There's got to be a better way to do this
Eating fried worms to make kids reach their reading goals... is sick.
Eating fried worms to make kids reach their reading goals... is sick.
...for the Royal Bengal Tiger.
In The Telegraph, Nilanjanaa clears a few misconceptions.
When a rabid dog bites your pet: First clip the hair around the wound then clean the area with lots of running water and detergent soap. DO NOT COVER THE WOUND. Take your pet to the vet who will once again cauterise the wound and administer anti-rabies vaccination.
‘‘After such expenditure on areas like resettlement, community care and general conservation, it’s surprising that the Ranthambhore tiger reserve still faces huge biotic pressure (see box on page 2) and we need armed policemen to stand guard around the Park. We are not even in a position to conduct any constructive dialogue with the local population. If money was not the problem, we must ask what was?’’ says Rajesh Gopal, director, Project Tiger.
In The Hindu Magazine, Pankaj Sekhsaria warns us of the crisis of India's wildlife today:
Is anybody really serious about conserving and protecting wildlife?
Something clearly is amiss somewhere!
It is almost like a big farce that each one of us is pulling on the other. We have not realised that the joke's on us, each one of us, on our water, our air, our forests, our wildlife; the very systems without which we would not be. There might now even be a heightened call for the implementation of a more aggressive gun and guard regime for the protection of wildlife. While no one can deny the need for better protection and law enforcement, we have to realise that the crisis before us is a much larger one. What's happened in Sariska is only a blip on the radar, more like a bad dream. It is merely a symptom of a malaise that runs deep.
Are there some lessons here for tiger conservation?
The "innovative practices" adopted by the State such as recruiting ex-poachers as forest guards augured well for the tiger, said Sunita Narain, Director, Centre for Science and Environment, who is chairman of the taskforce.
"Out of 114 tiger deaths in the country between 1999 and 2003, only five were from Tamil Nadu. Also, out of 211 seizures of tiger parts made by law-enforcing agencies in this period, only four were from Tamil Nadu. Some of the approaches adopted by Tamil Nadu need to be explored by other States," Ms. Narain told The Hindu in a telephonic interview from New Delhi. Madhya Pradesh topped the list with 57 seizures, followed by Uttar Pradesh (44) and West Bengal (39). "Experts pointed out how excluding local communities in forest management and wildlife conservation affected the gathering of intelligence and information, critical to preventing poaching," she said.
I'm not a huge fan of zoos. The one in Delhi suffers from a lack of imagination and facilities--and if you think that zoos justify their existence by introducing the general public to the concept of kindness towards animals, you don't know the capital. People poke sticks through the bars at sleeping animals, offer them everything from matchsticks to lit cigarettes to plastic bags and razorblades. You're actually glad for the bars, because they offer the animals some sort of protection against the maraudings of homo sapiens.
PETA just released a report documenting "animal cruelty -- including charges of punching and choking lab monkeys" at an animal-testing lab owned by Covance. They have a dedicated website here, and as usual, their reports make for sickening reading.
What happens to ostrich chicks, pigeons, pheasants and other birds illegally imported to India? They're sent to zoos, but don't look for a happy ending.
"Though the birds now have the relative spaciousness of a hastily-prepared enclosure inside the zoo hospital - they arrived at Nedumbasery tightly packed into small boxes - the zoo is still to make up its mind as to what to do with these birds. A number of pigeons and pheasants have already died; zoo officials are reluctant to reveal how many...
As it is, the zoo does not have the space in its aviary for displaying the remaining pigeons and pheasants. "As we know next to nothing about the birds' feeding habits, mating behaviour and so on, we have no idea where we can put them. We do not want to mix the wrong species and have them fighting each other," said an animal keeper.
...The fact that many of these birds have died is also worrying the zoo; officials are worried that if more birds die, they might have to do some explaining to animal rights organisations and even to the CZA."
