Saturday, May 21, 2005

There's got to be a better way to do this

Eating fried worms to make kids reach their reading goals... is sick.

Tiger rescue centre

...for the Royal Bengal Tiger.

The truth about rabies

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.

Money wasn't the problem here

‘‘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.

Jay Mazoomdaar looks at the funding of Ranthambore, 'crown jewel' of tiger reserves in the country.

The Joke's On Us

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.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Are There Some Lessons Here?

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.

Zoo stories

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.
And zoos in India don't seem to understand the idea of co-operation; there's little sense that they're trading knowledge. Or anything else. These lionesses at Trivandrum Zoo need a mate, but the zoo director complains that other Indian zoos aren't co-operative. And even though I dislike the idea of zoos, I had to smile when I saw this quote:
"In the zoo we can see everywhere the pairs, such as the visitors themselves, like husband and wives and lovers. But in the case of the animals, they do not have the pairs. It is very sad. Even the lionesses are very sad."
Interspecies empathy just got a major boost, yes?

Testing the limits

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.
Most animal-testing advocates use the "cure for cancer" argument. Look at these misguided humans who couldn't care less for their own species, targeting these virtuous, shining scientists who might be working on the cure for Alzheimer's and the cure for cancer. But only a small portion of lab work that uses animals as test subjects is actually dedicated to cutting-edge medical research. The toxic effects of household chemicals and ordinary cosmetics are tested on animals--there's the infamous Dreze test, that involved pouring shampoo into the eyes of rabbits, skin tests that involved studying the burning and scarring effect of household chemicals on some unfortunate animal's naked skin. PETA has a cogent, India-specific argument against animal testing here.
The EU is trying to reduce animal-testing in an "unusual alliance" between animal rights groups and big industry.
The interesting thing is that the search for non-animal solutions to the testing problem is yielding several different options.
Wired reports:
"About 18 million animals are killed each year in medical research, according to the animal rights group In Defense of Animals. But complex computer models that simulate organs, biological systems and even entire organisms are beginning to take the place of test animals in the lab.
This month, the American Diabetes Association and biopharmaceutical company Entelos completed a virtual mouse that will be used to study cures for type 1 diabetes."
In this letter, Stephanie Stone makes the obvious point:
"Instead of killing animals, we can now test irritancy on egg membranes, produce vaccines from cell cultures and perform pregnancy tests using blood samples. As Gordon Baxter, confounder of Pharmagene Laboratories asks, 'If you have information on human genes, what's the point of going back to animals?'"

More pigeon post

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.
From The Hindu:
"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."

If you're an ornithologist or bird specialist based in Thiruvanthapuram, you might want to offer your services to the zoo.

The brief lives of stool pigeons

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.
The Hindustan Times reports: "About 100 of them were brutally killed during May 14-18 by wringing their necks and chopping off their wings to traumatise Chandraveer into confessing to the murder of another inmate Qamaruddin."
This operation was carried out over four days. I'm trying not to see the visual here: bleeding birds attempting to get away after their wings were cut off, the flock reacting with alarm as bird after bird has its neck wrung.
The authorities refused to file an FIR against jail superintendent Rajesh Kesharwani; in a situation where a convicted murderer was being pressurised to confess to the killing of another prisoner, they didn't take the death of these hapless birds seriously until People For Animals stepped in. PFA will be taking the jail authorities to court.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

I don't believe this...

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”.

I found this piece about these caged animals. Does anyone have any more information on this? I fully support the ban on their being made to perform in circuses: but what about their rehabilitation?

Clover and Bok-Bok

...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.

Next Time You're in a Five-Star

Please don't order shark-fin soup.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

How the Fish Die

...and the lakes, too.

Thousands of fishes died in the Vengaiana Kere (lake) in KR Puram, Bangalore last week following contamination of water with sewage. This is the second such incident of mass death of fishes in three months in Bangalore. A similar incident had occurred at Ulsoor lake in February. The State Pollution Board has now installed floating surface aerators to increase the oxygen levels.

