Thursday, May 26, 2011

Skimmer Birds Can’t Breed…

The Indian Skimmer or rynchops albicollis is one of the three species in the skimmer family. It is bright black, white and orange; and its pointed beak cleaves the water as it searches for its prey, mainly fish. It is about 40 centimeters long with a wing span of about 108 centimeters. The skimmer is found only around fresh water, and it may be the only bird that indicates the presence of fresh surface water.

But the population of this rare bird is declining due to global warming. The rise in temperature is responsible for the increased melting of glaciers that sends a spurt of water into the Ganges, submerging the islands and sandy pits where the bird lays its eggs. This is posing a threat to the breeding of the bird.

This crisis is the result of relentless destruction of environment. The rampant destruction of forests has resulted in many species of animals and birds coming to the verge of extinction. We do not have much time left and this beautiful world and its inhabitants could still be saved if we take corrective measures and implement them with sheer dedication and honesty. Otherwise, we will have only stories to tell to our children, and their children, about how there used to be beautiful animals and birds on this beautiful planet.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Killing of Rhinos continue…

A rhino was killed mercilessly outside Kaziranga National Park. Besides its horn, the poachers took away the animal’s bones and flesh. This is the fourth rhino killed in the only World Heritage Site of Assam, India this year. Last year, five rhinos were killed inside the same park.

At Corbett National Park of the Dhikala forst range, forest officials also recovered a tusker’s carcass recently. There are controversies regarding the death of the elephant, as the forest officials are claiming that the tusker died a natural death. At the same national park, a baby elephant was also found in a seriously injured state.

Same way, the tigers are being killed by poachers and their body parts smuggled to China and Tibet, and all over the world. Apparently, the government is not doing enough to protect these majestic animals, who belong to this planet as much as we do.

These rampant brutal killings of our lower cousins need to stop immediately. The government needs to take stringent measures for the safety of these animals. The forest guards need to be equipped with modern gadgets and weapons for surveillance and safety of animals. The people living in the areas close to these national parks need to be taught about the importance of how the existence of these animals is necessary for our eco-system and our Earth. This mindless violence needs to stop immediately if we want carry on living on this planet.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Conflict between Tigers and Humans

India’s tiger population is on the rise but their habitat is shrinking and we are poised for a conflict between humans and the big cats. Tigers are territorial animals and their rising numbers usually go hand in hand with an increase in their territory. Due to the shrinking of their habitat, tigers are increasingly moving closer to human populations, increasing the chances of conflict and harm to all concerned – the striped predator, livestock and humans.

The shrinking of forest areas also threatens the tiger – and wild flora and fauna – in other ways. Experts say it will lead to the isolation of the ‘source populations’ of the tigers. Source populations are tigers found in stable numbers at the particular geographical area – in India’s case, various tiger reserves and national parks. Source populations are the well springs that sustain tiger numbers. But if they are cut off from other tiger areas, increasing inbreeding weakens the predator strain.

There has been a steep decline in territories occupied by the tiger in India – from 93,600 sq km in 2006 to 72,800 sq km today. The growing population of tigers has less space to expand and has to move into forests categorized as multiple-use areas. Policymakers and the authorities concerned will have to urgently recognize and overcome this problem, otherwise, where will these big cats go? A task force immediately needs to be constituted to suggest and implement new ways of conservation of forests that would safeguard the interests of wildlife and animals.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Stray Animals and Their Conflict with Man

Stray dogs are a harried lot in India and elsewhere in the world. In absence of an effective sterilization campaign, the population of  stray dogs is multiplying and so have the cases of dog bite. With more and more dog bites everyday, the conflict and animosity between man and animal has reached new heights.

According a government report, there are close to 2,60,000 stray dogs in Delhi alone and their population is increasing everyday. Although the government claims to have engaged Non Governmental Organizations for the sterilization of these dogs, nothing remarkable has been achieved so far.

Lack of funds and extremely limited number of sterilization centers are cited as the main reasons behind the growing number of dogs. They also claim not to have enough space to keep these dogs for sterilization or any other medical treatment that they need. In fact, a proposal to the Animal Welfare Board of India to create a special dog home was turned down by the authorities concerned.

In all this process of irresponsibility and insensitivity, dogs and other stray animals are the worst sufferers. They have nowhere to go, nothing to feed on, and no scope for any medical help or assistance. We can’t deny or overlook our responsibility towards our lower cousins as this world belongs to them as much as it belongs to us. We hope, people of the civil society would wake up to this grave situation and take pains to look after these helpless animals who have nowhere to go.