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Killings of Rare One-Horned Rhinos

Posted on 12 January 2013 by RE Team

Two more Rare Great One-Horned Rhinos are poached in last 48 hours in Assam, India. Assam which is the last surviving land for the magnificent One-Rhinos has seen an increase in the poaching of the Rhinos in the last year. The recent two kills are first report of Rhino poaching of 2013.


First two killings of Rhinos of the year reported from Assam - courtesy


Kaziranga National Park, which houses more than 50% of the world’s wild population of One-Horned Rhino, is usually praised for recent protection and conservation process for this rare mammal. But in recent years the poaching in and around the National Park has increased drastically. The poachers are also backed by the devastating flood by the river Brahmaputra that flows through the park. The Rhinos come out of the park during these flood days and become easy target of poachers. The forest authorities also shows a lack of effort and intention to protect these rare animals. Along with the Rhinos, many other animals like elephant, deers are killed during the flood.

In a recent statement published by the authority, there were at lest 42 Rhinos killed in the Kaziranga National Park in the year 2012, of which, 15 were killed by poachers and 27 died due to floods. Not to mention thousands of other big and small animals falling victim to the poachers and flood both.

Though most of the killings are attributed to the flood, the recent killings are not related to it. As the current season in the region is dry, these two killings are mere failure of the authority. Both the rhino carcasses, which were recovered by forest officials on Friday, bore bullet injuries. The horns were missing, and poachers are suspected to have made off with these.


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Indian Big Cats’ “Well” Fiasco

Posted on 04 June 2012 by RE Team

The big cats of India has been fighting with the increasing population in the country. There are regular incidents when Leopards or even Tigers stray into villages and create unexpected situations. We have here captured some of the examples where the big cat gets trapped in men dug  wells and struggles to get out of it. It creates nervousness and frustration in the animal and sometimes even injures people.

May 28, 2012

A wild leopard fell into a water reservoir tank at a tea estate in Sangatram, some 30 kms from Siliguri, in West Bengal, India. After various efforts by authorities, the Leopard finally escapes using a ladder put by the rescue team from Mahananda Wildlife sanctuary.


The Nervous Leopard struggling to climb the well - Diptendu Dutta / AFP



Leopard climbing a ladder - Diptendu Dutta / AFP


Feb 29, 2011

Within a span of 24 hours two big cats of India slipped into man made wells at different locations.

The first incident was reported from Chameli Forest are of Maharashtra, western India.

The tiger, a full grown adult around four years old, fell into the 40-feet-deep dry well, which was not protected by a wall. The tiger was probably chasing some prey and must have accidentally fallen into the well around dawn today. It spent around ten hours in the well without food or water.


The frightened Tiger in the well


The animal’s plight was detected almost five hours later when some tribals and forest officials heard its roar and alerted police and wildlife officials, who then mounted a rescue operation. The tiger was first tranquilized and then taken out of the 40 feet deep well. It took more than three hours for the authorities to complete the operation. Later the Big Cat was released to wild.

In another similar incident reported from central India, a one-and-a-half year-old leopard was Tuesday extricated from a well in after a six-hour rescue operation.

Villagers of Dewas district in Madhya Pradesh first heard roars of the Leopard in a well situated in the fields. They informed the forest department. The intital efforts from the villagers to rescue it failed.


Angry Leopard in Well


Later, the forest department workers used a cage and successfully took out the leopard from the well.  The leopard would be released in the Dewas forest area after a medical check-up.

These are not only the first reports of big cats falling into human structures. There are frequent reports of such incidents from all corners of India.

On Sep 6, 2010, a Leopard was rescued from a well by locals in Udupi, south India.

On March, 2009, an adult Leopard was rescued from Guwahati, eastern part of India.

These reports imply the shrinking habitat of these big cats.

In fact the sighting of tiger in that area surprised the authorities. The area  never reported a sighting in the past many years since it is not a thick forest region. This says how far the rare animal travelled into human settlements, where it is never safe!

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Tigress vs AK-47

Posted on 30 December 2011 by RE Team

The conflicts between human and big cats in India have been discussed and highlighted many times here. Despite many programs and money purred into this matter, the conflicts are getting in fact deeper with the ‘National Big Cat’ and the king of the jungle entering the scene. Yes, now its tiger that is directly confronting the human settlements in India creating panic in both wildlife lovers and common public.


