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Saturday, July 21, 2007

How to Disturb the Dog

Now that she is 5 months old, Pumpkin, our resident cute kitten and Twinkie's pride and joy, has learned how she can get away with things that other animals in our household cannot.



Take Cocoa's tail for instance - many others would love to - but its seriously out of bounds. Cocoa does not like her tail being tampered with. But now Pumpkin has shattered that taboo completely, and Cocoa is at a loss - her brain is still telling her that this adorable little kitten is vulnerable and innocent and so should therefore not be physically harmed.

It will take a while before Cocoa's brain finally realizes the truth about Pumpkin, and until then, this little kitten plans to take full advantage of the situation.



Just check out Cocoa's hopeless, pleading expression...

Thursday, July 19, 2007

I knew it, I just knew it...

Far from me to be a foreteller of doom and gloom, but I have to say that last year, when we were wrapping up our final weeks of filming in the glorious wilderness of Wasgamuwa National Park in central Sri Lanka, amid that slightly weightless feeling of being completely at peace with your surroundings, I commented, "this is too good to be true."



On our search for evasive Sloth Bears, we had witnessed the hand of Man wreaking havoc on part of the reserve, when a slash-and-burn fire from a farm on the park's boundaries had blown out of control and rendered huge swathes of the park into a lifeless, blackened wasteland. Of course the Earth eventually heals herself, as she did after the fire, but today I fear the outcome will be very different...

I've just heard from my uncle over in Sri Lanka, who is actively involved in wildlife conservation, that the government has given the go ahead to build a dam within Wasgamuwa, and along with it, will be installing a hundred or so families in the vicinity. I dread to think what is to follow. The repercussions for the wildlife will be devastating. The park already exists on a fine balance - throw in a bunch of humans and lets see what happens.

From what I understand the plan has yet to be implemented, and a campaign organized by wildlife enthusiasts and conservationists is about to ensue. More news as it follows.


I once half-joked to someone regarding my Sloth Bear documentary, that I hoped it would never become an epitaph for something that was now lost to the country - and that included the animals and their habitat.


Nothing to laugh about now.




Wasgamuwa - as it was when we were there

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

VIDEO: Battle to Save the Tiger

Found uploaded by someone else on Google Video - the full 49 min documentary. Watch it while it remains online. You can also download it and watch it with Google Video Player.

The Indian Tiger is in deep trouble. Thirty years ago India set aside over 30 tiger reserves controlled by Project Tiger. Initially it was hailed as a great success, but in the last few years hundreds of tigers have been poached from under officials' noses according to WPSI (Wildlife Protection Society of India) run by Belinda Wright. This film, narrated by Sir David Attenborough, looks at the controversy surrounding the plight of the tiger. Can they come back from the brink of extinction again?


Live Health and LIVE EARTH

My apologies for such a long absence. It has been an interesting time, where I've taken the opportunity to explore the hidden depths of hospitals and experience some of the most interesting observational procedures. Nothing life-threatening, just a few probes and scopes and scans just to figure out how my erratic transplanted kidney is faring.

To all intents and purposes it has shut down for good, but its still physically stable, so not at risk from infection, which is a relief, because that scenario would have led to more medical fun and games. After several visits along the long white corridors, I was finally introduced to the CT Scan machine - a wonderfully futuristic device that section by section, recorded a 3D image of my internal structures. Quite fascinating really, apart from the slight discomfort of having to be injected with some kind of fluorescent red dye.

Anyway all this probing has revealed nothing out of the ordinary, and that's good to know - so I am back to work on various projects and functioning as per normal.

I've given the blog a bit of a spring-cleaning, and although its not completely ready yet, and yes indeed it may seem a bit childish - I thought it would be nice to inject a bit of colour into the scheme of things. Let's see how long it takes for Charith to get bored with this look...

Anyway, in terms of all things green and environmentally friendly, I tuned into LIVE EARTH last week, and dutifully wore green over the weekend to show my support. I then watched as much of the concerts as I could, and then waited for global impact to take place like the proverbial shockwaves from an earthquake. Of course those ever expanding ripples of awareness never really took shape. I am old enough to remember the Live Aid concerts and the Amnesty International concerts before that, and the incredible impact they had on audiences across the world - it wasn't just the music, but it was the messages that the musicians were actively conveying on stage that really hit home.

Live Earth seemed far more of a passive affair from what I experienced - most performers just did their sets and left the stage without so much as a word of green advice to their adoring audiences. A wasted opportunity.

And then of course there was the strange paradox of an event celebrating environmental-friendliness, while over 100 popstars jetted around the world, using vast amounts of power to light up their shows and pump up their amplifiers. Of course a true green, carbon-neutral, eco-friendly music concert would have been the popstars performing unplugged to small intimate audiences in pubs and clubs across the world, without any spectacular lightshows and no big sound systems.

But would that make good TV? Of course not.

And anyway, an eco-friendly music extravaganza is sorely lacking if Bono and U2 are not involved. Did anyone else notice their strange absence? This should have been right up their moral alleyway...

Linkin Park were good though