Saturday, 19 August 2017

The Beauty of Butterflies: Photography Contest

“The risk is none and the opportunities are endless. There's not a single reason not to try.”



Calling all #Butterfly enthusiasts! 

Photographers of all ages, backgrounds and experience levels are invited to enter the photography competition organizing by Conservation Education Centre - Delhi, BNHS.

Share your original butterfly photos from Delhi/NCR only and be featured across our digital platforms or onsite! The judges are looking to award the some of the best images.

Winner of ‘Best Click’ will win exciting prize.

In addition to the main prizes, winners and shortlisted photographers will also be included in our Newsletter.


Please note:

To submit your entry successfully, make sure to register for 'Delhi Butterfly Month' event. Please click here to know more or check our last post!

You may enter only five clicks for this competition.

Make sure to give your email id and contact information.

Let us know your Facebook/Twitter/Instagram Handles so we can tag you and give you some great exposure amongst your colleagues and peers!

The closing date for entry is September 16, 2017.

Results will be announced on September 22, 2017.

Read below for term and conditions



To know more, contact us by email at cecbnhsdelhi@bnhs.org or by phone at +91 8800748967/8800741864.

You may also want to check other platforms where we share news, events and other cool announcements.

Website: http://www.cecdelhi.org/
Blog: https://cecdelhi.blogspot.in/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CECABWLS
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cecabwls/?ref=bookmarks
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cecbnhsdelhi/?hl=en
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmwZiCB8R-JXE_aeE1NSfYw
Pinterest: https://in.pinterest.com/cecbnhsdelhi/

Thank you again for reading

Team
CEC, Delhi

Saturday, 12 August 2017

A Month For Butterflies

The spectacular variety of colours and patterns that is butterfly for us. And where to find them, of course in open fields, bushes, forest edges. But do we have such areas left? Especially in metropolitan cities like Delhi.


We suggest, if every garden/park in the Delhi left areas of lawn to grow and planted just a few wildflowers and selected host plants (without pesticides of course) then our butterflies, bees and other wildlife would thrive. 


And this is a well known fact that one species help to balance others. It is a web of life! Butterflies means pollination and butterflies also means more birds!


To establish the importance of butterflies and to make people aware about their diversity, habitat, population and other facts, CEC - Delhi is to observe September as Delhi Butterfly Month.


With more than 500 BNHS supporters, members, expert of butterflies, institutional patrons and butterfly enthusiasts, we are going to celebrate the month of ‘Blooms and Butterflies’. We will make sure that event will take over the entire month of September and Delhi people will cherish it for long-long time.

Please open the image in other tab to read

The event, ‘Delhi Butterfly Month’ will start on September 1 with the grand inauguration at Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary. We will hit the start with Butterfly Origami Workshop, organize blog writing and slogan writing contest and announce our 20 days butterfly photography contest.


September 2 will be the walk day along with an eco game. The name of the walk is interesting too, it’s ‘Walk like Caterpillar’. People will act like the second phase of the butterflies’ life and learn how the gorgeous winged beauty look like during her developing stage.


September 3, the Sunday, is again dedicated for colourful creatures in Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary. We are organizing ‘Breakfast with Butterflies’. People will spend entire morning in butterfly garden of Asola. The garden is newly build and is a home of over 60 butterflies.


From September 4 to 16, CEC – Delhi is planning to do Butterfly Campus Counts and outreach program in various educational institutes in Delhi and NCR. The more the merrier. We are calling out people to organize a count in their campus.


September 17 is the Big Butterfly Count in selected few green corners of Delhi. Expert teams, led by team captains, will do the serious survey of the green zones and collect the data on butterflies, their habitat and conservational issues.


September 23 is the day of valedictory program. Prize distribution and huge gathering of people will be one of the most important parts of the event. However, the last day is dedicated for discussions. Data analysis, conservational practices, declaration of state butterfly will be the core part of the valedictory function.

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To know more about the butterfly meet and how to participate, please contact us at

Email us: cecbnhsdelhi@bnhs.org
Call us: 8800748967 / 8800741864

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Disentangling Human-Wildlife Conflict

An overdrive for development has been putting man and wildlife on a course of perilous confrontation and conflict between the two. Some imaginative solutions are called for to avert this, finds Dr. Mugdha Singh

Human-wildlife conflicts are negative interactions between wild animals and people that leave damaging impact on people and animals. They are more realist than their coexistence. It occurs when growing human populations overlap with established wildlife territory, creating reduction of resources. The conflict takes many forms ranging from loss of life or injury to humans and animals to loss and degradation of habitat.

