Monday, 24 December 2012
Thursday, 13 December 2012
Sunday, 2 December 2012
Sunday, 25 November 2012
On Saturday, television screens were ablaze with visuals of villagers trying to torch a bear alive in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district. Also, a bear had killed a 55-year-old on Thursday in north Kashmir. While the two incidents occurred in places afar, the common thread was the increasing man-animal conflict in India.
The bear had attacked a house in Mohammadpora, before climbing a tree, on Tuesday. In the four days the videos taken on mobile phones went viral, it was dubbed as human aggression.
Wildlife warden of Kulgam-Anantnag region, Imtiyaz Ahmad, however, disagreed. “It was not to kill but to scare the bear away. Our staff members saw it running back into the forest safe.”
Records show an increasing trend of man-animal conflict between 1995 and 2009. In south Kashmir alone, wildlife officials said 19 people had lost their lives and over 200 injured in animal attacks in the past two years.
“Last year, 12 people died in bear and leopard attacks,” said Ahmad.
Officials give different reasons for the increasing encounters. “The main reason is conversion of paddy land near forests into orchards, which attract bears. Also, with the ban on shooting animals.
‘Man-animal conflict has become a political issue in Kashmir’
Srinagar, Nov 22: In the wake of rising incidents of man-animal conflict involving mostly bears in the Valley, experts have recommended formulation of a comprehensive plan to prevent the situation from escalation.
“The Hangul centric conservation efforts have taken heavy toll on other wild animals particularly bears. Jammu and Kashmir has a lopsided policy for equitable conservation of wild animals as it is only concentrating on Kashmir division and has totally neglected Ladakh and Jammu,” said Dr M K Ranjitsinh, chairman Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) during the 21st International Conference on Bear Research and Management, here today.
“We need to protect bear habitants from human intervention to prevent the bears from intruding into human habitations,” he said.
Chief Wildlife Warden J&K, AK Singh, said the government was making efforts to check the man-animal conflict. “Man-animal conflict has become a political issue in Kashmir. Sometimes it even changes into law and orders situation as people themselves try to tame the wild animals. However due to our sustained efforts we have prevent considerable number of man-animal conflict incidents,” he said.
Regional Wildlife Warden Kashmir Manzoor Ahmad Tak said man-animal conflict has emerged as major challenges for the wildlife department. He said in coordination with various organizations including Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) and Wildlife Institute of India efforts are being made to minimize incidents of man-animal conflict.
Dr Vivek Menon co-chair IBA and executive director WTI minced no words to accuse the states of being indifferent towards bears. “26 out of 32 states in the country have wild animals, other than bear as their state symbol.
“In Kashmir, the man-animal conflict involving bear has assumed horrendous ramifications. For past four years we have been working check the problem. We have devised some measures including rapid response teams, relief and ex-gratia to victims and awareness about wild animals particularly bears as long term solution,” he said.
Dr John Beecham co-chair Bear Conflict Special Group gave a global overview of man-animal conflict and recommended measures to control it. Dr Satyakumar scientist Wildlife Institute of India said dwelt on conflict management measures.
With the onset of winter bears and leopards have been frequently spotted in residential areas like Harwan, Brein, Nishat, which fall in the Zabarwan range. Besides the city, the problem is severe across the countryside like Kupwara, Bandipora and Pulwama where forests have been vandalized by the smugglers during past 20 years.
If you’ve been looking at bringing home a pup or kitten, then here’s your chance to do just that with a clearer conscience and a lighter load on your bank balance. World For All (WFA), an animal welfare NGO, is back with the second edition of their annual event Adoptathon, tomorrow. This year the fair will witness over 100 Indian mixed breeds of puppies and stray kittens being put up for adoption.
Talking about their motive behind organising the event on such a grand scale, Ruchi Nadkarni, Founder, WFA, and Tanya Swetta, MD, id8 media solutions, say, “Adoptathon is the only platform where people can witness live adoptions taking place at a mass level. People feel a certain satisfaction when they see the pet they’re adopting, rather than simply looking at a newspaper advertisement or Facebook post.
