Archive | May, 2012

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When Predator and Prey Become Friends

Posted on 13 May 2012 by RE Team

Nature is designed in a way to keep the balance of the eco-system properly.It has created Predator and Prey to keep the balance only. The Predator never hunts for just fun, it makes a kill only when needed. The exception is only human beings. They kill for just fun and the balance is completely lost now.  In this article we are putting some wonderful examples captured by photographers where predator is not harming the prey at all when the predator is not in need.

Photographer Michel Denis-Huot captured some amazing pictures on safari in Kenya’s Masai Mara in 2009. These pictures depict how three cheetah examined, licked and played around a young oryx and finally let it go. Cheetahs were not hungry and they simply didn’t harm the prey at their hands!


Cheetah and Oryx - Predator friendship with Prey


Cheetahs didn't harm the Oryx when not needed


Another example is of a Shoebill, a known predator bird. Photographer Mark Kay captured an unusual event in the Diego Wild Animal Park in the U.S. A small duck straying around a water hole suddenly picked up by a giant Shoebill. The Shoebill took the duck between its beak and surprisingly it just took the duck away from that area and released it. The bill didn’t harm the duck too. Probably the duck moved into the bill’s personal space and he didn’t like it. So just moved it. As it was necessary, he didn’t kill the duck and released to the nature!


In the mouth of death


Duck released without any harm


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The Power of Reproduction

Posted on 13 May 2012 by RE Team

In human society, the King and his army conquer to build a kingdom. But in an another society King and Queen just reproduce to the extreme to build a whole colony and empire to rule! This nothing but our very known ‘Termite’ colony.

When a mature male and female termite form a pair, they land and break off their wings that they used to swarm. The couple first find a shelter together. Their dream homes are normally a small hole or depression that’s near both soil and wood. The couple work together to seal this nest with saliva, soil and their own waste. Then in that sealed chamber, they mate. The female starts laying eggs. Everyday she lays thousands of eggs creating a colony in just few days.

The Termite Queen with enlarged abdomen

The termite couple takes care for the first generation of the new colony on their own until they’ve raised enough workers to take over the job. Workers expand the nest, and the queen’s abdomen enlarges so she can lay more eggs. At this stage she becomes many times bigger than the males. The king grows only slightly larger after initial mating and continues to mate with the queen for life. The colony started with just pair of termite grows to thousands in number. The male and female becomes the King and the Queen of the kingdom and they keep on expanding their population. It takes two to four years for the colony to mature, and then the cycle starts again with a new set of alates swarming to form new colonies.

The King and Queen not only reproduces they also take full control of their kingdom. They produce a chemical substance, pheromones, that helps regulating the life in the kingdom. These pheromones determine how many larvae become workers, soldiers and alates (future king/queen). If the king or queen dies, these pheromones disappear. Then, one of the secondary or tertiary reproductive becomes the new primary reproductive, sometimes after killing off the competition. Queens can live up to 25 years, while most workers live between two and five years.

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Fish That Walks on Land

Posted on 13 May 2012 by RE Team

When we refer to ‘Fish’, we always mean a aquatic living being. It’s difficult to imagine fish without water. But in reality, there are significant number of fish, that are considered as amphibian than aquatic. These fish spend considerable amount of their lifetime without water.


Lung Fish can burrow in land upto two years


Mudskipper  is a very well known example of amphibian fish which can spend days out of water in wet mud. They are found in tropical, subtropical and temperate regions, mostly in the mangrove swamps of Indo-Pacific and the Atlantic coast of Africa. The modskipper has the ability to breathe through skin, lining of the mouth and throat in wet conditions. They also another special way that enhance their breathing outside water.  They have a special cavity behind their ears where sea water is stored. As they rotate their eyes, pressure is applied to that cavity and this reoxygenates the stored water, lubricates the gill flaps and restores the gills to their normal function. The mudskippers can survive upto 4 days out of water! While outside water, they can walk with their pectoral fins, eat food and also fight for their territory.

