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“Eternal Legacy”
"Unfolding the secret of wild Tigers" - Part 4

Her eyes closed, exhilarated in the feeling of approaching motherhood. The ultimate goal of succession, to be a mother….to passes her wild genetic inheritance to a next generation. Her saga of dominance over animal kingdom to be carried forward ……she thrilled with the softness of small forepaws touching her face …stepping again inside her womb

The beast raised his magnificent head upright, his back arched, gave powerful nudge …she gasped in pleasurable shock as he plunged into her …..her mouth fell open as he pounded into her ..the loud roar of pleasurable pain contorted her face. The pain shocked her motherhood system that stimulates her ovulation to fertilize the egg in her womb. Her womb filled with the elixir of immortal legacy.

I spellbound with the fascinating display of enchanting love between eternal monarchs that unveiling in the classical rhythm; I lost the sense of time in watching them in immense pleasure. Spectacular drama of passionate love was reaching to the climax.

A prized moment of my life, I stumble upon, the encounter was a revelation, stung my cautious; made me to see the animal beyond human’s orthodox echelon. It is easy for us to stamp them as brainless brutal creature to use or abuse them, slaughter them as and when pleased us – sometime as beast of burden, to praise our sexual appetite, as a tools of entertainment, to decorates our egos, to relish on the their flesh.

The light is fading fast, darkness loomed over the ambiance; engulfing darkness over the forests clouded my conscious with the guilt of the tragic period when ruthless hunting of tigers was glorified sport of recreation; slaughtering more than 80 thousands tigers in just 50 years from 1875 to 1925; pushing tigers to the brink of extinction. By the time Tiger population recovered after the ban on tiger’s hunting, the dark threat of poaching again shadowed the cat’s hope with escalating demand for tiger body parts. They are again slaughtered or poisoned for their skin, bones, eyeballs and pennies for increasing sexual power. The pain of endless torture by the lust of man’s world, these tormented creatures endured in the past and till to date put me in despair. What perplexed me is the stark contrast of looking at pleasure. The voiceless animals in front of me found pleasure in intense love, the fundamental and inexplicable cause of the universe creation. Their world is more ancient, complete and gifted with the senses that we have lost in the pursuit of insatiable greed for pleasure.

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Green Vine Snake ((Ahaetulla nasuta)

It is a long bodied slender green tree snake,. It is most widely distributed species in India. It is very shy and non-offensive snake. It is one of the most common and ecologically significant species of Western Ghats. This snake is bright green on the upper part of the body and yellowish green on the bottom part. It has extremely pointed snout clearly broader than neck with large mouth, golden eyes and round pupils.

Green Vine Snake is a diurnal and arboreal species, which shows activity throughout the day at low to moderate heights of tee branches.. This snake moves very fast in arboreal environment while it is quite slow on land so rarely seen on ground. Due to its thin body and green color it can easily vanish in green bushes

On threatening it throws half of fore body into loops or curves, laterally inflates it and open its mouth as wide as possible to look fascinating and bigger. Can bite in chew manner. Also it has been observed that it sometimes try to target eyes or face of the person causing provocation. The name Ahaetulla in Sinhala means 'eye plucker'. It earned this name, and similar ones in Indian vernaculars, due to its habit of staring and striking at the eyes when picked up. It is believed that can blind its human victims. But I it's myth ..I don;t think this snake is particularly attacking on eyes or forehead. If someone try to take this snake in hand than the most closest part has to be face , eyes or nose so it's quite possible it would have attacked on face.

The venom is moderately potent and can cause swelling, pain, bruising, numbness and other local symptoms, which will subside within three days. Bites close to the head, eyes and other vital areas could be severe but not fatal,


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" When the moon dawning in the dark"

It’s extremely rare to get a chance to observe such a wonderful phenomena in the snakes. This is one of the rare opportunities to capture partial albino rat snake in the wild. Due to it’s brightening white, the animal have quickly capture our attention. He is a real ghostly beauty.

