Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Crocodile Swap Planned between India and Czech Republic

There is a new kind of swap being planned in the animal world, and that too cross country. Indian crocodile breeders from Chennai and breeders from a crocodile zoo in Protivin, South Bohemia have decided to exchange a number of crocodiles within the two countries to help the gene pool survive.

Two experts from the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust, the world's best-known crocodile breeding and protection centre visited the Protivin Zoo a while back and have decided to send three gharial males and four females to the Protivin zoo and take two male and three female Cuban crocodiles to India. This move is being made to save endangered species from exticntion in both the countries.

It is already known that ghariyals in India are dying a fast death due to water pollution, hunting and changes in the climate and landscape. The last recorded population of the ghariyals showed just 1400 surviving in the wild.

With Cuban Crocodiles too the story is not good with only an estimate population of 3000-6000. It is endangered as a result of the small area it inhabits and also of crossbreeding with other species.

With breeders from both countries taking a keen interest in the conservation of the gene pool of the two species, it is hoped that ghariyals and the cuban crocodiles will make the new waters their home for life.

Image Credit
Flickr photo by wildxplorer

Monday, March 29, 2010

India’s Endangered Species

For all those new to conservation, here is a quick list of species that are struggling for survival in our vast country.
Pick any and start your campaign of conservation today.
Critically Endangered
• Jenkin's Shrew (Crocidura jenkensii). (Endemic to India.)
• Malabar Large-spotted Civet (Viverra civettina).
• Himalayan Wolf (Canis himalayensis) (Endemic to India and Nepal.)
• Namdapha Flying Squirrel (Biswamayopterus biswasi). (Endemic to India.)
• Pygmy Hog (Sus salvanius).
• Salim Ali's Fruit Bat (Latidens salimalii). (Endemic to India.)
• Sumatran Rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis).
• Wroughton's Free-tailed Bat (Otomops wroughtoni). (Endemic to India.)
• Indian Vulture
• Asiatic Lion (Panthera leo persica)
• Asiatic Wild Dog/ Dhole (Cuon alpinus)
• Asiatic Black Bear (Selenarctos thibetanus)
• Desert Cat (Felis libyca ornata)
• Great Indian Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis)
• Hispid Hare (Caprolagus hispidus)
• Hoolock Gibbon (Hylobates hoolock)
• Flamingo
• Kashmir Stag/ Hangul (Cervus elaphus hanglu)
• Lion-tailed Macaque (Macaca silenus)
• Malabar Civet (Viverra civettina)
• Markhor (Capra falconeri)
• Nilgiri Leaf Monkey (Presbytis johni)
• Pygmy Hog (Sus salvanius)
• Andaman Shrew (Crocidura andamanensis). (Endemic to India)
• Andaman Spiny Shrew (Crocidura hispida). (Endemic to India)
• Indian Elephant or Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus)
• Banteng (Bos javanicus)
• Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus)
• Capped Leaf Monkey (Trachypithecus pileatus)
• Chiru (Tibetan Antelope) (Pantholops hodgsonii)
• Fin Whale (Balaenoptera physalus)
• Ganges River Dolphin (Platanista gangetica gangetica)
• Golden Leaf Monkey (Trachypithecus geei)
• Hispid Hare (Caprolagus hispidus)
• Asian arowana (Scleropages formosus).
• Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta).
• Hoolock Gibbon (Bunipithecus hoolock) (Previously Hylobates hoolock).
• Indus River Dolphin (Platanista minor).
• Kondana Soft-furred Rat (Millardia kondana). (Endemic to India).
• Lion-tailed Macaque (Macaca silenus). (Endemic to India).
• Markhor (Capra falconeri).
• Marsh Mongoose (Herpestes palustris). (Endemic to India.) (Previously considered to be a subspecies of Herpestes javanicus).
• Nicobar Shrew (Crocidura nicobarica). (Endemic to India).
• Nicobar Tree Shrew (Tupaia nicobarica). (Endemic to India).
• Nilgiri Tahr (Hemitragus hylocrius). (Endemic to India).
