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The leopard is the reigning rock star of the wildlife world. It’s a species that is obscure and largely overshadowed by the tiger, especially in India, scientist, conservationist, and author Sanjay Gubbi writes in “Leopard Diaries”. However, it is also a species that is loved by some and hated by many others. Nearly buried in this cacophony of conflict lies the “remarkable story” of this “lonely, mysterious creature” that he explores.
“Wildlife science hardly reaches anyone except those who are into serious academics. Furthermore, the common man or decision-makers do not understand the language jargon and the complicated statistical procedures of scientific papers. In addition, these papers are mostly behind the iron wall of paid subscriptions. In such a scenario we must reach and popularise wildlife conservation through popular media such as books and articles.
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“There is quite a bit of popular literature on tigers but very little on leopards despite the species losing its habitat on a fast track. So the best way to bring both science and applied conservation is possible through a book” that is sub-titled “The Rosette in India” and has been published by Westland, Gubbi told IANS in an interview.
To this end, the book has in-depth information about understanding this spotted cats’ population, its distribution, and human-leopard conflict issues based on his research work in Karnataka – and also has information based on literature reviews about leopards from across its distributional range.
“But to give a bigger picture, to draw the attention and interest beyond leopard ecology I had to fish anecdotes from my experiences about the enchanting habitat it lives in, the interesting people within that landscape, the different species leopards co-exist with, and other curious aspects,” Gubbi, who holds a doctorate in leopard ecology and conservation, explained.
He is the winner of the Whitley Award (popularly known as the Green Oscars) in 2017 and is also the recipient of the first Co-existence Award 2019 by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, and the Carl Zeiss Conservation Award, among others.
Vis-a-vis the tiger, are the steps being taken for the conservation of leopards adequate?
“It certainly does not match anywhere close to what the tigers draw. Of course, the tiger numbers are much much lower than leopards (2,967/12,852), their habitat requirements are much larger, hence it is fair that it gets that attention. But we also need to focus on species like the leopard as they are key wildlife beyond forest habitats such as the rocky outcrops, scrub forests. They also define the public opinion towards wildlife conservation as they are highly conflict-prone,” Gubbi pointed out.
What are the lacunae and how can these be addressed?
“We need to focus a lot on protecting leopard habitats and their prey, especially outside the protected area network. Our research showed that prey poaching is seven times higher in non-protected areas and (where) the populations of large prey like chital, sambar, barking deer is 90 percent lower.
“This calls for urgent attention if we are going to conserve leopards at the landscape level. Similarly, we are losing their habitats at unprecedented levels. Both these factors have led to high levels of human-leopard conflict the cost of which is borne by poor rural communities. Very importantly we need to bring down conflict to tolerable limits. The future of wildlife conservation in India hinges on this,” Gubbi maintained.
Thus, his research goal was to collect the best possible data on leopard ecology and to apply the data to leopard conservation and he decided to do so even amidst the political difficulties of working on large carnivores functioning in a landscape where hegemony was already established. Leopards are territorial and so are those studying them.
“My interest was not to master leopards but to slowly interpret their life to help contribute to their conservation, especially through conflict mitigation strategies. I have strongly felt that research should be more than a quest for facts. I don’t want to merely leave records of the animals going extinct for our children to read. I am more interested in our children actually being able to see these animals,” Gubbi writes in the book.
As George Schaller, an American large mammal biologist says, “A researcher today also has a moral responsibility to help the species endure’, we can “endlessly describe a species, but we need to help the species persist. Information is key but so is emotion,” Gubbi writes. “The journey with the leopard was not intended to produce a guide to lead others and state how it is in the leopard world.
“This is not a manual on how to conserve leopards but a log of my journeys and observations. The book Leopard Diaries records my experiences with the people I met, and the results of our study on this wonderful cat. We also have to recognize that there are things we cannot understand about leopards, or for that matter about any wild species.
“Leopards possess qualities and abilities well beyond the means of science to decipher. We have interpreted a little about this species. But nature knows a lot more. And we will never know many secrets of this spotted cat. Science has only been nibbling at the furtive biological facts of many wildlife species, and most of it remains to be understood. Our work added just another brick to this large world of ecology and conservation,” Gubbi writes.
