Iora and the Quest of Five
Author: Arefa Tehsin
Arefa Tehsin has been inspired by her father Dr. Raza H Tehzin, whose undiluted love for the the wild is evident in his various original writings. The daughter, inspired by this llove for all living beings, has taken it upon herself to bring the joys of her
childhood to many more generations.
Any child has the capability to dream, create, design and build a wonderful place in the world. This world is enriched by her interaction with flowers, butterflies, birds and animals. The virtual world can expand imagination but also limits the imagination
in some ways by information overload. Arefa's world, I mean Iora's world, is rich with unspoilt and unlimited imagination-a real roller coaster ride for any child. As an adult I was transformed to the beautiful world of fairy tales when I read the book.
Iora is a resident of Twitterland, a hidden rainforest civilisation. Through her adventures in the Whacky Wilderness-an enchanted jungle- along with dwarf Beetle and bosom foe Owlus, Arefa takes us through many tribes, clans and creatures of the wild. For
a generation who has lapped up films like "Avtar" and the" Harry Potter" Series, visualising the world of Iora is easy. As identification with the imaginary world grows- which it is bound to- thanks to the very "suggestive" names of creatures in the Whacky
Wilderness, the reader is made to think. Are we destroying the known and unknown treaures of the wild in our unbridled quest for development?
Written in a racy, yet simple language it is a must read for all children and the adults who look after them.
Review by Dr.Susan Sharma
Save Aravalli Hills Petition
- Susan Sharma
Gurgaon and Faridabad have seen Surajkund, Badkhal and Dumdama lakes disappear within the last 25-30 years, once vegetation in Aravalis was destroyed and hilllsides dug up for minerals/stones for
construction and/or levelled for putting up buildings. The ban by the Supreme Court on all mining cant restore those water bodies, they are gone for ever.
The Aravalis also consist of unspoilt forests like the Mangarbani. Besides the Bani being the preserve of fauna and flora endemic to the Aravalis (probably the only patch in Rajasthan-Haryana-Delhi, where Aravalis have survived in their original glory), this
unspoilt forest is most likely responsible for water recharging and safeguarding water veins underground. Destroy this vegetation cover, build on it and we could end up blocking/destroying any number of water veins under those impenetrable rock-systems.
Will the Gurgaon-Faridabad-Delhi residents let the unspoilt Aravalis in and around Manger Bani disappear? They could be destroying the most important water-recharge System/Preserve that could have sustained the coming generations by providing much needed elixir
of life 'WATER'
SAVE THE ARAVALIS THAT WE STILL HAVE------REHABILITATING THEM MAY BE BEYOND ALL OF US.
Tell Haryana Govt to modify the Sohna master plan and save the Aravallis!
- Zone Aravalli hills as water recharge zone and sanctuary - Sign the Petition! And forward to your friends
Please join this campaign:
Mangarbani is a village in the Aravalis, which is a living natural museum of endemic trees of the Aravalis. Read a blog on this village at
Calendar of the month
Mysore has done some beautiful digital paintings, which we have converted into monthly calendars. Please download these calendars free and use them as your desk top wall paper.
By clicking on RagooRao's name, you can read the numerous articles he has written for IndianWildlifeClub.com. He is also a superb nature photographer.
To download the calendar suitable for the size of your desktop, please click on the link below.
Common Snakes of India
The Rat Snake
Snakes, as we mostly imagine are a matter of “fear” to most of us. But they are actually beautiful creatures if we care to understand them. One only needs an eye to see this beauty of nature.
In India many types of snakes are found in a variety of forests/vegetations; most of them are non venomous with only around four species being venomous. One commonly found non venomous species is Rat Snake. As is clear from the name, it mainly
feeds on rats, frogs and such small preys. So it is commonly found in all such places where these preys are abundant like fields (mainly rice) and other human habitats. Their length can vary and can be even more than 2 meters. Their color also varies and
can be yellowish, grayish or black. It has beautiful black markings all over the body and the markings on the jaws and head just nearly co inside. The markings on the body differ from that on the tail. Rat snakes are light weight snakes.
Also note that their look has some look- a likes which they resemble. One of them is the Cobra.
When I encountered the snake ( in the experience I have narrated ) I wrongly identified it as a female Cobra.
This snake is widely distributed throughout India and also in other parts of Asia. It is a day hunter and remains completely hidden in the night at various places like under the rocks, holes, dark places like pipes etc. Its habitat varies from sea side
to densely forested areas. The main habitat types where it is found include agricultural lands, forests, human habitats like near food storage, under the rocks and bricks or such other debris dumps. It is also one of the fastest snakes
of India and this characteristic makes it fit to successfully hunt and survive in even the toughest conditions. It also has good climbing and dropping capability. It can stand tall at about half meters from ground and show its anger by
making a sound when the need arises. Like Cobra it can stretch is upper body to look big and defend itself from the dangers.
