Saturday, June 21, 2014

250 lions killed over past 5 years in Gujarat

the world's only abode of Asiatic lions in Gujarat under threat? The Gir wildlife sanctuary and its periphery have witnessed no less than 250 deaths of lions in the last five years. This has raised concerns over the safety of the big cats.

According to the May 2010 census, there are 411 lions in the state spread in the area of 10,000 sqkm. But according to 2013 statistics, lions are now spread in an area of 20,000 sqkm. Experts feel that the death of 250-odd lions is alarming. In 2012-13, the number of deaths was 48, which increased to 53 in 2013-14. Also, in the first three months, approximately 20 lions have died, including eight in accidents. Of these eight, six were run over by trains.

Experts feel that the increase in number of such cases is mainly in the category of unnatural death. This includes electrocution or falling in wells. Officials said that the death of 20-odd lions — over 40% — were because of unnatural deaths in the state.

READ ALSO: Lions outside Gir get radio collars 
Forest officials said "The death of 50-odd lions in the area is totally normal as the figures include that of the new born cubs where the survival rate was only 50%. Earlier, the maximum of two cubs were born to a lioness, but now the number has increased and it is on an average three to four cubs and hence the deaths are also more."
There are high turnover rates (20%) in high density tiger populations that is lots of individual can die if lots are present. As long as the population shows a positive growth, individual deaths are not a cause of worry for the conservation of a species that has numbers over 150 individuals. Besides only deaths of prime age lions are of concern, in cubs 50% mortality is to be expected. Old lions will die by one cause or other, so when we have over 400 lions large number of deaths is expected, outside of forests most lion deaths get detected and reported.

Therefore, unless population shows a decline (estimated by a rigorous scientific method) individual deaths are not a cause of worry," said Yadvendradev Jhala, a scientist with Wildlife Institute of India and a researcher on big cats.

Pride endangered

Year No. of deaths






Total 228

Figures from April 1 to March 31

Friday, June 20, 2014

Environment ministry to crowd source green ads...........

Seeking to involve the general public in its effort to create awareness over green issues, the environment ministry has decided to 'crowd source' ideas or creative inputs for its 'official' advertisements. Official advertisement of the ministry will now be based on ideas of the common man or experts from outside the government.

The ministry had successfully experimented with 'crowd sourcing' while bringing out an advertisement in newspapers across the country on the occasion of the 'World Day to Combat Desertification' on June 17.

The experiment was in tune with environment minister Prakash Javadekar's announcement on the 'World Environment Day' on June 5 when he promised to take several measures to end 'officialdom' in his ministry and promote decision-making with public involvement.

In line with the promise, the ministry had for the first time sought direct public participation in creating 'official' advertisement for any such event and invited entries ahead of the 'World Day to Combat Desertification'. The ministry selected from the entries and brought this out as advertisements in newspapers on Tuesday.

Officials said similar entries in the form of concept along with painting /designs/ captions will be crowd sourced in future for other occasions. "The best entry/entries will be used to develop communication product like advertisement/poster," said an official.

The ministry also decided that the winner of the best entry will be invited for the event and his\her contribution will be suitably recognized. The government will, while inviting the entries, come out with all details of the event for which it intends to crowd source the ideas.

"The ministry will, however, reserve the right to make changes as deemed fit in the original concept\design for development of the final communication product," said the official.
He said the changes would, at the most, be in the form of putting up pictures of Prime Minister and environment minister or any other minister on the final product.

Agra bans plastic bags to curb pollution..............

 With an aim to curb the rising pollution in Yamuna, the Agra district administration has decided to strictly implement the ban on use of polythene in the city. For the same cause, the municipal authorities have been asked to place barricades at Yamuna ghats to resist locals for throwing garbage and polythene into the river. 

In December 2012, the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court ordered the state government to impose a ban on plastic bags across the state. 

Heading a meeting of senior administrative and municipal authorities on Thursday, divisional commissioner Pradeep Bhatnagar instructed the officials to place an immediate ban on the use of polythene below 40 microns in the town. 