Some snakes are born with a genetic abnormality called albinism, which is a lack of pigmentation in the body and eye. Albinism also occurs in other species including humans. Albinism is a genetic abnormality, which causes animals to be unable to produce normal amounts of melanin. A lack of melanin usually causes an animal to appear white or pink as without melanin, it’s not possible to have normal skin pigmentation,

There is three type of albinism. Pure , partial and Leucistic. The test for pure albino is it’s eye, skin and scale colour. Pure albino have pink eyes and skin colour as without coloration, the blood vessels show through the skin. However the eyes of an albino sometime look light blue because of the way light passes through the iris.

Partial albinos have some of the coloration typical of their species, but parts of their body appear white. Their eyes are of normal colour. Leucistic animals have mostly white skin, but have some dark pigmentation in their eyes.

Definitions of albinism vary and are inconsistent. Whilst they are clear and precise for humans and other mammals, this is because the majority of mammals have only one pigment, melanin.
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“Survival Instinct "

I heard about the snake can survive months without food, was curious about this phenomena. Luckily I came across on new articles published by University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. Marshall McCue, a graduate student in biological sciences. I am sure you will find it interesting too.
Starving snakes employ novel survival strategies not seen before in vertebrates. The results showed that the snakes could lower their standard metabolic rates up to 72 percent. Surprisingly snakes continued to grow despite the lack of food. It suggests that there must be a strong selective advantage to growing longer. It also means the snakes have become extremely efficient in their ability to use available resources.
Snakes already had low energy demands and they could go lower. They take energy reduction to a whole new level. The 62 snakes studied went about six months without eating – a time period that could well be duplicated in the wild, where food supplies can be scarce. To illustrate the strategies employed by snakes to combat starvation, McCue uses an economic analogy of supply and demand.
When you’re cut off from resources, you are an organism that still needs to expend energy. The “demand” end is met by decreasing their metabolic rate. The “supply” end must be met by frugal use of resources they have at hand for energy, which comes from within.
Snakes are relatively new on the world scene, having been around for about 100 million years. Yet they currently comprise about half of all reptile species.

Note :- Below picture is of Common Trinket ( Coelognathus Helena). pl see my earlier post for the information about snake in picture.
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The other side of story :- "Long Legged Ballerinas".....Part II

“There will be some birds, insects and animals, but you have to balance these environmental concerns with the “NEEDS” of human beings”. In reality the word “NEED “is bullied by “GREED”.

For growth, we have to develop and for development we need construction of infrastructure to mobilize the resources ... to generate wealth ...from where the resources come?...from forest, wetlands , mountains, rivers , seas ..................So what..? if the growth leads to wipe out entire eco system of that area ... someone has to pay price ...
I do not know from where the flamingos are coming … from the Rann of Kutch or lake Netron. Every year around thousands of flamingos start migrating to Mumbai , in late October to stays till the monsoon begins. Mambai’s coastline has numerous creeks and mangroves close to 71 km2. These mudflats are coastal wetlands that consist of fertile soil brought in on the tide and deposited in an inter-tidal zone.

The proposed 22 km Trans harbor link originate at the same point where the flamingos arrive in large numbers and that will be pass over 2.1 kilometres of mud flats homing to over 100,000 waders, 150 species of bird and thousands of flamingos. The reason flamingos come in this important Bird area is the abundance of food and physical protection here and it will be destroyed with this Trans harbor link road.

Tanzania’s Lake Natron is the most ideal breeding site for Lesser Flamingos as the springs provide freshwater for chicks; food is abundant and egg laying & hatching takes place during the months of September to April as receding water levels provides opportunities for the colonies to spread out and follow the cracks found in the soda ash where suitable mud can be accessed for nest construction; these nests are only centimeters above the water level. The fate of Lake Natron as a breeding site has been threatened by a proposal to construct a soda ash processing plant.

The “Hanj Bet” is the only breeding site for flamingos in Asia and home to over 1.5 lakh birds; flamingos favors this site for the peculiar conditions of this saline desert, swamped by rains to form a shallow, salty lagoon, an influx of fresh water from the Luni river mingles with the saline water, providing a rich flow of nutrients thus provide perfect breeding ground for flamingos. It is also a critical passage for migratory birds from across the globe in to the Indian sub-continent.

