Stories tagged India

Jun
19
2008

The friendly gift shop Bigfoot: Know it. Know it well.
The friendly gift shop Bigfoot: Know it. Know it well.Courtesy quaziefoto
Bigfoot and his kin are everywhere these days—in the last couple months I’ve written about Australia’s bipedal cryptid, the Yowie, Borneo’s giant, questionable footprints, and the original abominable snowman, Nepal’s Yeti. But we’re not done yet.

I mean, what if you were at a party, and an attractive member of the opposite (or the same) sex started chatting you up about huge, hairy forest creatures?

Thanks to me, you’d be all: “Oh, you mean Yowie, Yeti, Bigfoot? C’mere, thing, and let’s talk.”
And he or she would be all: “Mmm, hmm. But what about the mande barung?”
And you’d be all: “¿Que?”
And that’d be it; sweet thing would be off to find a one-night-stand who’s a little better versed in cryptids of the subcontinent. Another night watching Stargate by yourself. The cryptocouch should never be a lonely place.

Well don’t sweat it. I’m here to help, and so is the BBC, with Tuesday’s hard-hitting piece on the mande barung, India’s own giant apeman.

As usual, the English say it best, so you might as well read the original piece, and check out the video there while you’re at it, but here are the basics:

Mande barung: approximately 10 feet tall, long black and grey fur, herbivorous, makes its home in the West Garo hills of north-eastern India.

The Garo hills are an area of dense, hot, hot jungle, leading some to wonder why a hairy man-beast would want to hang out there, but many locals are convinced of its existence, and sightings are frequently reported by folks who spend much time in the forest. There’s also some thought that the mande barung stories are played up a little bit to give tourists a reason to check out that hot, sticky corner of India. But we’ll pay no mind to that—anything for the pursuit of knowledge.

Because you’ll be all: Hairy biped of the West Garu hills? What do you want to know?
And they’ll be all: Show me.
Whatever that means.

Can tossing a baby off a 50-foot tower into a white sheet be good for the health of a baby? Traditionalists in India think so and do it regularly. USA Today has a video report of the process. They insist that no babies have been harmed by this practice. Warning: This video does show babies being tossed from the tower.

Okay, so this has a bit of a freak show feel to it, but here's some National Geographic video of a baby recently born in India that has two faces. It's not a conjoined twin, because it has just one torso. Interestingly, the parents do not want to have MRIs done the baby to see if there are any abnormalities inside her body.

Rather than trying to evict people from India’s Nagarjuna Sagar national park, rangers are working with villagers, farmers and herders to get them to help protect the forest’s vanishing tigers. By showing the people the importance of the forest to their livelihoods, they take steps to protect is from poachers and wood cutters.

Oct
25
2007

Problem drinker?: For the second time in three years, a pack of Asian elephants in India have overindulged on rice beer, leading to violent behavior resulting in death. (Flickr photo by Celeste)
Problem drinker?: For the second time in three years, a pack of Asian elephants in India have overindulged on rice beer, leading to violent behavior resulting in death. (Flickr photo by Celeste)
There are the usual suspects known for being problem drinkers: college frat boys, middle-aged rock stars and Green Bay Packer fans. Now you can add Asian elephants to that list.

Six elephants in India were killed earlier this week after creating mayhem after drinking rice beer in a remote city in northeast India. They were part of a herd of about 40 elephants that overran the town looking for food. The six found their way to a variety of plastic and tin drums that the villagers use to brew their own beers.

After getting juiced up on the rice beer, the six elephants went nuts rampaging through the town. In their fury, they uprooted an electrical power pole that led to their electrocution.

Elephants in the region are known to have a developed a taste for the rice beer. A similar incident with occurred three years ago, leading to the death of four intoxicated elephants.

This all leads to a lot of questions, but the one I really want to know is how much rice beer does an animal the size of an elephant need to consume in order to get drunk?