Another expert amphibian fish is called Lungfish. It is a fresh water fish found in Africa, South America and Australia.  Currently there are six surviving species of Lungfishes found around the world. The Lungfishes have limb like fins. They can breathe air with their lungs.  African and South American lungfish are capable of surviving seasonal drying out of their habitats by burrowing into mud throughout the dry season upto two years.

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Orange-bellied Parrot

Posted on 09 May 2012 by RE Team

The Orange-bellied Parrot is a “grass parrot” found only in South Eastern Australia.

The Scientific Name : Neophema Chrysogaster

Where is it found?

Till 1920s, the Orange-bellied Parrot was wide spread in Australia, hundreds in numbers in the coastal saltmarsh area. It was witnessed throughout Southern Tasmania during summer and during winter from Port Adelaide to Corner Inlet. But due to rapid agriculture expansion, industrialization and residential development, the habitat of the parrot species shrinked sgnificantly in mid 20th century. In 1970s Melaleuca was identified as the only known breeding ground for the species. During winter the birds migrate to Victoria,stopping over on King Island. The adults migrate during February and the juveniles during March-April. The birds migrate back by September to November to Tasmania.

The habitat map of remaining Orange-bellied parrots


How does it live?

The Orange-bellied Parrots feed primarily on coastal saltmarsh. They are generally found on the ground or in low foliage searching for food. The diet consists of seeds of several sedges, everlasting daisy Helichrysum pumilum and heath plants, including buttongrass. Orange-bellied parrots chose their mate for life. They reach the adulthood within a year. They make Nests within the holes of eucalypt trees that are not higher than 5 meters in height. The female incubates the clutch of four eggs. The lifespan of the species is around 4 years in wild. But in captive they can live longer. The oldest male recorded was 11 years and the oldest female was 10 years in captivity.

How does it look?

The Orange-bellied Parrot is a small parrot species, around 20-25 cm in length and 45-50 grams in weight. The adult male has two-tone blue frontal band, green-blue uppertail with yellow sides and prominent orange patch on belly. The under wing-coverts and flight feathers have royal blue leading edge. Its beak and feet are greyish in colour. The adult female is a dull green with a pale blue frontal band. The juvenile is similar to adult female but with a duller green frontal band.

What are the threats?

The recovery program for Orange-bellied parrot was established as early as 1983, 30 years from now. The recovery team studied and monitored the parrot for decades but unfortunately not able to stop the decline of population of the birds. The main threat for the birds population decline is attributed to loss of habitat specially the over-wintering habitat in the coastal region due to agriculture, industrialization and other human activities since the European settlement in the continent. The new sttlement also brought in new species like sparrows, goldfinches and greenfinches with whom the orange-bellied parrot has had to compete for food, nest etc. Predators such as foxes and feral cats have also taken their toll on the population. Another severe threat to the species is the low breeding productivity observed in recent years. The reason for this is not clearly known but may be due to the loss of high quality saltmarsh. The quality of saltmarsh is specially degraded in the mainland

Conservation Efforts

The Orange-bellied parrot recovery program was first started in 1983. The OBP recovery team has contributed a lot towards studying and conservation of the species over the years. Australian Government has invested millions of dollars in the conservation of the species directly or indirectly. Unfortunately the parrot’s population kept on declining and there is always a need of more fund to protect this beautiful species from extinction. The contribution from Birds Australia and the national/international volunteers not to be forgotten in the efforts of the parrot’s conservation. There are various sides of the total conservation efforts. This includes protecting the saltmarh homes, providing adequate food in the competitive environment, keeping the enemies away and keeping close eye on unexpected events like diseases, natural calamities etc. One major portion of the efforts also go into raising an ‘Insurance’ captive population. The current captive population stable at around 170 birds housed at various sites across Tasmania and mainland. Between 1994 and 2009, around 365 captive birds are released into the wild, unfortunately that couldn’t bring the wild population up.

