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Aligarh Muslim University to Tie Up with Uttar Pradesh’s Wildlife Department

The conference has been organized jointly by the Department of Wildlife Sciences, AMU and the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun

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Aligarh Muslim University, Uttar Pradesh, Wildlife
We have already written to AMU...we can use their expertise in wildlife conservation. Pixabay

Research scholars in the Department of Wildlife Sciences, Aligarh Muslim University, will now share their expertise with Uttar Pradesh’s wildlife department. The experts will lend a helping hand in the conservation of many species on the verge of extinction in the state.

This was stated by the state’s Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Sunil Pandey while speaking at the inaugural function of the three-day international conservation conference at JNMC auditorium. “We have already written to AMU…we can use their expertise in wildlife conservation.”

The conference has been organized jointly by the Department of Wildlife Sciences, AMU and the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun.

“We are already using technology for conservation of wildlife. For this IIT-Kanpur and DRDO have helped us. We have Vertical Take off Landing instrument for surveys of an area which can also be used for tranquilising animals safely. We have Aerostat, a helium filled balloon for surveying the forest. For the technological aspect, we need experts and in this area AMU can help us by providing the expertise,” he said.

Aligarh Muslim University, Uttar Pradesh, Wildlife
This was stated by the state’s Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Sunil Pandey while speaking at the inaugural function of the three-day international conservation conference at JNMC auditorium. Pixabay

Earlier presiding over the function, Pro Vice Chancellor, AMU Prof Akhtar Haseeb said, “Wildlife conservation should be taken in a holistic way. It involves several aspects. Due to rapid industrialization, urbanization conservation has become an uphill task.”

He also stated that several animals, insects and even medicinal plants have become endangered. He urged young researchers to focus on multidisciplinary research work for better results.

Earlier, Prof Wazahat Husain was conferred a lifetime achievement award jointly by AMU and WII for his exemplary services. Husain has been rendering selfless service to the department for the past two decades.

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The inaugural session of the conference was also addressed by Dr William McShea from Smithsonian Institute, USA, and Prof Qayyum Husain, Dean, Faculty of Life Sciences. (IANS)

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Sambhar Lake Becomes Death Bed for Large Number of Birds

The excessive salt in the water led to the poisoning, causing hypernectremia, which is water deprivation due to sodium intoxication

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Sambhar Lake
After witnessing drought for many years, this year the Sambhar Lake, however, brimmed with water due to heavy rains. The inflow made the water toxic due to the change in its alkalinity. Pixabay

A deadly game of survival is on in the Sambhar lake of Rajasthan for decades — salt versus birds. The result came a few days back: thousands of birds were seen floating dead in the lake and their carcasses scattered on the edge of the 12 km catchment area.

The dead birds seen floating in this largest inland salt lake in the country, include plovers, common coot, black winged stilt, northern shovelers, ruddy shelduck, and pied avocet among many other migratory birds.

Harsh Vardhan, a renowned environmentalist, told IANS that no forest department official has ever been appointed to look after the lake. The lake comes under the Hindustan Salt Limited, a public limited enterprise formed in the post independence era to manufacture salt. Its job is to manufacture salt. So who should look after the lake; this has never been decided, he said.

The lake has not been handed to the forest department, and the area, where birds come, is no one’s land. Sambhar lake may be a part of the Hindustan Salt Ltd, but the company has nothing to do with the birds, he says.

The chief wildlife warden Arindam Tomar has maintained silence over the issue.

Even, Principal secretary, forest and environment Shreya Guha has washed her hands off the issue. All that she did was to a give statement that the Jaipur and Nagaur District Collectors have been asked to remove the bodies. She added that 4,800 birds have been dead till date, which is disputed by experts like Harsh Vardhan, who say that counting is not easy in the vast area.

Chief minister Ashok Gehlot on Thursday held a meeting on the issue.

Sambhar Lake
A deadly game of survival is on in the Sambhar Lake of Rajasthan for decades — salt versus birds. Pixabay

Meanwhile, Harsh Vardhan questioned the presence of several private salt miners and entrepreneurs, who have set shops in and around the lake. “They dig tube wells which suck water from the land making it parched. The remaining water gets evaporated leaving crystal of salts which are packed and sold in gunny bags,” he said.

Lack of water and drought has haunted Sambhar lake for years. State government has been spending huge money to woo tourists through activities like mobiking, balloning, race, Bollywood shoots, etc. A resort on the rim of the lake showcases salt manufacturing for the tourists. Crores of Rupees have been spent on the upkeep of the narrow gauge train and watch stations, but birds and conversation issues were always overlooked.

As Sambhar lake went dry, concentration of salt deposits came up within it. The water from surrounding rivers, meant to flow into the lake, was diverted by the miners.

After witnessing drought for many years, this year the lake, however, brimmed with water due to heavy rains. The inflow made the water toxic due to the change in its alkalinity.

The excessive salt in the water led to the poisoning, causing hypernectremia, which is water deprivation due to sodium intoxication, Vardhan said.

It seems birds which came in high numbers due to high water quantity this season died due to hypernectermia after consuming their feed which is the planktons, the microrganisms found in water.

Sambhar Lake
The dead birds seen floating in this largest inland salt lake i.e Sambhar Lake in the country, include plovers, common coot, black winged stilt, northern shovelers, ruddy shelduck, and pied avocet among many other migratory birds. Wikimedia Commons

The only step that has ever been taken by any government in the state was in 1981 when it was decided to designate the site as wetland and was renamed as the Ramsar site.

According to an estimate, around 60,000 birds visited the lake in a year which has come down to less than 20,000.

Vardhan says that if the lake remains with the Hindustan Salt Limited, which has been a loss making unit since years or if it is handed over to the private operators, who do excessive mining of water, then the lake and the birds are sure to die.

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Experts like him want the lake to be handed over to the forest department which can develop it as a wetland. (IANS)