Flamingoes at Osman Sagar

"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.

Flamingoes at Osman Sagar: a breathtaking sight.

Saving Wild Tigers

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.

Valmik Thapar has some suggestions for saving wild tigers. Including one about the Tribal Bill:"In fact the Bill should be called ‘The Forest, Forest Dweller and Wildlife Bill’ (Recognition of all Rights of all the above) since it is quite clear that none of the above three can live in isolation of the other and the Tribal Bill in its present form will only lead to greater stress and strife between human being and forest."

Five years, 411 tigers

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.

Appu's family

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."

Pet adoption: a few thoughts

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.
The results have been mixed. Not everyone who loves animals can live with them. Not everyone who knows they can handle a kitten (or a puppy) can handle the adult animal. Many people are taken aback by the costs involved in taking care of a companion animal; many are well-meaning but don't realise that an animal member of the family will require as much care as the human members.
If you're considering adopting an animal from a friend or a local shelter, good for you. In urban areas, companion animals are often abandoned or dumped when families move or realise that they can't handle the responsibility. Stray animals often make great companions, but there's always a surfeit of new litters who have no homes, and life on the streets is just as cruel to unwanted animals as it is to unwanted humans.
But here's what you might want to consider:

1) Given love and proper care, cats can live from roughly 8 to 15 years; dogs can live much longer. (Birds? Well, most birds shouldn't be caged, and buying caged birds in order to "free" them or look after them only encourages the illegal trade in birds.) If you're taking an animal home, bear in mind that she or he might live for a decade or two. You're making a commitment that will last the span of a human childhood, adolescence and early maturity.

2) The ASPCA has an excellent page on guidelines for families. One of their suggestions is that families with very young children shouldn't adopt animals until the kids are old enough to understand the needs of animals. Very young children don't always understand how to handle kittens, puppies and other small animals, and might mistreat them or hurt them inadvertently. And try not to give in to your children's urgings to adopt kittens and puppies without the entire family being willing to make the necessary commitments. Some of the saddest stories in animal shelters are the stories of animals who have been adopted as kittens or puppies, given a great deal of affection, and then been abandoned when they grew too big to be "cute" or when the family decided that they were "too expensive" to maintain.

3) Think about adopting a stray rather than a pedigreed animal. Most strays are hardy, friendly and very bright; and many breeders who specialise in "pedigreed" animals do their breeding in conditions that are extraordinary cruel. One of the dogs we rescued years ago was a puppy who had been stuffed into a sack and tossed onto the pavement by a breeder: his excuse was that she was the wrong colour for her breed. I've had a very personal grudge against breeders ever since. A well-run animal shelter will be able to help you find an animal companion who will fit well into your family; friends and acquaintances are likelier to point you in the direction of good, healthy animals.

4) Animals make messes; animals require healthy food; animals need good living conditions. Don't adopt a big dog if you live in a small apartment with no access to parks; don't adopt fish if you're unwilling to clean out the tank; don't adopt animals unless you're willing and able to spend time with them. It's cruel to put cats on a vegetarian diet, even if you are vegetarian yourself; dogs, on the other hand, do very well on balanced vegetarian meals.

5) If you spend most of the day out and still want animal companionship, you might want to consider several options. If you spend a reasonable amount of time at home but need to go out for a substantial chunk of the day, consider adopting a pair of kittens--but make sure that the two animals are compatible and enjoy each other's company. Dogs who're left on their own for large periods at a stretch don't do very well; they need company, preferably the company of the humans they consider their family. If you spend almost all of the day out but still miss animal companionship, consider dropping by a local animal shelter. Shelters always need people to help, and sometimes help can mean just spending time with the animals there, taking them for walks, chatting with them.

