Monday, September 25, 2017

‘Cow vigilantes pose threat to Kerala’s white revolution plans’

The procurement of high breed cows from other parts of the country is essential to achieve the target and depending solely on local breeds would not help do so, the minister added.

By: PTI | Thiruvananthapuram | Published:September 24, 2017 4:40 pm
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Cow vigilantes pose a threat to Kerala’s plans to achieve self-sufficiency in milk production, the state’s Animal Husbandry Minister said. The southern state had put on hold its ambitious project to bring 200 Gir cows, a high-yielding species, from Gujarat following apprehensions about transporting it by road because of the reported presence of ‘gau rakshaks’. State Minister for Forests, Animal Husbandry and Zoos K Raju said Kerala had planned to procure the Gir breed as part of its efforts to boost milk production.
Not just from Gujarat, but procurement of cows from other states has also been hit hard by the possible threat of mob violence in the name of protecting cows, he said.
“We have not abandoned our plan to procure Gir cows from Gujarat. It is under active consideration. But, we have put it on hold due to the risk of transporting the cows,” Raju told PTI.
Known for their yield, Gir cows belong to the Gir forest region and surrounding districts of Saurashtra region of Gujarat. The ability to withstand hot climates make the high-quality breed a favourite of farmers.
Kerala was planning to procure as many as 200 cows by paying over Rs one lakh for each bovine.
Raju said he had recently visited Gujarat and met the minister concerned to discuss the plan.
“The authorities in the state had responded positively. The availability of cows was also not an issue. Our plan was to go to the villages there and procure cows directly from farmers,” the minister said.
The Gujarat authorities had ensured safe transportation of the cows within the state borders, he said.
“But, we have to travel through other states, including Maharashtra, before reaching Kerala. It will be very risky to transport the cows through this distance in the wake of reports about the presence of cow vigilantes,” he said.
He said despite the threats, the state wished to go ahead with the project and necessary steps would be taken in this regard soon.
Stating that cow vigilantism had hit Kerala’s prospects in milk production, the minister said it should be stopped at the earliest.
“Lakhs of people are earning a living rearing cattle in the country. The threat from gau rakshaks has badly affected their livelihood. It has also hit the state’s plan to achieve self-sufficiency in milk production,” he said.
The procurement of high breed cows from other parts of the country is essential to achieve the target and depending solely on local breeds would not help do so, the minister added.
http://indianexpress.com/article/india/cow-vigilantes-pose-threat-to-keralas-white-revolution-plans-4859023/

ZSL London Zoo’s 2017 annual weigh-in event in London

An Asiatic lion is seen at ZSL London Zoo’s 2017 annual weigh-in event in London, Britain, on Aug. 24, 2017. With more than 20,000 animals in their care, ZSL London Zoo’s keepers spent hours during the annual weigh-in event recording the heights and weights of all the animals to monitor their health and well-being. (Xinhua/ZSL London Zoo) -EDITORIAL USE ONLY-
http://deathrattlesports.com/xinhua-weekly-photos/54889

Does govt want to destroy wildlife sanctuaries?

DH News Service, Sep 23 2017, 0:01 IST
It expressed surprise and concern over the decision and asked the government whether it wanted to destroy wildlife, forests, rivers and sanctuaries, instead of protecting them. It expressed surprise and concern over the decision and asked the government whether it wanted to destroy wildlife, forests, rivers and sanctuaries, instead of protecting them.
The Supreme Court’s sharp criticism of the central government’s decision to reduce the radius of eco-sensitive zones around national parks and wildlife sanctuaries from 10 km to 100 metres is right and well-deserved. The court has termed the decision an “arbitrary exercise of powers”, which will lead to the destruction of parks and sanctuaries. It expressed surprise and concern over the decision and asked the government whether it wanted to destroy wildlife, forests, rivers and sanctuaries, instead of protecting them. Under the Wildlife Conservation Strategy adopted by the Wildlife Board of India in 2002, the area within a 10-km radius from the boundaries of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries were notified as eco-sensitive zones under the Environment Protection Act. The Supreme Court had also endorsed this. But the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has quietly reduced this buffer zone from 10 km to just 100 metres through a series of notifications since 2015.

