Posts Tagged ‘India’

Jackals, lizards, raptors delay flights in India

June 19, 2008

Jackals, monitor lizards and raptors descended on a runway at New Delhi’s main airport after heavy rains Monday, delaying flights, an airport official said.

The animals were looking to dry off and warm up after the first monsoon rains hit India’s capital, and their appearance on the runway forced authorities to stop planes from taking off and landing for about an hour, Indira Gandhi International Airport spokesman Arun Arora said in a statement.

Animal welfare authorities cleared the runway of wildlife, including monitor lizards that measured as long as 2-3 feet, Arora said.

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Ape returns to the wild – with lady love

June 9, 2008

A male hoolock gibbon wandered from the wild into a national park in Assam in search of a mate – and has now returned with her to his natural habitat.

The first recorded case of a wild gibbon falling in love with a captive mate at the Kaziranga reserve has delighted wildlife experts.

Conservationists bade farewell in late May to the lone female gibbon they hand-raised at the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) next to the Panbari forest in Kaziranga.

Now Siloni, who is the first gibbon to be rehabilitated in India, has joined her partner in the wild to start a family.

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The last mahouts

May 5, 2008

The mighty Asian elephant has featured large in Asian culture for centuries. This enormous beast, a perennial symbol of strength and power, has been tamed and trained to perform in a variety of roles in agriculture, royal ceremonies, circuses and even combat.

Specially trained elephants were also widely used throughout the sub-continent as executioners as recently as the early 20th century. Depending on the disposition of the prevailing ruler, the unfortunate beast would be ordered to either stomp on the prisoner or slowly pluck off his limbs

Throughout India, Thailand, Cambodia, Burma and beyond, elephants are revered and even worshipped for their intelligence, usefulness and beauty.

They are perhaps best known for their use in heavy agricultural duties like logging and hauling loads. But times are changing and the role of the Asian elephant is shifting away from menial tasks and becoming restricted to ceremonial duties and tourist performances.

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Dead as a dodo? Why scientists fear for the future of of the Asian vulture

April 30, 2008

You have to feel sorry for vultures. For animal campaigners they are a difficult case. Other, more photogenic, slightly less sinister creatures may gain the world’s sympathy at the drop of a hat, but raising money to save the world’s most proficient scavenger is a different matter.

As far as the Asian vulture is concerned, however, the situation is now urgent. Asian vultures may be ugly, but soon, if current trends continue, their unprepossessing appearance will be consigned to history.

The population of the oriental white-backed vulture, predominantly native to India, is dwindling at a rate of 40 per cent a year, making it the fastest declining wild bird in history. Their numbers have plummeted by 99.9 per cent since 1992. Indeed, its slide to extinction may be more rapid than that of the dodo.

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Drive-thru animal safari!

March 24, 2008

An elk, an emu and an alligator — no, this isn’t the start to some lame joke — those are just three of the animals you might spy at Cherokee Trace Drive-thru animal safari.

The park features a 300-acre preserve of 400 animals — 25 different species — of free-range animals that hail from far-off places including Africa, India, China, the Scottish Highlands, British Columbia, the Mediterranean islands, the Middle East and even some from the U.S.

“We try to get the most exotic animals we can,” park Operations Manager Staci Doty said. “We like to see the faces of the kids when they see a Canadian Wood Bison or a zebra up close and personal.”

Because the animals are free to roam the safari park, preserve officials don’t allow predators in.

“We don’t want to pen anything in, so you won’t see lions or tigers or anything like that,” Doty said.

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Terrestrial Ancestor of Whales Discovered

March 19, 2008

The fossil remains of a 48-million-year-old mammal have been unearthed by a team of scientists working in the Kashmir region of India. The research team, lead by Hans Thewissen of the Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy, classified the animal as an even-toed ungulate and described it as small and deerlike in build. They named it Indohyus.

Indohyus is thought to be a very special discovery. It appears the animal spent much of its life in or near water. The skull and ear of Indohyus resembles those of whales. Additionally, Indohyus’ bones have a thick outer layer characteristic of species that have an aquatic lifestyle. And chemical analysis of Indohyus’ teeth show oxygen isotope ratios similar to other aquatic species. Based on these findings, Indohyus may indeed be the land ancestor to modern day whales.

