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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Let's admire the Wildlife

"Look at it's skin. Isn't that magical and beautiful?", said Navpreet as I stood looking with a gaping mouth at her desktop in disgust. It had a wallpaper of a creepy looking Chameleon at full zoom. "This is ugly. Please change it to something actually beautiful." She shrugged and gave me a bewildered look, "Try to appreciate the beauty of nature, Roohi!" as I wondered what kind of species was my friend?
Preet, as I call her fondly, and I were roommates during my early days of posting. She has this immense respect for wildlife that's contagious. Whereas I was just a regular your girl next door. All busy and occupied in small and petty issues of my own world, who can turn into a deadpan just on spotting a lizard in my Kitchen. I come under the category of people for whom world means humans and work, with other kind of life-forms having literally no place in the daily routine life. While my friend would be glued to wildlife related TV channels and admire the beauty of different species whom I would have brushed aside as dangerous or scary. Her enthusiasm made me appreciate the work of nature beyond my myopic vision. It's no surprise now that I get amazed by even deadliest looking creatures. Recently, on a trip to a wildlife reserve, I came over my fears and actually touched animals and even wrapped a python around my neck (don't worry it was neutralized and not dangerous at all!). People asked me how I got such a heart and I simply remembered Preet and how people in our life influence us.

And that's what this post is about. Creating an influence about an important cause. Have you ever thought that our existence is proving fatal to some species? That our arrogance, negligence, ignorance is leading some creatures to their extinction. With the uncontrolled rate of bulging human population, Earth’s resources stand highly depleted today as the percentage of resources used up daily is more than the planet can sustain. The Domino effect of over-exploitation of resources first impacts the lowest of levels of components of our planet and that includes water bodies, forests, the flora and fauna. I was appalled when Saevus Wildlife India sent me a link to a page full of photos of beautiful creatures who are at a risk of a mass extinction all courtesy humans. It is a pity that today their existence is all dependent on our benevolence. After all, aren't we all supposed to share our planet? Do we have any property rights over Earth? Aren't we trespassing over our limits and trying to exercise the power of our makers by deciding the fate of these mute and innocent beings?

But wait. Whom am I conveying this message? As being busy in the daily humdrum of our lives, we have no clue at all of the fight for existence of any of the species. Let me try to inform you about just 3 animals out of the whole list and give you an idea about some amazing life forms, who have equal rights as ours . Remember these 3 are just for your idea, there are lot many.

 Asiatic Elephant

The Asian or Asiatic elephant is the only living species of the genus Elephas. They are the largest living land animals in Asia and since 1986, has been listed as endangered by IUCN as the population has declined by at least 50% over the last three generations. They are primarily threatened by degradation, fragmentation and loss of habitat due to deforestation, and poaching for Ivory and other purposes. Surprisingly, they are not only large but are highly intelligent and self-aware like humans, apes and certain dolphin species. They have abilities for cognitive processing for tool use and tool makings. They exhibit a wide variety of other behaviors, like grief, learning, mimicry, play, altruism, compassion, cooperation,  memory, and language. Elephants are also believed to go to safer ground during natural disasters like tsunamis and earthquakes. Kids love them, adults adore them and yet there are poachers who hunt them just for our greed. Appus are in danger to get vanished forever.



Food for thought: Think if we are so careless and threat to the largest, intelligent and compassionate animal then what are we to the smaller ones! 


Malabar Gliding Frog

So let me now tell you about a relatively smaller species that caught my attention in the list provided to me - The Malabar gliding or flying frog found in the Western Ghats of India. You might say it's just a frog but here comes the point of broadening your horizon to appreciate nature at its best. It is one of the largest moss frogs where males are smaller than females. Notice the back skin is finely granulated and the color is vivid green without markings. The webbing between fingers and toes is large and orange-red. This is called gliding because of its ability to break its fall by stretching the webbing between its toes when making leaps down from the treetops. They build foam nests above small pools of water, into which the tadpoles drop after hatching.



Food for thought: Malabar gliding frog can make gliding jumps of 9–12 m, a maximum of about 115 times its length. And you thought only humans perform adventures! 

Indian Peacock 

We all love peacocks and their long, colorful train, don't we? Though, the function of the peacock's elaborate train has been debated for over a century with Charles Darwin explaining it for sexual selection while Amotz Zahavi arguing that the train is a handicap. Conserving these large and brightly colored bird, that are native to South Asia is very important, for being the national bird of India if they come under the category of endangered species than it will set out a wrong example to others. Conservative estimates of the population put them at more than 100,000. And though they are protected by both culturally in many areas and by law in India, illegal poaching for meat however continues and declines have been noted in parts of India.
Food for thought : just like our national animal Tiger, if our national bird also gets in the category of endangered species, then what kind of image will that portray about India?

So aren't you amazed by these wonderful creations? To have more such glimpse of the handicrafts of nature get a copy of the coffee table book by Mr. Ashok Mahindra "capturing Wildlife Moments in India". I am sure that will make you love wildlife and aware of their fight for survival just like me and Preet.

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 I am participating in the Save the Species contest for the book “Capturing Wildlife Moments in India” in association with Saevus Wildlife India,  read the reviews for the book ‘Capturing Wildlife Moments in India’ here “