The jail authorities in Ghazaiabad wanted a prisoner, Chandraveer, to confess to the murder of an inmate. Chandraveer is in prison for murder, but he's also a bird lover, who fed and looked after around 450 pigeons in jail.
But here's the report:
A dozen tigers and a pair of lions and bears each, besides a couple of monkeys which used to perform at Famous Circus more than three years ago, have bade good bye to circus and are presently counting days at a farm house garage in Dankuni, about 50 km north of the city, after a city court banned the animals’ performance in circuses in India. Victims of utter neglect and cruelty, these animals, caged in separate tiny structures at the garage for the last three years, have anything but freedom from “chains”.
...are a rhino and a goat, both lonely and abandoned animals, who have become friends on a South African game park. Clover is a 11-month old female rhino calf whose mother was killed by poachers. They play at butting heads.
Clover is a lucky survivor of Africa's wildlife wars.
She was orphaned at the age of three months at a reserve in South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal province when her mother was poached.
Rhinos are targeted in Africa and Asia for their horns, which fetch high prices in Yemen where they are prized for dagger handles and in east Asia where they are used in traditional medicines.
The poaching of the thick-skinned titans is relatively rare in South Africa but a disturbing recent incident has raised alarm bells in the conservation community.
In early May five white rhinos and several other animals were fatally poisoned in a South African nature reserve - a sinister and indiscriminate new tactic.
Please don't order shark-fin soup.
...and the lakes, too.
"They are filter feeders and need shallow water to sift their planktons. Drying up of water bodies or a disturbance in the Rann due to salt mining must have dispersed the flock. Flamingos should be here for a few weeks till the rains," explains Suhel. Apart from popular water bodies such as Kolleru and Rollapadu, lesser-known Uppalapadu in Guntur and now Osman Sagar are turning as a touch down spot for many long distance flyers. If offered undisturbed environs, these birds might just return next and every season ahead.
It is the evening before the Indian Monsoon and therefore the most vulnerable time for tigers as poachers have always used this moment to strike. This is when protection is difficult in forests as the rain washes away the roads. Accessibility is tough. Never forget Sariska’s tigers were wiped out at this time last year.
According to this report, the Union government has informed the Supreme Court that 411 tigers have vanished from the forests across India between 1999 and 2003.
Bittu Sahgal writes in Sanctuary Asia:
"What is to be the fate of the elephant in India? Poachers know their migration routes even better than researchers and forest officers do. And with CITES in the clutches of wildlife traders, loopholes that allow them to continue to kill and profit seem here to stay for a while. What is worse is that the high stakes have led many people who should be protecting elephants to turn a blind eye, because they are in on the take. Adding to the bleak future for elephants is the fact that they are intensely disliked by farmers, whose crops they raid and whose deaths they occasionally cause. And the retaliation is vicious. Live high tension wires from overhead electric lines are laid onto elephant paths. Petrol soaked rags are lit and then thrown on their backs. Barbed wire, laced with pesticides is hidden under the leaf litter on known trails to wound and thus kill the animals."
Over the years, my partner and I have found homes for several kittens--despite our efforts to keep the local population of floating felines vaccinated, neutered and spayed, we just know that sooner or later, a young cat will arrive triumphantly on the doorstep showing off her new litter, pretty much smirking, see, see, you didn't get me.
What happens to animals in war zones? This report from Animal Aid gives us a brief outline:
Thanks to the Marginalien, who wrote about Billy Arjan Singh and Tiger Haven on her blog, I've been reading the new edition of Billy's A Tiger's Story (published by India Research Press).
Read this to find out:
The eyes open around the fourteenth day. Even at that time they do not have vision, as the retina is yet to form. It takes another 15 days for both its eyes and ears to become functional. At four weeks, puppies begin reacting to sound. A sharp noise can startle them. Ethologists call it the `startle reflex'. What the human baby does with its smile, a puppy does with its tail. It starts recognising its littermates and wags its tail.
