Tag Archives: Conservation

A win for the green at Chilika


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Its a win for the environmental cause. It is also a slap in face for all those who promote mindless fancy projects in name of tourist promotions. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has been forced cancel the water aerodrome project at the Chilika lagoon following objections from various quarter. However in a face saver it has offered to develop the project in Odisha if the state government provides it with an alternative site. Chilika, the second largest brackish water lake in the world, covers Khurda, Puri and Ganjam districts of Odisha. Situated at the mouth of the Daya River, Chilika is rich in biodiversity and a major tourist attraction in the state.

A colony of flamingos at Chilika

AAI chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra said: “Following a request from the state government to cancel the project as it would affect Chilika’s ecology, we have cancelled the project.” Making it clear that the AAI wants development of the state, Mohapatra said: “If the state government gives any proposal to develop a water aerodrome in the state, we will provide them all help. However, they have to submit the proposal within three weeks.” In June, the AAI had announced to set up aerodrome projects in Odisha, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Assam. Chilika in Odisha was the preferred site. The civil aviation ministry had given its nod to the Chilika proposal. The ministry also cleared Gujarat’s Sardar Sarovar Dam and Sabarmati River Front for similar projects in the first phase. But it is said that ministry didn’t consult all concerned stakeholders before giving the nod. If sources are to go by, the Ministry only took into consideration data and information related to tourism at Chilika but did not take on board the key stakeholder, Forest and Environment Department of the State. Although there has been claims by the the Civil Aviation Ministry about a joint team conducting a study, Chilika Development Authority (CDA) was apparently not consulted.

Fishermen in Chilika Lake in Odisha, India

In a letter to chief secretary A.P. Padhi, the AAI chairman had said: “The Airports Authority of India plans to set up water aerodromes. For starting amphibious aircraft operation in Odisha, Bhubaneswar airport and Chilika lake have been shortlisted for a pre-feasibility study. The government will identify the site in Chilika.” Odisha initially had not objected to the proposal. A team of experts from the Centre had visited the area and conducted a study. Subsequently, environmentalists and the Chilika Development Authority (CDA) raised objections. BJD leader from Chilika area and Brahmagiri MLA Sanjay Das Burma and Khurda MLA Rajendra Sahu had objected to the proposal. BJP had slammed BJD for opposing the Centre’s efforts to boost employment in the area. However, the saffron party’s own MLA Dilip Ray had supported the BJD.

Also read: Winter Play for migratory birds at Chilika

Everywhere around, you can find a colony of migratory birds at Chilika

In a letter to the state government, chief executive, CDA, Sushanta Nanda had said: “Operation of seaplane and water aerodrome at Chilika, the world’s second largest brackish water lake, is likely to cause irrevocable damage to the ecosystem and livelihood of people dependent on it. The cost involved in the operation of seaplane seems to outweigh the benefits likely to accrue from it. Besides, legally the project is not feasible.” The operation of the aerodrome at any given location in the lake will have far reaching adverse consequences on its fragile ecosystem, the CDA maintained. He had also said: “The legal provisions under Wetland Conservation and Management Rule, 2017, are applicable to the internationally acclaimed Chilika wetland site. The rules strictly prohibit its conversion for non-wetland use. Construction of aerodrome is therefore not legally permissible as Chilika is a wetland site.” Such an aerodrome would require water runway for landing and take-off while associated facilities would have to be developed for docking sea aeroplanes, taxiway, apron, tourists’ entry check-in, re-fuelling, beacon lighting, offices, staff buildings among many things.

An amphibious aircraft

“Chilika is ecologically too fragile and precious for such experiments. Besides direct risks that are associated with plying aircraft in an area known for its mass congregation of birds, fuel and lubricant spills, emissions, noise pollution etc, ancillary development that will precede and follow the setting up of an aerodrome will only negatively impact the lake’s ecology,” says conservationist Aditya Chandra Panda.

Nalabana bird sanctuary

The CDA maintained: “With one million birds congregating in the lake, the operation of seaplanes will be hazardous to winged species as they will either be sucked in the engines or be hit by the planes during its landing. The possibility of bird hit will also pose a threat to air travellers.” For six months between October and March, Chilika turns into a temporary habitat for lakhs of migratory and residential birds. The lake is home to 230 bird species, of which 97 are intercontinental migrants from Arctic and Eurasian regions. It saw congregation of close to 9 lakh birds during the last winter. For a majority of resident bird species, the 1100 sq km lagoon is a prime breeding site. It also holds a notified protected area, Nalabana Bird Sanctuary, which is spread over 15 sq km. The lake supports over 225 birds, 260 fish apart from 37 reptile and amphibian and 18 mammal species besides a large varieties of flora.

Rajahamsa island in Chilika lake

According to CDA, the birds are not only a major tourist attraction, but also help to recycle nutrients back into the ecosystem through “guano deposits”. Guano, the accumulated excrement of seabirds, is rich in nitrogen, phosphates and potassium- nutrients that spur the growth of vegetation. When birds forage the water, the vegetation in it thins and enables free movement of fish. If the bird population shrinks, livelihood of about two lakh fishermen dependent on Chilika is at risk, the report warns. Moreover, seaplanes have limited passenger carrying capacity which means that such a project may not add significantly to tourism. Besides, Chilika is extremely well-connected by road communication.

A sea gull playing around a Irrawaddy Dolphin in Chilika lake

The CDA had cited that noise from the flights would distract the Irrawady dolphins, an endangered species found in the lake, which have highly sensitive hearing. Noise pollution generated by close to 10,000 boats has already taken a toll on the endangered Irrawaddy dolphins in the lake. The amphibious aircraft operation would have add to the woes. As many as 155 endangered Irrawaddy dolphins were spotted in Chilika, which is the single largest habitat of this species in the world and is also one of two lagoons in the world that shelter them. After clearing the lake of illegal man-made enclosures, dolphins have now started moving freely in all sectors. Meanwhile, the Odisha government has decided to regulate boat operation in the lake following the death of six passengers in a recent boat tragedy. It has made life jackets mandatory for tourists and GPS on the boats.

A fisherman adjusting his net in Chilika lake

Have you ever been to Chilika lake? Do you think it needs a water aerodrome? Share your views in the comments section below.

