Thursday, March 18, 2010

India-Bangladesh Hold Talks on River Water

2010-03-18 17:10:00

More than two months after Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina came here on a landmark visit, India and Bangladesh Thursday held talks to thrash out an interim treaty on Teesta water sharing and issues relating to other rivers.
Water resources secretaries of the two countries met here in the morning, setting the stage for the ministerial-level Joint River Commission meeting later in the day.
The Indian side, led by Water Resources Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, met the Bangladeshi delegation headed by Water Resource Minister Ramesh Chandra Sen in the two-day discussions. The commission last met in 2005.
'We are already getting 3,500 cubic feet per second (cusec) per day without asking for it and we certainly expect more than that from the coming talks,' said Sen, adding that he was hopeful of progress in the talks.
The Bangladesh delegation also included Mashiur Rahman, adviser to premier Sheikh Hasina, and Foreign Secretary Mijarul Quayes.
'The focus of the meeting was on Teesta water sharing,' said India's Water Resources Secretary U.N. Panjiyar.
'At present, Bangladesh receives almost all the water as it is not being used by India but after the ongoing construction of a barrage on the Teesta river is completed, some water will be utilised by us as well,' he added.
Other issues may include sharing of the flood forecast data, he said.
India has made it clear that West Bengal will have a crucial role in any accord on Teesta water-sharing as the river flows into Bangladesh from the Gajoldoba barrage point.
The Teesta water accord could be modelled on the Ganga Water Sharing Treaty signed in 1996 when the Awami League was in power in Bangladesh.
According to the Ganga treaty, if the water flow at Farakka point of the Ganga is 70,000 cusecs, Bangladesh and India share the water equally.

SGNP Animals Up for Adoption

SGNP animals up for adoption

Sunday, March 7, 2010

For the Tiger's Sake

For the tiger's sake
The success of the resettlement project in the Bhadra Reserve is a shot in the arm for conservationists. But is it in time to save the tiger, asks S. NANDA KUMAR.

S. Nanda Kumar
Last chance: Will he still roar in India's jungles?

If you have seen a tiger in the wild, you are very fortunate indeed. There are not many left in India's forests. Those that remain lead a precarious existence. Poaching is the most obvious threat the tiger faces, but it is not the only one. Human settlements inside a tiger reserve also spell trouble. These villages — or a highway or railway line cutting across a forest — fragment wildlife areas, and pose a great danger to the flora and fauna within. Wildlife experts believe that core tiger areas should be completely inviolate in order to allow tigers to multiply.
Boon in disguise
The construction of the Bhadra reservoir in Karnataka in the 1960s, near what is now the Bhadra Tiger Reserve, was a boon in disguise to tiger conservation. The reservoir served as a buffer against further development. But the number of villages in other areas of the Reserve continued to increase. People have lived in the forests of Bhadra for generations. According to a 1917 report, Bhadra had “a village of 88 people and 186 cattle occupying 4.19 sq km.” Villagers in the 16 hamlets of Bhadra were mainly agriculturists, cultivating paddy and coffee on cleared forest land. They also reared cattle, which shared grazing space with the tiger's natural prey like deer. But the cattle could also spread disease among wildlife. Clearly man and nature were on opposing sides, with wildlife on the losing side.
For the tiger's sake, the humans needed to leave. But it was not easy for the villagers living in the reserve area, sometimes for over three generations, to leave the place they considered home. Apart from the emotional angle, the other main issue was the suspicion that, if they did re-locate, the Government would leave them in the lurch. This was because relocations from other wildlife sanctuaries had been handled badly. But rehabilitation from Bhadra seems to have worked.
In what has come as a shot in the arm for wildlife conservationists, and a glimmer of hope for the tiger, 432 families from 16 villages from within the Bhadra Tiger Reserve in Chikmagalur district of Karnataka have been successfully rehabilitated. The villagers were rehabilitated in two areas: M.C.Halli, about 100 km from the Reserve and Kelagur, about 15 km from Chikmagalur. But all this did not happen overnight. The process began in 1987, when a preliminary survey of families eligible for resettlement was conducted. But the project picked up momentum only in the late 1990s with the active involvement of the forest and revenue departments and, more importantly, the participation of village representatives and NGOs.
Working together
Government agencies in India do not always work well together. Inter-departmental files are delayed in transit, and bureaucratic procedures add to the problem. And NGOs are often considered ‘outsiders', interfering with government procedure. So, what went right in Bhadra? A rehabilitated villager called it “the aligning of good planets resulting in excellent people coming together”. Less dramatically, much of the credit goes to Yatish, then Deputy Conservator of Forests, and Gopala Krishne Gowda, then Deputy Commissioner. Committed wildlife NGOs, who had been holding earnest dialogues with villagers inside the Reserve, also played an important role. Perhaps the most active was a local activist, D.V. Girish, who works with the NGO Wildlife First.
And, of course, credit goes to the villagers themselves. Many sensed the time had come to move. As S.R.Nagaraj, a resettled villager now residing at M.C.Halli, put it, “To say we moved out so that the tiger could live would be a lie. We moved out because there were no facilities for a normal existence inside the Tiger Reserve. But we ensured that the Government acquired land for resettling and personally visited the places before agreeing to shift. I must admit that the Government has provided all that it had promised.” What was vital here was that village representatives worked closely with other Government agencies and NGOs.
The Deputy Commissioner helped by cutting through bureaucratic hurdles, often dealing directly with the forest department, the village representatives and NGOs. Politically motivated hurdles were overcome with daily strategy meetings between all the agencies and the village representatives.
The villagers in M.C. Halli speak well of the facilities they have been provided. Those at Kelagur are taking longer to settle, as they depend on the rains for water. Some of the land distributed is rocky, and bore wells are yet to be dug. If this is taken care of, and authorities have said that these villagers are also eligible for aid under other Government schemes, then the Bhadra project will be a benchmark in resettlement. It will also be a model of successful partnership between Government agencies and NGOs.
This move gives the country's wildlife a chance, a slim one, but definitely a chance. Perhaps then the tiger would still roar in India's jungles in the years to come.
* Conservationist Dr. Ullas Karanth: "As a person from the Western Ghats, I know that the people want to relocate in favour of a better life. Why should they live frozen in time when the rest of society is developing* And if they move out, it is good for the tiger; it is a win-win situation." * Sushilamma, re-settled in M.CHalli: It had been my home for 32 years. Who can leave the place that had become one's home* But the Government has given us five acres here, and we have started cultivating crops." * H.D. Sudhakar, re-settled villager at Kelagur: "The rocky land prevents anything from growing. It is as if giving up our homes has landed us in hardship. I hope the Government gives us alternative land, and digs bore wells quickly."