Eco-sensitive zones adjoining national parks and sanctuaries are treated as their integral parts and extensions. Commercial activities like setting up industries, construction of houses and mining are banned in these zones because such activities in close proximity to the protected areas would pose a serious threat to them. There has even been a view that the buffer zone should be extended further. There is no proper control over, and supervision of, the 10-km zone now and that has led to encroachments and poaching on a large scale. A 100-metre buffer is no buffer at all and amounts to its virtual elimination. Offenders need to walk just a few steps to enter the forests or sanctuaries for their illegal activities. The disappearance of the buffer zone will lead to an increase in man-animal conflict which is even now a serious problem. Tourism, which is among the government’s top priorities, will also be affected.

The court made its comments in a case that challenged the environmental clearance given to an industrial unit located close to the Dadra and Nagar Haveli wildlife sanctuary. A reduction in the eco-sensitive zone has also made 59,400 apartments in Noida legal. The National Green Tribunal had disallowed their construction as they came within 10 km of the Okhla bird sanctuary. Some protected areas in Karnataka and around the Gir forest in Gujarat are under similar threat. It is clear that the government did not care for the environment, forests, wildlife and public interest when it took the decision. It is widely seen to have acted under pressure from interested lobbies. There was no public consultation over the matter. The government should reverse its decision at the earliest.
http://www.deccanherald.com/content/634426/does-govt-want-destroy-wildlife.html

No new animals at Byculla zoo as Mumbai civic body delays contracts for enclosures

The BMC has delayed awarding contracts worth Rs 120 crore to build these animal enclosures

mumbai Updated: Sep 23, 2017 17:29 IST
Eeshanpriya MS


Gujarat: Lion pride ventures on coastal highway

| TNN | Updated: Sep 19, 2017, 11:03 IST

Highlights

(Photo: TOI)
  • Seven Asiatic lions attracted several eyeballs as they leisurely crossed the coastal highway between Bhavnagar and Una in Amreli district on Monday.
  • Forest department sources said during monsoon, lions often keep changing places to avoid mosquitoes and other insects.(Photo: TOI) 
  • RAJKOT: A pride of at least seven Asiatic lions attracted several eyeballs as they leisurely crossed the coastal highway between Bhavnagar and Una in Amreli district on Monday. Sources said that the pride was first seen by some locals resting on a hillock near Balani Vav village close to the coastal town of Rajula.However, as it started raining, the lions gradually began shifting from the hillock towards the highway. The pride then crossed the highway and stayed put in an open ground for a long time. Forest department sources said during monsoon, lions often keep changing places to avoid mosquitoes and other insects.

Read this story in Gujarati

However, this is not the first time that Asiatic lions have been spotted straying on the state highways, national highways or even the internal roads. Such spotting was rare few years ago.

  With the lion population steadily rising, large numbers have ventured out of the Gir Sanctuary and reached up to the coastal areas of adjoining Amreli, Gir-Somnath and Bhavnagar districts. Satellite populations of these critically endangered species are seen sauntering around in the revenue areas, sometimes even venturing into the villages and preying on the domestic cattle.
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/rajkot/gujarat-lion-pride-ventures-on-coastal-highway/articleshow/60735724.cms

NGT seeks report on elephant corridor

By Express News Service  |   Published: 18th September 2017 05:33 AM  |  
Last Updated: 18th September 2017 07:27 AM  | 

BHUBANESWAR: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has expressed displeasure with Odisha Government over its delay in demarcation and notification of the elephant corridors in the State.
Hearing an ongoing case last week, the Eastern Zone Bench of the tribunal said, it was disappointed with the lethargic pace of work of the State agencies.
On January 13, the NGT had directed State Government, Secretary to Forest and Environment Department and Chief Wildlife Warden to expedite the process.The Government had submitted that work of habitat viability assessment and ground truthing of 14 identified corridors was handed over to Asian Nature Conservation Foundation (ANCF) and a report was expected soon.
However, during the hearing, the Government counsel said the ANCF report is expected in the first week of October.According to petitioner’s advocate Sankar Prasad Pani, the NGT directed the State Government agencies to ensure that the report is filed by ANCF within the specified period and furnished before the tribunal.
Besides, a specific time frame for completion of the entire exercise before publication of the notification must also be provided to the tribunal by the State agencies, he said.Quoting the Supreme Court’s observation in a case concerning the plight of Asiatic lions in Gir Forest, the NGT said, this earth is not for the survival of human race alone as other species have equal right too.
 Pani submitted that despite NGT’s order not to carry out non-permissible activities in such eco-sensitive zones, illegal operations of various commercial units are still be run within the jumbo corridors.

