Friday, September 6, 2019

Tiger Conservation:Habitat in Himalayas

High Altitudes Himalayan Region comprising of tiger landscape in India, Nepal and Bhutan could prove viable  habitat and conservation unit for the beleaguered species. This has been pointed out in a report by NTCA or National Tiger Conservation Authority. Tigers have been found at 3600 MSL in Kedarnath in Sikkim at 3000 MSL and at 4000 MSL in Bhutan. This is encouraging for high altitude areas have less human footprints and less commercial activities due to the sheer scales of height. 

Tiger
While presence of predators in Indian part of Eastern and Western Himalayas, Nepal and Bhutan have been confirmed so far there might be several other pockets with the presence of these carnivores. Also what is not known is that the tiger presence noted in the high altitude region is that of resident animals or those who have moved in from other territories or have followed the livestock. 

According to Minister of Environment(MOEFCC) Mr. Prakash Javedkar a masterplan is being initiated by the Government for conservation of this critcally endangered species at high altitudes mentioned here with cooperation of Government of Nepal and Bhutan. In such areas big cats have been found in West Bengal Northern Areas, Uttrakhand, Sikkim and Arunchal Pradesh States of India.    

Tigers survive only in habitats with good cover and prey base since they are ambush hunters. They have been found in dense forests, swampy mangroves, tall grasslands, arid and semi arid regions. 

A study led by GTF or Global Tiger Forum, WWF and Integrated Tiger Conservation Program (IUCN) along with Governments of India, Nepal and Bhutan for appraisal of tigers presence and prey densities is being initiated. With the involvment of neighbouring countries the conservation mechanism will change too perhaps augur new monitorings and conservation paradigm. 

This masterplan would provide active conservation measures in the high altitude regions and may lead to the big cats finding home in a less inhabitated and secluded areas. 

Read Mongabay Article

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Uday works as naturalist in Kanha National Park in India.
He loves to blog/write on tiger conservation and environment.
Contact: pateluday90@hotmail.com
9755089323

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Tiger Conservation: Rebuilding Our Ecosystems

As environmentalists warn us the 6th Mass Extinction is on the way. This is a certainty until unless we do something to stem the rot and put brakes on demise of many species.



How?

There could be a vast cornucopia of  solutions but let us pay greater attention to what we have in hand...and that are the remaining ecosystems. The critical tiger habitats are limited in area but they are surrounded with badly fragmented and overused lands surviving under constant threat from human encroachment and biotic pressures. Subject to overgrazing by the livestock, they offer stiff competition to wilderness that prevails. In the periphery of tiger reserves they are called the buffer because this land is crucial for survival of the tiger in India. As a matter or practice or conservation technique we have to tackle each and every factor/element imperative or influential in the survival of the big cats in India.   



These core verdant lands are complete ecosystems albeit drastically reduced due to human activities. In India most of these areas come under the aegis of Project Tiger and are notified as tiger reserves. Also called protected areas they are a blessing for all life forms with beleaguered existence. The vital inviolate core offers a place for successful breeding for neglected life forms and protects them from ever expanding agriculture and marauding humans ways.     

Buffer zone management become crucial in the current circumstances of dire need. The viable lands where all life forms can live and flourish had been badly reduced due to urbanization, encroachment, agriculture and in some places commercial activities and manufacturing. The regulated ecotourism efforts in the buffer has proved to be beneficial and fetches revenue and keeps the areas under the scanner besides development initiatives for upkeep of the ecosystem. It provides employment to local labour, guides and drivers.  

In most of the buffer zones especially those surrounding the major tiger reserves protection is accorded. Patrolling is a means of according physical protection to these lands but the biotic pressure, culling of trees and encroachment by agricultural practises to some extent continues illegally.       

In the buffer limiting human population and limiting land occupancy (strictly) to the original inhabitants is an imperative and so is the need to discourage commercial activities therein. This sounds discriminatory but then we have to understand the right land use patterns taking these step would mean large area secured for the forests, grasslands and rivers the natural earthly phenomenons. We cannot put these lands to use for greed as well as for our economic survival because we have enough that is beyond repair - taken over by agriculture, settlements and manufacturing not forgetting the usurpation of forests due to reckless mining.   

Time has come for extensive in-situ conservation, and especially to rewild the areas with potential of regeneration like in the buffer zones with extensive plantation drives using the indigenous species. In order to ameliorate damage done we have to take some steps that could  redefine land use patterns in India. Limiting human populations and livestock - most of livestock is unproductive anyway - is a priority...if not complete trans location of people. This approach may be seen  as regressive or discriminatory but in later period this will help check climate change...turn it favourably for existence and continuation of life on Earth...and yes the ecosystem repair efforts will provide employment to the indigenous communities the right way. 

It would be unfair to say that protection offered and plantation drives are not being done by the present dispensation but this has to be done on larger scale. The departments can rarely influence the scale of activities required due to political and administrative constraints hence public pressure is required in circumstance like these.  

We have to learn to speak or express what we deem to be right in management of our wilderness and the Nation as whole. Sitting like mute will unfold the disaster in making with ferocity that will eventually destroy life on Earth. Time has come to tackle climate change seriously with full scale efforts. 

Plant few indigenous plants in your home that is the right way to begin.

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Uday blogs on conservation and the environment. He is a freelance naturalist in India.
Contact: pateluday90@hotmail.com
9755089323

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Tiger Conservation: Contingency History & Traffic

When the numbers fall and the home shrinks the extinction seems inevitable. Well that is what exactly has happened to the tiger in India. One after after another the misfortune arrived, always hunted but never in extreme in the ancient times the downfall came surprisingly in the modern times right between us. The clock has started ticking right in our life times..perhaps a bit earlier whence the Raj overcame us. 



Modern weapons, and the greed for timber and pure blood thirst were the reason for the big cats beleaguered state. The ball had started rolling, spinning out of control, and since then never come to a stop. Large scale tree felling and commercial plantation had started transforming unnaturally the profile of the carnivore's habitats all over the country. 

Those habitats today in perfect state of preservation remained so because of being out of reach or being privileged enough to gain the status of royal hunting preserves - the shikar gahs of the Maharajahs. Nevertheless hunting continued unexcerabated, in fact when the Raj ended and the Maharajahs began to lose hold the local big wigs duly took over to bring an end to a vermin and a vicious killer with haste. 

