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New Delhi, December 28, 2016: It’s not been a great year for wildlife. More tigers and leopards were poached in 2016 than in any year of the previous decade, pangolins were killed in the hundreds while thousands of marine animals perished — this, due to the debilitating effect of climate change. Yet, the good news is that the number of tigers still rose.
“Tigers have increased but in the sphere of protection, this year has been worse for animals, including pangolins,” Shekhar Niraj, Head of TRAFFIC, a wildlife trade monitoring network in alliance with the WWF, told IANS.
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Interestingly, an RTI application revealed that the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau has no information of poachers arrested or shot, the weapons used by them, or the numbers poached.
However, IANS managed to piece together information from different independent sources. The records of the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) show that at least 129 tigers and 419 leopards died in 2016 as compared to 91 tigers and 397 leopards in 2015. Of these, at least 50 tigers and 127 leopards were poached, a record in the last 10 years.
“These numbers are not accurate, these are only those reported or caught. The actual figures would be higher,” WPSI programme manager Tito Joseph told IANS.
Over 20 elephants, 18 rhinos, multiple bears (sloth, Asiatic brown and black), two snow leopards and several sea-cucumber, which are highly sought-after in Southeast Asia, were either caught being poached or their harvest such as skin and claws was seized till November 2016.
“Fifty leopards, mostly from Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, and at least eight elephants died in road or train accidents alone,” Joseph said. He added that a large number of animals had died not just because of poaching but due to negligence in the absence of proper management plans.
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Also, nature’s wrath, inspired by man-induced climate change, played its part, killing at least 1,800 endangered aquatic and marine animals in first three months alone.
The year, in fact, had begun with the washing ashore of the carcasses of 74 short-finned pilot whales in the Gulf of Mannar in Tamil Nadu, a Bryde’s whale in Mumbai, hundreds of Olive Ridley turtles in Odisha and several Gangetic and ocean dolphins. This apart, over 250 animals, including 20 rhinos, perished in Assam’s Kaziranga National Park due to floods in August.
Ironically, all this happened in the year when India hosted “Third Asian Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation”, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged to protect the country’s feline population. The good news here is that India is now home to 2,226 tigers — 70 per cent of those in the wild in Asia. Prakash Javadekar, then the Environment and Forest Minister, was quoted at the conference as saying that the number could be as high as 2,500.
Meanwhile, the “17th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CoP17 CITES)” held in South Africa in September barred tiger farming (or breeding) and listed pangolins in CITES Appendix I for their protection, considering that the species is now threatened with extinction.
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For the pangolin, a nocturnal animal hunted for its expensive scales used in Chinese medicine, the year was ugly. Over 20 instances of the seizure of several kilos of its scales were reported across the country. In New Delhi alone, the CBI, in October, seized 86 kg of pangolin scales.
An adult pangolin produces 2-3 kgs of scales a year while the young produce about 500 gms.
Thus, it’s little wonder that WWF’s Living Planet Report released in October said the world may lose 68 percent of its wildlife by 2020 — the possible prelude to “the sixth mass extinction”.
The report says that about 41 per cent of mammals, 46 per cent reptiles, 57 per cent amphibians and 70 per cent freshwater fish are “threatened with extinction” in India. Four of the 385 species of mammals are already extinct in India.
The United Nations Environment Programme and Interpol in June reported that the environmental crime industry — worth $258 billion — was the fastest-growing among crime syndicates.
Every child who grew up in the 90s and the early 00s has certainly grown up around Tom and Jerry, the adorable, infamous cat-chases-mouse cartoon. The idea of naughtiness and playing mischief had the standards that this particular series set for children and defined how much wreckage was funny enough.
The show's creators, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera initially named their characters Jasper and Jinx. They did not plan for the fame that Tom and Jerry brought them when they released a movie by the name of "Puss Gets the Boot". This movie featured a certain cat and mouse who were a notorious pair, named Jasper and Jinx. When the movie became a hit, the names of the characters were changed and the show shot to fame.
Tom and Jerry became a go-to cartoon for children in the early 00s, and it was one of those shows with a firm foundation, that had already been in the running for decades. The original template had been planned nearly 80 years ago, and the makers did not change it. The music that was played in the many episodes, made a breakthrough in its own way. It is the most easily recognizable melody with utterly nostalgic associations.
Today, Tom and Jerry is still a household name in homes where children love cartoons Image credit: wikimedia commons
A set of supporting characters were defined for the show, to occasionally take the focus off the original pair. There was a large, black woman named Mammy Two Shoes and a bulldog who took Jerry's side. Mammy Two Shoes was discontinued because her character portrayed racist tendencies. A tall white woman replaced her, who was kinder and loved mice. Either of the women's faces was never revealed.
Today, Tom and Jerry is still a household name in homes where children love cartoons. There are a host of other shows besides this that aim to replicate the same aspects of the cartoon but do not come close at all. Despite the immense amount of violence in the show, it is a beloved pastime of parents and children alike.
