Why Adding More RAMSAR Wetlands is Beneficial to a Growing India

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On the eve of the first World Wetland Day of the new decade (February 2nd, 2020) India took the initiative to add 10 more wetlands to its pocketful of RAMSAR wetland sites, taking the total number of internationally-recognized wetlands in the country to 37 sites.

Wetlands are areas where water is the primary controlling factor for the abiotic and biotic components of these ecosystems. The RAMSAR convention on wetlands (1971), held in the Iranian city of Ramsar, is recognized … Read More

Bangalore Lake Census Workshop — Venkatappa Art Gallery, Bengaluru, January 4, 2020

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After a gap of a few decades, there is a repeat of a full-fledged tanks / lakes census in Bangalore. This will involve water sampling, bird surveys, plankton, lake status, and a complete inventory of tanks / lakes in the city.

This Annual Mid-Winter Waterfowl Census is planned to be held during the months of January & February 2020.

To aid this exercise, an orientation and training workshop has been planned on Saturday, January 04, 2020 at Venkatappa Art Gallery. … Read More

Illegal feeding of migratory birds at Sukhna Lake, Chandigarh

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During my recent visit to the famous Sukhna lake in Chandigarh, it was shocking to see visitors blatantly feeding snacks to migratory birds. Ducks like Common Pochard (Aythya ferina) and Common Coot (Fulica atra) were fed with biscuits, chips and popcorn, and hence kept flocking close to the lake shore. This is a growing problem in India where citizens indulge in the feeding of avian fauna like gulls, treepies and several other species due to lack of awareness and sensitization. … Read More

Let’s get to know the Fishing Cat in February!

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The Beautiful Baghrol – A Fascinating Feline

What is the state animal of West Bengal? Many of you may guess, Royal Bengal Tiger, because of the ‘Bengal’ in the name. Or you may remember Bengalis’ love for all things piscine, and say it is the fish! But you would be wrong again, for it is neither the tiger, nor the fish, but an animal associated with both – the fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrinus), locally known as Baghrol or MacchbaghaRead More

Wetlands in Peril, Chennai

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While driving to work on 13th July 2016, I witnessed rapid changes to the remaining wetlands patches along the Old Mahabalipuram Road in Chennai. Studies show that due to rapid city expansion, Chennai’s wetlands have shrunk to alarming proportions.

At a national scale, one-third of the India’s wetlands are already wiped out or severely degraded because of encroachment. Wetlands that were once home to numerous species of flora and fauna have been replaced by concrete jungles virtually in the blink … Read More

Losing their Home — Greater Adjutants in Assam

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The Greater Adjutant (Leptoptilos dubius), an endangered scavenger stork, is globally threatened, with an estimated population of 800-1200 mature individuals, out of which 650-800 are in Assam (Choudhury, 2000). Half of the Assamese population is found in and around Guwahati City (Choudhury, 2008) near the Boragaon Garbage dump, Deepor Beel, Guwahati. Deepor Beel, a permanent freshwater lake in a former channel of the Brahmaputra River, is a Ramsar site, which was originally over 40 sq km. Currently it is … Read More

Sarus Cranes in Intensely Cultivated Floodplains

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Sarus Cranes (Grus antigone) in north India and other locations occur in landscapes with very high human populations and intensive agriculture. Their successful breeding is dependent on remnant wetland patches. Traditional agricultural practices help them to persist on the otherwise disturbed lands. Alongside the struggle to maintain wetlands amid a burgeoning human population, the changes in rainfall patterns, likely driven by global climate change, are new challenges that cranes here face. … Read More

Caspian Plover – A Winter Rarity in India

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The mudflats near Panje village near Uran, Navi Mumbai are known to be a favourite stopover destination for many uncommon migratory birds, so we visited the place to try our luck.

Our day began with listening to the calls of Rain Quails and the sighting of a beautiful Jacobin Cuckoo followed by the usual sightings – Prinias, Bulbuls, Munias, and waders like Sandpipers, Redshanks, Greenshanks, Stints and Lapwings. Further on the trail, along the dry mudflats, we observed a few … Read More

Reject the Draft Wetland Rules 2016 that are designed to destroy wetlands

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Urgent! Calling all citizens to reject the Draft Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules 2016 which pose a serious threat to India’s wetlands. Let us demand the ministry new Rules through a scientific, consultative and participatory process. Act now by signing this petition!

While the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) never implemented the Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules 2010, it has now brought out a new and seriously watered down Draft Wetland Rules 2016 (in Hindi, followed by … Read More

Irrawaddy Dolphin, Chilika Lake

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This rare photograph captures an Irrawaddy dolphin calf as it leaps out of the water. Irrawaddy dolphins (Orcaella brevirostris) are quite shy, and all that can be seen of them most of the time is a dorsal fin or a tail fluke. They are believed to give birth to a single calf every two to three years, after a gestation of 14 months. A newborn is said to be 1 m long, weighing about 10 kg. As per … Read More

White-bellied Sea Eagle on a Fish Trap in Lake Chilika, Odisha

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Fish trapped in nets catch the attention of a White-bellied Sea Eagle in Lake Chilika, Odisha. Sea Eagles and other birds often perch near fish traps in the hopes of finding easy prey. Unfortunately, they risk entanglement in the nets themselves should they take the risk of diving into the traps. Lake Chilika is an extremely productive ecosystem, and fishing, though largely traditional, has become very intensive. So much so, that virtually no part of the lake is free from … 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

Spoon-billed Sandpiper Conservation in Bangladesh

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Considering its grim current global status, a group of young ornithologists in Bangladesh took up the challenge to save the critically endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper in 2009, when they began the Bangladesh Spoon-billed Sandpiper Conservation Project (BSCP).

Their surveys confirmed that Bangladesh is an extremely important wintering ground for the Spoon-billed Sandpiper, and identified Sonadia Island (near Cox’s Bazar) as the key wintering site and Domar Char as a stopover (passage) site in the country. In Sonadia Island, they found evidence … Read More

Pulicat Bird Sanctuary in Grave Danger

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Pulicat Bird Sanctuary, spanning northern Tamilnadu and southern Andhra Pradesh is the 2nd largest brackish water ecosystem in India. Hundreds of thousands of migratory waterfowl throng the lake from October to April, including large numbers of Greater and Lesser Flamingos. Efforts are underway through national conservation bodies such as Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural history (SACON) to declare it as a wetland of international importance and obtain for it the status of … Read More

Films on Chilika Lake by Shekar Dattatri

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Asia’s largest brackish water lake and lagoon, Chilika, in the eastern Indian state of Odisha (formerly Orissa), was considered a dying wetland until the late 1990s. But thanks to scientific restoration by the Chilika Development Authority (CDA), it is once again a vibrant refuge for wildlife and a reliable source of livelihood for local communities.

In 2013, wildlife and conservation filmmaker, Shekar Dattatri, produced two films on the lake for CDA: ‘Chilika – Jewel of Odisha’, a 21-minute documentary … Read More