The proposed 262 km-long road with it’s vehicular traffic cutting through the “Kutch desert sanctuary” will impound the water, upsetting the right mix of brackish and sweet water which is crucial for the survival of the planktons, algae and fish that flamingos feeds on. The negative effect on the food chain, result in the abandonment of this breeding site of flamingos. Apart from destruction of habitat due to proposed road, agricultural expansion, uncontrolled use of pesticides would endanger these nesting grounds, which lead to the probable extinction of the bird. The road will be the death knell of the only breeding site in the Indian subcontinent. There are only about half a dozen nesting sites of the Greater Flamingo in the world. Hanj Bet is one of them..

The road also destroy unique mangrove “Avicennia” at” Shravan Kavadia” in Kutch, Avicennia marina is the only sacred grove species of the world’s inland mangrove (usually occurs in fringing to intermediate tidal zone, but the sacred grove of the mangrove in Shravan Kavadia is in a totally land-locked position having no surface connection to the sea as Shravan Kavadia region is entirely cut off from the sea and located 80 km inland from the nearest coastal belt of the Kutch and 150 km away from Arabian sea). The Avicennia marina mangroves stand high in a cluster are dependent on underground supply of saline water, which in turn would be affected if the proposed road is built.

The real motive is to make the White Rann as a major tourism attraction. The supplementary development and disturbance that a road and airport will further worsen the impacts. The region anyhow remains inaccessible about six months. For the remaining year, the flat stretch of the Rann is a road itself, and any one can drive a vehicle anywhere. The alternative route suggested which is feasible as well as cost-effective with minimum significant impact.

Unfortunately, the authorities overrule it’s own notifications on coastal regulation zone. Environmental activist including government’s own regulatory body opposes the proposed bridge. But it it’s cleared without any public hearing on some conditions such replant five times the number of mangroves destroyed which can not replace the millions of year old mangrove system.

Asiatic lions once prowled in many parts of India. Now, they are found only in Gir Forests of Gujarat of India. They has fiercely protected the endemic Asiatic lion; they are also the guardians of only breeding site of flamingos in India, it is defiantly matter of equal pride and I hope they will ensure heir protection.
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The story of Life - "Long Legged Ballerinas".....Part I

“Rann of Kutch” the land of greater flamingos.... “Hanj Bet” (in Kucchi language) is an island in the middle of Rann of Kutch , known as one of the biggest breeding ground of Greater Flamingos. This shell like pink colour bird was once an honored guest of legendary King “Lakho Fulani”, who has ruled thousand of year ago, has forbidden the hunting of flamingos. For centuries, "Rann of Kutch" was blessed with these divine guests from various parts of the world. It also serves as critical passage for migratory birds from the across globe. It is the only known nesting site in Indian Subcontinent for greater flamingos and lesser flamingos as well.

Flamingos need salt rich, damp mud to build the nest that has to be inaccessible to predators such as cats & jackals, and with sufficient food. The water here is the right mix of fresh water from river “Luni” and brackish water from Arabian sea to flourish Planktone (microscopic organisms floating on the surface of the sea or fresh water, consisting of diatoms, protozoans, small crustaceans, and the eggs and larval stages of larger animals) , algae (non-flowering aquatic plant that includes the seaweeds and many single-celled forms) and fish, that flamingos feed on, thus provides rich diet of nutrients to makes it excellent ground for feeding and breeding.

Tanzania’s lake Natron is the only most successful breeding place for the three quarter ( two millions) of lesser flamingos ( so named for being the smallest of six species) of the world population. The reason the flamingos raise their chicks here is that the lake is so treacherous and caustic that the centre is unreachable for predator such as jackals and hyenas, however Marabou stork which regularly snapping up chicks whenever get chance. This shallow lake is almost alkaline as ammonia and hostile to almost every kind of life. Although chicks face enormous challenge, still the lake gives them best chance of survival.
Lesser flamingos are highly choosy feeder that primarily feed on a cyanobacteria known as spirulina (Arthrospira fusiformis), which grows in bodies of water with high alkalinity levels. A cyanobacteria is one of the few life forms thriving in caustic water and is responsible for creating red and brown swirling pattern that colours the lake. It is the main food source of lesser flamingos, also responsible for the birds' famous coloring. The parents digest and process it into the crop milk that they feed their chicks. It is also the chick’s only source of water.
The monsoon turns the environs of kutch into marshy islands, it is the only source where these “pink long legged ballerinas” come every year in the month of August or September, starts their breeding cycle of mating, making mud nest ,laying eggs , hatching them and then they fly off along with their grown up chicks every winter across subcontinent, to the wet lands of my village in Mumbai and off course to the various places in India.

