Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Wildlife trophies

Orchids are still apparently ‘rampantly’ smuggled across international borders in large numbers, so much so that many are on the verge of extinction. To counter this plague from such places as the fabulous misty valleys of Munnar (right), an orchid house was set up in Mizoram to preserve 87 species of orchids found in the State’s jungles and put a stop to their plunder.

So far, an amazing 54 species have been preserved, which makes happy reading for the orchid fan.

Landslides, road-making and other anthropological interventions have contributed to the problem, says Dr. D. Burman, principal scientist of the outfit, according to The Hindu Times, which has a lovely thumbnail history of their appeal and perceived medicinal qualities.

Orchidmania is truly global.

PK

Left: Phalaenopsis tetraspis (1895), from 'A Century of Indian Orchids', plate 5, Joseph Dalton Hooker (1817—1911)