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Showing posts from January, 2011

International Year of Forests

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When I first ventured into the pristine forests of the Western Ghats, I was astounded by the sheer variety of plants, from the simplest bryophytes to the complex angiosperms, forming one big single community. A nigh ten kilometres from the nearest human settlement, it is one of the few remaining megadiverse habitats around the world. There are large strangling lianas swinging in the wind, old eerily squealing bamboo echoing in the tropical hardwood forest, and melodious calls of birds that is only scattered into a sudden silence when a predator goes in search of prey. It is here that tigers and human hunters once lived in harmony – an unwritten treaty of peace between the two, now broken by modern man’s greed and grievance. Today, the population of tigers in this Tiger Reserve is deemed too low to be viable, and as encroachment and poaching presses from all sides, their future seems bleak. All over the world, there are such small fragments of primary forests facing a serious threat f…

A day in the life of animals

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There are fascinating activities going on in nature everywhere around us. Even right now, there is a small colony of Carpenter ants somewhere in your backyard working hard to find food during winter, but summer undoubtedly peaks in such activities, as the temperature rises and plants bloom and there is an abundance of everything for a short period of time. The struggle for survival, the game that constantly haunts every living organism on this planet, is even more competitive and ferocious, as prey try hard to protect their offspring, and predators try as much harder to provide food for their offspring. During the summer of 2010, as I walked through tick and mosquito ridden forests of southern Ontario, I closely observed the life of some animals engaged in their daily activities. This is just a humble attempt at sharing a fascinating world I was fortunate to study. These animals are very common around us that have been studied and documented by many researchers, but there is something …