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As the thread title suggests, this thread will be used to showcase the rich wildlife and marine life of India in their natural habitats as well as in the zoos/aquariums. We can also utilize this thread for news on conservation and virtually anything related to the topic.
 

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Map showing the wildlife sanctuaries:



According to wiki we have 355 wildlife sanctuaries, 96 national parks as of April 2007 (a total of 166 have been authorized.), 28 tiger reserves, 14 biosphere reserves and 4 coral reefs.
 

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Relocated tiger adapts to Sariska, makes first kill

JAIPUR: The king has made its mark! The three-and-half-year-old tiger that was relocated to Sariska Tiger Reserve on Saturday killed it's first prey. The victim was a young deer introduced into the enclosure, where the tiger is housed, by forest workers late Saturday.

"It is a good sign, indicating that the tiger has recovered from the initial shock that it would have got into after the tranquillisation. Sometimes tigers kill but do not eat. In this case too initially the tiger didn't eat its prey but later consumed a portion of it," said an overjoyed director of the reserve R S Somashekhar.


A male tiger after being shifted to Sariska National Park in Rajasthan. (PTI Photo)

He added that the tiger is in good health and has been behaving normally. "The first three days are critical. This is the time they take to recover from the stress of being relocated to a new area. In this case too the tiger has been preferring to remain behind bushes in the enclosure and is rarely coming out in the open. It is only by chance that the patrol party can sight him from atop the watch tower near the enclosure," he added.

The reserve would be getting the next big cat this time a tigress from Ranthambore in about a week's time, but only after the first tiger adjusts itself to the new environs.


The three-and-half-year-old tiger relocated to Sariska tiger reserve on Saturday killed it's first prey.

A separate enclosure has been built close to the first one at Nayapani for the second arrival. The relocation of tigers is an effort towards the successful re-establishment of tigers at Sariska after they were all poached in
2004.

Studies by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun, has shown that the Sariska reserve has a capacity of housing upto 50 tigers. "After tigers are introduced in pairs at the reserve we hope that they would breed. We are looking at a target of 21 tigers in the years to come. For any further increase in the numbers we would have to look afresh at the constant interference of outside elements here at the park," said P R Sinha, director, WII.

Sinha added that apart from reducing outside interference, more tigers or tigresses may also be needed to be introduced. "At that stage we may get these animals either from Ramthambore or anywhere outside as long as we can ensure they are Royal Bengal tigers," he said.
 

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The Biological Diversity Act, 2002 (Central Act 18 of 2003) envisages to provide for conservation of biological diversity of the country, sustainable use of its components, fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the use of biological resources and generation and dissemination of knowledge thereof. The Act has been put forth as the country’s response to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 1992.

India is the first country to have an Act of this kind, consequent upon which the National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) has been set up in the year 2004. . The National Biodiversity Authority and State Biodiversity Boards have the charter of acquisition of data and information pertaining to biological resources, reposition (storage and retrieval) of such information, generation of a knowledge base and dissemination of the knowledge for the benefit of citizenry. In this sense, the Act is different from most other legislations and therefore, has to adopt an unbeaten path.

In accordance with the above provisions of the Act, the Science, Technology & Environment Department (STED) took up the proposal for setting up of Kerala State Biodiversity Board (KSBB) in October, 2003. Based on the approval by the Chief Minister on 25.01.2005, the notification constituting the Board was made in February 2005 [GO (Ms) No. 1/2005/STED dated 28.2.2005] and published in the gazette on 01.06.2005. Until such time the Board was fully functional, it was incubated under STED/Kerala State Council for Science Technology and Environment (KSCSTE). During February 2006 the new Environment Department was formed in Kerala [vide order GO (Ms) No. 10/2006/GAD dated 6.1.2006] and the KSBB was transferred to the Environment Department [vide order GO (Ms) No.64/2006/GAD dated 16.2.2006]. The headquarters of the Board is at the State capital, Thiruvananthapuram.
The major functions of the State Biodiversity Board, as per the Biological Diversity Act 2002 shall be to:

(a) advise the State Government, subject to any guidelines issued by the Central Government, on matters relating to the conservation of biodiversity, sustainable use of its components and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilisation of biological resources;

(b) regulate by granting of approvals or otherwise requests for commercial utilisation or bio-survey and bio-utilisation of any biological resource by Indians; and

(c) perform such other functions as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act or as may be prescribed by the State Government.

Vision: Conservation of biodiversity and its sustainable utilization for the benefit of human beings.
 

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Plant Diversity in Kerala

Flowering Plants 4000

Grass species 350

Bamboo species 15

Reeds species 9

Orchid species 214

Gymnosperms 4

Ferns and Fern allies 200

Liverworts 200

Algae 231

Fungi 1044

Lichens 800
 

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Animal Diversity in Kerala

Large and medium sized mammals 48 genera

Birds species 475

Water Birds 101

Reptiles Genera 60

Lizard (endemic) species 30

Snake (endemic) species 57

Amphibia (endemic) species 87

Fresh water fishe (endemic) species 84

Butterflies 313
 

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Eight new reserves comes under Project Tiger

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New tiger reserves
The name of new tiger reserves include: Anamalai -Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuaries (Tamil Nadu & Kerala), Udanti and Sita Nadi Wildlife Sanctuaries (Chhattisgarh), Satkosia Wildlife Sanctuary (Orissa), Kaziranga National Park (Assam), Achanakmar Wildlife Sanctuary (Chhattisgarh), Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary and Anshi National Park (Karnataka), Sanjay National Park and Sanjay Dubri Wildlife Sanctuary (Madhya Pradesh), and Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary of Tamil Nadu.