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A marathon on ice for preservation of water 


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Listvyanka, Russia, March 7, 2018 – Baikal Ice Marathon. (PPR/Carl F. Bucherer)

Located in Siberia, Lake Baikal is the largest, deepest, and richest freshwater lake in terms of biodiversity in the world. The annual Baikal Ice Marathon offers competitors from around the globe the opportunity to race across the frozen surface with the goal to help keep the water clean. One of the top 25 adventure marathons in the world, the Baikal Ice Marathon is both psychologically and physically demanding. The event is held at the start of March, when practically the entire lake is covered in ice. It is a long, cold, lonely 42.2-kilometre trail across the barren white landscape where progress is marked only by checkpoints positioned at 5 kilometre intervals. The vast open spaces, the bright rays of the sun, and the incredible, breathtaking beauty of the landscape help the hundreds of elite runners complete the course between the opposite shores.

Listvyanka, Russia, March 7, 2018 – Baikal Ice Marathon. (PPR/Carl F. Bucherer)

Carl F. Bucherer keeps the commitment to environment

With their participation in the 14th Baikal Ice Marathon, Carl F. Bucherer once again demonstrated a respectful attitude toward the environment and the brand’s commitment to the value of preservation. The idea of participating in one of the world’s most difficult tests of strength and endurance was born in September 2017, when the Swiss watch manufacturer’s Executive Vice President Sales, Laurent Lecamp, and friend of the brand, renowned businessman, and four-time IRONMAN finisher Vladimir Voloshin first met at the opening of the Carl F. Bucherer boutique in Moscow, Russia.

Listvyanka, Russia, March 7, 2018 – Baikal Ice Marathon. (PPR/Carl F. Bucherer/Alexey Sedov)

Along with the values of the watch brand itself, both men share a passion for sport, considering it a source of inner strength and inspiration that allows them to move forward innovatively while preserving traditions. To prepare for the challenging race, Laurent Lecamp and Vladimir Voloshin, who live in different parts of the world, developed a groundbreaking formula for cooperation based on their shared outlook and values.

Due to extreme weather conditions, temperatures of –31°C, and a wind speed of 108 km/h, this year’s marathon had to be cut short after 21 kilometers, turning it into a challenging half-marathon with 153 participants. Laurent Lecamp and Vladimir Voloshin both finished 56th.

Clean Water Preservation Run 

Lake Baikal is located on the border of the Irkutsk region and Buryatia and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The lake’s shape is reminiscent of a giant crescent moon, stretching some 620 kilometers from the Northeast to the Southwest. Its width ranges from 24 to 79 kilometers. The ice marathon crosses over one of the most beautiful parts of the lake. As part of the Winteriad, a larger winter games festival that takes place at Lake Baikal, the Baikal Ice Marathon is held for a noble cause – the preservation of clean water. All of the participation fees from all of the athletes are donated in full to protect the lake and to maintain its purity and beauty. By participating in the event, Carl F. Bucherer is once more demonstrating their commitment to the value of preservation by supporting various international environmental projects.

Listvyanka, Russia, March 7, 2018 – Baikal Ice Marathon. (PPR/Carl F. Bucherer/Alexey Sedov)

A Strong Friendship 

The Baikal Ice Marathon marked the start of a close relationship between Carl F. Bucherer and Vladimir Voloshin. In April, Vladimir Voloshin will visit the company’s headquarters in Lucerne and the manufactory in Lengnau, Switzerland. “Being a friend of the watch brand Carl F. Bucherer is a great honor and a great responsibility at the same time,” said Vladimir Voloshin. “We complement one another perfectly because we share the same goals and values. Reliability, accuracy, and quality are extremely important to me, as these characteristics are what enable people to achieve good results in both business and sport.” Laurent Lecamp said: “Our shared experience of coping with extreme situations was unforgettable. It was proof that together, we can overcome any obstacle.”

Listvyanka, Russia, March 7, 2018 – Baikal Ice Marathon. On the left Vladimir Voloshin, Friend of the Brand of Carl F. Bucherer. On the right Laurent Lecamp, Executive Vice President Sales of Carl F. Bucherer. (PPR/Carl F. Bucherer)

Vladimir Voloshin 

With a career in international marketing that spans more than 20 years, Vladimir Voloshin has worked for global companies in the Baltic states, Scandinavia, the United Kingdom, and Russia. He is the Managing Partner of Newman Sport & Business Consulting, founder of the international IRONSTAR triathlon competitions and the ROSA RUN festival, host and moderator of a talk show featuring business leaders and top athletes, and an expert speaker at international marketing conferences and at TED events. He is also the first President of the Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO Alumni Association.

Listvyanka, Russia, March 7, 2018 – Baikal Ice Marathon. (PPR/Carl F. Bucherer)

Sporting achievements: 

  • Four-time IRONMAN finisher, participant in the IRONMAN World Championship in Hawaii
  • Two-time IRONMAN 70.3 finisher
  • Two-time finisher of the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon and Abu Dhabi International Triathlon
  • Finisher of the Bosphorus Cross Continental Swim and the legendary Paris–Roubaix cycle race
  • Finisher of the Quintuple Ultra Triathlon (19 kilometers swimming, 900 kilometers cycling, 211 kilometers running)
  • Finisher of the 186-kilometer 24-hour ultramarathon
  • Finisher of the Marathon des Sables multiday 240-kilometer run through the Sahara Desert
  • Finisher of the HARD RUN 2017 50-kilometer ultramarathon
  • Eight marathons (pacemaker in six), 12 half marathons (pacemaker in 11) in Russia and abroad
Listvyanka, Russia, March 7, 2018 – Baikal Ice Marathon. (PPR/Carl F. Bucherer)

Have you ever run a race in ice? Share your experiences in the comments section below.

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In memory of a Star on International Day of Forests


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Star breathed its last yesterday and it is certainly the most disheartening news to hear on the International Day of Forests. Star, also called as Sitara was actually one of the stars of the forests of Ranthambore National Park and Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan. As per news reports Star or Sitara, which was named T-28 in forest records died after being tranquillised. Perhaps a tranquilliser overdose took its life. He was tranquillised in attempts to rescue him from a village in Khandar area on the park’s periphery. It is said that this 13 year old male tiger had strayed close to a village where people had surrounded it. Forest officials reached there and in attempts to rescue, tried to tranquillise it.

