Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Assam Calls for Ban in Pesticides Around Kaziranga National Park

An elephant died as a result of eating grass contaminated with pesticides

The Kaziranga National Park in India's Assam state has been renowned for its wildlife protection. That is, forest guards would sacrifice their lives in protecting the national park's iconic endangered species such as tigers, elephants, and rhinos. But recently, a new threat has taken the national park's fringes by storm: pesticides. Forest officials have called for a no-pesticide zone around Kaziranga after the following deaths of two pregnant elephants and other animals in tea estates. They say that animals and birds died as a result of eating grass contaminated with pesticides, which were intended to kill red ants. According to senior forestry official Anurag Singh, the pesticides also killed dozens of cows whose contaminated meat took toll on large numbers of vultures. He further added that the estates' managements should turn to organic farming, fearing that the chemicals will also affect the local communities. In addition to that, he said the forest department is contemplating prosecution of some estates if Kaziranga's endangered wildlife are killed by the pesticides.

I'm very proud to see that Assam has taken a step forward in addressing the issue that is affecting Kaziranga's wildlife, and calling for a ban. Not only are the wild animals at risk, but domestic animals and people as well. I feel it is necessary for Assam's tea estates to switch to organic farming if they were to manufacture and sell good tea to its consumers. I also hope that the managements of these estates would come up with an alternative solution in dealing with its red ant population. There are several species of birds and other opportunistic animals in Kaziranga, who can keep the ants in check. Furthermore, it is important to remember that such animals cause benefits to people. Vultures, for example, eat the dead and the diseased. In India, their overall population state is critical. Without vultures, our motherland would be a one massive landfill. That is why it is important for India to turn to organic farming as one way to sustain the vulture population, along with populations of other wild animals who play a key role in the nation's ecosystems.

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