Project Tiger
The centrally sponsored programme has been under implementation since 1973 and prior to the latest announcement, there were 28 tiger reserves in the country. Apart from maintaining the viable tiger population at different biogeographically regions throughout the country, the project also undertake various eco-development initiatives in order to reduce the dependency of the local communities from tiger reserve resources.

Tiger Population
As per the last official data announced by the government on February 12 this year, the numbers of big cats left in India is somewhere between 1,165 and 1,657, a steep decline from the last official tiger census. The last major survey in 2002 had numbered it as 3,500. Rise in poaching and loss of quality habitat were also figured out as the prime factors behind the sharp fall in number of tigers.
Source: NEWSTRACK india on 3 Dec, 2008
 

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Can eco-tourism save India's tigers?

The one fact that struck me as the most interesting at a recent lecture by Dr Raghu Chandawat, an eminent tiger scientist, was that a well known tourism zone of Bandhavgarh Tiger reserve in Madhya Pradesh held a greater density of wild tigers than he had ever believed possible in such a small area.

So is tourism really that good at protecting tigers?

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I believe that tourism is a good thing for tiger conservation. It gives them extraordinary protection through the passive viewing and monitoring of these magnificent creatures.

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Source: Telegraph
 

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Tiger, tiger, fighting back

A census that revealed a shocking drop in numbers could be the big cat's salvation as an effective rescue plan is developed in India

There are signs of hope that the world's rapidly diminishing population of wild tigers may at last be able to make a comeback. Stephen Mills, a writer and film-maker who has spent more than 20 years watching the biggest of the big cats in the wild, believes initiatives by the Indian government, and growing awareness by local people in tiger areas of the need to conserve the animals, offer new grounds for optimism in what has been a remorseless decline over the past 40 years.

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The Independent on 8 Dec, 2008
 

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Bad news: Wild buffaloes on brink of extinction

MUMBAI: The wild buffalo, the third biggest land mammal, is facing extinction. If measures to protect them are not taken, there will be no more of the species, said Kishor Rithe of Satpuda Foundation and Bivash Pandav, programme leader, tiger and other big cats, WWF-International, Nepal. The two visited the Sitanadi-Udanti Tiger Reserve (SUTR) in Chhattisgarh and Sunabeda-Khariar Tiger Reserve in Orissa recently.

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Source: DNA on 9 Dec, 2008
 

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PMO concerned over delay in shifting of second tigress

New Delhi (PTI): The Prime Minister's Office, which was keenly watching the Royal Bengal tiger's relocation in Sariska, has expressed concern over delay in shifting of the second tigress that was initially planned for November.

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The relocation of the tigers in Sariska, spread over 881-square km, is the government's effort to bring back the endangered species as well as to restore the park's glory, which was wiped out by poachers killing all the big cats.

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Source: The Hindu on 7 Dec, 2008
 

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India's Elephant in Peril

Encroaching human population, fast-moving trains cut pachyderms' numbers



India’s elephants, as much as tigers the country’s symbol, are dying in ever-greater numbers as industrialization, deforestation, the pressure of human settlement and shrinking food resources cut into their numbers.

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There is nowhere that this devastation is hitting harder than the northern fringe of West Bengal on the Assam border, where a pervasive despair overwhelms Ram Singh Thapa, a trained Nepali wildlife tourist guide at Gorumara Forest in Dooars, the tea estate-dominated region of West Bengal. So for far this year, 51 of the beasts have been killed in the area along the West Bengal-Assam border, 31 of them due to collisions with trains. By contrast, in the 34 years from 1974 to 2008, only 36 had died from trains. But the pachyderms were accustomed to relatively slow-moving trains on meter-gauge rails, not those on the broad-gauge trains that have replaced them and which run at upwards of 100 km per hour.

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Source: assis sentinel on 8 Dec, 2008
 

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What is killing India's endangered gharials?


Photo Courtesy: MAMMAL WATCHING.COM

Can a mystery be solved in time to save the gharial from extinction? Two years ago, this critically endangered crocodile had just 200 adults left in the wild. Now that number is down to 100, after the animals began to mysteriously die last year.

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The Chambal River is apparently one of India's cleanest, but a neighboring river, the Yamuna, is "a toxic mess," according to the BBC. It is believed that the gharials are leaving their home river, eating fish in the Yamuna, and getting poisoned as a result.

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So if this theory proves to be true, what comes next? Cleaning the Yamuna could take a decade of hard work, according to the BBC, and the gharials don't have that much time left....
Source: PLENTY on 2 Dec, 2008
 
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