National Level Plan Drawn To Protect Endangered Bustard And Floricans

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A draft plan for national recovery of the critically endangered Great Indian Bustard (Ardeotis nigriceps) and the endangered Lesser Florican (Sypheotides indica) has been submitted by a special task force to the MoEF. The ‘Draft Guidelines for Species Recovery Programmes’– is hosted on the MoEF website. Comments/suggestions are invited from civil society owithin a week of issue of this notification, the website says.

“There is an immediate need for an executable plan both at the … Read More

Agriculture That Benefits Wildlife

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The tallest flying bird in the world – the Sarus crane – thrives in the intensely cultivated floodplains of Uttar Pradesh. Can the birds withstand the pressures of a country on the fast track to development?

The fertile Gangetic floodplain has supported dense human population for centuries—much of the land is cultivated, having been converted almost entirely to small-holder farmer systems at least 300 years ago. Despite these pressures, the world’s largest known breeding populations of sarus cranes and black-necked … Read More

Lesser Florican and Humans — Conflict or Co-existence?

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An endangered male Lesser Florican (Sypheotides indicus) displays in the Sonkhaliya grasslands in Ajmer, Rajasthan. Most of Sonkhaliya have been converted into agricultural fields and the remaining into shrub land of the invasive Prosopis juliflora. Surprisingly, in a recent survey more than 150 male floricans were seen in the Sonkhaliya area of about 100 square kilometers. This author (G.S. Bhardwaj — a scientist at the Wildlife Institute of India) who conducted the survey in NW India observed … Read More

All Crane Species Under Threat of Extinction Says Waterbird Expert

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Dutch scientist Dr. Joost Van der Ven, pioneer of the annual International Waterbird Census, has said that all 15 crane species of the world are under the threat of extinction. Five species live in India and hence India has an important role to play. The Sarus Crane population is a cause for concern. The western population of the Siberian Crane, that used to winter in India (last bird was seen in 2002) and Iran, was hunted to extinction along their … Read More

Diclofenac Ban Helps Vulture Populations

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The diclofenac ban of 2006 by the Govt. of India has helped arrest the decline in the population of vultures. This was the conclusion of a study by scientists representing the Royal Society for Protection of Birds (RSPB), the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and the Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge. The study was presented to a gathering of scientists at the International Conference on Indian Ornithology, held at the Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON), … Read More

Rare Mrs. Hume’s Pheasant Rescued In Manipur And Handed Over To Zoo

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Residents of Pumlen, a part of Loktak lake in Bishnupur district, Manipur have caught a male nongin (Mrs. Hume’s Pheasant). A local MLA has paid Rs 1000 for the bird and handed it over to the Manipur zoological gardens. The nongin is the state bird of Manipur, and its discovery for the first time in the valley has brought cheers from wildlife officials. The forest department has so far collected 14 nongins by encouraging locals not to kill the birds. … Read More

SC Notification for The Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary in Maharashtra

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Finally, the Supreme Court (SC) has cleared the long-pending denotification of Great Indian Bustard (GIB) Sanctuary at Nannaj in Solapur district. From 8,496 sq km earlier, the sanctuary will now be restricted to 1,222 sq km.

The matter was pending in the court since 2006. In October, 2008, the SC had directed the committee for rationalization of boundaries to recommend the area of the GIB sanctuary. Accordingly, a committee headed by VB Sawarkar, ex-director of Wildlife Institute of India (WII), … Read More

Greater Adjutant in Guwahati Garbage Dump, Assam

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Endangered Greater Adjutant Storks Leptoptilos dubius patiently await their turn at a landfill near Guwahati, Assam. They await their turn patiently at the garbage table – every time a fresh truckload of garbage enters the landfill people rush to it first, and once they are done with their pickings the storks move in filling their gullets with rotten meat. I still wonder how this species living so calmly in an urban environment could be so endangered.

The Greater Adjutant Stork … Read More

Yellow-eyed Pigeon Resurfaces in Tal Chhapar Wildlife Sanctuary for Third Year

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The rare Yellow-eyed Pigeon, at the turn of the 19th century, used to migrate to India in swarming flocks during winter. However, habitat destruction and unrestrained hunting had driven them out of their wintering grounds in India. But now, the highly vulnerable species is making a comeback and favors the Tal Chhapar wildlife sanctuary in Churu district, Rajasthan. In 2009, the pigeons had flown into Tal Chhapar in small groups and repeated the act again in 2010. This year, the … Read More

Sarus Crane Nesting Sites Decline In Uttar Pradesh

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There has been a large decline in the number of nesting sites observed in Etawah district in Uttar Pradesh. Wildlife activists and forest officials are trying to ascertain the reasons. It appears to be a hidden conflict between farmers and the birds. Analysis shows that 64 percent of the land owned by farmers happened to be in wetlands. Only 36 percent was outside of wetlands. Shortage of agricultural land, inappropriate land management practices and poverty are said to be reasons … Read More

Continued Availability of Banned Diclofenac Threatens Critically Endangered Vultures

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A study in the journal, Oryx, has found that Diclofenac is still widely available in general and veterinary pharmacies. In 2004 Diclofenac was established as the primary reason for the decline of the population of vultures in the Indian subcontinent and in 2006, the sale of Diclofenac was banned in India, Pakistan and Nepal. Diclofenac is used to relieve the suffering of dying cattle, which for religious reasons are not put to death right away. Vultures ingest the drug when … Read More

Zero Breeding of Western Tragopan in Sarahan Breeding Centre

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The Western Tragopan, a highly endangered and globally threatened pheasant will not be bred in the Sarahan Breeding Centre this year. This is to allow the birds to recover from an e-coli infection last year that left them very weak. There are 19 birds in captivity. Last year they had bred 17 fertilized eggs of which only one hatched. The chick died soon after. Three adult birds had also died and post mortem findings narrowed the cause to e-coli infection. … Read More

Two Endangered Bird Species Sighted in Pir Panjal Range, Jammu and Kashmir

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The rare Western Tragopan, a medium sized and brightly colored pheasant, has been sighted at two sites in the Pir Panjal range. The birds were sighted by a team from the species division of the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI). Its status is a Schedule I species on the Wildlife Protection Act and ‘Vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List. The Tragopan is a victim of rampant poaching for its meat and plumage. The team also sighted another rare species, … Read More

Workshop: Conservation of Endangered Black-necked Cranes

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A 2-day workshop, called ‘Cranes Calling’, was held in New Delhi for knowledge-sharing and information exchange among experts on conservation of Black-necked Cranes. The workshop was organized by WWF-India, MoEF, BNHS and Indian Bird Conservation Network (IBCN) and included delegates from India, China and Bhutan. Union Minister Jairam Ramesh was the chief guest. Mr. Ramesh remarked that conservation of Black-necked Cranes deserves special attention, not only because of the significance to nature, but because of the opportunities it brings for … Read More