We need to remember that extinction is irreversible process in science till now. If we lose the Orange-bellied parrot, it will be lost forever!

A small clip on Orange-bellied parrots by ‘Act Wild’

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Endangered River Dolphins

Posted on 07 May 2012 by RE Team

River Dolphins are amongst the rarest aquatic mammals. They are  found in big rivers of  Asia and South America. The river dolphins can grow till 9-10 feet long and weigh  almost 200 pounds. There are four different species of the river dolphins known to humans, out of which three are fresh water dolphins and the other one lives in saltwater estuaries. The fresh water species are: Ganges and Indus river dolphins (Sisu and Bhulan),  Amazon river dolpins  (Boto) and Chinese river dolphins (Baiji). La Plata Dolphin (Franciscana) is the only salt water river dolphin found in South America. All these four species are critically endangered. In fact, Baiji or Chinese river dolphins are declared functionally extinct in 2007. Here goes the stories of all the different species:


River Dolphin


Ganges and Indus river dolphins:

Till 1998 Ganges and Indus river dolphins were considered as two different species. But in 1998 they were recognized as two sub species of the same species.  These dolphins are found in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal in Ganges, Brahmaputra and Indus rivers and their tributaries. The total estimated numbers of Ganges river dolphins is around 2000. Out of these, around 300 lives in Brahmaputra and are facing critical threat due to accidental killing through fisheries bycatch, followed by poaching for oil. Few decades ago the dophins were widely seen across Brahmaputra and almost all its tributaries. But now the dolphins survive only in small poackets of the river. The Indus rive dolphins also known as Blind river dolphins are found in the lower reaches of Indus river in Pakistan. Its believed that only 1000 of this species exist now in the Indus river.

Amazon river dolphins:

The Amazon river dolphins inhabit  Orinoco, Amazon and Araguaia/Tocantins River systems of Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela. This species is the largest and the most intelligent of all river dolphin species.  Although widely available in the Amazon, the number of this species is reducing every year.  Scientists believe that 1,500 dolphins are being killed annually in the western Amazon to fuel a lucrative trade in catfish, which feeds on dead animals.

Chinese river dolphins:

A team of scientists have concluded that the Chinese River dolphin, or baiji, is now functionally extinct following comprehensive surveys of its habitat.  Till 2006 it was found in Yangtze river of China. It is one more unfortunate event to animal history caused by human civilization. In last fifty years it is the only aquatic mammal extinction known to humans. Till 1950, around 6000 of this species existed in Yangtze river. But in few decades the number reduced due to hunting, pollution, habitat loss and other human interferences. The last Baiji was sighted in 2007.

La Plata river dolphins:

La Plata dolphins are the only river dolphins found in salt-water.  They inhabitat in in coastal Atlantic waters of southeastern South America.  They are greyish brown colour with the longest beak. The La Plata Dolphins grow 6 feet in length, weigh up to 50 kg (110 lb) and live for up to 20 years.  The La Plata River Dolphin is well known because of where it chooses to build it’s habitat.  It ranges through the La Plata River, which moves through Brazil and Argentina. Despite other fresh water dolphins, this particular dolphin has not adapted to only one type of water living.  It can move back and forth from the salt waters of the ocean and to the river waters that are fresh.  Scientists have raised concerns over the conservation of this species.  Large numbers of them are hunted or killed every year.


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Pygmy Hog

Posted on 07 May 2012 by RE Team

Pygmy Hog is the most endangered wild pig species in the world, currently found only in India.

The Scientific Name : Porcula salvania

Where is it found?

Once found in the grass lands of whole southern Himalayan foot hill, Pygmy Hog has faced the wrath of human civilization and has been wiped out from most of it’s habitat. Currently the species is confined to the tall grass upland of Manas National Park in Assam with an estimated population of below 250. This species is very sensitive to any change in habitat and they are not made to adapt any changes in their Eco system. The density of their population if around 19 per square kilometer.

