A hydropower project in the Uttarakhand Himalaya
Indian Himalayan basins are earmarked for widespread dam building. However, the aggregate effects of these dams on the ecosystems are unknown.
Maharaj K. Pandit & R. Edward Grumbine investigate the impact of the ongoing and proposed dam construction in the Himalayan basins of India based on spatial analyses, geographic distribution of dams, species loss and land-cover change. We highlight the most important findings from their paper in Conservation Biology, 2012.
- These findings are the first indication of the dire
… Read More
An electrocuted elephant
Scanning through wildlife news in Indian newspapers, a disturbing theme repeats itself – CONFLICT. Words frequently used include, ‘menace’, ‘threat’ and ‘fear’. These are repeated so often that every time someone mentions a wild animal, we assume some form of “conflict” or “threat”.
Headlines are written to grab eyeballs, and most often we are influenced and affected by them subconsciously. In a paper titled ‘Discourse analysis of newspaper headlines: A methodological framework for research into national representations’, by Christine Develotte… Read More
The critically endangered Bengal Florican
A slightly different version of this article appeared in the Hindu dated May 7, 2013.
The recent Supreme Court judgment on lions (Centre for Environmental Law WWF-1 v. Union of India and others, Supreme Court, 2013) has called for completely new standards for endangered species conservation to be set in the country. It has asked for lions to be re-introduced to Madhya Pradesh (Intervention Application 100, Biodiversity Conservation Trust of India through Faiyaz Khudsar in writ petition 337,… Read More
The focus of this article is the state of our feline friends – the tigers in the heart of East Asia – China. China’s intent in abiding by the laws that prohibit the commercial trade of these endangered species is highly suspect. Contrary to its initial ban on tiger bone trade for medicinal uses in 1993, China is actually encouraging the captive-breeding of tigers as a constant source for the fast expanding and ironically legalized domestic trade in tiger skins.… Read More
Free-ranging dogs are unfavourable to wildlife
Free-ranging dogs are unfavourable to wildlife, they are reservoirs of many diseases.
The word carnivore often conjures up images of large, dangerous predators such as lions and tigers. Few, however, realize that they spend most of their lives in the presence of the world’s most common carnivore — the domestic dog. Man’s so-called best friend is indeed the most numerous and widespread of the world’s carnivores.
In much of the developed world, dogs are generally confined to certain areas, but… Read More
Unique stripe patterns help individual tiger identiﬁcations
This piece originally appeared in the journal Oryx: Volume 47- April 2013.
Following the adoption of reﬁned protocols for intensive annual monitoring of source populations of tiger (see Oryx, 46(4), 480), India’s National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) is now following through by establishing a country-wide database of wild tigers captured in cameratrap surveys conducted by multiple research and governmental institutions at increasing intensity across the country. The objective of this project is to assign Unique Tiger Identiﬁcation (UTID) numbers to… Read More
Mumbai has a healthy leopard population in SGNP
The common leopard (Panthera pardus) is a highly adaptable species that is found throughout the country (and beyond) in a variety of habitats, from the pristine rainforests to human-modified and dominated landscapes. Despite its ability to survive on a wide range of prey species including the wild and the domestic, the leopard population is on a downward spiral owing to intense persecution and pressures of illegal wildlife trade.
Authors Saloni Bhatia, Vidya Athreya, Richard Grenyer and David MacDonald assess media response… Read More
The Hyena -- a poorly understood carnivore
A threatened but poorly understood species, the Striped Hyena (Hyaena hyaena) is thought to occur in arid ecosystems across India. It is found in human-dominated landscapes in Rajasthan, a region with 4.3 percent of land area protected under nature reserves. This large carnivore predominantly scavenges on domestic and wild ungulate carcasses. At present, we lack robust estimates of hyena densities and understanding of factors that influence their persistence and distribution.
Authors Priya Singh, Arjun M. Gopalaswamy,… Read More
A Gharial on the Chambal
India’s Chambal River hosts the largest population of the critically endangered Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus). In the 1970s, the total population of the Gharial was estimated at less than 200, following which conservation programmes involving the creation of protected areas and rear-and-release programmes were established. But, despite the release of over 5000 gharials into various Indian rivers over the past few decades, only about 200 breeding adults reportedly still survive. These programmes were poorly monitored and their outcome never evaluated. … Read More
A leopard from the study site
The conservation of large carnivores like wolves, bears, tigers and lions is always a challenging task in our modern and crowded world. Humans have modified and fragmented habitats and often experience a diversity of conflicts with large predatory neighbours. There is currently a major debate going on among conservationists about how to best go about achieving large carnivore conservation. Alternatives range from a focus on fencing carnivores into protected areas to allowing them to reoccupy shared landscapes where they must… Read More