In Majuli - a sandbar island on the river Brahmaputra in Assam, India - lies a lush forest spreading over an area of 1360 acres. Locally called Molai forest, it is named after Jadav 'Molai' Payeng - the man who single-handedly created it over a span of three decades ! It began in 1979, when Payeng - then just a teenager - was moved to see hordes of dead snakes on the river bank after the flood waters had receeded. Realizing that a lack of forest cover had led to such a disaster, Payeng decided to plant saplings to restore the ecosystem. The very next year he started working on a 5-year-long project of tree plantation in the nearby Aruna Chapori area undertaken by the local social forestry division. Thereafter, having learnt the ropes of growing trees, Payeng started planting saplings of bamboo on the Majuli island.Then through constant care and several years of hard labour, Payeng built a flourishing forest which is now home to some Bengal tigers, Indian rhinos, monkeys, deer, rabbits and several varieties of birds. The forest is also frequented by a species of vultures and a herd of about hundred elephants ! Payeng has been honoured by the Government of India with the civilian award of Padma Shri and he is now fondly called "the Forest Man of India" ! Click to watch this video.
The "Valley of Flowers" : Uttarakhand, India
The "Valley of Flowers" is a spectacular meadow located at an altitude of about 3,600 meters above sea level at the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, India. Although it remains covered by snow for the most part of the year, the landscape becomes vibrant with colourful flowers during the months of July and August. With over 500 species of enchanting flowers, the place is also home to some rare animals. While flowers include varieties of dwarf fireweeds, orchids, poppies, marigold, primulas, anemones and daisies - animals like the Asiatic black bear, snow leopard and Himalayan blue sheep are also to be found here. It has been declared a National Park since 1982 and is also regarded as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO.
Though unknown to the modern world for centuries - until discovered by mountaineers Frank Smyth and R.L.Holdswordth in 1931 - this remote speck of paradise surprisingly does find mention in the Hindu Mythology ! To Know more
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Human-Wildlife Conflict : Elephants get killed on Indian Railway tracks !
This is a frequent occurrence in the Dooars region of West Bengal, India. Every year a number of elephants get injured or killed by speeding trains on railway tracks running through forests. The pachyderms collide with trains while trying to cross the tracks in search of food or water! It is necessary to strike a balance between infrastructure development and wildlife conservation. Efforts should be made to instal systems that can monitor movements of herds and send warning signals to train drivers on time. To know more
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