Monday, January 25, 2016

Pakistan's supreme court on Friday lifted a ban on the hunting of the Houbara bustard, an endangered migratory bird, whose meat is prized by elite Arab sheikhs for its aphrodisiac value.
The ban on the Houbara bustard, about the size of a chicken, was imposed by former chief justice Jawwad S Khawaja on August 20 last year; who also ordered the cancellation of all exiting permits by government to Arab rules. The federal and provincial governments in October had challenged the ban, pleading that sustainable hunting should be allowed.
The petitioners had pleaded to the SC that issuing permits for hunting of the endangered bird to Arab dignitaries was part of foreign policy

A five-member larger bench headed by chief justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali lifted the ban in a verdict on the review petitions, although the decision was not unanimous, with one dissenting note by justice Qazi Faez Isa, whoo opposed the bench' order.
The petitioners had pleaded that issuing hunting permits to Arab dignitaries was part of foreign policy. The atorney general Salman Buttasked the SC to allow "sustainable hunting" of the bird. Pakistan enjoys good ties with elite Arabs who love hunting Houbara using falcons and travel to Balochistan every winter to kill the bustard. The bird is listed in the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals and is declared as an endangered species.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Missing cub traced, may find new family soon

The cub that had gone missing ever since the body of his mother was shifted from the forest has been traced and is under constant watch by the department. The cub will soon find a new family.
At present the cub is showing signs of post traumatic syndrome and running away from foresters. It was doing so even on seeing Rana Madi, who was led to the dead mother by this 18 – month old cub. Officials following the developments said they want to cage the cub and carry out a health check before allowing it to move around on its own or be released in another group.
On Saturday, foresters had the carcass of an 11- year old lioness, who had been gored to death by a buffalo herd. The carcass was found by a beat guard who had been led to the dead mother by an 18- month old cub.
Forest officials were surprised by this unprecendented incident, which was confirmed by the postmortem report. the postmortem pointed to the lioness having multiple fractures in her ribs and that she had died of an intestinal hemorrhage.
However, as the cub and mother were alone, the forest department will ensure a safe release of the cub in another group. “ we have in the past carried out such safe releases and orphan cubs have been accepted. The release is mostly done in groups that have cubs of the same age, so that the orphan is easily accepted”, says deputy conservator of forests Anshuman Sharma.
He said that the dead lioness had two cubs, one of which had died seven months ago.
“The department has identified a couple of groups in Khambha and Jambudi area and once the cub is caged it will get a safe monitored release in one of these groups,” said Sharma.
The officials said the department was observing the behavior of the groups identified before the cub can be released.
Courtesy - Times Of India 

Rare Masked Booby spotted near Mahuva ( Bhavnagar, Rajkot, Gujarat, India )

The bird is usually found in tropical zones

Manoj Sanghediya, a 23-year old amateur bird watcher from Datardi Village in Mahuva taluka of Bhavnagar District ( Rajkot, Gujarat, India ), could not identify the large seabird that had fallen in his farm on Saturday.
But he was quick to rescue the sick bird that was unable to fly and take it to Mahuva Town. An environment activist, he often rescues snakes in his village.
masked booby in Mahuva
The bird that he rescued was Masked Booby, a large bird found in tropical zones of theoceans.
“When the Masked Booby was brought on Saturday, it was sick and exhausted. We contacted, Dr. Nayan Patel, a veterinary doctor, who earlier worked with forest department in Mahuva advised us to give glucose to it. We tried to save the rare visitor but it died on Tuesday evening”, said a wildlife activist from Mahuva Chirag Koradiya.
Bird conservationists say that the Masked Booby may have been exhausted and landed in the coastal area in a sick condition. It nests on small tropical islands especially without forests. It breeds in central and western pacific as well as off Mexico.
According to experts, Masked Booby are spectacular divers that can plunge diagonally into the ocean at high speeds. They mainly eat small fish.
“This could be the third time that a Masked Booby was reported to be seen on the Saurashtra coast,” Koradiya said.
Courtesy - Times Of India 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Ahmedabad has 160 bird species

The ornithologists as a part of the animal Bird Race event organized jointly by Natural Heritage Conservation Society ( NHCS ) – Gandhinagar and international bank identified only 160 bird species in and around Ahmedabad city. 
Last year the same even had identified over 260 bird species. This was the seventh time such an event was held in Ahmedabad in which around 140 participated in group of 40 teams. More than 160 species of bird were recorded during around the city.
Each team spent its entire day watching birds in and around Ahmedabad with their own tally of species. Earlier bird races in Ahmedabad have recorded more than 260 species of birds. These teams moved around at a critical point on the avifaunal migration route, and flanked by a vast landscape of open habitats, from agricultural tracts to semi –arid landscapes, inland wetlands and secondary growth, and area with human population.
storks There were no pre – determined routes to the Bird Race – participants observed the birds at multiple locations all within 30 – 40 km radius of the city. According to Virag Vya, a research coordinator NHCS, Ecologists Irshad Theba and Bharat Jethva during the race the team identified rare species which included White Stork, Short – eared Owl, Red Avadavat ( Red Munia ), Booted eagle were sighted by different teams.
The coordinators said that the programme helped to create awareness and conservation ethos among the citizens. The participants were also sensitized towards the bird injuries during Uttarayan.
Courtesy:- Times Of India

Dholera ( Gujarat, India ) SIR ( Special Investment Region ): Campaign to save Bhal ( Bhavnagar, Gujarat, India ) ecology launched

