed wildlife parks of Chhattisgarh and home to last populations of wild water bison in the state. The endangered wild Asian bison, Indian spotted chevrotain and sloth bears are few keystone species of the park.

22. Balphakram National Park, Meghalaya

Balphakram National Park
Balphakram National Park is one of the lesser known parks that backings most special winged creature and wildlife. The pristine excellence of Balphakram along with Nokrek hold offers beautiful landscape and best Canyon see in India.

23. Pench National Park, Madhya Pradesh

Pench National Park
Pench National Park over the two conditions of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra offers to a great degree rich and differing wildlife. Pench Tiger Reserve is topmost wildlife destinations for tourism in Madhya Pradesh.

24. Eravikulam National Park, Kerala

Eravikulam National Park
Eravikulam National Park in Idukki region is the principal national park in Kerala and consists of a high rolling slope level. The high height sholas grasslands of the park are home to a biggest surviving population of Nilgiri tahr in India.

25. Bandipur National Park, Karnataka

Bandipur National Park
Bandipur National Park of Karnataka is home to a rundown of India’s endangered wildlife and part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. The park along with adjoining Nagarhole National Park underpins great population of endangered Indian elephants, Indian bison, and Indian panther.

26. Sariska National Park, Rajasthan

Sariska National Park
Sariska National Park is home to many species of wildlife, including Indian panther and Bengal tigers. The national park and tiger save was first on the planet to successfully migrated tigers.

27. Velavadar National Park, Gujarat

Velavadar National Park
Velavadar Blackbuck National Park is home to a substantial population of blackbuck and Indian wolf. The park and grassland ecosystem was acclaimed for hunting cheetahs in India.

28. Keoladeo National Park, Rajasthan

Keoladeo National Park
Keoladeo National Park is a noteworthy tourist focus in India and most extravagant winged creature areas on the planet. The park was known as the Bharatpur winged creature sanctuary one of the wintering area in India for Siberian crane, Saurus crane, and waterfowl.

29. Dibru Saikhowa National Park, Assam

Dibru Saikhowa National Park
Dibru Saikhowa National Park is the biggest salix overwhelm woods in India and shelter for a rundown of endangered wild animals and fowl species. The bog timberland of park bolsters different species of primates, enormous felines, and nondomesticated steed.

30. Rann of Kutch National Park, Gujarat

Rann of Kutch National Park
LRK national park and wildlife sanctuary of Gujarat is the biggest wildlife sanctuary in India and only remaining natural surroundings of endangered Indian Wild Ass. The salt bog of Little Rann of Kutch offers most extravagant biodiversity in India and paradise for a rundown of the neighborhood and migratory birds.

Pride of India

Shiladitya Chaudhury follows the pug marks of the Asiatic lion in the Gir National Park 

Animal of the month: the pride [interactive guide]

Pride is one of the most widely-recognised animal collectives in the world. We often picture lions among their family unit, whether they be standing proudly together or hunting down a doomed antelope. These famous social groups are usually formed of between three and ten adult females, two or three males, and the pride’s latest litters of cubs, and they live together (most of the time) across Africa and in the Gir Forest Sanctuary. We say most of the time because lions do in fact spend a fair amount of their time apart from the rest of the pride, as pride members have a variety of different roles.
Hover over the lions in our interactive pride to learn about the different roles of pride-members, from raising cubs to hunting for food.
Featured image credit: ‘Masai Mara Lion Pride’ by Justin Jensen. CC BY 2.0 via Flickr.

Mangrove Cell to submit proposal for conservation of Arabian Sea Humpback Whale

The minutes of the Standing Committee of the National Board of Wildlife (NBWL) meeting, conducted on June 13, mentions that the species faces risks from shipping and fishing activities.
Written by Benita Chacko | Published: August 22, 2018 12:29:20 am The Arabian Sea Humpback Whale is found along the Maharashtra coast.