However, if you thought adoption was easier than actually purchasing a pet from a store, then you couldn’t be further from reality. The organisers at WGA have a very strict screening process entailing an interview and a home check. “The interview is extensive and involves questions about commitment, lifestyle options, experience with animals, family status, living space, diet, age, etc. There is also a proper adoption agreement signed by adopters and the identity proof of adopters is collected,” says Nadkarni.
Only the Indian breed puppies and kittens are up for adoption. Most of these have been rescued off the streets. However, the organisers’ claim that they have all been in foster homes, and are well groomed and vaccinated.
The event saw about 1,500 walk-ins and 120 adoptions taking place last year. “Which is why, this year we have 120 animals. Our expectation obviously lies in the adoption of all of them. We expect around 1,000 people to definitely turn up at Adoptathon this year,” says Nadkarni.
The latest entrant to the pets market in India, pepperfry.com now also sells products for pet mice, fish, hamsters, guinea pigs, ferrets, rabbits and birds. On offer are home kits and toys for hamsters and mice, bedding for small animals, water bottles for birds and mice and soapbox perches for birds that can be attached to the cages. You could also try out their aloe vera sprays for bird-baths and animal carriers for rabbits, guinea pigs and ferrets. “India is one of the fastest growing market for pets, growing a little over 20 per cent annually, and estimated to reach R800 crore by 2015. Urban consumers living in a nuclear set-up are turning to their pets for companionship and are willing to spend on their wellbeing,” says Ashish Shah, co-founder, Pepperfry. (by Sneha Mahale)
Adoptathon 2012 will take place at Bandra Hindu Association Hall, on Sunday, from 10 am to 7 pm.
Entry: Rs. 50
Saturday, 17 November 2012
Friday, 16 November 2012
Monday, 12 November 2012
Seven elephants from Kerala were saved from a tiring Diwali after the state forest department denied permission for transporting the pachyderms all the way to Maharashtra for a three-day festival.
Held from November 9 to 11 at Dombivli, Mumbai Pooram’s main attraction, as displayed on the website by the organisers, was to be a parade of seven gold-caparisoned elephants amid a lavish display of fireworks.
State forest department sources said the organisers had not sought permission for the procession from the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI). A statutory body under the ministry of environment and forests, AWBI has been formed to monitor animal welfare rights in India.
“The organisers never approached us for the requisite permissions. Parading elephants transported from up to 1,500km amid noisy fireworks would clearly have been a violation of the Performing Animals (Registration) Rules, 2001, under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, and the Animal Transport Rules,” said Chinny Krishna, vice-chairman, AWBI.
SH Naqvi, principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife), said, “In inter-state events such as these permissions from state ministries, in this case Kerala and Maharashtra, are required. The organisers were not granted permission to enter the state border as they had not sought the necessary clearances from the Centre.”
Besides instructions from AWBI to not grant permission to the organisers, the state forest department had received up to eight petitions from animal rights activists condemning the transport of these elephants from Kerala to Maharashtra.
The organisers, however, said that the state forest department had given permission for transporting five elephants to Mumbai last year, but it denied permission this year.
“We were able to transport elephants last year without AWBI’s permission. This year, we were informed that inter-state transport of elephants won’t be allowed. This is unfair; we are animal lovers too. We take the requisite care, we make sure that the elephants don’t travel more than 200km at a stretch. They are fed properly and there is a veterinary doctor on call at all times during the travel,” said Bhupesh Babu, a Vashi-based builder and one of the organisers.
CHENNAI: Three months after Chennai Corporation removed around 500 dogs and 70 cats from various government hospitals, the NGOs that offered to sterilize and temporarily house the animals are in a spot over where to release them.
The Blue Cross, which sterilized close to 60 dogs picked up from the hospitals, is yet to decide where to release these animals. According to theAnimal Birth Control rules, stray dogs have to be released in the place from where they were picked up to maintain balance of habitat.
"This is a problem for us as the dogs can't be released in medical institutions. Blue Cross usually houses dogs for up to five days. Post sterilization they are released where they were picked up," said Blue Cross Society general manager Dawn Williams.