Ironically, the theme of this year’s International Day of Forests is : Forests and Sustainable Cities and we probably lost Star because of this ever-increasing pressure on forests from the surrounding human settlements. The news of his death reminded me of the day, I had seen him on the safari. Just a short encounter of 11 minutes was enough to get etched in the memory for ever. That’s the reason that news of his death saddened me. Star was named so because it had a 5 point star mark over its left eye and also has bird shaped mark over the right. Rajbagh area of the park was his favourite place to give audience to curious, thrilled, overjoyed travellers from around the world.

It was cold winter day on January in the year 2011. Our morning safari  yielded no tiger sightings. Then came the afternoon safari. Normally in all tiger reserves across India, safari vehicles will have a specified route. There might be three-four or more different zones in the park and a safari vehicle is limited to a particular zone. That means, if you are in zone 2 for the morning safari, your route is limited to zone 2 only. Vehicles are not allowed to overlap the zones. This is done to manage the tourist traffic inside the park and ensure that a particular area or the wildlife in a particular area is not abused quite often because of any particular attraction and tourists are evenly distributed.

Also read: Some wild moments in Sariska!

But on that particular trip, we were guests of the district officials and hence we had a special number safari vehicle which has access to all zones. Although I am not at all fond of sighting sprints of safari vehicles inside the reserve, but that day our driver thought that he had the duty to give us a tiger sighting. Hence around 5.20 pm in the evening he received a call on his walkie-talkie about a tiger sighting and then for next ten minutes we had a bone-churning dash towards Rajbagh, which was quite a distance from that place. That’s where the T-28 or the Star male aka Sitara was on his evening stroll.

There were already hordes of safari vehicles there, might be more than 60 to 70 people around at that particular time. He was already spotted inside the jungle and everybody was waiting for him to come out in open, which he eventually did with full gusto fit for his stature.

Also read: Shh…Tiger is here!He than proceeded to make the marking. One of the favourite acts of tigers to mark their territory.

Have a look: Two cubs on play at Panna- A photo essay

It then cam to the road. Looked in a very playful mood. It was  very interesting to see how these big cats maintained their composure as well as indifference despite of being surrounded by so many humans. They were least afraid but equally attentive. I don’t think they would be unaware of any lurking danger. But they were quite sure of their territory and their command over it, where they were kings. Sitara has history of getting too close to safari vehicles.And, then relaxed itself giving full view to all safari vehicles.After few minutes, it again made the move. Kept playing in the mud.Looking for tiger? Read : Spot the tiger in this wild image!

And then Sitara decided that it was the time to end the day’s audience and it walked away. It crossed our way, moved to jungle on to the right. Even than it didn’t disappear immediately. It kept everybody interested, but didn’t return. After a couple of minutes, it went deep inside. In the fading light, it was soon impossible to keep track of its stripes.Love wild? Read: Dudhwa sans tigers!

It all ended in just 11 minutes- the royal show, but gave everybody around a plenty to cheer about for rest of their lives.

Changing colours? Read: White Tiger – When mutation becomes exhibit!

Star aka Sitara aka T-28 was a young tiger, full of life and glory as well. Having born to tigress T-27, it was first spotted in 2008 but it established itself very quickly among the ranks. Got the name and fame as well when it got the courage to challenge the great tigress Machali. It is being said that in 2009 Sitara and Machali had many territorial fights. Sitara controlled a large territory and despite fights with Machali, also mated her two daughters including Sundari.

But all will be tales now. Goodbye Star!!

Have you been fortunate to have sighting of this particular tiger? How was the experience? Please let us know in the comments section below.

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A beautiful ‘Assumption’ leading to discontent!


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Almost 5,500 kms from Delhi, far down in Indian Ocean just about 600 kms from coast of Tanzania in Africa, an unimaginably beautiful tiny island with an area of just 11.6 sq. km is a source of discontent because of India. It must be something we rarely know about, but despite its small size Assumption Island, which is part of the Aldabra Atoll in Seychelles has a lot to cherish about. Debate is about India’s plan to make a Naval base at the island. Much to the concern of environmentalists and Seychellois, this island has already been leased out to India for 20 years and just 20 days back India and Seychelles signed a military agreement to develop the Naval base.

Aldabra Atoll (Seychelles)

Good things first. Often called the jewel in the crown of Seychelles, Aldabra is the world’s second largest coral atoll. The site has been designated in UNESCO’s World Heritage List, purely for three things—it contains superb natural phenomena; superlative on-going ecological and biological processes; and significant natural habitats to conserve biological diversity. Because of its remote location in the Indian Ocean, Aldabra Atoll remains unspoiled by human influence and provides an excellent example of natural habitat where evolutionary and ecological processes can be studied. The atoll comprises four large coral islands which enclose a shallow lagoon; the group of islands is itself surrounded by a coral reef. This atoll has an area of 150 sq km which is about one-third of the landmass of Seychelles, but has no human population other than the staff of the Research station.

Aldabra Atoll (Seychelles)

Aldabra Atoll thus is a rare and beautiful tropical paradise. Seen from above, the coral islands form a nearly closed ring that is home to a riot of marine biodiversity. The undisputed rulers of the islands are the thousands of giant tortoises. Due to difficulties of access and the atoll’s isolation, Aldabra has been protected from human influence and thus retains some 152,000 giant tortoises, the world’s largest population of this reptile. Biologists have also documented 400 endemic species and subspecies, including birds such as the Aldabra drongo. Extremely isolated, Aldabra is almost untouched by humans. Aldabra atoll is closer to the coast of Africa 630 km than to Mahé, and is in the most southwesterly part of the Seychelles. It is 407 km northwest of Madagascar and 440 km from Moroni on the Comoro Islands. The atoll is the largest raised coral reef in the world with an elevation of 8 metres (26 ft); and the second-largest atoll in the world after Kiritimati Atoll. The name Aldabra is said to be of Arabic origin. Arabs had settled in East Africa in 7th century. But first recorded visit to Aldabra is said to be in 1742 by a Frenchman Lazare Picault. Human settlement in Seychelles is said to have started in 1770. But this human settlement was immediate threat to giant tortoise as well as Green turtles. Both of these rare species almost went extinct in 19th century when some sense prevailed and conservation efforts started. By then their population had got limited to Aldabra atoll.

