Oil India Well Blowout Threatens Dibru-Saikhowa Killing Dolphin and Wildlife

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An oil well blowout – yet to be brought under control 6 days since it started – has been leaking toxic natural gas into its surroundings in Upper Assam, including the fragile Dibru-Saikhowa National Park close by. 

At least 2,000 people have been evacuated as state-owned Oil India Ltd (OIL) struggles to control the massive eruption or blowout from one of its producing wells in Baghjan oilfield in Upper Assam’s Tinsukia district. Natural gas continued to gush out from the … Read More

Tigers with Plastic, Corbett Tiger Reserve

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I saw these 2 sub-adult tiger cubs playing with a plastic bucket / drum that was floating on the Ranganga in the heart of Corbett Tiger Reserve (CTR). This was around 4pm on 30th Jan, 2020, near Sambhar road in the Dhikala zone. I handed over the images to the forest department.

According to an article published by the Times News Network (TNN), the park director mentioned, “A group of tourists have given us some pictures where a tigress … Read More

Bird Deaths in Sambhar Lake, Rajasthan, Attributed to Avian Botulism

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UPDATE 2 – 21-Nov-2019: The deaths of over 18,000 birds in Sambhar Lake have been attributed to Avian botulism. Attached is the detailed report by the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), Bareilly. The initial cause of the deaths was suspected to be avian flu, but that has been ruled out. Botulism has been recognised as a major cause of mortality in wild birds since the 1900s. A potential cause of the presence of the bacteria could be toxicity of … Read More

Plastic and the Pup — Red Fox with a Bottle

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Hanle is a small, remote village in Ladakh, Jammu & Kashmir, India, closer to Tibet, with a population of around 1000 people. It is surrounded by mountains, and marshland at the centre. This village is internationally known for hosting the world’s highest observatory.

Its unique landscape supports a vast range of wildlife and a breeding ground of various birds and mammals. The rocky mountains are home to Eurasian Eagle Owl, Upland Buzzard and the likes. Also there are mammals like … Read More

Cormorant and Plastic, Bangalore

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I photographed this Little Cormorant (Microcarbo niger) with a sheet of plastic in Puttenahalli Lake, Bangalore, on 9th June ’18 while out birdwatching. The bird did not seem entangled in it, so I was unable to understand what was happening. The incident ended in under a minute, with the cormorant suddenly swimming away. Was it looking for a fish under the plastic? Only my speculation!

Despite plastics being non‐biodegradable, most tourists to lakes, wetlands and our wildlife parks consume plastic … Read More

Yellow-throated Marten in Garbage, Sela Pass, Arunachal Pradesh

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I visited Arunachal Pradesh recently for birding, and was enthralled by its beauty. The dense green mountains looked as if they were playing hide and seek with the moving clouds. The place was alive with the continuous chirping of birds. It was like being in paradise. We traveled from Nameri to Dirang and stopped at several places for birding. What really disturbed me was the pile of garbage that we saw in most places. Of the many places that I … Read More

A Whiskered Tern Entangled in Plastic, Mangalajodi, Odisha

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Effects of plastic in, with its innate non-biodegradability, has become a cliche, yet things have not changed much. Here is an image of a whiskered tern dangerously entangled with a plastic carry bag. I photographed this in Mangalajodi, Chilika lake, Odisha on 24th January, 2014.

Plastic in our wilderness is a conservation threat in several ways. Last year Conservation India ran a campaign against plastics in response to a Public Notice issued by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on the … Read More

Chital Chewing Plastic Bag, Bandipur

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While I love to shoot great action and beauty pictures of wildlife, I could not resist shooting this unfortunate scene in Bandipur recently. In my opinion, Bandipur is amongst the most abused national parks in India. It tolerates all sorts of issues caused by picnickers – starting from litter and yelling tourists, all the way to human-animal conflict. Tourists often enjoy a great picnic beside the National Highway that cuts through the park, after which they throw plastic and paper … Read More

Plastic in Ladakh

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Ladakh, the trans-himalayan region of Jammu and Kashmir and home to faunal diversity rarely found elsewhere in the country, is fast becoming a viable destination for various classes of tourism. Ever since the opening up of some areas close to the LoC as well as the elimination of the need for an Inner Line Permit in several of the areas to Indians and, to some extent, international tourists, the inflow of tourists to the region has increased from 527 in … Read More

Protest against Plastics — Act Now!

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The Principal Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has issued a Public Notice on the matter of use of various types of plastic products, with a view to phasing out many of them. Click here to see the order of the Tribunal.

Since many types of plastics create havoc in the environment, CI is urging readers to send their representations to the NGT as soon as possible, i.e., immediately! You can use the template provided below. Feel free to … Read More

Littering — how it impacts birds

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Please do not litter! Especially where birds and animals live. We learn this in school but do not implement it in real life! Nobody cares about the impact of littering. I came across one distressing incident recently. This Darter (Anhinga rufa), a fish-eater, got a piece of cloth entangled in its beak and remained in this position for more than 2 hours. Luckily the bird was finally able to get rid of the cloth; otherwise it could have resulted … Read More

Plastic in Lake, Santragachi, Kolkata

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Just a 20-minute drive from Kolkata lies this 13,75,000 sq feet lake, known as the Santragachi jheel or lake. The Santragachi lake is a great place for many migratory birds. Winter months (October to March) draw 4000 to 5000 ducks and waders to this safe haven. This season thousands of Lesser Whistling Ducks arrived along with Northern Pintails, Gadwalls, the endangered Ferruginous Pochard, Common Teal, Cotton Pygmy Goose and other waterfowl.

What is really the key feature of Santragachi is … Read More

Plastic menace at Bandipur National Park

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On 9th Nov 2013, on our way to Ooty through Bandipur National Park, we witnessed this scene of a chital with its face inside a plastic bag. A couple of months before, we had seen forest staff of Bandipur National Park clearing plastic from the same road. On the whole, they have been doing a commendable job. But tourists need to be educated about littering and there should be regular patrolling on the main road to penalise offenders. It is … Read More

Plastic reaches Ladakh

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A female Himalayan Marmot (Marmota himalayana) gathering plastic as part of its nesting material. This photograph was taken enroute to Diskit from Leh. Plastic and other litter irresponsibly disposed by careless tourists on these remote roads can create serious problems for wildlife.

Himalayan Marmots live in alpine meadows with very low rainfall, typically inhabiting slopes where soil can be readily excavated (Molur et al. 2005; Smith and Xie 2008). It lives in colonies and excavates unusually deep burrows, … Read More

Q: I would like to understand why private vehicles are allowed in any sanctuary as it disturbs the ecosystem. One such example is Sanjay Gandhi National Park (Borivali, Mumbai). In such a densely populated concrete jungle we have such wonderful flora and fauna. Why is this getting ruined because the government is allowing private vehicles to access the sanctuary, where speed limit is not observed, people who use the park as their bar and litter the park with bottles and plastic? When we have strong NGOs in the city, why do we fail to stop these harmful activities? I would like to raise these concerns to the forest department but I am unaware of how to go about doing it, so would like CI to look into the matter and give me a solution on how I can give my inputs to conserve the amazing wildlife in my city.

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Answer from Debi Goenka, who heads Mumbai-based environmental NGO Conservation Action Trust (CAT):

Private vehicles are only allowed to ply from the main gate at Borivili to the Kanheri Caves, which are not part of the notified National Park. We have tried to get the forest dept. to introduce shuttle buses, but since these are not financially viable, the forest dept. is not interested.

Re alcohol, this is strictly prohibited, and complaints should be immediately made to the SGNP … Read More