"We are yet to decide on what to do with these animals. We are in touch with Corporation officials to decide the future course of action," he said, adding that they were considering putting the animals up for adoption.
In September, the Chennai Corporation along with volunteers from the Blue Cross, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and People for Animals removed 525 dogs, 16 cats and 3,048 rats from the city's government hospitals. The drive was launched after the body of a 12-day-old infant was eaten by rodents at the government Kasturba Gandhi Hospital for Women and Children in Triplicane.
Around 60 dogs were sent to Blue Cross, and a few to People for Animals, according to Chennai Corporation officials. They said they did not know what happened to the rest of the animals. "Our duty is to remove the dogs from the government hospitals. It is not our responsibility to follow up on the whereabouts of these animals. We just ensure that they are not released into the hospital premises again," an official said.
Stray dogs, however, continue to lounge around in the corridors of the government hospitals. "We are doing everything we can to chase the dogs away, but they keep returning. If there are more dogs than we can handle, we alert the Corporation or Blue Cross," said a senior official in the government women and children's hospital in Egmore.
Animal activists have pinned the blame on hospitals for not keeping their premises clean. "There is so much leftover food in hospitals, which attracts stray dogs. We are still figuring out a humane way to deal with the situation," said S Chinny Krishna, vice-chairman of Animal Welfare Board.
Thursday, 8 November 2012
PUNE: The civic standing committee on Tuesday scrapped the proposal to build a shelter for stray dogs in the city. The committee had approved the proposal last week despite the civic administration's opposition.
Committee chairman Baburao Chandere told reporters on Tuesday, "We reconsidered the proposal and decided that building a dog shelter is unfeasible and against the law."
The proposal to build a dog shelter to accommodate over 40,000 dogs was tabled by NCP corporators Kishor Vitkar and Sunil Gogale. Last week the standing committee had asked the administration to make a feasibility report for the project. Opposing the proposal, the administration said that maintenance each dog would require Rs 18,000- 25,000 every year. The administration also said that, as per the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act, 1960, keeping stray dogs together is banned.
"We had approved the proposal, considering the feelings of corporators. However, we came to the conclusion that the administration was correct," Chandere said.
On an average, 1,150 dog-bite cases per month were registered since January 2012. In 2011, around 1,000 cases were reported each month.
"Dog shelter is not an option to reduce dog-bite cases. Instead we have asked the health department to enhance the process the sterilize dogs," Chandere said.
Monday, 5 November 2012
NAGPUR: Human intervention, which has resulted in destruction of wildlife habitat, is responsible for the man-animal conflict. The need of the hour is to give more importance to sustainable development than economic development to conserve nature, said speakers at the one-day workshop on man-animal conflict organized by Society for Wildlife Conservation, Education and Research (Wild-CER).
MS Reddy, field director and chief conservator of forests (CCF), Pench Tiger Reserve (PTR) (Maharashtra) said human beings are responsible for all the man-animal conflicts. "It is a result of our past actions. Destruction of wildlife habitat and increasing human population are the main causes behind this problem," he said.
Reddy added that time had come when sustainable development was given more importance than economic development. Agreeing with Reddy, Dr Bahar Baviskar of Wild - CER, said, "Now is the time for development with and for nature."
The workshop covered various aspects of man - animal conflict including government policies for mitigating conflict, case studies and so on. Speaking on government policies, Sheshrao Patil, CCF, Nagpur, threw light on the conditions and requirements of granting compensation to people in case of crop damage, injury or death.
Referring to absence of planned infrastructural projects, Kishor Rithe of Satpuda Foundation said lack of understanding of landscape matrix was a huge cause for the conflict. "Why wait for an incident to recognize a conflict situation? Can't we study and plan our projects in a way which will help in conflict mitigation?" he said.
Suggesting some remedies, Rithe said, "Awareness is the key, not only among locals but also policymakers. Consideration for wildlife while planning infrastructural projects and financial allocations for mitigation measures are needed to address the issue."
