FISHY SPORTSMEN | chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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FISHY SPORTSMEN

After a year of banning "sport fishing" at the Sukhna Lake, the animal husbandry and fisheries department has lifted the curbs. However, the actual practise of so-called "sport fishing" is at gross variance with the orders issued by home secretary Anil Kumar on September 8 lifting the ban, and the conditions imposed therein. Vikram Jit Singh writes

chandigarh Updated: Sep 29, 2013 01:07 IST

FISHY SPORTSMEN

After a year of banning "sport fishing" at the Sukhna Lake, the animal husbandry and fisheries department has lifted the curbs. However, the actual practise of so-called "sport fishing" is at gross variance with the orders issued by home secretary Anil Kumar on September 8 lifting the ban, and the conditions imposed therein.

The orders, which were issued after due consultation with MS Johal, professor emeritus of fisheries at Panjab University, specify that no more than 20 permits will be issued daily to maintain the "ecological balance of the lake". But, the fisheries department has disregarded this blatantly and as many as 75 permits were issued on Sunday i.e. September 22.



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There were more than a 100 anglers and their companions sitting at the lake that day from the regulator-end to the tower jutting into the water, and carelessly littering the banks with plastics, bait remnants etc.

The order lays down that tackle to be used should only be "rod and line with one hook". However, 90% of the so-called sport anglers are from colonies and shanties and use multiple hooks strung on bamboo sticks or plain wooden rods.

In reality, the directions to the lower-level staff of the department from the joint director, fisheries, is to "oblige as many fishermen" as possible. Reacting to this, Prof Johal told this writer, "Only proper fishing equipment should be used, and that means a fishing rod. The lake cannot afford such a heavy number of fishermen, many of whom are commercial anglers who sell fish.

I had asked the department to enter a condition that each angler reports the day's catch. That has not been done, and the department has no idea how many and what fish are being caught. I shall take up this matter with the higher authorities."


PET SCAN

Last week in these columns, I had written about the deaths of pet dogs due to snakebite. There are certain measures that veterinarians advise to cut down the possibility of these lethal encounters.



Dr CB Singh suggests owners carry a torch when taking dogs out at night to defecate, muzzle the pet, and not let it loose in wild grass where they will encounter lurking snakes. The key emphasis of Dr CB Singh is on the owner's close supervision of the dog in risk-prone areas.



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Though dogs do manage to kill snakes in such fights, sometimes the tables are turned with little chance of saving the bitten dog. Dr MP Singh, Chhatbir Zoo chief veterinarian, points to the fact that most dog clinics do not keep supplies of anti-snake venom (ASV) serum as it is difficult to maintain, expensive and expires within a limited time.

Only the tricity's main hospitals stock ASV in adequate quantities. Some vets, in fact, will deliberately not tell the owner it is snakebite as they know they cannot handle the case and save the precious pet, says Dr MP Singh.

Knowing that owners are very sensitive about their pets, such vets will conceal the snakebite diagnosis and ask the owner to take the dog to some other medical facility.

Most of the times, dogs are bitten on the face and tongue as these parts are used by the dog to sniff, probe and bite. However, the symptoms of such envenomation, that include tongue turning blue, locked jaw, salivation etc are not symptoms only specific to snake venom as these can be caused by bites of other venomous creatures such as insects, says Dr MP Singh. The only categorical sign is to look for fang punctures when a dog is suspected to have been bitten by a snake.



KAHAANI GHAR GHAR KI



Of the many squirrel species found in India, the one that frequents our gardens is the Northern Palm squirrel also known as the five-striped squirrel (Funambulus pennantii).



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Most families retain a memorable anecdote of some member having tamed squirrels and fed them, with these cutie-pies even coming to the lunch table for tidbits.

Here is one such squirrel, which endeared itself to my family while shifting its nest in our garden. My wife, Hemani's account of this tireless, nimble-witted mother, "The other day I saw a squirrel shifting residence, this squirrel had made its nest in a ledge housing the air-conditioner outside the living room. But one morning, I found that the huge nest had fallen down on the flower pots. I felt very sorry for the poor squirrel family. But I was pleasantly surprised to soon see the perky little mama squirrel literally picking up the pieces with its deft little paws. The squirrel salvaged the straw from the old nest and rolled it into a ball, which it carried in its mouth to the ficus tree on the other side of our garden. The squirrel was simply moving across the road! The exercise of rolling the old 'building material' into balls and carrying these across the lawn was undertaken innumerable times, and soon I could see its new nest in the tree. The squirrel also filched some white material from the ironing desk of the neighbourhood dhobi, Ramesh Kumar, whenever he was away delivering clothes. If only, I could have participated in the house-warming party....I would have certainly raised a toast to this enterprising soul!"

vjswild1@gmail.com