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Animals vie with humans for water in India

March 9, 2008

The human-animal conflict increases in the border area between Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh for want of water

LUCKNOW: Village Aari. Jaitpur block in Bundelkhand on the UP-MP border. Time: 1.30 pm. A group of monkeys from the nearby forest area barge into villagers’ hovels.

They do not attack anyone, and they are not looking for fruits or any other eatables. They just drink water to their hearts’ content, and leave.

Village Bhatipura. District Mahoba. Time: 3 pm. A middle-aged woman Geeta is returning from the village well with an earthen pot full of water. She is attacked by a donkey. As she runs for her life, the donkey takes leisurely gulps of water from the pot. Geeta was later admitted to the Jhansi district hospital.

Village Baghaura. District Mahoba. Time: 5.30 pm. A hyena attacks a child drinking water outside his house. The hyena leaves only after quenching its thirst from a pot of water lying nearby.

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For more animal-esque music, news, and issues, tune in to Kitty Mowmow’s Animal Expo online at, Sunday nights 8-10 central.

3,000 birds die in Bathinda, India

March 8, 2008

Panic has gripped this village, near Bathinda, with more than 3,000 birds having died due to an unidentified disease at a poultry farm. Veterinarians of the Animal Husbandry Department have launched an inspection of all poultry farms within a radius of 3 km of the farm.

Department officials have ruled out the presence of avian influenza virus in the dead birds, but they feel that birds’ death might be due to some other deadly virus “because the birds did not react even to the antibiotic medicines given to them,” Dr Darshan Singh, deputy director of the department told The Tribune today.

The poultry birds started dying last week. When this correspondent visited the farm, only 40 birds were left alive. These too were visibly suffering from the disease.

“Samples have been collected from the poultry farm and sent to the High Security Animal Disease Laboratory, Bhopal. We don’t think it’s the case of avian influenza because the virus affects humans as well whereas the family of the poultry farm owner was unaffected by the disease,” Dr Darshan Singh said. Teams from the veterinary and animal husbandry departments have been visiting the farm ever since they got to know about the death of the birds.

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For more animal-esque music, news, and issues, tune in to Kitty Mowmow’s Animal Expo online at, Sunday nights 8-10 central.

New Delhi gets quarantine facility for wild animals

March 7, 2008

Leopards, jackals, snakes and other wild animals straying into human habitations in states neighbouring the capital will now be kept at a special quarantine facility being constructed in the Delhi Zoo.

The quarantine, being set up adjacent to the wildlife hospital in the zoo, will cater to rescued and displaced wild animals, an official said.

The facility will also be used for animals that need to be kept in isolation, including animals brought from foreign countries, or other Indian zoos, and as a transit point for rescued and displaced wild animals.

Wild animals rescued by forest officials from neighbouring areas will be housed here for relief and medical aid.

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World’s Smallest Bear Faces Extinction

January 20, 2008


The world’s smallest bear species faces extinction because of deforestation and poaching in its Southeast Asian home, a conservation group said Monday. The sun bear, whose habitat stretches from India to Indonesia, has been classified as vulnerable by the World Conservation Union (IUCN).

“We estimate that sun bears have declined by at least 30 percent over the past 30 years and continue to decline at this rate,” said Rob Steinmetz, a bear expert with the Geneva-based group.

The group estimates there are just over 10,000 sun bears left, said Dave Garshelis, co-chair of the IUCN bear specialist group.

The bear, which weighs between 90 and 130 pounds (between 40 and 60 kilograms), is hunted for its bitter, green bile, which has long been used by Chinese traditional medicine practitioners to treat eye, liver, and other ailments. Bear paws are also considered a delicacy to eat.

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New Frog Species Found in Kerala

January 20, 2008


A new species of shrub frog from the Western Ghats adds its name to the growing list of frogs discovered recently. The latest is a tiny oriental shrub frog, named Philautus ochlandrae, discovered in the evergreen forests of the Kakkayam Reserve Forest in Kerala.

The squat little amphibian does not grow beyond 2.5 cm, has a short rounded snout and protruding eyes with striking golden yellow markings. With this, the number of frog species discovered in the last seven years in India stands at 25.The discovery was published in the international journal Zootaxa in October 2007.

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