Image Courtesy: http://wildliferesearch.org/

Conflicts are regular in metropolitan cities because of scarcity of forest and green patches. These conflicts are serious obstacles to wildlife conservation efforts and becoming more prevalent as human populations increase and diversify, development expands rapidly, resources shrink, global climate changes, and other human, societal and environmental factors put people into greater potential and possibility for conflict with wildlife.

Conflict Creation

Sightings of leopard, nilgai or blue bull, python are quite common in many cities of India, including metro cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata etc. Wild animals straying to nearby cities shows that their habitat are being encroached upon and destroyed up to that level that they do not have any option but to sneak into the cities in search of food and shelter.

Most of the conflicts in India are reported from the periphery to the protected areas (PAs). Rapid increase in human population in these periphery areas leads to frequent disturbance in the habitat of wild animals. Many such areas are hotspots of tourism which pushed animals further inside these PAs. Deforestation and other human activities in PA have increased conflicts situations.

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Image Courtesy: www.pinterest.com 
Pin by Greg Roughan

Major reasons of conflicts are, walling of habitats and the segregation of other wild patches that restricted the movement of animals from one area to another. These restrictions make wildlife islands around cities increasingly susceptible to inter and intra species competition.

Why blame wildlife

It is difficult to blame wildlife for its conflict with humans, because the animals are simply, doing what animals do. However, humans view wildlife as pests, and blame them for damaging their livelihoods, or as a danger to their community. The challenge for conservationists is to change this attitude by offering them, practical, workable and effective solutions.

Often the plight of urban wildlife is dismissed because city dwellers consider them to as nuisance. There is a need to educate the public towards increased tolerance of the wildlife around and help them to coexist peacefully.

Image Courtesy: http://www.fao.org/

Finding solutions

An important aspect of reducing conflict is about finding solutions that lead to mutually beneficial co-existence of Humans and animals.

There is no ‘silver bullet’, no ‘one’ technique or strategy that can be used everywhere. We need specific technique for different conflicts. These solutions should be species and area specific, creative and simple, which should benefit both the animals and local human communities, and actively involves these communities.

Good management policies are being practiced in many of the PA in India and many success stories have emerged in past decade.

1)     Some of the main practices are shifting human population from locality lying on periphery or near PA to alternate locality.
2)   Mass awareness campaigns and assigning dedicated rescue teams especially to those areas where these conflicts frequently take place.
3)     Shifting thrust to educating the value of biodiversity through non-formal education might reduce the confrontation among humans and animals.

Steps to Save Wildlife

United efforts by international organizations, Government, NGOs, communities, consumers and individuals are must to find the possible solutions.
Better land-use planning to ensure that both humans and animals get the space that they may need.
Increasing forest cover is now reduced to 17 percent according to the recent research though as per the norm forest cover should be 33 percent of the total land area of the country.
Compensation or insurance for animal-induced damage is another widely accepted solution through government.
Field based solutions can limit the damage done both to humans and human property, and to wildlife, by preventing wildlife from entering fields or villages.

Incorporating information regarding human-wildlife conflicts into educational curriculum
Other than these solutions:
-         Raising awareness
-         Access prevention
-         Translocation of the animal

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Author is the Education Officer at Conservation Education Centre. She had her PhD in ornithology and work as guest writer for various magazines, newspapers and online portal.
You may reach her at m.singh@bnhs.org 


Friday, 21 July 2017

Hustle in the Grass

Hustle in the Grass: A Poem by Sudipta Maity

Hustling in the grass, he awaits
For his prey, not to become a hunt for play
The king of jungle, Gods of ancient Egypt
Now behaves like a mere cat, with more dust than fur.
Once, his roar would make the clouds collide with the mountains
Now, the mountains over look his pride with apathy.
His mother was killed by the man, who roams free in the cities.
His brother was killed by the men, for roaming free in the city.
He regrets the day, Adam laid the foundation of modern civilization
And made the sapiens go savage on a demonic spree.
The once afraid species of animals now kills him mercilessly
The once green home of his, is now dying alarmingly.
He knows no other being, that kills the very foundation of life on earth
These beasts, they label as wild are more domesticated for their home.
What does the humans want? He fathoms.
To become the sole centre of attention for us, universe replies.
The hills of Aravalis, the grassland of Africa, the desert of China
This panther can take his black spots on a yellow stocky body through all.
With grace he will eat anything that nature has to offer

But, respect to his life, is far more than anything that humans tend to cater.



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You may reach author at cecbnhsdelhi@gmail.com

Sudipta Maity is an intern at Conservation Education Centre and a student of Bachelor of Science (Zoology) at Dr. Zakir Hussain Delhi College.  


Friday, 7 July 2017

Butterfly Gardening

Bountiful flowers and over those fluttering colorful butterflies; the idea of at home butterfly garden, appeals to everyone. One does not need a lot of yard space for the garden and even a small space in balcony can accommodate butterflies easily.