Hunting was the most indulged sport during the Raj with the rulers, noble man and Maharajahs joining in the spree. Tigers were the prized target, and many were killed with royal aplomb...beyond sustenance, mercilessly...and as one author put pregnant tigress, cubs and young all were slaughtered. The greatest decrease in the numbers was brought about by the bounty hunters during the Raj whence thousands of tigers and other predators were slaughtered mercilessly...cleansing the country of vermin for a few rupees in a decade.     

The unchecked human population implosion was another reason whence to meet hunger needs of the ever growing billions large scale tiger habitats were converted to fields. Commercial greed had never come to a halt and large scale clear felling for valuable timber continued unabated.  

As far as hunting is concerned the rot was stemmed whence in 1972 Wildlife Protection Act was legislated and Project Tiger came into picture. From one hundred thousand tigers the number had plummeted to 1400 or less. Horrendous! 

Just when we thought that the mayhem was over another menace surfaced and the system under the spell of recent success of Project Tiger was shell shocked. A poaching mechanism comprising of importers of animal parts (TCM) smugglers, some people of the department and small time but deadly hunters of yore was in the act surreptitiously.

Panna and Sariska were the eye openers whence all the tigers in the conservation units were poached. Thankfully it was not too late and intense protection of the big cats came into picture. Albeit such incidence are unlikely to happen thanks conservationists and wildlife managers and staff the leak continues. 

The poaching intent is for smuggling tiger parts to consumers of TCM etc in many countries. The nexus is deep and underground and continues to operate though actively pursued by the agencies and NGOs like  WPSI there seems to be no end. The emergence of recent trafficking reports carry a foreboding of doom. India ranks highest among the countries from where trafficking of tiger parts takes place. This is suggestive of a leak and calls for revamping our protection and intelligence gathering mechanism.     

Although body parts used for medicine is most lucrative the number of tiger skins seized every year is frighteningly high. All the most the figures of seizures are consistent every year which indicates a modus operandi which has not be stemmed. 

In spite of encouraging census figures of recent counting in India the dangers to our precious big cats looms large. How well will we be able to protect the dwindling species is a question that we should ask ourselves? Will constructive efforts and sound policies continue to fetch the species out of red? 

The pride of India needs National Support a strong political will and conservation management that up till now has been exhilarating.  In all National Endeavours public plays and important role we the people should do whatever we can to the Save The Tiger!
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Uday freelances as naturalist/birder and loves to write on conservation.
Contact: pateluday90@hotmail.com
9755089323

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Tiger Conservation: Unspoken Sentinels The Forest Guards

I remember long time back whence I was freelancing with TigerLand Resorts at Kanha National Park, I was assigned a group of school children from New Delhi. The group also included teachers from the DPS School who obviously were the caretakers for the tour. 

The tour comprised of safaris and lecture on wilderness, a sort of awareness campaign full of fun and interesting experience for the children. 

On the first night, the teachers refused to sleep in their rooms facing the jungle. Well the staff was instructed to sleep in the front of the doors and the matter was taken care. 

"We will be eaten by a tiger!"

Dead tired, I promised to discuss with them the next day. All I had to state next day was the fatalities, murders, road accidents, robberies. psychopaths, nuts, killers, fast cars, and blah blah dangers which they confronted daily or rather each given moment in the Metro.

"It is unlikely a tiger would kill you, if you sleep here in the room or venture out on foot everyday. The rural folks trudge into these forests for collecting wood every day without fear. The forest guards move alone in these forests to protect wildlife.

People die because of accidental encounters or due to deliberately impinging on the animal's private space. But these incidence are rare as a matter of fact very rare. You are  a thousand times safer here, so please all through your stay be at peace." They did!      

The true sentinels are the front line staff the forest guards, deputy rangers etc. They are the people who traverse or scour through the forests on foot looking for snares, traps, local goons, illegal minor forest produce collectors and yes sophisticated poachers and ultras. That is huge burden on two small feet and feeble body.

Forest Hut & Guards
In the deep confines of the forests they trudge on foot, bicycles and motor cycles. In the tiger land this would be an extreme adventure for most of us, not for the guards, they are on duty that needs extreme courage, sincerity and dedication. Coming across the tigers, other wild animals and reptiles is frequent, for some it may be on daily basis. But they are well versed with the ways of the wild and keep themselves safe.   

Whence we revel in the ever increasing tiger numbers these are the people who deserve the awards and the glory for successful tiger conservation in our country facing extreme odds, adversities of unparalleled nature whence compared with dwellers in the cities.  The threat is not from animals, the threat is from the intruding humans, poachers and the criminals etc. As stated above. 

The threat from animals is of a different nature head on charge is a rarity, they have to avoid accidental encounters the most at which the guards are good at. An odd aberrant behaviour may be the reason for a tiger killing a guard. Yes this does happen but once in a blue moon...but we humans are more likely to die of accidents, criminal charge or in an act of terrorism.

We especially the reporters should abstain from vilification of wild animals in case of a tragic encounters, we are no longer in their food chain and accidental killings should seen from a rational perspective. Habitual man killers are anyway incarcerated or killed.

Sometimes the forests guards have to face the wrath of the locals whence a big cat kills a man who has come too close. Yes most of such killings are in self defense whence a threatened tiger finds a man very close for comfort, or whence villagers try to snatch away the kill.        

Like our soldiers who face violence of the worst kind, the sentinels being discussed here also face threats to their lives...remember they are unarmed. In some of the tiger reserves the threat is from ultras while that from organized sophisticated poachers too is prevalent albeit not extensively in India. As a precaution the foresters move in a group or in company of another. But whence occasion arises they have to move alone.

The hard life of labour and constant patrolling -even in challenging weather day and night- is what our foot soldiers do in the tiger reserves keeping it safe so the wild animals thrive. They safe guard the ecosystem as whole. They also supervise small construction works like building dams, roads, waterholes and canals etc. The foresters are responsible for the safety and well being of the labourers who are involved in the construction works.

They are the virtual arms of the mechanism that keeps the reserves alive and kicking. Like the patrol elephants they keep an eye on the wild animals and the forests, and report to the higher officials or the camps nearby for assistance or attention.   

Most of the foresters live in the patrolling huts or fire watching camps deep inside the forests. For items of basic necessity they depend upon feeble supply chain mechanism or acquire it themselves whence they visit the small towns nearby.  They are always at beck and call of any emergent situation that arises in the deep confines of the forests.

Far away from emergency care and their families, they live in isolation but nevertheless fulfill their duties without fail. They are the stars of the conservation units and deserve appreciation and all benefits that can be possibly accorded to them.