The tigress that fell victim to AK-47 bulllets


During the last week of November, an adult tigress strayed out of the Kaziranga National Park of North-East India which is home to around 90 tigers.  The tigress created panic among the habitats living near by Kohora range of the National Park. The tigress not killed cattle of the villagers creating fear among all.

On 5th December, the tigress killed a pig of one villager and started eating in near by bush. It was witnessed by the villagers and informed the forest authority. The authority kept the tigress under notice and prepared to tranquilize the full grown tigress. While the villagers informed the police and also tried the flee it with crackers. The noise made the tigress nervous and cross the highway towards the other side of the jungle. In the mean time a team of Assam police also arrived at the location. The crowd created panic in the tigress too, and it started roaring. After sometime the tigress again came out and this time attacked one journalist and also one police personal armed with AK-47. He fired at the tigress on self defense. Injured with bullets, the tigress became weak and took a back step. But then another police personal fired at the tigress with his AK-47 and rained it with bullets. The tigress had no choice this time but to surrender to death.

Another sad incident! The death of the Royal bengal Tigress brought back peace into the locality among the panicking villagers. But the story shouldn’t have ended with 14 bullets inside a beautiful animal, in fact the National animal of India. The animal could have been saved with proper planning and with a little more effort. The bullets of an AK-47 should not be a solution or answer to the panic among the villagers.

This clearly proves how inadequate are the process in place to stop the human-animal conflict in the region. Its a now a grave matter, because after so much hype and money flown into the tiger projects, there are not sufficient actions are in place.

Hope as the “King of the Jungle” is involved now, the conflicts will get more attention. Unfortunately the poor villagers around the forests have suffered so much loss and more than that so many beautiful and precious animals have already lost their lives due to the negligence of a few authorities.

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Dolphin Sanctuary In Bangladesh

Posted on 01 November 2011 by RE Team

A good news for the Dolphin lovers as Bangladesh is going to set up a protected area specifically for the river dolphins in the region. The Bangladesh forestry department took the decision of setting up a Dolphin Sanctuary after a study that found three areas in the Sundarbans mangrove forest are home to large populations of Irrawaddy and Ganges river dolphins.


Irrawaddy Dolphins


The areas identified for the Dolphin sanctuary are the river channels at Dhangmari, Chandpai and Dudhmukhi in the eastern Sundarbans. The channels and adjoining areas are home to hundreds of endangered Irrawady and Ganges river dolphins. Thousands of fishermen make their living in that region by catching fish and shrimps. Although dolphins are not targeted directly, they often become entangled in the fishing nets and die by the dozen every year. It is decided to ban ban fishing in these channel areas.

The river channels at Sundarbans in both India and Bangladesh are considered as key hotspots for dolphins. It is home to at least 6000 Irrawaddy dolphins. It is also home to rare Gangetic river dolphins. In these delta areas the flat-faced dolphins are known to converge. Bangladesh has the highest concentration of them.

The Dolphin Sanctuary will be one of the pioneer in Asia to protect Dolphins. It will be interesting to see what measure will the government take to improve the socio-economic standards of the region as by declaration of protected area, the fishermen will be affected.


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Loss of Six Rare Bhulans

Posted on 04 February 2011 by RE Team

Indus river blind dolphins which are popularly known as Bhulan or Indus Susu, are one of the rarest mammal species in earth. They are also the only the only species in the world to have eyes without lenses! Instead, they have sound imaging skills called echolocation, which is a very sophisticated sonar system that helps them swim through the muddy rivers. This is the reason why they called blind Dolphins.

But this marvellous species in endangered and only few hundreds (less then one thousand) left in the Indus river.


River Dolphin


The protection of Bhulan’s is in a threat recently when the news of the deaths of such six rare dolphins within the last month comes up. According the the Pakistan wildlife sources, it happened mainly due to low water level and contaminated water.

Authorities are carrying out investigations to determine the real cause behind the killing of blind dolphin. They said that water levels are very low in the Indus River now due to which a small amount of poisonous chemicals can kill a large number of fish.

Initially, fishermen of the area have been alleged as using poisonous chemicals to catch fish, which contaminated the river water.

