Sunday, 7 May 2017

Big Cat Predators of Chobe National Park, Botswana

The Savuti Marsh Area in Chobe National Park in Northern Botswana is home to one of the largest densities of Big Cat Predators not only in Southern Africa but in the whole of Africa.

A) Cheetahs :

The Cheetah is found in fair numbers in Northern Botswana's Savuti Marsh Area which encompasses the Okavango Delta.

They hunt for prey regularly during the first few hours of the Sun rising and during the last few hours of the Sun going down.

Their Prey includes Impala and Springbok as well as other kinds of Gazelle which are found in plenty in Chobe National Park.

Cheetah Males can often be seen singly or in groups of 2 while hunting prey. Cheetah Brothers are a common sight in the Okavango Delta's Savuti Marsh Area.

B) Leopards :

Leopards are found in plenty in woodlands that encompass the Okavango Delta and Savuti Marsh Area in Northern Botswana.

Leopards in the Savuti Marsh Area of Chobe National Park have a diverse diet of prey which includes Impalas, Springboks, and Nyalas wherever they are found.

Other Gazelles also form a substantial part of their prey.

Leopards normally hunt alone in the Savuti Marsh Area with Leopard Cubs not seen in the company of their Mothers during hunts.

C) Lions :

Lions are feared and formidable predators found in and around the Savuti Marsh Area of Chobe National Park.

Their preferred prey species include Zebras, Wildebeests, Buffaloes, Impalas, and Nyala to mention a few.

Sometimes, smaller prey species like Warthogs are regularly killed and eaten by Lions.

Finally, Lions hunt in the company of Prides they live among.




Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Humpback Whales of the Atlantic Ocean -- Giants of the Deep Sea

Introduction :

It is distressing to know that a large number of Humpback Whales on the Atlantic Coastline of the U.S. East Coast are dying or getting beached from North Carolina to Maine.

The root cause of their deaths must be investigated as soon as possible. Atlantic Humpback Whales are Precious Whales in more ways than one.

They are well known for their singing repertoire during the breeding cycle. Singing is mostly done by Males. Their Songs are distinct and unique as compared to other sounds made by them.

Their Songs usually last 10 minutes, but can go on for hours sometimes. The singing male has been seen surfacing to breathe between repetitions of the song.

All Males at a "Breeding Region" usually sing the same song to attract females though changes to the song can occur during the course of the breeding season.

Humpback Whales are the 5th largest of the Baleen Whales and are usually stockier than other whales.

They normally weigh anything from 25-30 Tonnes.

In the North Atlantic Ocean, Humpback Whales are thought to form discrete clusters of Pods in and around their feeding grounds which is usually near the Gulf of Maine, Newfoundland, Labrador etc.

The Humpback Whale Migration is thought to be the largest among any mammals. They can be considered to be "Long Distance Trekkers".

Some reasons for their long distance migration include "Predator Avoidance" specially avoiding Sharks and Orcas also known as Killer Whales. Another reason for their long distance migration includes abundance of food and warm water in their breeding grounds.

Conclusion :

One of the biggest threats to Atlantic Humpback Whales is "Pollution". Specially, dumping of Industrial Waste on the High Seas and in Estuaries which flow into the Ocean resulting in the ingestion of "Contaminated Prey" ultimately resulting in the death of Dozens of Humpbacks.

Let us promise to keep Oceans which are the Homes of Humpbacks free of Industrial Waste.

Credits :

The Humpback Whale Research Foundation 


Thursday, 27 April 2017

Help Save the Iconic Tigers of Vidarbha

It is with a heavy heart that I write about the painful accidental death of Srinivas -- An Iconic Young Tiger and Offspring of Jai -- The Iconic Tiger of Umred Karhandla Wildlife Sanctuary near Nagpur.

Bittu another son of Jai faces a similar fate in the wilds of Vidarbha.

It is sad to say that more attention in India is given to the Conservation of Lakhs and Lakhs of Cows, but only "Lip Service" is given to the conservation and safety of Tigers throughout the length and breadth of India -- The State of Maharashtra included.

Wild Royal Bengal Tigers are a precious symbol of Wild India.

Cows do not need conservation and safety, but Wild Tigers most definitely do.

There are only less than 2,000 Tigers left in the Wild today in India.

It is appalling that the authorities concerned all over the country seem to have become "Mute Spectators" to the rampant poaching of tigers.

In the Field of Wildlife Conservation, Botswana -- A Country in Southern Africa should be a role model for India.

Botswana is a pioneer in the field of Elephant and White Rhino Conservation. Wildlife is well protected in Botswana because of strict Government Protection and Conservation Programmes.

India needs to imitate Botswana asap if its serious about Tiger Conservation.



Friday, 10 March 2017

Northern Right Whales -- Magnificent Whales on the brink of extinction

Introduction :

Northern Right Whales are Whales that are magnificent in more ways than one. Their Social and Family History is rich with examples of caring, helpfulness, co-existence, and leadership through the thick and thin of life.

Their numbers have yet to recover from 5 centuries of relentless mass slaughter. Perhaps 500 of these Whales exist in the deep oceans that cover the earth.

They go about swimming from the waters of Boston's and Cape Cod's Coastline to give birth to young ones off the South Eastern Coast of the States of Georgia and Florida respectively.

Whalers from various countries in the Far East have been slaughtering these Whales for decades for their oil, meat, bone, and baleen.

Very often, Northern Right Whales in the recent past have been killed by large Merchant Navy Ships on the High Seas.

This has occurred even in areas where they breed regularly.

Another Problem for them is getting entangled in Fishing Nets of Fishermen who make a living on the High Seas.

