Your Right To Info
Dr Monika Raghuvanshi and Dr Sonika Kushwaha,
Indian Biodiversity Conservation Society
International Owl Awareness Day is celebrated on August 4 every year. It is celebrated to create awareness and educate the community about the conservation of these fantastic nocturnal raptors. They are friends of farmers and an essential part of the ecosystem. Owls’ general diet varies from species to species; rodents are a staple for most owls, making them an excellent natural pest control method. India is an abode of 30 owl species. Unfortunately, 15 owl species have been recorded in the owl trade. Uttar Pradesh ranks highest in owl trade in India.
Some initiatives that can be undertaken for the conservation of owls are to involve the local people to monitor and conserve the old large trees and cliffs that serve as important habitats for owl species, use natural deterrents or raptor-safe traps instead of poisons or sticky traps to control rodents, protecting the dead trees untouched to preserve owl nesting spaces, planting the native species, lessening the use of insecticides, mowing less to provide owls with natural hunting spaces and installing artificial nest boxes in areas where dead trees or nesting cavities are scarce. All these measures will help promote the in-situ conservation of owls.
World Lion Day, August 10 is celebrated for raising awareness about the declining population and conserving the habitats of lions. Royal Lion is declared an endangered species in the IUCN Red List. Lion plays a major role in the ecosystem; hence it is important to maintain biodiversity and natural forest. Due to its declining population, Derek and Beverly Joulert of Big Cat Initiative and National Geographic took an initiative in 2013 to celebrate August 10 as World Lion Day.
Some interesting facts about lions:-
1. Cubs have spots and change colour from light to dark when they grow
2. Cubs are raised by all the females in a group
3. Lionesses are generally better hunters compared to males
4. Lions sleep for as long as 20 hours a day
World Elephant Day, August 12 is celebrated to create awareness about the challenges faced by magnificent elephants and the need for their conservation. David Sheldrick from Wildlife Trust, Kenya first celebrated World Elephant Day on August 16, 2012, for global awareness about threats to elephants due to poaching, human-wildlife conflict, habitat loss, and mistreatment in captivity. It is a day of education, inspiration, and action to encourage governments, organizations, and individuals to save elephants. The theme for Save the Elephant Day 2023 is “Protecting elephant habitats for a sustainable future”.
Though elephants are native to only Africa and Asia, they hold significant cultural and symbolic meanings around the world. Elephants are important ecosystem engineers. They make pathways in densely forested habitats that allow passage for other species. Many tree species in central African and Asian forests rely on seeds passing through an elephant’s digestive tract before they can germinate. The elephant is the state animal of Kerala, Karnataka and Jharkhand.
Interesting facts about elephants:-
1. An elephant’s skin is 2.5 cm thick in most places
2. Elephants use their trunks to suck up water to drink and spray over their skin. The trunk can contain up to eight litres of water
3. Elephants need 150 kg of food per day. They can feed up to 18 hours a day
4. Apart from sound, touch, language and scent they can communicate through vibrations in the ground
5. An elephant calf can stand within one hour of its birth
International Orangutan Day, August 19 is celebrated for threatened orangutans due to illegal hunting, exploitation, and habitat destruction. It is a day to encourage conservation efforts for the survival of the species which progressed from endangered to critically endangered. The year of establishment of the day is uncertain. Orangutans are great apes native to the rainforests of Indonesia and Malaysia and are not native to India.
Interesting facts about Orangutan:-
1. Orangutans have 97% similarity with human D.N.A., hence they are called humans of the forest
2. They may live up to 50 to 60 years under care
3. They can weigh up to 100 kg
4. They prefer being alone