Keywords: Tom and Jerry, Cartoon, Hanna and Barbera, Television
One of India's leading private museums, the Museum of Art & Photography (MAP) Bengaluru, has released new primary research conducted by the ReReeti Foundation, on audience behaviour in India's cultural sector. While more than half of the respondents thought the arts and culture are essential, they rarely manage to make time for it. The majority (60.6 per cent), mostly young people under 30, felt Indian museums could present more engaging content, and most perceived culture as anthropological/ sociological. Of the diverse categories included, music emerged as the most popular cultural activity.
The report is based on a survey of 500 people, which included school and college students, professionals across sectors, homemakers and senior citizens. The first initiative of its kind in the cultural space, the report shares valuable insights into the behaviour and expectations of Indian audiences engaging with a broad range of cultural activities. As part of MAP's mission to foster meaningful connections between communities and the cultural sector globally, which includes its innovative digital programme Museums Without Borders, the report shares a wealth of insights that can help museums across the country understand their audiences better. As much as 60.6 per cent said Indian museums are not experimental enough, and can do more to create engaging content that is also relevant to surrounding communities.As much as 60.6 per cent said Indian museums are not experimental enough, and can do more to create engaging content that is also relevant to surrounding communities.
As much as 60.6 per cent said Indian museums are not experimental enough, and can do more to create engaging content that is also relevant to surrounding communities. | Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
Speaking on the recent report, Kamini Sawhney, Director, Museum of Art & Photography (MAP), said, "MAP is focused on changing the notion of a museum in India, by enabling more relevant and inclusive programming, both online and in our space in Bengaluru. The audience research commissioned by MAP, and conducted by the ReReeti Foundation, provides valuable, and actionable insights which we hope will help museums across the country better understand their consumer base, improve decision making and deepen social impact." As much as 62.3 per cent college students and 47.6 per cent professionals/homemakers perceive culture as anthropological and sociological. Music was the most popular cultural event likely to be attended, followed by heritage tours and plays/comedy shows for Indian audiences.
Over 70 per cent of college students visit museums with family and friends; working professionals, homemakers and senior citizens also predominantly visit with groups/ spouses (indicating a need to focus on increased group programming/facilitation). As much as 68 per cent of people were optimistic about going outdoors for activities and events in 2021. As much as 60.6 per cent said Indian museums are not experimental enough, and can do more to create engaging content that is also relevant to surrounding communities.(IANS/MBI)
Keywords: Art, Culture, India, Museum, Music
What is the best way to save Goa from deforestation?
Drinking feni, may well be the answer, says the secretary of the Goa Cashew Feni Distillers and Bottlers Association Hansel Vaz, who on Thursday said, that sipping the state's unique alcoholic drink and making it popular would directly aid the greening of Goa's hills and other barren landscapes.
"To get more cashews, we need to plant more trees. I always say, by drinking feni you will save Goa, because we will be planting more cashew trees and we will have greener hills. The beauty of cashew is you do not need fertile land. You can grow it on a hill which can provide no nutrition. We will be able to grow more trees, if we can sell feni properly," Vaz said. Vaz's comments come at a time when the hillsides of the coastal state have witnessed significant deforestation for real estate development and for infrastructure projects. Feni is manufactured by fermenting and double distilling juice from the cashew apple.
Best way to keep Goa green is to grab yourself a glass of feni. | IANS
Addressing a press conference in Panaji, Vaz also said that the promotion of feni was also in sync with the Prime Minister's vision for India to go "vocal for local". "There is no conglomerate, multinational company owning the drink. So every time we sell feni, it is a direct cash injection into Goa. If you sell a feni cocktail in Calangute (a popular beach village), it makes a direct impact in Valpoi and Bicholim, because this money is going down there," the Association official said at a press conference in Panaji.
The Association held the media briefing to announce a road map ahead for the feni industry, especially vis a vis streamlining aspects related to production, standardisation and marketing of the brew to make it popular in other Indian states and abroad.
The efforts to streamline the state "heritage drink" comes a month after the Goa government notified a formal policy, 'Goa Feni Policy 2021', which covers 26 different varieties of feni distilled in the state. "There were many barriers related to feni, which the policy has now addressed," treasurer of the Association Tukaram Haldankar said. One such hurdle was the previous government classification, which described feni as "country liquor", which would deter tourists from purchasing the drink. The reclassification of feni as a state "heritage drink" has lent dignity to the brew which has been manufactured locally in Goa since the 16th century.
But there is more the government can do, along with the state's traditional distillers and manufacturers to promote feni, Haldankar said. | Photo by Ishvani Hans on Unsplash
But there is more the government can do, along with the state's traditional distillers and manufacturers to promote feni, Haldankar said. "We request the government to allow the sale of feni in duty free stores in airports and cruise liner terminals. The government should also support us through the department of Tourism, so that feni can be promoted in its programmes. iIf you go to Scotland, they promote Scotch. Goa should promote its feni to Goa," Haldankar said, adding that traditional distillers should also be given subsidies and other measures should be taken to standardise feni, which he said, "would require further subsidies and financial assistance from the government".
"It should be a standard product like scotch, champagne," Haldankar said. "Like Mexico's tequila, Russian vodka and Japan's sake, we need to export our feni across the country and the world and the local distillers should also benefit economically," president of the Association Gurudutt Bhakta also said. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: deforestation,cashew,distillers,association,government, goa, feni, India