The Fall of a Florican

The article was first published in The Hindu Magazine on 26 August 2018.

Spread before me was a grassland — golden grasses gently swaying in the wind, looking not unlike waves rising and falling to the rhythm of the wind. I scanned the seemingly desolate grassland, in vain for the bird I was here for. Just as I had given up hope a chicken-sized sized bird shot up in the air, descended, and then rose again — shimmering black body, … Read More

Friends in Wrong Places: Assessing the Impacts of Domestic Dogs on Wildlife in India

In human-populated landscapes, domestic dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) are the most abundant terrestrial carnivore, with a global population close to a billion. In India, total dog population is estimated to be about 60 million. Dogs interact with wildlife at multiple levels and despite their controversial effects, global ubiquity and significant ecological roles they remain poorly understood. Although there has been growing evidence of threats posed by free-ranging dogs, very few attempts have been made to understand the impact of free-roaming … Read More

The Importance of Woodlands in Tropical Agricultural Landscapes

Agricultural expansion continues to be a major cause of forest loss and degradation in the tropics. It often results in negative impacts on the resident floral and faunal communities inhabiting the forests. These communities have so far best been safeguarded by preventing forest loss and degradation through the establishment of Protected Areas (PAs)—legal conservation frameworks such as National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries and Community Reserves. However, the social and political realities of today make the further establishment and expansion of PAs … Read More

Hornbill Watch: A Citizen Science Initiative for Indian Hornbills

This is a summary of the paper originally published in INDIAN BIRDS Vol. 14 No. 3 (Publ. 25 July 2018).

Hornbills are called the ‘farmers of the forest’ as they play a very important role in dispersal of seeds that grow into trees. These long-lived birds are slow breeders, with larger hornbills usually raising a single chick every year. Hornbills face significant threats from hunting in parts of India and from habitat loss across their range in India. The information … Read More

The Forgotten Wild Cats of the Eastern Ghats

The Northern parts of the Eastern Ghats in Andhra Pradesh are isolated hill ranges with elevations of up to 1500 metres altitude. This landscape complex, with its associated habitats such as dry deciduous forests, riparian buffers, inland freshwater bodies, tropical mangroves, and open scrub, spans across four districts in North Coastal Andhra. Apart from the well-known big cat species like the Tiger and Leopard, these forests are also home to lesser known and often neglected small wild cat species. The … Read More

Missing the Grass for Trees — Planting Trees Where They Don’t Belong

It may not be an overstatement to say that grasses underpin much of human existence. From sustaining wildlife that fed early hunter-gatherers to eventually becoming food itself, grasses have contributed to the development and flourishing of human civilisations. From present day cereal crops, to even elegant furniture, grasses serve multiple uses in human societies, from the functional to the aesthetic. Yet, when it comes to judgement, the larger urban public and a range of government bodies tend to view grasses … Read More

When Humans are Curious to Know the Spotted Cat

Nashik district’s Niphad taluk is situated on the fertile banks of the Godavari River. Agriculture is the main occupation here, with sugarcane the major cash crop, grown along with food crops such as wheat, grapes, jowar and other vegetables. Livestock-rearing also contributes a major part to the local economy. In this productive landscape, where human density is fairly high, jackals, hyenas, jungle cats, civets, and leopards also co-exist, as there is water, prey, and shelter.

Some communities like Warali, Mahadeo … Read More

Mapping the Last Grasslands of the Palani Hills, Tamil Nadu

Grasslands in Twilight, Shola in Ascendance.

The Palani Hills of Tamil Nadu are in the midst of significant ecological change. It’s not the kind of process that is easily observed and most people, including those managing forest resources, have been taken by surprise by just how fast the montane (high altitude) landscape of the hills has changed. These are the conclusions of regular observation and photo documentation by the author as well as, a peer- reviewed scientific study using satellite … Read More

Trends and Pathways for Ecotourism Research in India

Tourism is one of the largest economic sectors world over, with a direct contribution of 3.1% to GDP and generating USD 7.6 trillion and 300 million jobs. Tourism related revenues from entry fee alone in 10 national parks in India ranged between USD 7000 to USD 300,000 in 2007-08. In 2012, the erstwhile Planning Commission identified tourism as the second largest provider of employment to low and semi skilled labour with a contribution of 6% to the country’s GDP. The … Read More

Unethical Bird Photographers Disgrace Wildlife Community in West Bengal

“I will not harm my subject!”

Every nature photographer should willingly and happily follow this simple credo – even when no one else is watching.

The sad truth is, today, for every responsible photographer who respects nature and tries to minimize his or her impact, there are hordes of unruly, uncaring shutterbugs who’ve become a menace to wildlife, says CI’s A Guide to Ethical Wildlife Photography.

Bibhutibhusan Wildlife Sanctuary (formerly Parmadan Forest) is a small (0.68 sq km) wildlife … Read More