6) Try and make sure that you sterilise the animal companions you're planning to take home; unless they're very young, this should be possible. If they are very young, make sure that they are sterilised within six months of bringing them home. Dogs and queens (female cats) need more care after sterilisation than tomcats. Very few Indian animal clinics and centres will hold sterilised animals for a day after the operation, so you must be prepared to deal with your companion animal's disorientation and recovery. Cats and dogs can vomit after they come out of anaesthesia; queens need attentive care for the week after sterilisation to make sure they don't undo the stitches; and all animals, like humans, may be disoriented or traumatised for a couple of days after the operation.

7) Before you bring a companion animal home, factor in the costs: medical and food bills, grooming gear and sometimes the cost of improvements to the home to prevent animals from accidental injuries or to prevent them from going into the street. Animals don't cost as much as children, but they do need to be looked after. Discuss the costs with the family before you adopt an animal; please don't decide to cut down on care because it's too expensive once you've made an animal part of your family.

If you're bringing a companion animal home, you're making it part of the family--with everything that implies. There's responsibility involved, and a commitment. But there can also be tremendous joy and a great deal of pleasure. It's something of a privilege to be allowed to share in the life of a member of another species.

For me, personally, being adopted by a young, imperious kitten who rejoices in the name of Mara and has the fastest paws in the West was a tremendous adventure. Mara brought other animals into our lives, from Torty to Tiglath, Phash to Goopy and Bagha. She made me look at neighbourhoods differently and see the invisible scent maps that animals use to navigate their world; she and Tiglath alert us to the presence of birds, the occasional urban simian visitor, the odd roaming pig and the long extended family of Other Cats who drop by for a chat.

They have complex relationships: the birds chitter at the other cats indignantly, but eat leftover food from their bowls; the monkeys rarely bother the cats but make rude remarks at the crows; the Other Cats have cat wars but also cat friendships and alliances, as when Powowowow and Patience Waddle team up to raid the food bowl of the long-suffering Alsatian next door. (The odd roaming pig, poor soul, was lost and only quit making protesting noises when it was returned to its humans.) And there was, once, a camel sighting, but after taking a long, hard look at this beast, Mara retired under the bed and declared that she refused to believe in camels.

No man's land: animals in war zones

What happens to animals in war zones? This report from Animal Aid gives us a brief outline:
"War also causes immense suffering for native animals caught in the middle of a war zone. Companion animals and farmed animals are often abandoned - either left in enclosures to starve or else to wander the streets scavenging for scraps. Animals cannot respond to air raid sirens and even those taken in by their human families have no comprehension of what is going on or why.
In modern warfare, 'smart bombs' dropped by the troops may have been programmed to avoid hospitals, schools and other civilian targets (sometimes far from successfully), but such considerations do not extend to areas where animals are located. They are trapped; sitting targets.
In recent years, we have seen the horrific plight of animals trapped in zoos in war torn states. In Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq, the zoos were the sites of fierce gun battles. After the conflict, animals were left to starve in their enclosures. During the recent Iraq war, 300 animals went missing from Baghdad's main zoo. Many were taken by thieves, others left to wander the streets."
Scroll down this page to the "war animals illustrated" section if you'd like to explore Steve Hutton's interactive art on animals and war.

Billy Arjan Singh: A Tiger's Story

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).
"The fact that I have lived with a tiger for a year and a half, and shared her range for fourteen years has taught me a great deal about the essential tranquility of a tiger's temperament. The various confreres who shared the range with her, were not ravening monsters, not cruel predators, and existed in their individualities, according to the edicts of nature...
...The tiger, who in my childhood days shunned human presence in Balrampur, is compelled to share human habitat during my declining years in Kheri. Having extirpated the swampdeer and the buffalo in the Sunderbands, we have branded the tiger an inveterate man-eater due to shortage of prey species and harsh terrain, when we could supplement prey availability by the reintroduction of the wetland inhabitants.
The human race has proliferated to such an extent that we must eventually take over wildlife habitat. While paying lip service to conservation, we talk sanctimoniously of biomass. We grab habitat to create a surplus biomass, and dishonestly restore the ratio of a sustained yield by culling, until there will remain neither wild animals nor habitat for them to occupy."

