Difference between revisions of "Talk:Havelock Island"
Revision as of 00:12, 28 November 2011
If anyone is there or has been very recently and wants to add current ferry times to and from Havelock to Port Blair and also Neil Island and upward to Long Island, please help! Cacahuate 10:52, 17 October 2006 (EDT)
Great news that he got it open! They were talking about it when I was there in March... is it safari-style tents the way they had planned? Is there a restaurant or one being planned? Anyone got specifics on the prices? And where is it in relation to Wild Orchid or Orient Legend? Further towards the center or out towards Emerald Gecko? Cacahuate 01:21, 29 October 2006 (EST)
So I made a map... if anyone sees anything that needs to be added, let me know and I'll stick it in. I think it covers what's in the article now, but the article is lacking a few things... , there's more sleep options, etc... we don't have anything in at all that's up near Beach #1, and there are a few people who like to stay up there for some reason. There may be more things up in that area too that are worth noting, but I was literally only there when I arrived and again a month later when I left so I didn't look around really.
Some trails could be added, like the one to Elephant Beach from the Radhanagar road. And there's another little place to stay along the road about 1/2 way between the beach and village #3 junction... but I can't remember the name and it's not in the article.
What's south of Emerald Gecko? I didn't go down there, but heard people talking about a couple trails or something, maybe to some limestone caves? And that you could see a couple elephants down there on someones property? Anything else? If you talk me through it I'll add that stuff to the map, tell me in detail where to put it or do it yourself if you know Inkscape or can mock it up for me in photoshop or Corel Draw or something.
Andaman Dive Club
Andaman Diveclub is that oldest dive club At Havelock..I beleave its a small place for serious divers..i dived ther long time ago and my son is also dived from there..and three years back another friend who is diabtetic patient dived from there ...ther are subtile, but very much alive!
If you describe to me where it is exactly in location to the other places in the area then I can add it to the map too... Also I noticed on their website that they offer scuba diving, did they set up their own operation with their own boats or are they just referring people to Dive India or Barefoot? – cacahuate talk 00:50, 17 March 2008 (EDT)
I've added Silver Sand and Mahua to the map... having not been to either of these, I think I got their locations pretty well, but let me know if they should be positioned differently... thanks! – cacahuate talk 21:05, 25 June 2008 (EDT)
THURSDAY, MAY 13, 2010 Saltwater crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus) in the Andaman Islands A brief analysis of the recent incident of crocodile attack at Havelock Island
The incident: The tragic death of Ms. Lauren Failla, an American national, on the 28th of April 2010 (at about 1615 hrs) by crocodile predation, was considered to be an extremely unlikely event given that it took place in open water over a coral reef, in an area lacking any mangrove refuge in the vicinity. The location was Neil’s cove off Radhanagar beach (no.7), the most popular beach in the Andaman Islands where no crocodile has ever been sighted before. The incident has been discussed with a number of knowledgeable field biologists and the consensus is that the crocodile responsible for this predation event, based on the description given by the sole witness, Mr. Ajit Singh Chadha, subsequent viewing of the video (he dropped his camera to go to the aid of the victim and it continued to record as it sank to the bottom), and sightings of the crocodile over the following days, was a medium sized (3.5m/12 foot) male crocodile (males are known to grow to 6m/20feet in length), which had recently moved into the area. Salt water crocodiles are generally quite secretive/discreet creatures and prefer the security of mangroves or other thick coastal vegetation by day and emerge to hunt by night. In this unusual case the crocodile’s nearest likely refuge would be the mangrove creek of ‘Char Narial’ about 9km southeast of Neil’s Cove. The other, less likely possibility is that it ranged from the No.6 creek, which opens on the northern side of Havelock. The nearest substantial crocodile habitation in the main Andaman Islands, is Baratang which lies 14 km to the west across open sea. During the 48 hours following the incident, extensive searches (by divers and in dinghies) for the body of the victim resulted in locating the camera of the witness, on which images confirmed the crocodile predation. The body, with obvious bite marks on the neck, was subsequently located on the evening of April 30th about 3 kilometres east of where the incident took place. The search party also reported a medium sized crocodile in the sea just offshore and in the absence of any other crocodile in the vicinity was assumed to be the one responsible for the attack. Another crocodile was located in Creek no. 6 on the northern side of the island, which is quite intensely used by both fishermen and kayakers. This is the first record of possible ‘resident’ saltwater crocodiles on Havelock Island. Attempts to capture the crocodile seen close to the body of Ms Failla have been unsuccessful due to rough seas of the impending monsoon and the fact that the animal is not ‘resident’ at a location, such as in one of the creeks, where traps can be set,. At the time of writing this report the crocodile has not been sighted for several days and unless it starts making regular use of one of the creeks to avoid choppy open water (which crocodiles are apt to do) as the monsoon advances the chances of capturing it will become dimmer.
