Taking wings to save wildlife

Shah left studies to learn animal, bird rescue in SA

About a year ago, if a person in Kalipat Village, Rajkot, Gujarat, saw a snake he would kill it immediately. But thanks to the efforts of 22-year old Divyaraj Shah from the village, now nobody even harms the snake or any other wildlife.

Now, if they see a snake, villagers call Shah who rescues it and releases it in the wild.

“On an average, I rescue 10 snakes every month from Kalipat Village ( Rajkot, Gujarat ) alone,” says Divyaraj who has dedicated his life for protection of wildlife.

In fact, Shah left his studies mid-way while pursuing graduation from St. Xavier’s College in Ahmedabad in 2010-11. He went to South Africa to learn about wildlife and their rescue and rehabilitation processes. He stayed there for 10 months in the outskirts of Pretoria and learnt to deal with birds, wild animals and how to release them in the wild.

“I went to South Africa because I wanted to work for wildlife conversation. It is important to learn scientific methods to rescue and rehabilitation of wildlife. There is a huge difference in dealing with domestic birds and wild birds. It is difficult for rescued birds to adjust again in the wild,” says Shah.

He also advocated rescue of the birds in captivity.

A local charitable trust in city rescue wild birds and hand over them to Shah for rehabilitation. The birds which are being rehabilitated include Barn Owl, Shikra, Black Kite, Black Shouldered Kite, Short toed Snake Eagle, spotted owlet, egrets and ducks.

“In Gujarat, rescue efforts are commendable but there is a lack of knowledge about what to do with the rescued birds. A week ago, a barn owl was rescued near city. A volunteer who rescued it gave anti-rabbis injection and wild bird died immediately,” Shah said describing the lack of awareness among wildlife volunteers.

Shah even found a solution to rat menace in Kalipat ( Rajkot, Gujarat ). He gave villagers cages to catch the rats, which are then fed to the rescued snakes by Shah. “Since I give snakes their natural food, they survive in captivity and then I release them in wild,” the wildlife enthusiast said.

“Villagers and farmers are happy as the problem of rats has been reduced significantly,” he added.

Shah has successfully released over 300 birds in the wild. Now, he plans to set up an ICU for birds at his eight acre farm on outskirts of the city.

Courtesy – Times of India


Dholera ( Gujarat, India ) SIR ( Special Investment Region ): Campaign to save Bhal ( Bhavnagar, Gujarat, India ) ecology launched

Wildlife activities from Saurashtra opposing the proposed Dholera Special Investment Region ( DSIR ) project have undertaken a letter writing campaign, raising concerns about the threat propsed to the ecology and biodiversity of Bhal region.

Chill out for Bird Watchers

They are posting letters to top shots in Union environment ministry, Ahmedabad collector, officials of environment and forest department in Gujarat and prominent wildlife conservationists across Indian raising their concerns.

Last week, Gujarat Pollution Control Board ( GPCB ) and Ahmedabad district collectorate held a public hearing on environmental impact assessment on the proposed DSIR. The site for the proposed DSIR is a rural area of approximately 920 square kilometers, comprising 19 villages of Dhandhuka taluka and three villages of Barwala taluka in Ahmedabad District.

“the areas where DSIR is proposed is unique grassland having rich bio diversity. The proposed DSIR is just 600 meters away from the Blackbuck National Park, which is a habitat of endangered species like lesser floricans, harriers, wolves and hyenas among others. The highest density of wolves in the country is in Bhal area. Moreover, the Blackbuck National Park in Velavadar is world’s largest roosting site for harriers. Out of 16 harrier species in the worl, at least four species of Montagu, Pallid, Eurasian Marsk and Hen are found here. All these aspects need to be takes care of. Hence, we are writing to the concerned authorities,” president of Dharamkumarsinhji Nature Conservation society in Bhavnagar Dr IR Gadhvi said.

He added that Bhal is of the 17 important bird areas in the state indentified by Indian Bird Conservation Network besides being the largest breeding ground for lesser floricans.

Activists claim that the ecological zones of Blackbuck National Park and proposed DSIR over lap at places which is very worrying.

