Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Visit India's Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks in 2017 They have the best on show Part 1

1. Parambikulam  Tiger Reserve :

Parambikulam Tiger Reserve formerly known as Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in the Palakkad district of Kerala. It is surrounded on all sides with Forests and has 3 Water Reservoirs within its limits.

Parambikulam Tiger Reserve has dense moist deciduous forests containing teak and rosewood trees. Since Parambikulam is connected to a host of reserved forests like Anamalai Wildlife Sanctuary and the Sholayar Reserved Forests -- it has a diverse habitat for wild denizens that live within its confines.

Since, it is situated in the Western Ghats it is home to a number of mammals like the "Nilgiri Tahr" which is one of many flagship species found in Parambikulam along with magnificent Wild Elephants and majestic Royal Bengal Tigers to mention a few.

For Your Information : The Nilgiri Tahr is an antelope that is endemic to Southern India with a special reference to Tamil Nadu and a particular reference to Kerala.

2.  Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary :

Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in the Anamalai Hills in the Southern Indian State of Tamil Nadu.

It is an important "Bio-Diverse Forest" with special reference to the Western Ghats.

Indian Bison aka Gaur, Sambar, Muntjac, and Spotted Deer are found in plenty in the rainforest and dry deciduous forest of Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary.

Wild Elephant Herds are also found in this Bio- Diverse Wildlife Sanctuary in the Rainforests that comprise Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary as well as in the dry forests that comprise Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary.

Royal Bengal Tigers, Spotted Leopards, and Malabar Giant Squirrels are found in the Rainforests and Dry Forests respectively.

3. Corbett Tiger Reserve :

Corbett Tiger Reserve also known as Corbett National Park is situated at the foot of the Kumaon Hills in Uttarakhand -- a separate State that was formerly part of the State of Uttar Pradesh till 2000.

Corbett National Park is essentially situated between the mighty Himalayas and the Terai -- Grassland Region of Uttarakhand. It is home to Regal Bengal Tigers who are found in large numbers at Corbett but all the same are difficult to spot because of thick vegetation.

The scenic Ramganga River which flows through Corbett provides plenty of prey for stalking Bengal Tigers and Spotted Leopards who are specially found in hilly forests that are part of Corbett National Park.

During Summer, Wild Elephant Herds are seen in large numbers all over Corbett. These Wild Elephants essentially come to Corbett when they migrate from Nepal using traditional migratory routes. There are an estimated 1000 Wild Elephants that live in Corbett.

Various Kinds of Deer are found in plenty in Corbett National Park specially Barking Deer, Sambar, Hog Deer, and Spotted Deer.

Last, but not the least Himalayan Black Bears and Sloth Bears are found in the Hilly areas of Corbett National Park in fair numbers.

4. Dachigam Wildlife Sanctuary :

Dachigam Wildlife Sanctuary is situated some 22 Kms from Srinagar in the State of Jammu and Kashmir which is renowned for its snow capped peaks, fast running rivers, placid lakes, and verdant valleys.

This Wildlife Sanctuary which is spread over 140 Square Kilometres is home to the endangered Red Deer also known as the Kashmir Stag or Hangul the name by which it is locally known in Kashmir.

Dachigam Wildlife Sanctuary is also home to Himalayan Black and Brown Bears, Musk Deer, Spotted Leopards, Endangered Snow Leopards, and large birds like Pheasants and Black Partridges.

Finally, Dachigam Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in the Himalayas with terrain which includes sloping grasslands, pine clad hills, and craggy cliffs.

5. Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary aka Anshi Dandeli Tiger Reserve :

Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary which is situated on the Goa - Karnataka Border is home to Black Panthers in fair numbers.

It is said that Spotted Leopards at Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary roam about with Black Panthers freely in these Reserved Forests and their Cubs do it too.

Wild Elephants are found in small numbers at Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary and a few years back some wild elephants from Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary strayed into a reserved forest in Goa called Bondla but were ultimately cajoled and coaxed by Goa Forest Officials to return to Dandeli.

Finally, some mention must be made of Bengal Tigers at Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary. It seems there are 8-10 Tigers or more now living in and around Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary as per the Tiger Census which was conducted in 2006/2007.

There is a project underway at Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary to study the habitat of these "Striped Beauties".

All in All it must be said that Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary is an "Adrenalin Rush" for any wildlife lover or wildlife addict.



 

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Biodiversity

Biodiversity is the catch phrase of the 21st Century.

What does it really mean to me ??

To me, Biodiversity means saving Royal Bengal Tigers in their natural habitat as well as saving Beautiful and Mysterious Snow Leopards in their rugged snow bound natural habitat in mountain ranges all across Central Asia and South Asia.