...when we feel strongly about animal rights abuse, is to write a letter. As Sharmishtha Dhar does in The Telegraph, where she is upset about the treatment of Asiad Appu, not just in his lifetime but even after his death - when everone in the nearby areas refused to provide space for his burial. "Is the demand for the ethical treatment of animals applicable only so long as they are alive?" she asks:
Does the principle cease to apply when they die? Not solemnizing the last rites of a dead human being in accordance with his or her religious rites would be deemed immoral. By the same logic, the refusal to offer a strip of land for the burial of Appu — the elephant who came to be identified with the mascot of the 1982 Asian Games and was the symbol of a defining moment in India’s march towards modernity — is also immoral. Though at last a kind planter has offered space for the burial, it is clear that we Indians still treat this most benevolent of animals as beasts of burden. We tame them, put them to use and junk them remorselessly when they fall ill or die of the cruelty inflicted by us.
In the latest issue of Tehelka, Mihir Srivastava lists two ways in which you can kill a tiger:
The iron trap has two circular lobes that snap shut when a tiger steps on it. The impact of the iron teeth clamping shut inevitably breaks the limb. The animal can lie there for hours, unable to break free...
The killers usually arrive after sunset, armed with a six-foot long bamboo stick. They thrust the sharpened edge down the tiger's throat. A gunshot could alert forest authorities, and a bullet mark would bring down the price of a tiger skin...
I've just received the following alert in my mailbox.
Stray dogs have less access to medical help than pets. Dog-lovers often feel helpless when they see a stray dog in need of medical aid. The lives of many stray dogs can be saved if they get help on the spot.
The Welfare of Stray Dogs, Mumbai has organized a How to S.O.S.(Save Our Strays) Workshop on May 22, 2005 (Sunday) at Girgaum at 10:30 am. The topics covered by the First-Aid workshop will include: how to approach and handle dogs; their body language, and yours; how to examine a dog; how to handle emergencies (Poisoning, Bleeding, Burns, Diarrhoea, Vomiting, Fits, Injury etc); homeopathy for dogs; information on major diseases (Rabies, Distemper, Parvovirus etc) and basic first-aid i.e., treatment of wounds/skin disease etc.
This workshop is aimed at providing skills to a dog-lover to start treatment even before a vet or NGO arrives on the scene. This interactive workshop will be conducted by a vet, a homeopath and WSD personnel. There will be demonstrations on muzzling a dog; taking its temperature and pulse rate; checking hydration and gums; treating a wound and skin problem cases.
The workshop is free and is open to all dog lovers, members of the public, WSD Pariah Club members and WSD first-aid volunteers. Call The Welfare Of Stray Dogs (WSD), Mumbai on 23733433(10:00-5:00)/23891070 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
Here are a few lines from U.R.Ananthamurthy’s poem 'The Dalai Lama and History' (trans. N.Manu Chakravarthy):
At Delhi, on some day,
The Dalai Lama noticed the black ant
On his saffron robe, even as he was speaking
With intense concentration and concern
About the plight of his unfortunate countrymen
Trapped in the vicissitudes of modern history -
Gently, smiling throughout,
The soft-spoken sanyasi stopped speaking
Held the ant gently and carefully by the tips of his fingers,
Let it out to move around safely on the table,
Proceeding to talk, smilingly.
The blog was down over the last two months for several reasons: illness, a heavy workload, a certain degree of introspection. It became clear fairly early on that I couldn't handle the blog on my own--I'm an animal rights advocate, not an animal rights activist, and I see no reason why readers should be forced to accompany me on my journey along the learning curve. Then again, while I admire all the organisations listed on the sidebar, I don't endorse all of their viewpoints--and they certainly wouldn't endorse some of mine.
While we were away, the disappearance of tigers from India's wildlife sanctuaries received tremendous media attention. India Today carried the plight of the tiger as its cover story last week (they have a subscription-only website, so no links); Outlook did several stories; and the mainstream newspapers carried articles, investigations and op-eds. Here are some opinions: