October 04, 2007
"Badabon-er Katha": A tale of the Sundarbans
The Sundarbans, the largest mangrove forest in the world, lies on the
Southwestern coastal areas of Bangladesh, forming a seaward fringe of
the delta. The Sundarbans is intersected by a complex network of
waterways, mudflats and small islands covered with mangrove forests,
and presents an excellent example of ongoing ecological processes. The
area is known for its wide range of fauna. There are about 334 species
of trees and plants and 450 species of animals in this forest - a
repository of diversity. Of these, there are 47 species of mammals,
270 species of birds, 45 species of reptiles and 200 species of fish.
A documentary film on the Sundarbans, titled Badabon-er Katha, was
premiered on August 18 at National Museum Auditorium. Under the
supervision of Manzarehassin Murad, Moynul Huda has directed the
documentary. It is a joint venture by Steps Towards Development and
The documentary presents the scenic beauty of the Sundarbans in
different seasons, as well as the dependency of humans to the forest
for making their living.
Badabon-er Katha begins with images of spectacular beauty of the
majestic forest. The documentary features the diverse lifestyles of
people living in the Sundarbans, including fishermen, honey collectors
and others. Badabon-er Katha also highlights some natural and man-made
changes that are fast becoming threats to the existence of the
Prior to the screening of the film a discussion was held. Professor
Abdullah Abu Sayeed, Dr. Ainun Nishat (country representative of The
World Conservation Union Bangladesh), Ranjan Karmokar (executive
director of Steps Towards Development), Swapan Guha (CEO of Rupantar),
filmmaker Manzarehassin Murad and director of Badabon-er Katha, Moynul
Huda spoke at the event.
Referring to the Sundarbans as the "only sweet-water mangrove forest
in the world", Dr. Ainun Nishat said, "Three points of the forest are
listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. However, this rare heritage
site is under threat."
Professor Abdullah Abu Sayeed said, "This documentary will be a record
of the Sundarbans, if ever the largest mangrove forest in the world is
October 04, 2007
Water Hyacinth- economic potential
Water hyacinth is considered a scourge on water bodies. Yet, we only have to look at our neighbours to see the economic potential of this weed.
In Bangladesh, water hyacinth fibre is dried and mixed with jute to create paper and pressed into fibre boards used for partitions.
Yarn made from the fibre is used to make furniture in Bangladesh and baskets in Philippines.
Water hyacinth is used for water purification as it is capable of absorbing heavy metals, organic compounds and pathogens from water.
In Srilanka, water hyacinth is mixed with organic municipal waste, ash and soil, composted and sold to local farmers.
October 03, 2007
Three years after the Central government virtually abandoned the mega project of inter-linking of rivers, the government of Bihar is coming out with a proposal to link various river basins within the state.
Gujarat, too, is toying with a similar idea. What’s more, Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi recently said that the linking of the southern rivers — Godavari, Krishna and Cauvery — could be taken up immediately...............
Satish C Jha, chairman, special task force on Bihar and a member of PM’s Economic Advisory Council, told SundayET that a better understanding with Nepal was key to control flood in the state and also evolve a better system of irrigation................
Former head of the task force on inter-linking of rivers Suresh Prabhu argued that it should be a two-way approach. “What Bihar is doing now is a bottom-up approach. We need that too. Inter-linking of rivers should be done in an intergrated manner involving
both augmentation and conservation,” said Mr Prabhu.
October 02, 2007
World Pheasant Association WPA (India) proposed removal of the legal loophole in respect of dealing in peacock tail feathers, to the National Board for Wildlife, the apex national body for wildlife conservation chaired by India’s Prime Minister.
The Board approved a rapid survey to assess the current status of the species and periodic monitoring and approprite protection measures in their meeting held on 19 June 2006.
Source: Annual Report of WPA (India), 2006-07
October 01, 2007
The natural tree holes are diminishing in the open countryside due to an increase in tree felling. Urban habitats provide alternate nesting sites.
A study published in the Journal of Raptor Research documented the case of Pune where nests were diminishing in rural areas and increasing in human habitats.
Another species is now dependant on the tolerance of human beings for survival!
October 01, 2007
Komodo National Park Indonesia - some lessons for India
Komodo, is famous for its Komodo Dragons, but its underwater environments are virtually unrivaled in biodiversity. Blast fishing was common throughout the region and responsible for decimating the underwater ecosystems. The tourist infrastructure in disrepair,
the locals with few economic opportunities, very little constructive engagement with the government, all these are problems we in India identify with.
Nature Conservancy partnered with the Indonesian government to revamp all aspects of the park. The strategy the Conservancy is
1. No-take zones for fishing -- These are enforced by floating ranger stations, in order to allow the reefs to regenerate and allow for sustainable fish populations.
