Caging the Wild: Maharashtra Government Approves Building of Zoo in Aarey Milk Colony Forest Land

According to this press report, the government of Maharashtra has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to hand over more than 100 acres of Aarey Milk Colony, one of Mumbai’s few remaining intact forest patches, to build an extension to Byculla Zoo. Although the zoo is being touted as a conservation initiative, it is obvious that natural forests are far more viable, both ecologically and economically, for the conservation of wildlife and native flora, … Read More

West Bengal’s Gangetic Dolphins in Danger

The Gangetic or South Asian River Dolphin (Platanista gangetica gangetica) or Shushuk, is an Endangered dolphin that lives in one of the most densely populated regions of the world – in the rivers of India, Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh (IUCN Red List; Braulik and Smith 2017).

While the primary threat to these blind river dolphins is fishing gear entanglement, the loss and fragmentation of riverine habitat and changes in water flow, due to the construction of dams … Read More

Conserving Shared Spaces for People and Predators

Conservation of carnivores and their habitats is a complex challenge. Many of India’s carnivore species continue to share space with humans, and this necessitates understanding human-carnivore interactions to minimize conflict and foster co-existence. A recent study by researchers from the Centre for Wildlife Studies, University of Florida, Wildlife Conservation Society-India and USA, and Duke University examined interactions between humans and carnivores (dhole, Indian wolf, Indian fox, golden jackal and striped hyena) in the Kanha-Pench corridor in central India.

The study … Read More

Indian Ocean Humpback Dolphins off Mumbai Coast

To be able to observe dolphins from one’s balcony or from shore is a possibility for most of us in Mumbai. There must have been a time when Indian Ocean Humpback Dolphins (Sousa plumbea) roamed this coastal stretch in large numbers. Today they are scattered in small pockets, one of which is the bay off Raj Bhavan, Malabar Hill.

Other locations in Bombay, where these dolphins are seen is Worli, off Chowpatty in South Mumbai, Marine Drive, Sassoon Docks, and … Read More

Whale and Dolphin Surprises in Goa

A group of us ventured out to sea off the coast of Goa on a fishing trawler for a full-day survey of pelagic birds. These birds spend most of their lives out at sea, living a solitary life, and visit certain islands only during breeding season. We started our explorations in Goan waters in 2017, but our last two trips, on 14th and 21st October, 2018 were exciting and memorable for a completely different reason.

We usually start off by … Read More

Carnivores as Co-owners of our Lands

Among the range of attributes that represent India is the little-known, seldom-acknowledged diversity of carnivore species it harbors. The country has 23% of the world’s terrestrial carnivore species. While popular discourse typically links large carnivores to forested reserves or large inviolate spaces, many of India’s carnivore species have historically shared spaces and adapted to using human modified landscapes. A recent study by researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society-India, Centre for Wildlife Studies, Foundation for Ecological Research And Learning, University of … Read More

A Landmark Event: UN Declares “Decade of Ecosystem Restoration”

In the first week of March the UN declared 2021-30 as the decade of ecosystem restoration. The resolution pioneered by El Salvador was supported by calls from the international community to put ecological restoration at the forefront of national agendas. The Society for Ecological Restoration (SER) has called this an important step toward focusing the world’s attention on the imperative of restoring degraded ecosystems. The UN declaration is expected to bring political commitment, scientific research and financial muscle to scale … Read More

The Recent Supreme Court Order on Forest Rights Act (FRA) Does Not Affect Genuine Claimants

PRESS RELEASE FROM PETITIONERS IN THE FOREST RIGHTS CASE

On February 13th 2019, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court headed by Justice Arun Mishra issued an extremely important order in Writ Petition 109 of 2008 to ensure protection of forests, which have been severely affected due to ineligible/bogus claimants under the Forest Rights Act (FRA). Such claimants continue to occupy a huge area of forestland, including within National Parks and Sanctuaries, even though their claims have been rejected after … Read More

Capture of Coimbatore’s Crop-eating, Peaceful Elephant, Chinna Thambi

Chinna Thambi, a 25-year old tusker from the Anaikatti region in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, was relocated to Anamalai Tiger Reserve on 26th January, 2018. This was done following repeated complaints by a section of farmers from the region that the elephant was raiding crops and breaking into houses for food. These agricultural lands are adjacent to Thadagam Reserve Forest and Anaikatti South Reserve Forest of Coimbatore Forest Division. Perhaps because this particular bull had never attacked anyone, the indigenous community … Read More

Conserving the Dhole in Karnataka’s Western Ghats

The Asiatic wild dog or dhole (Cuon alpinus) is pack-living apex predator found in south and southeast Asia, currently threatened with endangerment. Dholes are generally restricted to protected forest habitats, but also occur in reserve forests and production agroforests (like tea and coffee plantations). The recent IUCN Red List assessment suggests that there may be 1000–2000 adult, mature dholes left in the wild. Despite its precarious status, the dhole remains one of the least studied large carnivores in the world. … Read More