The Last Habitat of Pygmy Hog


How does it live?

The Pygmy Hog is omnivores, diet consisting of wide assortment of tubers, plants, insects, and small mammals. It is generally active during the day light, spending six to eight hours per day foraging by rooting among soil and leaf litter. The family groups often travel in single file, with an adult at both the front and the rear. Throughout the year, it builds sleeping nest by piling dry grasses over dish-like depressions digging a trench into the ground. This is why its habitat is always grasslands. The Pygmy Hog can reach the age of 8 years in the wild, attending maturity at the age of 1-2 years. The reproduction cycle is strictly seasonal giving births before the monsoon during April-May with a gestation period of around 100 days. It is an extremely good swimmer and can run unbelievably fast in the dense grassland.

How does it look?

The Pygmy Hog is the smallest of the pig family, attaining hardly 1 foot(30 cm) in height and two feet in length (60-70 cm). It can weigh upto 8.5 kg. Male is bigger in size than the female. An adult pygmy hog has dark brown to black skin, overlaid by a coat of dark fur. The head has a crest of hair on the top of the head and the back of the neck. Younger hog is marked with vague reddish stripes which fades away with age.

What are the threats?

The political unrest in the Manas national park region has been a threat to the Pygmy Hogs.
Human encroachment, destruction of the grassland for agriculture has been constantly reducing its habitat.
This little poor species has been struggling to fight with the domesticated animals encroached human population.

Conservation Efforts

The conservation of the Pygmy Hog is very critical because it is the last surviving species of its genus. Unfortunately there is very less public awareness and support for this smallest pig in the world. The only conservation program for the Pygmy Hog was started in 1995. Named as the Pygmy Hog Conservation Program (PHCP), it was initiated by scientist Goutam Narayan with the help of the government, the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust (DWCT) and IUCN Wild Pig Specialist Group chair William Oliver. The PHCP started a captive breeding programme in Basistha, Guwahati, with the goal of reintroducing captive bred hogs back in the wild in 1996. The captive breeding was successful and after 12 years, the project released 16 hogs into the another sanctuary of the same region, Sonai Rupai Wildlife Sanctuary. The program has been able to release around 15 Pygmy Hog into the wild every year, creating a population base of around 50 Pygmy Hogs in the sanctuary. Due to the lack of any public interest and awareness, the program faces challenges for the resources, but the survival of PHCP is very critical for the survival of the little Pygmy Hogs.

A BBC Documentary Clip on Pygmy Hogs

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Top 5 most dense forests in the planet

Posted on 05 May 2012 by RE Team

It’s very difficult to measure how dense a forest is. A dense forest is a forest thick with trees or having trees growing very closely together.

It has been estimated that about half of the Earth’s mature tropical forests between 7.5 million and 8 million square km of the original 15 million to 16 million square km that until 1947 covered the planet have now been cleared. Some scientists have predicted that unless significant measures are taken on a worldwide basis, by 2030 there will only be ten percent remaining, with another ten percent in a degraded condition.


A Rain Forest


The good news is that there are still some dense forests covering vast area in the planet. Some of them are listed below:

Amazonia basin

Amazonia basin in South America is home to the world’s largest contiguous tropical rain forest. The Amazon is the world’s second longest and the most voluminous river spreading across nine countries. The Amazon basin encompasses 7,000,000 square kilometers (1.2 billion acres), while the forest itself, home to the greatest variety of plants and animals on Earth. occupies some 5,500,000 square kilometers. The majority of the forest is contained within Brazil, with 60% of the  rain forest, followed by Peru with 13%, and with minor amounts in Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana. One fifth of all the world’s plants and birds and almost  one tenth of all mammal species are found here. Unfortunately, deforestation is a serious threat to the Amazon forests. The mean annual deforestation rate from 2000 to 2005 (22,392 km2 per year) was 18% higher than in the previous five years (19,018 km2 per year). At the current rate, in two decades the Amazon Rain forest will be reduced by 40%.

