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Save Snow Leopards to Avoid Himalayan Blunder

In a country where wildlife conservation revolves around tigers- the top predator playing a pivotal role in the health and diversity of an ecosystem,  the significance of  snow leopard -an important species, seems to be  ignored and overlooked. Shy and solitary, snow leopards are found  in India high up in the Himalayas, the source of most of our fresh water and 3 perennial rivers – the Ganga, Yamuna and Brahmaputra, lifeline of  over 500 million Indians. Without the snow leopard, the Himalayan ecosystem will be adversely affected, impacting  the rivers too. Healthy population of snow leopards also indicates good health of the Himalayas .Ignoring this eco -system would be like a Himalayan blunder.On  the World Snow Leopard Day this year on October 23, we  call upon  all those concerned with the issue to underline the importance of the elusive cat and not undermine it.    Protect Glaciers  to Save Leopards  Protecting the snow leopard and its habitat will ensure protection of the major
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Corbett Controversy: Misplaced Priorities of Politicians

One of the most celebrated tiger reserves of the world, Jim Corbett national park was in the news last week, albeit for the wrong reasons. Union minister of state for forest and environment Ashwini Kumar Choubey  had expressed his intentions to  rechristen   the reserve as Ramganga national park when there are a number of environmental issues pending in Uttarakhand . But the minister chose for renaming of the park which was almost immediately turned down by the state government. This is one of the top safari destinations of the country and very popular among tourists. When the state forest minister Harak Singh Rawat declined the Union minister’s idea on name change, he had in mind the potential threat to tourism activities. “A name change will hit tourism in Uttarakhand as the park is popular, among international tourists, as Corbett,” the minister said.  Interestingly, both the ministers, it seems, did not have on their priority list  the issues pertaining to protection of forest and

Cheetahs' Flight to India Delayed

Translocation of cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) to Kuno Palpur national park in Madhya Pradesh has been delayed. Though the government has been highlighting covid19 spread in Africa as the prime reason, India has yet to receive the permission of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna), an international agreement between governments to preserve plants and animals of the planet to ensure that the international trade in their specimens does not threaten their survival. India’s application to bring this spotted at is yet to be cleared by this international organisation.  India 's Application With CITES Pending  Cheetah was scheduled to have been transported from Namibia and South Africa to Kuno in November this year. In all 8 cheetahs were scheduled to be translocated from the two places. But India applied “quite late” for the relocation of cheetah leading to delay in the processing of the application. Now this fastest animal on four

Balloon Safari In Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve Creates Controversy

After four months of monsoon break when Bandhavgarh national park was thrown open for tourists again on October 1, a hot air balloon flying low over core area of the tiger reserve erupted controversy. A member of National Tiger Conservation Authority member Satyendra Tiwari   blew the whistle leading to questions whether hot air balloons should be allowed to fly over such a low height. Can Hot Balloon Fly over Core Area ?                                                                                                                     Some tourists on a tiger safari on gypsies also spotted the balloon.  But Tiwari, an NTCA member  clicked a picture of the   balloon  and posted it on Facebook . He said if you  see  it (the picture  ) carefully you can see a white dot amongst the trees  which is  a watch tower in Chakradhara meadow and this is the tree line near  cave number 1.  “ No matter  the elevation of the place I was standing , I cannot make this balloon look below the tree line

Awesome Assam : Commitment to Conserve its Biodiversity

For the past few months, Assam has been buzzing with positive news stories of environment and wildlife conservation activities. Three months ago, two new national parks came into existence while burning of rhino horns has grabbed international headlines. Assam has set the agenda for the conservation of some of the most endangered species including the greater one -horn rhino and golden langur, one of the world’s most endangered primates endemic to northeast India and Bhutan.    Unique, Unmatched Transboundary  Biodiversity Famous for golden langur, Raimona national park , became sixth national park of Assam on June 5 this year followed by Eastern Assam’s Dehing Patkai national park  and elephant reserve  on June 9 2021. The five national parks that existed prior to the 422 sq km Raimona are Kaziranga, Manas- both world heritage sites-, Nameri, Orang and Dibru-Saikhowa. Assam now stands third in the list of the states in India with the most national parks after 12 in Madhya Pradesh and

Rhino Horns Consign to Flames but Will it Check Poaching?

  Amidst chanting of rhymes and vedic rituals, the “world’s largest stockpile” of rhino horns was burnt to ashes in Assam. The ceremony was held in a  stadium of Bokakhat, the headquarters of the Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve , a world heritge site, on the occasion of  the World Rhino Day on  September 22. It was aimed at dispelling myths leading to an illegal horn trade and the poaching of the majestic animal.  But the question raised by the environmentalists is , “ Will it check the rhino poaching”? " A World Record" A large number of people witnessed the “ world record”  made at the Bokakhat  stadium when 2,479 horns stored in 12 district treasuries since 1979 were burnt in six large iron furnaces  especially designed for the purpose. These were lit remotely through drones . The weight of the horns destroyed was 1,305.25 kg. Before the  horns were consigned to flames, experts had verified the horns using "scientific methods" at the treasuries they wer

Big Step Towards Conservation of Kaziranga Rhino

The World Rhino day (WRD) – September 22- is going to witness an unprecedented happening in Assam.  The state government has decided to set ablaze nearly 2,500 confiscated rhinoceros’ horns on this day to spread a message against the illegal multi-million dollar  trade of the horns. The pachyderm, listed as vulnerable on the IUCN red list , is  killed for its horns. Preparations are underway at Bokakhat in Assam's Golaghat district, near Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve (KNPTR), to destroy 2,479 pieces of rhino horn housed in state treasuries. This will be done publicly. These horns confiscated from poachers have been piling for years in the government treasuries . Home to these beautiful animals, Kaziranga is a world heritage site. It is a major wildlife tourism attraction.    Myths of Aphrodisiac and Illegal Trade of Horns Long ago, North-East India’s active conservation group Nature’s Beckon had claimed that the state forest department used to sell rhino horns even aft