Past Research: The authors and colleagues have been sporadically looking at the saltwater crocodile population in the Andaman Islands since 1976. At that time nesting sites in North Andaman (once a stronghold of the species) were surveyed and the first nest of saltwater crocodile eggs collected for the fledgling crocodile rehabilitation program of the FAO/UNDP/GOI. It was ascertained that at the time, crocodile populations throughout India (where three species occur) were under severe pressure due to hunting and habitat loss (in the case of fresh water mugger crocodiles and the salt water crocodile) or on the edge of extinction, as in the case of the riverine gharial crocodile.
Andaman Crocodiles: Crocodile hunters and egg collectors were interviewed in the Andaman Islands and information gleaned from historical literature on the islands. It is obvious that by the 1970s Andaman crocodiles were in serious decline with adults killed for their skins, fat and gall bladders and the nests robbed for eggs as food by the new settlers in the islands. This killing was locally ‘sanctioned’ because of the several deaths and injuries due to crocodiles, particularly in North Andaman. In the late 1970s, the Wildlife Protection Act was enforced in the islands and the salt water crocodile given the highest order of protection (Schedule I). This resulted in a decline of killing by locals, however poachers from Burma and Thailand continued to kill and capture crocodiles. Aside from the Andamans and Nicobars, the only significant population of saltwater crocodiles in India is at Bhitarkanika National Park in Orissa. This means that the island population is particularly important for the species survival and ecologically important as the major predator in the ecosystem.
Crocodile Surveys and conflict mitigation measures: In recent surveys (1990s), it became apparent that crocodile populations in some parts of the islands (notably Middle Straits, Baratang, Yeratta, west coast of Middle Andaman, Austin creek) were recovering. A few instances of crocodile predation on local people were reported from North Bay, Sippighat (in Port Blair), Middle Straits and Little Andaman at this time. The Forest Department was equipped with a net trap based on the design used in Australia and some effort was made to sensitise settlers to the possibility of crocodile-human conflict. A collaborative project on Human/Crocodile Conflict (HCC), funded by the United Nations Development Programme and Global Environment Fund was recently begun by the Madras Crocodile Bank and Andaman and Nicobar Islands Forest Department.
Ritchie’s Archipelago: There have been no systematic crocodile surveys and documentation done in the islands of Ritchie’s Archipelago in recent years, but anecdotal reports, now brought to light, indicate that crocodiles have been sighted in the dense mangrove creeks of John Lawrence and Outram Islands (both part of Ritchie’s Archipelago), several kilometres north of Havelock. However, there have been no reports or even documented historical evidence of crocodiles at Havelock Island – the focus of tourist activities in the archipelago.
Discussion: The fact that an adult crocodile was swimming in open water in broad daylight and attacked a snorkeler was initially extremely difficult for anyone to believe and seemed highly unlikely, especially considering the perceived depleted status of crocodiles in the Andamans and the fact that crocodiles have not been seen in this particular area before. Now that the attack is confirmed and the fact that what appears to be the same crocodile remained in the vicinity for two days, indicates that this is likely to be a recent migrant to Havelock Island from other, more suitable crocodile areas within the island group. There has been much speculation, some sensible and some irrational, both in the local and international press as well as online in various e-groups. It is important to keep the facts straight so that such an incident will not happen again. Australia has been dealing with an expanding population of saltwater crocodiles over the past few decades and has successfully minimized the potential danger to tourists and indeed has made crocodiles a tourism icon of the Northern Territory and Queensland. Tourism continues to be booming in northern Australia despite the presence of literally thousands of saltwater crocodiles there. We would do well to learn from their experience.
