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Wild animals don’t want trouble from humans: Biologist George Schaller

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Sairopa (Kullu), Feb 18 Animals in the wild mostly avoid any encounters with humans – and when they do attack people, it is usually in self-defence, says legendary field biologist George Schaller.

And it would be wrong to declare tigers and leopards that attack humans as “man-eaters”, Schaller, who believes he’s still young at 83, told IANS in an interview.

Thus, there is a need for training the communities settled on the periphery of wildlife parks and sanctuaries because the wild animals — be it the tiger or the leopard or the elephant — don’t want trouble from the humans, said Schaller, who attended a two-day nature conservation biology workshop at Great Himalayan National Park’s camp office here in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh.

“And if a tiger is a man-eater, then its killing is certain,” he added.

German-born Schaller, who devoted six decades to conservation of wildcats and their ecosystems, is currently the Vice President of Panthera, an organisation founded in 2006 for conserving the animals.

Schaller, who is wild at heart, said in India — a storehouse of biodiversity — development is a big issue.

“India is saying it’s doing a lot for the preservation of wildlife. But it is really disturbing that 200 sq km of forest area of the Panna tiger reserve (in Madhya Pradesh) which is being diverted for non-forest purposes. After the 1990s, the country’s image in preserving forests is going down,” said the biologist-cum-author, who travelled to Central Africa to study the mountain gorilla when he was 25.

It is greed and corruption that threaten nature more.

The problem, in fact, across the globe is that oil, mining and timber companies are prepared to pay anything to operate in sensitive areas. Sadly, governments and officials succumb to their pressures.

“I know people (supposed conservationists) who prefer to sit in their offices (rather than go into the field). Conservation has not to do only with animals. It also has to do with economics and politics.”

Schaller, who has studied wildlife in several reserve forests and national parks in India, said the Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand is the most vulnerable to poaching for international trade owing to its proximity to the Nepal border, a major trade link to the Chinese traditional medicine market.

Estimates say India supports the highest population of tigers in the wild, accounting for 2,226 of the estimated 3,890 worldwide.

Schaller, who has worked for nearly two decades on studying endemic wildlife in the Tibetan Plateau, said the snow leopard also needs protection from pastoral communities.

“The Spiti Valley (in Himachal Pradesh) and the Hemis National Park (in Jammu and Kashmir) support a good population of the snow leopard,” said Schaller, who spent most of his time in the field in Asia, Africa and South America.

“They are beautiful and majestic animals that rarely attack humans. They attack only when the villagers attack them with sticks. I have spent nights in their habitat and they passed my sleeping bag.”

“Man-animal conflicts are more a social issue. For the conservation of the wildlife, you need cooperation of the local communities,” he said.

Apart from the Spiti Valley, the state’s Pin Valley National Park, which Schaller trekked in three-four years ago, the Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary, the Great Himalayan National Park and the Pangi and Bharmour areas of Chamba district have a sizable population of the snow leopard.

Even neighbouring Uttarakhand has a good population of the elusive and highly-endangered species.

According to Schaller, for conserving the snow leopard there is need to maintain a sizable population of its prey species like the Asiatic ibex — a wild goat — and the Himalayan blue sheep.

Schaller’s photograph of a snow leopard, taken in Pakistan in 1970, is the first recorded image of the wild cat.

The founding fathers of wildlife conservation advocated the need to link eco-tourism with the local communities.

Take the case of tracking the critically-endangered mountain gorilla — the world’s largest ape — in the Virunga Mountains in the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda in eastern Africa.

“This is the best managed park in the world, in terms of both earning foreign exchange and wildlife management. Part of the income fetched from the visitors is used for the welfare of the communities who reside along the park, who are also making an effort to conserve the forests.

“If we fail to create awareness on wildlife, then we will fail to preserve for our future generations,” he added.

IANS

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Lifestyle

Use Tinder at your own risk

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tinder

New York, Feb 25: Apart from helping you to find a partner, dating app Tinder may also increase the chances of getting you caught if you are cheating on your partner, revealed a study.

According to the researchers from Texas Tech University, US, many participants said they were not sure if Tinder was a good way to do so, as they saw a few profiles of people on the dating app who were already in a relationship.

“The participants are quite mixed though as to whether Tinder is an effective way to meet extradyadic partners,” said co-author of the study Dana Weiser from Texas Tech University in the US.

