Monday, June 20, 2011

The Gharials Are Adapting?

Publication: The Times Of India Lucknow;Date: Jun 19, 2011;Section: Times City;Page: 4

Gharial hatchlings sighted in Yamuna

Faiz Rahman Siddiqui | TNN 

Kanpur: The wildlife experts have spotted nearly 46 gharial hatchlings in Yamuna river at National Chambal Sanctuary on the borders of Etawah and Auraiyya. Gharial hatchlings have been seen in this area for the first time. 

    Gharials have been declared as ‘critically endangered’ by the International Union For Conservation of Nature. A giant female gharial (around 12-15 feet long) was also sighted near the nesting site. 

    The hatchlings were noticed in the first week of June in the sand-beds after the 60-90 days of incubation period, the forest officials said. 

    Rajiv Chauhan, secretary, Society for Conservation of Nature, who is working on gharial conservation, said, “It was during a visit after being informed by the locals of Gohani Kalan village situated at the borders of Etawah and Auraiyya districts, on June 2 that I first spotted nearly 46 eggs of gharial at a nesting site on a Yamuna river bank.” 

    He added, “The villagers were surprised when they came across unusual beep sounds coming from inside the eggs and alerted us. This happens only when the eggs are about to hatch. It is a very good and positive sign for the nature lovers that for the very first time, gharials have chosen Yamuna river for breeding in India.” 

    Principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF) B K Patnaik said, “It is indeed a good news for wildlife conservationists as gharial is a critically endangered specie. Going by the latest sighting of gharial hatchlings, that too in Yamuna river, their number is surely going to increase.” 

Hatchlings in Yamuna at National Chambal Sanctuary 

Can we really afford to make such statements at such at early stage in what seems to be a complete turn over from usual nesting habits? "The numbers are sure to increase"! We'd love for that to happen but how does one issue such a statement without waiting to see what actually happens?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Of the Daddy and the Daughter

Everything's gone according to plan. My VISA's been approved and I'll be leaving in some 51days. Relocating to completely different continent, a new culture, new people, new friends. One thing's never going to change though - my family. I've been wondering what to get my Dad for Father's Day today even though I genuinely believe these days are pointless. Maybe it's the sinking feeling that I won't be around my family for a significant amount of time once I'm gone or maybe it's just that today's a very emotional day. 

Paa and Maa dancing at his 50th birthday surprise party
 I thought of a lot of stuff I could get him that he could use but in the end, I decided to write him this. For there is nothing more profound than love. 

  I've never seen my paternal grandfather except for his pictures and my daddy looks just like him. I've had a very loved childhood and I'm very grateful to my parents for that. They've worked through thick and thin just to make sure things stay stable. As a rebellious teen I often fought with my father and my eternal in-your-face-line would be "you were never there". I've ever felt stupider in my life than I do now that I realize he was right there. Always. 

  So Baba : I'm not sorry for all the fighting because it only brought us closer but I am sorry for the crazy stuff I must've said to you and the several things that hurt you. You were always right there. Behind the scenes. 
 I'm fortunate enough to be doing what I love today because you always told me how you never wanted to be a C.A. but you had to take over ajoba's office due to his ill health. You didn't get to follow your passion and you didn't want us to end up doing just that. For all those mornings when you sat on the straw chair in your balcony, and I sat on your lap and pestered you to tell me stories.. and for all those stories you DID tell me, I am eternally grateful. 

  For all the times I crept into bed with you and Mumma because I was scared, and you hugged me to sleep, I love you. For the number of times you supported all the crazy things I wanted to do, for all the arguments which you let me win, all my dreams you let me chase, all the time you spared from you crazy busy days just to make sure I don't get things wrong.. for all of that, I will always respect you more and more each day. For the person you are, the honest, clean, and hard-working person that you are, I can only hope to imbibe those qualities from you on a permanent basis. 

  I can't even imagine how things are going to be in Missoula. No one to ask for back rubs, head and neck massages, or just company. I'm going to have just memories of me walking up and down your back when I was a kid because you'd say it made you feel better! What will I do when all that commerce stuff comes up? Who will I ask? Who will I scold for not eating on time or not taking medicines on time? Who'll teach me Math!? 

  I don't want to stop being daddy's little girl because all these years, it's made me feel super secure, it's made me feel like anything under the sun can happen and I can come tell you about it. Growing up is difficult and even more so without all the "laad-pyaar" and the home-ground advantage! 

  All those drives and treks and walks and the Boney M and The Carpenters songs ..and singing them loudly while sticking my head out of the car's window as you'd drive :) The times when you'd hand over the car key and say - drive and you'd sit patiently in the passenger seat :) 

  Sitting beside you all through the day ajji passed away and watching you read the Bhagwat Gita .. You don't always have to display so much strength. But I guess I'm so used to the outer strong you that if something hurts you and you go all gooey, it makes me all shaky and nervous. The morning of your birthday and dada's engagement, when you asked me to come sit next to you, I knew something was wrong. But when your eyes got moist I couldn't help hugging you and holding you. I hate it when people hurt you, take you for granted, or misbehave with you. I will probably never regret screaming at a certain famous balding client of your's [:) I know you wouldn't like me mentioning names] and throwing him out of your office for raising his voice and being arrogant with you. 

