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Migratory birds arrive in Chilika lake

Written By kom nampultig on Kamis, 23 Oktober 2014 | 22.33

BERHAMPUR: Migratory birds have started arriving at the Chilika. They were spotted at Mangalajodi and Nalabana Island, the designated bird sanctuary inside the 1,100 sq km lake. "They were also seen in other parts of the lake," said divisional forest officer (Chilika wildlife division) Bikash Ranjan Das.

Among the migratory birds are northern pintail, gadwall and shovellers. Ornithologists said early snowfall in their native areas, non-availability of food and recent flood in Jammu & Kashmir might have prompted the birds to migrate to safer places, including Chilika. "Availability of food and favourable weather attracts birds to Chilika," former chief conservators of forest Sudhakar Mohapatra.

The wildlife division has taken steps to protect the feathered guests. "We have set up 17 camps in the lake. Each camp has one regular staffer with three to four persons engaged on daily wage. Our officers are patrolling the waters in boats too," said the DFO.

Last winter, around 7.19 lakh birds of 158 species had come to the lake, while around 8.83 lakh birds of 167 species spent winter in the lagoon in 2012-13.

They mostly come from Northern Eurasia, Caspian region, Siberia, Kazakh, Lake Baikal and remote areas of Russia.

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FIRs filed on Bengal villagers electrocuting elephants

KOLKATA: The West Bengal forest department has lodged police complaints against some villagers in north Bengal for allegedly electrocuting two elephants, an official said on Thursday.

A patrolling team of foresters early in the week recovered the carcasses of a tusker from Upper Kalabari in the Daina range and of a cow elephant in Panjhora under Chalsa range, both in Dooars region of north Bengal.

Their post-mortem examination found evidence of electrocution.

"Some villagers might have done it and it is an offence. So we have lodged FIRs with the police stations in the areas," PT Bhutia, chief conservator of forest, Northern Circle, told IANS.

Villagers often resort to electrifying wire fences to protect their houses and paddy fields from elephants. Whenever an elephant tries to break into that fence, it gets electrocuted.

Officials have been directed to step up efforts in generating awareness among residents of the region to prevent such incidents.

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Insects have more efficient social networks!

Written By kom nampultig on Rabu, 22 Oktober 2014 | 22.34

NEW DELHI: Insects like honeybees and ants live in groups that constantly communicate with each other and scientists are seeking a better understanding of their networks to improve the existing information processing.

In fact, communication networks in some insect groups have been successfully compared to artificial technological information transfer networks.

Drawing parallels between such highly-coordinated processes in living organisms and their artificial counterparts, a team of scientists from IISc, IISER-Kolkata and BITS-Pilani, seeks a better understanding of network communication to improve the existing information processing system, says a Gubbi Labs release.

Survival of living organisms depends on the well-coordinated processes at different levels — the cellular and genetic levels, for example.

Group living animals take coordination to a different level — schools of fish and flocks of birds rely on competent communication by every individual to all other members, at every point in time. Efficient transfer of information happens through communication systems, which hold good even when there are time or energy constraints.

Among non-human living beings, social insects like bees have some of the most complex societies.

Scientists study them to understand communication between the members of a colony, which ensures division of labour between thousands of individuals.

Different species of social insects have different modes of communication: bees in large colonies communicate using chemical cues or pheromones, while wasps in smaller colonies use direct physical interactions.

Anjan Nandi and colleagues at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore studied a tropical wasp Ropalidia marginata to understand the flow of information within a colony.

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SmartCity Kochi gets environmental nod

KOCHI: SmartCity Kochi, Kerala's ambitious information technology business township project, has received environmental clearance for the entire project covering 246 acres even as the construction of its first IT building is nearing completion.

"For the first IT building-SCK01, we had received the environmental clearance in July 2013 and later we applied for the rest of the project, which has been cleared now," Gigo Joseph, CEO, SCK said in a release.

The 6.5 lakh square feet building is fast nearing completion.

SCK will develop no less than 8.8 million sq. ft. of built-up area with substantial extent of land area being left for greenery and open spaces, to house Information and Communication Technology, Media, Finance and Research & Innovation clusters, attracting companies from within India and from abroad, the release said.

The environmental clearance was given at a meeting of State Environment Impact Assessment Authority Kerala (SEIAA-K) of the Ministry of Environment and Forests followed by the State Expert Appraisal Committee's (SEAC) recommendations.

While considering the application, SEAC appreciated SmartCity's effort in presenting a clear cut master plan of the project.

"Now, as the decks have been cleared for the entire project, we are looking forward to speed up the construction activities of own, joint and infrastructural developments."

"Of own developments, construction of SCK01's seven-story structure is in an advanced stage of completion and as announced in the Director's Board meeting held in Abu Dhabi, the building is expected to be inaugurated in March 2015," Gigo Joseph said.

Once complete, the building is aimed to be one of the largest LEED Platinum-rated IT buildings in India, as well as all of the forthcoming structures coming up here are being developed as environment friendly, the release said.