Jun
07
2007

Can you hear me know?: Wildlife managers in India are using cell phone ringtones of chickens, goats and cows to draw troublesome leopards into villages to be trapped and moved to safer locations. (Photo by Sunshine Hanan)
Can you hear me know?: Wildlife managers in India are using cell phone ringtones of chickens, goats and cows to draw troublesome leopards into villages to be trapped and moved to safer locations. (Photo by Sunshine Hanan)
How do they deal with bothersome leopards in India? Call them up on a cell phone.

Indian villages with chronic leopard problems have turned to cell phones as a solution. Callers set their phone to have a ringtone that sounds like a chicken, goat or cow. Then at night, they have someone call that phone. The bothersome leopard hears the artificial animal call, comes in closer to investigate and walks right into a live trap.

The trapped leopards are then taken deeper into area forests where they won’t be a problem in the every-day-life of the villagers. Encroaching development into traditional leopard habitats has driven some of the cats into settled areas.

It’s not too bad a deal for the leopards, that’s for sure. You just might want to be sure you don’t have a chicken, goat or cow ringtone on your phone if you’ll be traveling to India anytime soon.

May
24
2007

Low numbers: A study released this week in India says that the low number of tigers in that country are even lower than what had been believed the past few years. A more accurate census puts their numbers 65 percent lower than originally thought.
Low numbers: A study released this week in India says that the low number of tigers in that country are even lower than what had been believed the past few years. A more accurate census puts their numbers 65 percent lower than originally thought.
The bad news for India’s tiger population got even worse the release of news this week that there are actually far fewer tigers in the nation than first thought.

A two-year government study found out that the tiger numbers are actually 65 percent – nearly two-thirds – lower than originally what was believed. And those original numbers came in under the endangered species threshold.

The new study was done with a process of “photo traps” which would click pictures of the tigers as they passed by a tripping mechanism and also reports from wildlife officers. The earlier population estimates were made based on counting and examining tiger footprints in the wild.

Two main factors are cited for the dismally low number of Indian tigers: poaching by illegal hunters and ever-encroaching development into tiger habitats.

What can be done now? Indian wildlife officials want to make sure tigers in protected wildlife areas in the country have optimal conditions for living and breeding to stabilize the population numbers and then possibly get them to rebound.

Flooding caused by heavy monsoon rains has displaced 66,000 people in northeastern India. No casualties have been reported.

Apr
22
2006


V. Ramanathan with AUAVs: Credit: Scripps Institution of Oceanography/UCSD V. Ramanathan, chief scientist of the Maldives Campaign, accompanied by several autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles.

Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, has successfully sent a fleet of aerial drones through the pollution-filled skies over the Indian Ocean. Researchers hope the data produced by flights will reveal in unprecedented detail how pollution particles cause dimming and contribute to the formation of clouds which amplify the dimming caused by the pollution.

The instrument-bearing autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles (AUAVs) completed 18 successful data-gathering missions in the vicinity of the Maldives, an island chain nation south of India, said Scripps scientist V. Ramanathan. Researchers hope the data produced during the flights will reveal in unprecedented detail how pollution particles cause dimming and contribute to the formation of clouds which amplify the dimming caused by the pollution.

Cloud cover cools Earth's surface by reflecting solar radiation back into space. In recent years, researchers have realized that pollution in the atmosphere, and the dimming and cooling it causes, could be leading scientists to underestimate the true magnitude of global-warming trends observed in recent decades.

Flights took place between March 6 and March 31, 2006, taking off from an airport on the island of Hanimaadhoo in the Maldives. Each AUAV tracked a separate component of brown cloud formation. The lowest, flying beneath the cloud, quantified the input of pollution particles and measured quantities of light that penetrated the clouds.

The aircraft flying through the cloud measured the cloud's response to the introduction of particles. The aircraft flying above the cloud measured the amount of sunlight reflected by the clouds into space and the export of particles out of the clouds.

Source: National Science Foundation.