Ajay Pilariseth, divisional forest officer (DFO), PTR recounted a number of experiences to clarify his stand that humans are responsible for the conflict. "It is only when the natural order isdisturbed these wild animals are forced to come in contact with humans. Otherwise, they do everything in their capacity to avoid us. I have even seen sloth bears sacrifice jamun - their favourite fruit - in order to avoid humans who had entered the part of the forest where this fruit grows," he said.
Pilariseth added that it was time man learnt how to live in and around forests. "In our greed for more, we only think about us and nothing else. We don't even consider about the right of these animals to live," he said.
Wednesday, 31 October 2012
On Tuesday, Fatehgarh Sahib DSP (Detective) Arshdeep Singh is set to look into a complaint that does not match his job profile — use of buffalo in a cattle feed advertisement and alleged cruelty meted out to the buffalo in the ad.
A number of cattle feed manufacturers in Punjab have suddenly found themselves in an awkward position after animal rights activists Naresh Kadyan and his son Abhishek alleged violation of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act-1960.
Abhishek, in an online complaint to the Punjab Police against Tiwana feed manufacturer Tiwana Oil Mills Pvt Limited, Fatehgarh Sahib, alleged the company had violated the Section 38 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act -1960 by not obtaining “pre-shoot” permission from the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI). He has now been asked to appear before the Fatehgarh Sahib DSP (Detective) on Tuesday.
When contacted, Naresh Kadyan said Abhishek had already sent an email giving his detailed statement. “I would take that statement in person as well to Fatehgarh Sahib police tomorrow,” Naresh said, adding that it was a “non-cognizable” offence and the violation carries a penalty from Rs 50 to Rs 500. “There is no provision for an FIR. Only the cattle feed manufacturer could be asked to pay a fine and would have to get the advertisement off air. Due to this mild punitive action, the atrocities on animals continues,” said Naresh.
Tiwana Oil Mills Pvt Limited MD Satnam Singh Tiwana, meanwhile, said: “We were not aware that permission was required for using a buffalo in the ad. Neither the channels (on which ad was aired) nor those who made the ad told us about it. I have told the police that if there is any violation, we would seek permission before airing the ad next time. The ad had been off air for the last one year. They may have seen it on YouTube.”
Naresh has also lodged a separate online complaint against another feed manufacturer, Tara Health Foods Limited in a similar case. In his complaint, Naresh has alleged that in an ad, a buffalo was shown tied while no permission was obtained from AWBI by the company. The advertisement has comedian Jaswinder Bhalla promoting the feed with buffalos.
When contacted, AWBI Chairman Maj Gen (Retd) Dr R M Kharb said: “I have referred the case to a committee in AWBI. Buffalo is not a performing animal. So, a simple photograph of a buffalo in a video shoot does not amount to violation until and unless it is treated cruelly.” Naresh, however, claimed that any animal that has been filmed, has performed and thus, permission was needed to be taken from AWBI.
Tara Health Foods Limited Chairman Jaswant Singh, on the other hand, said: “There would have been violation had we made the buffalo do some acts. As far as permission is concerned, we would apply for the same. The complainant is unnecessarily creating an issue out of nothing.”
Panaji: Incessant digging that had been taking place around Goa's forests in search for iron ore has taken a heavy toll on wild animals and other species, according to environmentalists.
Rock pythons and king cobras have been found dead in these areas, where rare species of reptiles and birds had to bear the brunt of rampant mining activity, animal rescue organisations and environmentalists in the state have said.
"We have rescued hungry and unhealthy pythons from the villages located near mining leases in Bicholim taluka. Rare reptiles like king cobra were lying crushed under stones," Amrut Singh, founder, Animal Rescue Squad (ARS), told.
Singh's voluntary group, with more than 100 volunteers trained to rescue snakes and wild animals, receive regular distress calls from people living on periphery of mines. "King cobra, russell viper, saw scaled vipers are often rescued from homes adjacent to the mining leases in Bicholim," he said.
Bicholim, an iron-ore rich belt, is nestled in the foothills of the Western Ghats. The eco-sensitive area houses nearly 70 per cent of birds and reptiles found in the Ghats.