http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/2017/sep/18/ngt-seeks-report-on-elephant-corridor-1658910.html

Animal deaths at Patna zoo cause for concern

Animal deaths at Patna zoo cause for concernv

Abhay Kumar in Patna, Sep 16 2017, 23:38 IST 

Vishal now looks forlorn at Sanjay Gandhi Zoological Park in Patna. Mohan Prasad Vishal now looks forlorn at Sanjay Gandhi Zoological Park in Patna. Mohan Prasad
The recent death of a lioness at Sanjay Gandhi Zoological Park in Patna has not only sent shock waves among animal lovers but also raised certain questions as to how seven cubs, a tigress, a tiger and a lioness have died here in the last six years.

Saraswati was just nine years old when she was found dead on July 25 this year. One of the prime attractions of Patna Zoo, the lioness was brought here in 2011 from Hyderabad under an animal exchange programme.

A team of veterinarians, consisting of eight doctors, conducted autopsy and concluded that cardiac arrest caused the death of the lioness. “Normally, the life span of a lion or lioness is 12 to 13 years in the wild. But if kept in zoo, they survive till the age of 15 to 18 years. This is because when kept in captivity, they get proper food and care. While it’s not so when they roam around in the wild. In very rare case, a lion’s life is around 20 years,” Patna Zoo Director Nand Kishore told DH.

The Zoo director had personally monitored the lioness a few hours before she passed away. He ruled out any nutritional deficiency as the cause for death. Now, Vishal, Saraswati’s partner, needs a partner.

Two years after Saraswati was brought here, she mated with Vishal, younger to her. But under the special breeding programme, Saraswati gave birth to two cubs in August 2013.

However, the mother (lioness) refused to feed the cubs. As a consequence, the health of a cub, which was born weak, deteriorated and passed away next day. The other cub was then brought up with a lot of effort.

After Saraswati refused to feed the second cub too, the zoo employees had to hand-feed him. The cub, named Sheru, survived on goat’s milk for the first three months and thereafter started to consume meat. Sheru is now one of the main crowd-pullers here.

Since Asiatic lions are found only in Gir Forest in Gujarat, the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) mandarins were quite enamoured over the report on how the Patna Zoo officials had helped Vishal and Saraswati mate and made every effort for survival of one of its cub. According to the established norms of the CZA, breeding of hybrid lions is prohibited in zoos. “But we can go ahead with the breeding of Asiatic lioness,” the official added.

The CZA officials mulled over a proposal on how to develop a lion conservation zone on the zoo premises spread over 152 acres. Developing lion conservation area was aimed at providing an off-display area to the lions, where they can enjoy their natural surroundings. “However, the proposal could not make much headway,” the zoo official rued.

Unfortunately, in the last six years, Saraswati was the 10th death reported in the big cat family of Patna Zoo. In 2011, Tejaswani, a white tigress, and the prime attraction at the zoo, died after days of illness. The post-mortem report said she had a blockage in intestine. Earlier, in 2011, male tiger Ram too had died after a prolonged illness. The 17-year-old tiger in Patna Zoo was suffering from posterior cirrhosis.

In August 2012, a Royal Bengal tigress at Patna Zoo had given birth to three cubs. Everyone was quite delighted as it was after a gap of 19 years that a big cat had delivered at the zoo here. But the enormous joy was short-lived. In the next 20 days, tigress Swarna lost all the three cubs.

It was believed that Swarna stopped feeding the cubs after she developed an intestinal infection. Eventually, the cubs too contracted the infection from their mother, and since then were put under the observation of zoo doctors.

