1 Tahrcountry Musings: March 2014

Monday, March 31, 2014

Staying one step ahead of poachers

Protecting endangered wildlife against the onslaught of poachers armed with latest gadgets and weapons is a daunting task. There certainly is no silver bullet solution for the menace.

Technology can come in handy in staying ahead of poachers. I found this news item in Discovery describing the arsenal that can be used by wildlife enforcement officers very useful

Have a look at the arsenal HERE 

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Local Ecological Knowledge (LEK) and Wildlife Management

My friend James and I, had always maintained that local ecological knowledge (LEK) has a great place in the wildlife mangers’ repertoire. We very effectively demonstrated this in Eravilulam National Park, but there were not many takers for our views on wildlife management. In fact many a times we were jeered, for our pro-indigenous community slant. Against this context, I was pleasantly surprised to read a recent paper in Biological Conservation by Turvey ST, Fernández-Secades C, Nuñez-Miño JM, et al  Is local ecological knowledge a useful conservation tool for small mammals in a Caribbean multicultural landscape?, highlighting the importance of LEK.

The authors were studying the ecology and behavior of Hispaniolan solenodon (Solenodon paradoxus) and the Hispaniolan hutia (Plagiodontia aedium). Very little is known about the status, behavior and threats faced by these animals. To their surprise and delight, the researchers found that local people had a wealth of useful information about both species, and were able to identify them from photographs and even identify causes of death. The scientists were bowled over by the LEK.

The researchers write "Our results demonstrate that LEK can represent an important conservation tool for determining status and threats for a much wider range of species than the large-bodied charismatic or economically significant taxa that have been the primary research focus of most previous interview-based studies," 

So, doubting toms of the forest department go ahead and read the paper and include the views of the indigenous communities in your management plans. It is the most cost effective way of getting to know about your area, on par with scientific research.

Biological Conservation, Volume 169, January 2014, Pages 189–197

Thursday, March 06, 2014

A Marsupial Frog

Here is the pic of something unusual. A marsupial frog (Gastrotheca dysprosita).
 The discovery was made in the Andes of Northern Peru.
Duellman, William E. "An Elusive New Species of Marsupial Frog (Anura: Hemiphractidae: Gastrotheca) from the Andes of Northern Peru." Phyllomedusa12.3-11 (2013): n. pag. Web.

Pic Credit: W. E. Duellman

Monday, March 03, 2014

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for World Wildlife Day

Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for World Wildlife Day, to be observed on 3 March:
For millennia, people and cultures have relied on nature’s rich diversity of wild plants and animals for food, clothing, medicine and spiritual sustenance. Wildlife remains integral to our future through its essential role in science, technology and recreation, as well as its place in our continued heritage. That is why the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 3 March — the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) — as World Wildlife Day.
Despite its intrinsic value to sustainable development and human well-being, wildlife is under threat. Some of the world’s most charismatic species, as well as lesser-known but ecologically important plants and animals, are in immediate danger of extinction. A major cause is habitat loss. Another is the increase in illicit trafficking.
The environmental, economic and social consequences of wildlife crime are profound. Of particular concern are the implications of illicit trafficking for peace and security in a number of countries where organized crime, insurgency and terrorism are often closely linked.
While the threats to wildlife are great, we can reduce them through our collective efforts. On this inaugural World Wildlife Day, I urge all sectors of society to end illegal wildlife trafficking and commit to trading and using wild plants and animals sustainably and equitably.
Let us work for a future where people and wildlife coexist in harmony. Let’s go wild for wildlife!