RV Matters - 29 July 2018

This week we observed 27th Anniversary of the Rishi Valley Bird Preserve by inviting Dr. A.J.T.
Johnsingh, Senior Wildlife biologist and conservationist, to talk to our students and Staff on July 27, 2018.

It was a thrilling experience to listen to Dr Johnsingh as he took us through his various experiences in the wild in his career spanning over four decades. The students listened to him with rapt attention and flooded him with a barrage of questions at the end of his presentation. Dr. Johnsingh also had interactions with some classes and with the birdwatching team this morning and pointed out the various trees and explained their medicinal and ecological values. He pointed out that the presence of bats (pipistrelles), hawking insects especially mosquitoes, in the Senior auditorium as an indication of the pristine nature of the surroundings in Rishi Valley. He said he has been seeing the decline of these bats elsewhere in urban areas and in rural landscapes with heavy pesticide use.

Dr Johnsingh was also concerned with the presence of Cassia spectabilis in the campus and pointed out this species tends to become an invasive as has happened in Bandipur Tiger Reserve and other forest areas and that it must be eradicated. He said the Biodiversity Park could be left alone to regenerate naturally.

During the Anniversary celebration, we also released a booklet titled “Common Reptiles of Rishi Valley Area”, a bilingual publication (English-Telugu). This booklet is illustrated with colour photographs and includes accounts of some of the common reptiles found in our Valley. The objective of this publication is to educate the rural people about the ecological importance of reptiles as natural pest control agents and to emphasise their conservation. The booklet talks about the precautions that need to be taken to prevent snake-bites and steps to be taken in case of a snake-bite.

The booklet is authored by Suresh Jones, a naturalist who has been associated with our school for nearly two decades and translated into Telugu by Padmavalli akka, formerly a staff of the school. Photographs were contributed by several well-known nature photgraphers and herpetologists and the design and lay-out was done by our own Rajeshwar sir. It was unfortunate Suresh Jones could not attend the release function due to an injury and we missed
him a lot.

We hope this useful publication will reduce the unwarranted deaths of snakes in our neighbourhood.

Dr Santharam