I shall not make this somewhat boring by discussing only the biological features of Rat snake. Now, about my experience in this encounter with Rat snake!
One rainy morning of this August, weather was pleasant after the rainy showers at night, I was on my way to photograph birds. I stopped at the point near fields to photograph the Indian roller bird for its instincts. I was busy capturing this
colorful bird’s beauty. I was on the pathway photographing the bird in the fields which were at somewhat lower level than path way. I suddenly noticed a stick sort of thing just beside the pathway. As this was my first encounter with rat snake ,
my mind just gave a passing thought of it being a sort of shrub standing, but I decided to look more closely through my lens and that was it ! My senses became more tense with less of caution but more of excitement. There was no end to
excitement of that moment. I was only 2 meters away from the Rat snake beauty. I made no delay in capturing it through my lens to get it recorded forever.
Thrilling moment it was for me. It seemed as if it has come only to give me his/her glimpse and to get photographed. You know, such moments are rare and lucky when you get such rewards from nature, mostly you have to hunt at large for
taking them into your cams.
All in all, with this writing, I want to convey the message that Nature in every form is beautiful and should be explored. Be it the beauty of a Rat Snake or a beautiful woman, you only need to give time and effort to find and explore them
and you get your rewards. Just take time to explore that beautiful world around you. You will realize that the human is not the only beauty God has made.
Wildlife Enthusiast and Birdwatcher
Excellence Award 2012 for Innovation in Protection and Preservation of Environment and Wildlife Habitat
Your club received yet another award in August 2012. Excellence Award 2012 for Innovation in Protection and Preservation of Environment and Wildlife Habitat The award was presented to www.IndianWildlifeClub.com
by the Knowledge Resource Development and Welfare Group (www.krdwg.org) on 31st August, 2012 at a function organized at IIT, Delhi.
Award being received by Dr.Susan Sharma and Alok Kaushik from Dr.Anil Wali, MD, Foundation for Innovation & Technology Transfer, IIT Delhi. Dr.Naresh Gill, secretary, KRDWG, New Delhi is on the left.
At the function organized in IIT Delhi, Dr.Susan Sharma , Founder and Mr.Alok Kaushik , Chief Technical Advisor to IndianWildlifeclub.com made presentations explaining the evolution and structure of the club.
IndianWildlifeClub.com is an initiative to involve the common man in the cause of environment conservation. The interest and experience of the common man falls in the various levels of the modified Maslow Pyramid depicted below.
Innovation is in the content developed and structured such that it caters to people at any of these stages. Irrespective of what stage anyone is, there is something in the site for him/her.
Content is continually being developed and structured suitably.
The second innovation is getting members to contribute content, thereby increasing their ownership of the site.
The third innovation is in leveraging social media to link the Club and its members.
Wilderness Conservation Exchange(WCE)
Our Club's Journey over the course of time
The Journey has been inspiring
1.Our portal is now recognized by major NGOs and Govt Institutions in India as a serious community of nature lovers. We have taken serious discussion on conservation out of the seminar circuit and achieved involvement/participation of the common man.
2. We have managed drawing a distinction between wildlife conservation and animal rights
3. Participation in our interactive features are slowly picking up
4. As compared to talking to the 'converted' IWc encourages sharing of information and thoughts from anyone who is vaguely interested in nature. We act as a link between the expert and the common man.
5.Analysis of the participation in our quiz programs has indicated gradual increase in interest in the members.
6. Our growth has so far been organic, in response to member feedback. Currently we are poised to implement an interactive forum
7. The WCE project is also conceived based on member feedbcak, which was further refined based on a questionaire survey among members.
WCE will be our flagship program, the first on ground, combining online and offline capabilities.
There are many volunteering opportunities all over India and many of our Club members have been writing in asking for volunteering opportunities. If the Club creates an exchange connecting Institutions needing Volunteers with potential volunteers, we can
fulfil a long felt need.
That is how the project "Wilderness Conservation Exchange" was born. We have entered the business plan for the same in a Business Plan Challenge Round initiated by SWF (Switzerland Wildlife Fund). SWF, are seeking to draw attention to the health of Tropical
Forests by supporting Initiatives that will help conserve Tropical Forests. Among other parameters, a business/action plan participating in the Challenge will be shortlisted based on the number of Votes a Plan garners.
The voting for the WCE project is now over. Our project tops the start-up category with 183 votes. There are 21 projects short listed under this category. One winner selected out of these will be announced on December 17, 2012. The winner will receive in
kind support from WWF-Switzerland.