Category: forests


May 2022 bring blessings for the earth! Happiness, peace, protection, and well-being for all the trees and plants, for the mountains, the oceans, the rivers, the forests, the deserts, and all wild lands. May all wild creatures be blessed and free in the wild – and all animals everywhere be safe, protected, and happy. May all the peoples of the earth be blessed and touched with a spirit of kindness. May ancient traditions be once again revered and respected, honoring the Earth and all Her children!

Forest Voices of India

Recently, in Bangalore, in south India, the police rescued an Indian chameleon who was being kept as a pet. Like other wild animals, Indian chameleons are protected by the Wildlife Protection Act of India, and it’s illegal to keep them as pets. They are meant to lead their natural lives free in the wild.

The chameleon was brought to the Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre (WRRC), where Dr. Roopa Satish, the licensed wildlife rehabilitator there, examined her. She weighed 60 grams. She was rehydrated, placed under observation, and given insects to eat, which are her natural diet. Often, in captivity, chameleons are fed inappropriate food which can cause digestive upsets.

Very shy creatures, chameleons belong in the wild where they can live among wild plants and rocks and find plenty of places to hide so that they feel comfortable and secure.
Being around people and having little cover causes them great stress and, sadly, they often don’t survive being in captivity. People who don’t really intend to harm them, often don’t understand their natural shyness and their need for a quiet life in the wild.

Fascinating reptiles, chameleons have many distinct features like a flattened body shape, and a prehensile tail, which means that they can grasp and hold objects with their tail. Like other lizards, they have a long tongue that can dart out to catch insects from a distance. They walk with a swaying movement. Some of their toes point forwards and some backwards so they can hold on to tree branches. Each of their eyes can move independently, giving them depth of vision, which comes in handy when catching insects. And, of course, the color of their skin changes, sometimes to match their background, sometimes to reflect other circumstances or to send a signal.

Thanks to the expert care and dedication of Dr. Roopa and the caregivers at WRRC, the chameleon did very well.

Dr. Roopa writes, “After 48 hours of observation, the chameleon was active and ate the insects so she was released inside a protected forest on a tree branch where she slowly but surely held the branch and moved into the foliage and disappeared from our vision due to excellent camouflage.”

Our best wishes to the chameleon for a long and happy life, roaming freely in the forest.

The more we can all respect nature and appreciate and value the lives of wild animals, the happier and healthier life on our planet will be.

Photo: the WRRC

Kangaroo wouldn’t pose for a photo, so this is another bonnet macaque.
Shantanu Kuveskar, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

First, Kangaroo isn’t really a kangaroo (because this is India, not Australia). Actually, he is a bonnet macaque, a monkey, who weighs seven and a half pounds (3.39 kilos). On November 3 of last year, he had an accident. Some very kind people rescued him and he was transported from a southern suburb of Bangalore to the Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre. Monkeys, of course, climb to get from place to place, and he had been swinging along on the electric wires over the main road in order to get across it when he was electrocuted.

For any birds or animals, electrocutions tend to be really serious, and his prognosis for survival was indeed grave. For three months, he received lots of treatments and then had to have three of his limbs amputated. (The photo is of a different bonnet macaque, not Kangaroo.)

Amazingly, he was a cheerful monkey through everything. He recovered and nothing seemed to dampen his spirits.

When he was moved into the large monkey enclosure which had special platforms for easy movement, he was with other young, orphaned monkeys. Dr. Roopa writes that “Kangaroo immediately took charge of them all, in spite of his handicaps, and he could be seen, grooming them, playing, and enjoying their company.”

With just one leg, he used his tail to help him balance, and he hopped with great ease just like a kangaroo, hence his name. With his handicaps, he wouldn’t be able to be released and the plan was for him to live permanently at the center. Being a clever monkey, Kangaroo made his own plans. He watched and observed the routine at the center, and one day, while the keeper was in the enclosure doing cleaning, he managed to slip right past him and out the door.

Of course, he wasn’t going far. Now he still lives at the center, but he’s free to move anywhere and can be found hopping from tree to tree, having the time of his life, just as if he had all four limbs.

He gets a delicious dinner – a plate of his favorite food like shelled ground nuts, banana, cucumber, corn, sweet potato, pomegranate, carrots, and beans is placed up on the roof for him, which he polishes off. He has a good friend and companion now – another resident monkey, Taatha, which means grandfather, who is there for lifetime care and is also free to move about the center.

Thanks to Dr. Roopa’s expertise and the good efforts of his caregivers, Kangaroo is strong and feels well.

Despite all he has gone through, he is an amazing monkey, with an indomitable spirit. He’s made new friends and has done very well for himself – now living out his life in a great place – with no electric wires, no cars, or pollution – just an idyllic, beautiful green forest, with people to feed him.

Under the leadership of Dr. Nanditha Krishna, the CPREEC (C.P. Ramaswami Aiyar Environmental Education Centre) in Chennai, India, has restored 53 sacred groves, over the past thirty years – bringing back the original flora and fauna and restoring these small forests with the same species of plants and animals which always lived there in the past, providing once again beautiful tranquil lands which the people living nearby had treasured in the past. Each village in India once had a sacred grove. Now, the village people themselves maintain and care for these restored sacred forests and the abundant wildlife that live there.

These ancient sacred groves represent one of the amazing traditions of India, which has traditionally valued and preserved the life and the beauty of the natural world.

Dr. Nanditha Krishna is an environmentalist, art historian and well-known author of over twenty-five books about the art, culture, and the natural world of India. Among these are Hinduism and Nature, Sacred Animals of India, and Sacred Plants of India.

Listening to this short video, you will be transported to the city of Chennai where you will be among the tall, peaceful trees of the CPREEC and CPRA Foundation centers, yet not far from the busy city life of nearby streets.