Wildlife law to be made stringent soon: Ramesh

ANITags : Jairam Ramesh, Wildlife Protection Act, poachingPosted: Monday , Mar 08, 2010 at 1048 hrsTirupati:
"Union Minister for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh has said that a Bill to amend the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, would make poaching a stringent crime. The Bill is to be tabled soon during the ongoing parliament session.
On a visit to the Nagarjunasagar Tiger Reserve in Andhra Pradesh, Ramesh lauded the efforts of the park authorities in achieving notable success tiger conservation.
"Ten years ago this tiger reserve (Nagarjunasagar Tiger Reserve) was in a very poor condition but it has turned around. The tiger population is also quite significant but we have a serious problem of grazing there," he said.
"The amendments to the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 are going to be introduced in this session of parliament. We are proposing stringent punishment for anybody who violates Wildlife Protection Act. We want to put the violator of the Wildlife Protection Act at par with the person who violates foreign exchange laws," he added.
Project Tiger, a central government scheme, has been under implementation since 1973.
The main objective of the project is to ensure a viable tiger population in India for scientific, economic, aesthetic, cultural and ecological values and to preserve for all time areas of biological importance as a natural heritage for the benefit, education and enjoyment of the people.
Initially, the project started with nine tiger reserves, covering an area of 16,339 square kilometres, with a population of 268 tigers. At present there are 27 tiger reserves covering an area of 37,761 square kilometres with an estimated population of 1,498 tigers."
-- WHAT!?!? 1498?!?! Who're they kidding?

2 Tigers Poisoned in Ranthambhore

Locals poison 2 tiger cubs in Ranthambore

Conservationists tag turtle to help protect Ridleys

Bishwanath Ghosh, TNN, Mar 8, 2010, 02.56am IST

CHENNAI: It's Sunday morning but the sun is yet to be up. Sumitha had been getting dressed since midnight in order to return home. Her mother meticulously prepared her for the journey as a crowd of friends eagerly watched. Finally, minutes before daybreak, she sets off on the voyage, pausing thrice for friends and photographers who have formed a receding semi-circle in front of her. Finally, the semi-circle opens up and Sumitha strides into the sea.

The good news is: Sumitha's mother and friends will now be able to track her movement and her well-being even when she is thousands of kilometres away in the sea. She now has a transmitter attached to her carapace yes, Sumitha is an Olive Ridley turtle that will send signals through satellite and help conservationists gather data that will go a long way in protecting her species.