Assumption Island with its airstrip in the centre

The island of Assumption lies about 37 kilometres to the southwest. This island has a landing strip and a handful of buildings, it is home to the scientists that are the only continuous human presence on the islands. Assumption is also the gateway to Aldabra atoll. The airstrip of Assumption is the fastest link to the outside world for the Aldabra group. Assumption was devastated by guano mining in the early 20th century. Over 160,000 tons of this deposit was scraped off the tiny island and the vegetation removed to facilitate exploitation. With the loss of the plants, the birds that depended on them were also lost. Giant tortoises were wiped out. Seabirds suffered, especially boobies. Today it is slowly recovering.

In recent years, birds from Aldabra have been sighted for the first time in more than a century. The main beach is one of the finest in Seychelles and some Green Turtles still nest here. Diving too is excellent. Aldabra is said to be biogeographically much more closely related to Madagascar than the rest of Seychelles. All the land birds have their nearest relatives in Madagascar, including the Aldabra Rail, the last surviving flightless bird of the Indian Ocean. Other endemic species we will encounter ashore are the Aldabra Drongo, Madagascar Coucal, Souimanga Sunbird and Aldabra Fody. Seabirds include 10,000 pairs of frigate birds breeding in one of the world’s largest colonies. Shorebirds include large numbers of crab plovers, a speciality of the western Indian Ocean. If that’s not enough, this atoll is also the one of only two oceanic nesting colonies of flamingos. There are large ray and shark populations in the lagoon as well.

Aldabra Atoll (Seychelles)

The fringing reef Astove averages about 250 meters from the shoreline, and beyond this the floor plummets steeply. The wall off Astove is one of the most awe-inspiring and spectacular dive sites in the world and has been rated by diving experts as one of the finest in the world. From the shallow edge of the reef, the waters plummet to incredible depths. Huge groupers, reef fish and shoals of pelagic fish congregate alongside forests of Gorgonian fan corals as Green Turtle drift slowly past. Hundreds of species of fish, Green Turtles and even the anchors of wrecked ships are to be seen.

Aldabra Atoll (Seychelles)

Now this rare beauty is embroiled in a huge debate. India wants to build a military base on Assumption, and the Seychelles government is ceding the control of the island to India for 20 years. For India, the atoll is not just an isolated speck of land, but a potentially vital strategic outpost in its rivalry with China, who acquired its first African Naval base in Djibouti in November 2015. Once ready, this base will help India exercise greater control over the Indian Ocean’s western region all the way up to the piracy-prone east African coastline. India already acquired a fully operational coastal radar system in Seychelles in March 2015.

Aldabra Atoll (Seychelles)

Environmentalists are alarmed at the prospect: The atoll has remained pristine because of its remote location and the limited number of people allowed to visit. That would change dramatically – and in the worst case, the island could become a battlefield. Construction workers and military personnel could introduce invasive animal and plant species to the islands with unpredictable consequences for the ecosystem. Soldiers would litter the island with plastic and other waste. Ships and aircraft would cause noise and pollute the air. Leaking fuel and oil could contaminate the soil and water – not to mention the possibility of major oil spills. These pristine islands are feared to be sacrificed to military and geopolitical interests.

Aldabra Atoll (Seychelles)

Let’s go just about half a century in past. In 1962 for the first time British and American governments initiated surveys for a military base here. That also included a plan for a deep sea port. But because of huge outcry from scientific and environmental organisations, plans for the military base were abandoned. Instead a research station was established in 1971. In 1982, Aldabra was declared as a UNESCO world heritage site. So, life seems to have gone a full circle for the biodiversity of Aldabra in just about 50 years, with another threat looming.

Also Read: Seychelles Islands welcomes Bollywood

Among those opposing the India’s military base in Aldabra is the former Tourism Minister of Seychelles Alain St. Ange. He says that these pristine islands must not be sacrificed to military and geopolitical interests. He plans to send a petition to the government of the Seychelles and UNESCO to protect Aldabra Atoll. There was also a protest in capital Victoria on this issue few days back. Ralph Volcere, one of the organisers of the protest, said that Seychellois do not want this project, as the details were not made public. Volcere said that though there has been talked about the base since 2015, everything was kept secret, adding that it was only a couple of weeks ago that the issue was brought back again and the signing was held soon after. Volcere added that it is not right for the government to give away the island which is part of the Seychelles heritage. Another demonstrator, Vicky Lanza, said that a project of this magnitude has catastrophic impacts on the islands pristine environment. “Once there is a military base, there will be an element of control and locals will not have access even in the vicinity the island,” said Lanza. Many locals are just worried of the fact that just how can one of our islands be given to another country.

Aldabra Atoll (Seychelles)

The agreement was signed for the second time on 27th January this year after revisions were made to the previous one. In the revised agreement, the main aim is to provide a framework for assistance to Seychelles by India. It will help enhance the military capabilities in control and maritime surveillance. The project will cover about a quarter of Assumption, which is some 1,140 southwest of the Seychelles main island of Mahe. However Indian High Commission says that the revised agreement will benefit both countries.

Aldabra Atoll (Seychelles)

The Indian High Commissioner to Seychelles, Ausaf Sayeed, said the agreement will provide Seychelles with the opportunity to enhance its military capabilities and safeguard its marine zone. “In return, India will benefit through better communication and safe trade in the region as most imports of goods pass through the Indian Ocean,” Sayeed said. The Indian High Commissioner also said that although the project is being financed entirely by India, Seychelles retains full ownership of the facilities and sovereign rights over the island. He added that the project will jointly be managed by both countries and will not limit the movement of citizens to the island nor to the island of Aldabra as many are speculating. However it is said that 7 villagers here were given an option to stay on island with restrictions or get transferred to Astove island, where Indian government has already built residential houses. India has targeted to complete the construction of all military buildings by this year itself.

Aldabra Atoll (Seychelles)

On the other hand the Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF) , the organisation mandated to protect the Aldabra atoll, says that “it is certain that an enforcement presence is needed in the area to cut down on and prevent illegal activities currently happening in the Aldabra Group.” SIF is hopeful that the Seychelles Government and National Assembly will ensure that the implementation of the agreement will benefit Aldabra. But the question of threat to the bio-diversity of Aldabra atoll still remains unanswered.

