Friday, December 9, 2011

Bees Die in Millions near Coffee Bars

Honey bees are making a beeline for disposed paper cups instead of flowers, and it’s killing them, a study has found. The researchers said that the number of used plastic cups in these bars ranges from about 160 to 7,000 – an average of about 1,225 cups a day. The researchers also said they recorded the death of 25,211 bees in coffee bars over 30 days. The mean death rate varies with the depth of the garbage bin with cups, quantity of residual beverages, location of the sampled bars and visiting time. Maximum mortality ( 23% ) was recorded between 10 am and 2 pm in the cups with 3ml – 6ml beverage remains found at a depth of 20cm – 40cm in garbage bins.

Later, the cups were sent to recycling yard, where about 680 bees a day were killed manually to escape stinging. The observation also revealed that that bees need large quantities ( 300 cups ) of sugar-coated cups and longer duration ( 120 days – 150 days ) of display to select new coffee bars as foraging sites. But once visited, they were regular.

It was said that the killing of bees in such a manner has been reported in many countries, including India, but there is limited scientific data. There are about 1.3 billion and 800 million cups of coffee and tea consumed daily around the world by using millions of disposable cups. The bees neglect visiting flowers and are attracted by the residual sugar in the cups. This kind of foraging shift is common in honey bees, which enjoy short-term memory that acts as a fast adaptation to changing profitability of food sources. If we did not do anything about it soon, most of the bees are going to perish creating a huge imbalance in the eco-system.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Another Murderer of a Tiger – Tranquilizer Overdose

A tiger died under mysterious circumstances at the Bandhavgarh National Park in Madhya Pradesh in India recently. The 14 year old tiger was found in an injured state in Ghunghutti region bordering the tiger reserve and died while being transported to the national park. Witnesses said the tiger had sustained deep wounds that appeared 15 days old. A park official had tranquilized the tiger and it was being transported to Tala range of the national park, when it died.

A source said that the tiger’s stomach was almost empty and it probably might have died of either starvation or a combination of old age, starvation and the tranquilizer. The tiger had not eaten anything for the last many days and it may not have been able to withstand the tranquilizer.

The question is where are the safety measures while transporting tigers to some other place? Where are the millions of dollars, spent in the name of tiger conservation? As if poachers were not enough, now the tranquilizer gun is emerging as another killer of the majestic tiger! This shows very poorly on tiger conservation in India. It is very clear and apparent that the Wildlife Gods in India are simply not bothered about saving tigers.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Whales - An Innocent Death

As the gentle giants swim through the sea,
Not expecting a thing,
A sharp metal object is heading their way,
And they feel a sharp sting.

They don’t know what happened,
But they feel a lot of pain,
The innocent creatures,
Are pulled up by a chain.

Now they’ve figured it out,
They know what’s going on,
A whaling harpoon has hit them,
A massive violent gun.

As they’re pulled up to the whaling ship,
Their condition deteriorates,
They get weaker and weaker,
They’re in a terrible state.

The last thing they see,
Just before they die,
Is the satisfied look,
In the fisherman’s eye.

I hope this proves,
How cruel whaling is,
Well how would you like it,
If you were treated like this?

:Chelsie Woodhead

Friday, October 7, 2011

Dogs Have Magical Powers…

Dogs seem to have magical powers which have benefited humans for ages. We will tell you how. When it comes to getting fit, a person’s best friend might be a four legged one. Experts say studies show dog owners walk more, walk faster, and are more likely to enjoy an active lifestyle because of their companion animal. Research has proved time and again that pet owners tend to be healthier and happier than those who do not have pets at home. They not just have higher survival rates following coronary heart disease; they are also believed to be less prone to death due to heart attack.

Pets are great stress busters too. They are good companions, who listen to all your woes without any complaints! Besides the therapeutic value of keeping a pet, they are known to do wonders to a child’s development. Children who own pets develop a nurturing behavior, positive self-esteem and an enhanced all-round development.