Some of the foresters are excellent animal trackers and have an in depth understanding of animal behaviour. They are very good at recognizing the floral elements present in these biodiversity hubs. I have been interacting since many years with our front line warriors and never felt lack of resolve or spirit amongst them to protect the magnificent ecosystems that the country has inherited.

The forester's job involves multitasking for they can work as clerks, tourism supervisors, maintenance crew, as host for filmmakers and esteemed guests, and assist the veterinary staff whence the need arises.

Hail The Heros!!
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Uday freelances as a naturalist and loves to write on tiger conservation and environmental issues.
Contact: pateluday90@hotmail.com
09755089323

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Tiger Conservation: Urban Assault

Rising urbanization all over the World is seen as gauge in a positive perspective...a gleaming example of development . 

An article on UNDP website terms mega cities as centers of learning, culture and innovation. Besides this it surmises that these population silos are wealth/resource generators and productivity centers, and therefore of immense importance to human settlements connected with them. It also mentions that these silos boost holistic progress, look after the well being of the societies, address poverty, tackle pollution and create infrastructure.  This is UNDPs own view of urbanization which many may not agree.

Urban Ghetto

Chaotic Traffic

The Rat Race

This is a constricted perspective of human development indices because we do not seek more pliable alternatives. The article does mention the poor quality of urban development that creates economic disparities, pollution, furthers poverty, hardship, diseases, and most of them are environmental disasters. 

We all have realized this anomaly prevailing in the major cities bursting at seams due to overpopulation and unchecked migration from suburbs, smaller towns and now deep interiors. 

Yes we all know this  except the developers and those who reap huge benefits in terms of political agenda and the businesses amassing wealth. These are the privileged ones that unfortunately take to the helm and become city planners, developers, ruling politicians, esteemed citizens and active propagandists that never fail to advocate reckless urbanization at any costs.  

The fall out of urbanized ghettos is limited to their surroundings and to some extent to the neighbourhoods. 

Think carefully! 

In order to sustain one infrastructure another extended or connected is required...and then another till the network pathway leads to the deep interiors where our rural societies subsist  on bare minimum with rational utilization of natural resources, and where most of our tiger reserves or natural places are. 

The last leg is the micro urban center greatly susceptible to unplanned and unchecked development or linear development to be precise. It is these micro urban centers that eventually continue to expand haphazardly denuding and eventually swallowing the reserves.   

Over looked and accorded lesser importance our tiger reserves or other ecosystems are most susceptible to this developmental threat. The phenomenon is universal pan India and is rapid. 

In Project Tiger we have an ambitious tiger conservation program which is experiencing the day light at the moment...but the impending space constriction and environment degradation due to rapid development is going to hinder the progress in time to come. 

We are so enamored by modern development as we see in this World that we have forgotten to set limits and checks which are of utmost importance. Though the inviolate core areas are safe at the moment, the stress is on the buffer (surroundings) where stringent policy of protection and no commercial construction should be  well in place. The region surrounding the core faces huge biotic pressure from human intrusion and livestock, and the forests are nowhere secure with wood logging and sporadic poaching. The settlements here are subject to expansion and the agricultural practises old age with low yield. An alternative more environmental friendly alternative for agriculture should be looked for as soon as possibly. One solution is to promote non wood handicraft industry since some communities have proficient artisans. This is being done at many places but needs greater impetus.    

The vision of wildlife and humans subsisting in harmony living in the same space  is at best romantic and purely chimerical. This idea defies practicality in modern times with limited span of ravaged forests and grasslands. Some wild animals are too sensitive to thrive along with humans anyway. And then we know the ways of contemporary human society.   

At many tiger reserves due to peer pressure tigers move in the buffer, and some have become permanent residents. With sparse prey base, weak crown cover and increasing tiger population the problems are further compounded.

Munna Tiger With Kill _ Gopal Desai 

Meanwhile the urban assault continues relentlessly with no possibility of stoppage. This is a challenge that wildlife managers and the field staff will face till some mitigating measures are put in place.

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Uday freelances as a naturalist and loves to write on tiger conservation and environmental issues.
Contact: pateluday90@hotmail.com
09755089323

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Importance of and Understanding Niche Formations in an Ecosystem.

Tiger reserves or National Parks everywhere are complex ecosystems with a simple overview. Writers or wild lifers in India describe the reserves as comprising of type of forests, grasslands, dominating Sal or teak and the water formations in form of water holes, streams and rivulets all woven together.

A simple overview that makes us look through these writer's prism forgetting the immense complexity of ecosystems which include niche habitats or rather micro habitats. The neglect would mean loss of biodiversity both in flora and fauna. 

Pandanus or Kewra Break at Bandhavgarh
Hence the ecosystems also comprise of uncommon niche with abundance of special floral elements and containing a unique geography which comprises of a catchment, rivulets, streams, ponds, swamps, sand, minerals, plain or scattered rocks, unique grass, micro life forms and more. The appearance of vegetation and geological formation is unique but they can also pass off as a dense patch of forest.  To make out a niche one need not be a biologist or a geologist etc. A close look is enough. 

Thus in a small spot or place, a complex ecosystem exists which sustains unique life forms, water in dry season, shelter, food and often climate control, tigers and other mammals, reptiles, insects and birds find succor or life sustenance environment during the time of stress and even on regular basis. 

These are important and fragile components of  life support systems that if damaged or broken can have a disastrous impact upon the ecosystem as whole. Absence of these niche which are often due to obliteration or neglect is not a good sign and will eventually lead to disintegration of the reserve or National Park in time to come.


Similar life supporting effect or preservation could be brought about by presence or grouping of insects, birds, reptiles and mammals in a reserve. 

To make it  clearer even within the large confines of your house, garden, office or factory premises such niche can exist. Whence destroyed you wiould discover absence or diminishing of a species of flora or insects like butterflies and birds if you are a nature lover with keen sense of observation. This is precisely how unplanned urbanization destroy biodiversity in our towns and cities.  This is another reason why linear development is often criticized or cautioned in India by acclaimed conservationists.    

In case of violent intrusions by humans and livestock in area not protected as inviolate or out of bounds the diversity diminishes. Many species become extinct and the environment as whole suffers. Though well preserved in the core of our tiger reserves they are conspicuous by absence in the buffer. This is due to constant biotic pressure especially caused by livestock, denudation, logging and many other factors.    

Any visitor if vigilant during the safaris in our tiger reserves would make out such spots albeit they are often presented as picturesque or described as place containing water etc. That is why it is important to be observant during the safaris and not only chase tigers and other mega fauna. 