What do you think? Is the development of military base at Aldabra justified? Share your views in comments section below.

Have you been to Aldabra or Assumption island? You can share your experiences here.

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Ten wayward manatees rescued

Members of the SeaWorld Orlando Rescue Team at Florida, USA traveled to Charleston, S.C. recently, where in collaboration with multiple organisations and volunteers – they helped save 10 wayward manatees. The manatees were spotted in the upper reaches of the Cooper River, near a warm water outflow area. Historically, manatees move south into warmer waters when the water temperature drops below 68 degrees.  Due to rapidly dropping water temperatures in the river, the manatees remained close to the warm water outflow, instead of continuing to travel south. In doing so, they were isolated from adequate food sources and naturally warm waters.  Following close coordination with some members of the Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership (MRP), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) staff decided that rescues and relocation of the animals by SeaWorld Orlando’s manatee rescue team were warranted.

SeaWorld Assists with Rescue of Ten Manatees Stranded in South Carolina

Manatees are also called as sea cows. They are found in West Africa, Caribbean Sea and the Amazonian area. They are called as cows as they are slow plant eaters, peaceful and similar to cows on land. They often graze on water in tropical seas. Female manatees are called as cows, male are called bulls and their offsprings are called as calfs. But they are more closely related to elephants. Despite their size, they are graceful swimmers in coastal waters and rivers.

(Also Read: Melon Headed Whale Rescued in Florida)

In addition to SeaWorld Orlando’s team, support for the rescue effort included USFWS Ecological Services Office staff from Florida and South Carolina, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) – including staff from St. Petersburg, the Northeast Florida Field Lab in Jacksonville, and the East Central Field Lab in Melbourne along with volunteers and law enforcement, Sea to Shore Alliance, ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge, Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, NOAA National Ocean Services – Charleston, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR), Clearwater (FL) Marine Aquarium, Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, Brevard Zoo, Brevard County Parks and Recreation, Florida Wildlife Hospital, and Waterfront Solutions. Sea to Shore Alliance and local businesses played an integral role in monitoring the manatees’ activity and condition in the weeks leading up to the rescue effort.

Florida manatee and calf {Trichchus manatus latirostris} Crystal River, Florida, USA. Image by © Doug Perrine/Nature Picture Library/Corbis

The rescue operation took place over three days.  From November 28-30, 2017, the interagency rescue team captured 10 manatees from the Cooper River including eight males and two females. Once captured, each manatee received an immediate health assessment by a veterinary medical team comprised of veterinarians from SeaWorld, Jacksonville Zoo and UF. Manatees were transported south and accompanied on their journey by veterinary and animal care staff.  Once in Florida, additional health assessments were conducted at the Jacksonville Zoo by vets from the Zoo and the UF College of Veterinary Medicine. FWC staff served as the lead on transports in Florida to the release site in Brevard County, FL. Nine manatees were deemed releasable.  One female was exhibiting mild cold stress and is being cared for by veterinarians and staff at the Jacksonville Zoo with support from SeaWorld and the Lowry Park Zoo. She is Jacksonville Zoo’s first critical care patient at their new facility and is doing well. The Sea to Shore Alliance tagged five of the manatees before release and will monitor these animals as part of their Atlantic Coast manatee study.

One of the rescued Manatees

Jon Peterson, SeaWorld’s rescue manager, helped with coordination of the multi-agency effort.  “It is particularly gratifying to be a part of such a large scale effort, with partners from all over the Southeast lending expertise and manpower,” he explained. “When you can give ten threatened animals another chance at life that is a great week.”

(Also Read: SeaWorld returns two more sea turtles to the ocean)

Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership

As part of the Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership (MRP), SeaWorld Orlando is an acute care rehabilitation facility that provides life-saving medical care to rescued manatees. The MRP is a cooperative group of non-profit, private, state, and federal entities who work together to monitor the health and survival of rehabilitated and released manatees. The Florida manatee was recently reclassified from endangered to threatened but is still at risk from both natural and human causes of injury and mortality. Exposure to red tide, cold stress and disease are all natural problems that can affect manatees. Human-caused threats include boat strikes, crushing by floodgates or locks, and entanglement in or ingestion of fishing gear.  As part of the Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership (MRP), SeaWorld Orlando is an acute care rehabilitation facility that provides life-saving medical care to rescued manatees.

SeaWorld’s Rescue Efforts

SeaWorld Assists with Rescue of Ten Manatees Stranded in South Carolina

Over the last five decades, SeaWorld has rescued more than 31,000 wild animals in need including those that are ill, injured, orphaned or abandoned. SeaWorld’s goal for every rescued animal is to rehabilitate and return them to their natural environment as soon as possible. This year alone, SeaWorld Orlando has rescued 47 manatees and returned 25 following successful rehabilitation. Guests to SeaWorld Orlando can learn more about the vital rescue work SeaWorld does for wildlife at the park’s behind-the-scenes Rescue Center used for rehabilitating wildlife that has been ill, injured or orphaned – including manatees, sea turtles, birds and other marine animals.

(Also read: Swim with sharks and feed the stingrays)

While a guided tour of the entire facility has been available for years, the park has now opened up one portion of this area for complimentary viewing to all park guests. Visitors are invited to step behind-the-scenes and catch a glimpse of SeaWorld’s working manatee rescue and rehabilitation facility to learn more about the plight of these vulnerable animals in the wild. See firsthand some of the top problems today’s manatee populations are facing and simple actions we can all take to help through digital medical charts, interactive displays, underwater camera viewing and rescue footage straight from the SeaWorld Animal Rescue Team.

SeaWorld returns two more Sea turtles to the Ocean

Two loggerhead sea turtles are back home in the wild thanks to SeaWorld Orlando’s Rescue Team. In partnership with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) the turtles were returned to the ocean at Pineda Beach Park on Wednesday morning.

Rescued in December 2016, a juvenile loggerhead sea turtle was transported to SeaWorld Orlando from Massachusetts, where the animal received initial treatment from the New England Aquarium. Upon intake, the turtle had a dangerously low body temperature and a large wound under its right flipper. As a part of the turtle’s wound care, SeaWorld utilized radiographs, antibiotics, and laser therapy to heal the injury.