Pets are known to be much more perceptive than human beings. They pick up even the subtlest of body signals, especially of their owners. They can easily gauge your disposition from the smell of your body. Some pet facts:

1. Pet owners visit the doctor less than those who do not own pets.

2. Pet owners are said to have lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels than non pet

3. Pets reduce stress, anxiety and loneliness especially among single owners.

4. Walking with a dog or sharing space with a dog fills the pet owner with a sense of

5. Children who own pets are known to have positive self-esteem and better cognitive
development. They tend to have al all round development.

6. Companionship of pets helps one deal better with some serious illness or death in the

As we can see, pets and animals have always benefited the mankind. It is always in our favor to save them and nurture them. Let’s save them, let’s save the animal kingdom!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Mob Kills Tiger Again

Despite India’s dwindling tiger population and the massive amount of resources spent to raise awareness about tiger conservation, a tigress was killed in Chhattisgardh state when with better planning she could easily have been tranquilized and released into the wild.

After six hours of being pounded by stones, when the bloodied tigress collapsed in a heap, a delirious cry broke out in Aamagon Bagrutola village. As forest officials took away her carcass, villagers took out a victory procession to celebrate the killing!

Who is to blame for these brutal killings of defenseless animals? Why the forest officials did not resist the move of villagers to kill the tiger? These are the questions which remain unanswered. Can’t the government, which claims to spend so much money in the name of tiger conservation, educate the locals about the importance of wildlife conservation?

A special drive to educate the general public, needs to be launched immediately. We have to make people understand that the conservation of wildlife is essential for the survival of the mankind. The forest officials need to be armed to fight off the menace of hostile crowds, and smugglers who kill helpless animals and trade off their body parts. What the government needs is an honest and sincere approach to end this mayhem of such majestic animals.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Little Reprieve for Animals

It is heartening to know that the government of India has been taking good steps towards the safety of stray animals and even pets. Some time back a strict law was proposed that anybody involved in cruelty against animals will be heavily fined and even imprisoned. Similarly, mutilation of pets for cosmetic reasons has been made an offence. An advisory sent out by the Animal Welfare Board of India to veterinary councils, colleges, kennel clubs and other institutions likely to carry out such procedures states that practices like docking of tails and cropping of ears will now be punishable with both a fine, or imprisonment, or both.

Traditionally, Doberman, boxer, Great Dane and Cocker Spaniel pups have been subjected to tail docking, but veterinarians say there is no reason for this practice to continue. In fact, there is no reason for humans to inflict any kind of injury or cruelty to animals as they have been companions to humans from the beginning, and have contributed to the civilization in ways more than one.

Though the government initiative is laudable, simply making laws against animal cruelty is not going to help. We will have to ensure that these laws are enacted in the best ways. There should be task forces or committees to make sure stray animals and pets are not being tortured by whimsical people. It will largely depend on the people to understand that animals feel pain and have emotions like us humans, and that they deserve our love and compassion. A drive to educate people about animals and how they are needed for our own survival is going to help a great deal in this direction.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Ray of Hope – Wild Animals & Birds Rescued in India

Over 150 wild animals & birds were rescued in a raid conducted in the Jama Msjid area of Delhi by the police. In all, 55 rabbits, 42 rare pigeons, 5 ducks, 5 fighter cocks and 30 exotic birds of the budgriger variety were found squashed in tiny cages and were being sold by a poacher to some local buyers.

Animal smuggling rackets are on the rise and Delhi has become a hot spot of such activities. In fact, the whole world has become a market for these smugglers who catch animals and birds, and sell them for their skin and flesh. According to animals activists in India, smugglers breed these animals and birds in rural India, and then bring them to big cities from where they are further smuggled to Pakistan and Arab countries.

Rare pigeons are sold at a very high price while ducks are sold to farmhouses. Duck meat has become highly popular and is sold for slaughter. Rabbits are sold as pets and exotic birds are sold for shows! Tigers are sold for every part of their body!