Congo Basin

The Congo river, second longest river in Africa, generates the second largest contiguous rain forest in the planet along with it’s tributaries. his vast forest runs through six African countries (Cameroon, Central African Republic, Gabon, Congo and Zaire) stretching from the Mountains of the Moon in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo
to the coast of the Gulf of Guinea. It is a land made famous by the adventures of Stanley and Livingstone and known as a place of brutality and violence for its past. Logging and agricultural clearing are the two major threats to this biologically diverse and rich region and deforestation is happening at an alarming rate. Since the 1980’s, this region the one of the highest loss of forest rates in the world.

Southeast Asia

The Southeast Asian rain forests are the oldest, the most consistent rain forests on the planet. These forests are there since Pleistocene Epoch for more than 70 million years. Southeast Asian forests are one of the Earth’s most biologically diverse forests. These rain forests
stretch from India and Burma in the west to Malaysia and the islands of Java and Borneo in the east. Here again, deforestation of the rain forests in Southern Asia is a serious environmental problem, with over 85% of original rain forests already gone and more being destroyed daily.

Australian temperate forests

Comprising the lowland temperate forests around the Great Dividing Range, the Southeast Australian Temperate Forests comprise a wide variety of vegetation. Unlike the rest of mainland Australia, this region is well-watered with a temperate climate. A diverse mix of vegetation is found throughout this ecoregion, including coastal vegetation,
dense heath, temperate rainforest, riparian communities, wet sclerophyll forests, dry sclerophyll forests, and eucalypt woodlands.The quintessential Australian genus, Eucalyptus dominates in all better-watered regions of Australia, including the Southeast Australia Temperate Forests. There are approximately 700 species of Eucalyptus, and only seven are found outside Australia. Recently this forest has been found to be the home of the world’s most carbon-dense forests, according to researchers from the Australian National University
This ecoregion has been heavily impacted by European settlement, and within the ecoregion the most extensive clearance of native vegetation has occurred to the west of the Dividing Range.


The Taiga biome, southerly part of the biome also known as Boreal forest,
stretches across a large portion of Canada, Europe and Asia. It is the largest biome in the world. It has a harsh continental climate with a very large temperature range between seasons. There are two major types of taiga, closed forest, consisting of many closely-spaced trees with mossy ground cover, and lichen woodland, with trees that are farther-spaced
and lichen ground cover; the latter is more common in the northernmost taiga. The taiga is home to a number of large herbivorous mammals and smaller rodents. These animals have adapted to survive a climate harsh for humans. A number of wildlife species threatened or endangered with extinction can be found in the Canadian Boreal forest. Large areas of Siberia’s taiga have been harvested for lumber since the collapse of the Soviet Union. In Canada, less than eight percent of the Boreal forest is protected from development and more than 50% has been allocated to logging companies for cutting.

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Rare Photo of a Tiger Family

Posted on 03 May 2012 by RE Team

A rare image of a photo-trapped complete Tiger family in Kaziranga National Park, India.


Rare Photo of Tiger Family


The Family consists of two cubs, father and mother. On the left is the Tigress and facing the trap camera is the Tiger, other two are the cubs.

In a recent reports release by Aaranyak, a premier biodiversity conservation organization of Assam, India states that Kaziranga has the highest density tiger habitats in the country and has a healthy breeding source population. According to the survey spanning over three years based on camera-trapped technique, the National Park  has over 118 tigers, includes six tigers which died during the monitoring period.


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New Research to Save Himalayan Wolf

Posted on 02 May 2012 by RE Team

Himalayan Wolf, one of the beautiful wolf species in the world, is considered one of the rare mammal too. Unfortunately, this gorgeous wolf found the Himalayan region has been studied on very few occasions. A proper study and research on the species is very important to save it from extinction. And the encouraging news is that Wildlife Institute of India has already initiated a project and it is already taking a roll.

