Saturday, December 12, 2009

Poaching and Illegal Wildlife Trade Everywhere.. 4 stories in one

BHUBANESWAR: Wildlife officials have seized 96 live fresh water turtles from a town in Orissa and arrested one person on charges of smuggling them, police said Saturday.

Acting on a tip off, a police team caught the man with the reptiles at Pipili town, some 20 km away, here Friday evening, inspector in charge of the Pipili police station Amulya Kumar Champatiray said.

"They were live turtles of different shapes and sizes. They were kept in three bags," he said. "We caught the man when he was waiting for a bus."

The arrested man, Durgasankar Mana, is a resident of Midnapore area of West Bengal and wanted to take the turtles to his state, Champatiray said.


LUCKNOW: Three people have been arrested with the skins of four spotted deer in an Uttar Pradesh district bordering Nepal, a forest official said on Wednesday.

"The three men, who are in their late 30s, were nabbed Tuesday night from their hideout in a village adjoining the Motipur forest of Sohelwa
wildlife sanctuary," Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) V.P. Singh told IANS over the phone from Balrampur, some 200 km from Lucknow.

According to officials, the three men have admitted that they were in the poaching trade for the last two years and worked for a Nepal-based wildlife poaching gang.

The three men also admitted to having clients in Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand and other states of the country.

Under the Wildlife Protection Act (WPA), 1972, killing a spotted deer is a criminal offence.

Spotted deer, popularly known as chital in Hindi, is the most common deer species in India's forests. Its coat is reddish fawn, marked with white spots.

BERHAMPUR: Orissa's famed blue lagoon, the Chilika Lake, which becomes home to hundreds of migratory birds in winter, is failing to curb poaching despite a strong security net.

Wildlife officials registered four cases and arrested two persons allegedly for poaching recently. The lake hosts over four lakh migratory birds during winter. The latest incident of poaching was reported from Sorana on Friday night. Forest officials and police seized 16 different birds, one pintail and 15 Indian moorhens, from a person.

"The poacher, identified as Anwar Khan, was caught red handed by the staff when he was returning to his village after poaching in Chilika," said divisional forest officer B P Acharya. Khan was identified as a habitual bird poacher and was arrested by wildlife officials.

Although wildlife and police officials have seized 15 different birds from poachers on three occasions, only one person was arrested. The other three, however, have managed to escape, the DFO said.

"While poaching was reported from Sorana and Kalupadaghata, no poaching was reported from the Nalabana
Bird Sanctuary, where most migratory waterfowls congregate," he said.

Wildlife authorities have set up 21 camps, including two mobile camps, to guard the avian guests. "Several local youths have also engaged to protect the birds," the DFO said.

The birds concentrate in the 1,150 sq km Chilika Lake, mainly in Bhusandapur, Sorana and Mangalajodi areas. Flocks of migratory birds arrive from the Caspian Sea, Lake Baikal, remote parts of Russia, central and south East Asia, Ladakh and the Himalayas for feeding and roosting. The lake is recognized as the wintering zone for the largest congregation of waterfowls in the country. They start arriving in mid-October and roost here till the first week of March. But the peak congregation period is between mid-December and mid-January.

NEW DELHI: Minister of state for environment and forests Jairam Ramesh, while inaugurating a media workshop on wildlife conservation here today confessed that 17 out of 38 tiger reserves are in an unstable condition.

Ramesh said then state of affairs around the tiger reserves would be improved and assured to develop and irrigate the barren areas around the reserves.

"Wildlife Management is very much an integral part of my ministry's priority. It may not get the headlines as much as
global warming does, but I hope after Copenhagen, this global warming madness will subside. 2010 is the year of biodiversity. In 2010, we have a summit in October on biodiversity in Nagoya (Japan). And now we all need to focus on biodiversity, which is far more fundamental than many of these things we are talking about in relation to Copenhagen," he said.

The Minister of State for Environment and Forests said that in the next Budget session, a
WildlifeConservation and Management Amendment Bill would be introduced, adding that strict actions will be taken against all those violating the forestry laws.

Ramesh also eyed upon strengthening the policing across the international borders.

"The year 2010 is the year of Tiger in China, that will put more pressure on poaching in China. But India also has to control illegal trade and needs to strengthen policing on the India-Nepal, India-Myanmar border. We have talked to a large number of international organisations including the World Bank, and they are also talking to the Chinese that China must phase out Tiger farms," he said.

Tiger suspected to be poached in Tiroda range, Gondia

This is from The Times of India, Nagpur. You can find the article online at :

NAGPUR: While the dust is yet to settle on the seizure of two tiger skins at Nagpur railway station, one more case of suspected Tiger poaching in Tiroda forest range in Gondia district has come to the fore. The spot is five kms away from Nagzira wildlife sanctuary and falls in the territorial area.

This is perhaps the 14th tiger death in last one-and-half years since May 2008. Five deaths were that of cubs after their mothers went missing in Adhyalmendha & Mendki villages in Brahmapuri forest division and Chiroli in Sindewahi. Similarly, two tigresses went missing from Junona and Dhaba in Chandrapur district. Eight deaths have been officially recorded by the forest department.

According to sources, the incident took place in compartment No.108 in Govindtola beat of Tiroda. The incident came to light on Thursday when forest staff, acting on a tip-off, found a bullock suspected to be killed by a tiger.
Sources said there was injury on the neck of the bullock and back portion of the carcass was eaten by the carnivore. Close to the bullock there is a nullah and the officials found stomach, heart and pieces of bones of the carnivore kept covered there. They suspect the parts to be of a tiger. They also found bunch of yellow and white hair near the spot and unclear pugmarks on the nullah bed.