Thankfully our wildlife managers and field staff of the reserve are in the know of these niche or micro habitats and their ecological value. That incidentally makes habitat preservation extremely complex ...it is not only saving the trees or grassland.    

This is another reason why indicator species like the tiger has become extremely important. Presence of an animal at the top of the food chain is an indication of a healthy ecosystem and a certain proof of presence and well being of these niche or micro habitats. 

We are the worst whence it comes to the preservation of our ecosystems because of our unmindfullness, greed and a hording mentality.       

Though I am only a naturalist, I always advocate that   tourists must visit tiger reserves with an inclination to learn sincerely so that we can better shape our surroundings and the environment as whole. Children should be encouraged in this endeavour more and more for they will be the policy makers of tomorrow. The wildlife managers or field biologists in our country should organizes camps to educate our masses. This is how greater benefit will accrue out of eco-tourism globally especially whence there is an unrelenting onslaught on our diminishing ecosystems.   

Micro Habitats
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Find description and photographs of micro habitats in Bandhavgarh National Park in Central India.

http://www.tigersafaribandhavgarh.com/ZoneinBandhavgarh.html

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Uday is a naturalist and is passionate about conservation and the well being of tigers in India. He loves to write on these issues on his blog and elsewhere.
Contact: pateluday90@hotmail.com
09755089323 


Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Tiger Conservation Threats & History of Linear Development in India

When the British conquered India the exploitation was mostly of resources. They were physically perhaps not as brutal as the earlier invaders which were looters, Mogul megalomaniacs, bigots and usurpers. They did not sack the local populace resorting to senseless killings, rape, loot and forced conversions. Those were times of colonization and there was a purpose! 

The Raj was a manifestation of an advanced and comparatively modern civilization shaped by the industrial world of Europe. The natives were no match for them and the subjugation was complete. 

The disparity that prevailed was absolute because the Sahibs were contemporary with overpowering cultural traits, elite, educated, and yielded power that came easily with their superior force. The governance was aided by employment of  natives in various disciplines and the satraps due to whom a handful of them could easily rule over India. They had mastered structured governance in their domain albeit India too had a structure in place being a Vedic civilization dating five thousand year but we were helpless in front of such overbearing. During the Raj, the rulers writ ran large. 

Coming straight to the point in order to exploit the natural resources better, an infrastructure was required to be put in place. With a technology considered modern in those times, they invaded the hinterland all over. This was the culmination of disastrous unplanned infrastructure building were  only thing that mattered was reaching and unearthing the natural resources and dispatching them to their homeland. 

The aim was extracting maximum economic benefit of having a jewel in the crown - a subjugated civilization that was enormously rich in natural wealth and yet timid and impoverished. With modern infrastructure in place, the enslaved country was being milked incessantly.



In post independent India we benefited from the infrastructure created by the British...and till this day we are following in the footsteps of our erstwhile masters. Though the rulers have left in the year 1947 we are still living with the slave mentality which we inherited during centuries of foreign subjugation.  

We have lost our original ethos and our civilization is badly corrupted by traits of external civilizations that at the most has made us submissive and adaptable babus.  

Post independent India, the incursion into our hinterlands became linear development a contemporary terminology that describes invasion of our lands in lieu of development. We have not hesitated to emulate our erstwhile rulers by doing exactly what they did. 

In this assault on our natural spaces we are empowered to a great extent by education in foreign language and rigidly following the Western ethos, a civilization parasitism that is simply incomprehensible and irrelevant till this day.      


  1. During the Raj we had lost a large chunk of our natural spaces, and denudation and plantation of commercially viable species had already altered the remaining forever. When the rulers left, we did everything that they should not have done. And we still continue...the linear development that is taking a heavy toll of our tiger reserves, National Parks and other ecosystems continues unabated.  

The tiger is on verge of extinction so are many other species, we have no count of how many species that have become extinct, and the extent to which our forests have been denuded. Tigers need inviolate space to breed and live. But is there more space for them in this country? How many big cats does our land mass can support? Will development impact or alter our tiger reserves negatively? These are the questions conservationists are raising. 

Our geography has changed and become non-viable, climate change is affecting us badly with greater  ferocity every year, carbon footprints are enlarging every year, heat, water shortage, pollution and other life threatening factors are on increase. Yet we are in race for development that we perceive is good for us. 

Linear infrastructure development creates opening and easy accessibility to remote regions which were in an inviolate state since evolution due to inaccessibility. This impacts the linear connectivity and prevents corridor formations or makes existing corridors non-viable. Overall habitat loss and or fragmentation of our ecosystems can happen as a result of intrusion. Intruding humans can also cause problems like damage to the fragile species web of life, poaching and wood logging besides according access to foreign or alien species to overpower. Wind erosion and fires can be deadly and so can be territorial changes brought about by man. 

India is on a spree of infrastructural development and the haste can prevent or discourage the alternative, a less damaging methodology.  The impetus on road building, new settlements, urbanization and extraction of natural resources, power projects, dams etc are  like a death knell for species survival and conservation of our natural spaces.   

It is imperative for the Nation to develop sound policies that in spite of infrastructural development circumvent or safe guards our natural spaces and preserves crucial resources besides creating a harmonious environment good enough for our well being and maintain an equilibrium.
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Uday works as a naturalist in India and writes on tigers and their conservation.
Contact: pateluday90@hotmail.com
9755089323

Monday, July 29, 2019

Status Report 2018: Increasing Tiger Population in India



Count - 2018 Year--- 2967 Tigers

After a grind of many years India finally experiences meaningful increase in its tiger population. This is heartening after a dismal status that could have been well below fourteen hundred at the start of Project Tiger Program in the seventies. The report is credible since more scientific approach has been resorted to using diverse techniques including the camera traps.



A larger area has been brought under the scanner unearthing small unheard populations of the carnivore. The major benefit of this exercise of counting tigers is unfolding of challenges in various or diverse landscapes. People conservation efforts which come naturally due to traditional beliefs, myths and ethos come to light thus converging pool of conservation practises along with emerging scientific management principles. This ends up enhancing conservation logic and create consensus that helps put it in practice  to save the tiger more effectively.  

Another factor that lends credibility to the report is lack of fudging that went on in the past with some FD exiting the management with a figure that was higher than before. This was farcical, and the population of the big cat in India was zooming well beyond its carrying capacity. This also showed the prerogative of the higher ups and how easy was it to fudge.

