Thursday, September 27, 2012

Wildlife week- a need to pledge to work for wildlife throughout the year.

Wildlife week is celebrated from the 1st of October to the 7th of October every year to create awareness and bring about an understanding of the threats our wild species face in the country. This year around, I jot down ten ways in which you can make a difference for conserving Goa’s wildlife.

1.     A simple way to protect vital wildlife hotspots like the Western Ghats is by being aware of your local surroundings. Understand the fact that Goa’s Protected Areas harbors wildlife that is unique and threatened. Knowing this itself is the first step towards conservation.
2.     Support the field staff of the Forest Department. Remember, the Forest Department is a custodian of our forests. The need to support them in their work and ensure that the goal for wildlife protection is met with is our duty as well.
3.     Be proactive. Raise your voice wherever necessary and lobby for conservation in your own backyard environment to begin with. Spread the message.
4.     Reduce your consumption of natural resources by making a conscious effort to sustainably use depleting natural resources. Wherever possible return to green and clean technologies. This will help conserve wildlife habitats in a long way.
5.     Curb the menace of plastic and reduce, recycle and reuse all non-biodegradable resources. This itself will help wildlife conservation to a large extent.
6.     Conserve Water-whether it is in your home or office environment, the need of the hour is to conserve fresh water and its sources-lakes, rivers wells, springs etc across the state.
7.     Promote local diversity-plant indigenous tree species and support local open pollinated seeds. Grow a tree yourself and help increase the green cover of our state.
8.     Avoid the usage of pesticides and insecticides in gardens and farms. Lobby for a chemical free environment as this will help conserve lesser-known wildlife and directly enrich soil composition over a period of time.
9.     Join a wildlife cause. Volunteer time or resources for a local wildlife organization or an individual working in the field of conservation.
10.  Help raise awareness amongst children and youth- start from your own child and ensure that children understand the value of wildlife and respect it.

Celebrate this year’s Wildlife week by addressing key issues that connect urban living with wildlife and habitat conservation. Remember, every natural resource you use is derived from a forest or allied source. The sooner we understand the better it would be for our wild denizens and us. Keep the faith.
By Nirmal U Kulkarni

Saturday, September 22, 2012


A high altitude mixed moist deciduous and semi evergreen region, with altitudes ranging from 517- 800 msl, the forests around Castle Rock and Kuveshi village are a wildlifers paradise and a researcher’s dream area to work in.
 Our base is at Kuveshi village, a small hamlet situated in the heart of rainforests and 12 kilometers away from Castle Rock. The motor able dirt track that leads to Kuveshi passes through some of the most exquisite forests of the region and includes a criss cross network of streams and rivulets that meander through these forests.
The forests that surround Kuveshi fall in the buffer areas of the Dandeli Tiger Reserve and are home to gaur, tigers, leopards, sambar, spotted deer, mouse deer, barking deer, sloth bear, slender loris to name but a few. The Herpetofauna includes King cobra, Indian Rock Python, Hump nosed and Malabar Pit vipers, Draco and Indian Monitor lizard, Malabar gliding frog and Maharashtra Bush frog amongst others.
The fabled Dudhsagar falls are located in tranquil dense tropical forest criss-crossed with small streams which all merge into the Dudhsagar falls. The view from the crown of the falls is spectacular, offering a panorama of the Mollem National Park, the Devil’s Canyon at its foot (a popular picnic spot with locals and tourists), and the little railway bridge that crosses the canyon.
The Base
The research base at Kuveshi is named Hypnale after the Latin name of the Hump nosed pit viper (Hypnale hypnale). The forest that surrounds the villages of Castle Rock and Kuveshi are the type locality of this species that is endemic to the forests of South India and Sri Lanka. The research station is a part of the Wildlife Research Station network that we are trying to establish across the Northern Western Ghats of India and is focused towards study of lesser-known fauna in the region.

Climate- Pleasant climate with windy weather.
Temperature- 28 degrees Celsius to 35 degrees Celsius.
Humidity- 60 percent and above.

The workshop will include opportunistic surveys, lectures on field data collection and in situ photography of Western Ghats biodiversity.
Field identification techniques of micro fauna, demonstrations of basic bird surveys, training in use of field equipment and discussion of natural history will also be a part of the workshop.
Participants will also get to use basic and advance field equipment, learn observation skills as naturalists and work alongside qualified researchers in the field.

A rainforest eco system that is unique and offers vast prospects for
a.    Learning to observe, photograph and document uncommon and endemic bio diversity the right way.
b.    Trekking and participation in field surveys.
c.    Learning use of field equipment as well as field skills alongside ecologists.
And more…

DATES- 25THOCT 2012 TO 28TH OCT (7.00 am departure from Panjim on 25th and reaching on 28th at 4.00pm at Panjim)
CONTRIBUTION FEES- Rs 9500/- per participant  (this includes all meals and snacks, usage of equipment, resource person fees and transportation from Panjim to Hypnale base station at Kuveshi and back.)


AGE GROUP- 16 years to 60 years. (Participants have to be physically fit and prepared for the outdoors)

Essentials for the workshop.
1.    Fast drying earth colored field clothes.
2.    Good walking shoes fit for rough terrain.
3.    Tick Socks (if don’t have a pair, buy one from us.)
4.    Cap or Hat and Sweater or jacket (it is cold)
5.    Field Note Pad and Pen/pencil.
6.    Back pack for field.
7.    Water bottle or container for Field.
8.    Camera.
9.     Sleeping bag.
10. Personal identification papers (Car License or Election card)

Please note-
1.    There is very little cell phone coverage in the areas where the workshop will travel. Please note the same.
2.    Alcohol consumption is not allowed at any point of time during the workshop. This is not a picnic.
3.    Please carry personal identification papers i.e. Election card or Driving license for the expedition.
4.    The success of this workshop will depend on time management, discipline and ethical wildlife protocol. Please stick to the guidelines and suggestions of the Team Leader.
5.    The workshop will operate in dusty and strong windy areas. Please note that electronic equipment and other personal belongings are protected against the elements.
6.    HRS or its Team Leaders and service providers will not responsible for the loss of equipment or belongings.
7.    Medical emergencies and health issues will be given priority and changes in itinerary due to such reasons will be at the discretion of the Team Leader.

8.    The Team Leader reserves the right to shorten/call off the workshop in event of concerns for the security/health/climate/accident and any such eventuality that may put life at risk for the team.