Ramadas Kudala, a 61-year-old former GM at AP Dairy, dresses in a dhoti each day as he walks his little cows and his neighbor takes his Saint Bernard for a stroll around the roadways of Boduppal. The neighbor would tease Kundala, calling him a “cowboy,” while the livestock owner would call the dog’s dad a “saint.”
Kundala is home to a herd of Punganur cows, the shortest variety of humped cattle around the globe, which can be traced back to the Chittoor district. They’re on the brink of extinction, measuring in at just under 3 feet at their tallest (which is still shorter than a Saint Bernard). Fewer than 200 Punganur cattle are thought to still be alive today.
Kundala moved his family and his 40 Punganur cows from their original home on a 250 square-yard site in Boduppal to a more spacious ‘goshala’ in Maryala spanning two acres.
Kundala is very protective of his offspring and has given each one a name. As he takes you on a tour of the goshala, he stops at various stations to introduce you to everyone there.
“Every weekend I hang out with these Chinna who gush about Mahalakshmi.” After introducing Kamakshi, he pointed out Meenakshi and Chamundeshwari, who were also lounging around. “Here’s Gowri, by the way,” he said, “And next to her is Gowri’s son, the little Chidambareswar.”
Two younger cows dozed cozily nearby as Chidambershwar, the calf, was being licked thoroughly by his mother, the fawn gem Gowri. “Brinda is the peaceful, milky white one over there. Shambhavi is standing in front of her,” he added. The bulls, including Nishkalank, Mahakal, and Om Namah Shivaya, were given names associated with Shiva, the male spouse of Goddess Parvati.
They may be diminutive in stature, but their punch is tremendous. They can cost upward of Rs 20 lakh, while the milk is valued at roughly Rs 300 per liter.
They have a low caloric intake yet still manage to produce nourishing milk that is high in fat and has therapeutic value. About 25 years is the average lifespan for them. “There are no such things as small surprises.” While on his knees, Kundala stated this jokingly as he fed his “little ones” bananas, sprouts, and jaggery. In return, several of the animals licked his fingers.
“Free-range conditions benefit cows physiologically and psychologically. Kundala, a resident of Pulivendula in the YSR Kadapa district, remarked, “You can substantially prolong their lifespan by keeping them out of busy and congested locations.”
Kundala once approached the late Chief Minister, Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, with an out-of-the-ordinary query while working in the management information systems unit at the AP Diary. A fellow Pulivendula native, Rajasekhar Reddy (YSR), has his sights set on some Punganur bovines.
According to rumor, the then-CM was so taken aback by this request that he exclaimed, “People are asking for deals, property, as well as a lot of other stuff. You’re looking for a cow!!”
Rajasekhar Reddy ordered his employees to transport cows from Punganur to Kundala, but the move was deemed unfeasible. The cows were handed to me a month later, and at that point, Kundala said his love for cows started. “Reddy Garu quipped, ‘What might he reckon if a CM could not even offer this man a cow?’
Kundala has such a deep and abiding affection for cows that when lawmakers and celebrities have asked to adopt one, he has gently denied it, citing the inherent unfairness of taking a mother away from her offspring.
The dairyman-turned-herder states he is in negotiations with the government of Telangana to have milk from his goshala used throughout Nithya Kainkaryams as well as “naivedyam” offerings to sections of Yadadri. That’s similar to milk from the same cow being used in Tirumala for Lord Venkateswara Swamy.
$15 Million Land Purchase Protects 8,000 Acres of America’s Amazon in South Alabama
In a significant conservation effort, nearly 8,000 acres of Alabama’s most sensitive and ecologically important land have been preserved forever. The project, made possible through a multi-million dollar collaboration involving The Nature Conservancy in Alabama, Patagonia, and an undisclosed donor, aims to protect the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, often referred to as America’s Amazon.
The Mobile-Tensaw Delta is a vast and diverse ecosystem, known for its rich biodiversity and abundant wildlife. It is home to a wide variety of plant and animal species, including numerous species of fish, birds, and mammals. The delta serves as an important habitat for many threatened and endangered species, making its conservation crucial for maintaining biodiversity.
Mitch Reid, state director for The Nature Conservancy in Alabama, described the land purchase as one of the most important conservation victories, emphasizing its critical importance to the health of the Mobile Delta, Mobile Bay, and the Gulf of Mexico. The protected area will help maintain water quality, provide habitat for wildlife, and preserve the natural beauty of the region.
