Thursday, 31 March 2016

World Tiger Day 2016 -- 29th July

Introduction :

On World Tiger Day 2016, Let us take a look at the Royal Bengal Tiger and its future in Indian Forests.

Today, Royal Bengal Tigers number less than 2,200 in India and are falling rapidly.

The Tiger is the King of the Indian Forest but is facing grave danger on a daily basis from vile poaching gangs who smuggle the skins of Tigers to countries in the Far East where it is in great demand.

Saving the Tiger is essential and important :

India will lose its wondrous tigers completely if we do not take up the challenge of saving this "Majestic Striped Beauty" with a new and powerful urgency.

The challenge of saving the Tiger is at the heart of "Wildlife Conservation". The Tiger is in trouble and only we can rescue it. Human Beings are responsible for the Tiger's plight and only Human Beings can ensure the tiger's survival needs are met in the wild so it can effectively survive.

10 essential points with regard to Royal Bengal Tigers :

1. I believe that the Royal Bengal Tiger is the most beautiful beast in the world and a regal Big Cat that one can still find in the wild.

2. Saving Majestic and Magnificent Royal Bengal Tigers in India rests on a sophisticated biological knowledge about the tiger's needs for quality space in Reserved and Unprotected Forests and adequate prey and water for Adult Tigers, Juveniles, and Cubs at heel.

3. Saving Tigers rests on the well being of its prey, namely Sambhar Deer, Swamp Deer, also known as Barasingha, Barking Deer, Chital or Spotted Deer, Blackbuck, and Herds of Wild Gaur also known as Indian Wild Bison and the varied forests where they still live, its critical habitat in blocks large enough to support viable tiger populations.

4. Saving the Tiger rests on the skill and dedication of "Tiger Conservationists" like Valmik Thapar, Dr. Ullas Karanth and Dr. Raghu Chundawat entrusted with seeking ways and means for the Tiger's survival.

5. To me, it is insane to kill a beautiful and magnificent animal like the Royal Bengal Tiger and use its skin as a decoration on oneself like a number of individuals from the Far East have been doing for a number of years.

6.  I also believe that Dr. Raghu Chundawat, Valmik Thapar, Fateh Singh Rathore (now deceased), P.K. Sen, and Krishnendu Bose to mention a few are India's conscience against the rampant poaching of Big Cats.

7. It was they who discovered that "Sariska's Striped Beauties" were horrendously slaughtered and skins transported to a neighbouring country through a network of illegal wildlife smugglers based in India and Nepal respectively. They were also responsible for discovering the "TRUTH" about the disappearance of all Big Cats from Panna Tiger Reserve.

8. Killing a "Royal Bengal Tiger" for its skin or bones as an aphrodisiac for individuals in the Far East is inhuman and highly cruel.

9. Wild Royal Bengal Tigers remain "critically endangered" in many parts of India like Similipal, Palamau, Indravati, and Valmiki Tiger Reserves to mention a few; mainly due to a lack of political will in protecting Tigers and their prey from ruthless poachers, mining companies, and lawless political forces.

10. Tadoba Tiger Reserve near Nagpur in Maharashtra is "Tiger Country". The birth of 26 Tiger Cubs till today proves that Tadoba Tiger Reserve has the finest Tiger Habitat in the country. The State's oldest National Park has rich wildlife habitat and is the perfect breeding place for Tigers.

At the Devdoh Forest Range and Moharli Forest Range, one can see Breeding Tigers and their Cubs in all their beauty and glory.

 

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

DZANGA BAI - FOREST ELEPHANT PARADISE THAT IS DISAPPEARING

Introduction :

Dzanga Bai is a Tropical Rain Forest Clearing situated within the confines of Dzanga Ndoki National Park in the crisis and chaos ridden Central African Republic in Central Africa. It is being destroyed by organized poacher gangs on a daily basis.

It was once said that in the Continent of Africa, human communities were like islands surrounded by Elephants. These days, its exactly the opposite as Elephant Populations are plummeting and drastically declining almost all over Africa due to rampant poaching.

Dr. Andrea Turkalo of the Wildlife Conservation Society - New York conducted a pioneering study of "Forest Elephants" for more than 20 years at Dzanga Bai, a remote 30 acre clearing within one of the largest of such islands on the continent - a cluster of rainforest preserves in Central Africa.

When Dr. Turkalo, came to Dzanga Bai in the late 1980's, little was known about "Loxodonta Africana Cyclotis", the Savannah Elephant's elusive smaller cousin that makes up 20% of the 400,000 remaining African Elephants or less.