2. A system of concession fees for tourist operators -- These were established in order to help fund park maintenance and provide local communities with an additional revenue stream
3. Increase ecotourism and opportunities for alternative livelihoods - using aquaculture and fishing outside of the protected areas.
"Just as important, if we want to limit direct access to biological resources for local populations, we need to provide the people with alternative forms of economic development. This is not only fair, but the only strategy that has the potential to permanently
align their interests in the direction of long-term conservation"
says an article in nature.org at the following link
September 28, 2007
"India still offers the best hope for the tigers’ future because it has the most
tigers and a conservation infrastructure. In 1973, the Indian government
initiated Project Tiger, designating protected areas and wildlife corridors.
This led to a dramatic recovery -- their numbers nearly tripled by the 1990s.
But that commitment faltered, and the population collapsed again. "....
"Most important, the communities abutting tiger habitat, some of which are among
the poorest in India, must have a stake in protecting tigers. The residents need
to gain from conservation efforts and eco-tourism: There are very few places in
the world where tourists can see wild tigers. Poachers could be given rewards
for tracking and photographing the animals for monitoring. They might be given
new avenues for livelihood: In the forest reserves of Periyar in India’s
southern state of Kerala, for example, former poachers now work as tourist
From the Los Angeles Times
Stop tigers from going extinct
Unless drastic action is taken now, the lord of the jungle will go extinct this
By Vinod Thomas
September 27, 2007
read the full article at the link
September 26, 2007
"Preserving tiger populations in India’s parks has been derailed by a ballooning human population and the lack of a clear management policy. Tigers are ecological stars for tourists and a rising Indian middle class. Others view the animals as a recreational
asset in the history of Indian sport. As late as the early 20th century, hunters shot tigers from the backs of elephants in elaborate safaris called “shikars.”
"In two years, India has lost thousands of square miles of forest, of which 14 are potential tiger habitat. And a number of parks are islands where the risk of inbreeding may lead to extinction. Management policies—dictated by the revenue that attends frequent
big cat sightings—have shortchanged the animals’ best interests.
Tigers in India’s parks are becoming mere products, as they’re seen by poachers and buyers of skins and other body parts."
Read the full article at
September 26, 2007
Talk on ‘Asian elephant in captivity:Past, Present and Future’
The Wildlife Trust of India takes great pleasure in inviting you to a talk
on the ‘Asian elephant in captivity: Past, Present and Future’ on October
2, 2007, by one of the pioneers of studies on the Asian elephant, Dr. Fred
Dr. Kurt, member of the Asian Elephant Specialist Group of IUCN, has been
a lecturer of Population Ecology and Conservation Biology at the
University and the Pedagogic High School of Zurich, Switzerland, and at
the University of Veterinary Science, Vienna, Austria. He has carried out
field studies on elephants and other large mammals in Ethiopia, India,
Indonesia, Morocco, Myanmar, Rwanda, Sri Lanka and Switzerland. Since
retirement, he has been involved in the First European Elephant Management
School at the Hagenbecks Tierpark in Hamburg and the European Elephant
Group. He is the joint author of the book “The Asian Elephant in
Captivity” by the Cambridge University Press, India in 2007.
Dr. Kurt’s talk will consist of a power point presentation and two short
films. Details of the talk are given below:
Date: October 2, 2007
Time: 6:45 p.m.
Venue: Casurina Hall, India Habitat Center, New Delhi
For details please contact Kadambari Mainkar at
September 26, 2007
The River Yamuna has been deteriorating continuously on a gradual basis. With Commonwelth Games Village (CGV) taking shape, Global Village coming up right next to the DND and others, looks like the time has now come and become critical to give
(or force) the authorities into doing something concrete about protecting the river.
Mr Anand Arya, an avid bird watcher, has formulated a concept to
1. Declare the 22kms (plus 5kms up and down as buffer zone of Yamuna in Delhi as a Protected Area and Bird Park
2.Fence the area which is not under any encroachments as yet, remove the encroachments.
3.Give the area to a body like CMEDE of Delhi University who can convert this area also like Yamuna Bio Diversity-Park or create an independent body run by a CEO on no profit-no loss basis.
4. Back it up with River Zone Regulations (to be framed for the Country and not just Yamuna), monitoring by dissemination of information to public for its scrutiny.
With Hon’ble High Court of Delhi having passed an order in end 2005 that all
encroachments - any time - have to be removed upto 300 metre from Yamuna, time is now ripe for us to push for the implementation of the
concept and implementation of the Court Order.
The above concept has been presented in the form of a letter to the Secretary MoEF. The letter is available online at the following link.
Please put your signature to it if you believe that the concept is worth supporting.