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