Ranging widely through dense rainforest vegetation, Forest Elephants are extraordinarily difficult to study. For years, researchers considered themselves lucky even to spot a Forest Elephant, much less observe one and based their limited conclusions on indirect evidence such as dung or feeding trails.

Then, Dr. Turkalo set up camp at Dzanga Bai where Forest Elephants congregate to drink and dig minerals from the soil.

Working from a platform in the trees, Dr. Turkalo meticulously observed every Forest Elephant that visited Dzanga Bai. She noted physical characteristics so as to establish individual identities, and then built on this data to study life histories, family structure, and patterns of group behaviour.

Over the last 20 years or more, Dr. Turkalo has spent most afternoons on her platform "Unravelling  the intricacies of the forest elephant lives".

Bachelor Life of Forest Elephants :

Middle - aged Males gather at the Modoubou River near Dzanga Bai during the rainy season, using a network of foot-worn trails that are probably centuries old.

Solitary travellers in the "Equatorial Rain Forest", these bachelors socialize at such clearings relying more on their sense of smell than on eyesight to identify old friends or foes.

Why saving Forest Elephants at Dzanga Bai is important :

There are less than 4,000 Forest Elephants left at Dzanga Bai. Because of the chaos in the Central African Republic, these Forest Elephants are at the mercy of poacher gangs as there is no one to protect them.

Dr. Turkalo has identified more than 2,500 Forest Elephants at Dzanga Bai over the last 20 years or more. Dr. Turkalo has brought a wealth of research from Dzanga Bai to the world. She has studied more than 300 Forest Elephant Families in depth. What she has found, has been a classic matriarchal system with all groups led by mature females. It is obvious that they have highly organized social lives centred around the "Matriarch" who controls everything.

Since Forest Elephants play a key role in spreading "Biological Diversity" within tropical rainforests in the Central African Republic it is essential that "Elephant Conservationists" get their act together to save forest elephants for posterity before poacher gangs beat them in the race and slaughter them for their ivory.

Conclusion :

Saving Forest Elephants of Dzanga Bai who do not have good eyesight is of utmost importance now. It has been documented by Dr. Turkalo how forest elephants communicate with each other in the absence of good eyesight. From birth, Forest Elephants use their trunks to touch each other establishing bonds of kinship while storing vital information from smells and textures to the muscular strength of their playmates.

Later, these games become more aggressive specially among males which grapple and joust with each other in order to establish dominance.

According to Dr. Turkalo, Forest Elephants dig relentlessly with their tusks and trunks in the muck at Dzanga Bai, mining the earth for salt and other minerals to supplement their diet of leaves, bark, grasses, and fruit.

Elephants work overtime to excavate these holes, according to Dr. Turkalo. "It is their main activity in the clearing".

Trampled by generations of tonnage underfoot, the clearing at Dzanga Ndoki National Park is constantly growing.

Forest Elephants pull down tree branches around the perimeter by tugging on a vine, or will strip bark off a tree until it dies and falls -- opening the forest to sunlight and to newer and more edible vegetation.

With the number of Forest Elephants Dr. Turkalo has counted, observed, and identified it is no wonder she calls "Dzanga Bai" a miracle.

But to keep Dzanga Bai as a miracle for generations of forest elephants, "zero tolerance" needs to be practiced against organized poacher gangs who slaughter these hapless elephants.

Let's hope that these forest elephants at "Dzanga Bai" never ever go extinct.

Reference :

National Geographic Magazine, February 1999
Vol 195, N0 -2 Pages 100-113
Forest Elephants by Don Belt





Monday, 14 March 2016

Another Message for Readers

Dear Friends,

I will be posting 2 more articles connected to Global Wildlife Conservation for the months of March and July.

They are as follows :

1) Dzanga Bai -- Forest Elephant Paradise that is disappearing.

2) World Tiger Day 2016.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

The Smiling Ballerinas of the Sea

Sub Title 1 : Help Stop the slaughter of Dolphins on the West Coast of India

Sub Title 2 : A Dolphin Sanctuary on the West Coast of India is the need of the Hour

Introduction :

These Dolphins are like your "smiley" playful children attending ballerina classes !!

Would you chop your huggable little darlings and serve them on a platter because of the money they bring in ??

Every time they spring up in synchronized leaps, they seem like the best trained ballerinas on any "world stage" and you feel like they are challenging you saying "Anything you can do, I can do better than you !!

You feel like "running and hugging them" if that was possible at all in the "open sea".

In view of all this, I am absolutely horrified at the large scale slaughter of a number of species of Dolphins by notorious deep sea trawlers all along the Karwar Coast -- part of the West Coast of India which was published by DNA India in July 2009.

The title of the article in DNA India was "Endangered Dolphins are poached mercilessly" which in my opinion was apt.