• Particolored Flying Squirrel (Hylopetes alboniger).
• Peter's Tube-nosed Bat (Murina grisea). (Endemic to India).
• Red Panda(Lesser Panda) (Ailurus fulgens).
• Sei Whale (Balaenoptera borealis).
• Servant Mouse (Mus famulus). (Endemic to India).
• Snow Leopard (Uncia uncia).
• Tiger (Panthera tigris).
• Wild Water Buffalo (Bubalus bubalis). (Previously Bubalus arnee).
• Woolly Flying Squirrel (Eupetaurus cinereus).
• Narcondam Hornbill
• Brow-antlered Deer (Cervus eldi eldi)
• Brown Bear (Ursus arctos)
• Brown Palm Civet (Paradoxurus jerdoni)
• Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa)
• Common Otter (Lutra lutra)
• Dugong/ Seacow (Dugong dugon)
• Ganges River Dolphin (Platanista gangetica)
• Gaur (Bos gaurus)
• Goral (Nemorhaedus goral)
• Indian Wolf (Canis lupus indica)
• Himalayan W-toothed Shrew (Crocidura attenuata)
• Himalayan Musk Deer (Moschus chrysogaster)
• Himalayan Shrew (Soriculus nigrescens)
• Golden Jackal (Canis aureus)
• Indian Fox (Vulpes bengalensis)
• Andaman Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus cognatus). (Endemic to India.)
• Andaman Rat (Rattus stoicus). (Endemic to India.)
• Argali (Ovis ammon).
• Asiatic Black Bear (Ursus thibetanus).
• Asiatic Golden Cat (Catopuma temminckii).
• Asiatic Wild Ass (Equus hemionus).
• Assamese Macaque (Macaca assamensis).
• Back-striped Weasel (Mustela strigidorsa).
• Barasingha (Cervus duvauceli).
• Bare-bellied Hedgehog (Hemiechinus nudiventris). (Endemic to India.)
• Blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra).
• Brown fish owl (Ketupa zeylonensis). (Endemic to India.)
• Central Kashmir Vole (Alticola montosa). (Endemic to India.)
• Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa).
• Day's Shrew (Suncus dayi). (Endemic to India.)
• Dugong (Dugong dugon).
• Eld's Deer (Cervus eldi).
• Elvira Rat (Cremnomys elvira). (Endemic to India.)
• Eurasian Otter (Lutra lutra).
• Fishing Cat (Prionailurus viverrinus).
• Four-horned Antelope (Tetracerus quadricornis).
• Gaur (Bos frontalis).
• Himalayan Tahr (Hemitragus jemlahicus).
• Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae).
• Indian Giant Squirrel (Ratufa indica). (Endemic to India.)
• Irrawaddy Squirrel (Callosciurus pygerythrus).
• Jerdon's Palm Civet (Paradoxurus jerdoni). (Endemic to India.)
• Kashmir Cave Bat (Myotis longipes).
• Kerala Rat (Rattus ranjiniae). (Endemic to India.)
• Khajuria's Leaf-nosed Bat (Hipposideros durgadasi). (Endemic to India.)
• Kolar Leaf-nosed Bat (Hipposideros hypophyllus). (Endemic to India.)
• Lesser Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus hipposideros).
• Mainland Serow (Capricornis sumatraensis).
• Malayan Porcupine (Hystrix brachyura).
• Mandelli's Mouse-eared Bat (Myotis sicarius).
• Marbled Cat (Pardofelis marmorata).
• Mouflon (or Urial) (Ovis orientalis).
• Nicobar Flying Fox (Pteropus faunulus). (Endemic to India.)
• Nilgiri Leaf Monkey (Trachypithecus johnii). (Endemic to India.)
• Nilgiri Marten (Martes gwatkinsii). (Endemic to India.)
• Nonsense Rat (Rattus burrus). (Endemic to India.)
• Pale Grey Shrew (Crocidura pergrisea). (Endemic to India.)
• Palm Rat (Rattus palmarum). (Endemic to India.)
• Red Goral (Naemorhedus baileyi).
• Royal Bengal Tiger
• Rock Eagle-owl (Bubo bengalensis). (Endemic to India.)
• Rusty-spotted Cat (Prionailurus rubiginosus).
• Sikkim Rat (Rattus sikkimensis).
• Sloth Bear (Melursus ursinus).
• Slow Loris (Loris tardigradus).
• Smooth-coated Otter (Lutrogale perspicillata). (Previously Lutra perspicillata)
• Sperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalus).
• Sri Lankan Giant Squirrel (Ratufa macroura).
• Sri Lankan Highland Shrew (Suncus montanus).
• Stumptail Macaque (Macaca arctoides).
• Takin (Budorcas taxicolor).
• Wild Goat (Capra aegagrus).
• Wild Yak (Bos grunniens).
• Lesser Panda (Ailurus fulgens V)
• Indian Wild Ass (Equus hemionus khur)
• Leopard (Panthera pardus)
• Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes montana)
Image Credit
Flickr photo by mape_s, nborun
Photo by kctsang