THE STATE Mangrove Cell will soon submit a proposal for the protection of the Arabian Sea Humpback Whale as part of the Centre’s Recovery Programme for Critically Endangered Species. The cell hopes this will be a timely step to protect the marine creature from extinction.
“We have prepared a proposal for the programme and will soon submit it. The Centre has taken a positive step towards conservation and we will do our bit to protect the species,” said N Vasudevan, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Maharashtra Mangrove Cell.
Among other places, the Arabian Sea Humpback Whale is found along the Maharashtra coast, as it migrates from the Oman coast to the Sri Lanka coast. The state proposes to first study the pattern of migration, its population and distribution to plan their conservation. “We will use noise monitoring machines underwater that will record sounds. This will include sounds they make during mating along with sounds of other marine creatures. The study of these sounds will help us understand their mating time, their migratory patterns and other details,” said Vasudevan.
The minutes of the Standing Committee of the National Board of Wildlife (NBWL) meeting, conducted on June 13, mentions that the species faces risks from shipping and fishing activities. “Studies also indicate that only very few individuals are available in the Arabian Sea. Accidental entanglements in fishing gear, ship strikes and seismic exploration are the principal threats to the species,” reads the minutes.
“The species face the largest risk from shipping activity as they are often injured by the ship propeller. They are also affected by gillnet fishing and longline fishing as they get entangled in it and drown. They need to come out of the water to breathe. They are large mammals and there aren’t too many of them as they give birth only once in two years. They have a long gestation period and the calf remains with the mother for long,” said Dr Deepak Apte, Marine Ecologist and Director, Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS).
Apte added that the inclusion of the species in the programme is well-timed and much-needed. “Their inclusion will help conduct some studies on them, which will provide valuable inputs. We do not know much about them at present. If we do systematic mapping of the species and study their population and distribution, it will help us reduce their ship-based mortality. We can also study their genetic make-up, which will help us know which clan they belong to,” he said.
The mangrove cell plans to work on conservation efforts for the species through these studies. “Once we know their migration pattern and their mating time, we can direct ship companies from avoiding their path during these periods. We can also prevent fishing in those areas. This will help in reducing the mortality rates,” said Vasudevan.
However, the whales being an offshore species makes the study challenging. “They do not come very close to the shore. So, we will need to have a set-up for the study team to go into deep sea. The study will take at least 10 years to complete,” said Apte.
India’s commitment to the protection of whales and their habitats in its waters also stems from the fact that it is a party to the International Whaling Commission. During the NBWL meeting, it was also decided to include Northern River Terrapin, Clouded Leopard and Red Panda in the recovery programme. Species such as Snow Leopard, Bustard (including Floricans), Dolphin, Nilgiri Tahr, Marine Turtles, Asian Wild Buffalo, Manipur Brow-antlered Deer, Vultures, Malabar Civet, Indian Rhinoceros, Asiatic Lion and Swamp Deer are already a part of the programme.

Dismal fact

Dear Editor,
The 2018 World Wildlife poster released by WWF provides alarmingly dismal fact regarding big wild cat populations around the globe. The global lion population has receded to around 20,000 in the wild. The Asiatic lions are being restricted only to India; while African lions have now been reported to be extinct in 26 nations across the continent. The tiger populations are now restricted to only about 3900 in the wild with 96% habitat loss across their historic range of distribution. Only 7100 wild cheetahs are being estimated to be currently surviving making the species vulnerable in the African continent; while Asiatic cheetahs are believed to be decimated to around 100 and barely surviving in eastern Iran only with critically endangered status. Leopards are vulnerable in both Asia and Africa; severely impacted by poaching, habitat loss and repeated human-animal conflicts. The situation of snow leopards across Russia, Mongolia, Central Asia, China, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal and Bhutan are not promising!
True and accurate snow leopard population dynamics is not quite available; however, current estimate fluctuates between 4,500 to 10,000 in the wild mountainous habitats of Eurasia stretching between Russia to India. Puma or cougar or mountain lions have lost over 50% of their natural habitats in the Americas; while the majestic jaguar of Central and South America is reported to be struggling for survival. Most of the wild cat populations are suffering due to multiple anthropogenic and natural factors like habitat loss and habitat fragmentation, unmonitored forest fires, unmonitored or under monitored poaching and recreational hunting, trafficking of wildlife body parts (like skulls, bones, nails, skin, fur, pelts, teeth, organs) to illegal wildlife markets operating in China and parts of SE Asia, destruction of forests, illegal human encroachments into forested areas, unplanned infrastructural developments in virgin forest areas and lack of well managed conservation programs.
Saikat Kumar Basu

Mumbai’s Byculla zoo officials plan to preserve penguin eggshells for research, display