  You're too good for your own good you know and people out there aren't all as honest and good as you think them to be. Just because you know them for a long time, does not mean they're good people. Even if they're family. If they can't respect you or be cordial with you [at least], they do NOT deserve your time and effort. Stop going out of your way for people who give a damn about it. 

   They say you can judge a person by the quality of friends he has. On 1st April 2009, when ajji passed away in front of me, hardly an hour from that moment, there was literally a gang of people working in sync with me. your friends were here before any of our family members were. That's the day I realized what kind of a person you are and how pure your heart is. All of them, left everything they had to do, to be there with us. They didn't budge till you reached hours later. They wouldn't listen to us when we told them you'll reach safely and that you weren't driving. That day Daddy, my respect for you went sky high. I can only hope to be as good a person and have as many true friends. 

  When the Vento came home, you were beaming like a kid who just had a whole surprise package of all his favourite things delivered at his door step. :) Your beloved car was finally in your hands and you went about showing me all the buttons with so much pride and excitement it was super cute. 

  When Mama joked about yelling at me last night, you, out of nowhere said "Oy! No speaking to her like that! She's my girl." :) I didn't show it then but having you stand up for me even against his joke transported me to my school days when you were my shield. All the bad stuff bounced off of you and I remained protected from it all. 

  Yesterday Pushkar was telling me how I am lucky to not have seen even half the bad side of the world and believe me, I was so grateful in my heart when I said, "Yeah I haven't. And I'm glad I haven't." All through my teenage years I believed I was the one fighting off the evil and that what I was seeing, was the ultimate horridness of the world. A couple of years more and some more maturity, some more experiences made me realize, that wasn't even the tip of the ice-berg and that I've been so freakin fortunate to have had you and Maa as my protective cover! There are children with abusive parents, abusive childhoods, children who have no access to education and no exposure to the opportunities out there, children who don't have loving families! All the complaining I did as a kid, seems so useless now. 

  I see the way Ginny is around you and I feel happy about her being here with you when I go off. I know you'll take good care of her, I know you'll love her and scold her and play with her, just like you did with me when I was an enthusiastic little soul. She'll be all sad initially and she'll keep looking for me all over the house, she'll sit in a corner quietly waiting for me to show up but as the days go by, she'll get used to it. She'll have all of you here to cheer her up. All of this makes me worry about how I'm going to deal with the absence of my 3 stars.. Paa, Maa and Ginny :( 

  Just need you to know, that I'm always going to argue with you, disagree with you regarding certain things, and throw tantrums.. only because I love you :) And because, no matter how old I get, I'll always be your little girl. Always. 
Daddy and me :)

Thank you Baba.. for everything you've done for us and for everything you still are doing :) Oh and by the way, Happy Father's Day :) Cheers! ;)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Natural Skills and Scrub Jungle Ecology with Rom Whitaker

Hi all,
I thought this workshop might interest you, especially since we are camping at Rom's backyard and Rom is going to take a couple of sessions!
I have pasted the info below:
Naturalist Skills and Scrub Jungle Ecology at Rom Whitaker's - 14 to 17 July 2011
Rom Whitaker is a pioneer in reptile conservation and has been at the forefront of the field for around four decades. He founded the first snake park in India, the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust, Andaman and Nicobar Environmental Team, Irula Snake Catchers’ Co-operative Society among many other achievements and endeavours.
                              morning birding and tracking.jpg   Lopard at
                              Roms.jpg   on a
Rom now lives on the edge of a reserve forest about an hour away from Chennai. He has set up a small campsite to allow enthusiasts to experience Nature and also build skills in field biology. 
The Gerry Martin Project will be taking a group over to Rom’s campsite to run them through the basics in field biology. 
We will be staying in shared tents at the campsite. The bathrooms are permanent structures which have running water. 
We will explore the surrounding forest and fields learning

  - Tracking skills 
  - Mapping 
  - Outdoor skills 
  - Camera trapping 
  - Faunal Surveys
  - Biostatistic methods 
  - Reptile biology 
  - Bird watching and a lot more.
There will also be discussions and presentations addressing various interest levels and dialogues.
Russells at Hunsur.jpg   Civet at Roms.jpg   Mugger mug(email).jpg
Dates and logistics: The group will leave Bangalore early morning on 14th July and will return around 5 pm on the 17th.
To register or to know more please get in touch with Conan on +91- 9972068300 or /
If you're interested, I can send you the registration and payment procedure. The workshop fee would be Rs.12,000/- including travel from and back to Bangalore, and Rs.10,800/- if you commute to the location on your own.
The highlights would be learning field techniques, scrub jungle ecology and a couple of sessions by Rom himself! Also, at the end of the workshop, you will get a certificate signed by him.