Monday December 11, 2017

Man-animal conflict in Uttrakhand

source: wikipedia

By Nithin Sridhar

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat said on Saturday that his government will build animal protection walls in villages adjoining the forest areas. The measure, if properly implemented, will help the government decrease the entry of wild animals into human villages that result in man-animal conflicts.

The Chief Minister also suggested growing fruits and fodder bearing trees inside forest areas that are enclosed by protection walls, so that animals will have access to sufficient food within the forest, thereby reducing their need to stray into human habitation.

Uttarakhand has been a hotbed of man-animal conflict since its formation. According to a Times of India report, between 2000 (when the state of Uttarakhand was formed) and 2015, around 400 people have died in some 14,000 villages that exist in proximity of the forests. Of these 400 people, around 241 people were believed to have been killed by leopards. Further, these man-animal encounters have killed 800 leopards, 90 tigers, and 280 elephants during the same period.

A 2012 report on the mortality of the leopard population in Uttarakhand states that, between January 2009 to October 2010, 78 leopards had died in the region. Of those 78 leopards, 11 were found dead, scrambled in a trap and 21 cases of poaching were documented. The report further states that between 2000 and 2008, out of the 394 leopards that died in Uttarakhand area, only 236 were incidents of natural deaths. Around 116 leopards had died due to accidents and 50 died due to poaching. Around 50 tigers were also declared as man-eaters during the same period and most of these were shot as well.

The major reasons for increased man-animal conflicts include poaching, declining availability of food, and the dwindling forest habitat. In the case of leopards, though their population across the country may have decreased by 70-80% in the last 100 years, the population of leopards in Uttarakhand increased between 2003 and 2008. During 2003, the leopard population in Uttarakhand was 2092. This number increased to 2105 in 2005 and to 2335 in 2008.

This increase in leopard population has further increased the competition for food and resources available inside the forest that has further given a rise in the incidents of leopards straying into human settlements in search for food.

Highlighting this, Tushar Rattan, a journalist who writes on conservation, writes in his article: “The Indian leopard is reclusive by nature. But of late it is increasingly venturing into the human habitation because of dwindling prey base, habitat loss, and poaching. There, it preys on dogs, sheep, goats and young ones of cattle. Occasionally, it attacks humans, particularly children and women.” Also, the presence of water and palatable crops in the villages adjacent to the forests have caused the wild animals to roam into the villages.

The branding of leopards as man-eaters is another reason behind the death of leopards. In many such cases, the leopards are named as man-eaters and killed without following due procedure.
Tushar gives an example of 2 leopards that were killed in Himachal Pradesh (another hotbed of man-animal conflicts) after getting the permission of Himachal Pradesh wildlife department to kill the ‘man-eaters’. But, the autopsy done later on the two leopards failed to establish that they were man-eaters.

source: rediff
source: rediff

He points out that for a leopard to be branded and then shot, by law, a special committee has to declare a specific leopard a man-eater after thorough investigation into pug marks, DNA scans of hairs etc. Even then, shooting the animal is to be adopted only as a last resort and after getting a written permission from chief wildlife warden. But, apparently this procedure was not followed in the Himachal incident.
Therefore, poaching, increased competition for resources, shooting of man-eaters, and accidents are among the primary causes for unnatural deaths of leopards. The same holds for many other animals as well.

Measures that could minimize the man-animal conflicts
The best way these conflicts between animals and humans can be reduced is by reducing the interaction between people and the wild-animals. The Uttarakhand government’s plans for building animal protection walls and planting many fruit and fodder bearing trees are very positive and may go a long way in minimizing the conflict.

The 2012 report quoted earlier makes several recommendations for leopard conservation that can be adopted for the conservation of other wildlife as well. These recommendations include:

  1. Conducting a proper census at buffer zones and potential risk sites where leopards’ movement is common but at risk.
  2. Patrolling the villages and other areas surrounding the forest during the night will help in monitoring poaching activities.
  3. Including the knowledge and the opinion of local villagers who are living adjacent to the protected forests in framing the conservation policy.
  4. Community participation should be ensured besides; involvement of local people, government organization, NGOs, and subject experts is highly required.
  5. Affected regions should be monitored sharply and the movement of other wild animals (herbivores) should be ensured. This would help in knowing the specific status of poaching of wildlife.
  6. The reasons behind the death of wild animals must be explored and found out so that it may help in taking proper measures in the future.
  7. Radio-telemetric studies are required on leopards, which were released / translocated to protected habitat. This will be helpful in knowing the adaptation status of the species.

These measures, if implemented thoroughly and consistently, will result in increased protection of wildlife and reduced degree of man-animal conflict.

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Holy Hindu Shrine Gangotri Closes for Six Months

Gangotri is part of the four shrines where the 'Chaar Dhaam' annual pilgrimage takes place in the hill state of Uttarakhand that draws millions every year.

Gangotri temple. Wikimedia

Dehradun, October 20, 2017 : The gates of the Gangotri shrine in Uttarakhand were closed for a six-month winter break on Friday.

Amid fanfare and chanting of vedic hymns, locals shifted a statue of the Goddess Ganga to Mukhwa where, from Saturday, puja will be performed for the next six months. Jawans of the Mahal regiment of the Army played music during the ceremony.

Gangotri is part of the four shrines where the ‘Chaar Dhaam’ annual pilgrimage takes place in the hill state of Uttarakhand that draws millions every year.