Shivam Shrotriya, a researcher at Wildlife Institute of India, has completed the phase 1 of a project on “Ecology and conservation of Himalayan Wolf” under the guidance of Dr. Bilal Habib & Dr. Y.V. Jhala of the same institute. The project is also funded ‘The Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund‘. The project focuses to fill the huge gap on the study on the biology and ecology of the Himalayan Wolves.


Ecology and Conservation of Himalayan Wolf


Till now whatever studies have been done on the Himalayan Wolves reveal that the Himalayan lineage of wolves, spread from Spiti to Sikkim, including Nepal are the most ancient lineages wolves of the world. Population estimation of wolves in Ladakh and Spiti by earlier studies revealed the presence of just around 350 individuals left in the wild.

The current research has taken various steps further on the Himalayan Wolf studies. The study concentrates on a baseline survey across the Himalayan and Trans-Himalayan landscapes to identify key areas for wolf conservation. Since October 2010, 90 villages and groups of nomadic herders have been visited and 244 interviews have been conducted using semi-structured questionnaires for obtaining records of wolf sighting by the local people and livestock predation, in the states of Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh in India. Indices were developed to compare the level of wolf-human conflict and wolf presence across the Protected Areas.

The initial results of the study reveals that Wolves accounted for 11.2% cases of livestock predation as compared to leopard (30.8%) and snow leopard (17.5%) in Himachal Pradesh and 57% cases compared to leopard (17.6%) in Jammu & Kashmir. In Himachal Pradesh, Conflict index was found to be higher in Kibber
Wildlife Sanctuary (9.12) followed by Pin Valley National Park (1.56). In Jammu & Kashmir, the Conflict index was higher in Thajwas-Baltal Wildlife Sanctuary (13.89) followed by Hirpora Wildlife Sanctuary (9.43) and Changthang Cold Desert Sanctuary (4.08). Wolf Presence index
was higher in Kibber (0.76) followed by Pin Valley (0.34) and Hirpora (1.00) followed by Changthang (0.88) and Thajwas-Baltal (0.80). Considering if the livestock predation cases and the sightings by the people are relative to the abundance of wolves, Kibber and Thajwas-Baltal with adjoining Overa-Aru Wildlife Sanctuaries and Changthang Cold Desert Sanctuary are seen as potential sites of higher abundance.

These are pioneer data on the Himalayan Wolves behaviour and habitat. The project aims to go further deep in the research. We keep great hope for the success of this project which in turn will save one the magnificent species to vanish away from our sight.


Relivearth has identified Himalayan Wolf as one of the species that needs support and attention from public. Please view older articles on the species and support the cause of this research effort by commenting and providing ideas.

Tracing the lineages of Himalayan Wolves

Himalayan Wolf:Conservation Thought

Time to Act for Himalayan Wolf

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Hunter Who Turned Conservationist

Posted on 01 May 2012 by RE Team

Hunting played a very important role in human civilization.It was an act of necessity in the early days of civilization for food and clothes. For thousands of years human hunted wild animals only for food and skin. Slowly our civilization flourished, humans came out of caves, jungles and hunting got a new meaning. In medieval age hunting of wild animals were done to protect human communities from wild attacks. It was considered as an act of fun, entertainment and sport among the aristocrats and royal families. But very soon we spread across every territory in the planet, leaving minimal space and population for the other species. This forced all authorities in the modern era to consider hunting as crime. The meaning of hunting turned upside down, it is no more needed to protect humans, instead it should be stopped to protect the wild. The word itself got a new name and now called as poaching.

During the transition for modern era, there are many hunters who turned themselves into conservationists in later part of their lives. In fact hunters were the early conservationists. Hunters are wild animal behaviors and their habitats very closely. Even many species discoveries go to the hunters. Some of them were real researchers of wild animal behaviours too. We have learnt a lot from the writings of the hunters about many valuable species.