Annually, 500 playful and innocent dolphins are brutally slaughtered by deep sea trawlers on the Karwar Coast. I find it extremely distressing as a "Passionate Dolphin Lover" from Mumbai that Star Hotels in various parts of Goa are serving "Dolphin Meat" on their menu.

More importantly, as a Goan from Goa and as an Indian I find it extremely disgusting that nothing at all is being done to stop this barbaric slaughter of these intelligent, playful, innocent, and lovable marine mammals.

Dolphin Facts :

It must be clearly remembered that Dolphins are not "Fish" at all. They are mammals, who are smaller relatives of great whales. A number of dolphins are some of the most intelligent animals on this planet; in the kingly company of Wild Elephant Herds whose family life and inter-personal behaviour is remarkable and outstanding.

The memory capacity of dolphins matches our very own; they are capable of following complicated directions through all kinds of commands.

What is really and truly remarkable is that Dolphins seem quite capable of developing ties with human beings. To so many of us, the average "Bottle Nose Dolphin" has come to be cherished for the love and intimacy it bestows on Adults and Kids.

Increasingly, We human beings find ourselves fascinated with the prospect of having pseudo- human "relatives" in the vast open sea.

Our vast knowledge of these dolphins is their protection all over the Universe. "One cannot kill and slaughter on a whim or fancy, what you come to know and love".

One of the problems on the Karwar Coast is that most "Commercial Fishermen" frequently regard dolphins as just another kind of fish to be hunted.

On the commercial level, in every country there are few pangs of conscience at all; almost every human society has got used to "Dolphin Slaughter". This must stop right now.

Star Hotels in Goa the Driving Force behind Dolphin Slaughter :

Star Hotels in Goa who serve "Dolphin Meat" on a platter should be boycotted completely. An urgent awareness campaign must be conducted as soon as possible from Panjim -- The State Capital of Goa to Margao and from Calangute to the beaches of South and North Goa by "Dolphin Lovers" and more importantly by the Goa State Government in conjunction with the Karnataka State Government with immediate effect highlighting the fact that all "Species of Dolphins" are critically endangered on the West Coast of India and need the highest and best protection in the land from deep sea trawlers who are out to slaughter them.

It needs to be stated in no uncertain terms that dolphins on the West Coast of India specially on the Karwar Coast are "critically endangered" to a dreadful extent.

The Karwar Coast is home to a number of species of dolphins; the most common being Bottle Nose Dolphins, Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphins, and Long Snouted Spinner Dolphins.

A number of serious questions need to be raised with regard to the supply of dolphin meat to Star Hotels in Goa :

1. How is it that "Star Hotels in Goa are unaware that what they are doing is "illegal that is having and serving Dolphin Meat on the Menu ??

I say this simply because, all dolphins who are mammals in India are critically endangered and are supposedly protected by Wildlife Conservation Laws and Marine Laws !!

2. Are these Star Hotels in Goa clueless that they are serving "Critically Endangered Species" on a plate to various hotel guests, specially to Far East Expatriates and others who have an obnoxious love for Dolphin Meat ??

This must be stopped as soon as possible.

3. Would these Star Hotels in Goa serve a grilled or marinated "Pet Pedigree Dog" to a hotel guest ?? This is said simply because Bottle Nose Dolphins, Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphins and Long Snouted Spinner Dolphins and all Dolphins found on the Karwar Coast are better than our pet dogs if not 5-10 million times better.

Eating Dolphins is akin to eating your very own "Pet Pedigree Dog". All Dolphins found on the West Coast of India are extremely intelligent aquatic mammals who are more human, more loving, and have a terrific friendly disposition which i believe is at least 10,000 times better than the best Pet Pedigree Dog like Pomeranians, Alsatians, Beagles, and German Spitz to name a few.

4. Isn't it terribly sad that these innocent Dolphins who live on the Karwar Coast have a friendly attitude which is truly proving to be their death in more ways than one ??

At Sea World in San Diego, California various dolphins have been trained to engage in a variety of tasks and they even communicate with human beings- with their trainers and the audience included.

It therefore distresses me endlessly, as a Goan and as an Indian that these Dolphins who are capable of so much and more are being slaughtered on the Karwar Coast. I believe that the Dolphins of the Karwar Coast possibly have an I.Q. better than the best I.T. Professional worldwide and are possibly more loving than any human on this earth.

Bottle Nose Dolphins, Indo- Pacific Humpback Dolphins, and Long Snouted Spinner Dolphins on the Karwar Coast are man's last link to his "Sea Relatives".

If this slaughter is allowed to go on, we will never be in touch and have close contact with our most loving, most human, most caring, most intelligent, and most accepting of our sea relatives namely -- Dolphins.

