Prime Intention of the Blog

"People without children would face a hopeless future; a country without trees and wildlife is almost as helpless".

I still remember my childhood days when I used to visit Dandeli a place where even my father started his professional career and also where my most of the relatives were staying.Even though I never brought up in Dandeli no one could stop me to go there since it was just two hours journey from my native. And during every visit I used to get the scoldings from my father and relatives since I used to spend most of the time in forests than in house.So as I grown up my visit to Dandeli became very less except twice or thrice in a year since I became busy with studies but always I had in my mind that I should contribute something to these magnificent forests which inspired me a lot to fall in love with the Conservation.So it is just an attempt from my side to create awareness to save these magnificent animals and landscapes they exist in.If this blog contributes in a small way to achieve this goal I will be the most happiest person in this world.
This blog mainly focuses towards conservation activities in and around Dandeli-Anshi Tiger Reserve.This blog doesn't provide any information regarding tourism and its related activities in and around Dandeli-Anshi Tiger Reserve.

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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Dwindling Population of King Cobras in Western Ghats-Looking at gene pool for King Cobras

Is King Cobra population in western ghats dwindling? Answer for this question is "YES" according to herpetologists and wildlife experts.According to the latest study carried out by them says that due to the increasing traffic in Agumbe and Dandeli forests both of which are excellent habitats for king cobras, their population has come down.
Please read the article below:

King cobras made headlines on Monday when they bred in captivity at the Dr Shivaram Karanth Biological Park near Mangalore. But there seems to be a conflict about whether captive breeding needs to be done at all or can be conducted safely.
This reptile is one of the most important species of the Western Ghats ecology. While they breed naturally in the wild, their diminishing numbers in these forests have led herpetologists to breed them in captivity to create a gene pool as there is hardly any mapping of its population. Experts believe that their numbers have diminished due to the increase in traffic and habitat loss in the Western Ghats.
"We have to maintain a buffer stock of such a valuable species. Many research bodies abroad and in South East Asia have tried captive breeding but have never been successful . But after trying for almost three years, we finally saw the hatchlings yesterday (Monday)," said H Jayaprakash Bhandary, director of the park in Pillikula Nisargadhama.
How was it done? The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) in November 2007 had asked authorities of the park to breed the venomous reptile in captivity.
The adults consisting of 14 snakes, five out which were females, were kept in a 1,000 sqm enclosure that mimicked the environs of the forests of Agumbe, thick bamboo grooves and artificial waterfalls and even the temperature and humidity were replicated. Four out of the five females mated and three laid eggs. Out of those 82 eggs, 42 hatched and some more are about to hatch. Bhandari plans to rear some, and release others in the wild after they are in a position to hunt. Till then the juveniles would be fed by the zoo authorities.
Bangalore-based herpetologist Anees Mohammed had incubated a newly hatched king cobra in 2007 at his house and then released it in Kodagu. "Captive breeding is very important considering that king cobras have become so rare even in the Western Ghats. Unless we see the hatchlings through some more time, the project cannot be called successful," he said.
Anees said that the main reasons for their dwindling population is because of the increased traffic in Agumbe and Dandeli. "Despite being a flagship species, no car stops for a snake to pass."
Wildlife expert Praveen Bhargav who started out catching snakes says that the king cobra is a territorial reptile like the tiger. "If they are bred in captivity, the process has to be monitored and done scientifically by professionals . We should not mess with existing habitats. Instead the forests of the Western Ghats should be conserved."
Eminent herpetologist Gerry Martin has similar views. He believes that captive breeding is important to create a gene pool but no one knows how they will adapt after they are released in the wild. "Most zoos catch cobras from the wild and if they die, they catch them again. Instead it's better if the captive-bred snakes are given to zoos."
Both Anees and Martin say it is unfortunate that people shoot snakes on sight.
In 1995-96, Gerry Martin was part of a captive breeding programme with Romulus Whitaker where 31 cobras had been bred in captivity. Then they were given to zoos.
The King Cobra Radio Telemetry Project conducted by the Agumbe Rainforest Research Station has revealed some interesting facets of the reptile: King cobras are extremely elusive but peaceful. They confront only when disturbed.
An edited version of this article can be read from the link below:

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