Breeding and Eating Habits :

Female Northern Right Whales are ready to produce young whales between the age of 8-10 years. The average weight of Northern Right Whales is between 35,000 - 70,000 kilos.

Most Male and Female Northern Right Whales are between 10-15 metres in length.

Their diet mostly consists of various kinds of Sea Plankton, Krill, and Schools of small fish like herring.

Conclusion :

Northern Right Whales that are mostly found all along the Eastern Sea Board of the United States face a multitude of threats.

The most common being collisions with Deep Sea Trawlers and getting caught in Gill Nets and various kinds of fishing nets.

Only "No Fishing Zones" in their immediate calving and feeding areas can save them for posterity.

Credits and References :

1) Northern Right Whales : A striking case for more help
     National Geographic Magazine January 1998, Vol - 193 No -1

2)   Northern Right Whales -- DNA Bank at Trent University

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Humpback Whales -- Gorgeous Ocean Mammals

Introduction :

Whales are Mammals that live their entire lives in the vast oceans that cover the earth.

As they are Mammals, they give birth to young ones just like Humans do. Their Life -Span is also similar to Humans.

Humpback Whales have bodies that are well geared to move through vast oceans. Their Bodies are constructed in such a way that helps them to survive in oceans where the currents are fairly strong.

Humpback Whales have extremely strong fins that help them to move through vast amounts of water in the Pacific Ocean and Atlantic Ocean.

Since, Humpback Whales are Mammals they need to come to the surface of the water regularly to breathe.

Eating and Breeding Habits :

The average Humpback Whale feeds mostly on Krill and on small fish like Herring. They eat about 500 Kilos of small fish and krill every day in order to maintain body weight.

North Pacific Humpback Whales spend their time breeding in the coastal waters around Hawaii.

Humpback Whales start arriving in the waters around Hawaii from early October and their numbers rapidly rise by February and March.

Humpback Whales that are young mothers usually have their first calf when they are between 8-10 years old. Calves that are just born are around 10-15 Feet in Length.

Humpback Whales that live and breed in the Pacific Ocean are "Pseudo Opera Tenors of the Pacific" because of their seeming sorrowful songs they sing to each other during the breeding cycle.

Conclusion :

It seems like Humpback Whale Populations are generally doing well but yet there are areas of concern.

As, their populations increase there is the possibility of accidents because of collision with Humans on the High Seas namely in the form of deadly accidents with Merchant Navy Ships and getting caught in Fishing Nets of Deep Sea Trawlers.

The need of the Hour is to have a strict "No Fishing Zone" in the Pacific Ocean where Humpback Whales live and breed.

Credits and References :

Humpback Whales of South Eastern Alaska



 

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Bryde's Whales -- Giant Mermaids of the Indian Ocean

Introduction :

Bryde's Whales that live in and around the Indian Ocean belong to the Family of "Baleen Whales" which includes a number of "Rorqual Whales" such as Blue Whales.

Bryde's Whales have been observed in the recent past in Pods of 4 Whales each off the Coastal Waters of Ratnagiri District in Maharashtra State in the company of "Behemoth"  Blue Whales.

Bryde's Whales are frequently found in warm tropical and sub-tropical Oceanic Waters.

They feed on a variety of Fish found in the Open Ocean like Salmon, Tuna, Mackerel, and specially Krill which makes up a major proportion of their diet.

They normally weigh anything between 10 Tonnes -40 Tonnes. They are normally 13-16 metres in length when they are fully grown adults.

Bryde's Whales that are Male are normally smaller in size than Females. This can be observed all over their range in the Indian Ocean.

Bryde's Whales have between 40-70 Pleats around the region of their bodies that expand when they are feeding on Shoals of Fish and Krill.

Breeding Behaviour :

Male and Female Bryde Whales are physically mature when they are between 10-12 metres in length.

Male Bryde Whales are thought to be 10 -15 years of Age while Female Bryde Whales are thought to be between 8-10 years of age. Female Bryde Whales give birth once every 2 years and Calves are born in the Summer Season.

Conclusion :

The Biggest Challenge with regard to protecting Bryde's Whales in the Indian Ocean is protecting them from Ocean Going Merchant Ships which accidentally collide against them in the open ocean.

Another Danger is protecting them from Industrial Pollutants that are released in the open ocean.

Credits and References :

Whale of a View
Wednesday December 14, 2016
Hindustan Times, Mumbai

 

Monday, 16 January 2017

Botswana, My One and Only Love

Yes, That's True. Botswana is my one and only love.

It is my favourite "Safari Destination" in the world.

In my humble opinion, There is no country like Botswana in this Universe. The less said about other countries the better.

The extent to which the People of Botswana, Politicians included love "Wildlife" is unfathomable. The Future for Wildlife in Botswana seems quite rosy.

Sir Seretse Ian Khama -- the present President of Botswana is an ardent Wildlife Lover and Champion of Animal Rights.

17% of Land in Botswana has been reserved exclusively for Wildlife. This itself, is an indication that Botswana is Pro- Wildlife, Pro-Environment, and Pro-Nature.

Chobe National Park and the Okavango Delta are strongholds for Vast Elephant Herds. While Tuli Game Reserve is a stronghold for the Endangered Cheetah.

Kalahari Gemsbok National Park is Home to Dozens of Big Cat Predators like Lions, Spotted Leopards, and Cheetahs.

Kalahari Gemsbok National Park is "Big Cat Predator Paradise". Desert Antelopes which roam the Kalahari Desert are "Natural Prey" for these Big Cat Predators.

If the Cheetah has to successfully survive in Africa, Botswana is the best country in terms of Wilderness Areas for it with plenty of Wild Game in the Grasslands, Wetlands, and Arid Desert Regions of Botswana.