This cruel treatment of innocent animals and birds is outrageous. The government and the authorities concerned have to be more vigilant and try their best to stop this cruelty meted out to animals and birds. Let us not forget that the Earth belongs to them as much as it belongs to us.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Human – Animal Conflict

With a human population bursting at its seams, more and more people are settling in areas that were once the habitat of elephants, big cats and other wild animals. This has resulted in human – animal conflicts. Consequently, issues of animal conservation and mitigation are becoming more important.

Some time ago, hundreds of flamingos died of electrocution as they were flying into high – voltage electricity cables passing over their habitat n the outskirts of Bhavnagar city in Gujrat, India. This mass electrocution was apparently triggered by stray dogs as they chased the flamingos and the panic – stricken birds collided with the wires overhead.

We need to save these animals and birds for our own sake, if not out of compassion. Compassion is ruled out for us humans as we have killed and traded our lower cousins, animals and birds, for thousands of years. We talk of love and peace, and in the same breath murder millions of animals everyday to enjoy tasty dishes made out of them. Can we really have love and peace in the world when our whole existence seems to depend on hatred, cruelty and cold-blooded killing of animals? Isaac Bashevis Singer puts it correctly, “There will be no justice as long as man will stand with a knife or with a gun and destroy those who are weaker than he is”.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Trout Vanishing from Himalayan Rivers

The condition of the Trout in the snow-fed streams of the Himalayas – the natural habitat of the fish – is getting worse and their number declining. Local conservationists say it is getting increasingly difficult to find trout in the Himalayan rivers where it once abounded. While natural calamities seem to have played a part in the dwindling numbers, so have human activities.

The story of the rarer brown trout is more dismal. The brown trout is found in rivers like the Beas, Tirthan, Sainj, Ravi, Uhl and Bapsa – all in Himachal Pradesh – besides certain spots in Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir. And locals with an interest in preserving them insist their numbers have rediced alarmingly.

Like all breeds of trout, brown trout spawns in winter, normally between October and January. The eggs are deposited in gravel dug-up by female fish. Excessive rainfall or floods wash the eggs away, which hits the trout population badly. Excessive silting in the aftermath of rains, floods, poaching and hydro-projects in Sainj river have dealt a further blow to the fish.

As for poaching, officials say it isn’t logistically possible to man the entire course of a river and monitor what the locals are up to. Fisheries department officials say they are trying to control poaching and plan to undertake seed stocking.

While these efforts by the Fisheries department are good, more efforts need to be made in order to preserve the trout and the environment I the long run. Locals need to be educated about the importance of saving the fish and its positive effects on the eco-system. Strict measures also need to be taken against poaching the fish.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Nightingales May Become Extinct in 30 Years...

The nightingale - made immortal in an ode by famous British poet John Keats - could become extinct within 30 years, scientists have predicted. Population of the bird that has been an inspiration for generations of poets and romantics, has drastically gone down by more than 90% in the last 40 years, says the study by the British Trust for Ornithology.

The bird would be upgraded to " red status" - signifying the highest degree of conversation concern. The nightingale's decline has been blamed on the population explosion of the muntjac deer, which has reduced the availability of the bird's habitat in the woods.

The muntjack is a small deer native to Asia, including Sri Lanka, India, China and Japan; and was introduced to Britain by accident when some escaped in 1925 from the Duke of Bedfordshire's estate. Pressures on its habitat in sub-Saharan African, where the bird goes during winters, as well as along its migration route to UK have contributed to the threat. The trust is searching for solutions to halt the bird's extinction. It has launched the Nightingale Appeal and a CD of the bird singing, profits from which will go to research.

Courtesy: TOI

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Skimmer Birds Can’t Breed…

The Indian Skimmer or rynchops albicollis is one of the three species in the skimmer family. It is bright black, white and orange; and its pointed beak cleaves the water as it searches for its prey, mainly fish. It is about 40 centimeters long with a wing span of about 108 centimeters. The skimmer is found only around fresh water, and it may be the only bird that indicates the presence of fresh surface water.