The project is part of a long-term strategy to protect America’s Amazon, with Alabama being recognized as a landscape that is as critical to protect as other priority areas around the globe. The collaboration between The Nature Conservancy, Patagonia, and the undisclosed donor highlights the importance of partnerships in conservation efforts.
“This project is the first step in a long-term strategy with our partners in Alabama to protect America’s Amazon,” said Curtis, representing the Holdfast Collective. The land purchase represents a significant milestone in the conservation of this unique and valuable ecosystem, ensuring that future generations can continue to enjoy its beauty and biodiversity.
Furry Companions Behind Bars: The Cat Connection at Chile’s Santiago Sur Prison
In the heart of Chile’s Santiago Sur Prison, the oldest and most overcrowded correctional facility in the country, an unexpected and heartwarming story unfolds. Hundreds of stray cats have found an unlikely home within the prison walls, creating a unique bond with the inmates that goes beyond the typical prison experience.
Originally brought in to address the rat problem within the prison, the feline residents soon proved to be more than just pest controllers. The cats became companions to the inmates, transforming the prison environment and having a positive impact on mood, depression, and overall attitude among the incarcerated individuals.
Carlos Nuñez, a balding prisoner serving a 14-year sentence for home burglary, proudly introduced his 2-year-old tabby named Feita, or Ugly, from behind the prison bars. As he cared for multiple cats during his sentence, Nuñez discovered the special essence of feline companionship.
“A cat makes you worry about it, feed it, take care of it, give it special attention,” explained Nuñez. “When we were outside and free, we never did this. We discovered it in here.”
The presence of the feline residents has had a profound impact on the inmates, fostering a sense of responsibility and contributing to a positive change in behavior. The prison’s warden, Col. Helen Leal González, who herself has two cats at home, Reina and Dante, acknowledges the transformative effect the cats have had within the prison walls.
“Prisons are hostile places,” said Col. González in her office, adorned with cat figurines. “So of course, when you see there’s an animal giving affection and generating these positive feelings, it logically causes a change in behavior, a change in mindset.”
The unique relationship between the inmates and their feline companions goes beyond the usual dynamics of prison life. The cats, with their affectionate presence, have become sources of solace, comfort, and connection in an environment where such sentiments are often hard to come by.
Wildcats Thrive in the Scottish Highlands: A Conservation Success Story
In the vast landscapes of the Scottish Highlands, a remarkable conservation project is making strides to protect and restore the population of wildcats. Nineteen wildcats were released into the wild this summer at Cairngorms National Park, marking the first-ever release of wildcats in the UK. Monitored closely with GPS-radio collars, these endangered felines are not only adapting well to their new environment but are also actively contributing to the delicate balance of the ecosystem.
Helen Senn, the head of science and conservation programs at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), expressed optimism about the project, stating that the release of wildcats has been “a success so far.” The cats, fitted with GPS collars, are carefully tracked by a dedicated field team. This tracking technology provides valuable insights into their movements, behaviors, and overall well-being.
In their natural habitat within Cairngorms National Park, the wildcats are engaging in essential activities for their survival. These activities include hunting for mice and voles in the grasslands and woodlands, showcasing their crucial role in maintaining the balance of the ecosystem.
However, as with any wild endeavor, challenges are inevitable. Senn explained that while most of the wildcats are currently faring well, it would be unusual for all to survive the first year in the wild. The unpredictability of life in the wilderness comes to light as the field team, using GPS collar data, discovered a potential issue.
The team responded promptly to the signals and found that one wildcat had succumbed to peritonitis, an infection. The incident serves as a reminder of the risks these animals face in their natural environment.
Senn emphasized that the conservation effort is a long-term commitment. “Further releases and many more years of conservation action will be required to increase the likelihood of saving this iconic species in Scotland,” she explained. The release of wildcats into the Scottish Highlands is not just a one-time event but part of an ongoing strategy to secure the future of these iconic creatures.
As the project unfolds, the lessons learned from the tracking data, both the successes and challenges, will contribute to refining conservation strategies. The Scottish Highlands, with its vast and untamed beauty, is becoming a battleground for the protection of the wildcat, showcasing the dedication of conservationists and the resilience of these remarkable felines in the face of adversity.
A Second Chance for 2,000 African Rhinos: The Rewilding Project that Saved John Hume’s Herd
In a happy turn of events, a massive rewilding project has come to the rescue of 2,000 African rhinos, ensuring their safety and well-being. These rhinos, once owned by wealthy property developer turned wildlife rancher John Hume, faced an uncertain future when they were put up for auction in April, with no bids forthcoming. Thankfully, the non-governmental organization (NGO) African Parks stepped in to secure their fate, marking a significant milestone in conservation efforts.