"As sea turtles are air-breathing reptiles, they come up to the ocean surface every 40 minutes. The antenna on the satellite tag will transmit signals during this time to the satellite and by mapping these points, her path of migration can be determined. The tagging will help in studying the turtle's migratory route and areas of foraging," said Dr Supraja Dharini of TREE Foundation, who tagged Sumitha. This is the first time a sea turtle has been tagged outside Orissa, where the project was undertaken by the Wildlife Insititute of India in association with the petroleum ministry.
Sumitha was taken into custody on Saturday evening after she had finished nesting (Olive Ridleys come to nest on the same beach they had been born, even if that means swimming thousands of kilometres). The tagging began at midnight on a beach in Injambakkam, with Dr Dharini restraining the turtle in a compartment and cleaning the carapace dry. The tag was then placed atop it and attached with a strong adhesive.

The satellite was switched on by chief wildlife warden R Sundararaju, former chief wildlife warden C K Sreedharan, joint fisheries director A Satyamurthy and US consul general Andrew T Simkin. Satellite tags are radio transmitters with GPS that transmit a signal that can be detected by polar orbiting satellites. "Since data collected can be recovered by satellite even if the turtle swims hundreds or thousands of kilometres away from where it was released, the technique holds great potential for unlocking many secrets of marine turtle behaviour and ecology. The outcome of the study will be shared with the ministry of environment and forest and fisheries," said Dr Dharini.

Sumitha can be tracked on the following link Another turtle will be tagged by the Tree Foundation during the early hours of March 14. Details on

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Source of Strength

This has nothing to do with wildlife whatsoever and I just risked losing any possibility of people reading further. But thankfully, it's my blog, and I'm free to write what I want.
I was just thinking, how even in times of adversity, some people just don't seem to shake or fall. How people have the strangest sources of strength. Someone once asked me, where I draw my strength from. I didn't know the answer then. But today, quite a few years down the line, I have at least a few discoveries made.
When a person gets tossed around like salad, whipped up like cream and kicked around like a football, he/she would ideally be expected to be entirely drained. I haven't really discovered how my system works, but when I get kicked, that's when I actually double up on spirit and energy, probably coz it's the anger. I am biologically, genetically, and individually, a VERY short-tempered person. Many have tried to tell me to change and I have not seen the logic behind that till date. Yes my anger gets me in shit but it the most powerful source of all my strength.
At a very right age, I learned that converting anger into something productive, like motivation, works magic. And no one taught me that. I just happened to figure it out one day. And that day onwards, every time I would get extremely angry, I would just reassure myself that I can do this, and I will do this.
When I think of my project failing, it gives me more strength and motivation to go and get things done. Just in this one day that was today, 5 people told me, I wouldn't be able to pull off what I am planning. Firstly, such people disgust me: a) coz they are incapable of that task themselves, b) coz they underestimate someone else without knowing that person, c) coz they make assumptions and base their life time of judgements only on those, d) coz they are insecure and wish, deep down in their hearts, that the other person really fails to do what she claims to do.
When people tell me I cant do something, I don't feel upset. I don't lose faith in my project and myself. Somehow, the exact opposite happens. I am not a rebel who rebels for the heck of it, just to prove someone else wrong. I end up drawing strength from the slightest indication of distrust, betrayal, dishonesty , etc. I honestly think humans werent meant to be like that but here I am. A complete misfit, in this world where 0.8% of the population respects individuality, that too, because they think of themselves first.
May be my work is my solace, but when everything in life is literally in the dumps, even then, I can muster up the courage to stand up, dust myself and say, "Im sorry, you can sit n sulk, Im going to get that done." I don't feel like this about everything. Just the stuff that I'm atrociously passionate about. The stuff that doesn't mean a big deal to me, I leave to luck.
It is so painfully ironical, that something I did, I put my blood and heart into, is now being snatched away from me with the cruellest attitudes anyone could ever display. And how, the people, who once vowed to stand by me, are now only a faint memory for me. Ironical how people will just disown you like that, like you're worth nothing, and step over you, stamp on you even, and proceed with their lives like nothing ever happened. How does it not hurt their conscience that they behave this way?
Sometimes, like today, like right now, I end up feeling like the biggest doofus on the planet for being this strong mentally. I spend half my time fending off people who come like hungry scavengers to finish off whatever I have left of myself. And when I look around, there is no one. No one standing on my side of the line, to take on these herds of vampires! Am I that despicable? Truth is, I know Im not. Problem is, not many feel that way. And sometimes, it is just SUCH a bloody PAIN being strong!! I never get a break. I never get to rest. I .. never get to be, who I really am. No wonder then, that no one knows the real me.. with all the mask wearing. I feel odd even typing this, but I have never felt more alone in my life, and even from THAT, I am miraculously, able to draw strength and divert it to my work!! I don't know whether Im supposed to be frustrated with myself, or just be happy I am who I am, or.. stop being strong! :-S

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Feline Needs A Lifeline
[Please watch the Video on the link]

Like a 911 call in the U.S for emergencies, India's national animal too needs immediate attention. If pug mark estimates by theNational Tiger Conservation Authority are anything to go by, just 1411 Tigers are left in India. The striped feline enjoyed roaring success up until the alarming poaching activities brought down the number from around 40,000 in the 20th century to hardly a thousand now. Even the number 1411 should be digested with a pinch of salt, since the pug mark census can rarely be termed as accurate.