Mumbai: After welcoming its newest inhabitant, a baby Humboldt penguin, on August 15, the  Veermata Jijabai Udyan (Byculla Zoo) has now decided to preserve the egg shell and CCTV footage for documentation and research. Sanjay Tripathi, veterinary doctor and zoo in-charge, said, “The egg shell fragments have been kept in the zoo centre and will be preserved. We also plan to put the shell on public display. The matter is pending discussion.”
Besides this, footage from the Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras in the aquarium, which have recorded every movement of the penguins will be documented and used for research. Tripathi said, “Right now, the doctors, including me, are busy with the baby penguin, checking its health regularly. The CCTV video will definitely be used for study purposes as it is the first-ever penguin to be born in India and in Mumbai’s zoo.”
A 75-gram penguin was born at night on Independence Day. The new-born is greyish in colour and it will be two years before the characteristic white stretch manifests. Mr Molt, the youngest, and Flipper, the oldest, are the proud parents of the newborn penguin. The Flipper laid an egg on July 5 and on August 15, exactly 40 days after the incubation period was complete, it egg hatched. Furthermore, to determine the gender of the newborn, a DNA analysis will be carried out at a Bengaluru (Bangalore) laboratory. Madhumita Kale, another veterinary doctor said, “The health of the baby penguin is right now important for us. The DNA analysis can be delayed for some time until everything comes to normal.”
It will be three months before the public can get a glimpse of the new arrival. Currently, it is being tended to by its parents. In three months, it will be capable of fending for itself and can be viewed by the public, zoo officials said.
Meanwhile, the Brihamumbai Municipal Corporation(BMC)-appointed contractor has started work on the enclosure construction work in the zoo, in keeping with the project to modernise the 19 century spot.  Zoo authorities plans to get Madras pond turtles, common otters, sloth bears, hyenas, wolves, jackals, leopards, reptiles, lesser cats, and birds in the first phase. In the second phase, the authorities plan to get swamp deer, sambar, black buck, nilgai, Asiatic lion, Bengal tigers, emu, jaguar and a zebra. “The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) has already approved the procurement of these animals. These will be exchanged across various zoological parks in the country,” said Dr Tripathi.
After the enclosure work is completed, said Tripathi,  the animals will be brought in. Another reason for the zoo to smile has been the victory in Bombay High Court against Mafatlal Mills, which had occupied seven acres of land which was leased to it by the civic corporation. Since the tenure of the lease expired, BMC asked for the land back but Mafatlal submitted a plea in court, claiming its right to the land. The plea was rejected by the court on August 16, clearing the way for the zoo’s expansion plan, delayed until now.


| TNN | Aug 18, 2018, 04:00 ISTRajkot: The state government’s decision to nearly double the permits for jungle trail in Gir Wildlife Sanctuary from October this year has not gone down well with the forest officials and environment activists. They not only questioned the rationale behind the government’s decision, but also feared that it would disturb the fragile ecosystem of Gir forests, which is the last abode of Asiatic lions in the world.
On Thursday, the state government announced that the number of permits issued for the jungle trail in Gir Wildlife Sanctuary, spread over 1,412 sq km area, would be increased to 150 per day from the current 90 per day. Similarly, on festival days and Sundays, the number of permissions have been increased from 150 to 180 per day.

The 25-30km jungle trail includes a three-hour trip into the protected forest in a jeep with maximum six persons. One permit is issued for one jeep. Everyday three such trips are undertaken carrying 540 tourists on eight different routes. With the new government decision, 900 tourists will be taken into the sanctuary along 13 different routes.

According to government officials, the rationale behind increasing the number of permits is to curb illegal lion shows in forest area. However, the forest officials and activists feel that increased human and vehicle traffic in the sanctuary area not only disturb the fragile ecosystem, but also the lions, who are dependent on the same ecosystem.

Assistant conservator of forest (ACF), Sasan, Rajdeep Zala said, “There are touts who cheat people under the pretext of lion sighting. The logic behind the increase in permit is that we can accommodate more tourists so they don’t fall prey to such touts. This will also reduce the harassment to lions.”

A senior forest officer, posted in Gir Wildlife Sanctuary, on condition of anonymity said the forest department was under pressure since long to increase the permits in sanctuary area by the tourism department. “Gir is not only about lions. Lions in this forest area can sustain because of its ecology. Increase in movement of vehicles and human interference disturbs the ecosystem and ultimately the lions. Increase in number of permits should not have been allowed,” the forest official said.

Lion expert Priyavrat Gadhvi said, “Gir is facing tremendous pressure in terms of tourism, so we have to understand the viewpoint of forest department. As you increase human interference, the problems also increase. This has to be regulated so that excess human interference doesn’t result into nuisance.”

Environment activist Revtubha Raizada said, “We are facing problem of plastic waste inside the sanctuary and human interference will only increase this. We need to develop the sense of wildlife tourism.”

Tipping the scales: White lion cubs bulking up in Germany

This Independence Day, five things we urgently need independence from in the environmental sphere

Neha Sinha @nehaa_sinha
Neha Sinha is a wildlife conservationist, and lover of the weird, wonderful, wordy and wild.