John Hume’s herd of rhinos was the world’s largest privately owned population of white rhinos. It was feared that these magnificent creatures were at serious risk of poaching and fragmentation, prompting concerns among conservationists worldwide. But African Parks, headquartered in Johannesburg, emerged as the guardian angel for these rhinos.
African Parks is a renowned conservation organization known for its credible and responsible approach to wildlife conservation. Dr. Mike Knight, chairman of the IUCN specialist group, expressed optimism about the organization’s ability to successfully rewild these rhinos. He emphasized the importance of finding conservation areas that are not only large enough but also secure from the threat of poaching.
The primary objective of African Parks was crystal clear: to rewild all 2,000 southern white rhinos over the next decade in well-managed and secure areas. This ambitious endeavor is designed to establish or supplement strategic rhino populations, ultimately reducing the risk to the species as a whole.
African Parks has set a new precedent with this initiative, as it represents one of the largest rewilding efforts ever undertaken for any species on the African continent. Hume’s captive-bred rhinos, which make up nearly 15% of the world’s remaining wild rhino population, hold immense value in the preservation of these magnificent creatures.
The dire situation arose when financial stress forced Hume to put his Platinum Rhino operation up for auction in April 2023. The absence of any bids raised concerns about the future of these rhinos, prompting African Parks to step in. With the support of the South African government and emergency funding, African Parks successfully acquired the farm and its 2,000 rhino residents.
While African Parks never intended to own such a vast captive rhino breeding operation, they recognized the moral imperative of finding a solution for these animals. By doing so, these rhinos can once again assume their crucial roles within fully functioning ecosystems, ensuring the preservation of this Near Threatened species.
In the end, this rewilding project serves as a beacon of hope for the future of African rhinos. With African Parks at the helm, these majestic creatures will have a chance to roam freely in secure habitats, contributing to the continued survival of their species. It’s a story of conservation success and a testament to the power of collective efforts to protect our planet’s most vulnerable inhabitants.
The Power of the Women’s World Cup – Empowering Girls Worldwide
As the 2023 Women’s World Cup captivates audiences with thrilling matches and incredible talent, it is not just a sporting event; it also serves as a source of empowerment and hope for girls all around the globe. Beyond the excitement on the field, the impact of this monumental tournament is felt off the field, where it inspires and uplifts girls, proving that they too can be strong and resilient athletes.
One organization that has documented this empowering phenomenon is CARE, a non-profit dedicated to fighting poverty and injustice. CARE has captured the inspiring moments of girls from diverse backgrounds playing the beautiful sport of soccer. Witnessing these young athletes immersed in the game brings joy, resilience, and strength to girls everywhere.
The Women’s World Cup offers a powerful platform for showcasing the incredible skills and abilities of female athletes. By witnessing the passion and dedication displayed by the players, young girls are encouraged to dream big and pursue their goals fearlessly. The tournament challenges gender stereotypes and proves that girls can excel in sports, just like their male counterparts.
Through the spectacle of the Women’s World Cup, girls find role models to look up to. They see themselves reflected in the athletes on the screen, realizing that they too can achieve greatness with hard work and determination. This representation is crucial in breaking down barriers and opening doors for girls to pursue their passion for sports.
Furthermore, the Women’s World Cup promotes gender equality and female empowerment on a global scale. It sends a powerful message that women’s sports deserve equal recognition, support, and investment. As more attention is directed towards female athletes and their achievements, it paves the way for increased opportunities and resources for girls interested in sports.
Participating in sports has proven to have numerous benefits for girls, extending beyond physical fitness. It fosters teamwork, leadership skills, and self-confidence. By witnessing the women’s teams competing at the highest level, girls are encouraged to embrace their own athletic abilities and feel empowered to take on challenges both on and off the field.
Moreover, the World Cup serves as a rallying point for communities and countries to unite in support of their national teams. This sense of unity and pride extends to girls as they feel a part of something larger and find encouragement in their collective identity.
In conclusion, the Women’s World Cup is more than just a sporting event; it is a symbol of empowerment and hope for girls worldwide. Seeing female athletes excel at the highest level showcases the limitless potential of girls in all fields of life. The tournament breaks down gender barriers, fosters resilience and strength, and inspires girls to embrace their passions and pursue their dreams with confidence. As the Women’s World Cup continues to shine a spotlight on female athletes, it ignites a powerful movement that empowers and uplifts girls everywhere, proving that they too can achieve greatness on and off the field.
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