Cool breeze softens the humid heat of October. The morning appears wearing the shawl of white silk. Panorama of blue sky stretched to the horizon. Off the distance, I hear their voice softly calling my name, my head turn, looking up in the sky, my heart leaps with excitement, small tiny ball of fire swelling like cloud at the horizon and they are back

To be continued ......
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"A tender bite of Love "

"Unfolding the secret of wild Tigers" - Part 3

My heart was throbbing with so much of excitement. Eyes are wide with the spectacular drama of secret life of Tigers, that are unfolding before our eyes. I have never speculated in my life that I ever get this opportunity. My hands were sweating from my nervousness. Perspiration burst out from every pore of my skin, sweaty steam droplets dripped from my eyebrows reached down my face into my eyelids. One stubborn drop of sweat oozed out from the tear duct of my right eye, rolled down further to moisture my dried lips. The Male Tiger opened his mouth to show his fearsome canines ..he lowered his head on her neck to grip it …..Ohhhhh !! is that beast going to kill his mate ? ..but his eyes were speaking otherwise, they were glowing with obvious desire; he gently stuffed his canines on the scuff of neck of the lady and gripped it firmly with motherly love to pacify her..she is immobilised .
Their mother use to pick them up by scuff of their neck with her jaw, to transport them from place to place to save them from dreadful predators. They have learnt this technique in infancy to lie still and not to struggle when their mother bites them in this manner. It was important to learn it, so that they can allow mother to transport them to safer place without struggling. The trick that they learnt from mother worked well; she responded automatically in same manner as were his offspring and enabled him to mount on her without any difficulties.
The sun was dipping behind the bamboo foliage, the last rays of evening light fading across the horizon. Twilight shimmering on the angles draped in love. My alert ears still picked up the alarm call of languor echoing far away at the distance, that unable to break the stillness and peace lingering in the ambient. I am loosing my all sense in evoke with everything that I feel for these magnificent animals the nature has ever conceived.It’s difficult to understand why we humans tried to wipe out these gentleman animals from the surface of the earth. Here I was watching the display of tender love burgeoning fascination among human culture, the moment revealed why some of us tried hard to save an animal that we feared so much.

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The the struggle of light with darkness.

The worship of snakes is not only limited to estern countries like India but traced with every culture of the world.

Snakes are regarded as "Life creating themselves. The miraculous phenomena of skin shading associated with serpent given rise to the myth of rebirth. They were commonly thought to have chthonic powers ..emerging from earth ..or may be because from nowhere they suddenly emerge on earth.

It's difficult to trace the origin of snake worship but it is presumed that it must have started before even Stone Age. It's probably hidden in human psychology to worship of unknown. Snakes are always treated as danger to life, thus creating fear in human mind, specially its ability to kill even before the person notices the killer snake. However , may be because of that snakes are admired everywhere in the world.

However , snakes always fascinate me and I truly regard them as guardian of forest. This fear of unknown mostly prohibited humans to enter in the unknown world of forest, where snakes can strikes from anywhere. The fear of snakes helped to conserve millions year of treasure in the form forest.

Snakes can move along with the earth, can live anywhere from water to land , hide on trees and below earth, it can be invisible ; disappear before one close and open the eyelid. They are divine , lord of myth, deity of water and land , closely connected with the extensive myths of the storm and the struggle of light with darkness.
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The moment of peace
It’s a popular belief among many people’s that animals don’t have the emotions. However, I am skeptical with the idea of being any life without any feeling. Generally we are not convinced that other life on earth is as conscious the way we humans are. May be that made us easier for controlling their life the way it please us. We can simply cut the forest, alter the river flows, pollute seas , construct our homes destroying their families, or built the roads to please our speeding ambitions killing thousands of such “conscious less” life on earth. May be humans are too conscious as it would have been difficult to do if we knew that they were suffering due to our misdeed.
Each life from ants to elephants have their own unique personality.They are no different from us in that regard. It’s not just about basic emotions as fear, happiness, sadness, anger, disgust and surprise but they can express even complex emotions ie. Contempt, jealousy and sympathy. I have always been touched by the bonding between elephant families.

