- Ambica Gulati
The music going great guns, I drove right past the Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary (Delhi) on the curvy road from Surjakund towards Tughlakabad. When I reached the crowded Batra hospital, I was sure that I had taken a wrong turn as Paridhi Jain, the education officer at the Conservation Education Centre there had clearly mentioned that it was near Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range. So turning right back, I drove into the silent road again, asking for directions and was a little more careful now watching the signs as I was volunteering for the Habitat Restoration programme on World Enivronment Day (June 5, 2014). Organised by The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), it entailed cleaning a trail, an AV on saving the Yamuna and about BNHS’ efforts since 1883 on conservation and research.
Suddenly a thorny branch was right in our paths, and we were told to cut it. This is called path clearing, after a few tries, we got the hang of it. A lot of glass bottles and plastic bags were also on the trail. It was sad to see alcohol bottles broken in the sanctuary. Drinking is fun but taking the litter back is better! Stones were put on the side for marking the trail. The CEC has plans of putting arrows to mark the trails soon.
|Paridhi Jain, education officer, CEC|
And suddenly everyone was gazing at a small flash of green in the little shrubs. It was a Praying Mantis and its nest hung on a frail shrub. Jyoti, another volunteer who had worked as a science communicator, informed that it was named like that as its legs were folded like hands in prayer. And the female would cut off the head of the male while mating. Lakhan added that the little nest housed many small Praying Mantis babies.
|Praying Mantis nest|
|Lakhan showing the cluster of Palash leaves|
Twists and turns in the rocky walk and we reached the Black Buck enclosure. An endangered species, the sanctuary houses around 50 of them. A herd of females, resting in the shade, walked away on hearing the sound of humans. Brown and supple, they watched us and kept hiding. But the magnificent black male with its horns watched us longer. Ready to run if we went any near, little did it know that we could not walk into the enclosure so it was safe.
|Magnificent Black Buck, endangered species|
We climbed a machan to see the panoramic view of the city. But the sun was hot, even the water in the bottles was boiling, and we made our way back to the office building.
|Aloe Vera gifts|
Little ways to conserve water, preserve the environment:
- Never leave litter in the forest.
- Polythene bags are not allowed in the sanctuaries. Use cloth or jute bags.
- Use public toilets.
- Do not play loud music in the sanctuary; listen to the sounds of nature. Loud sounds scare the animals and birds.
- Do not break plants or disturb nature in any way.
- Do not throw stones at the animals and birds.
- Do not throw water unnecessarily. Keep taps closed.
- Keep water bodies in the sanctuaries clean.
|Neel Gaya remnants|
|Jeans make for good flower pots|
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