He concludes the book Leopard Diaries with the fervent hope that in the 22nd century “we find as many leopards roaming this country as we do today. However, this needs involvement and fuelling conservation not merely through science but through on-ground efforts by ecologists, wildlife enthusiasts, photographers, filmmakers, media personnel, and everyone keenly interested in saving nature. Science is like the tangier delights of food, adding variety and flavor to the diet, while conservation is like cod liver oil, essential for sustenance and building strength”.
“Much like poetry, in conservation what matters is saying what we see, and the need of the hour is that we speak up about the threats these graceful cats face. Many questions related to leopards remain unanswered to this day. We know only a thing or two about these graceful cats. If our work and this book contribute even a nickel’s worth to help conserve this felid species, my team and I would be delighted.” (IANS/SP)
By Siddhi Jain
The author who named the book after her twin sons -- Puhor and Niyor -- is a parent who has seen and heard the tales of ridicule and discrimination suffered by many in India and beyond. She says the book is an artistic illustration for kids that details how different families can live and coexist. Whether it's children with two dads or two moms, children with a single dad or single mom, and even multiracial family units, Borthakur's book teaches love, understanding, and compassion towards unconventional families.
Beyond race, gender, color, and ethnicity which have formed the bases for discrimination since the beginning of time, this book aims to bring to light a largely ignored issue. For so long, single parents have been treated like a taboo without any attempt to understand their situations; no one really cares how or why one's marriage ended but just wants to treat single parents as villains simply for choosing happiness and loving their children.
Homosexual parents, a relatively new family system, is another form that has suffered hate and discrimination for many years. Pritisha emphasizes the need to understand that diversity in people and family is what makes the world beautiful and colourful. 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories' is a firm but compassionate statement against all forms of discrimination on the bases of sexual identity, gender, race, and even differences in background
'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories' is a firm but compassionate statement against all forms of discrimination on the bases of sexual identity, gender, race and even differences in background. | Photo by Ben Wicks on Unsplash
Written for a global audience, the book is targeted at kids between the ages of five and 10, the reason it is embellished with colourful images of families of different types is to appeal to children's sense of sight and drive home the message at the same time. Borthakur believes children are the best place to start because the ages between five and 10 are the most formative, where little ones pick up habits, beliefs and perceptions.
The Guwahati-born author says, "With this book, I'm not trying to take away the job of parents in forming habits, I simply want to do my part as a parent. It is important that we impart the right values in our kids in a bid to build a better, more inclusive and tolerant global society that is fair to everyone." The author's first attempt at a book was an Assamese poetry 'Anubhav', published in 2010.
Set to be published under the label of Author's Channel, the book is like an adventure; a journey into uncharted territories, untouched subjects and matters long ignored. In her words. "The book takes a critical stand in defense of people in society who have had to undergo severe emotional torture for no cause of theirs. It is a terrible conception to think such people any less of a human just for being different," says publisher Aruna Naidu. By September 30, this title, priced at Rs 299, will be available online and in offline bookstores. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Book, children, Guwahati, Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories, moral, story, kids, discrimination, equality
If you feel that clean and well-groomed hands are just an essential prerequisite for women, you might like to think twice. Men should equally pay attention to their hands because our hand houses 1,500 bacteria living on each square centimeter of its skin. You can easily assume what havoc it can create in our body because in India we have the culture of eating with our hands and spaces beneath nails can become breeding heaven for germs. Moreover, clean and maintained hands boost confidence in their daily life activities. Therefore, it's important to keep your hands clean irrespective of your gender by washing or sanitizing at regular intervals. And, to keep them groomed, you don't have to visit a salon.
Rajesh U Pandya, Managing Director, KAI India, gives easy and completely doable tips to follow at home:
* Refrain from harsh soaps: You should be mindful of the soap you are using to wash your hands. Your soap can have a moisturizing element in it like aloe vera or shea butter. Ensure that you're washing your hands with normal water as hot water can make your hand's skin dry and scaly.
You should be mindful of the soap you are using to wash your hands. | Photo by Aurélia Dubois on Unsplash
* Clip your nails regularly: Make use of your personal nail clipper to cut your nails. After cutting your nails at a comfortable length also file them using a nail filer. Never share your nail care clipper as the germs can get transferred to your loved ones. Also, don't forget to use grime remover to remove hidden germs in corners and beneath nails. Also, you may like to file your nails to have a smooth finish.