There's a very faint glimmer of hope on the tiger front--odd how the discovery of just one animal is enough when every other story has talked of mass slaughter to make us feel optimistic:
"Indian wildlife experts believe they have discovered a new natural habitat of the endangered Royal Bengal tiger in the country's north-eastern region.
Wildlife researchers combing the Trishna reserve forest in Tripura for a bison census recently came across one tigress and two cubs. Tigers have not been seen in this forest since 1976."

Monday, May 16, 2005

What You Should Know Before You Adopt a Puppy

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.

One of the Things that We Can Do

...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.

How to Kill a Great Animal (Warning: Violent)

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...

Or, of course, if you prefer, you could take the easy way out: you could buy a tiger skin.

Workshop Alert (Mumbai)

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 to register.

Little Black Ant

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.


Hello, all. It’s great to be here. Let’s talk, without losing sight of that little black ant.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Nomoshkar, Uma!

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.

What this blog needed was a different perspective. I found that in Uma Mahadevan-Dasgupta's occasional posts on animal welfare issues on her blog, Indian Writing. As of this week, she's getting a set of keys to this place. She's a thoughtprovoking writer, an animal lover and a vegetarian who believes strongly that everyone should find their own "comfort matrix" with the complex issues surrounding animal rights today. It's great to have her on board, and I hope she'll enjoy being here.

Big cats and beyond

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:

"In order to survive, the tiger needs a larger constituency. Innovative ways to win friends can only come about if larger concerns are taken into consideration. The issue of its habitat, for instance, cannot be delinked from the fate of those who live in it.
The reworking of a conservation agenda that addresses both ecological and livelihood issues has never been an easy task in a country like India. But the larger crisis is also a moment of opportunity." Mahesh Rangarajan in The Telegraph.

"Tigers grab headlines while the rest of India's wildlife often get ignored. Elephants, mouse deer, pangolin, hornbills and hundreds of other rare species find refuge in our national parks. The disappearance of tigers at Sariska is a terrible tragedy but it is not an isolated incident, nor should it be the final curtain call for India's wildlife." Stephen Alter in Outlook.

"...the tragedy in Sariska is much larger than the frightening prospect of losing 18-odd magnificent creatures that (once?) prowled this reserve. It is really about the philosophy, the policy and the practice of conservation. The answer to Sariska - and to the many Sariskas, festering - will then be to change the basic premise of the way we approach wildlife. Otherwise the blood of Sariska's tigers will be on the hands of their official managers and their unofficial propagandists. Nobody else." Sunita Narain on And poachers killed an elephant near Lansdowne in the Uttaranchal Hills.

"Field investigators working for the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) have uncovered – particularly over the past three years – an incredible degree of sophistication among hardcore wildlife criminals. Large sums of money (in one case five lakh rupees, or about US$10,800) have been found on arrested criminals, along with mobile phones and small modern firearms." Belinda Wright in Sanctuary Asia.

Meanwhile, the snow leopard receives some attention with a new tracking study.
"US and Indian researchers plan to use the technology of Global Positioning System to find out more about the foraging routine and the social behaviour of the animal.'This is a very important study,' said A J T Johnsingh, an award-winning mamologist at the Wildlife Institute of India, who will be coordinating from the WII side. 'It's a very timid animal. They have a vast habitat, which we don't know about. So we also don't know what is happening to the animal,' he added."

And it's been a bad week for heffalumps. Appu, the elephant who represented the mascot at the Asian Games, has finally died--he had a terrible accident some years ago when he fell into a septic tank and fractured his legs, and his last years were spent in considerable pain. Meanwhile, poachers killed an elephant near Lansdowne in the Uttaranchal Hills.