First timer elephant cow nervous with the labor pain, aren’t sure what to do, in that crucial time her mother, granny, aunties, elder sisters sooth her, .guide her, teach the new mother the lessons required for raising the young. When two different groups of elephants meet they greet each other raising and touching their trunks. Mommy tigress shares part of her territory with her daughters to help them settle in their life. Homesick animals travelled hundreds of miles to reach the place where they belong to. Old lioness makes friendship with crippled wildebeest. They have good days and bad days from a point of view of emotion and there are moments they enjoy being themselves. The group of langoors enjoy jumping from trees in pool of river only for the sake of fun. I think that their presence here on Earth is tremendously enriching.

Many people believe that animals act only on instinct. Emotions doesn’t play any role. I think they know who they are. They understand difference between friends & foe. They have ambitions to become leader of their group. Like us, all life being on earth try to stay alive, get food and shelter, and raise young to continue our bloodline. Surely it would be anthropocentric to believe that only humans are capable of experiencing happiness & sorrow. Our senses have dulled over thousands of years of so called civilization. I believe that an animal’s experience of life is much sharper and clearer than us. It seems illogical for me to think that animals might not be having a conscious mental experience of play, fun, fear or love.
We are returning from the forest, the sun is already retired, leaving full moon behind for spreading blue light over the jungle to rejuvenate life on earth. Two eyes are intently looking at me, communicating , my soul desperately trying to connect with the life ahead of me….what was in those eye’s? …..anger, hate, fear, sadness ? I just wish to get down to reassure that life ..seat besides..hug ..put my arms around his shoulder …talk about their life ..but afraid…. may be with the fear of sins of thousands years persecutions imposed by us on them …the weight of guilt is too heavier .
It’s really saddening to see the way we humans treat other life on the earth. Isn’t it right way to apply the same principal of respect and compassion to the other life on earth, they way we are bound to apply to other humans being?

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Where have all the animals gone?

​"Three men were attacked in a span of 12 hours by jackals near the mangroves in Mumbai, financial capital of India". Mumbai ranks 31st among 50 top metropolitan economic entities globally.

The news is not real surprising to me as I have witnessed till 1990, the city is then still wear lush green forest in the heart of city. It's shores are bestowed with natural blessing of mangroves.Tigers were roaming the main land of Mumbai till 1920s. Striped hyenas managed to survive the urban onslaught till as late as the 1990s.The last tiger have been shot near Vihar Lake in 1929 & the last two hyenas were shot dead in Goregaon in the 1990.

It's not just the tiger that has been driven to extinction in Mumbai, Jackals and hyenas, too, have been systematically hunted down over the last century. I can understand, it's hard to imagine now, the plush residential & corporate areas of Mumbai & suburban sharing space with the endangered animals like tigers, jackals and striped hyenas.

Only the leopard has managed to survive Mumbai's real estate boom, now its habitat restricted to the green patches at the Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Borivali, scratches out a living and enter in the city to pickup dogs. Animal like shy civet cat occasionally make an appearance, but their numbers have dropped drastically. There are around 20 jackles still roam in the mangroovs area of Mumbai.​

​ Mumbai has paid a high price for the tag of financial capital of India, so does the every growing city in the world. Sadly, we have been thoughtlessly ignorant and inconsiderate to the protective benefits of biodiversity. A lack of environmental awareness among citizens has upset the delicate ecological balance. We continue to invade into the wildlife space​ and driving them toward extinction.

We are destined to love the nature which is the source of our being. It is a blessing to have such a marvelous biodiversity forest within the city. We must place immense importance on education about nature and biodiversity. We mus educate our children to develop and feel a deep affinity with diverse flora and fauna. We must sensitize our citizens to foster better understanding of sustained co-existence with wild animals.

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