Tuesday, March 3, 2020

World Wild Life Day, Chinkaras & Flamingos!


“We will spend billions making inhospitable distant planets habitable. And yet we spend trillions destroying the abundant ingredients for life on our home planet.”... Freequill.

Activist and writer who goes by the alias Freequill and chooses to remain anonymous. I wonder what kind of brain can think in such wonderful way about our planet & good he prefers to remain anonymous as such species with such mind are rare & endangered actually! And when it’s destroying the nature which comes best in the form of habitats & for that we need not have to go far away but right in our backyard the destruction starts! Yes & this destruction of habitats comes under many sweet tags, sometimes it’s for development, sometimes it’s for our needs, sometimes its due to sheer ignorance , sometimes its due to arrogance (i know it all, types) & all these tags are actually fake as the real reason of habitat destruction is, our greed! And in that greed we don’t spare any piece of land or water body or even sky which is called as habitat, near or far away from us!
Well, for those ignorant (genuinely) people who don’t know what a habitat is, just stand in front of a mirror & ask yourself what you need to live happily in your life? Answer is simple; you need those concrete walls with club house, air conditioners & modern gadgets which you call a home. Then you need a space with glass facade & located in some sky scrapper cut away from ground where you go to earn money which you call your office. You need a place depending up on your mood which will feed you food & drink, you call it as eating joints & you need a place where you will spend your money to shop for your needs where you buy hundreds of unnecessary commodities just because they are available & you can afford to buy them & you call that place a Mall! Mostly your life’s time is spent in activities which happens in & around these four places & it’s what can be called as your habitat, got it?

Now, apart from we the humans, on this planet thousands or say millions of other species also live along, which we have categorized as fish, mammals, birds, insects, reptiles, trees etc & the only difference between them & we the humans is, all these species doesn’t have a big brain which makes us smarter than them (we only have decided it)! But all these species also need food, a space to live along with family so their fraternity can grow healthy & happy, just like we bring up our family. All these species also need to work though their work reason is not to earn money but to earn their food & they can’t buy food as they are not as smart as us & they too need recreational spaces for their cubs or fawn or young ones to play around. The only thing the other species doesn’t need is shopping space as they are not as greedy as us fortunately, so barring shopping space every other species needs space just the way we the humans need every day, all along the life span! So this space which every fish, mammal, reptile , bird, tree, insect etc need to survive is called as their habitats which we the humans are destructing for our needs i.e. our habitat, throwing these species not just out of their habitats but out of earth, in clear words, making them extinct!
This is exactly why we need to visit the habitats which are spread all around us, some are literally in the back yard of our building in the form of a pond or an open space with shrubs or even a big banyan tree as all such places are homes for some insects, some birds, a squirrel or even a frog & we blatantly destroy it (read as use that space) for our so called needs, that is destruction of habitat! And if this is the case with our backyard’s habitats then imagine what must be happening with habitats which we often name as forest & which are away from us! And not necessarily the forests means ever-green, thickly wooded lands we call as Project Tiger, as forests can come to greet us in many forms such as wet lands, grass lands, dry & arid lands, even desserts can be forests as every specie has its own needs to survive & it includes geographic as well climatic conditions.