The second turtle released, a sub-adult loggerhead, came to SeaWorld in March after it was found upside down in the surf at Port Canaveral. The animal was covered in barnacles, emaciated, and lethargic. At SeaWorld, the veterinary team discovered blockage in the turtle’s digestive track caused from seashells. Through fluid therapy, the team helped the animal pass the impaction and gain 28 healthy pounds.

With two more sea turtles back in the ocean, SeaWorld has now returned 14 total turtles this year. In partnership with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, SeaWorld Orlando has rescued nearly 2,000 sea turtles since 1980.

It is critical that beachgoers are mindful of the impact they leave on Florida coastlines as sea turtle nesting season is in full swing now through October. Debris and trash left on beaches can threaten the survival of sea turtles during this vulnerable time of year.

The successful rehabilitation of endangered sea turtles is another great example of SeaWorld’s commitment to protecting sea life. For more than 50 years, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment has helped animals in need – ill, injured, orphaned or abandoned, with the goal of returning them to the wild. More than 30,000 animals have been rescued by the expert animal rescue team that is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment™ is a leading theme park and entertainment company providing experiences that matter and inspiring guests to protect animals and the wild wonders of our world. The company is one of the world’s foremost zoological organizations and a global leader in animal welfare, behavioral training, husbandry and veterinary care. The company collectively cares for what it believes is one of the largest zoological collections in the world and has helped lead advances in the care of animals. The company also rescues and rehabilitates marine and terrestrial animals that are ill, injured, orphaned or abandoned, with the goal of returning them to the wild. The SeaWorld® rescue team has helped more than 30,000 animals in need over the last 50 years.

Want to see the video of the release? Please click to link below on my YouTube channel-

The company owns or licenses a portfolio of recognized brands including SeaWorld, Busch Gardens® and Sea Rescue®. Over its more than 50-year history, the company has built a diversified portfolio of 12 destination and regional theme parks that are grouped in key markets across the United States, many of which showcase its one-of-a-kind zoological collection. The company’s theme parks feature a diverse array of rides, shows and other attractions with broad demographic appeal which deliver memorable experiences and a strong value proposition for its guests.

Four great apes on verge of extinction

Its not a good news for al nature lovers.  We are constantly pushing more and more species towards extinction- animals as well as plants. The Eastern Gorilla – the largest living primate – has been listed as Critically Endangered due to illegal hunting, according to the latest update of The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species released on Sunday at the IUCN World Conservation Congress taking place in Hawaiʻi.  Eastern Gorilla is considered to be one of our closest cousins.  Actually four out of six great ape species are now Critically Endangered – only one step away from going extinct – with the remaining two also under considerable threat of extinction. IUCN Red List update makes us realize just how quickly the global extinction crisis is escalating. Conservation action does work and we have increasing evidence of it.

Eastern Gorilla.  Critically Endangered. Photo: Intu Boedhihartono
Eastern Gorilla. Critically Endangered. Photo: Intu Boedhihartono

IUCN Red List update also reports the decline of the Plains Zebra due to illegal hunting, and the growing extinction threat to Hawaiian plants posed by invasive species. Thirty eight of the 415 endemic Hawaiian plant species assessed for this update are listed as Extinct and four other species have been listed as Extinct in the Wild, meaning they only occur in cultivation. The IUCN Red List now includes 82,954 species of which 23,928 are threatened with extinction.

Sumatran Orangutan. Photo: worldwildlife.org
Sumatran Orangutan. Photo: worldwildlife.org

Mammals threatened by illegal hunting
The Eastern Gorilla (Gorilla beringei) – which is made up of two subspecies – has moved from Endangered to Critically Endangered due to a devastating population decline of more than 70% in 20 years. Its population is now estimated to be fewer than 5,000. Grauer’s Gorilla (G. b. graueri), one subspecies of Eastern Gorilla – has lost 77% of its population since 1994, declining from 16,900 individuals to just 3,800 in 2015. Killing or capture of great apes is illegal; yet hunting represents the greatest threat to Grauer’s Gorillas. The second subspecies of Eastern Gorilla – the Mountain Gorilla (G. b. beringei) –is faring better and has increased in number to around 880 individuals. Four of the six great apes – Eastern Gorilla, Western Gorilla, Bornean Orangutan and Sumatran Orangutan – are now listed as Critically Endangered, whilst the Chimpanzee and Bonobo are listed as Endangered.

Plains Zebra is Near Threatened. Photo: Jean-Christophe Vié
Plains Zebra is Near Threatened. Photo: Jean-Christophe Vié

The once widespread and abundant Plains Zebra (Equus quagga) has moved from Least Concern to Near Threatened. The population has reduced by 24% in the past 14 years from around 660,000 to a current estimate of just over 500,000 animals. In many countries Plains Zebra are only found in protected areas, yet population reductions have been recorded in 10 out of the 17 range states since 1992. The Plains Zebra is threatened by hunting for bushmeat and skins, especially when they move out of protected areas.

Bay Duiker is Near Threatened. Photo: Brent Huffman
Bay Duiker is Near Threatened. Photo: Brent Huffman

Three species of antelope found in Africa – Bay Duiker (Cephalophus dorsalis), White-bellied Duiker (Cephalophus leucogaster) and Yellow-backed Duiker (Cephalophus silvicultor) – have moved from Least Concern to Near Threatened. Whilst the populations of these species within protected areas are relatively stable, those found in other areas are decreasing due to continued illegal hunting and habitat loss.

Good news for Giant Panda and Tibetan Antelope
This update of The IUCN Red List also brings some good news and shows that conservation action is delivering positive results.

Giant Panda has improved to Vulnerable. Photo: Martha de Jong-Lantink
Giant Panda has improved to Vulnerable. Photo: Martha de Jong-Lantink

Previously listed as Endangered, The Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) is now listed as Vulnerable, as its population has grown due to effective forest protection and reforestation. The improved status confirms that the Chinese government’s efforts to conserve this species are effective. However, climate change is predicted to eliminate more than 35% of the Panda’s bamboo habitat in the next 80 years and thus Panda population is projected to decline, reversing the gains made during the last two decades. To protect this iconic species, it is critical that the effective forest protection measures are continued and that emerging threats are addressed. The Chinese government’s plan to expand existing conservation policy for the species is a positive step and must be strongly supported to ensure its effective implementation.