Though the cubs were separated from the mother and bottle-fed, things turned for the worse when the cubs refused goat milk too. The then Patna zoo director sought the help of Dr Abhijit Bhaval, a reputed doctor from Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), but to no avail.

“The origin of the infection was not known but toxins must have entered the cubs’ body while they were in tiger enclosure. An infection cause toxins spread rapidly in the body of new-borns. The intensity of infection was so high in the cubs that none of the medicines worked,” said another doctor, who did not wish to be identified.

In March 2017, two more cubs died. On July 20, 2017, yet another cub died. “Reports suggest that the tiger cub died on July 20 due to hyper-parathyriodism. This is a condition where there is over production of parathyroid hormone which eventually weakens bones,” said the zoo director.

Saraswati was the latest casualty, although for a different reason: cardiac arrest. “Now only one lioness and three lions are left at the Sanjay Gandhi Zoological Park. Besides, we have three tigers and three tigresses,” said Nand Kishore hoping that the number of big cat family members won’t dwindle any more.
http://www.deccanherald.com/content/633496/animal-deaths-patna-zoo-cause.html

SC Pulls Up Centre Over Decision to Reduce Eco Sensitive Zones by 100 Times

Eco-sensitive zones help in conserving wildlife, reduce man-animal conflict and improve socio-economic conditions of people around national parks and wildlife sanctuaries.

Utkarsh Anand | CNN-News18
Updated:September 16, 2017, 1:00 PM IST
Picture for representation. (Getty Images)
New Delhi: The Supreme Court has said that the Central government’s decision on reduction of eco-sensitive zone from 10-kilometres to 100 metres looks like a ‘prima facie arbitrary’ decision, with the court deciding to examine the validity of the Centre’s policy.

Eco-sensitive zones help in conserving wildlife, reduce man-animal conflict and improve socio-economic conditions of people around national parks and wildlife sanctuaries.

In a statement having severe ramifications on residential and commercial projects across the country, the top court is questioning the government’s move and while examining the validity, will specifically look into whether the Environment Ministry could have exercised such a power when pitted against environmental interest.

"Prima facie, it appears to us a completely arbitrary exercise of powers by the Ministry of Environment and Forest," said the top court in its stinging order.

On Friday, a bench led by Justice Madan B Lokur expressed surprise at the fact that the Central government, as a policy decision, has been approving proposals to reduce eco-sensitive zone from 10 km to 100 metres.

"It is extremely surprising that 10-km Eco-sensitive zone has been reduced by the Ministry of Environment and Forest to 100 meters.”

"Since an order of this nature is capable of destroying national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in the country, we would like to examine the validity of this reduction," ordered the Court.

The bench, which was hearing a case, relating to environmental clearance to an industrial unit, within a 10-km radius of Dadar and Nagar Haveli Wildlife Sanctuary, questioned the intent of the Central government in protecting the wildlife in the country.

"Do you want to destroy everything? Wildlife, river, everything (sic)? You will have to explain how and why you did this and how do you propose to protect the environment now? Has the concept of 'protected areas' become irrelevant now?" the bench asked Additional Solicitor General ANS Nadkarni.

The Court tagged this case with a clutch of cases relating to environmental protection and is likely to take this up after four weeks.

The Central government had its own standard guidelines of having 10-km as eco-fragile zones around a protected area under the Wildlife Conservation Strategy 2002, which was later endorsed by the Supreme Court. The Court had directed that a 10-km limit was to be treated as the eco-sensitive zone until there is a notification by the Centre.

However, in the last two years, by a series of notifications, the Environment Ministry approved a reduction of eco-sensitive zone for a number of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries.

A reduction in eco-sensitive zone by the Ministry had rendered 59,400 apartments in Noida legal, which came within the 10-km radius of Okhla Bird Sanctuary.

A similar exercise is underway around Gir Forest in Gujarat and certain protected areas in Karnataka.

Environmentalists and wildlife activists alike have opposed this reduction, stating that the policy change will enable private parties to operate resorts adjacent to sanctuaries with ease, while allowing several other residential projects too.
http://www.news18.com/news/india/sc-pulls-up-centre-over-decision-to-reduce-eco-sensitive-zones-by-100-times-1519609.html