Officials involved in panchnama and investigations at the spot suggest that the tiger might have been killed by poisoning. A patch shows the carnivore was dragged from near the bullock to the nullah and skinned. All the vital body parts like skin, paws, nails, teeth of the tiger are missing. The poachers dumped the unwanted parts at the spot and fled.

Sources said till now there are no claimants of the bullock. It is suspected to be a handiwork of local poachers who left evidence to suspect they were not thorough professionals. "If they would have been professionals, no evidence of the carnivore had been left behind," an official said. Senior officials suspect it may also be a case of revenge killing by villagers. They said field staff had record of tiger sightings in the area a couple of times in the past.

Mukesh Ganatra, deputy conservator of forests (DyCF), Gondia Forest Division, was in a protective mode. He did not respond to the repeated calls made to him. Poaching has increased in Gondia division. During the year there have been many instances of wildlife poaching. A few months ago two sloth bears were poached in the area.

Assistant conservator of forests (ACF) AS Khune said the culprits will be behind the bars in two days. "We have collected at least 10 samples of the carnivore and bullock meat. Those will be sent to the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun, or Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad," Khune said.

"It's 100% a carnivore but it will only be confirmed once we receive the reports. The spot is deep inside the forest and a power line passes through the area," Khune said.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Candidate

I dont know if this is because I've only been giving exams for the last 1.5 months, but the word "candidate" now has many different meanings when related to me and my life. Life is full of exams. They come every year, every month, every day actually! Some have to be written and graded and dreaded, while others are given without even being aware of their existence. Yet all of them have only two possible results. Passed or failed. However, the intensity of these results may vary from scale to scale; for example, "just passed", or "passed by 5 marks!", to "just failed" or "faaaailed!!" And the intensity in turn, determines the amplitude of the voice belonging to the person who has just been handed his/her result.
Of course, this is the standard exam-result combo. There's that other one I mentioned. The type that is invisible. Somehow, these exams seem to be harder, more common, and more frustrating than normal regular exams. The test of standing in one place watching other people do what you do best. The test of being silent through this procedure and the test of determining your own "pass or fail" result which in turn determines if you'll move on or not. Obviously then, you are the factor that can change your result drastically at any given point in time. On a positive note, the power to pass is in your hands. But on the other hand, this power appears minuscule when compared with what you're compromising.

In a flash of second you're a candidate who got tossed out of one frying pan into complete thin air.. and had to choose, while in mid air, whether you wanted to land in another frying pan or you wanted a swimming pool underneath. I like frying pans. They get your ass hot and get you on your toes to work for what you believe in, hardly ever giving you the chance to return to the "pan" to relax. You're the candidate who's witnessing your own life from up in the air and thinking that it sucks in that hot ass burning plate down below. Fortunately or unfortunately, you're ecologically adapted to those conditions and hence seasoned to having your ass being lit up. The air no longer seems like such a happening place to be and you decide to return to the world of constant burns. However, to keep your sanity, or whatever little of it is remaining, you choose a different frying pan, with less oil. No you're not health conscious. You're just starting all over. On your own. You have no company. None of the old mates that you had in your old pan. But you know, that if you persist long enough, and bear with the ass burns long enough, you'll soon have company.

I have no clue if any of that frying stuff made any sense but what I do know is, at every single step in your own life, you are a candidate. A candidate who is constantly being watched, judged, graded, criticized, apprehended, thrashed, whacked, pushed around, and yet, it is you who comes out unscathed. Not everyone would like to look at every day as an exam considering the word exam is quite a stinker but it pays to understand in your mind, that if today you're struggling with the a,b,c,.. , tomorrow you'll be reading a whole book. Even if this thought is put at the farthest corner in your mind, it is still good enough because at times when you think everything has ended for you, the only thing in your mind is this thought which you had folded and stashed away into that corner ages ago. It becomes your walking stick, it teaches you to get rid of the hunched back and stand straight. Respect yourself. Because if you don't, no one else will want to.

I have been reduced to just a candidate right now. Giving 4 back-to-back exams [the regular ones], and having my applications and myself graded by several universities across the globe to determine whether I am suitable for any of their programmes, today, I truely am, A Candidate.

I stand at that platform at Mumbai Central watching 2957 leave and I feel that wrenched feeling again but there is NOTHING I can do to help it go away [being helpless isn't something that goes down very well with me]. I watch the train pick up speed, and the familiar faces begin to vanish from before my face. I still don't lower my head. I turn around, unfold my stashed away thought, and look straight ahead and walk right out. I catch a cab back into my life and realize that I am nowhere lower than I was before. I am just the same. People around have changed. I realize that even though I have lost one frying pan, doesn't mean I have to be doused in a swimming pool. I am still burning. With enthusiasm, passion and the will to work. So I set up my own frying pan and while I'm working on making things better, other pans around hear of me and want me to join them. Once again I feel like finally I can do some good again on a larger scale. And immediately, I sign up.

Now, I am a more self-respecting, self-aware, dignified and the same skilful Candidate that I was before. Just that I found newer ways to make use of what I can give to Earth. And the best part is, the result on the marksheet is all mine. I don't have to share it with anyone because I built what I now am and what I am, is a successful candidate because today, what other people think of me, is none of my business. Since it's my frying pan [life] and my ass that's burning in it, the feeling of being the sole owner of the result is one helluva satisfying feeling!