The Wildlife Society of Orissa was formed in August, 1994.
It is headed by its President Dr. B.C. Mishra Ex-professor of Surgery. Mr. K.C. Mohapatra, Engineer is the Vice-President and Mr.Biswajit Mohanty is the Secretary. Mr. Ranjit Pattnaik is Director of Education and Awareness activity of the Society.All office bearers hold honorary posts.
They are registered under the S.R. Act,1860 and recognized by the Central Pollution Control Board for pollution control activities.
The policy decisions and action plans are made by the Executive Committee. The Secretary handles the day to day functions.The Society’s primary objective is conservation of forest and wildlife of the state of Orissa, apart from pollution control activities.The Society works in co-operation with the state Forest Department.
The following activities are conducted by the Society:
- Collection of poaching and trade intelligence regarding wildlife products like skins,ivory,body parts and live species.
- Lobbying with the state government for changes in the forest and wildlife laws and to ensure their strict implementation.
- Carrying out mass awareness and education campaigns among local communities for habitat and wildlife protection.
- Legal action for various matters of public interest concerning conservation issues related to violation of forest, wildlife and environmental laws.
- Providing legal protection to various forest staff who face false complaint cases
- Intervention in cases of wildlife offenders in trial courts to ensure their conviction
- Local partner of Operation Kachhapa launched by WPSI, New Delhi which is a special project for protection of the endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles, thousands of which die due to illegal mechanized fishing on the Orissa coast.
- Documentation of important wildlife habitats and endangered species of the state through field surveys.
- Monitoring pollution hotspots in the state and lobbying for enforcement of environmental laws.
More Information About Orissa
- Situated on the East coast of India, with a coastline on the Bay Of Bengal
- 9th largest state in India by Area
- 11th largest population
- Established in April 1936 as a British province
Culture & Entertainment
- Boasts a wide variety of tribal and folk music artists
- Home to a number of well known actors, including Anubhav Mohanty and Sriram Panda.
Sport & Recreation
Sport is a big part of life in Orissa. The government’s Department of Sports & Youth Services is committed to what it described as the “relentless pursuit of excellence in Sports & Games” and was set up to encourage participation in a wide range of sports among young people.
In hockey, the Orissa Steelers are one of the leading teams in India and were winners of the Premier Hockey League in 2007, winning 10 of their 12 matches and scoring 29 goals. Winning the title was am especially great achievement considering that they were a relatively inexperienced team, having only first participated in the tournament in 2006.
Cricket is a popular sport throughout the country and Orissa has traditionally contributed several players to the national side. Indeed, the president of Odisha Cricket Association, Ranjib Biswal, is also the national team manager.
Although watching and participating in sports are both hugely popular, sports gambling in India is heavily restricted. But despite legislation gambling is widespread both in person, and also online. According to recent surveys, just over 40% of internet users in India have admitted to visiting an online betting website to find more information about betting on sports, specifically cricket and horse racing.
However, many would be online bettors in Orissa face difficulties in actually placing bets, since the majjority of online bookmakers respect local laws and therefore do not permit players to deposit money from Indian IP addresses. There have been calls to legalize online gambling throughout the country in order to prevent underground betting shops and to make the transactions taxable. Likewise, casinos could become more of a common sight. Currently Orissa is not one of the states in India that allow land based casinos – these are limited to Sikkim and Goa.
(Excerpts from published news)
8.9.2007 : Join the stop Dhamra port campaign to save the world’s largest sea turtle nesting site :
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Wildlife activists flay Govt for dropping elephant reserve projects
Pioneer News Service | Bhubaneswar
Wildlife activists on Thursday blamed the State Government for falling prey to a plot by the industries lobby and withdrawing two elephant reserve proposals. Biswajit Mohanty, secretary of the Wildlife Society of Orissa, said the Centre had already approved of the proposals for South Orissa elephant reserve (ER) and the Baitarani elephant reserve (ER) but now the State Government has asked the Centre to drop the proposals.
According the wildlife activists, Orissa has more than 90 per cent of eastern India’s elephant population, including a good proportion of breeding adult tuskers. The State’s elephant population of 1,862 shall be seriously threatened by this disastrous move as mega bauxite and iron ore mines proposed to come up in these areas will find it easy to obtain clearance without an assessment of their impact on wild elephants, they argued.
The south Orissa ER was proposed over an area of 4,216 sq km. in Rayagada, Kandhamal and Kalahandi and the Baitarani ER comprising Keonjhar and Sundargarh spread over 10,516 sq km.