Khalid Khan, a fisher man of 28, accused the toxic waste released as the reason of the killing of fish in the Indus River.

“Poisonous release of factories from southern Punjab is the real culprit as a large amount of poisonous waste from the factories pollutes the rivers, which are tributaries of the Indus River,” Khan said.

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Tiger Cubs Bring Joy to Ranthambore

Posted on 28 January 2011 by RE Team

Ranthambore National Park of India has a great 2011 start with the news of 9 tiger cub births.

Ranthambore, which is one of the largest National Park of India, is widely known for its Tigers. The Sanctuary was one of the initial reserved area to come under Indian Governments ‘Project Tiger’ in 1973. In 80s the park saw increase of tiger population slowly reaching 44 in 1989. But this critically endangered species saw a decline of population in 90s and later. The main reason for the population decline is attributed to poaching and habitat loss. In 2005 the official survey reveals only 24 tiger in the park. With tremendous efforts from wildlife activists and forest department, the population again soared to around 34 in 2008. According to the census conducted in the core division in 2009, revealed there were 14 males, 16 females and 10 cubs.


Tigress with Cubs at Ranthambore


But 2010 brought no good news for Tigers in Ranthambore with around 10 tiger lives lost. Due to tiger population growth and habitat shrinking, there were fierce competition among the tigers for food and territory. Apart from deaths due to fights, a few of them found staryed away from the National park. Adding worse to the scenario, in March 2010, two tiger cubs were poisoned by local villagers!

Though 2010 was not a very good year, 2011 brings really joy to the Ranthambore National park with news of nearly 9 or more new born cubs.

A trap camera caught three cubs recently in the Indala region of the park. Though the news of the birth of the cubs at the Indala region came sometime back, forest officials could not confirm it as pictures were not available. According to Rajpal Singh, member of the state wildlife board, the Indala tigress was the same one that gave birth to three cubs in 2006. Unfortunately, none of those survived.

Since last September, five cubs have been caught on camera while forest guards spotted two more tigress which are said to be lactating, park sources said.

However, sources said that there are four more cubs have been spotted in separate areas in the park. These four cubs are in two separate areas of the park. But there is no official confirmation on them as of now.

We hope this time the cubs will grow up with good health and authorities will take proper measure for this increasing population.

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Stunning new species discovered of 2010

Posted on 04 January 2011 by RE Team

The era of new discoveries may be a history now, but 2010 brought good news for the explorers. A large of species are discovered during the year across the globe. This is a sign that nature is carefully hiding secretes from us and we need to put more efforts to find them all.

The discoveries of 2010 are mostly concentrated to some specific geographical zones or special biological missions. Amazon rain forests, the greater Mekong region, Ecuador, Deep sea/ocean are some of the regions from where large number of species are discovered.  Missions like ’search for lost frogs’ has also helped finding number of new amphibians.

We have highlighted few of the amazing species discovered during the year 2010.


The Giant spider in Middle Eastern sand Dunes:

In early 2010, scientists discovered a giant species of spider hiding in sand dunes on the Israel-Jordan border. With a leg span that stretches 5.5 inches, the spider, named as Cerbalus aravensis, is the biggest of its type in the Middle East. The new discoveries in this region in the earth is very rare. it is really stunning that a spider of this giant size was not known to scientists till now!



The giant spider


The slug-sucking snake and the Scaly-eyed gecko of  Ecuador:

On January 14th, 2010, a team of U.S. and Ecuadorian researchers, the nonprofit, Arizona based Reptile & Amphibian Ecology International announced a lists of 30 unknown species found in Ecuador’s highland forests. Among the discoveries two interesting species are the slug-sucking snake and a scaly-eyed Gecko. In just 20 minutes of nighttime searching in a rare patch of coastal dry forest in Ecuador, scientists spot the new species of snake.  The slug-sucking snake is one of a small group that feasts on gastropods such as slugs and snails. Not only is the snake an unknown species, but its closest relative lives almost 560 kilometers away in Peru.

The scaly-eyed gecko , given a scientific name as Lepidoblepharis buchwaldi , can perch comfortably atop a pencil eraser, even as an adult. They crawl around in leaf litter on the forest floor, and they are so small they are very hard to find.