Recommendations: The best thing we can do, both for crocodiles as well as for the future of tourism in the Andaman and Nicobars is to learn from this tragic experience and move forward with an intelligent and well planned approach. It is clear that we are looking at a severely depleted population of saltwater crocodiles, which is now recovering in the Andaman Islands due to increased protection and public awareness of wildlife laws. With any conservation success concerning large predators, the chances of conflict developing are very high. At this point in time considering the rapid development of tourism in this part of the island group, it is essential that we gain a complete understanding of the population dynamics, distribution and ranges of saltwater crocodiles in the Andamans. There are several actions, already set in motion with the A&N Forest Department, which will help to minimize and contain any further such tragic occurrences: 1. Basic day and night-time crocodile population censuses, initially concentrating on Ritchie’s Archipelago and other major tourism zones such as Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park, Wandoor. 2. Based on survey results it is necessary to design and implement a research and monitoring program with crocodilian experts, incorporating capture/mark and release studies and radio-telemetry. Involvement of fishermen and local tour operators is useful for information gathering. 3. Train and equip for rapid response a “Crocodile Squad” with the Wildlife Division of the Department of Environment and Forests, Andaman and Nicobar Islands to capture the occasional nuisance crocodile, which may move into an area already occupied by tourism development. Since translocation is not an option (due to the long-range homing instincts of crocodiles), captivity or euthanasia are the only options for these captured animals. 4. Develop guidelines and awareness materials for tour operators, fishermen and the general public along the lines of the “living with the crocodile” program which has been operative in northern Australia since the period of crocodile recovery there in the late 1970s. Devices such as shark nets to protect beaches, dissemination of crocodile movement information and other measures need to be examined. Rom Whitaker, Honorary Member, Steering Committee, IUCN/SSC Crocodile Specialist Group
Dr. Patrick Aust, Director Madras Crocodile Bank/Centre for Herpetology
Nikhil Whitaker, Curator, Madras Crocodile Bank/Centre for Herpetology
Andaman and Nicobar Islands Environmental Team/Madras Crocodile Bank Trust, Post Bag 1, Junglighat, Port Blair, Andaman Islands 744101 Email: [email protected] or [email protected] Phone: 03192 280081 (ANET); 044 2747 2447 (MCBT) May 7, 2010
References: ANDREWS, H. V. 1999. Status of Saltwater Crocodiles in the Andaman Archipelago. ENVIS -Wildlife and Protected Areas. Bi-annual Bulletin. Wildlife Institute of India, Dehra Dun, India. 2(1): 38 – 43.
ANDREWS, H. V. & WHITAKER R. 1994. Status of the saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus Schneider, 1801) in North Andaman Island. Hamadryad 19: 79-92.
WHITAKER, N. 2009. Capacity building in capture, human/crocodile conflict mitigation and survey techniques of saltwater crocodile in the Andaman Islands for Forest Department personnel. MCBT Report for the A&N Forest Department and UNDP/GEF funded human/crocodile conflict project, India.
WHITAKER N. & NAIR, T. 2008. Survey of human/crocodile conflict in the Andaman Islands: Hut Bay, Little Andaman. MCBT Report for the A&N Forest Department and UNDP/GEF funded human/crocodile conflict project, India.
WHITAKER, R. & WHITAKER, Z. 1978. A preliminary survey of the saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) in the Andaman Islands. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 76: 311-325. Posted by Colin Stevenson at 3:09 PM Labels: andaman islands, crocodile attack 2 comments:
Interesting! May 13, 2010 4:35 PM
Steve Hoge said...
We were in the Andamans and subsequently on Havelock just after the attack and it was clear that the authorities didn't have a clue how to deal with this incident.
Local news reports seemed to be purposely terse and vague so that, unfortuntely, the rumour mill was the most active communications medium disseminating info about the attack and the following beach closures, swimming warnings, etc. The suspicion, of course, was that those in the tourist industry were intentionally playing down the incident out of fear for their commercial interests.
Neither was there any clarity or consistency of message emanating from the government about how they were going to proceed or what kind of precautions should be taken by visitors. The little 8.5x11 sheets with an official warning in tiny type that were posted at the main jetty and tacked to random palm trees around Radhanagar beach were laughable.
The A&N Police - who wanted to find and eliminate the croc - seemed to be in active conflict with the A&N wildlife authorities who, it is said, were coming down against the plans to liquidate the creature due to its endangered status. We were simply left to stew on the beach, watching the armed guards posted on Beach #7 and exchanging heresays until we finally gave up and cancelled the rest of our vacatio