“All wildlife conservationists and environment activists from the state are concerned over the adverse impact the DSIR will have on Bhal region, which is the wheat bowl of Gujarat. We want that this project should not be cleared without addressing these concerns. We will also write to National Wildlife Board for its intervention,” a wildlife activist from Bhavnagar Shrenik Shah said.

Courtesy:- Times of India

WORTH Flocking to Thol (Ahmadabad, Gujarat, India)

Paris of Sarus crane beckon bird-lovers.

If you thought, Thol (Ahmadabad, Gujarat, India) was only about migratory birds, another visit to this lake is due!. Flocks of majestic Sarus cranes have descended in the lake and near – by fields. there are at least 50 Sarus cranes here. No wonder then that bird watchers and shutterbugs are flocking to Thol (Ahmadabad, Gujarat, India) these days, braving the blistering heat.





Courtesy:- Times of India

Sharp decline in number of vultures, just 1043 left in state


Junagadh (Gujarat, India) Breeding centre starts Delivering results

The government appears to be doing precious little for improving the vulture count in the state. While their numbers have dropped to 1043 which is the lowest count registered so far, the government has so far spent only Rs. 19.70 lakhs for their conservation in the last two years.

vultures (1)

The count recorded in 2007 was 2539 and ever since then, there has been a sharp decline. Their number was 1431 in 2008 and 1043 in May 2010.

In written reply to a question from Wakaner (Rajkot, Gujarat, India) MLA Mohammed Javed Pirzada, environment and forest minister Ganpat Vasava said that apart from an awareness campaign to conserve vultures, the government has also started a vulture breeding centre at Sakkarbaugh Zoo in Junagadh (Gujarat, India). In addition to this, the union government has banned the use of Diclofenac treatment by vets, especially on cattle.


Vasava claimed that the centre at Sakkarbaugh Zoo has started showing results in the form of a White Rumped vulture being bred successfully. Two vultures have been born there in the last 2 years.

Officials said that vulture conservation in Gujarat has got a major boost with the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) selecting Mahuva (Rajkot, Gujarat, India) and Ahmadabad among the six provisional Vulture Safe Zones (VSZ) in India.

A recent survey has indicated that the current state wide estimated population of ‘critically endangered’ Gyps vultures is 938, White- Rumped vultures is 577 and Long Billed Vultures is 361.

The survey has shown a reduction of 11.34 per cent in the population of Gyps vultures between 2010 and 2013. In 2010, there were 1,065 Gyps vultures. In the survey carried last year, 97 Egyptian vultures and eight Red headed vultures have been enumerated.

Courtesy:- Times Of India (Saturday, 23rd February, 2013).


Decline rate of vultures in India slows

Vultures may not be the most pleasant birds to contemplate, given their not so pleasant appearance and association with death, but they serve a vital role in an Eco – system by eating dead flesh.


Throughout India, vulture populations have plummeted to less than one percent of what they were a few decades ago, leading to an epidemic of uneaten cattle carcasses and spawning an increase in the number of rats, feral dogs and human rabies cases from dog bites.

But they may be some hope for these much maligned birds: Their decline had slowed, stopped or even reversed in some areas of the Indian Subcontinent, according to a paper published on February 7th in the journal – Science.

The birds declined largely because ranchers started giving their cattle an anti inflammatory drug called diclofenac that the birds ingested when they ate the dead cattle, paper author and Cambridge researcher Andrew Balmford said. In 2006, following revelations that diclofenac was deadly to the birds, the Government of India, Pakistan and Nepal banned the use of the drug for cattle.

Bangladesh followed in 2010, and in May 2012 the four governments reached an ‘unprecedented political agreement’ to prevent unintentional poisoning of the vultures from veterinary drugs, Balmford told OurAmazingPlanet.

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Many ranchers have adopted an alternative drug that is safe to vultures, Balmford said, but the increase of other drugs in concerning, especially one that’s close in structure to diclofenac, Balmford said. Restrictions on these drugs are needed, he added.

Nevertheless, vulture numbers have leveled off in many areas, and increase elsewhere.

Courtesy:- Times Of India ( Monday 11th, February, 2013)

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