Like the balloon that bursts whence a small pin pricks, the truth came tumbling down after the debacle at Sariska and Panna National Parks two of the most prestigious tiger conservation units in India. 

From thirty plus tigers within a short period there were no tigers at all...all had been poached with extreme ease and comfort and that too with the connivance of some forest officials as the news papers reported. To counter the blame.. committees and inquiry commission all were setup more to whitewash  the shameful than to find the truth. In our country all horrific events eventually die down to be forgotten or to be sunk in ever delaying legal procedures and hordes of paper.  

Thankfully these events did not die down completely for it was the survival of one of the most charismatic species at stake, and India was at the forefront. But the most empowering factor was that India's prestige was at stake..the National Pride. The whole World looks at us as to what we are doing with our tigers.  

A comprehensive conservation model, ever evolving was needed in the country and thanks to concern and dedication we have been successful to a great extent in the cause. 

The debacle that happened at Sariska and Panna made it evident that India at that stage was ill prepared to save the vanishing species ...the critically endangered tiger. 

The initiation of Project Tiger following the Wildlife Protection Act and the creation of Protected Areas with inviolate core lulled the management with complacency bolstered beyond reasoning by yearly fudging thus falsely increasing tiger numbers albeit only on paper year by year. 

Lets be honest fudging did not take place everywhere, the bloated figures were also due to age old methodology of counting the big cats. Many tiger reserve were in a nascent stage at that time and the conservation efforts then were lacking perhaps due to inexperience or lack of funds.        

Lets us say that tiger conservation in those days was in infancy which was very true for the predator needed macro solutions and not much biological insights for its survival but the answers or solutions were not there at that time and if they did unfold the process was painstakingly slow. 

In the midst of the conservation efforts were some of our finest wildlife managers, and the dedicated staff in the reserves. International assistance also aided the conservation efforts. Institutes like WWF for Nature, WWI Dehradun and plethora of National and local conservation bodies now play an immense role in saving this beleaguered species.    

Space is a constraining factor with human population bursting beyond the seam and dire economic challenge, an increasing tiger population is not an assurance of the animals survival a Damocles Sword will always hang on the predators head. 

Numbers though comforting and the increase much needed, survival of the tiger would always depend upon many factors and those constantly emerging...political will and conservation efforts being of utmost importance. 

Population dynamics in relation to the environment, humans and our attitude and policies will always be in state of flux with population increase. The changing landscape and the encompassing environment will throw many new challenges and problems for saving the big cat. Are we prepared and well focused?  Are we proactive enough?     

All that we do as a Nation, as a society and even as individuals will have an impact on the survival quotient of the tiger.      

Tiger Status Report 2018

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Uday works as a naturalist in India and writes on tigers and their conservation.
Contact: pateluday90@hotmail.com
9755089323

Friday, July 26, 2019

The Embattled Tiger

She was beaten to death?

Tiger

Why?

Was she intruding into human settlements, did she injure or kill humans? Or are we intruding into her land? The latter is not probable but the truth - an axiomatic truth without doubt. 

In the parliament,  or at hustings whence serious issues are being battled environment is not a issue at all...or may be but at an insignificant level. Paying a lip service to conservation of wildlife and saving the environment is a sure shot act of evasion from being ostracized by the club of those who are aware and the unrelenting media.  

Except the headlines, I did not bother to read the story. 

This is a story that is happening almost now and then, and may continue till the big cats are alive in the wilderness in India. 

Undoubtedly the tiger is the World's most persecuted land based carnivore. Extensive hunting, poaching, traditional medicines, cosmetics, toiletries, man animal conflicts, prey base reduction, and now habitat takeover and destruction at the speed of light. Not that these things did not happen before. They did! And that is why this big cat is in a precarious state almost on verge of extinction where ever it now survives. At most of the places on Earth at its former range, it has been exterminated, mercilessly killed as vermin or kicked out of its home. The dastardly acts continue.... 

On the Tiger Day the newly collated census will be announced, the increased numbers will be touted as enhanced conservation but unfortunately the efforts are mired in greater number of problems the carnivore is facing than that being highlighted. The epiphany will never point to the population crossing the threshold of imminent possibility of extinction in India. Because tiger conservation has to be comprehensive in tackling the convergence of wide scale issues and conflicts that are threatening the species in this country.   

Ours is such a human centric society and greedy as well that we will continue to exterminate other life forms especially those that take on cudgels with us like the predators...

We also consume wildlife as food and medicine which is putting under stress populations of many beleaguered life forms especially the aquatic species. This too continues and involved in these illogical farming are some of the most rational countries. TCM is a big scourge and the big cat is the biggest sufferer.  But we have to be aware that the feline parts are in demand in India as medicine and talisman as well but it is much less. People are fond of tiger nails as well which is a threat to the survival of this species...poachers are encouraged due to demand of these parts. All of us should let go off this malady with immediate effect.     

In India though great efforts are being made to save the tiger - which also include that of some NGOs. The efforts has been thwarted on regular basis by policy conflict with emphasis on rapid development and economic pursuits that hinder a rational approach due to these exigencies. Nefarious elements are always a threat to wildlife in any country.  

Enamoured as we are with this modern structural empowerment all around us which enable utilization of all modern amenities at our door step at press of a button making natural habitats and environment concerns deep secondary and extremely vulnerable. 

Those at the helm have to sit down and concur how best we can develop without damaging nature and neglecting environmental concerns. 

The tiger is to blame for attack on humans a species sacrosanct, and the supreme masters of this Earth. That humans are encroaching on its land is of least concern and hardly discussed whence an event like man killing or lynching of the tiger occurs. 

We are devouring land like we should not, but who cares townships, highways and factories are an essential components of our society. To protest could result is repercussion of the worst kind. Even though it is apparent that man made leaps on Earth cannot be prevented yet we can mitigate the harm we are causing to nature and its vital components that which can save the tiger for eternity.  

We have moved forward far from treating wild animals as vermin we actually conserve them...do we? Killing tigers and other wild forms as a remedy for safety of humans is not conservation. Do we dwell deep into the contingency that prevails in our society. Have we found answer to sporadic poaching, forced incursions into human habitations, to electrocution of animals, habitat destruction which is shamefully reoccurring, or wood logging going unnoticed at many places in India? 

Are we serious about tiger conservation or.....? 

We are a savage civilization but do not appear so, morphed perhaps by modern appendages and a mannerism which is broad scale deceptive. We know very well that we are dependant upon the offerings of nature and the equilibrium in the Earthly environment...and yet we choose to neglect the vital components like the tiger that nature is desperately trying to retain. 

