Wildlife & Biodiversity

India Eco Watch: Major ecological happenings of the week (Apr 22-28)

Down To Earth brings you the top happenings in the world of Indian ecology, botany and zoology

By DTE Staff
Published: Sunday 28 April 2019

Dugongs in the Gulf of Kutch at risk of vanishing due to human activities

A new study by the Bombay Natural History Society or BNHS has stated that dugongs or sea cows in the Gulf of Kutch, the body of water that separates Kutch and Saurashtra, are at risk of getting obliterated due to industrial and noise pollution. A media report on the study stated that the BNHS had conducted a survey of 11 sites in the Gulf during 2017-18 spread across 100 kilometres. They found that seagrass meadows, the primary food source of dugongs, were declining due to the run-off from several industries on the Gulf shore including textiles, petrochemicals, rubber and salt. The other reason is increasing shipping in the Gulf. Home to big ports like Kandla and Mundra, dugongs often collide with ocean going vessels or get caught in fishing nets. All this puts their future in the area at risk. The BNHS study was published in the Journal of Threatened Taxa.

Fish die-off in the Tunga river in Karnataka; chemical pollution suspected

On April 25, 2019, several fish were found dead in the Tunga river at the Matturu-Hosahalli village in Shivamoga district of Karnataka. Media reports said that local residents recalled having seen the water as green-coloured in the past week. After the die-off many residents were afraid to use the river water. The Tunga river originates in the Western Ghats and provides clean drinking water to many cities including Shivamoga. It later meets the Bhadra and forms the Tungabhadra, a right-bank tributary of the Krishna. On Friday, more reports stated that the Gram Panchayat of the area had lodged a complaint suspecting that the water had been contaminated with copper sulphate. While officials have collected samples of the river water, the exact cause of the contamination has not yet been verified and made public. Meanwhile, water has been released into the river from the Tunga dam in Gajanur to dilute the impurity in it.

ONGC gets permission to drill in Tripura Gaur Sanctuary

The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has given the go-ahead to the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) to drill in the Trishna Wildlife Sanctuary in south Tripura. The sanctuary is best known for its gaur, one of the largest bovids on earth as well as deer, golden langur, pheasant and reptiles, according to a media report. Spread over 163.08 kilometres, Trishna was established in 1988. The report quoted a senior official of the ONGC as saying that not only had the organization got the ministry’s go-ahead but also that of the National Wildlife Board. The official said the ONGC would take utmost care to see to it that no damage was done to the biodiversity in the sanctuary and adequate compensation would be paid in case there was damage.

Man attacked by mugger crocodile in Junagadh dam bleeds to death

A 50-year-old man, who was bathing in the Ambajal Dam in Gujarat's Junagadh, was attacked by a mugger crocodile and died en route to hospital due to loss of blood. According to a media report, the man, named Bhanubhai Chudasama, had entered the dam to take a bath. He did not notice the crocodile that was in the vicinity. The animal subsequently attacked Chudasama, who cried for help and was pulled out of the water. He was immediately rushed to hospital but died on the way. The police and wildlife officials have launched an inquest as to how the crocodile entered the dam in the first place.

Owl pair take up residence in Warangal sanctuary, draw visitors

A pair of Dusky Eagle Owls that are not native to Telangana, have made a sanctuary near the city of Warangal their home, in the process drawing a huge crowd of visitors to the place, according to a media report. The Pakhal Wildlife Sanctuary is located 55 kilometres from Warangal. According to the reported the birds were first spotted by a wildlife photographer in February 2018. The sighting was the first such in Telangana since the Dusky Eagle Owl is usually native to Northern India, where it is found in Bharatpur’s Keoladeo National Park and Agra. After the sighting, bird watchers and photographers from Warangal, Hyderabad as well as other states have thronged the sanctuary which did not get any attention prior to 2018, notes the report.

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