Snow Leopards are the Apex Predators of the Himalayan Ecosystem and their well being is most important in maintaining a balance between them and hundreds of wild herbivores that graze on cliffs and ravines in snow capped mountains in Central Asia and South Asia.

 Biodiversity also means saving Clouded Leopards and Spotted Leopards in their natural habitat in Tropical Rain Forests and Deciduous Dry Forests all across South Asia, South - East Asia, and Africa.

To save these Wild Denizens, it is of paramount importance to save their natural prey namely Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Hog Deer, Swamp Deer, Wild Blue Sheep, etc.

This is because carnivorous Big Cat Predators depend exclusively on their natural prey for their daily sustenance.

Last, but not the least Biodiversity means saving Savannah Bush Elephants and Forest Elephants in their natural habitat in various African Countries as well as saving White and Black Rhinos who face a precarious future in Southern Africa.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Snow Leopards of Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand  is a Hilly State in North India which has the mighty Himalayas nestled within it.

The Uttarakhand Forest Department has discovered the presence of critically endangered Snow Leopards in six valleys during a survey conducted to study the population of this Mysterious and Beautiful Big Cat Predator in the upper reaches of this Hilly State.

The 15 day survey in June 2015 -- the first in the state to map the population of this High Altitude Wild Cat was conducted in 16 valleys and evidence of its presence was found in 6 valleys.

Uttarakhand is one of 5 States in India where Snow Leopards have been sighted.

Their Presence has been earlier recorded on camera traps in Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve also in Uttarakhand.

Snow Leopard Conservationists say, that the number of Snow Leopards has decreased over the years due to the receding snow line and rampant poaching in this Hilly State.

The lack of an actual numerical estimate of Snow Leopards in Uttarakhand created a hurdle in the State's inclusion in Project Snow Leopard launched by the Federal Indian Government in 2009.

But, this new finding brings a glimmer of hope to all snow leopard lovers within Uttarakhand and elsewhere.

Snow Leopards prefer steep rugged habitat with broken terrain, Cliffs, and Ravines.

Credits and References :

Snow Leopards spotted in 6 Valleys of Hilly Uttarakhand
By Nihi Sharma Sahani
Hindustan Times Mumbai,
Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Page 10

 

Dolphins of South America

There is an elegant little charcoal and white animal of the Southern Coast of Chile -- namely the "Black Dolphin".

Living among the innumerable islands and fjords of that rainy windswept coast of rolling breakers, it is regularly harpooned by local fishermen in what seems to be unsustainable numbers to be used primarily as Crab and Fish Bait.

There is hope that the remote forbidding habitat still houses undisturbed pockets of Black Dolphins.

Two Dolphins, The Boto and the Tucuxi live in the Amazon and Orinoco River Systems of South America.

The Boto is a cantankerous pinkish loner of a Dolphin.

When the Amazon spills into the Forest in the flooding season, the Boto often swims miles from the main channel to feed among the trees.

The Tucuxi on the other hand only about five feet long is  a shy animal that travels in schools just like an "Ocean Species" filling the River with the sharp clicks of its echolocation.

Credits and References :

Dolphins in Crisis
By Kenneth S. Norris
Pages 23-24
National Geographic Magazine
September 1992
Vol - 182, N0-3


 

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Snow Leopards in the Tost Mountains

This is an excellent article about Snow Leopards and their Families in the Tost Mountains in Mongolia.

Read the whole article here :

Rare Footage of Snow Leopards shows a Healthy Population in Mongolia

http://www.earthtouchnews.com/conservation/endangered/rare-footage-of-snow-leopards-shows-healthy-population-in-Mongolia


 

Friday, 18 November 2016

Raising an Important Question about Wild Elephants in India

This issue should have been raised many years back, but it seems to me one of the many problems in India with regard to Wild Elephants is simply the lack of interest in saving Wild Elephants in Reserved and Unprotected Forests all across India.

Most importantly, it is obvious that there are very few Wild Elephant Conservationists in India who are dedicated to the core.

The only Wild Elephant Conservationists that come to mind are Dr. Raman Sukumar, Vivek Menon, and Dr. A.J.T. Johnsingh respectively. They have been responsible for creating outstanding awareness with regard to the plight of Wild Elephants all across the country.

But the Bigger Problem, as I see it is this. Project Elephant which was started in 1992, receives a "pittance" in terms of funding with regard to the conservation of Wild Elephants as compared to Project Tiger which receives a Lion Share of all Federal Funds.

In my humble opinion, Project Elephant should receive equal funding to the same extent as does Project Tiger.

The Honourable Union Minister for Environment and for Forests needs to make this happen with immediate effect.

It is only when this happens that these Wild Giants of Planet Earth can hope to have a "Secure Future" in Indian Forests and Wildlife Sanctuaries.