Nature is a chain of things indelibly linked to each other, a fragile web which is giving away, thanks to our rabid incursions...as a result, the global warming related climate change is taking place. What about extreme water shortages at many places? Are we concerned? Need we pay a greater price. We will because we are refusing to mend our ways.   

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Uday is a naturalist and writes on tiger conservation and the environment:
Contact: pateluday90@hotmail.com
9755089323

Friday, July 19, 2019

Of Tourists & Tourism in Our Tiger Reserves

Kanha National Park sets a fine example of how to manage tourism in the core area.

This sentence above is enough to get the gist of the article to follow. I am pro well regulated tourism and this article is pro tourism. Those who disagree should read more carefully. 

Thankfully destructive hunting days are over, and a better alternative tiger tourism has taken over. I am unabashedly using the phrase tiger tourism albeit a holistic approach depends upon how the industry presents a visit to the reserve and of course our own attitude. Tour operators and hoteliers should present safaris as holistic comprising of many aspects of the reserves. They should not guarantee tiger sightings at all, and promise a more fruitful and wholesome experience.  

Swamp Deer

Singular obsession for sighting tigers should not be there but it will remain, for some species attraction is natural and fascination with a specific animal or bird is quite obvious. Ironically many of the initiated follow the path of tiger obsession including some of the senior officers, VIPs, other privileged souls  with interest in photography and with all the prerogative in their control. 

This singular obsession with our National Animal is natural, thanks to the status that has been created in the past. That it is at the top of the food chain and an apex predator naturally incurs lot of interest among the visitors. It is not only the morphological attraction, the historical pathway that has reduced footprints of this magnificent beast making it rare and endangered. And hence an object of desire.

Tiger


The animal's own charismatic/behavioral appeal is responsible for obsession with the carnivore. For some association with Hindu religious identities or myths is the reason for attraction though much less a reason as compared with others. The animal is part of many myths and stories and has inspired many writers too. Kipling Stands out! Globally there is a desire to see this animal at least once in a lifetime. What is wrong?   

I have read articles by the erudite that lament the fact that the tiger cannot vote! This is a simple summation of its standing in our country and elsewhere. 

Jeep Safari
Why cannot people see the tiger and admire it in its natural surrounding? 

Those who advocate ban on tourism or limit it to impractical means do have a right to express opinion but the positives far outweighs the negative.  

Does not tourism and the popularity of the carnivore create an equity that which we understand and the politician certainly do?. 

Without tourist (read public) appeal the status of animal would not have been a big botheration for those who consider it as a speck on the horizon. There are many at the helm who consider conservation as an irritant...I hope you get the point. 

With ubiquitous warming and subsequent climate change the environmental concerns should be an imperative which those at helm should be well aware of. To make matters worse global ecosystems are being ravaged on massive scale ....and tourism has nothing to do with this at least in India.  

It is the importance/obsession or fondness for the animal among the common man that propels the administration and our policy makers into sincere action. The vote bank should lend a voice for better conservation practises and a concern for our wilderness. To negate public pressure in this country is like acceptance of incompetence and negligence with gusto. 

Public pressure matters and will continue to matter. The dreadful remedy that thwarts the rise of public concern is to curtain all that is happening by barring public access like in the totalitarian states, and in this case thwarting sustainable tourism. In our country a closeted approach is often followed as regards the management of things. 

Pertaining to my first sentence tourism is conducted as per rules and regulations at Kanha National Park. This I have been observing since more than two decades. My first visit to the park was probably in the year 1972 or maybe earlier. 

At few of the tiger reserves which I will not name since my visitations have been limited there, the safaris are horribly managed and atrocious attitude follows - there is literary a free for all. This is why tiger tourism is looked down upon but this does not stand true for all reserves.      

Setting A New Tourism Paradigm

We as public have to understand that we must cooperate with authorities and strictly follow rules and regulations of the reserves. Singular obsession with the big cat does not deliver much, a holistic approach will really be interesting and will create greater awareness.  

The reserves have so much to offer so indulge in birding as well as in mega fauna, take interest in the microcosm that prevails in these biodiversity hub. Enjoy every aspect of the reserve, follow the guide and the naturalist. All creatures big and small are beautiful and worthy of admiration hence make your safari holistic. 

Do not encourage to break the rules in your haste to see the tiger or other mega fauna. This is a problem in some reserves. 

Stay at responsible resorts which follow the green principles. Those that do not or have encroached should be shunned. Overall keep your carbon footprints small by avoiding materialistic or things of luxury during your stay. Remember sustainability counts use water carefully, do not use material which are not biodegradable, do not waste food and consume less fossil fuels and rely on alternative energy.  

Tiger perhaps will come out of the endangered status one day and we will continue to have an opportunity to look at nature's amazing creation along with other creatures in their habitats. 

Let us be wise and restrained!
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Uday works as a naturalist and loves to blog on conservation and emvironmental issues. 
Contact: pateluday90@hotmail.com
9755089323

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Tiger Conservation: Elephant Migration in Central India

Mystery Migration Indian Elephants

Elephants have been recorded in Central India or Madhya Pradesh historically and evidence in form of craftsmanship (Artifacts) is suggestive of their presence rather strongly well back in time. Though no earlier in sightings have been recorded in MP except incrusions in Surguja District now a part of neighboring Chhattisgarh State, a very recent surprise incursion has taken place into the dense confines of Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve a part of Central India. Recent news is suggestive of their movement into Kanha National Park as well some 200 km from Bandhavgarh.    

Wild Elephants


The reason for migration would be competition among the herds and or search for new pastures. These mammals have an indelible memory bank and finding erstwhile routes is not difficult. Their instincts could also have lead them here. Already two calves have been born at Bandhavgarh.   

Understanding The Ecology & Impact

Elephants are mega herbivores  and consume more than 100 species of plant matter including tree barks, leaves and soft branches. In general they are grazers and browsers and food selection is due to abundance and season. In one day an adult may consume about 150 kgs of  plant material including tall grass. 

Now wild elephants arrival to Central Indian Forests is good news but their is a catch. If these pachyderms have found back their erstwhile home their arrival though not marked with pessimism  will be a matter of some serious study. Their arrival has to be seen with a bit of caution. 

The reason for this circumspect approach is due to shrunken ecosystem that now prevails in the present as compared with the past whence there was no shortage of forest cover. In these times competition for fodder would be serious in areas with robust prey base.