All you need is nectar-rich plants and host plants where they can lay their eggs. Give them proper space and butterflies and moths will definitely dwell in your garden.

Things to keep in mind as you plan your garden:

Size Matters: Many of the plants that attract butterflies require space to spread out, so choose large pots and planters, if you are planning the garden in yard, leave enough space around these plants.


Suitable Location: Butterflies generally get attracted to areas with ample sunlight, so place the plant pots accordingly. It is a good idea to situate the containers near a wall to block wind and provide the insects with shelter if needed.


Water Availability: Butterflies are not able to drink from ponds or birdbaths – they prefer shallow sources of water like puddles. So create an area where water collects after it rains, or create your own puddles around the garden to give your winged friends a place to sip.


Host and Nectar Plants: Choose a diverse range of host plants to attract different species, and be sure to include a few tall plants to provide additional protection from strong wind. Plants like Curry leaves, Lemon, Bryophyllum are known to be some of the most favored host plants whereas some of the nectar plants are Pentas, Verbaena, Kufiya etc. (This is the list for Delhi and most of the India states. Try to find out plants that are native in your localities.)


Climatic Preferences: The climatic preferences of various butterflies are important parameters and should be consider for butterfly gardening. For most of the butterflies May-November is the best season. In extreme climates during monsoon season, dry wind season and exhausting summers, the butterfly population tends to be sparse. 

To know more, Write us at cecbnhsdelhi@bnhs.org 
If you are in Delhi (India) then visit our butterfly park at Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary 


You may also want to check other platforms where we share the news, events and other cool announcements.


Thank you again for reading. We are also inviting guest articles. Please send us a mail for more details.

Team 
CEC, Delhi



Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Saving Indigenous Plant Species of Delhi

Tree gazing (verb): an activity one indulges in while being driven around the roads of Delhi in a car, auto rickshaw or bus.

From the onset I must confess to have personally partaken in the above-mentioned indulgence from time to time. It’s an immensely satisfying pursuit providing incalculable joy and welcome distraction from all the cars occupying the scenery.


It’s fairly simple, while being driven around the traffic lights of Delhi we attempt to gaze at trees. While gazing one gets to admire the myriad colors begging to be noticed and scrutinize the different parts like leaves, flowers and fruits on display. Often one discovers something truly fascinating and might like to know the name and characteristics of a new find. Here books come in handy and you can keep yourself competitive with their help.

At this point you might be wondering if this is relevant. If any of this does really have any connection to Delhi Seed Bank Project.

You are partially correct but I deemed it necessary to explain the genesis of the project through a sport not being promoted anywhere else. Also, it does have a very germane connection to the Seed Bank.

This sport has steered us towards the natural history of Delhi and it’s been a nourishing experience. Trees have been planted in Delhi by every administration worth its name. The history stretches all the way from prehistory to our times. Some have planted for religious purposes, some for defending the city, some for bringing back memories of cities they left. British colonial rulers planted the trees we mostly see around New Delhi roads because they were evergreen. Considerable resources were summoned to plant trees that could provide shade all year round. Out of this there have been some notable successes like Neem (Azadirachta indica), which have adapted quite well to Delhi.

Out of all the complex historical inlays a grim portrait was appearing.

Where were the native trees of Delhi?

Delhi is situated where Aravalli range meets the Yamuna river basin. If we classify natural occurring vegetation found in Delhi forest as native trees, then we encounter a whole set of new trees. These trees having adapted to the climate and soil conditions present in Delhi and need little or no care. There is inherent evolutionary knowledge in these trees, which makes them suitable for growing without external inputs. Their adaptions make them better prepared for hot Delhi summers and dry monsoons.



All this does not mean these trees are thorny, woody or unattractive. On the contrary, these are some of the most striking trees to be found in Delhi. The list is replete with fruiting and flowering trees. This list of natives encompasses the mighty Pilkhan (Ficusvirens), sacred Barna (Crataevaadansonii), fruiting Peelu (Savadorapersica), flowering Palash (Buteamonosperma), musical Siris (Albiziaamara) and medicinal Babool (Acacia nilotica).


These trees and many in this category are noteworthy species with immense bio-diversity value. Not just for us as Delhi citizens but other organisms that we share this city with. Many birds and butterflies depend on these trees and have co-evolved to create a mosaic of life forms we call Delhi.

The grim situation mentioned earlier is pertaining to these trees. These trees are hardly sighted on our Tree gazing drives. They rarely occur in our public gardens and are increasingly being pushed out of Delhi ridge too. In fact there are only a handful of mature Peelu (Salvadora persica) specimens in obscure location around Delhi. These naturally growing, specially adapted, climatically suited native trees of Delhi are disappearing at a very fast rate. These trees are a part of our natural heritage and outside of few institutes no one seems to care about them. There is no nursery in Delhi specifically growing these trees or distributing saplings for use of general public.

