Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Sariska Relocation - A reasonable move

End of 2004 Sariska lost its last tiger, and the state government took another 6 months to accept this bare fact that there are no more tigers in one of the best tiger reserve of this Nation. The State Government needed the evidence to prove that there are no tigers in its own Sariska, which were provided to them from the nation run WII.

Perhaps these were the evidence, strong enough to ensure that there can't be any tigers until unless these issues were not solved.

(1) 11 villages inside the tiger reserve, with 1000s of families living upon the forest resources - some having background of poaching ( AS PER THE MANAGEMENT PLAN OF TR).
(2) One of non-regulated traffic ( Round the calendar, round the clock ) running on state highway passing through the sanctuary.
(3) A Temple in the epic of the Tiger reserve having heavy influx of devotees twice a year.

All 22 ( As per the last census report ) tigers were wiped out by the poachers and illicit traders making money on wildlife trade, and so on. Does Sariska deserved the Tigers any more, after losing its every tiger due to sheer negligence of the state apathy and FDs commitment to save its wildlife.

In my opinion, The State Government didn't deserved the Sariska TR. It would have been better if Sariska would had been de-notified as TR and renamed as mere Wildlife Sanctuary.It would had been better if the current relocation should not had taken place, and 3.5 year male tiger , which was radio-collared and lifted with the help of Chopper of Indian Army. It would had been better if the Government of State would have lost its largest tiger reserve, due to its own mistake of not keeping any eye on its own pride.

One male tiger was relocated in Sariska on Saturday 28th at 12.34 PM from Ranthambore, keeping media out of the event ensured that there is no cross questioning and counter productive statements within the conservationist and state FD and WII officials. The second tiger ( female ) would be relocated by the end of this week. And three more would be brought in by the end of this year.

But, are we still positive that the tigers tribe would prosper ? The villages are still inside, the highway still taking toll and also substitute of carrying the wildlife trade out of the borders of state, the temple is more controversial due to its position being in the core of the TR.

The questions remained unanswered from years passed away and would remain unanswered years to come, down the line.

Rajesh Sachdev
Wild Mumbai Nature Conservation
"The tiger cannot be preserved in isolation. It is at the apex of a large and complex biotope. Its habitat, threatened by human intrusion, commercial forestry, and cattle grazing, must first be made inviolate." - Mrs. Indira Gandhi

Rajesh Sachdev


Abhishek said...

Yes i agree with you here Rajesh, naming it a wildlife sanctuary should have been better rather then the prime focus of having a viable population of tigers surviving in Sariska. To have the dynamics healthy we need to focus on areas and ask questions to why it went on a decline in the first place.
Many factors should have been looked into rather then the prime focus of being relocation. I am not against relocation and i think it’s important to understand that it was encouraging enough to see FD tackle the process well. Media was kept away from the relocation but now it is sure that there is a male in the park along with 11 villages a highway and many other distractions.

The existing problems in Sariska have not been wiped out. How are they going to tackle that? These are questions which should have been discussed and thought before the relocation. They may have been thought about by the FD but areas like human interference etc are very crucial points. The other factors like a SWOT analysis should have been made and problems linking to the Tigers disappearance in 2004 should have been areas which needed to be tackled before the shift.

Sariska should have not been once again created but now it has and we have to help and watch that it does not repeat 2004. I heard somewhere that the state govt is trying to keep away tourism from the park. Not so clever moves if it’s true as tourists are one of the prime eyes to an informal anti-poaching unit. A battle for us conservationist, but i guess with a positive start to relocation i hope it is a reasonable move.

Abhishek Behl
TOFT India

June 30, 2008 2:51 AM

Monday, February 23, 2009

HSBC Mumbai Bird Race - Osprey team

Hello All,
The Osprey team, although not found a single osprey during the expedition, but had great chance to see many birds for the first time in life. And one among that as Pied Harrier, for which we won the "Bird of the day"category award.


Rajesh Sachdev

Rajendra Shelar

Prashant Bhagat

Dr. Sushama Ketkar

Sanjay Kulkarni

Prgyavant Mane

Shailesh Masulekar

The areas we covered were Dombivali-Baravi-Matheran-Uran-MNP

There were two beautiful  sightings of the day (a) The Indian Giant Squirrel -Matheran (b) and the Pied harrier -Uran