Special measures have been directed to the civic body regarding the use and sale of plastic and polythene bags near Taj Trapezium zone. Orders were also passed to place wastepaper bins near the bathing ghats for people to deposit polythene bags and other waste. 

"The polythene nuisance has to be curbed as it was a major source of pollution in the city. Not only are the bags an eyesore, but their use is proving a major hurdle to clean up the city," said Bhatnagar. 

GC Upadhyay, a senior citizen and an environmentalist, said that the residents of Agra must rise against the use of polythene. People have to change their mindsets and life-styles and continue to pressure government agencies to implement the law. 

Agra produces more than 1,000 tonnes of waste daily. The Agra Municipal Corporation has so far been able to process only around 500 tonnes through various recycling ways. 

The Recycled Plastics Manufacture and Usage Rules 1999, several directives of the Supreme Court and the notifications of the ministry of environment and forests, ban the use of polythene bags under 20 microns. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Dolphin chokes to death on plastic off Gujarat coast.....

The pollution in the sea is taking a heavy toll on the marine life along the coast. Latest in the series of tragedies is death of the 14-foot-long dolphin that choked to death after swallowing plastic.

Prakruti Nature Club's Jignesh Gohil, who was present in the rescue attempt, said, "During the postmortem we found that the dolphin, which was about 20 years old, had died because of chocking. In autopsy, we found four thick plastic bags.

The dolphin was 14.4 feet in size and was about one ton in weight. It was found dead along the Sutrapada coast. Senior officials said this was the first incident where plastic bags were recovered from the stomach of a dolphin. In the past there have been incidents where dolphins or dugongs were found dead on the Gujarat coast, but in no plastic was found inside the bodies.

The official said that the presence of plastic in the stomach was an indication of the increasing level of pollution along the coast. Recently a dolphin in the Narmada estuary was spotted which according to the fishermen was nothing new. The fishermen in south Gujarat and Saurashtra and mostly in Kutch have reported the presence of this aquatic mammal.

The population of this large marine mammal is touted to be rising in Gujarat, but there is no specialized force to guide them to freedom in such exigencies, a forest department official said.

Dolphins in Gujarat are frequently spotted in Gulf of Kutch, off Jamanagar coast, and their numbers is growing, he added. It is estimated that Gujarat is home to around 50 to 100 dolphins, though no official census has been conducted so far.

Don't believe in 'environment versus development': Prakash Javadekar

 Union minister for environment and information & broadcasting Prakash Javadekar today said the new government believed in coexistence of environment and development, and not in "environment versus development". 

Addressing a press conference here this evening, the minister said the proposals for a coastal road and a bridge across Mithi river in the city will be taken up on a priority by his ministry. 

Facility of online submission of applications for environmental clearances will be introduced to promote transparency and to expedite the process, he said. 

The new I&B minister said the issue of news on FM channels was close to his heart and it will be examined before the third phase of FM auction. 

Speaking on cable TV digitisation, he said the government may relax the deadlines if necessary, and put a stress on indigenous manufacture of Set Top Boxes. 

During his first visit here after taking charge as the minister, Javadekar met senior officials of All India Radio, Doordarshan, Press Information Bureau, Films Division, etc.

Source by : times of india

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

No headway in Gir lion cub's poaching case............

The state forest department seems to be groping in the dark while searching for the bones and chopped legs of the lion cub that is suspected to have been killed by poachers in Amreli. The department has formed special teams to inspect the area around Liliya where the incident took place and has launched a combing operation in the nearby villages to nab the poachers.
On Friday night, a five-month-old lion cub was found dead on the outskirts of Gir sanctuary in Chandgadh village near Liliya in Amreli district. The cub's carcass was found in mutilated condition. Forest officials suspect that the poachers may have cut off its feet after trapping and killing the animal.

An official involved in the search operation said that in the last 36 hours of intensive search, they could only get some pieces of bones which might have been eaten by other animals after the poaching.

