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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 skins.

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’ wetland habitats.

ICF and the Indian Cranes and Wetlands Working Group (ICWWG), a project of WPSI, is coordinating the Art Exchange programme in India.


Note:
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 postage).


 

 

 

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