List of Birds  

  1. Indian pea fowl - heared
  2. Lesser whistling duck
  3. Spot Billed Duck
  4. Lesser Golden Backed woodpecker
  5. Brown headed barbet
  6. Coppersmith barbet
  7. Indian roller
  8. White breasted kingfisher
  9. Small Blue kingfisher
  10. Green bee eater
  11. Chestnut headed bee eater
  12. Blue tailed bee eater
  13. Asian koel
  14. Greater coucal
  15. Rose ringed parakeet
  16. Plum headed parakeet
  17. Alexandrine parakeet
  18. Asian palm swift
  19. House swift
  20. Bran owl
  21. Rock pigeon
  22. Laughing dove
  23. Spotted dove
  24. Yellow footed green pigeon
  25. White breasted waterhen
  26. Purple swamphen
  27. Common coot
  28. Common coot
  29. Black shouldered kite
  30. Black kite
  31. Shikra
  32. Changeable hawk eagle
  33. Common kestrel
  34. Little cormorant
  35. Little egret
  36. Cattle egret
  37. Indian pond heron
  38. Black ibis
  39. Golden fronted leafbird
  40. Bay backed shrike
  41. Rufous backed shrike
  42. Long tailed shrike
  43. Southern grey shrike
  44. Rufous treepie
  45. House crow
  46. Jungle crow
  47. Eurasian golden oriole
  48. Black hooded oriole
  49. Black naped oriole
  50. Large cuckooshrike
  51. White throated fantail
  52. White browed fantail
  53. Black drongo
  54. Greater racket tailed drongo
  55. Ashy drongo
  56. Asian paradise flycatcher
  57. Asian brown flycatcher
  58. Common iora
  59. Oriental magpie robin
  60. Indian robin
  61. Pied bushchat
  62. Brahminy starling
  63. Common myna
  64. Bank myna
  65. Jungle Myna
  66. Dusky crag martin
  67. Red rumped swallow
  68. Common swallow
  69. Wood swallow
  70. Bran swallow
  71. Red whiskered bulbul
  72. Red vented bulbul
  73. Gray breasted prinia
  74. Jungle prinia
  75. Plain prinia
  76. Ashy prinia
  77. Jungle babbler
  78. Greenish leaf warbler
  79. Indian bush lark
  80. Rufous tailed lark
  81. sky lark
  82. Thick billed flowerpecker
  83. Purple rumped sunbird
  84. Crimson backed sunbird
  85. Purple sunbird
  86. House sparrow
  87. Paddyfield pipit
  88. Scaly breasted munia
  89. Intermmediate Egret
  90. Black-headed Munia
  91. Red Munia
  92. Garganey
  93. Black-tailed Godwit
  94. Common Greenshank
  95. Common Sandpiper
  96. Marsh Sandpiper
  97. Little Stint
  98. Common Redshank
  99. Black-winged Stilt
  100. Whiskered Tern
  101. Little Tern
  102. Gull-billed Tern
  103. Western Marsh Harrier
  104. Pied Harrier Bird of the day
  105. Brahminy Kite
  106. Western Reef-Egret
  107. Grey Heron
  108. Common stonechat
  109. Asian Pied Starling
  110. Bronze winged Jacana
  111. Pheasant tailed Jacana
  112. Tailorbird
  113. Crested Serpant Eagle
  114. Pied Avocet
  115. Whimbrel
  116. Eurasian curlew
  117. Terek sandpiper
  118. Northern Shoveller
  119. Cotton Teel
  120. Common snipe
  121. Spoonbill
  122. Northern pintail
  123. Black headed gull
  124. Gadwall

Rajesh Sachdev
Wildlife Activist & Photographer
Mumbai, India.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wings of delight - An article on Mumbai BirdRAce

The city's birdwatchers flock together
The hunt is not an exercise of will
But patient love relaxing on a hill
To note the movement of a timid wing
—Nissim Ezekiel in
Poet, Lover, Birdwatcher

Years ago, Nissim Ezekiel drew similarities between a poet, lover and birdwatcher in one of his much appreciated poems. Over the years, the number of those who will agree with his words has only multiplied as the community of birdwatchers has increased in the city and continues to grow.

"Since Mumbai has the advantage of being a coastal city, it has a wide variety of bird species. Over 350 species of birds have been recorded over the years in the Mumbai surrounds," says naturalist Sunjoy Monga. Nearly 50 per cent of these species do not breed here, these are the various type of migrants or seasonal visitors to the region, he adds. And they are the ones who make the otherwise dull winter in Mumbai interesting. And bird-lovers take out their pairs of binoculars and reference books before setting out on the trail of two-winged creatures.

"Most of the people who come for our bird-watching outings in Mumbai are learners. These trips teach them how to use binoculars, reference books as well as study and document bird movements. They later on go to the spots outside Mumbai where birds population is higher," says Avinash Kubal of the Maharastra Nature Park. "With the surge in the number of birdwatchers, the documentation of birds has also got a boost," says Sujit Narwade of the Bombay Natural History Society.

Though with flamingoes, the Sewri Bay, especially the jetty, has become a famous stomping ground of birdwatchers along with the Uran wetlands, these nature lovers have found many other places across the city where the chances of sighting of birds—resident and rare—are high. Rajesh Sachdev's favourite haunt is Sanjay Gandhi National Park. "Any time of the year, one can spot at least 30 species of birds in the park if you spend a couple of hours there," says Sachdev, who is involved in the Mumbai Bird Race. The annual evented scheduled on February 22 is organised in the city since 2005.

In fact, it was after sighting a beautiful Paradise Flycatcher in the park three years back that he converted into an avid birdwatcher. Rajmachi and Matheran are the two other favourite weekend

getaways for Sachdev to study birds.

There are more: Elephanta Island, Vikhroli grasslands, Thane creek and

margins, Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary, near Vasai, Lotus Pond on the Malad-Marve Road and Talzan Hills in Charkop. According to Monga, several city parks and groves too attract birds. "Actually, birds exist all around us. One just needs to learn to notice them," says Neeta Deb. She admits to being a

"beginner birdwatcher" and tries to spend as much time as her nine-year-old old allow her to be with the nature.

Bird-watching has also become a

perfect excuse to get wildlife activists and lovers together. On February 1, Rishi Agarwal is organising one such event at Lokhandwala Lake. His motive, other than spotting the winged creatures, will be to draw attention to the condition of the lake. In 1999, he, along with a group of friends, had stopped the BMC from dumping garbage at the lake. His inspiration might have come from a bird-watching trip to the area that this environmental activist had undertaken with a group. "We had spotted 45 species of birds that day," he recalls, and adds, "On a regular day one can spot pond heron, bar-headed geese, common kingfisher, pied kingfisher and medium egret among others there."

The pollution, concrete growth and demolition of forest have taken a toll on the bird population in Mumbai. Sachdev wants vultures, who are now extinct in the city, to be back. Till that happens the sighting of 'Indian pitta', locally known as 'navrang' can make him happy.

Rajesh Sachdev
Wildlife Activist & Photographer
Mumbai, India.