Monday, March 22, 2010

Olive Ridley Turtles Begin Nesting

They have been about a month late this year but to the utter relief of many conservationists, about 20,000 Olive Ridley turtles began to come to the eastern shores of Orissa, to lay their eggs.

Concerns had earlier been raised about the nesting period of these turtles and missile tests happening in the same vicinity. In fact, the State Government had asked the Centre to ban tests for a few months when the turtles were supposed to come.

The arrival has been late this year and although many eggs will be lost to predators, it is hoped that a few of the next generation will make it through the first phase of their life and survive.

Image Credit
Flickr photo by Nodnab Truk

Saturday, March 20, 2010

World House Sparrow Day Today

Activists in many parts of the country are celebrating the first ever World House Sparrow Day on March 20 to create awareness about the species and to focus on the dwindling numbers of this sweet, small birds.

In places like Vadodara, activists have ordered special nest to be made for the birds out of cardboard boxes and earthen pots.

“Along with these nests, we will also keep track of all the people to whom we have given the nests. At the end of the year, we will conduct a survey to know what exactly happened to the nests, which birds nested in the boxes, and what was the success ratio. This will help us carry forward the campaign next year too,” said Vishal Thakur a participating activist.

It is hoped that more and more people will open their homes or atleast the verandas to these fast vanishing aviators so that they can built nests and bring the next generation into the world.

Nasik-based Mohammed Dilawar, who initiated the movement, said: “Our intention is not to celebrate the day just for the sake of celebration. That is why we have chalked out a plan of action and decided small steps that could easily be taken by the common man. Unless there is awareness among the common people, the house sparrow numbers will continue to dwindle. One can celebrate this day by going out on a picnic and doing some bird watching.

Image Credit
Flickr photo by Noel Zia Lee

Friday, March 19, 2010

India May Soon have the World’s First Environment Courts

Finally India is listening to the pleas of thousands of tortured animals, and innumerable cut trees.
The Minister of State for Environment and Forests, Jairam Ramesh announced that the country may soon see two initiatives called National Green Tribunal (NGT) with a network of specialized Environment Courts and National Environment Protection Authority (NEPA).

The NGT will give the Indian citizen first time judicial remedy as far as environmental damages are concerned. India would be the first country in the world to have such an extensive network of specialized environment courts.

Regarding NEPA he said, “We are taking steps to establish a National Environment Protection Authority (NEPA). NEPA’s core mandate will be to ensure that the standards and stipulation under which environmental approvals are granted are actually adhered to. CPCB and SPCBs will work under one umbrella of NEPA."

