By Atharva Raghavan, Grade 1
When I went to Kabini, I was both happy and nervous. I was happy because I was going to see lots of animals and birds, but I was nervous that I might not see any of them! I explored the jungle with my camera and took many pictures. We saw lots of animals on our very first safari, a boat safari. A painted stork, three kingfishers, prancing spotted deer, and my favorite bird of all – the snake bird. The most majestic sight was...a tusker. It was huge, with 5-feet tusks, and it stood still as we got closer and closer to it. It moved its trunk like a “hello”, and I clicked a picture! Wow, what a thrill to see him move!
The next day, we went on a jeep safari. Deep and deep into the jungle we went. The road was really bumpy but the forest was so quiet. It felt like a million miles away from home. There were spotted deer
everywhere. We even saw more elephants pulling and dusting the grass before eating it. Something about the jungle made me quiet. I had a thought. For so many trees and for so much forest, there were very few animals around. The naturalist told us there was only one black panther in the whole of Kabini. This, he said, was because they are territorial animals and need a lot of space to live. They can’t live in communities like we humans do. As I was thinking about all of this, we stopped the jeep. The naturalist pointed towards a tall tree way up high in the sky. Perched on the top of the tree was a vulture. It looked so beautiful and lonely on that tree that I clicked a picture. The naturalist told us that the vulture was endangered and that without it, the forest would not function. The vultures are in danger because of a medicine, Diclofenac, given to cattle to help with birth. When the cattle die and the vulture eats them, the medicine goes into the vultures as well. As Diclofenac is poisonous to vultures, it kills them. We must realize that without the vulture, there will be no cleaning crew for the forest. This will lead to diseases as the animal carcasses rot on the forest floor. Scientists have advised the forest preservation people to stop using the medicine for the cattle.
This story made me think of how delicate the balance of the forest is. I wondered how humans and the forest are in balance too. Animals think humans are their friends, but are we thinking like that?
No, we only think of humans as our friends. But without animals, would we be alive?
No. We must include animals and the whole forest ecosystem as our family and protect the wonder of our forests.