We need to understand nature is the basis for life, we need planning with conservation, not destruction, at its heart.
It's hard to fully describe what India stands for. This is the land where paths are made by elephants, and where roads are shared by both trucks and tigers. The land where every colony is redolent with start-ups and non-governmental groups, and where art and craft push their way somehow through plastic-littered roads. Where rivers inspire awe despite the sewage they are made to carry, with the most globally significant tiger, Asiatic lion and Asian elephant populations.
Yet, it is also true that in today's description India will count as a country with high environmental degradation — our holiest rivers are our dirtiest, we have some of the world's most polluted cities, and cancer is spreading — linked to high pesticide use and arsenic poisoning. Cities are under siege as old trees are cut, as construction dust rises, and our rich wildlife is under new threats.
This Independence Day, here are the five things we urgently need independence from.
Lines that kill
The government released a special postal stamp to commemorate our National Heritage Animal, the elephant, on August 12, World Elephant Day. Fittingly, the stamp was printed on paper made from elephant dung.
wildlife-690_081418023541.jpgElephants in India are living under a constant threat (Source: Reuters)
Yet, elephants are under constant threat — from existing and proposed railway lines, apart from habitat loss.
Speeding trains passing through forests and other elephant habitat are mowing down elephants — usually many at one go. Just this month, three elephants were killed by a railway line on the Jharkhand-West Bengal border. In Odisha, four elephants were killed in April on a railway line, and five other elephants died in the same tragic, grisly way in Assam in February. Yet, evidence proves that a combination of vigilance as well as mitigation can change the face of this tragedy. Trains need to stop speeding through elephant areas, especially at night. Also, watchers need to be employed — a move that has already found some success in Rajaji in Uttarakhand. Areas with hairpin bends need to be cleared to create staging areas for wildlife to have better visibility. No new railway lines should go through elephant corridors. Railway lines are meant to link, not kill. Business as usual is not acceptable.
Projects that destroy mature trees
India's most cosmopolitan cities, Delhi and Mumbai, are in the midst of a turf battle. The battle is being fought by citizens to protect iconic old trees — Mumbai citizens for Aarey forest; and Delhi's citizens for trees affected by road widening and the development of government colonies in South Delhi.
Both cities are large, sweating under population pressure, and coming apart because of it. Residents of both cities have had enough of callous, large projects that don't care for public health — they have gone to court, marched in protests, and have joined hands in solidarity. The message is clear — redevelopment, modernisation, upgradations are fine — but not at the cost of old trees. The protests are to keep trees where they stand, and keep them alive. People are demanding both the right to breathe, as well as the right to shape their cities. While trees have still been cut in some places, residents are showing that the age of city projects that unthinkingly involve felling trees is over.
Green energy that's not green
In the push for Make in India and missions for green energy, large tracts of land — notably in Gujarat's Kutch and Rajasthan's Thar desert — have been opened up for solar and wind energy farms. Yet, a lot of this has been done in an unplanned way, leading to a rash of electric lines through what is the last habitat for the Great Indian Bustard.
The world's last, viable breeding population of Great Indian Bustards is this arid, hot belt. As per new estimates, only one male Great Indian Bustard is left in Kutch. The reason is not hard to understand.
bustard-690_081418024106.jpgThe Great Indian Bustard is facing an existential threat (Source: India Today)
Since the last year, five GIB have been electrocuted after colliding with high tension wires in Gujarat and Rajasthan. As these are the last birds in this functional habitat, each death counts. It counts as a gene bank and as a breeding individual. With each loss, we crawl closer to witnessing India's first major contemporary extinction. At the heart of the matter is creating zonation — breeding areas of GIB need to stop expansion of overhead lines. For existing lines, diverters that warn birds of the wires need to be put up.
EIAs that lie
The environmental discourse is not complete without pointing out that environment impact assessments or EIAs - papers and plans submitted by project developers for clearing projects on environmental grounds -have routinely been lying. Some EIAs claim there are no trees where several hundred exist, others claim there is no wildlife, and yet others make up fictional (and ridiculous) species list.
For instance, reports say that the EIA for Nauroji Nagar redevelopment has a rather interesting species list.