Such as wet lands of Bhigwan i.e. Ujani dam’s backwater can be habitat for many migratory birds like flamingos because of their food algae which can be formed in only shallow waters here! Same way there are dry grass lands making it ideal home to specie like Chinkara i.e. Gazelle (a type of deer) & one such was on my agenda for a long, yes I am referring to Mayursehwar Sanctuary near Smart Habitat of humans i.e. Pune. Located on east side of Pune, some eighty kilometres on Solapur high-way when you take turn towards Indapur & leave village Supa then suddenly the sugarcane fields give up along with urban skyline & you enter in dry hills with yellow grass & shrubs with thorns all around. It was start of Summer & at first all you see around is barren land with no life on it & just when you start wondering why you have come here, suddenly on the horizon of yellow grass you saw outline of an animal walking slowly in search of food & its grace with pointed twisted horns & the cadbury brown shining coat makes it such a mesmerizing sight that you forget the barren dry terrain! Up above on the blue background of the sky you can see a scaled egale houvering with a snake in its claw & then you realize how alive these barren lands are! This is Mayureshwar, probably last of the secured home (habitat) for chinakars & they are not alone, there are jackals, harriers, eagles, monitor lizards, shrike & hundreds of other species which has made this barren looking deserted dry grass land as their perfect home! Just some twenty years back most of the district places or towns in the State has such grass lands around where if not chinkaras but you could see hare or jackals or fox type animals & birds moving around freely making it their habitat but slowly as we the humans started growing in numbers & greed, we encroached these habitats one by one & now all that is left for chinakaras is the patches like Mayureshwar.

And practically all these animals needs nothing as looking at these barren lands one can wonder how somebody can survive here with so less rain & the soil structure such that rain water percolates deep within the earth but chinkaras can survive on minimum water & even by eating dry grass & so does many species with this as their habitat. But what they can’t survive is human interference! Most of these animal species are shy & are afraid of humans & its the humans which hunt them & kill for pleasure as well for eating as we aren’t satisfied with what comes in our plate as normal food & always want something more, that’s greed!
And though we name Mayureshwar type places a Sanctuary i.e. protected forests yet with the kind of infrastructure in terms of man-power or money-power we give to forest dept which is supposedly to protect such habitats, its Mission Impossible task for them, is a bitter fact we conveniently forget & the we don’t have a Tom Cruise as our forest officers is another bitter fact! Take example of Mayureshwar, it’s been urbanized from all sides & you can see either farming or plotted lay-out’s fencing around making chinkaras no where to go further deep in their habitat as its enclosed by the humans from all the sides. A District/ State road cuts right between these grass lands & continues movement of traffic is a problem to the privacy of animals’ as well direct threat to their safety from poaching type elements! And this is not the story of Mayureshwar but majority of such habitats, which are making every specie like chinkara & other many extinct slowly! Unless more & more people (read as tourists) visits places like Mayureshwar & such habitats, masses will be unaware about the importance of such places & the threat they are facing for their survival & for that we need to make these places come on the map of tourism & provide facilities for the tourists which are lacking frankly! At least this much our govt can do or allow like minded (read forest lovers) people to come ahead & set up some tourist related facilities here so the people visiting these lands, will go back to their Smart Cities & tell others about such habitats & urge them help to conserve these places from the humans!

Then there is Bhigwan, Wet Lands which is habitat of many species of birds & aquatic animals making the back water of Ujani dam a perfect habitat i.e. home for them. And here because of awareness of tourists & locals, situation is improving but we need to have basic facilities like proper jetty as at bhigwan you have to use a boat to see the birds & know this wetland-forest. Unfortunately there is no proper or safe & clean arrangement (even wash-rooms) from where you get in these boats & this much we must do. Good part is now the locals have participated in conservation of this wet land habitat especially one Sandeep Nagare who along with his family & local youths trying to promote the Ujani back water & helping to save this habitat. Again here the problems is  not just encroachment but  pollution of the water body & again we the Smart City’s (Pune) residents are responsible for it, as all what we throw in our rivers ends here in this water body because it happens to be on our downstream!
Friends on the occasion of 3rd March, which is World Wild Life day, lets remind ourselves how lucky we are to have around a sight of Chinakars & Flamingos moving freely in their homes, just the way we see happy human families in many advertisements.
But unlike we have a system named govt or society for making lives of humans peacefully & happy the poor Chinkaras & Flamingos has none such system to protect themselves, because they are not as Smart as we are! Do mind, if all our Smartness is not being used to make other specie’s lives also happy & peaceful by conserving habitats, then that will be the best example of our Foolishness actually & that day there won’t be even God around to laugh on our foolishness as he too would have been extinct along with all these habitats!
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Sanjay Deshpande
Sanjeevani Dev.

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