But the population of this rare bird is declining due to global warming. The rise in temperature is responsible for the increased melting of glaciers that sends a spurt of water into the Ganges, submerging the islands and sandy pits where the bird lays its eggs. This is posing a threat to the breeding of the bird.

This crisis is the result of relentless destruction of environment. The rampant destruction of forests has resulted in many species of animals and birds coming to the verge of extinction. We do not have much time left and this beautiful world and its inhabitants could still be saved if we take corrective measures and implement them with sheer dedication and honesty. Otherwise, we will have only stories to tell to our children, and their children, about how there used to be beautiful animals and birds on this beautiful planet.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Killing of Rhinos continue…

A rhino was killed mercilessly outside Kaziranga National Park. Besides its horn, the poachers took away the animal’s bones and flesh. This is the fourth rhino killed in the only World Heritage Site of Assam, India this year. Last year, five rhinos were killed inside the same park.

At Corbett National Park of the Dhikala forst range, forest officials also recovered a tusker’s carcass recently. There are controversies regarding the death of the elephant, as the forest officials are claiming that the tusker died a natural death. At the same national park, a baby elephant was also found in a seriously injured state.

Same way, the tigers are being killed by poachers and their body parts smuggled to China and Tibet, and all over the world. Apparently, the government is not doing enough to protect these majestic animals, who belong to this planet as much as we do.

These rampant brutal killings of our lower cousins need to stop immediately. The government needs to take stringent measures for the safety of these animals. The forest guards need to be equipped with modern gadgets and weapons for surveillance and safety of animals. The people living in the areas close to these national parks need to be taught about the importance of how the existence of these animals is necessary for our eco-system and our Earth. This mindless violence needs to stop immediately if we want carry on living on this planet.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Conflict between Tigers and Humans

India’s tiger population is on the rise but their habitat is shrinking and we are poised for a conflict between humans and the big cats. Tigers are territorial animals and their rising numbers usually go hand in hand with an increase in their territory. Due to the shrinking of their habitat, tigers are increasingly moving closer to human populations, increasing the chances of conflict and harm to all concerned – the striped predator, livestock and humans.

The shrinking of forest areas also threatens the tiger – and wild flora and fauna – in other ways. Experts say it will lead to the isolation of the ‘source populations’ of the tigers. Source populations are tigers found in stable numbers at the particular geographical area – in India’s case, various tiger reserves and national parks. Source populations are the well springs that sustain tiger numbers. But if they are cut off from other tiger areas, increasing inbreeding weakens the predator strain.

There has been a steep decline in territories occupied by the tiger in India – from 93,600 sq km in 2006 to 72,800 sq km today. The growing population of tigers has less space to expand and has to move into forests categorized as multiple-use areas. Policymakers and the authorities concerned will have to urgently recognize and overcome this problem, otherwise, where will these big cats go? A task force immediately needs to be constituted to suggest and implement new ways of conservation of forests that would safeguard the interests of wildlife and animals.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Stray Animals and Their Conflict with Man

Stray dogs are a harried lot in India and elsewhere in the world. In absence of an effective sterilization campaign, the population of  stray dogs is multiplying and so have the cases of dog bite. With more and more dog bites everyday, the conflict and animosity between man and animal has reached new heights.

According a government report, there are close to 2,60,000 stray dogs in Delhi alone and their population is increasing everyday. Although the government claims to have engaged Non Governmental Organizations for the sterilization of these dogs, nothing remarkable has been achieved so far.

Lack of funds and extremely limited number of sterilization centers are cited as the main reasons behind the growing number of dogs. They also claim not to have enough space to keep these dogs for sterilization or any other medical treatment that they need. In fact, a proposal to the Animal Welfare Board of India to create a special dog home was turned down by the authorities concerned.