The Delhi Seed Bank Project aims to bring collaborative agencies together in crafting creative facilitation’s in order to fill this gap. Our holistic approach to re-introducing these trees back to Delhi will include seed collection walks, nursery management training, gardening workshops, school and college awareness campaigns, forest plantation drives and tree adoptions.



Over the course of 18 months a native plant nursery has been established. Here samplings are prepared from the seeds collected during nature walks open to public. Through these walks we will explore these forgotten trees in all the green zones of Delhi. The model nursery is designed as a meeting place for all the garden clubs of Delhi. It will also serve as a venue for nursery management training and gardening/ capacity building workshops. Last but not the least, the nursery will provide young trees that will be planted in various sites around Delhi.


The process will be video-documented and will be readily available for instruction, research and duplication to make it easier to replicate such models at different locations. Guides and instructional manuals will be produced for schools and colleges. This knowledge database will serve as blueprint, which can be added to prepare many programs and sites for various seminars and campaigns around the city.


The model nursery will be situated at Conservation Education Centre BNHS-Delhi (Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary). With support of Forest Department, Government of NCT of Delhi and other like-minded government agencies like Delhi Jal Board, NDMC, DDA and MCD, we will forge a partnership incorporating citizen groups and students in collaborative projects resulting in small green interventions. These interventions will result in increased green cover in Delhi, less resources will be required to maintain this green cover and hopefully native trees of Delhi can stage a comeback.


Written by:

Sohail Madan

Centre Head
Conservation Education Centre

You may reach him: cecbnhsdelhi@gmail.com 

Thursday, 4 May 2017

ASOLA BHATTI WILDLIFE SANCTUARY

Previously, on our blog, we shared the work, aim and passion of Conservation Education Centre (CEC). In this post we are sharing something about Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary (ABWLS), through the lens of CEC.

Those who know ABWLS, must know that, this forest patch of Delhi certainly qualifies as Greens Lungs. The forest plays key role in reducing carbon foot print in Delhi. Acres of land, filled with native and invasive species of trees, make sure that Delhi have the appropriate amount of oxygen.


The area also helps in water recharge by providing pits and trenches that are known for natural rain water harvesting.


Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary is a man-made sanctuary of the India. Covering the total area of 6,814 acres, the sanctuary has a wonderful biodiversity, with various species of mammals, birds, reptiles and butterflies.

Birds

Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary is home to around 200 species of birds, both resident and migratory. Birds like Red-vented Bulbuls, Oriental Magpie Robins, RufousTreepies, Wood Shrikes, Spotted Owlets and Laughing Doves are the common sightings here. Asola is also a destination of many migratory birds, Red Start, White-browed Fan-tail, Golden Oriole, Pied Cuckoo etc.


Mammals

Blue bulls and Black bucks are the common sightings of mammals in Asola. The list of mammals also includes some nocturnal animals like Porcupines, Jackals, Mongoose, Civets, Bush rats, and Bats.


Reptiles

Despite of being a thorny scrub forest zone, Asola has a thriving population of reptiles which includes Monitor lizard, Skinks, Spectacled Cobra, Fan – throated Lizard, Garden Lizard, Rat Snake, Wolf Snakes, Checkered Keelback, BrahminyWorm Snake, Common Sand Boa, Indian Rock Python, Saw-scaled Viper.


Butterflies

With more than 90 species, the sanctuary is the haven for various butterflies. Peacock Pansy, Emigrant, Grass Yellow, Blue Pansy, Yellow Pansy, Common Rose, Banded Awl, Rounded Pierott, Plain Tiger, Stripped Tiger, Lime Butterfly, Common Mormon are some of the commonly sighted butterflies in Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary.


Flora

Asola contains a number of trees native to the thorny scrub forest zone. Trees like Indian Laburnum, White-barked Acacia, Egyptian mimosa, Milky Way, Khejdi, Bare caper and Bombay ebony are scattered throughout the sanctuary. Apart from being part of the native environment, these trees have a lot of medicinal and commercial value, and are a habitat to many birds, mammals and a lot of invertebrates.


To know more, we suggest that you should come and witness the green glory of Asola. The easiest way to reach us is to use our mail that is cecbnhsdelhi@gmail.com


You may also want to check other platforms where we share the news, events and other cool announcements.


Thank you again for reading. We are also inviting guest articles. Please send us a mail for more details.

Team 
CEC, Delhi


The Beauty of Butterflies: Photography Contest

“The risk is none and the opportunities are endless. There's not a single reason not to try.” Calling all #Butterfly enthusiasts...