SCK has also entered into agreements for joint developments with leading IT, hospitality, realty and education companies, to make the hub coming up here an integrated township with facilities for stay, work and play.

"Approvals and designs of such joint developments are at various stages now while a couple of them are already on the verge of starting construction," Gigo Joseph added.

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Plea to overcome rifts during climate talks as heat busts record

Written By kom nampultig on Selasa, 21 Oktober 2014 | 22.33

PARIS: Fresh UN climate talks opened in Bonn on Monday with a plea for nations to overcome rifts as scientists reported record global temperatures for a month of September.

In an appeal to negotiators at the six-day meeting, UN climate chief Christiana Figueres said renewed commitments made at a world summit on September 23 to curb climate change should prompt negotiators to "build bridges."

Their discussions must lay the foundations for the annual ministerial-level talks to be held in Lima in December, she said.

The Peru meeting, in turn, must pave the way to a pact in Paris in December 2015 that for the first time will bring 195 nations, rich and poor alike, into the same arena of commitment.

"This week is a key opportunity to reach out to your counterparts, build bridges and find a path forward," said Figueres.

The New York summit called by UN chief Ban Ki-moon had "shifted the ground on what is possible in climate change," she argued.

"Collectively, your heads of state have reassured the world that we will address climate change. Today... it is up to you to chart the path of that solution."

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), meanwhile, said last month was the hottest September since reliable records of global average temperatures began in 1880.

NOAA reported a record for September of 15.72 degrees Celsius (60.3 degrees Fahrenheit), 0.72 C above the 20th-century average.

"With the exception of February, every month to date in 2014 has been among its four warmest on record, with May, June, August and September all record warm," NOAA said.

Negotiators in Bonn face long-standing differences over sharing curbs on greenhouse gases, the source of warming.

These cuts are meant to limit average global warming to no more than 2 C over pre-industrial levels and save the planet from potentially catastrophic climate damage.

Figueres stressed the new climate pact, due to enter into force from 2020, "must irreversibly bend the curb of emissions", which have continued rising.

But many technicalities have to be resolved, including the very legal nature of the pact and how it will be monitored and enforced.

The talks are the first chance for negotiators to discuss a rough 22-page outline for the deal that has been drawn up by working group leaders and distributed for scrutiny in July.

The meeting must also start narrowing down what data countries will be required to provide when they submit their pledges for emissions curbs in the first quarter of next year.

This topic will likely see negotiators return to a sore point, whether rich countries should have tougher targets because of their longer history of burning fossil fuels.

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Heavy rain will reduce man-animal conflict in TN, forest officials say

J Arockiaraj, TNN | Oct 20, 2014, 05.57PM IST

There were several incidents of wild animals straying into agricultural fields in Tamil Nadu in the last three years due poor monsoon.

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MADURAI: Forest officials in Tamil Nadu are upbeat about the continuing heavy rain in the state as it will support wildlife and reduce man-animal conflict.

A drought-like condition had been prevailing in several in forest areas in the state in the last three years. There were several incidents of wild animals like Indian gaurs, spotted deer and elephants straying into agricultural fields. Farmers used to raise the issue with district administrations.

Forest officials said the rain would help revive the green cover in the forests. "We have constructed a lot of check dams and percolation ponds in last three years but they were not filled. These rains are very useful to improve water sources in the forest areas and help wild animals," said a senior official at the Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary in Srivilliputhur.

Further, the rains are beneficial to carry out tree planting drives the department undertakes. Under Tamil Nadu Biodiversity and Greening Project (TNBGP) and Massive Tree Plantation drive, every division is assigned to plant almost two lakh trees this year.

"There is adequate moisture in the air and the earth is wet. Saplings can take root easily. We have already planted 40,000 saplings in the forests and empty lands and these rains are going to be very helpful," said Nihar Ranjan, divisional forest officer, Madurai.

Article continues

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After Jamni tigress, male Gabbar radio-collared in Tadoba

Written By kom nampultig on Senin, 20 Oktober 2014 | 22.33

Nagpur: Two days after scientists from the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun, radio-collared a tigress at Jamni in Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) at Chandrapur on Saturday, a male tiger 'Gabbar' was also tagged with a radio-collar on Sunday.

On Friday, WII experts Dr Parag Nigam and Dr Bilal Habib had tranquillized the Jamni tigress to fit a radio-collar. Similar operation was carried out on Sunday for a male tiger in the presence of TATR field director and chief conservator of forests (CCF) GP Garad and other park officials.

This is the first experiment in the state to study tigers by placing satellite radio collars. Earlier, in November 2012, a tigress named Kala from Tass forest in Bhiwapur was radio-collared after rescue and released in the wild. "However, for study purpose, collaring tigers in Tadoba is being done for the first time," said VK Sinha, APCCF for ecotourism & wildlife administration.

"The WII scientists are monitoring the signals. Both the carnivores have recovered well and are behaving normally. The collars are satellite based and will give signals about their behaviour and movement," said Garad.