In all this process of irresponsibility and insensitivity, dogs and other stray animals are the worst sufferers. They have nowhere to go, nothing to feed on, and no scope for any medical help or assistance. We can’t deny or overlook our responsibility towards our lower cousins as this world belongs to them as much as it belongs to us. We hope, people of the civil society would wake up to this grave situation and take pains to look after these helpless animals who have nowhere to go.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Leopard Burnt Alive

In a barbaric act, an angry mob burnt a leopard alive after threatening to kill forest department officials who tried to stop them in a forested area near Kotdwar in Uttarakhand’s Pauri district in India a few days ago. The mob of around 400 angry residents threatened them with stones and sharp-edged weapons as the officials were trying to tranquilize the seven year old leopard.

The residents were angry as the leopard had mauled three people from the village the previous week. They doused the leopard with kerosene and burnt it alive, and all the forest department officials were forced to be silent witnesses to the ghastly act.

Man’s cruelty and selfishness knows no bounds. First he grabs all the forested land and when he has a clash of interests with animals, he kills them. Innocent animals are being killed all over the world for no fault of theirs. Human beings have built an empire of greed over the dead bodies, blood, bones and skins of their lower cousins, the helpless animals.

This barbaric and unjust treatment of innocent animals must stop immediately. The authorities concerned and the people of this planet must ensure the safety of animals as they have been here before we came into existence. We all must remember that if there would be no animals on the earth, there will be no earth for us to live on.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I Think I Could Turn and LIve with the Animals

I think I could turn and live with animals, they are

so placid and self - contained,

I stand and look at them long and long.

They do not sweat and whine about their condition,

They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,

They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,

Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the

mania of owning things,

Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived

thousands of years ago,

Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth.

So they show their relations to me and I accept them,

They bring me tokens of myself, they evince them

plainly in their possession.

: Walt Whitman

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Brutal Killing of Leopards Continues . . .

A leopard, that had no past record of attacks on humans, was cudgeled to death by a mob in Garhmuktwshar, near Delhi, even as forest department officials waited for a tranquilizer dart fired at the cat to take place. The leopard had earlier seriously injured two policemen and had caused minor injuries to five of the hundreds of villagers surrounding the cat. The cat had been trapped by a mob in a sugarcane field.

According to the chief of the Wildlife Protection Society of India, Belinda Wright, as many as 78 leopards have been killed this year alone in incidents as diverse as poaching, road accidents and killings by villagers. This proves the drastically low levels of awareness and sensitivity of the masses about these wild animals. They still seem to live in the sixteenth century when these animals of the wild remained a mystery to the people and were perceived as a major threat to the mankind.

We need to educate people about how these fellow companions of humans are needed to save the ecosystem and ultimately the earth. We need to run awareness campaigns for these people who would corner, attack and kill any wild animal for the fear of life, sheer excitement or fun.

We also need trained forest department staff to handle incidents involving all jungle cats. Besides, Mobile leopard rescue teams are absolutely essential and needed. Wild animals stray into villages for the search of food and this has happened because of the rampant deforestation and their natural habitat being destroyed. Everybody knows that wild animals want to be left alone and live their life peacefully. So why not to leave their forests and them, alone?

Source: TOI

Friday, February 4, 2011

Mangroves should be Declared Protected Forests

Mangroves, which globally span more than 150,000 sq km, are disappearing faster than any other kind of forests on the earth. Growing industrial and residential areas along the coastlines and discharge of waste to water bodies are the prime reason for destruction of mangroves. The forest departments have little manpower to spare for protecting mangroves and as a result, they are dying fast.

A natural breeding ground for several species, mangrove forests act as natural lungs and kidneys of the ecosystem. They play a major mitigating role in the changing climate scenario and time and again, their importance has been highlighted in buffering natural hazards such as cyclones, storm surges and land erosion.

