| OTTERS & CRANES;
WETLAND CONSERVATION EVENTS
11th December, 2003
The Wildlife Protection
Society of India (WPSI) and the British High Commission
co-hosted the premiere of a film “…And Then
There Were None”, in New Delhi on 5 December 2003.
The film, which was supported by a grant to WPSI from
the British High Commission’s Devolved Environment
Project Fund, was produced and directed by award winning
filmmaker Syed Fayaz.
“…And Then There Were None”
investigates the rampant poaching of otters in India.
These playful, inquisitive animals are being persecuted
for their highly prized pelts, which are smuggled out
of India to be made into fur coats and garment trimmings.
The film documents hunting by professional poachers
who use trained dogs to flush out otters from their
wetland refuges, as well as the illegal trade in otter
WPSI has been investigating and documenting
the poaching of otters and the illegal trade in their
skins since its inception in 1994. We have found that
the trade in otter skins is closely linked to the trade
in tiger and leopard skins and body parts; most big
seizures involve all three species. Although the otter
and its habitat are protected under national and international
laws and conventions the species has been wiped out
from many areas, particularly as a result of the wanton
destruction of its wetland habitat.
In her address to the packed hall at
the Habitat Centre, Belinda Wright, Executive Director
of WPSI, said, "we are extremely concerned about
the escalating poaching of otters and the illegal trade
in their skins. This is also a serious environmental
issue. The otters' wetland habitats are being drained
and destroyed throughout the country, usually because
their vital importance to the region is not understood.''
On 28 November, WPSI co-hosted with
WWF-India the launch of the Children’s International
Art Exchange India 2003-2004. The launch was accompanied
by an exhibition of paintings with the theme “Crane
Bird of Peace” from children around the world.
The well-known ornithologist, Dr. George Archibald,
co-founder and chairman of the International Crane Foundation
(ICF), inaugurated the exhibition and gave a lively
talk on the history of crane conservation.
The paintings will be displayed at
18 venues across India. In the second phase of the programme
painting contests will be organised; the artwork from
these will then travel, via ICF, to other Children’s
International Art Exchanges around the world. The aim
of the programme is to increase awareness among children
and adults of the importance of saving the cranes’
ICF and the Indian Cranes and Wetlands
Working Group (ICWWG), a project of WPSI, is coordinating
the Art Exchange programme in India.
Please let us know if you would like to copies of the
otter film, “…And Then There Were None”.
The film is available on CD at Rs. 250/- each (plus