Welcome to a wild, wild world5 min readReading Time: 4 minutes
It’s Earth Day 2021, and while we all do our fair bit to reduce, reuse and recycle, it’s also important to pay attention to the other species we share this earth with. So, on this Earth Day, Team Owliver brings to you a special Wildlife Bulletin, which not just gives you an update on what’s happening on the wild side, but also a look at the simpler, more positive side of life.
The Great Cheetah Return
Almost 70 years after the extinction of the Asiatic Cheetah, a different species will be reintroduced into the country’s lush wild areas. The first batch of Cheetahs from South Africa and Namibia will arrive by the end of the year. Scientists from both countries are currently assessing the situation and exchanging notes on how to handle this incredibly fast animal!
This is part of a government initiative that was approved by the Supreme Court last year in response to a petition filed by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA). The Cheetah is the only large mammal to become extinct after India’s independence and the animals will be reintroduced on “an experimental basis in a careful chosen habitat and nurtured and watched to see whether it can adapt to the Indian conditions”.
New Disk-Footed Bat Discovered in Meghalaya
A new species of bats have been discovered by scientists in Meghalaya, taking the number of known bat species in India to 130, with 66 of them concentrated in the Northeastern states.
This spcies has tangerine-coloured disk-like patches on its thumb and has been named Eudiscopus denticulus which roughly translates to “disk footed bat” in the Swiss Journal Revue Suisse de Zoologie. The scientist who discovered the species, Dr.Uttam Saikia, further stated the bat was found while sampling a bamboo patch in Lailad, which lies adjacent to Nongkhyllem Wildlife Sanctuary in Meghalaya.
From the modifications in its feet, it was presumed to be a bamboo-dwelling species which was later identified as a disk-footed bat. This bat is reported to roost inside bamboo internodes aided by its adhesive disks. So far, this species has only been reported in a few localities in Southern China, Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar,” Dr Saikia said in a statement.Uttam Saikia
The K9 Crime Squad
In a first, the Coimbatore forest division will use a group of native Indian dogs to sniff out wildlife crimes. Chippiparai, a slighthound breed native to Tamil Nadu, will be used for this purpose and four dogs are currently undergoing training at the Tamil Nadu Forestry Training College at Vaigai Dam in Theni in order to join this elite K9 group. They will be on duty in Nilgiris, Coimbatore, Gudalur and Pollachi starting June. Their names are Valavan, Kudavan, Kaligan and Athavai.
The dogs will be trained to sniff out sandal and teak woods, apart from skins of different wild animals. The forest officer believes that native breeds such as these are extremely hardy, low maintenance and good at being guard dogs with the proper training. “Kombai and Chippiparai are two of the best guard dog breeds. You can rest assured that they can sniff out any crime,” said R. Rajmohan, Tamil Nadu Forestry Training College.
How can you help wildlife on Earth Day 2021?
Since the pandemic, face masks have become an essential and you can’t leave home without it. This, however, is turning into a massive wildlife and conservation issue with multiple reports of animals being caught in the loops on face masks. This, and the fact that single use face masks are made of plastic particles that is only adding to the massive environmental problem we are already facing! But you can do the following to help contain this problem
Wear cloth masks
One way to make sure that you aren’t adding to the environmental problem is to make sure that there’s no plastic in your mask. Eco-friendly and breathable cloth masks are a great option to solve this issue. Buy filters or double-mask for extra protection.
If you insist on wearing single-use masks, then make sure they are disposed of properly so that they don’t end up in our lakes, seas and oceans. And before you throw that mask in the bin, take a second to snip those loops off. This will ensure that even if it does end up in our oceans, it isn’t choking any of our underwater creatures.
If you’d like to know how animals help as green warriors, look at Mani and Mini’s Earth Day special comic.