Research worldwide has established that mangroves are effective carbon sinks. One research in Florida says mangrove forests, that cover less than 0.1 percent of the global land surface, account for a tenth of the dissolved organic carbon flowing from land to ocean. Dissolved organic matter is an important player in the global carbon cycle that regulates atmospheric carbon dioxide and therefore, climate.

Governments worldwide should take strong measures to ensure protection of mangroves and should declare them protected forests. Interdepartmental coordination among government departments such as departments of fisheries and forest and environment could play a great role in protecting mangroves. Community participation too could play a major role. The masses have to be made aware of the importance of mangroves in balancing the ecosystem, so that even they could participate in efforts of saving mangroves, and thus, the ecosystem and the earth.

Source: TOI

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Leopards Being Killed Regularly

Leopards are being killed in India on a regular basis. In a shocking incident recently, a leopard was "pushed out" of its habitat and then shot from a short range. In retaliation, the injured leopard pounced on one of its attackers before collapsing.

It is believed that the leopard was killed by villagers for game or by poachers as opposed to it being attacked by villagers in self defense. The seven-year-old male leopard was shot dead. The bullet had pierced the heart, lungs, diaphragm, liver and the anterior parts of the kidney and intestine. According to a report, "The abdominal cavity was full of blood and the leopard died due to circulatory and respiratory failure due to injury to heart and lung.

According to sources, the leopard was spotted by villagers on a nearby hill but it was not in the fields or inside the village, as rumors suggested. A forest official said that it was unbelievable that the leopard would have first injured the villagers, then they would have run to their houses and brought back the gun, while the leopard would be waiting for them to return.

Such incidents have been happening almost every month, and only show the level of insensitivity of people towards harmless animals whose habitat has been encroached upon by humans. Animals would never harm human beings until they are cornered with the intent of being brutally murdered. In most such cases, even the forest officials stand and watch this game of death as mute spectators. They feel helpless due to lack of adequate man power and weapons.

These heinous acts of crime against voiceless animals must be stopped immediately. The government agencies must ensure that the wild animals are protected from insensitive and insane murderers and poachers. Animals are as much needed to save our planet as much as humans are needed. The local population needs to be educated about how animals are necessary to exist in order for us humans to exist on the earth.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Sad Incidents of Stray Animals being Killed or Maimed

Sad incidents of stray animals being thrashed to death or maimed are on an all time rise in India. These incidents have been happening despite sterilizing and vaccinating of a good percentage of the street dogs in cities. The situation is worse in small towns and villages where there are no organizations or government machinery to vaccinate or help these animals. The authorities are supposed to lodge a report whenever they are supposed to know about any such incident of cruelty against animals, but they choose to look the other way whenever an animal is tortured or hurt. Recently, many street dogs were killed mercilessly, but almost no action was taken against the perpetrators.

There are some animal lovers, who try to help and take care of stray animals by giving them food and water, but they face continuous resistance from the local population. The reason given by them for killing stray animals is that these dogs bark at night and make it difficult for them to sleep! Animal rights activists, who try to take care of these animals, or help them, are even threatened with dire consequences if they continue to help animals or report animal abuse! Recently, the house of an animal rights activist was surrounded by a mob of local people who abused, manhandled and threatened these activists of grave consequences if they continued to help animals!

These incidents have become a common practice with almost no help in sight for these helpless animals. The level of awareness and sensitivity among the masses about animal rights is very low, and stray animals live under completely hostile situations. Animal rights activists are often ridiculed and attacked by the local population.

It is a great challenge to help stray animals and work for them under such circumstances. Apart from working for the welfare of these animals, the masses need to be educated about being sensitive to the needs of stray animals and the difficulties they face in order to survive. Stray animals need to be looked after for food, water and medicines. They also need to be spayed/neutered so that their uncontrolled breeding is restrained, thus saving them from further torture. Animal lovers need to join hands together to raise their voice against animal atrocities, and come forward to help them. We will try our best for the situation of these animals to improve in the new year, as we will continue raising our voice and working for them.