The pachyderms are rapacious feeders and consume almost hundred and fifty kilo grams of food comprising of plant matter, bamboo and grass. Though the number of migrants is small compared to the area, the increase in population and further migration could add to immense biotic pressure and pose a severe threat to herbivores which cannot compete with these large mammals.     

In time to come animals like Swamp Deer, and spotted deer would face severe pressure the former being a total graminivore. Pressure would also be upon the bison or gaur. These animals constitute main prey base of the tiger. Hence the tiger breeding will be reduced for there is a co-relation between availability of food and procreation among the carnivores. During the summers there will be increased competition for scarce water as well.

All this may not happen immediately but will certainly happen in the future. It is up to the field biologists to make an extensive study and come to the right conclusion. All factors have to be taken into account and carefully calibrated.   

It is too early to predict the outcome since the pachyderms may prefer to stay in an area where they may not create competition or they may migrate or make local migration reducing the area of impact.. If they begin the migration process with a period spent here they may not cause pressure enough to create competition. 

With massive clearance of forests the paradigm has changed and long term impact will have to be taken into account. In areas already sustaining large populations of elephants the plant matter consumed without exhausting the ecosystem may not be present in the tiger reserves of  Central India.

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Uday works as a naturalist and blogs on conservation in India.
Contact: pateluday90@hotmail.com

Friday, June 21, 2019

Tiger Conservation - Urbanization The Deadly Menace

Minimizing Destruction of Our Natural Lands

It keeps spreading its tentacles all around, and you cannot blame anyone except us. You cannot blame the politicians, planners and developers. Anyway they do not plan they just fulfill. It is we who have multiplied like rats and taken over our natural lands which the Earth had nourished for centuries right from the day evolution came into the picture.

Skyscrappers

Traffic congestion
People who read history of civilizations know that towns and cities will come and go but now in their wake they will leave back ravaged lands that may take eons to recover. In order to settle thousands of families, cities, towns, villages keep on spreading without planning and with total disregard for nature. A builder least admires an eco-niche in the neighbourhood nor does he feel guilty of placing concrete structures over them stifling microcosm of life forever. In fact we are so impressed by concrete structures that we concrete everything around us even natural gardens, wild bushes, small jungles, beautiful lakes and ponds where in lot of organisms and avian life depends upon the natural embankments and depth as well. 

Our eyes glow bright when we see magnificent edifices the concrete structures embracing our towns and cities. That is development! (Sic). When the structures start to decay we continue living there, a stoic and helpless attitude that we have developed as a matter of consequence.

Cities are rotting, there is water shortage, dirt, smog, pollution living conditions are like hell. Deadly pollution thanks to smoke belching industries, cars uncountable, congestion, drying lakes and water bodies polluted to the brim and over all the looming climate change ...there you have it! Slowly you come to understand what is unplanned development that damages the environment and invites disease, mental disorder and more.

The ill planned overwhelming urbanization is taking over the remaining natural lands in all settlements now from metros to even small towns. The latter come under the scanner of infrastructure development in forms of rail lines, highways and dams. This affects the wildlife and can be disastrous for endangered species like the tiger, lion and elephant to mention a few.

Tiger

Grasslands + Forests


The sharp reduction in number of tigers in India has been mainly due to loss of habitat. Tigers need specialized habitats which only dense forests containing untouched wilderness can offer. Unfortunately in India forests have been converted to agricultural fields, industrial belts, ravaged by mines and now urbanization which is creeping into even small places auguring a dark future. If we do not reduce our carbon footprints global warming can become serious where sustenance of life may not be possible. Hence we humans are also at risk and perhaps face extinction too?

Where will the buck stop nobody knows? Man animal conflicts, extinction of species, water shortages due to destruction of rivers and due to climate change all are as a result of man's total disregard for nature conservation.

We should consider destruction of nature as an impending disaster, and accord importance to its preservation. In governance this should be a major issue there should be debates and discussions on this. But this does not happen people are not aware or simply do not care, and politicians take advantage and do not take environmental issues into consideration except accord some lip service.

What future awaits our gen next? What about climate change knocking at our doorsteps? What are we doing to minimize fossil fuel consumption? What are we doing to stop the production of pollutants, toxins and hazardous chemicals. All this should be taken into account during the political discourse? Is it being done? Ask yourself, write or raise your voice before it is too late.

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Uday works as a naturalist in India and blogs on environment and conservation issues.
Contact: pateluday90@hotmail.com

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Tiger Conservation and Locals - PAs - A Paradigm Shift!

On popular platforms some expert writers, advocates, blogger and NGOs time and again suggest vociferously the greater involvement of the local communities in the conservation of our precious ecosystems i.e those remaining. Ironically what they mean is do away with the protected area system...that has successfully shaped conservation in India, and brought many species out of extinction. Little do they know that the local communities on many instances have unintentionally damaged the natural lands and have brought many species on to the brink of extinction. Our small tiger reserves are a shameful example of land shrunken drastically due exploitation of forests by ever growing population of humans and subsequent denudation.
Tiger

Swamp Deer

The threat perception is real and their (authors/advocates) understanding of species survival is at best limited, and they have no cognition of critical habitats and or protected areas that should and must remain inviolate. 

We need thinkers, policymakers and activists who understand the predicament that other life forms are facing in this human centric World. Conservation management is scientific, bound by rationale and not by emotions and in the present context certainly not by human history. 

PA concept is not at all elitist or discriminatory as many would advocate, it is based on scientific rationale and most important it provides succor to other life forms, and does away with omnipresent human footsteps considering the massive population bulge we have in this country. The sore point for some is that it facilitates tourism which many consider as elitist without giving a thought to conservation impetus it creates among the masses and the revenue and much needed employment it generates among the locals. In years of its popularity the ecosystems have benefited by regulated tourism and should now be an issue of least concern.   



The forests for example were always pristine and literally inviolate since the population span was contained in the centuries gone past. Not so in the contemporary times whence the population span has expanded beyond means and hardly any space for the survival of species is left inviolate. If this had not been the case the concept of protected area would have not come into the picture at all. The PAs are certainly required now and delimiting would prove to be disastrous especially in the case of animals like the swamp deer and the tiger.     

Well to be honest not only the locals, many of us irrespective of the location of domain have contributed to extensive damage to our ecosystems. The locals have contributed their share of destruction by tilling few remaining natural lands and creating immense biotic pressure through the live stock rearing in an unscientific manner. There involvement in poaching though not on large scale cannot be negated either. This is certainly not a spirit of coexistence a favourite phrase used by the enlightened who consider local communities as still living in a stone age. The local communities have undergone a paradigm shift during this century and look forward to be a part  of the mainstream.  The next gen is certainly headed for the urban surroundings as no suitable or alternative source of income exists for the erudite in the remote surroundings. 

