January 2, 2015
Over the years, each and every article that we have written in Daijiworld spells out a clear message about wildlife conservation and the ways and means of addressing these issues of global importance. This article is no different in the sense; it gives the readers an idea on the health of our Planet and the impact of human activity.
Published every two years, the Living Planet Report, (2014) produced by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has sounded ominous warnings about the very survival of many living species on Earth and suggests that wildlife populations are globally declining at an alarming rate.
Currently, the global population is cutting down trees faster than they regenerate, catching fish faster than the oceans can restock, pumping water from rivers and aquifers faster than rainfall can replenish them and emitting more climate-warming carbon dioxide than oceans and forests can absorb.
Kuwaitis had the biggest ecological footprint, meaning they consume and waste more resources per head than any other nation, the report said, followed by Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
"If all people on the planet had the footprint of the average resident of Qatar, we would need 4.8 planets. If we lived the lifestyle of a typical resident of the USA, we would need 3.9 planets," the report said.
Many countries - including India, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of Congo- had an ecological footprint that was well within the planet's ability to absorb their demands but will change in the future.
This makes it clear that our present life style and habits are unsustainable. International efforts to meet targets to stem the loss of wildlife and habitats are also failing miserably. In our opinion habitat loss is the single most defining factor threatening wildlife populations.
We have provided pictures of the Purple Moor Hen also commonly referred to as the Purple Swamp Hen. Moorhens are resident birds with breeding populations in the country. The Purple Moor Hen is commonly observed in marshy lands, swamps, lakes, wetlands and ponds all along the length and breadth of the Western Ghats.
We have observed different shades of colour depending on the elevation and season. It is relatively easy to photograph these birds in the wild because they are quite accustomed to the presence of human beings.
It is quite common to find a dozen or more Purple Moor Hens living in close proximity with other aquatic and semi aquatic birds like the Common Moor Hen, Coot, Sand piper, Bronze winged Jacana, Glossy Ibis, Whistling teals, Egrets, Pond herons, Grey herons and Purple herons. They are good swimmers and can also fly long distances.
These birds prefer to feed on tender leaves and shoots. Some wetland species are herbivores as well as granivores (seed predators). It is one species that the paddy farmers detest to see as the birds destroy paddy saplings. The crop loss caused by the purple birds is a common complaint of the paddy cultivators. Faced with the prospects of economic loss, the farmers hunt these birds not for meat purposes but to protect their crops as a few of our photographs reveal. Apart from paddy cultivators, the other threat to these beautiful birds is the influx of chemicals and other pollutants into water bodies.
Dr Anand & Geeta Pereira - Archives