Meanwhile, according to the Wildlife Conservation Strategy, 2002, lands falling within 10 km within the boundaries of national parks and sanctuaries should be notified as ecologically sensitive areas but in Orissa there is a move to reduce them to five km from the borders of Karlapat Wildlife Sanctuary.
Similarly, an irrational limit of only 2 km has been proposed as ESA around the southern, eastern and western fringes of the Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary in Keonjhar district in order to enable the operation of chromite mines. There is another move to limit this area to only 1 km within the borders of the Balukhand-Konark Wildlife Sanctuary.
The Pioneer 3.8.2007
Kandhamal poachers operate with Arunachal tribals
Pioneer News Service | Bhubaneswar
The wild animal skin mafia operating in Kandhamal district has spread its network up to Arunachal Pradesh. This is evident after the Kandhamal district police nabbed two poachers near Baliguda and seized two panther skins, a leopard skin and a trophy made from a barking deer skull recently.
Moreover, the interrogations revealed that the poachers have a direct link with the hunting Lushiya tribals of Arunachal Pradesh. Lushiya tribals are also coming to Kandhamal forests for poaching of elephants, leopards, panthers, bear and deer.
The Pioneer 8.3.2007
Good news for State: Elephants on the rise
Saturday July 21 2007 10:22 IST
BHUBANESWAR: This could be one ‘jumbo-sized’ good news for Orissa.
A state still struggling to strike a balance between industrialisation and ecology has witnessed a rise in the number of elephants even in the face of intense mining and deforestation activities. Add to that the growing menace of poaching. The latest elephant census has put the total number of elephants in Orissa at 1862. In 2002, when the last comprehensive census was carried out, their number stood at 1841.
This is where Orissa has shown an edge. The enumeration has shown that male elephants have grown in number despite being target of the poachers. Their share in the adult population has grown from 27.3 percent in 2002 to 29.39 percent, registering a 10 percent rise. The latest census put male elephants’ number in Orissa at 403 as against 369 five years back. Compared to them, the female elephant number too has risen but shown a relatively slow growth rate – from 939 in 2002 to 973 this year.
The number of adult bulls stands at about 300, which Mohanty says is a very healthy trend since they are the tusk carriers and are targeted by hunters.
The New Indian Express 22.7.2007
Port threatens Olive Ridleys in Orissa
By Krittivas Mukherjee
MUMBAI, June 8 (Reuters) – A port being built on India’s eastern coast is a “killing field” of rare Olive Ridley turtles and other marine life, and should be shut down, Greenpeace said on Friday. It said the Dhamra port in Orissa state, being built by Indian conglomerate Tata group, is close to the beaches of Gahirmatha, one of the few remaining mass nesting sites of the Olive Ridleys in the world.
The group recently conducted a 40-day study of the ecology around the port site and came across more than 2,000 turtles, rare horseshoe crabs, crab-eating frogs, dolphins and snakes, killed by mechanised fishing boats.
The port site is not a turtle nesting ground, but is part of the breeding and feeding ground for many species and is intrinsically rich in bio-diversity, it said.
“The Tatas, who claim to be a socially responsible company, now have to decide if they want to place profits above environment,” Ashish Fernandes, Greenpeace’s oceans campaigner, told a conference. “We have an incontrovertible scientific critique of their project and we have sent a report to them as well.”
The Tatas had earlier said the port would not harm the turtles and if it did they would not build the project, Fernandes said. The port’s draught is 18 metres, which would make it India’s deepest port. Its 13 berths can handle more than 80 million tonnes of cargo per year.
Hundreds of thousands of Olive Ridleys swim up to Orissa’s beaches every year to nest, but their numbers are falling drastically, victims of government neglect and rapid industrialisation.
Reuters Net Alert 8.6.2007
Injured Tigress in intesive care at Nandankanan Zoo
Tuesday, April 3, 2007 (Bhubaneswar)
A seven-year-old tigress, which had sustained bullet injuries inside Orissa’s newly created Satkosia Tiger Reserve on Saturday, is now under intensive medical care at the Nandankanan Zoo hospital.
The incident has once again proved that protected sanctuaries are a happy hunting ground for poachers.Pellets from a country made gun had pierced her spine and hind legs at four places.
Since there’s no animal rescue centre in Orissa injured wild animals are transported by road to the Nandankanan Zoo. Long hours of travel in narrow cages often lead to complications. This has once again brought into sharp focus the great need to set up zonal rescue centres.
Forest officials say the ammunition used by the poachers suggests that they were out to hunt barking deer and not big cats and they could have fired accidentally or out of fear.
Whether the culprits were deer hunters or tiger poachers is immaterial because the fact that there’s a presence of poachers inside the tiger reserve is a matter of grave concern.