He also added that all licensing functions of the ministry will be given to NEPA. This will make the ministry a policy making body while NEPA will control the approval, rejections clearances etc.
Image Credit
Flickr photo by Takomabibelot

Thursday, March 18, 2010

CITES Meet in Doha to Decide Future of Endangered Species

Starting 15 March, delegates from 175 countries who are a part of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, CITES, are meeting to find workable solutions that can protect endangered animal and plant species.

The future of the world's remaining tigers, elephants, rhinos, polar bears, blue fin tuna, sharks, and coral as well as rosewood, mahogany, and holywood will be decided over the next 10 days by the delegates meeting in Doha.

The meeting is held once every three years to decide trade rules for animals and plants at risk of extinction due to commercial trade. The CITES treaty offers varying degrees of protection to some 34,000 species of animals and plants in trade, through a system of permits and certificates.

As the year 2010 has been declared as the Year of Biodiversity, it is believed that CITES will play an important role in regulating the trade of plants and animals and also chalk goals for sustaining and conserving the species.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

IUCN asks India to Save River Dolphins

The population of river Dolphins in India is merely 2500 and with adult Dolphins giving birth once every three years, the numbers may well be dwindling than increasing if proper attention is not given to the situation.

That is why on his recent trip to India to attend a two-day workshop organized by the working group for Action Plan for Dolphin Conservation set up by the Union ministry of forest and environment, IUCN's Cetacean (Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises) Specialists' Group chairman Randall Reeves said that the two most important things that Indian government must do to save River Dolphins is,
• Proper management of gill net fishing
• Appropriate water management policy

Gill net fishing is a method that is adopted by most fishermen in catching river fishes but many times dolphins too are caught in the net and killed. Reeves has asked the government to come up with solutions so that the dolphins can be freed as soon as they are caught in such nets.

The chairperson of the conservation committee and one of the few dedicated people working for the Dolphins, R.K . Sinha supported Reeves views where he said that steps should be taken to declare some stretches of Indian rivers as closed areas in which gill nets should be banned.

Reeves’ suggestion come at a time when the world has already seen China's negligence on this front leading to extinction of Yangtze river dolphins, also known as baiji.

Mr. Sinha, especially was thrilled to hear that the IUCN was willing to share their tagging expertise with Indian scientists.

"We have tagging experts and IUCN is willing to share their expertise with Indian scientists through field training so that tagging of Indian river dolphins could be undertaken without causing any harm to the animals," said Mr. Reeves.

"Tagging of dolphins would help in getting vital information about their home range, dispersal and migration pattern," said Sinha, who is credited with having conducted first authentic study on river dolphins' surface behaviour.

Image Credit
Flickr photo by Zemlinki

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Study: Large Mammals need Improved Protected Areas

A team of researchers from the US and India who conducted a study on 25 large mammals species have found that improving the existing protected areas, making available new areas and better organization will help the species survive this century.

The team also found that the forest cover and human density were key factors affecting the survival of species like Lions, Tigers and Elephants.

"India's fragmented network of relatively small protected areas has high carrying capacities for large mammals," said Krithi K. Karanth, who conducted the study as part of her doctoral thesis at Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment. "But given the overall patterns of extinction estimated in our study, we need to create new areas, and connect them better, if many of the mammals are to persist into the future."

She and her team also found that human tolerance to wildlife was an important factor when it came to their protection. The study revealed that species which were culturally important, and were believed to be non-threatening faired better than other species of animals.

To identify factors critical to the species' survival and estimate their extinction probabilities, the team collected 30,000 records, including hunting, taxidermy and museum records dating back to 1850. Using these historical data and current data they found which species was actually extinct in a locality and which was just non-detected.

Karanth added that for conservation to succeed, policymakers and land managers must also take into account rapid changes in land use, climate, population growth and spread, and economic development now occurring in India and southern Asia.

Image Credit
Flickr photo by chimothy27