“This may be because, while it is easy to meet individuals via Tinder, it may also be very easy to get caught, as a percentage of our participants also indicated they saw people who they knew were in relationships on Tinder,” Weiser added.

For the study, published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, researchers examined 550 undergraduate students who participated in the study.

Among the participants, 12.5 per cent had spent time with someone they met on Tinder, 17.1 per cent had messaged someone on Tinder, 8.9 per cent had been physically intimate and 7.2 per cent reported having sexual relations with someone they met on Tinder while in an exclusive relationship.

The researchers found two personality traits they said could predict a person’s likelihood to cheat on a partner: willingness to engage in sex outside of a committed relationship and intention to engage in infidelity.

“We expected these same personality traits that predict in-person infidelity would also be associated with engaging in infidelity via Tinder,” Weiser said.

“We found those traits were more important for predicting infidelity than gender. Basically, men and women looked very similar when we accounted for personality,” Weiser added.

IANS

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Lifestyle

Gift green plants, orange gujiya on Holi

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Holi

New Delhi, Feb 24: Going for a Holi party? Add colours to your gifting options like a green plant, a gold coin or orange sweets like gujiya, suggest experts.

Sunil Gupta, Founder at exportersIndia.com, and Vishwavijay Singh, Co-Founder at salebhai.com, have listed a few colourful options:

* Green: As the colour green signifies peace and harmony, how about gifting a potted plant or terrarium as a gift? Plants make a perfect gift for various occasions as gifting your loved ones with plants spreads positive energy and improves the quality of air in a home.

Image result for GIFTING GREEN PLANTS

* Yellow: In India, gifting gold jewellery and idols is considered auspicious for celebratory occasions. The colour yellow signifies piousness and gifting something as precious as gold in an earring or a gold coin has an intrinsic value.

Image result for gifting gold EARRING

Image result for gifting gold coin

* Orange: Every festival or occasion is incomplete without sweets. Gifting sweets has always been the benchmark of Indian tradition, especially during festivals. Therefore, this Holi, gift your loved ones with sweets and savouries like malpuas, gujiyas, motichoor ladoos and more.

Gujiya

* Blue: As the colour blue signifies calm, gift your friend or a family member a travel gift card. Gift a travel experience which can last for a day, a week or more.

* Red: The colour red reflects love and fertility. Look for gifts such as red-coloured clothes or attractive home decor pieces like candle holders, canvas painting, and flowers that can change the overall look and feel of a home.

IANS

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Lifestyle

Use potato slices to treat puffy eyes

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Potato on eyes

New Delhi, Feb 21: Waking up with puffy eyes is rather common and it is easy to treat them. Drink sufficient water and use refrigerated slices of potatoes to get rid of the puffiness, suggest experts.

Bubbles Singh, Founder at Just B Au Naturel and Ragini Mehra, Founder at Beauty Source, have listed simple ways to treat your problem:

* The easiest way to get rid of puffy eyes is to drink water. When the body is well hydrated, there is less chance of water retention that can cause your under-eye area and other parts of your body to swell.

Water also helps flush toxins out of the body.

* Iced compresses like chilled green or black tea bags can help soothe puffy and irritated eyes. They contain anti-irritant properties that help reduce swelling around your eyes. You could even try splashing your face and eyes with ice cold water.

* Slices of refrigerated potato or cucumber work as a fantastic natural remedy to get rid of under eye puffiness.

The enzymes and the astringent properties in these vegetables help reduce inflammation and help tighten the skin. This remedy will also help get rid of wrinkles and dark circles around your eyes.

* A mask made of egg whites helps in tightening the area around the eyes, as egg whites are a nourishing natural skin care treatment, reducing puffiness of the eyes.

* Puffiness of the eyes can be caused by seasonal or inherited allergies. Allergies prompts us to rub our eyes more, leading to further puffiness. Visit a doctor and get yourself checked in case of any such.

* Use natural products that help reduce dryness, reduce puffiness and hydrate your skin like an eye serum or aloe vera based eye creams which can also cool down the eye area.

These products do not harm the eyes, repair and replenish the skin around the eyes, ensuring that you see a difference in the brightness and texture under your eyes when you get up in the morning.

IANS

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