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WILDBUZZ: From nature’s domain of wonders

You may term it “nature’s creativity” or the work of “God’s divine chisel,” depending upon personal beliefs and power of reasoning. But all said and done, this giant rock does evoke an eerie resemblance to a craggy human face or what romantic imagination would suggest: a “lion of a man.”

punjab Updated: Jun 23, 2018 23:48 IST
Vikram Jit Singh
Vikram Jit Singh
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
WILDBUZZ,Zirakpur,SCULPTURE
melissa Singh cheers as Salim khan holds the krait in a jar.(Vir Rakshak)

BRAINS TACKLE KRAIT

India’s most venomous land snake, the Common krait, is a most slippery customer when it surfaces in houses. But if vigilant and aware householders join hands with an experienced snake-rescue expert, the threat can be mitigated with least terror and disruption. On Thursday night, a krait surfaced in the storeroom of a house in Skynet Enclave, Zirakpur. On being informed by the domestic help of the snake’s bluish-black colour and white stripes, Melissa Singh correctly surmised it was a krait. She ordered the lights of the storeroom to be left switched on for the night as the nocturnal krait would get pinned down as it loathes too much glare.

Singh nurtures a passion for snakes and reads voraciously on their habits. So, she also knew kraits can climb beds and bite sleeping humans. A krait’s bite can go unrecognised by slumbering victims as it is mild and mistaken for a mosquito/insect sting.

On Friday morning, Singh summoned Salim Khan who has dealt with innumerable kraits hiding in house niches. Khan narrowed his search down to three holes near the storeroom door, which were ideal for kraits to seek refuge. Two holes had cobwebs but one was clear. Khan declared confidently the krait was in the hole free of cobwebs. After a few hours of snake-wrangling manoeuvres, the krait came rushing out from precisely that hole. It was bagged by Khan amid cheering and much to the relief of the householders.

ROCK & ROLL SCULPTURE

You may term it “nature’s creativity” or the work of “God’s divine chisel,” depending upon personal beliefs and power of reasoning. But all said and done, this giant rock does evoke an eerie resemblance to a craggy human face or what romantic imagination would suggest: a “lion of a man.” It is a sculpture chiseled by the untiring forces of weathering, erosion and attrition over a timeline that stretches to countless rings of time, or turns of the earth, or cyclic passage of seasons that worked differently to produce the rock sculpture.

The sculpture is right in our backyard, not a postcard from a distant land or a ‘fake, morphed picture’ designed to attract ‘likes’ and gush-gush moans on social media. Bird photographer Garry Bhatti was busy chasing hill avians, his ears captivated by mystical Black partridge calls echoing in the verdant vales between Chakki Mod and Bhojnagar in Solan district. The stretch is a popular retreat for tricity birders as diverse resident, migrant and passage species are to be found tittering and twittering here.

Bhatti stumbled upon this ‘human face’ and was so mesmerised that he forgot about birds. His inner eye forced the camera in his hand to rivet to the sculpture. To most others, it was just another rock gaping from an eroding hillside.

SELFIE ALERT

In continuation of earlier pieces in this column on migratory Peregrine falcons persecuted by Punjab pigeon fanciers, another disturbing picture has surfaced. It is of a hapless Eurasian sparrowhawk captured while raiding a pigeon loft. The picture of the terrified sparrowhawk held tightly from behind and placed next to a calm pigeon is doing the rounds of pigeon fancier groups on social media evoking cheap mirth and comments.

In one social media group, ‘Pigeons Punjabi,’ Panchkula-based Gagan Kaler posted the picture and solicited comments on what he described was a “selfie” of the “do yaaran!” However, in response to queries from this writer on the sparrowhawk’s fate, Kaler turned evasive and claimed he had sourced the picture from an unnamed friend.

This is a fit case for law enforcement authorities to deploy cyber-investigation skills and trace raptor persecutors who trivialise wildlife crimes in pursuit of social media sensationalism.

vjswild1@gmail.com

First Published: Jun 23, 2018 23:47 IST