The scaly eyed mini gecko


The carnivorous pitcher plant of Cambodia:

The Cardamom Mountains rain forests are one of the largest, isolated and still mostly unexplored forests in southeast  Asia. This mountain range has been carefully keeping species and lives unknown to outside world due to lack of proper research. But there are recent efforts in this direction by researchers and sceintists to discover this hidden treasure of nature. One such successful mission is reported yesterday by Fauna and Flora International (FFI). The organization has discovered a new unique species which is a carnivorous pitcher plant. It is named as “Nepenthes holdenii“.


Nepenthes holdenii - The carnivore plant


The bald parrot of Amazon:

More than thousand species have been discovered in the amazon rain forest in last ten years. The most recent of them is the bald parrot, reported by WWF in 2010. The bald parrot, named as Pyrilia aurantiocephala,  a member of the true parrot family, has an extraordinary bald head. It displays an astonishing spectrum of colours. Known only from a few localities in the Lower Madeira and Upper Tapajos rivers in Brazil, the species has been listed as ‘near threatened’, due to its moderately small population, which is declining owing to habitat loss.


The bald parrot of Amazon


The mongoose like mammal carnivore of Madagaskar:

Madagascar, which is home to many unique species, has claimed a species on Oct, 2010 that is unknown to the rest of the world till date. The species is a small mammal carnivore having similarities to Mongoose found in one of the world’s most endangered lakes, Lac Alaotra. It is the first new species of meat-eating mammal discovered in 24 years. The species was named as Durrell’s vontsira (Salanoia durrelli), in the honor of the late conservationist and writer Gerald.


Durrell’s vontsira



The tiny frog of Malaysia:

In the month of August, 2010, in the jungles of Borneo, Dr Indraneil Das and colleague Alexander Haas discovered a new tiny species. It is a frog measuring only 3 mm in length. The full grown adults of the species are of the size 9mm to 12mm. This species named as “Microhyla nepenthicola” was found in Kubah National Park, Malaysia. This is one of the smallest known frog species in the world.


Microhyla nepenthicola - the tiny frog


The squidworm of deep sea:

A discovery made late 2010 from the deep sea near Philippine islands created excitement among the biologists. This species is neither a squid nor a worm, named a squidworm, could represent a missing link, or transitional species.


The Squidworm

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Cracking Arkansas Death Mystery

Posted on 04 January 2011 by RE Team

The new year brought mystery and tragedy to the southern state of United States of America, Arkansas. The land of mountains, valleys, forests and rich wildlife has seen massacre of birds, fishes due to still unknown and mysterious cause.


A poor dead black-bird in Arkansas


This mysterious event first occurred in the small town of Beebe on the day of New Year. Within an area of just one-mile diameter, birds started falling out of the sky. The tragic event stunned thousands of people in the town. Within few hours the number of falling birds increased to more than thousand.  It was like a doomsday event in movies, the red-winged blackbirds, grackles, and starlings fell all over from the skies filling the roads and walkways. The death fall that started at around 11:30 pm just on the New Year Eve, gave the residents a horrifying experience. The total number of deaths of those poor birds may cross five thousands.

Adding more to it, Arkansas River saw another strange and unexplained event. On a 20-mile stretch between Ozark and Clarksville the river washed up hundreds of thousands of dead drum fish. This new report made the locals of Arkansas crazy and they are horrified at these unnatural incidents.


Dead drum fish at Arkansas river


Scientists are still not in a position to find the exact cause of these two incidents. This inability of the scientists has compelled common people to think out of the track and consider these events to be the act of supernatural.  Some believe these two incidents are not just coincidence, they have hidden meaning. There are more speculations like alien acts, ghostly affair, or some conspiracy theory etc.

But it may not be a strange event for the scientists. These are definitely two independent accidents happened at the same time in the same area.

The fish death can be explained easily as some disease, similar to what The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission believes. Because the fish are from the same species, it is highly possible that some unknown disease stroked them. The possible cause of any pollutant is ruled out because, it would have killed all the fished but not only one species.

