In the early 1900s, ornithologist Frank M. Chapman, from the Audubon Society, proposed a new holiday tradition – the “Christmas Bird Census” encouraging citizens to count birds during the holidays than hunt them. Today, over 117 years later, the Christmas Bird Count is one of the most successful citizen science projects – and it’s the data collected by the common man that led to Audubon’s 2014 Climate Change Report that predicts how climate change could affect the ranges of 588 North American birds – indicating that 314 species will lose more than 50 percent of their current climatic range by 2080.
My friend who owns a small piece of land on the outskirts of Tumakuru is not new to the world of human-wildlife interactions. He respects wild animals, has been involved in many rescues himself, and is sensitive to their needs and space. But what he has been observing over the last few months makes him anxious. “I would spot sloth bears on farmlands at least thrice a week. We would often hear and witness villagers chasing, screaming and pelting stones at sloth bears. The animosity is very real. There is a growing intolerance towards leopards and bears here.”
The year 2016 was all about several lows (unfortunately) and a few highs for the environment. Across the globe, unethical tourism is still a major contributor to the lows. In India, it was no different — right from elephants found dead with plastic in their stomach (thanks to garbage dumping near National Parks) and death of selfie-crazed individuals in the hands of innocent wildlife to rise in wildlife mortality by greedy resort owners refusing to give up illegal properties. While it is lovely to get away from the mayhem of the city for a holiday to the quiet forests, what’s important is we keep it that way. Quiet, clean, and ensuring zero stress to wildlife.
PAKKE TIGER RESERVE
Having failed in shaking off the relentless stare-down by the blazing September sun, we reached the guesthouse quite bronzed.The first thing I noticed was an elephant quietly foraging with its back to us, and it wasn’t the tame individual that’s held captive at the forest department. I was thrilled!
Throughout the journey we were being followed by a heavy cloud… the breeze was carrying a whiff of faraway lands and springs… we could smell the rain all along. Continue reading
We Indians love our coffee, but do we really care where it is coming from? Is it organic, does it harm the biodiversity or conserve it? What kinds of practices are adopted? Come to think of it, considering the amount of coffee we consume, there could not be a better time than now, to start dwelling on these questions. Continue reading
The downpour from last night had cleansed the forest. It seemed to be revelling in the change of season, in the smell of rich soil and vegetation.