Singh recalls how decades back flying snakes were sighted in the area, which now stands devastated in search of iron ore that is exported to China. "Some snake species are on verge of extinction. Ceylon cat, beddome's cat and ornate cake snakes, found in abundance early, are rarely sighted."
Bicholim locals have reported an unusual phenomenon -- crocodiles being sighted on busy streets during night. An ARS volunteer explained that since marshy areas in the river bed are getting silted with iron ore and mud, the crocodiles venture out to find new water bodies.
A little further from Bicholim, in remote Sattari taluka, is Gavane, a village tucked between three wildlife sanctuaries, which has seen several Indian bison, Goa's state animal, found dead in mining pits.
Environmentalist Rajendra Kerkar said on many occasions, bison, the largest bovine of India, had been spotted lying in the mining pits.
Animal activists in India, who have been fighting to get Victoria carriages off the roads in the city, have found support abroad. Over 100 Italian animal lovers protested outside the Indian embassy in Rome, to press for a total ban on horse-drawn carriages.
Sometime back, the Bombay High Court had accepted a PIL on the issue of banning horses that draw Victoria carriages. Recently, one such horse was left injured opposite a SoBo theatre, thanks to its reckless handler. While these carriages have been a part of the city's history, is it time to bid them adieu to spare the horses from cruelty, and to reduce traffic risks posed by them? And what happens to the people who make a living by operating these rides? Is there a viable solution that would be acceptable to both animal lovers and horse-owners? These are just some of the questions we posed to people, who feel strongly about this issue and this is what they had to say.
Shibani Dandekar, Television host
I don't think these carriages should be allowed at all. Not for any other reason than animal cruelty. There are other options that they can explore. I don't like the idea of horse-drawn carriages and dancing monkeys on our streets. Let the animals be. There should be rules and regulations for anyone driving any sort of vehicle in the city, to avoid accidents where animals are injured or killed.
Rahul da Cunha, Theatre Personality
Cruelty towards any animal is a crime against all animals — not just horses pulling tongas. What about a ban on bullock carts and bullocks pulling ploughs?
Vijender Singh, boxer
While Victorias have historical significance, I think it is inhuman to treat animals like that. I saw the plight of the horses during one of my recent visits to Mumbai and it was heart-rending. They are overworked and not kept healthy and clean. I don't know how tourists even feel like taking rides in these carriages. A solution could be to allocate an enclosed area for these rides, where no other vehicles are permitted. A union or governing body should also be appointed to ensure that the animals are taken care of.
Why horses and cars don't mix
Back in July, actress Zeenat Aman had written to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, calling for a total ban on horse-drawn carriages within the city. Zeenat told TOI, "As humans, we can express ourselves, but animals can't do that. Hence, it's very important that someone steps forward to speak for them. Most of these horses are treated very badly — they have injuries, but are made to work despite that. If you are going to put the animals to work, you should ensure that they are well taken care of, that their needs are met and they are not exploited. This goes for any animal, be it elephants on the roads or any other animal who is neglected and abandoned."
Monday, 29 October 2012
Monika Siriya, 29, eagerly awaits the monthly vegan potluck lunches in Mumbai. At these lunches, a group of 20 vegans in the city bring along a vegan food dish they have prepared, leading to a sumptuous spread of dishes like tofu bhurji, mock meats like sausages (prepared with wheat and soya), Gujarati kadhi (made with groundnut milk), baked potatoes, salads, various kinds of cheese, cakes and even vegan ice-cream.
“At one of these lunches, someone brought a delicious masala milk, where cow’s milk was substituted with milk from almonds and brown rice. There is so much creativity,” she says. Siriya confesses that these monthly affairs are a great opportunity for vegans to come together on a common platform. “It’s a very light atmosphere. We share tips, recipes, talk about challenges faced while cooking, health problems, and also interact with non-vegans who are interested in this lifestyle.”
Siriya and her husband have been strict vegans for two years now and she feels that her food options are anything but restrictive. She makes all the dishes that a non-vegan would eat by finding suitable alternatives. “I make tea with cashew milk. You just have to blend the cashews with water and it tastes exactly like milk tea,” says Siriya.