In this series of articles we are covering history of some of the well known hunters who were also conservationists and did commendable job to protect the beautiful wild.


Devanampiya Tissa (250 BC)

The King of small island country Srilanka in Asia, Devanampiya Tissa, was the founder of the first ever known wildlife sanctuary in human history. If we want to date back this sanctuary, it will go beyond 2500 years from now! Like any other kings of those days, he was a hunter. It was a leisure sport for him in his initial days. One day while hinting a deer in Mihintale, Tissa was sighted by Indian emperor Ashoka’s son Arahath Mahinda. Mahinda was a Budhdhist missionary monk and he stopped the king in the track and preached to him that all mammals, birds and other creatures enjoy an equal right to live in this land, wherever they may want. The land belongs to all the people and animals. The king is only the ruler and not the owner of this land. The monk’s words really impressed the king and he not only took Budhdhism as his religion also renounced the pleasure of animal hunting. Mahinda also advised King Devanampiya Tissa to designate Mihintale and the surrounding jungle areas as a sanctuary for wildlife.


The first Wildlife Sanctuary in human history still exists in Srilanka


William Cornwallis Harris(1807 – 1848)

Sir William Cornwallis Harris was an English Millitary Engineer by profession. But he is known as a hunter and animal artist. Born in Wittersham, Kent, in 1807, Harris was educated at a military college and went at the age of 16 to India as a Second Lieutenant in the East India Company’s Engineers. He remained there for the next thirteen years, using his leisure for hunting and the sketching of animals. But he got ill there and sent to Capetown for recovery. With a civil servant friend from India, he resolved to penetrate into the African bushveld far beyond the borders of the colony. He made a trek in 1836-37 through unexplored country as far as the residence of the Matabele chief, Moselekatse. Harris obtained reluctant permission to return to the Colony via a little known south-eastern route. Here he had some fine elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo hunting.

On his return to India, Harris published his Narrative of an Expedition into Southern African soon afterwards re-issued in London as The Wild Sports Southern Africa (1939). The standard Encyclopaedia of Southern Africa describes this as the first book by a big-game hunter in Africa. Harris was no mere carcas-seeker. He has a lively naturalists interest’s in the animals which he saw and made accurate drawings of them which were later published. He discovered the rare Sable antelope, sending a description and specimen of it to the Zoological Society of London. At that time he might not realise the conservation importance, was never a true conservationists. But his pictures and books depict his love for wild. His works are considered as valuable works on natural history till date.


Sir William Cornwallis Harris


Douglas Hamilton (1818 – 1892)

Douglas Hamilton was a gazetted British Indian Army officer posted in South India from 1837 – 1871. He is the greatest big game hunter in the history of Nilgiri Hills and killed more game than anyone in the region ever. On the other hand he was an acute observer of nature and a pioneer of Indian wildlife conservation.

Douglas started his big game in 1839 with Blackbuck antelopes available in numbers at that in the Nilgiri region. He closely observed over 50 wild tigers during his career and In 1854 he killed his first tiger at the Avalanche in the Nilgiri Hills. Later he killed many tigers in the region. In 1855 in the Annaimalai Hills, he killed his first elephant, a large tusker. Few years later, together with Sir Victor Brooke, Hamilton shot the largest elephant ever killed in Southern India. This trophy had one perfect tusk 96 inches (244 cm) long and a broken tusk measuring 71 inches (180 cm) long. It was 11 feet (3.4 m) tall at the shoulder. Between 1855 and 1869, Hamilton shot and killed two hundred and ninety-five sambar, few leopards and bisons too. These numbers represent the largest ever kill in the region.

