Category Archives: Environment

25% Sharks & Rays Threatened

sharks n rays

A new assessment by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has revealed that 25 percent of the world’s sharks and rays are at risk of extinction. The latest update to the IUCN’s “Red List” of threatened species, which found ray species to be at higher risk than sharks, is part of a first-ever global analysis of these marine species.

Researchers assessed the conservation status of 1,041 shark, ray and chimaera species, which are all so-called “cartilaginous fish,” meaning they have skeletons made of cartilage rather than bone. A chimaera is type of jawed fish closely related to sharks and rays.

The researchers found that sharks, rays and chimaeras face a substantially higher risk of extinction than do most other animals. In fact, only 23 percent of shark, ray and chimaera species are categorized as being safe, or of “least concern”.

According to IUCN, in greatest peril are the largest species of rays and sharks, especially those living in shallow water that is accessible to fisheries, where they can become entangled in fishing gear as bycatch.

The high value placed on the fins of some sharks and rays, which are used in some Asian cuisine like shark fin soup, is a major contributor to the threats facing the animals. Other demand is driven by the traditional Chinese medicine market (which sells tonics made of manta and devil ray gills) and the pharmaceutical industry, which uses shark livers in some products.

[Courtesy – TOI, Nature World News)

Solar Energy for Wildlife Conservation


The Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) in collaboration with Arunachal Pradesh environment and forest department distributed solar energy equipment to 25,000 households in Mayudia to meet power crisis in the village.

The distribution would further bridge the conservation support and confidence for the ongoing Asiatic Black Bear Rehabilitation Project and the Hoolock Gibbon Translocation Project at the Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary, which is in the vicinity of Tiwari Gaon.

Tiwari Gaon is a fringe village adjacent to the Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary, where people are supporting the bear conservation and rehabilitation project and Hoolock Gibbon Translocation Project for the safety of the wildlife.

The WTI along with state forest department is trying to focus the conservation issues among the villagers through this confidence building approach for the safety and well being of nature and wildlife in the state.

[Courtesy – TOI]

Bhitarkanika: Crocodile Census


There has been a marginal drop in population of estuarine crocodiles in the water bodies of Bhitarkanika National Park in Kendrapara district of Orissa. The 2014 census figure of saltwater crocodiles put their number at 1,644 while it stood at 1,649 in the previous year.

According to forest officials, the number of hatchlings and yearlings dropped this year, but the number of sub-adults and adults increased. Baby crocodiles often fall prey to predators in the wild, for which their numbers might have dropped slightly.

Forest officials said it was not a cause to worry as, in past years, there were instances of slight fall in the crocodile population which got stabilised later. Wildlife experts, however, said foggy and overcast weather condition hindered foolproof enumeration of crocs. The figure could have been on the higher side had the weather been bright, they claimed.

In 1975, the ministry of forest and environment, in a collaboration with UNDP, had started crocodile breeding and rearing in Dangamala within Bhitarkanika. Due to the success of the project, the crocodile population started increasing in the creeks, river and other water bodies of the park and its nearby areas.

For villagers within the park and its adjoining areas, however, crocodiles are a cause for concern. According to local villagers crocodiles of Bhitarkanika have killed at least 45 people and injured 70 in the last 10 years. The reptiles often enter nearby rivers and creeks and attack riverside villagers. Although locals are not allowed to enter into the rivers, creeks and other water bodies of Bhitarkanika as the areas are infested with estuarine crocodiles.

Salt water crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) is Schedule-I animal as per Wildlife Protection Act-1972 and Endangered species as per Red Data Book categories of IUCN.

Maneaters on Prowl


Two States that have celebrated a formidably successful tiger conservation programme — Tamil Nadu and Karnataka — have, over four weeks, turned into the site of unprecedented conflict between the endangered animal and people.

Eight people have been killed by tigers in four weeks in Karnataka’s Bandipur Tiger Reserve and in Tamil Nadu’s Nilgiris; and three of the four animals involved in the attacks are assumed to be man-eaters — carnivores that persistently prey on people. Two tigers have since been captured in Karnataka, and the Tamil Nadu Forest Department has begun to track the man-eater (assumed to be a tiger, although some say it could be a leopard) around Doddabetta in the Nilgiris.

In the latest national tiger census of 2011, Karnataka made it to the top spot in tiger abundance with 300 animals, and Tamil Nadu saw a 53 per cent addition (the highest jump in any State) to its tiger population that now stands at 163. The cluster of forests where the latest attacks happened (Mudumalai-Bandipur-Nagarhole protected areas) have some of the highest densities of tigers in the world, with 10 to 15 animals per 100 sq km, according to survey figures with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Bangalore.

Ullas Karanth, director WCS-India, said tracking and capturing a man-eater, rather than identifying and eliminating it, can cause a fatal lapse. Delays in eliminating a man-eater from the site means more human casualties as we saw in Bandipur, and this naturally creates hostility among communities towards the forest department and to conservation efforts in general. Moreover, a wild caught big cat does not adapt to captivity and leads a life of perennial stress and fear. A scientific response, not an emotional one, is necessary while addressing a problem animal.

While the conventional assumption is that large carnivores turn man-eaters when they are incapable of hunting their natural prey — that is when they are old, injured or spurned by territorial fights to forest fringes — many wildlife biologist who studies human-leopard conflict says there has been virtually no conclusive study that explains why wild carnivores attack people unprovoked.

[Courtesy – The Hindu]

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