These vegan communities are not restricted to Mumbai alone. Cities like Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad and New Delhi have their own vegan groups that interact on a regular basis. The roots of veganism in India can be traced back to 1957 when the country played host to the first major event by the International Vegetarian Union, says Shankar Narayan, president of the Indian Vegan Society. Susmitha, a jewellery designer based in Bengaluru, is an active member of the Bengaluru Vegans group and made the switch to veganism 9 years ago. On her blog called blog.veganosaurus.com, Susmitha regularly posts interesting recipes of dishes like gulab jamun made with sweet potatoes, rolls with spicy peanut sauce and baked akki (rice) rotis. The dishes made by vegans vary according to the palates of the cities they live in. Vegans in south India look at interesting twists to the regular curd rice and idlis. “When I turned vegan, my first thought was how I would survive without curd. But curd rice is a common dish at our monthly lunches. The curd in the curd rice is made from peanut milk and the texture is near-perfect, apart from the taste,” asserts Susmitha. There are also desserts like vegan chocolate mousse, which is tofu or avocado-based and chocolate truffles made with dates, cocoa powder and walnuts.
Like the Mumbai group, the Bengaluru vegan meet-up is open to everyone ranging from vegans, vegetarians and people who would like to learn about veganism and sample some dishes. “Apart from sharing experiences, we also have movie screenings, distribute leaflets and discuss how we can promote veganism,” says Susmitha.
Most vegans ardently take up the challenge of working their way around non-vegan food. When Rithika Ramesh turned vegan three years ago, she took her love of cooking further by starting The Green Stove, a first-of-its-kind vegan bakery in Mumbai. “A vegan cake, that’s made without eggs or butter, tastes equally delicious,” she says.
Until eight years ago, macrobiotic counselor and chef Shonali Sabharwal was a hardcore non-vegetarian. However, she suffered from candida, a kind of yeast infection, and frequent trips to different doctors didn’t help get rid of the problem. Her research revealed that dairy aided candida and meat led to a lot of toxic buildup in the body. “Cows are given growth hormone injections, the end products of which end up in our diet,” she says. “I made the switch in phases, giving up my most favourite meat first and least favourite, last.” The candida disappeared shortly after she turned vegan, apart from helping her lose a lot of weight. Today, Sabharwal prepares dressings like mayonnaise with silken tofu.
Vegans attribute a reduction in stress levels to a non-dairy diet. “When calves are separated from their mother, the cow undergoes a lot of stress, just like a human mother would. This stress hormone is passed on in the milk we consume,” explains Monika Siriya.
There are a lot of myths associated with a vegan lifestyle, especially of not getting enough nutrients and vitamin B12 deficiencies, says Dr Nandita Shah, a vegan and founder of SHARAN, a non-profit organisation aimed at spreading holistic health awareness. “B12 deficiencies are common even in non-vegans. Alcohol consumption and microwaving products destroys the B12 vitamin,” she points out.
Creamy Vegan Tofu Mayonnaise
1 pack of silken tofu or any tofu which has a creamy consistency (you may need to add soy milk to get this)
2 tbsp lemon juicel1 tbsp miso (white)
2 tsp of olive oil
Method Steam tofu in a steamer for 3-5 minutes; let it cool for a bit. Add all the ingredients to your whipper and whip together. The mayonnaise is ready to eat.
Variation: You can also 1 tsp of mustard to it to give it a twist (especially good for your liver)
Courtesy: Shonali Sabharwal
Mashed and Sweet Potato bake
5 medium potatoes
2 sweet potatoes
1 cup spinach
10-12 baby corn
Method: Preheat oven to 225°C. Boil, peel and mash potatoes and sweet potatoes. Blanch spinach and chop roughly. Slice baby corn into rounds. Mix all the ingredients except tabasco sauce and the bread crumbs. Press into a baking dish. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and press lightly. Bake at 225 °C for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 180 °C and continue baking for 30 more minutes. Let it cool in the oven for 5-10 minutes. Serve hot with tabasco sauce.