The radio collaring of tigers is part of a research titled 'Long-term monitoring of tigers, co-predators and prey species in TATR and adjoining landscapes'. Maharashtra government had last year cleared the Rs1.64 crore project to be implemented by WII on 70:30 cost-sharing basis between state government and National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), a statutory body under the ministry of environment, forest and climate change.

"The project is aimed at studying population density apart from abundance and demographic structure of tigers. The study is being conducted in two phases and also includes capacity building of local staff for managing man-animal conflict," Sinha said.

TATR landscape is one of the most important landscapes in Central India and is crucial for long-term conservation of tigers in the region. The area has witnessed highest number of conflict cases in the recent past. The study would investigate dynamics of tigers, co-predators and their prey.

Garad said in all five tigers will be radio-collared. In the second phase, three more tigers will be collared in March-April 2015. After extensive survey and selection of target animals in core area of the reserve during last few days, the exercise was held in the morning hours.

Pench firing accused caught

Pench tiger reserve forest officials on Sunday arrested main accused Anantrao Kumre, who had shot at STPF guard Satish Shendre on October 13 while he was a patrolling duty. On Saturday, the officials had arrested Anantrao's son Rajkumar from his house at Amdi in adjoining West Pench on MP border. The officials have seized monitor lizard skin from the main accused. On Saturday, they had seized eight trophies, pangolin scales, and an old skin of chinkara.

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Heavy rain will reduce man-animal conflict in Tamil Nadu, forest officials say

MADURAI: Forest officials in Tamil Nadu are upbeat about the continuing heavy rain in the state as it will support wildlife and reduce man-animal conflict.

A drought-like condition had been prevailing in several in forest areas in the state in the last three years. There were several incidents of wild animals like Indian gaurs, spotted deer and elephants straying into agricultural fields. Farmers used to raise the issue with district administrations.

Forest officials said the rain would help revive the green cover in the forests. "We have constructed a lot of check dams and percolation ponds in last three years but they were not filled. These rains are very useful to improve water sources in the forest areas and help wild animals," said a senior official at the Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary in Srivilliputhur.

Further, the rains are beneficial to carry out tree planting drives the department undertakes. Under Tamil Nadu Biodiversity and Greening Project (TNBGP) and Massive Tree Plantation drive, every division is assigned to plant almost two lakh trees this year.

"There is adequate moisture in the air and the earth is wet. Saplings can take root easily. We have already planted 40,000 saplings in the forests and empty lands and these rains are going to be very helpful," said Nihar Ranjan, divisional forest officer, Madurai.

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Endangered northern white rhino dies in Africa

Written By kom nampultig on Minggu, 19 Oktober 2014 | 22.33

PRAGUE: A Czech zoo says a 34-year-old northern white rhinoceros has died in Kenya, further reducing the world's dwindling population of the critically endangered animal.

Suni was born at the zoo in Dvur Kralove in June 1980. The zoo says Suni was found dead Friday in the Ol Pejeta animal sanctuary. The cause of death wasn't immediately clear, but the zoo ruled out he was killed by poachers.

He was one of the four northern white rhinos that the Czech zoo moved to Africa in December 2009 in an attempt to save the species from extinction. The zoo hoped it could be easier for them to breed there than in captivity.

The zoo said today that Suni was one of seven northern white rhinos left.

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Two jumbos electrocuted in North Bengal

SILIGURI: Within a day of recovery of a rhino carcass at Gorumara National Park, two adult jumbos — a tusker and a female — were electrocuted in a north Bengal forest on Saturday.

At around 3.30 am on Saturday, a patrolling team of foresters found bodies of two elephants on the paddy field at Rakamjot Bustee near Naxalbari's Kolabari forest, some five kilometres from the Indo-Nepal border and 30 kilometres from Siliguri.

A herd of elephants was seen roaming around the Panighatta beat area. Locals said they had damaged crop fields to feed upon the harvested crops. "In order to stop that, some villagers had tapped power and laid the wire open in the field that led to the electrocution of the elephants," said a source.

Buddhi Rajshiva, acting DFO of Kurseong division, rushed to the spot. After primary investigation, the forest department lodged an FIR against two villagers with the Naxalbari PS. However, both the villagers are absconding.

"While one of the elephants was electrocuted after its trunk entangled in the wires, the other one died after its tail mired in the wires. This is very unfortunate and should not have happened," said Rajshiva.

Tapping of electricity is an old practice in the forest villages. Villagers do that in order to save their houses and paddy fields from elephants. They tap power and connect it to the fences of their houses and lay open wires on their fields. Whenever an elephant wants to break into that fence, it dies.

Over the past few years, the practice has also gained popularity among villagers in the Bamandanga area of Nepal's Kakarvitta, a place which is often raided by elephants that cross over the Mechi river on the Indo-Nepal border and enter that village. Several elephants had died in Bamandanga over the past couple of years and seven others were shot dead.

In Bengal, as many as 18 jumbos died of electrocution in the Dooars and Terai regions over the past decade.

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