SNIPPETS

SNIPPETS

Worse, superstitious practices of the minority primitive tribes residing in the state’s jungles are known to be the factors responsible for dwindling peacock population here.
According to a myth prevailing among prominent primitive tribes like Ho, Birhor and Asurs, peacock flesh is the best medicine for those suffering from arthritis. The tribals, for this reason, since time immemorial, have been feasting on peacock flesh unabated. All conservation norms come a cropper in the areas under their dominance, as the tribes go on a hunting spree for the bird.

“The fatty portion of a male peacock is considered best for arthritis treatment. Whenever we catch a bird, the fat is distributed among arthritis patients. Since very few peacocks are found in the forests these days, we schedule our hunting programme once every three months,” said Tira Birhor, Tumangkocha under Mosabani PS. According to officials, the population of peacocks was found to be 122 in the last census with the Dalma Sanctuary, Patamda Forests, and the hills bordering Orissa and West Bengal having their larger concentration. However, their population has reportedly dwindled to abysmal numbers now, forest officials admitted.

Peacock apart, a few rare species such Orealar, Knocker, Cotton Till, Sports Bill, Pin Rail, Tailor Bird, Yellow Checkered Teeth and Manpi are almost on the verge of extinction. Spur Fowl, which tribals called Askal Murgi, once found abundantly in rocky and hilly areas of Jharkhand are facing extinction in Jharkhand. However, as of now the state has lost several unique species of avifauna. Though extinction of species is part of the natural and continuous process of evolution, humans have understandably caused more damage to them than natural calamities.

Why is the scenario so gloomy for birds now? Environmentalists believe that in the process of cutting down forests to meet the socio-economic needs of people, not only has the green cover shrunk over the years, but the habitats of many varieties of birds are disappearing.

Then, there is another significant issue, that of pollution. It is believed that industrial pollutants in this area are affecting birds in more ways than one. While on the one hand, pollutants are damaging the respiratory system, the heavy uses of pesticides and insecticideson agricultural land on the other hand are causing manifold diseases among birds.

There is no gainsaying the fact that the birds are one of the most exquisite creatures of nature. The ecology too confirms their significance in maintaining the ecological balance. But even under the Wild Life (Protection) Act of 1972, few laws come to the rescue of the birds. Even the Forest Department appears to be least concerned about the sorry state of affairs.
Sandeep Bhaskar  

Call for ban on tiger farms
China and other Asian nations should shut privately run tiger farms as they are inhuman and fuel demand for the endangered big cat’s bones and skin, the World Bank said. The call came as governments from 13 countries where tigers exist in the wild met in Thailand to discuss their conservation and how to boost tiger numbers.
Tiger farms are found principally in China, as well as Laos, Vietnam and Thailand. Owners claim rearing the cats in captivity will help reduce the illegal trade in tiger parts which are used in traditional medicine, but environmentalists say it stimulates further smuggling.
“Our position is that tiger farms as an animal practice are cruel. They fan the potential use of tiger parts. That is extremely dangerous because that would continue to spur demand,” said the World Bank’s Keshav Varma, who is the programme director for the Global Tiger Initiative, a coalition formed in 2008 with the Smithsonian Institute and nearly 40 conservation groups. It aims to double tiger numbers by 2022.  
Wild tiger numbers have plummeted because of human encroachment, the loss of more than nine-tenths of their habitat and poaching.
The Guardian

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