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