Thursday, July 22, 2010

Now a Postage Stamp Honouring the House Sparrow

What was once a common sight in every home and garden in India has now become a part of distant memory for many Indian-the chirruping sounds, the twittering across the window panes and the squabble of playful house sparrows have all died down due to the rapid industrialisation, deforestation and urban development becoming a part of new India.

To remind people of the little beauties who are bearing the grunt of modernisation, the Postage Department of India, recently came up with postage stamps of the house sparrow as an addition to its growing stamps on endangered species.

S B Vyavahare, assistant director, Mumbai General Post Office (GPO) said.
“It has been found that sparrows, which were once a common sight, are now
rapidly disappearing not only in India, but across the world. This is our small
effort to help save the species,’’ he added.

Although in the era of emails and chats, not many use the postal department’s services as frequently as they used to, special commemorative postal stamps or stamps on nature have always been popular among kids and philatelists. The departments has in the past published stamps on endangered birds of India, Ganga River Dophins, flowers, International Year of Biodiversity etc.

“The stamps eventually draw attention to the habitats and other fascinating features of the species,’’ said Vyavahare.

Hope therefore that the house sparrow stamp does its work of creating a buzz among people to save these feathered friends from extinction.
Image Credit
photo by foxpary4 via cc/Flickr

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Countries Pledge to Double Tiger Count by 2022

It is the Chinese year of the tiger and thankfully nations are raising their voices of concern for the sorry state of the regal animal. In a bid to save the tigers from dying an untimely death 13 countries that are home to the tigers met at Bali to discuss strategic plans to conserve the tiger population.

The meeting is said to be groundwork for the Tiger Summit to be held in St. Petersburg, Russia later this year.

‘While there's still work to be done in the coming weeks, this has been
a crucial meeting ahead of the Tiger Summit,' said Michael Baltzer, leader of
WWF's Tiger Programme. ‘These countries have worked together to lay down solid
plans to double the number of tigers in the wild by 2022 - a critical goal to
save this endangered animal. '

While governments are always criticised for their visible neglect regarding wildlife issues, the coming together of these 13 countries seems like a positive move towards conservation according to Baltzer as they are at least willingly trying to make a difference.

In Bali the 13 governments first showcased their individual plans to protect tigers which could later be a part of the Global Tiger Recovery Program. The plans will overall cost almost 356 million dollars for immediate implementation.

‘Now that these countries have shown their
willingness to act, the success of any global plan launched in St Petersburg
will depend on financial support from the international community and the tiger
nations themselves,' Baltzer said.
The plan really is to double the count of tigers by 2022 and the success largely depends on the committed efforts of environmentalists and governments to save tigers. If the financial issues are resolved and looked as a means to achieve a greater dream, the tigers can surely be saved.
Image Credit
courtesy Pavel Sigarteu via cc/Flickr

Sunday, July 18, 2010

First Research Paper on Indian Bison

The IUCN red list names it as an endangered species and so do many Indian environmentalist, but the Indian Bison still does not claim the limelight as well as its other endangered friends- the tiger or the elephant. But now things are looking up for the Indian Bison also known as the Gaur with Dr. Farshid Ahrestani’s soon to be published research paper on the Indian Bison titled ‘Life history and Traits of Gaur: First Analysis’

Says the research scientist,“There have been very few studies done on a large
herbivore such as the gaur. The largest population of gaur is found in India,
but its number is declining due to various reasons. A comprehensive study on
them will help understand the species, and with knowledge we can intervene and
protect them from extinction.”

The research was carried out in Bandipur National park in Karnataka and Mudumalai National Park in Tamil Nadu. The researcher warns that there are very few of the gaurs left in the wild with the population in India being between 12,000 and 22,000. The Indian bison in genral looks tough but has a very short life span of just 20 years. With habitat loss and bovine diseases on the rise, 80 percent of the population has wiped out.

Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) has organised a lecture on the topic in order to educate and spread the knowledge about the Indian Bison so that more scientists and organisations come forward to help.
Image Credit
Photo by TheSeafarer via cc/Flickr

Friday, July 16, 2010

Endangered Asiatic Lions Cubs born at German Zoo

Asiatic lions are the pride of India. Sasan Gir National Park in Gujarat is the last bastion of the species in the world and good news is they are happy here with the latest census showing their number growing considerably to more than 400 lions in the reserve.
What comes as further good news for the species is that two new members have been added to the Asiatic lion’s family, although in captivity in Germany.
The German Magdeburg zoo was in a celebratory mood in May when the zoo’s lioness gave birth to two healthy Asiatic Lion cubs. The cubs have not yet been named but their routine medical tests show they are healthy and absolutely their naughtiest best in the zoo. The Magdeburg zoo is one of the few German zoos that take special interest in working towards revitalizing a species and the cubs are the fourth and fifth lions to be born at the zoo.
The cubs have been vaccinated and micro chipped.

Image Credit
Photo by wwarby via cc/Flickr

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Endangered Vultures Hatch in Captivity

They may not be freely flying over the skies yet but the three chicks of the long-billed vulture bred in captivity in India, surely raise hope for these critically endangered birds.

The three hatched in a breeding centre in Haryana in the months of February and March and took their first flight recently. They are an addition to the population of Asian vultures that have three varieties – the long-billed, slender-billed and oriental white-blacked vultures. All three species are critically endangered with just 60,000 left in the world today.

The main reason for the death of these vultures has been eating of cattle carcasses with diclofenac, a pain-killer given to sick cows. Over the last six years Indian scientists with aid and guidance from the Britain's Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, have been trying to breed the three species in captivity. While they had been successful in breeding the other two species, this is the first time that the long-billed vulture has been bred.

According to Graham Madge, spokesperson for the Britain royal society, now efforts are being made by them and Bombay Natural History Society to develop safe zones for the birds so that they can fly freely.
Image Credit
Photo by donjd2 via cc/Flickr