The Kedarnath and Yamunotri shrines will be closed for the winter break from Saturday. (IANS)


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TLC Premiers New Season Of Duster Adventures: Thrilling Journey to the Mountain State of Uttarakhand

Shibani will cover the terrain of Uttarakhand and indulge in adventure sports like paragliding, off-roading, and cliff-jumping amongst many more

Shibani Dandekar on a thrilling journey to the mountain state of Uttarakhand on TLC’s brand new season of DUSTER ADVENTURES

New Delhi, August 27, 2017: Starting Sunday, August 27- Join Shibani Dandekar on a thrilling journey to the mountain state of Uttarakhand on TLC’s brand new season of DUSTER ADVENTURES. Airing every Sunday at 8:30 pm, the series features Shibani on an exploration of Uttarakhand through its mountains, rivers, and plains with adventure and excitement at every step of the way.

Cruising around in a RENAULT DUSTER, Shibani will cover the terrain of Uttarakhand and indulge in adventure sports like paragliding, off-roading, and cliff-jumping amongst many more.

Join Shibani on an epic journey around Uttarakhand, on TLC’s DUSTER ADVENTURES 2, every Sunday at 8:30 PM

The 5-part series will introduce viewers to Uttarakhand’s amazing landscape, culture, people and their heart-warming stories as the host takes you on the journey of a lifetime. One of India’s youngest states, Uttarakhand lies in the lap of nature with beautiful mountains, vistas and a diversity of flora and fauna. From Nainital to Rishikesh and Ramnagar to Devprayag, the state has something for every kind of traveler.

Talking about her adventure, Shibani Dandekar said, “DUSTER ADVENTURES has been a thrilling journey that captures the essence of Uttarakhand. The series encapsulates the beauty of the state and brought me closer to nature. I am sure viewers will enjoy watching my journey as much as I enjoyed traveling across this beautiful state.”

Mr. Virat Khullar, Head of Marketing, Renault India said, “Renault Duster is a cult brand in the automotive space, like TLC is, in the realm of travel and lifestyle television, and is equated with exploration, adventure, and unmatched passion. We are young in India and Renault Duster has firmly established the Renault brand here.

When we launched Renault Duster in India, we created an all new segment in the Indian automotive industry. As a forward-looking company, we have kept Renault Duster fresh and contemporary, and it continues to be India’s preferred SUV. This association will be a thrilling journey for fans of Renault Duster and TLC, and will take the excitement to an all new high.”

Catch all the adventure with Shibani Dandekar in DUSTER ADVENTURES starting 27th August, every Sunday at 8:30 pm, only on TLC!


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These 5 Ancient Temples are Believed to be the Oldest in India

Indian Temples are of utmost religious value that display the plurality of the religion and its followers

Ancient Temples
Chennakesava Temple, Karnataka. Wikimedia

July 20, 2017: Apart from the diverse culture that India has, Spirituality is considered to be the country’s heritage. The traditions and cultures associated with any religion make India more interesting for tourists. Here is a list of five oldest temples that are sure to take you on a religious roller coaster ride through their historical timeline.

Chennakesava Temple, Karnataka: Also called the Vijayanarayana Temple, the Chennakesava temple is located on the banks of the Yagachi River. The temple can be traced back to the Hoysala Period. The Vijayanagara ruler built the temple to celebrate their victory over the Cholas family. The temple was dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Most of the carvings are a tribute to Vishnu. Thus, many worshippers of Lord Vishnu visit the temple. The temple is also a part of the UNESCO Heritage List.

Ancient Temples
Brahma Temple, Rajasthan. Wikimedia

Brahma Temple, Rajasthan: According to a story by Sage Vishwamitra, the temple is 2000 years old. However, its structure dates back to the 14th-15th century. The central images in the sanctorum are of Brahma and Gayatri. The temple witnesses gatherings in large numbers on the days of the festival ‘Kartik Purnima’ which is dedicated to Lord Brahma. It is situated in Pushkar, Rajasthan.

He built the temple for his wife from Nepal who missed the sight of Kailash Mountains Click To Tweet

Kailashnath Temple, Ellora: More popularly known as the Kailash Temple, the temple was constructed around the 8th century in Ellora, Maharashtra. The temple was built under the guidance of Rashtrakuta era’s King Krishna I. He built the temple for his wife from Nepal who missed the sight of Kailash Mountains. The enormous temple is carved out of a single rock. It is the 16th cave of the 34 popular Ellora Caves. The temple is as old as the 8th century.

Ancient Temples
Kailashnath Temples, Ellora. Wikimedia


Tungnath Temple, Uttarakhand: The Tungnath temple is one of the highest situated temples (3680 meters above sea level) of the Panch Kedar, featuring among Kedarnath, Rudrnath, Kalpeshwar and Madhyamaheshwar temples. The temple is also featured in the Ramayana where Lord Ram is believed to have meditated when he detached himself from the curse of Brahmahatya. The temple is so small that only 10 people can fit in together at a time. It is the highest temple of Lord Shiva in the world. If the stories are to be believed, the temple was built by the Pandavas who built the temple as an apology to Lord Shiva. The temple was built out of the Black Rock.

Ancient Temples
Tungnath Temple. Wikimedia

ALSO READ: Ancient Chennakesava Temple Completes 900 Years

Dilwara Temples, Rajasthan: Situated in Mount Abu, Rajasthan- there are five Dilwara temples in total. The stunning use of marble is a huge attraction for the visitors. The five temples were built between 11th-13th century. They are also known as the most beautiful Jain pilgrimage sites in the world. To transport the huge blocks of stones, Elephants were used in those days.

Ancient Temples
Dilwara Temples, Rajasthan. Wikimedia

– by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter @Saksham2394