The NGOs or some of these writers/researchers have conjectured a picture of tribal in their minds of static, lifeless, assemblage of flesh and bones, who will remain fixed to a time long gone past and be immobile for ever. The local communities are evolving too and need to assimilate the way whole country is doing. They do not wish to remain stuck in the past living in isolation.  They do not wish to be pushed deeper into the inaccessible wild realms with no infrastructure and modern facilities.

Tribal - Neeraj Vegad
Most of those who write on this subject have no understanding of issues pertaining to conservation as a holistic model and are keen to provide a panacea through their emotional tag lines. Many of those who understand this issue are bound by their own emotions which ends up restricting their perspective and miss the imperative.  They are not aware of conservation practises being pursued by the wildlife managers and they certainly do not know about scientific approach that lies behind the involvement of local communities in and around our tiger reserves to be more precise. Just the flair for writing is not enough a writer should have an in depth understanding of the topic before holding the pen.  

We have to understand that conservation in our country has two facets, one is the human conundrum which now includes the indigenous communities, and second are the ecosystems and wildlife within. We are ruthless whence wilderness creeps into our urbanity but wish to share a large chunk of ecosystems belonging to other life forms. Hence the two are now separate entities and the spirit of coexistence is limited to live and let live principle. Coexistence cannot take place by sharing the tiger reserves or National Parks with local communities. These ecosystems will remain inviolate and strictly. On the contrary more inviolate space will have to be allocated especially for conservation of endangered animals like the tiger, Asiatic Lion, swamp deer and more.   

Till so called experts do not accept the separation of the two entities mentioned above, the fate of the big cats and the tribal will remain precarious.
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Uday works as a naturalist and loves to blog on conservation.
He can be contacted at:
pateluday90@hotmail.com 

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Tiger Conservation The Human Conundrum

This period of April and May were months of extreme upheaval in India as the nation was embroiled in a contentious parliamentary poll. The largest democracy naturally conducts the largest exercise at the hustings. The highlight of parliamentary elections in the country was of course the virulent campaigns that began and ended with unending fervor. The aftermath ended in a reverberating but gradually quietening atmosphere as the results were declared and winners took their seat.

For all political parties in India the propaganda revolves around many populist  issues, but completely neglects the conservation and environmental issues though as matter of principle they are ingrained in our policies albeit executed with scant regard.

The first to inculcate the order of nature and wildlife conservation in India where the Vedic literature, but we have conveniently forgotten them, the scientific journals have been relegated into back ground as forgotten and inconsequential part of our history.







The conservation ethos were carried forward by Asoka the Great, and after centuries of continuous destruction we had a leader in Smt.Indira Gandhi who rejuvenated the conservation practises by inducting laws that mattered. The tiger and the ecosystem as whole were the major beneficiaries of steps taken during her governance. Her zealous pursuit of protecting India's heritage was effective in conserving whatever that was left. But after her sad demise no one stepped into her shoes. 

In midst of the mind boggling exercise one issue as always took a complete back seat for nowhere was there a mention of environment and nature in a country where multitudinous masses live. All through the campaigning there was  worst kind of slander that included personal jibes, insults and revelations all at the lowest level possible.

Forget about the environment and our remaining natural heritage no issues of serious nature were ever brought forth or discussed. That is how the prospects irrespective of their drawing treat their subjects - gullible, downtrodden, ignorant and living in stone age. The appeal for the vote is more of a tamasha, steeped in loud promises of piquant favors, charismatic chest thumping and yes development.   

After the hustings all promises are forgotten except the development mantra which all parties think will offer a permanent majority in the parliament for decades. All the time the mantra of development was aimed at more than one billion people a promise if rightly fulfilled could lead to betterment of living conditions and emancipation from abject poverty the large populace is steeped in.   

The goggle eyed voters could understand the mantra of development very well but the related issues were not even in the picture. The emancipation that was promised was all that mattered - a panacea for all that ails the society.

Where would the succor come from with deteriorating climatic conditions, abject shortage of water and badly polluted environment without proper mix of air. The water shortage is a serious matter that should concern one and all especially those at the helm of governance.

We are constantly hurting our ecosystems (rivers, forests, deserts, grasslands) that deliver clean and fresh air, large tracts of forests are being decimated for linear development for highways, settlements and infrastructure expansion. Mining woes are not being mitigating at all. Environmental clearances are taking place in a jiffy with no serious thought to impending disasters, industrial belts and deadly polluting mega industries are taking their toll in this country with ever increasing haste.

Species endangerment is taking place with the blink of the eye. A large number of species have already been lost. Does all this not matter? Aren't the participants of the democratic process the citizens not entitled to enlightenment as to what safeguards are being put in place that would prevent further depredation. Should not they be revealed during the poll propaganda? Who bothers? 

Human centric development has always been the core practice of ruling polities with abject disregard for nature. This has been a global phenomenon and cuts across the vast spectrum of political establishments everywhere. India is not alone in this disastrous way of governance, we are in tandem with the World.

But ironically this does not alarm us. Nature is our life support system but we have taken it for granted. A denuded patch of forest does not raise eyebrows as it should hence climate change in worst form is imminent.

A radical shift has to take place among the rulers as to how development and urbanization should be carried out. All the hindrances which are genuine should be respected and alternative found. You cannot write off a strip of forest just to aid a highway or an industrial area. But this is happening and slowly we are destroying our green lungs and precious habitats which will augur climate change to extreme.

The effect of our haste will result in an environmental condition that would make species survival  (including man) extremely difficult. The tiger has been the worst sufferer being an indicator species sitting at the top of food chain we cannot let it go. Proper development policies without damaging the ecosystems, and keeping in mind the environmental consequences are imperative we should change over to.

For every step we take towards so called development we have to keep its impact on nature all the time. The institutions in India will play a major role in safeguarding our environment in times to come. Provided  there is the necessary radical shift in our perspective and less destructive paradigm sets in. 

The public should play an important role as a watchdog and be conscious about social ills like exponential population growth which has to be brought down. Not only as tourists, we should reduce the biotic pressures on our surroundings in day to day living with responsible lifestyle.

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Uday works as a naturalist at Kanha National Park in India.
He oftens writes on conservation issues as blogger.
He can be contacted:
pateluday90@hotmail.com
09755089323