Lost, found, vanishing from roots again
- IPL spot-fixing: Chennai Super Kings owner's kin under police scanner
- IPL 2013 LIVE SCORE: Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Rajasthan Royals
- Jessica Lall murder: Actor Shayan Munshi, ballistic expert Manocha to face perjury trial
- BJP tears into UPA govt on 4th anniversary, says it lacks leadership
- BCCI was forced to encash Pune Warriors' bank guarantee: Sanjay Jagdale
Thought extinct for a century, then spotted in Maharashtra in 1997, the forest owlet appears to be on the verge of extinction from the forest where it was rediscovered, say Pune-based bird-lovers who have counted the last remaining samples there — one pair.
Since the rediscovery, it had been spotted in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Orissa too. The researchers, however, stress that it is only for Maharashtra's Toranmal forest that they have past figures to compare the current findings with.
Locally called the duda, the owl is no larger than a human palm. What distinguishes it from other owls is that it is active by day.
British administrator F R Blewit collected the first specimen in 1872. A O Hume, an ornithologist and taxonomist apart from being the founder of the Indian National Congress, first described it to the world. American bird lovers Ben King and Pamela Rassmussen sighted a specimen in Tornamal forest in 1997, the first since 1884.
In 2001, a study by scientists from Bombay Natural History Society counted seven pairs, Toranmal's highest ever. That came down to a single pair in 2010-11, according to the study that Pune's Girish Jathar and Dharmaraj Patil conducted as part of the Ravisankaran Fellowship Programme under the Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation. Their report is now up on the websites of BNHS, Maharashtra's environment department, and Global Owl Project, US. The study has also been used by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources for the review of its red data list for wildlife.
"We found that the bird is under tremendous pressures such as encroachment, forest fires and use of chemicals and pesticides in farms," says Patil. And Jathar says, "The Toranmal figures show us the bird is on the verge of local extinction. We have recommended some urgent steps to conserve the habitat of the bird. The first is to curb encroachment."
- Fixing probe now reaches Bollywood, son of Dara Singh held
- BCCI cashes Pune Warriors guarantee, 'disgusted' Sahara walks out of IPL
- Sreesanth spent Rs 1.95L on clothes, bought friend BlackBerry, paid in cash: Police
- Delhi firm with MoD as client is linked to Pak cyberattacks
- After Infosys, iGATE sacks Phaneesh Murthy for sexual misconduct
- 2 weeks after harassment, Haryana schoolgirls return, cops in tow