Down To Earth brings you the top happenings in the world of Indian ecology, botany and zoology
Orca pod sighted off Maharashtra’s Konkan coast
A pod or group of four killer whales or orcas was sighted of the coast of Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg in Maharashtra’s Konkan region in early April, according to a media report. The report quotes fisherman from Sindhudurg as saying that the pod — comprising of two males, a female and a calf were first spotted on April 1 and 4 at a site between Purnagad and Gaonkhadi in Ratnagiri. The pod was again sighted near Devgad harbour in Sindhudurg on April 8. According to forest official quoted in the report, this is the first-time orcas have been recorded as far north as Ratnagiri.
Demand to make Nandhaur in Uttarakhand a Tiger Reserve made
The director of the Nandhaur Wildlife Sanctuary in Uttarakhand’s Kumaon region has said that the sanctuary should be made into a tiger reserve since its tiger population has grown and is still growing and it no longer has the resources for their conservation. According to a media report, the director said that the sanctuary’s tigers had grown from nine in 2012, when it was founded to 27 in 2018. The number would cross 32 this year, he said. Since the sanctuary is not a tiger reserve, it does not come under the ambit of the National Tiger Conservation Authority and thus does not have enough funds. The sanctuary is located near the Nandhaur river in Kumaon and spread over an area of 269.5 sq km.
Tiger census out by June
The 2018 all-India tiger census will not be out till the end of May or the beginning of June, according to a media report. The report quoted scientists from the Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India (WII) as well as officials. According to the WII, the process of estimating tigers commenced late and its analysis is still being done. Hence, the report is likely to come out in May-end or the start of June. The 2018 is the fourth such census. The first was conducted in 2006, second in 2010 and third in 2014. According to the 2014 census, the tiger count was 2,226. A team of 44,000 officials is working on the census along with 55 biologists.
Tigress run over by train in Andhra Pradesh
A tigress was run over by a train on April 16 in the Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh. The incident happened on the railway line between Diguvametta and Gajulapalli villages. The tigress is believed to have come from the Gundla Brahmeshwaram Wildlife Sanctuary, that forms part of the extended core of the Nagarjuna Sagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve in Andhra Pradesh. The accident occurred in the Nandyal forest division. According to a media report, this is the second such instance of a tiger being killed by a train in Andhra Pradesh. In 2014, a tiger was killed on the railway track near Gajulapalli village, just outside the Gundla Brahmeshwaram sanctuary. A leopard was also killed by a train near Chelima village in Nandyal forest division in November 2018.
Leopard attacks infant in Pune’s Junnar, mother saves boy
A 20-year-old agricultural labourer in Junnar taluka in Pune district was able to save her 18-month-old son from a leopard that had clasped its jaws around the infant’s head, a media report said. The incident happened in the early hours of April 19. It took place at Dholvad village near Ottur in Junnar around 90 kilometres from Pune city. According to the report, the parents of the infant had moved along with him from Malegaon in Nashik district to find employment in the sugarcane fields of Junnar. The family was sleeping in their hut when at about 1.30 am, the mother heard the leopard’s growl and saw its jaws around her son’s head. She hit the animal with her hand upon which it let go of the boy and grabbed her hand. As sehe raised an alarm, the leopard rain into the neighbouring fields.
Wild elephant damages house on Kerala-Tamil Nadu border while searching for food
A family of seven on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border had a narrow escape after a wild, tuskless male elephant danaged their house even as they were asleep in it, while searching for food. According to a media report, the incident took place in the early hours of April 20, at around 3.30 am, at the Milagayampathi tribal settlement near the town of Anaikatti. The report said that the elephant damaged asbestos sheets and tiles used for roofing. It was later chased away by the men of the settlement. The forest department has promised the family of compensation for their house.
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