* Good quality Nail Clipper: Do not use a rusted or chromium coated nail clipper as it might be harmful to skin and might cause dangerous bacterial infections.
* Stop the habit of nail chewing: Sometimes anxiety or extreme boredom can lead to chewing of nails. This habit only makes your nails uneven and ugly. Sometimes, our unclean nail folds give rise to viral, bacterial or fungal infections, which in turn can make us sick if we chew our nails.
Make use of your personal nail clipper to cut your nails. | Pixabay
* Exfoliate your hands: Similar to the way you exfoliate your face; your hands also need it. It helps to keep the dry skin at bay and keep your hands soft. You can buy a scrub or make one at home using brown sugar and olive oil. After scrubbing, you need to massage your hands with moisturizer.
Similar to the way you exfoliate your face; your hands also need it. It helps to keep the dry skin at bay and keep your hands soft. | Wikipedia
* Don't use your nails as tools: Always keep in mind that your nails are like jewels. Never use them to pry things open such as pop cans, removing keys from the ring, opening letters, or scraping off labels. This results in unnecessary breakage of nails, making your hands look dirty.
Never use your nails to pry things open such as pop cans, removing keys from the ring, opening letters or scraping off labels. | Photo by Sammy Williams on Unsplash
* Be aware of nail or cuticle inflammation or redness: If there are any signs of infection, disinfect the skin as soon as possible with an anti-bacterial or anti-fungal ointment.
(Article originally written by N.Lothungbeni Humtsoe) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Nails, groom, hand, exfoliate, chew, nail clipper, bite, cuticle
Bitcoin has become an essential crypto asset in modern portfolios and investment funds. The confidence generated in this cryptocurrency will depend a lot on the diversification that companies make in their balance sheets in Bitcoin and the increase of institutional investors that allocate a percentage of their funds in this crypto. American fund manager Cathie Wood makes some interesting predictions, both in the rise that the Bitcoin price will experience in the next 5 years, suggesting these institutional investors allocate 5% of their funds; this will help leverage the Bitcoin market.
Bitcoin will grow by a tenfold
Bitcoin is projected to grow by 10 times its current value in five years, i.e., it could reach $500,000. Of course, this will require companies to invest in cryptocurrencies. This makes it necessary to increase the weight of Bitcoin on balance sheets through investments. One of the investment gurus who supports this prediction is Catherine Wood. Contrarily, Ray Dalio, despite being clear that relying on cash is not a good strategy, views Bitcoin with suspicion, although he calls for its investment. This behavior is due to the actions of governments against the cryptocurrency market.
If something is undoubted is the vertiginous increase that cryptocurrencies have had in general, they have risen more than 60% so far this year. So, even when some governments are trying to regulate cryptocurrencies, they will fail. This attempt to regulate will end up triggering even more cryptos, especially Bitcoin, which is the oldest and most solid of that market.
Bitcoin, is the oldest and most solid of the market. | Photo by Executium on Unsplash
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The current Bitcoin price means is time to buy:
The current price of bitcoin invites you to buy, and perhaps it would be foolhardy not to. In either case, bitcoin will always represent money. Maybe some external factors generate some misgivings, but if you refuse to invest in cryptocurrencies, you are basically denying the near future, it would be as if you didn't have a cell phone or internet.
In India, more and more people are becoming convinced of the benefits of holding some Bitcoin. This can be clearly seen in the rapid increase in the number of new accounts at crypto exchanges such as WazirX and CoinDCX.
ALSO READ: How can you trade in Bitcoin in India?
Bitcoin, despite its fluctuations, represents an excellent financial strategy. The support users give is significant. The same cannot be said of the FIAT currencies, which have lost value and support, showing how fragile they are, being subjected to a constant devaluation. As long as confidence in cryptos grows, the foundations will continue to be laid to maintain their rise and to be able to continue making transactions. We know this by previous experience, as has happened with Ether, thanks mainly to the growing activity of Defi and NFT, i.e. decentralized finance and non-fungible tokens.
Remember that when you invest in Bitcoin, you can do it by buying or trading. When you want to make these transactions do it in a secure Exchange, study your finances to invest, manage the risk, and learn to manage your portfolio efficiently.