Though from the numbers, Douglas Hamilton looks like a ruthless hunter, he was a true forest conservationist from heart. He is remembered equally for his contributions in thie field of conservation and wild surverys. Hamilton was a very close friend to General James Michael who was organizing an experimental forest conservancy in the Annaimalai Hills. Michael had to return to England for his sickness in 1854 which gave way to Hamilton to take over his duties. He succeeded permanently to the this post and for the three years was in charge of the Annaimalai forests, supplying various statistics to the company. During this period he also became Assistant Conservator of Forests under Dr. Hugh Francis Cleghorn who established the Madras Forest Department. The work of this department later led to the establishment of the Forest Department of India. He was also an avid surveyor of the Annaimalai and Niligiri region. He made very careful drawings of the surveys and also wild animals. These well-known drawings showed him as an accurate observer and a careful draughtsman. He equally observed the behaviors of various wild animals while surveying and penned down all.

In 1871 Douglas Hamilton left India after retirment and annually rented a moor and deer forest in Scotland till his death in 1892.


Douglas Hamilton


Charles Jesse Jones – (1844-1919)

Charles Jesse Jones, who was poplaurly known as “Buffalo Jones” in America started his life as a big game hunter. He became very fmaous as a cowboy cum hunter, but in later stage of his life he bacme saviour of those animals and is now considered as the the first and original preserver-user of North America’s wildlife.

Born in 1844 in Illinois, Jones became fascinated as a youth with the capture of wild animals. Jones became involved at an early age with the capture of wild animals and kept several as pets. He came to Kansas in 1866, where he developed into a skilled plainsman. With his knowledge and love of outdoor life, he made a good living for his wife, two sons and two daughters, hunting buffalo. His success at hunting earned him the sobriquet “Buffalo” Jones. In addition to hunting bison, he tamed buffalo calves and wild horses to sell them at county fairs.

In 1879, Jones, along with John A. Stevens and the brothers William D. and James R. Fulton, founded Garden City, Kansas. Jones was elected the first mayor of Garden City. He did development of the city along with keeping his own private herd of Buffalo. But in the spring of 1886, Jones alarmed about reducing number of the bisons in the region. He immediately set forth from Kansas, toward the Texas Panhandle to find remaining animals. He lassoed eighteen calves and took them safely back to Kansas. Jones with the help of Texas rancher Charles Goodnight tried producing Cattalo, a cross breed of Buffalo with cattle. From 1886-1889, Jones accumulated more than fifty buffalos. He sold some of them to zoos at handsome money. Offspring from this basic herd of Jones spread throughout the world, thereby saving this race of noble prairie animals.

In 1897-1898, Charles Jones traveled to the Arctic Circle, where his party wintered in a cabin that they had constructed near the Great Slave Lake. He captured five baby musk oxen. But unfortunately they were after-wards slaughtered by superstitious local Indians. In 1899, Jones captured a bighorn sheep for the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington.

In 1902, Jones’ friend President Theodore Roosevelt appointed him as the first game warden at Yellowstone National Park. There also Jones successfully developed the Yellowstone bison herd with imports from Texas and Montana.


Charles Buffalo Jones


Late in 1909, Jones persuaded the industrialist Charles S. Bird to finance a game-catching expedition to Kenya. Along with two cowboys (Marshall Loveless and Ambrose Means), a guide and several porters, Jones traveled to Nairobi. In the savannahs of Kenya, they roped warthogs, elands, zebras, a rhinoceros, and a lioness, which lived at a zoo in New York until 1921. Jones also employed two filmographers who documented their activities. He was awarded a medal by the British King Edward VII for his efforts to preserve animals. In 1914, Jones organized a second but unsuccessful African hunting trip for a gorilla. In this trip he got malaria from which he never recovered and died in 1917 at Kansas. In his last years, he patented an irrigation device and also envisioned crosbreeding domestic sheep with Rocky Mountain bighorns. On July 4, 1979, a permanent exhibit in the Finney County Historical Museum in Garden City was dedicated to Jones’ memory.


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