"Bird species" in the EIA include cat, donkey, toad, frogs. And cows. Papers submitted by project developer NBCC for Sarojini Nagar redevelopment claim there are only "thorny shrubs" and some trees on the "periphery" that will need removal. The actual number of trees to be cut is over 11,000. It has been pointed out again and again that EIAs routinely peddle lies. This is obviously meant to obfuscate environmental conservation — but is also not a sustainable business strategy.
Not keeping groundwater in the ground
Cities and agricultural irrigation are over-exploiting groundwater. Several water crises have unfolded recently. Popular tourist destination Shimla ran out of water this year. A recent Niti Ayog report says that Delhi and Bangalore could run out of groundwater by 2020. Not only does this mean that this is a time to evaluate mismanagement and waste of groundwater, this is also the time to take stock of new projects or sectors that will guzzle water. For instance, India is expanding palm oil production — though palm oil trees are a great groundwater guzzler. Instead of a blind expansion of projects in the hope that our resources will last forever, we need a sustainability driven approach. Instead of palm oil, choose groundnut and sunflower oil.
shimla-690_081418023805.jpgShimla faced an acute water shortage this summer (Source: India Today)
And India, instead of pretending environmental problems don't exist, let us plan for an economy that prioritises ecology — we need zonations without industrial level constructions, we need to understand nature is the basis for life, we need planning with conservation, not destruction, at its heart.
It is still hard to describe India in a few words — but plunderer of environment should certainly not be the descriptor.

Gujarat’s Pride to get royal treatment soon

| tnn | Aug 15, 2018, 04:00 IST
Rajkot: In the next six months, the endangered Asiatic lions will get medical facilities in a posh and well-equipped hospital just like humans.
The Gujarat Lion Conservation Society (GLCS) is set to build a sophisticated wild animal rescue and rehabilitation centre close to Vadal village near temple town Palitana in Bhavnagar district.

To be constructed at a cost of Rs two crore, this facility will not only have a modern hospital for wild animals but it would use scientific methods to reduce the man-animal conflict. Attacks on people, mostly by leopards and lions, is bound to rise with large number of felines moving out of the protected areas and coming close to human habitations.

Dr Sandeep Kumar, deputy conservator of forest (DCF), Bhavnagar division told TOI: “This will be the most modern and biggest rescue and rehabilitation centre of Gujarat. It will have all the modern equipments like intensive care units (ICU) X-ray machines, blood analyser, operation theatre, diagnostic centre and facility to analyse animal’s health with total veterinary protocol. This hospital will be like any other private hospital with modern facilities.”

In the beginning, the hospital will the capacity to treat 10 lions at a time. “The cages will have all facilities including an ICU inside,” said Kumar, adding that two separate chambers for quarantine and isolation will also be created. Within 2-3 months of operationalizing the facility, 10-15 leopards can also be accommodated along with the lions.

This centre is being built on 1.2 hectare land and will be completed in next six months.

At present, there are four animal rescue centres at Sasan, Jasadhar, Jamwala and Saskkarbaug Zoo of Junagadh. But the scope of work is limited to rescuing the animals and releasing them in the forest after treatment. Lions that have killed human are imprisoned for life.

The location was chosen in Bhavnagar district as there are nearly 50 lions which have made villages along the banks of Shetrunji River their permanent homes after moving out of Gir.

Meanwhile, This Fearless Tribe In Gujarat Lives In Harmony With The Wild Asiatic Lions Of Gir

by Smrutisnat Jena

The Gir National Park was home to 523 lions in 2015. And in a world where endangered species generally just get extinct, Gir's 600 lions in 2018 is a major contradiction.

The Gir National Park was home to 523 lions in 2015. And in a world where endangered species generally just get extinct, Gir's 600 lions in 2018 is a major contradiction.

Source: Livemint

And the credit for such growth in their population could be given to the Maldhari tribe that lives on the forest grounds, in harmony with the lions.  

Source: handeye magazine
According to the Times of India, a study by the Wildlife Institute of India, the lions and the Maldhari tribes live in a 'win-win' situation.

Source: scroll

A major portion of the everyday diet of the lions comes from the livestock owned by the Maldharis

Source: handeye magazine

As a result, the Maldharis are free to roam the forest to collect resources safely without any fear.

Source: Pinterest

The study also states that the Gir Maldharis do not see the lions as a threat. There have been no lion attacks in over two decades. 


Source: Flickr

And the cattle that the lions have killed have been useless to the tribesmen for all purposes, such as bulls, ailing calves, aged, and dying cattle.

Source: Travel Triangle
The study also shows that the loss caused by lions far outweighs the benefits. The loss comes up to Rs 3.5 lakhs per 100 livestock. (with compensation). Without government support, the loss can go as high as Rs 6.19 lakhs.
Source: travel triangle

However, the families that have 100 livestock earn about Rs 11.04 lakh per annum (with compensation). Even when the government doesn't compensate for the losses, a family can make up to Rs 8.40 lakh per annum. 

Source: NDTV
So here we are, the world literally looking to drown itself in shit puddles of its own making and there are these people who live and grow with the lions and are prospering for it.