Bleeding the Chambal Dry

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Reckless water hoarding, diversion, sand mining and fishing are killing a pristine river that once used to recast its vast ravines every flood. Jay Mazoomdaar on the curse of the Chambal.

This article originally appeared in Tehelka, 8 March, 2013.

In a culture where rivers are worshipped, the Chambal, by all means mightier than the Yamuna, would be slighted as a tributary of the latter. Unsurprisingly, no great cities or shrines came up on its banks. This traditional isolation fostered … Read More

Gharial Population Estimation in the Chambal and Conservation Implications

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India’s Chambal River hosts the largest population of the critically endangered Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus). In the 1970s, the total population of the Gharial was estimated at less than 200, following which conservation programmes involving the creation of protected areas and rear-and-release programmes were established. But, despite the release of over 5000 gharials into various Indian rivers over the past few decades, only about 200 breeding adults reportedly still survive. These programmes were poorly monitored and their outcome never … Read More

Marsh Crocodile Dead In Fishing Net, Chambal River

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Fishing is a big activity in the National Chambal Sanctuary (that extends over three Indian states — Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh). Reptiles (even mammals and birds) get entangled in the nets and drown while trying to catch a fish already entangled in the nets. Every year many Gharials and Marsh Crocodiles get entangled in the fishing nets and die. Several scientific studies have shown that a number of aquatic mammals, birds and reptiles, accorded with highly protected status … Read More

Gharials On The Chambal

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The Chambal river (here on the MP-UP border) is under severe pressure from human activity like sand mining and agriculture. The National Chambal Gharial Wildlife Sanctuary, is a 5,400 sq. kms. protected area for critically endangered Gharial Crocodiles, the Red-crowned roof turtle, the endangered Gangetic Dolphin and vulnerable bird species like Indian skimmer, Sarus Crane, Pallas’s Fish Eagle and Indian Courser.… Read More

Greater Flamingo with sub-adult chick on its back, Dholpur

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This unusual image of a Greater Flamingo chick on the back of its mother (?) was taken by me on 22 January in Dholpur, Rajasthan, at the Hussain Sagar water body. The waterbody derives its name from Hussain Pur, a nearby village, and is fed by rain water. Even though there is anthropogenic disturbance at this site — buffaloes enter the water and people wash their clothes here everyday — a small group of Greater Flamingos have been at the … Read More

Electrocuted Sambar on the banks of the Yamuna

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A CI contributor observed a shocking number of  wild animals (chital, sambar and jackal) electrocuted along the banks of the Yamuna. As visible in the image, the farmers (who largely grow mustard) have drawn electricity in crude wire-fences causing the electrocution. The farmers grow crops right down to the edge of the river (Yamuna and Chambal) causing dangerous pesticide and fertilizer runoffs into the fragile river ecosystems.… Read More

MOEF creates new record — 40 clearances in 3 hours!

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At a recent meeting of the national board of wildlife (NBWL) on 25 April, the energetic ministry of environment and forests (MOEF) cleared as many as 40 projects in three hours. The rush has left some members of the board gasping and fuming, since most of them got just 24-72 hours to study project proposals running into hundreds of pages.

One of the projects is permission for setting up the 330-megawatt Dholpur gas-based combined cycle thermal power project (stage II) … Read More