Tibetan Antelope also improved to Near Threatened. Photo: Ahsup
Tibetan Antelope also improved to Near Threatened. Photo: Ahsup

Due to successful conservation actions, the Tibetan Antelope (Pantholops hodgsonii) has moved from Endangered to Near Threatened. The population underwent a severe decline from around one million to an estimated 65,000-72,500 in the 1980s and early 1990s. This was the result of commercial poaching for the valuable underfur – shahtoosh – which is used to make shawls. It takes 3-5 hides to make a single shawl, and as the wool cannot be sheared or combed, the animals are killed. Rigorous protection has been enforced since then, and the population is currently likely to be between 100,000 and 150,000.

Greater Stick-nest Rat is Near Threatened. Photo: Hj Aslin
Greater Stick-nest Rat is Near Threatened. Photo: Hj Aslin

Other conservation successes include the Greater Stick-nest Rat (Leporillus conditor), endemic to Australia, which has improved status, moving from Vulnerable to Near Threatened. This is due to a successful species recovery plan, which has involved reintroductions and introductions to predator-free areas. This unique nest-building rodent is the last of its kind, with its smaller relative the Lesser Stick-nest Rat (Leporillus apicalis) having died out in the Twentieth Century. The resin created by the rats to build their nests is so strong that they can last for thousands of years if they are not exposed to water.

(Source: IUCN)

White Tiger: When Mutation becomes Exhibit!

Main entrance of the Mukundpur White Tiger Safari and Zoo in Madhya Pradesh
Main entrance of the Mukundpur White Tiger Safari and Zoo in Madhya Pradesh

This might be a very rare happening in the history of wildlife conservation. A gene mutation has become something exotic and an aberration is been celebrated. Perhaps, beauty of a white tiger has lot to do with that. So fascinating that we have gone very far in actually preserving and breeding that mutation. That has brought us to a point where we have world’s only white tiger safari at Mukundpur in Satna district of Madhya Pradesh. The safari was thrown open for public this Sunday. I was there at that occasion.

White Tiger Raghu aged two and half years at Mukundpur zoo.
White Tiger Raghu aged two and half years at Mukundpur zoo.

Why Mukundpur? White tigers have association with this region. Although Mukundpur is in Satna district, it borders adjoining Rewa district. Erstwhile royal family of Rewa has been the corner stone of conservation of white tigers. Actually, fact is that there has been no sighting of white tigers in the wild anywhere else in the world, besides this region. And, even in this region there had been only two documented instances of white tiger sighting in the wild- firstly, more than hundred years ago in December 1915, when prince Gulab Singh of Rewa state captured a white tiger from the jungles of Sohagpur in Shahdol district which now is part of Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve and National Park. As per Journal of Bombay Natural History that tiger died in 1920 after spending five years behind cages in the royal palace.

A stuffed white tigress in Rewa palace.
A stuffed white tigress in Rewa palace.

The second instance of sighting a white tiger in wild is of May, 1951 when Rewa King Martand Singh (last Maharaja of the state who was a MP from Rewa on three occasions, twice as Independent and lastly representing Congress) captured alive a white tiger cub, while on a hunting spree in jungles of Seedhi district of Madhya Pradesh, which now falls under Sanjay Gandhi National Park. That was perhaps the most significant moment in the history of white tigers in world. The cub somehow managed to escape the firing line of the royal hunters and was later on caught alive while his mother and two of his siblings were hunted down. The white cub somehow caught the imagination of Maharaja Martand Singh, who brought the cub to the place and put it into a cage.

Mohan, who was cremated with full royal honours after his death in 1969, but his head was stuffed and preserved for generations to see
Mohan, who was cremated with full royal honours after his death in 1969, but his head was stuffed and preserved for generations to see

Named Mohan later on, this white tiger lived whole his life in the cage in the royal palace at Govindgarh near Rewa. He died in 1969 and his life span of 18 years was good enough to become father, grand father or great grand father of all the white tigers in the world at present. Numbering more than hundred, all these white tigers are kept in cages or enclosures in different zoos around the world. There was a large scale captive breeding of white tigers—initially in Govindgarh palace under Rewa state and later on at Delhi zoological garden. Cubs and Tigers with this gene mutation were gifted to zoos, parks and celebrities around the world. Slowly, breeding process at Govindgarh slowed down and with passing away of a white tiger ‘Viraat’ at Govindgarh in July 1976, white tigers vanished from their original habitat.

Now, after forty years, white tigers have been brought to the region, but as exhibits in a newly constructed zoo. About 20 kms from Rewa city, Mukundpur area falls under Maand Reserve area. A 75 hectare area has been earmarked for the zoo and 25 hectare for an exclusive world’s only white tiger safari. As of now, there is only one white tigress ‘Vindhya’ in the safari which can be visited only through a safari bus. The adjoining zoo has a white tiger Raghu and a white tigress Radha. There are two other normal Royal Bengal Tigers and a couple of bears. Zoo is awaiting few other animals. There are also plans to develop a breeding and wildlife rescue centre nearby.

White Tiger in Mukundpur zoo.
White Tiger in Mukundpur zoo.

White tigers are normal Indian tigers a few of whom in this region developed a gene mutation generations back. Mutation is an aberration—a permanent alteration in the DNA sequence resulting into a feature, which is different from the normal ones. They may or they may not pass this mutation to their offsprings, but there is always a probability. For example, Mohan fathered many normal tiger cubs as well. Due to this mutation, these tigers loose their traditional yellow colour and turn white. Their eyes also turn blue. All other features, habits and capabilities remain the same. The colour of the skin and eyes, make these white tigers more fascinating for the viewers.

Another of Mohan's offspring stuffed and showcased at Rewa palace.
Another of Mohan’s offspring stuffed and showcased at Rewa palace.

So, for locals in Rewa, loyalties of the royals and politicians in the state this is a happy moment as it has been an election issue to bring back the white tigers to the region they allegedly belong to. Hence the opening ceremony of the zoo seemed more like an election rally evident from the speeches of political leaders amidst gathering of more than 25 thousand people. But not everyone is happy. Breeding of white tigers has always been a hotly debated issue. Experts have been critical of it saying that there is no specific conservation value of this mutation. In long term it might be harmful for the species. World over, breeding of white tigers was stopped a decade ago.