From NDTV.com 3.4.2007
‘Forest tree felling should be stopped to save Simlipal tigers’
Pioneer News Service | Cuttack
While the entire country, including the Prime Minister is concerned over plummeting population of tigers, the Orissa forest department has officially undertaken a disastrous exercise to destroy valuable forests adjacent to Simlipal Tiger Reserve (STR).
The Wildlife Society of Orissa (WSO) in a letter to the National Tiger Conservation Authority and the State Chief Minister has demanded an immediate stop to all forest working operations in the areas within a 10 km radius of the Simlipal Tiger Reserve. The chief wildlife warden of the State has also been urged to stop forest working in these areas.
The State should forthwith demarcate and notify such areas as “ecologically sensitive areas” (ESA) under Section 3 of the Environment Protection Act, 1986, WSO secretary Biswajit Mohanty has pleaded.
Mohanty points out that the forest department has started cutting timber trees according to the approved working plans in the Baripada and Karanjia forest divisions. Many of these forests border the STR and are used by tigers for movement and hunting. Under this plan, green felling has commenced at Noto Reserve Forests.
This reserve forests are an important animal corridor adjacent to the core area of STR. The area is strategically located and serves as a corridor for movement of wildlife, including tigers and elephants, to the forests of Keonjhar and Balasore districts. It is the only bridge between the STR and Kuldiha Wildlife Sanctuary for Simlipal tigers.
From The Pioneer 13th March,2007
OTDC’s plans for Chilka under ministry scanner
Statesman News Service
BHUBANESWAR, Feb. 7: The wildlife society of Orissa has urged upon the ministry of tourism to conduct a thorough and independent environment impact assessment for the proposed tourism development plans regarding Chilka lake and to protect the lake’s fragile eco-system and wildlife.
In a statement issued here Mr Biswajit Mohanty, secretary of WSO, noted that the proposed tourism projects of Orissa tourism development corporation have many questionable aspects which may threaten the eco-system of the lake. Care needs to be taken as Chilka is a Ramsar site and the habitat of several endangered species including the Irrawady dolphins, migratory birds and Barkudia skink or limbless lizard, he said. The OTDC plans to make Chilka lake a popular tourist destination with a grant of Rs 556 lakhs from the Centre.
Noting that the OTDC has yet to carry out an impact assessment study to gauge the likely adverse effects of the proposed activities, Mr Mohanty said plans to buy fan driven airboats for dolphin tours will be disturbing the dolphins. Dolphin watching should be only allowed in country boats without any power, he noted.
There are plans to stop the feeding of dolphins by the visitors since it is wrong and amounts to the “baiting of wildlife”. This will endanger them since they will not leave the feeding area which shall affect their ecology and breeding habits, he alleged.
He also questioned the move to set up steel watchtowers inside the water around the Nalabana bird sanctuary. The watchtowers will get corroded in a couple of years due to the saline water. The impact of the proposed activities like water skiing and the use of motorised boats needs to be studied.
From The Statesman dt. 8.2.2007
Ridleys back in death zone
Bhubaneswar, Jan. 22: The Orissa coast is once again dotted with carcasses of the endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles, thousands of which have been washed ashore after allegedly being killed by mechanised fishing
Dead Olive Ridleys have been spotted in large numbers at Gahirmatha, the Devi and Jatadhar river mouths, Harishpur, Chilika coast and Puri, said Biswajit Mohanty, secretary of the Wildlife Society of Orissa.
In the past 14 years, more than 1,30,000 turtles have been found dead on the Orissa coast, claims the wildlife activist. Last season, 9,000 turtles were killed while the figure till December 2006 was 5,753.
Chief wildlife warden Suresh Mohanty, however, claimed before The Telegraph that there had been no abnormal turtle casualty this year. Till January 10, only 1,029 dead turtles had been counted along the entire Orissa coast, which is comparable to the corresponding figure of the last season, he said.
Before 2002, around 15,000 turtle casualties used to be reported every year. The annual toll has come down to 3,200 over the past three years due to intensive patrolling by the forest department and the coast guard, he claimed.
The wildlife activist, however, alleged that hundreds of fishing boats from Kharnasi, Jamboo, Talchua, Dhamra and Kasaphal operate daily inside the marine sanctuary “without any restrictions”. The turtle congregation is now breaking up and there is little chance of mass nesting, he feared.
Reports from Kendrapara district said the situation had worsened at Gahirmatha after the forest guards refused to go on patrolling duty following the arrest of a colleague who accidentally killed a fishermen last month
The Telegraph dt. 23.1.2007