The recent lab result on the birds also says that there is no involvement of poisonous material. It has been discovered that the birds all suffered from blunt force trauma. Authorities have stated that the incident could have possibly been the result of hail, lightning, or even trauma from fireworks. And this is absolutely true and is considered as a regular event in other parts of the world. Jatinga, a small village in North-East India sees this event every year during winter. Any torches or fire, on special weather condition of the region, attracts birds of some specific species. The birds fly down straight from the high sky at night and fall prey to the fire or torch. This was considered as a “Gift of Gods” by the tribal of the region historically. This is well explained in this website already. The Arkansas bird death is pretty much similar to this and can be related.

The Arkansas events are definitely two independent accidents happening at the same time in the same place, creating chaos among people. But in reality, the birds’ deaths can be explained as a known incident similar to Jatinga bird suicide, while the fish deaths can be considered as an act of some deadly disease.  We hope scientists will soon resolve the mystery with firm results.

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Elephant twins bring joy to Orang

Posted on 17 December 2010 by RE Team

Alka, an elephant at the Orang National Park brings joy to wildlife animal lovers, as she created a history by giving birth to twins in the sanctuary on 15th December. Alka has engaged at the National Park to ferry thousands of tourists inside the wildlife sanctury for several years. Orang is situated in Assam, North-East India. The National Park, aka Rajib Gandhi National Park, is located on the north bank of the river Brahmaputra and around 150 km west of the capital city of the state Assam. It is home to rich flora and fauna, including the Great Indian One-Horned Rhinoceros, Pigmy hog, Elephants, Wild buffalo and Tigers.


Alka with her one day old little twins


The twin elephant calves, both female, were seen enjoying the warmth of their mother as Alka’s mahout Trailokya Bishya, who passed a sleepless night to protect the twins from the tigers, watched over them.

“I was on ambush duty in a camp a little away. Around 3 a.m. I heard Alka yelling in labour pain. At crack of dawn, when I reached her I was overjoyed to see that she had already given birth,” Mr. Baishya told. He lit a fire, preparing to guard the mother and the twins. Mr. Baishya was vigilant against possible tiger attacks. The 80-sq. km. park has an estimated 16 Royal Bengal Tigers.

Twins are extremely rare in the domesticated world of elephants. It is rare because a large-bodied animal would have to invest significantly higher effort to obtain nutritious food for twin foetuses. It is more likely to occur in wild elephants who have access to both wild food as well as cultivated crops which are more nutritious.

India has recorded Elephant twins birth more than a decade ago in Mudumalai wildlife sanctuary in Tamil Nadu. 2010 turns out to be an exceptional year for Elephants as this is the second report of Elephant twins in the same year. Early this year, Phang Thong Khun, an elephant from Thailand gave birth to male twins.

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Squidworm: New Excitement for Biologists

Posted on 06 December 2010 by RE Team

“This illustrates how much we have to learn about even the large, common inhabitants of deep pelagic communities,” said Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts and the Scripps Institute of Oceanography.

“When the image came onto the screen, everyone said, Oh my gosh, what’s that?” recalled marine zoologist Laurence Madin of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts.

“This is an intermediate species between the benthic ancestors — things living in the mud on the seafloor — and other species that live in the water column but never go to the floor,”  said Karen Osborn, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz. ”I was really excited,” Osborn added,  “It was so tantalizing because the animal was so different from anything previously described, with the fantastic headgear. I would estimate that when exploring the deep water column, more than half the animals we see are undescribed or new to science.”




These are some of the examples of excitements among the scientists after the discovery of a new species under ocean water named as Squidworm. This species is neither a squid nor a worm. It is an especially exciting discovery because the species could represent a missing link, or transitional species.

Scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and the University of California, Santa Cruz have recently discovered the squidworm at around 3000 meters under ocean water, just above the ocean floor. The scientists used a remotely operated submersible robot to find squid. The species is named asTeuthidodrilus samae, or “squid worm of the Sama”—the Sama being a culture with ties to Philippine islands not far from the discovery site.

The Squidworm grows up to 9.4 centimeters (3.7 inches) in length. Swimming upright, it navigates by moving two body-length rows of thin, paddle-shaped protrusions that cascade like dominoes. It has ten tentacles as long or longer than its body stick out of its head, along with six pairs of curved nuchal organs that allow the squidworm to taste and smell underwater.

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Photos of Nature