Experts say that colour of skin compromises with camouflaging abilities of white tiger.
Experts say that colour of skin compromises with camouflaging abilities of white tiger.

In a paper World association of Zoos and Aquariums have voiced its concern on breeding practices to increase the physical expression of rare traits through intentional breeding. For example intentional breeding to achieve rare colour-morphs such as white tigers, deer and alligators has been linked with various abnormal, debilitating and occasionally lethal conditions. Better, we keep our efforts for actual and needed conservation efforts for the tigers in general.

White tigress Radha in a fearsome mood in her cage at Mukundpur zoo.
White tigress Radha in a fearsome mood in her cage at Mukundpur zoo.

Where: Mukundpur is in Satna district of Madhya Pradesh. It is 20 kms from Rewa city. Rewa is connected through train services via Bhopal and Varanasi. Varanasi and Khajuraho are the two nearest airports. Roads in the region are bit tricky, so keep margin for additional time taken to travel through roads. Rewa has a few descent hotels to stay. You may need to hire a vehicle to carry you to zoo and safari from the Rewa city. Infrastructure around the Mukundpur zoo and safari is yet to spring up.

Rewa palace, which now houses a museum and many of stuffed white tigers.
Rewa palace, which now houses a museum and many of stuffed white tigers.

Romancing the wildlife at GIR

As the norm is, being to a national park or reserve invariably means watching a big cat. The success of visit always depends on having a sight or not having it. This over enthusiasm of looking for a tiger or a lion actually robs one of the ‘thrill of the unexpected’. Every jungle has its own beauty, even in terms of the wildlife. In search of expected, we miss the ‘unexpected other’ which actually make the jungle beautiful.

So for all those, who return with their heads down after missing on the big cat, here are few ‘non-cat’ moments from a recent safari in the GIR national park and wildlife sanctuary in Gujarat. Known as only haven for Asiatic Lions in the wild in world, this dry deciduous forest has a fair share of other wildlife- 39 species of mammals, 37 species of reptiles, 300 species of birds and more than 2000 species of insects.

Spotted deer (Chital) are almost 45,000 in GIR and are most commonly found. Watching them is always fun and delightful.

Jumping Jack

Chital always make a cute good photograph in whatever they do-

My little food!

Here one male enjoys holding its crown (antlers)-

Holding crown

GIR also has a good number of Chinkara and Four-horned antelope among the deer family and Nilgai (most commonly found in Indian heartland) as you can see one female here basking in glory-

Crowning glory

Nilgai (Boselaphus tragocamelus) is considered to be the largest among Asian antelope family but a male Sambhar deer is considered to be the largest in whole deer family few of them may even weigh more than 500 kgs. They look majestic, like this one-

Mighty

But then, a jungle has much more than deer and their predators. Such as wild boars which are considered to be widest-ranging mammal in the world. This big game animal is known as ancestor to our domestic pigs. Its a brave animal, although cat family and wolf are its main predators but wild boars have history of fighting cat family in self-defence.

Boaring experience!

A Golden Jackal (Indian Jackal) in the GIR looking for some small prey-

Foxing a bit

Monitor Lizards are also common to forests of Indian subcontinent. They have been referred to mythologically and historically in many contexts in various scriptures. Might look repulsive to many, but they have been often considered as friend to humans. Here a monitor lizard quickly hides itself into a tree, not interested in showing its face to us-

Hiding the face

And here in a rare photograph, you can see a baby monitor lizard, learning the tricks of the world-

Welcome to world!

A brown fish owl, very closely monitoring our moments. Owls might be common but you need sharp eyes to spot them in the trees.

Not owling!

Last but not the least, another tough photograph of a Indian Paradise Flycatcher. Tough in the sense that they are too quick for you to catch them in you camera frame. A beautiful bird found in the Indian subcontinent is a genus of monarch flycatchers.Looking for paradiseSO, next time you visit a national park or wildlife sanctuary, don’t just look for the big ones. Keep your eyes open for the unexpected beauties round the corner.

 

Millions of Amur Falcons return to Doyang

Two tagged falcons complete two rounds from Mongolia to South Africa

Amur Falcons at DoyangAs two of the three Amur falcons tagged with satellite tracking chips last year returned to the north-eastern Indian state of Nagaland, central government has now decided to develop Doyang Lake as an ecotourism spot for bird-watchers across the world to have a wonderful and rare sight of Amur Falcons. Doyang lake is famous as a roosting site for longest travelling raptors Amur Falcons. They come every year at Doyang lake during their flight from Mongolia to South Africa.

Pangti is now Amur Falcon capital of world

Snow-white Amur FalconThe two falcons – named Naga and Pangti – tagged in 2013 have already done two rounds from Mongolia to South Africa via Nagaland and have again returned to Nagaland this year. Amur falcons, weigh just 150 grams, cover 5,600 kms, flying non-stop in five days from Mongolia, to arrive in Nagaland.  Amur falcons come to Doyang every year in millions. Until recently, Naga tribesmen used to hunt thousands of Amur falcons for meat. But last year, after a vigorous campaign by wildlife activists, they pledged to protect the bird and since then, not a single bird has been hunted in the area. Today, the world has recognised Pangti village in Nagaland as the world’s Amur Falcon capital, as more than one million birds can be seen in just 30 minutes. It is a very rare and exciting sight.

Doyang to be developed as ecotourism spot

Amur FalconsMinister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar has become the first Union Minister to have a bountiful view of Amur Falcons that arrived in Doyang Lake area in Nagaland on Monday morning. Enthused by the sight of millions of Amur falcons in just half an hour, the Environment Minister declared that four or five other birds from other roosting in Nagaland will also be tagged, giving the name of the area to which the roosting relates. He added that the Centre and State Government would jointly take measures to promote infrastructure and eco-tourism in the entire Amur Falcon area.

Conservation helped at various levels

Amur FalconsThe conservation of Amur falcon is a great success story for India, as it has happened with peoples’ participation. People who were earlier killing the bird (Amur falcons) earlier, are now working for its conservation, thanks to proper motivation, training and mindset changes effected by various wildlife conservation bodies, activists and the Church. With proper conservation methods, the birds will be attracted in larger numbers.