News and Views

December 2001

NEWS ..............

Susan Sharma, Founder, IndianWildlifeClub.com susan_sharma@hotmail.com

National Symposium on Elephant Conservation, Management and Research

Project Elephant( Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India), Wildlife Institute of India, Dehra Dun and the Chief Wildlife Warden, Uttaranchal, Dehra Dun were the organizers of a four day symposium held at Hardwar, Uttaranchal. Elephant experts, Researchers,and some NGOs were the other participants apart from Rangers, Foresters etc.

While the participants debated on the census, sex ratio, distribution and management of elephant populations, the elephant who called at night to cause damage to the dining hall at the BHEL campus where we were staying was a grim reminder of the fact that we were holding a symposium at the very corridor which elephants used to cross over from Corbett to Rajaji in the past.

The fragmentation of populations caused by corridors getting slowly acquired is still the major cause for declining populations , elephant watchers say. The Rajaji Motichur corridor is now occupied by Gujjar (of Kashmiri origin) villages, Forest Department nurseries, Army ammunition dumps, Irrigation department structures erected at the time of construction of Sandle Hydro Electric Project but since forgotten and put to alternate use. Most of the other corridors connecting major forest areas had similar stories to tell.

The symposium resolved to get at least five corridors reclaimed for elephant use in the next five years.

 ...............AND Views

Saraswati Kavule, Member , IndianWildlifeClub.com s_kavula@yahoo.com

 

Spare a moment !

 This is not an article per se, but some ideas and thoughts I had wanted to share with others for a long time. As one who finds a sense of belonging with nature, I couldn't but urge my fellow beings to feel the same and to care for nature. the greatest irony of our times is that we all love to go to natural surroundings, the popularity of hill stations and beach resorts and wildlife parks is but a small example. Yet, we don't bat an eyelid to plunder this nature that we crave so much for -in the name of tourism.

If we could come out of our air-conditioned hotels which put a hole in the ozone, and perhaps stay in a cotton tent and manage with the bare minimum necessities, not only would we be able to experience the raw beauty of our surroundings, but also manage to save the snow capped mountains and trees and water from getting evaporating from the face of the earth. the most popular hill stations today are the most polluted as well. Even those who do not take the beaten path but trek in the mountains are no exception to the rule. Treks have become a sport- to show our heroism against the natural odds and flaunt our greatness in front of others!! it is my personal opinion that even this needs to be done with reverence. why is it that we have lost the respect and love which we had as infants in the civilizational time zones ?? the tender innocence that children possess is what we lost as we grew up to become the achievers of the planet. They say that even today when Tibetans climb a cliff - they place a flower and prostrate on the cliff top asking the mountain to forgive them for having stepping upon it, but that it was a necessary step that needed to be taken. This sort of reverence existed in all cultures. Only we now think we have grown up enough not to bother such things any more.

We pray to Ganapati and poach elephants, we pray to Durga and her vehicle the tiger,but kill the tiger for its nails. Lord vishnu's first incarnation was as a tortoise, yet, this species is struggling to survive in our humane world!!! There is a prayer for all living things in Hindu mythology which has granted them divine status. While the prayers continue on one hand, so do the callous attitude to the animals and plants.

Spare a moment to think from your busy schedules!


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