Wildlife activities from Saurashtra opposing the proposed Dholera Special Investment Region ( DSIR ) project have undertaken a letter writing campaign, raising concerns about the threat propsed to the ecology and biodiversity of Bhal region.
Chill out for Bird Watchers
They are posting letters to top shots in Union environment ministry, Ahmedabad collector, officials of environment and forest department in Gujarat and prominent wildlife conservationists across Indian raising their concerns.
Last week, Gujarat Pollution Control Board ( GPCB ) and Ahmedabad district collectorate held a public hearing on environmental impact assessment on the proposed DSIR. The site for the proposed DSIR is a rural area of approximately 920 square kilometers, comprising 19 villages of Dhandhuka taluka and three villages of Barwala taluka in Ahmedabad District.
“the areas where DSIR is proposed is unique grassland having rich bio diversity. The proposed DSIR is just 600 meters away from the Blackbuck National Park, which is a habitat of endangered species like lesser floricans, harriers, wolves and hyenas among others. The highest density of wolves in the country is in Bhal area. Moreover, the Blackbuck National Park in Velavadar is world’s largest roosting site for harriers. Out of 16 harrier species in the worl, at least four species of Montagu, Pallid, Eurasian Marsk and Hen are found here. All these aspects need to be takes care of. Hence, we are writing to the concerned authorities,” president of Dharamkumarsinhji Nature Conservation society in Bhavnagar Dr IR Gadhvi said.
He added that Bhal is of the 17 important bird areas in the state indentified by Indian Bird Conservation Network besides being the largest breeding ground for lesser floricans.
Activists claim that the ecological zones of Blackbuck National Park and proposed DSIR over lap at places which is very worrying.
“All wildlife conservationists and environment activists from the state are concerned over the adverse impact the DSIR will have on Bhal region, which is the wheat bowl of Gujarat. We want that this project should not be cleared without addressing these concerns. We will also write to National Wildlife Board for its intervention,” a wildlife activist from Bhavnagar Shrenik Shah said.  
Courtesy:- Times of India 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Great India plan for Bustard

A recovery strategy will be drawn up

Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) had directed Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan to have state – level recovery plans for the great Indian Bustard.
Gujarat principal chief conservator of Forests C.N. Pandey said, “We had met experts recently and have now prepared a draft report, which has been approved and is in the final stages”.
The MoEF had directed all bustard range stages to prepare state – level recovery plans to conserve the species. The proposed plan will aim at long – term conservation of both bustard species in Kutch in Gujarat. With this state-level initiative, it is expected that the conservation of and habitat restoration of Great Indian Bustard (GIB) will get a boost.
Officials in the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) said many vital and bio-diverse habitats such as grasslands and species inhabiting the Great Indian Bustard continue to remain neglected.
Officials said grasslands have been threatened for long from rising human pressures on the habitat, indiscriminate grazing outside traditional grounds, poaching, urbanization and several other factors. Several flagship grassland species of birds and animals including GIB, Lesser florican, chinkara, fox and wolf have been affected in various parts of their former range including Kutch (Gujarat, India). According, to BNHS, the Great Indian Bustard are found in six states in India currently and have populations of GIB and Lesser Florican in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh. In case of Madhya Pradesh, at present there are two sanctuaries for GIB and two for Lesser florican. In Maharashtra, the few remaining GIB are to be found at some locations in districts such as Solapur and Chandrapur. The situation in other Bustard range including Gujarat is also a cause of concern.
It is worth recalling that experts involved in the conservation of GIB had meet chief minister Narendra Modi and urged him to act and take measures to conserve the bird. According to experts GIB is facing threat through the reduction in the extent of undisturbed arid and grassland habitat, degradation and disturbance to existing habitat, hunting, lack of protection for many traditional “lekking” and nesting sites, lack natural grassland conservation in management and policy. Apart, from these issues there is lack of cooperation between departments and stakeholders in GIB habitats. Livestock overgrazing and disturbance by tourists and photographers, especially during the breeding season, have led to the reduction in the bird’s number.
 Courtesy: - Times of India  

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Six – year wait ends, bustards to be counted this month

A census of the Great Indian Bustard will be held this month and officials of the state forest department are getting ready for this important exercise.
According to forest officials, the 2007 census had shown that there were 48 of these Bustards in Gujarat but data collected by other nature societies had reveled their population to be less than 30. Hence, all eyes are now on this census which is taking place after six years.  The officials said that the ‘direct sighting method’ will be adopted for the census in the Kutch Region ( Gujarat, India ) where the bustard is found.
This largest flying bird in the world is spotted mainly in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. Some birds are also found in Pakistan, mainly in summer.
Officials said that a meeting of villagers and forest officials will be held to finalize the programme for the census. Separate teams will be set up and posted in pockets where sightseeing has been reported.
The census will be conducted in two phases – the first will be the primary round and the second will be the main final round. Officials said that according to the union ministry of forests and environment, the bird faces several threats to its existence, including threats from the rapid development of infrastructure taking place in Kutch (Gujarat). Domestic and stray animals are also among the major threats affecting conversation efforts for the bird.
Apart from these, collision with high tension electric wires, fast moving vehicles and other man-made structures continue to be a threat in the Industrial development zones near bustard inhabited areas. Deaths of Great Indian Bustard have been reported frequently from Kutch in Gujarat and Solapur in Maharashtra.
For the bird’s conversation, the Union ministry had asked the state government to undertake scientific studies of seasonal movements of bustards and their lifecycles, regular patrolling of bustard territories and setting up of local networks to monitor the fencing around core bustard areas. Removal of dogs and other nest predators with the help of the veterinary department has also been suggested.
It was in 2005 that Dr. Bharat Pathak, currently director of Gujarat Ecological Education and Research ( GEER ) Foundation had rushed to Velavadar Blackbuck National Park in Bhavnagar ( Gujarat, India ). He had heard of a bustard sighting there.
Courtesy: - Times of India.