Since they have failed to find the bones, the officials' suspicion that a gang of professional poachers having killed the cub has only grown stronger. However, initial reports which have been received by the department indicate that all the lions in their respective beats were spotted and found to be safe. However, in the revenue area in Liliya and Savarkundla, even the officials themselves were not aware of the exact count and number.

The officials are keeping their fingers crossed, fearing that more carcass may not tumble out. Officials said that they have even rounded up some local labourers who they suspect to be involvement in the poaching. Officials said that based on their intelligences, these labourers have been rounded up and investigations are going on.
Source by : Times of india

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Palitana to junk plastic..............

Palitana to junk plastic..............

Counted among the holiest shrines of Jainism in the world, Palitana's Shetrunjay Hill will soon be a plastic-free zone.

Sources in Anandji Kalyanji Trust that manages the Jain temples in Palitana said the trust functionaries have already started the process of making the religious destination free of plastic menace. The project is to be implemented in a phased manner.

Sources said over 400 volunteers came to Palitana from Mumbai last month and collected plastic from all over Shetrunjay Hill, where a large numbers of Jain temples are located. They picked up plastic pouches, water bottles, wafer packets among other plastic waste.
"We were shocked to find that the waste collected by volunteers amounted to over 900 bags each containing about 15kg of plastic. So we decided to prevent carriage of plastic material atop the hill to reduce the plastic menace," a representative of the trust said.

"We have also written to Pavitra Yatradham Vikas Board of the government to issue a notification in this regard and ban plastics at this religious place," one of the trustees said. Devotees are asked to dump plastic before they start climbing the hill for prayers.

"Every Saturday and Sunday, our volunteers stay at the entrance of the hill at Samvasharan Derasar and request devotees not to carry any plastic material. Our volunteers give them jute bags free of cost to dump platics," a trustee said.

On an average over 10 lakh people visits the Jain temples every year in Palitana. Besides being a religious place, Shetrunjay Hill is close to the forest where Asiatic Lion has its abode. There are about 15 lions are in Palitana area in Bhavnagar.

15 bird species in India critically endangered: International report..............

Fifteen species of birds seen in India have been declared critically endangered by theInternational Union for Conversation of Nature(IUCN) for 2013. The endangered birds, including the Great Indian Bustard, Siberian Crane, White backed Vulture and Red-headed Vulture, are on the decline, said a report ofIUCN updated till December 2013. 

The major reasons for the decline in the population of these birds include loss, modification, fragmentation and degradation of habitat, environmental contaminants, poaching and land use changes, particularly conversion of large areas for crop cultivation. Also, changes in cropping pattern due to various reasons, including implementation of irrigation schemes, increased pesticide usage, livestock-grazing, high levels of disturbance and developmental activities like mining and hydel projects resulted in marginal fall in their population, said the report. 

Threats posed by infrastructure development, such as collisions with vehicles, power-lines and wind turbines pose danger to the birds. 

The other birds in the revised list are Baer's Pochard, Forest Owlet, Bengal Florican, Spoon-billed Sandpiper, Sociable Lapwing, Jerdon's Courser, Whitebellied Heron, Slender-billed Vulture, Indian Vulture, Himalayan Quail and Pink-headed Duck. 

Studies by Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and similar organisations on what contributes most to the decline of several bird species revealed that just like wetlands, most other habitats such as grasslands and forests also faced severe threat due to development pressures. Destruction of deciduous forests in central India has led to the decline in Forest Owlet numbers. 

Destruction of forests in the Western Ghats and the Himalayas continues to endanger many other species, an official of BNHS said. 

Replying to a query in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday, Union environment minister Veerappa Moily said India was a signatory to several major international conventions relating to conservation and management of wildlife, including endangered species of birds. "Financial and technical assistance is provided to state/Union territory governments for protection and management of protected areas as well as other forests under centrally-sponsored schemes," he said. 

by : times of india