Aircel has joined Idea in promoting how nature and environment friendly they are in their core values and mission. While Idea promotes usage of its networks, and using mobiles phones to eliminate usage of paper, thus resulting in saving trees, Aircel has owned up to campaigning for the soon becoming rare Tiger in India. To be fair to Aircel and Idea, there is nothing more pleasing than promoting responsible nature responsible ads. Our national animal needs support and lots of care and attention. Most importantly, it needs to be left alone, with as much camouflage in India's forests.

Its an irony that India has promoted Tiger as its National Animal since independence, but has failed to save them from dwindling down so badly. There is undoubtedly vast collusion between corrupt officials who sell Tiger skin and bones and make lakhs of rupees. It is another startling coincidence that another National Symbol of India is struggling to survive. That of course is Hockey, India's national game. Much like the Tigers were India's national symbol drawing in animal lovers in the 20th century, India's national game was at its prime in the 20th century. Sadly for both these symbols of national identity, the dawn of the 21st century seems to have brought to light their tragic plight. While hockey is struggling to survive in India with national players being donated money, the national animal is nearing extinction owing to greedy poachers.

The only silver lining for the majestic striped feline is that another Indian Wildlife Sanctuary was last week declared as a Tiger Reserve. Union minister of state for environment and forests Jairam Ramesh inaugurated the Parambikulam Tiger Reserve at Anappadi in Kerala's Palakkad district last Friday. This makes it the 38th Tiger Reserve of India. India needs to be conscious of its national identities and not lose them to corrupt officials who collude for their own selfish motives. The Tiger certainly deserves a better deal, and needs to be left alone to try and come back from the brink of extinction in India. 1411 could well be the code much like 911 to inspire and encourage the nation to save the striped cat.

Four Leopard Skins Seized in Himachal,four-leopard-skins-seized-himachal.html

Shimla, Feb 26 : Four people were arrested in Himachal Pradesh Friday after police seized four leopard skins from them.

The men, who belonged to the state's Sirmaur district, were arrested from Solan town, a police official told IANS.

The seized skins were of adult animals, the official said.

The leopard falls under Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife Protection Act and its hunting is banned.

Copyright Indo Asian News

Banker Quits for Wildlife

Citigroup's India equities Head quits
MUMBAI: Global financial services major Citigroup's India equities Head, Nikhil Nagle has resigned from his position.
Nagle has quit from the bank to pursue his personal interests and will work in areas of wildlife, forests and tribal population in future, a source in the know said here.

"He has put in papers at Citi to pursue personal interests to increase awareness about India's wildlife, forests and tribal population," the source said.

The resignation came shortly after Citi Group expanded its India Equities team by hiring atleast nine top executives.

These include Keshav Sanghi (MD and Deputy Head of Equities), Richard Macfarlane (MD and Head of Execution Services) and Vandana Luthra (MD of Equity Sales).

Nagle will be actively involved in the sustainable development of the villages and tribal settlements of these villages, the source said.

A leading underwriter of Indian equities, Citi has led key IPOs and other equity offerings during 2009 that helped raise over $5 billion for Indian issuers.

Captured Leopard Succumbs to Shock

Captured leopard succumbs to shock


Shimla: The leopard that was caught by the wildlife department from heart of the capital town on Thursday died here this evening, veterinary official told HimVani.State wildlife veterinary surgeon Sandeep Rattan said the female leopard that was spotted strolling in areas adjoining the Mall, went into a coma due to traumatic stress and grievous injuries. It was kept at the National Wildlife Rehabilitation and Rescue Centre at Tutikandi on the outskirts of the city.

He said it died in the evening as it had developed septicemia due to injuries on one of its front limbs. During the health checkup its left paw was also found missing. Blood was also seen coming out of the its nostrils that showed that it was suffering from some internal injuries.

The leopard had also developed capture myopathy, a disease that leads to build up of lactic acid in the bloodstream that drops the pH in the body, affecting heart output and other organs.
According to veterinarians, there are several situations that can cause capture myopathy. These include trapping, capture, transport and even simple restraint.
The exact cause of her death would be known only after the post-mortem examination that would be conducted tomorrow , he added.