Dolphin Sonar : The Outstanding Sound Machine :

Schools of Dolphins rely on split-second clicks between themselves to warn each other of impending danger, like Killer Orca Whales or Killer Sharks beneath the waves.

On the surface of the water, a boat's hull can be seen sliding through the water, yet schools of dolphins seem to detect these boats -- why is that ??

When dolphins do not rely on smell at all !! This is only because it has a skull which is adapted to sending and receiving signals and a fairly large brain which helps them interpret them.

Conclusion :

We must make Dolphins our partners in the sea. Instead of killing them off, we need to learn desperately from them what we are destroying so actively.

Once we do that, only then can human beings and the Oceanic World be capable of living in something which could be called "ecological peace".

The Dolphin is a "Wild Animal" that is so accepting of human beings, yet we are so indifferent to its plight when it is harpooned and slaughtered in all kinds of ways as it was on the Karwar Coast in India in 2009/2010 and perhaps even now in 2016.

It is very important to say here, that every individual dolphin has a distinctive signature whistle. Infant Dolphins have signature whistles quite different from their parents and yet other dolphins learn to associate every different whistle with every different individual.

Is this 'Extra-ordinary Intelligence at work or what ??

Through listening for whistles, Dolphins keep track of fellow dolphins even when they cannot see them. This is truly magnificent !!

This shows us that, while features of some dolphins are stable; others may vary. Changes that take place during the processing of a signature whistle from Dolphin to Dolphin could pass on additional information that other dolphins can hear. This is absolutely essential for their survival from Killer Orcas, Harpooners, Sharks, and Deep Sea Trawlers.

Let us in India and throughout the world take a strong stand right now against the endless slaughter of innocent and intelligent dolphins on the Karwar Coast or it will be too late if no action is taken at all.

If action is not taken, right now to save these dolphins we are in immediate danger of losing the finest aquatic mammal that has lived in oceans since the beginning of time.

My hope is that "Green Peace International" will take some steps immediately to help save the "Dolphins of Karwar" on a war footing from barbaric slaughter orchestrated by "Deep Sea Trawlers".

Being a Goan, it is sad to say this that the "Real Culprits" with regard to the slaughter of Dolphins are Star Hotels in Goa. Such Hotels should be "blacklisted" for serving critically endangered species fried to a crisp to foreign expatriate guests and other guests too.

There should also be a "Complete Boycott" by all NRI and Foreign Expatriates who love "Dolphins" of such star hotels in Goa who serve "Dolphin Meat" or have it on the menu in some sort of dish or the other.

Why can't star hotels in Goa have King Fish, Pomfret, Mackerel, Indian Salmon, or some other fish instead of Dolphin Meat on the Menu !!

I sometimes wonder, if "Foreign Expatriates" are aware what Star Hotels are doing in Goa ??

In my humble opinion, a "Dolphin Sanctuary" needs to be created as soon as possible to save these beautiful, intelligent, caring, and loving mammals on the Karwar Coast.

I specially appeal to "Green Peace International" to do something right now before it is too late. Please come to the Karwar Coast and register your protest. This needs to happen right now.

Notes :

1. In my humble opinion, having amphitheaters built all along the West Coast where "Dolphin Spotting" can be the most exciting and pleasurable past time for the whole family is the need of the hour. This can be specially done from Dapoli on the Konkan Coast to Karwar where Schools of Dolphins are regularly spotted.

2. Is no one interested at all with regard to the slaughter of dolphins on the Karwar Coast or what happens to the Dolphins of India ?? How long will this brutal slaughter go on ?? Does no one care for Dolphins any more ??

Are the Dolphins of the Karwar Coast "Our Forgotten Relatives" ??


Internet References and Links :

1. Endangered Dolphins are poached mercilessly

   http://www.dnaindia.com/bangalore/report-endangered-dolphins-are-poached-mercilessly-1270981

2. Dolphins in Danger

http://fiapo.org/view_art.php?viewid=12254

Book References and Credits :

1. National Geographic Magazine Volume 182, N0 -- 3
    September 1992
    "Dolphins in  Crisis"
    Pages 11, 12, 13, and 28
    by Kenneth S. Norris and Photographs by Flip Nicklin.

2. National Geographic Magazine Volume 155, N0--4
    April 1979
   "The Trouble with Dolphins"
    Page 531
   by Edward Linehan and Photographs by Bill Curtsinger

 

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

An Important Message

Dear Friends,

Greetings again.

Here is my forthcoming article for my Blog dedicated to Global Wildlife Conservation.

"The Smiling Ballerinas of the Sea"