 

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Snow Leopard Conservation in India ---- The Challenge Ahead

It is sad to say this, that Wildlife Lovers in India seem to be more obsessed with Tiger Conservation as compared to Snow Leopard Conservation which has been sadly left in the deep freeze.

Wild Snow Leopards are found only in 5 States in India whereas Wild Tigers are found in 18 States all across India.

I strongly believe that Wild Snow Leopards are more deserving of our attention as compared to Wild Tigers who have numerous advocates and defenders in their favour.

Wild Snow Leopards number only an estimated 500 Plus Individuals at the most in India. They are mostly found in States in India like Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, and Arunachal Pradesh.

Hemis National Park in Ladakh is possibly the perfect place to spot a wild snow leopard in its natural habitat.

The Snow Leopard is a Big Cat Predator that is naturally secretive, well camouflaged among the craggy slopes and ravines of the snow capped Himalayas and most often than not it is usually solitary.

Snow Leopards are active in their natural habitat at night and in the twilight hours of dusk and dawn amid the most formidable tumult of snow capped mountains in India namely the mighty Himalayas.

Finally, what is very sad about Wild Snow Leopards is that many of them are trapped in the snares of poachers for their magnificent and luxurious skin.

Credits and References :

Out of the Shadows
By Douglas H. Chadwick
Pages 112-114
National Geographic Magazine
June 2008
Vol -- 213, N0-6


 

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Polar Bears -- Giants of the Arctic

Eighteenth Century European Scientists called Polar Bears "Ursus Maritimus" meaning Sea Bears and they truly are as they spend a lot of their life on Sea Ice.

Not much is known about how long Polar Bears live as few carcasses have been found. Polar Bears are capable of swimming 100 Miles at a stretch.

Most Female Polar Bears, return to land to Den and give birth and there lies a clue to their past.

The first animals that taxonomists recognize as Bears go back about 20 Million Years to the Miocene Era. The size of a small dog, those early bears gradually grew much larger and began living in caves, some were even bigger than present day bears.

They spread to all the continents except Australia and Antarctica. Some 200,000 years ago when glaciers covered much of Eurasia and the Arctic Ocean was frozen, hungry brown bears wandering frigid northern shores discovered something new to eat -- namely "Seals".

By 125,000 Years ago, a new species had appeared in Eurasia split off from its Brown Bear Ancestors.

Gradually, its Head and Snout had grown longer, and its teeth had become smaller and more jagged -- a better design for tearing seals apart.

Its coat turned white, blending with the surroundings. Those White Bears began to walk great distances to hunt seals until possibly within a few thousand years, they ranged across the Arctic.

Today, between 25,000 and 40,000 Polar Bears roam this frozen world. They aren't considered endangered thanks to Global Foresight.

Norway, outlawed hunting of its Polar Bears and Canada began research that led to a quota system and the United States passed the Marine Mammal Protection Act which allows only Alaska Natives to take Polar Bears.

Canada and Norway have created National Reserves specifically to protect Polar Bear Habitat and Denning Areas.

In the Former Soviet Union, Polar Bear Hunting was banned in 1955.

But today, in the wake of Russia's Free - Market- Economy - some Russian Researchers fear increased poaching of Polar Bears that range over the Chukchi Sea between Alaska and Siberia.

They also worry about the long term effects of recent oil spills into Siberian Rivers that flow into the Arctic Ocean.

Finally, This has to be said that awareness is the Key with regard to Polar Bear Habitat and specially with regard to Polar Bear Survival.

Credits and References :

Polar Bears
Stalkers of the High Arctic
By John L. Eliot
Pages 55-60
National Geographic Magazine
Volume 193, N0-1
January 1998


 

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Snow Leopards of Mongolia

There are at least 1,000 Snow Leopards in Mongolia right now.

Mongolia remains almost as much a nation of herders as it was when Genghis Khan lorded it over its inhabitants.

Livestock outnumbers the 2.8 Million Humans. It seems that an admirable network of Parks and Reserves have been established in Western Mongolia where Snow Leopards are found in fair numbers.

In Mongolia's Mountainous Altay Region, there are 4 Reserves where Snow Leopards not only seem to be holding their own but their population seems to be significantly increasing.

Snow Leopards hunt chiefly Asia's array of hoofed wildlife such as Ibex, Argali, Blue Sheep, Tahr, and Goat - Antelopes such as Gorals along with Tibetan Antelopes and various species of Deer found in Alpine Areas of Central Asia.

As, the Top Carnivore of the Alpine and Sub-Alpine areas, the Snow Leopard strongly influences the numbers and area of operation of hoofed herds.

It is my fervent prayer as a Wildlife Lover that Snow Leopards in Mongolia will continue to flourish for many decades to come.

Credits and References :

Out of the Shadows
By Douglas H. Chadwick
Pages 117-126
National Geographic Magazine
June 2008
Vol- 213, N0 -6