Counting Squirrels in Indian Forests

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Although the ecology of squirrels has been extensively studied, most past work is characterized by the failure to account for detection and heavy reliance on indices rather than directly measuring abundance. This has involved acoustic and visual surveys, sign surveys (tracks, middens and dreys) and capture-recapture sampling (trapping rates) methods are adopted to estimate squirrel abundance. Such field studies assume the detection probability of the species to be equal in all sites, leading to incorrect estimates of true abundance.

Authors … Read More

Camera Trapping Reveals Exciting Secrets of Tiger Dispersal

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On 1-5-2011, Forest officials of the Shimoga Wildlife Division, had safely captured a male tiger that strayed into Gama village near Shikaripur. A decision was made by the Forest Department, based on consultation with WCS senior scientist and NTCA member Dr. Ullas Karanth, to release the tiger in Bhadra Tiger Reserve, rather than hold it in perpetual captivity. This decision was based on the fact that the tiger was estimated to be of dispersal age (about 3 years), healthy and … Read More

Why Captive or Man-Eating Big Cats Should not be Released into the Wild

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Preamble

They say the path to hell is paved with good intentions. That’s certainly true of releasing captive or man-eating big cats into the wild, ostensibly to ‘conserve’ them. In 2015, a wild tiger from Chikmagalur that killed a local woman, and showed no fear of humans, was captured by the Forest Department.  Unfortunately, while initial press reports indicated that it would be transferred to the Bannerghatta zoo, this dangerous animal was instead released into the Bhimgad forest against the Read More

DV Girish wins RBS ‘Protect the Tiger’ Award

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Veteran conservationist, D.V. Girish has been conferred the ‘Protect the Tiger’ award by the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), a subsidiary of the RBS Group, for his life-long commitment towards protecting Karnataka’s Bhadra Tiger Reserve and its surrounding landscape in the Western Ghats.

A resident of Chikmagalur, Girish has been a staunch wildlife conservationist for over two decades. His most significant contribution to conservation was the catalytic role he played in facilitating the government sponsored voluntary relocation of more than … Read More

Cormorant Caught in Fishing Net, Bhadra

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We found a dead Little Cormorant (Microcarbo niger) caught in a fishing net in the backwaters of the Bhadra Dam. Cormorants are fish-eaters, feeding on small eels, fish, and even water snakes. They dive underwater and propel themselves with their feet. Cormorants can dive to depths of upto 45 metres.

Birds like cormorants, as well as other animals like crocodiles, can get entangled in these fishing nets that are cast in rivers and backwaters. The dangers caused by … Read More

Field Survey of large mammals (transect surveys) and training program on their population monitoring methods — Call for Volunteers by WCS – India

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Field Survey of large mammals and training program on their population monitoring methods 

Wildlife Conservation Society-India Program and its partner Centre for Wildlife Studies are conducting field training camps for monitoring large mammal populations for the field season 2013. These field workshops will be held at several reserves in Karnataka including Dandeli-Anshi, BRT, Bhadra, Bandipura and Nagarahole. Some of the methods taught will include:

  1. Estimation of large herbivore populations
  2. Relative abundance estimation of large carnivores using scat encounter rates
  3. Demo
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Innovative Sign Surveys and Modeling for Tropical Forest Ungulate Densities

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Habitat destruction, hunting and socio-economic pressures are leading to low densities of large ungulates in tropical forests. With traditional population assessment methods proving to be unreliable, the need for innovative applications that tackle issues of imperfect detections becomes paramount.

A. M. Gopalaswamy, K. U. Karanth, N. S. Kumar and D. W. Macdonald estimate forest ungulate densities using abundance models of occupancy. These are the highlights of their study published in the journal Animal Conservation in 2012.

  • A field survey of
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Stopping ‘Eco-Resorts’ In Their Tracks

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May 30, 2012: Based on a complaint filed by wildlife conservation NGOs, the Deputy Commissioner of Chikmagalur district in Karnataka cancelled the permission given to Satori Eco Adventure Resorts Pvt Ltd. for constructing resorts on Chandradrona hill in the Western Ghats. This cancellation is a significant milestone in the persistent battle by local conservation groups, WildCAT C and Bhadra Wildlife Conservation Trust, to halt commercial resorts in this tiger corridor connecting Bhadra Tiger reserve with adjoining forests.

Importance of the Read More

Melanistic (Black) Panther, Bhadra Tiger Reserve

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Bhadra Tiger Reserve is seeing a few melanistic (Black) Panther sightings. Just yesterday (20th Feb 2012), tourists in the backwaters of the Bhadra reservoir saw this panther from a boat at 8am. There has been a couple of earlier sightings too. Researchers at the Centre for Wildlife Studies (CWS) report of a melanistic leopard in a camera-trap capture from Bhadra in February 2009.

A black leopard is the same species as a normal-colored leopard with a high amount of pigment … Read More

Conservationists Win Legal Battle in Bhadra Tiger Reserve

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In a tough legal battle conservationists, succeeded in stalling two projects that would have upset the ecologically fragile eco-system buffering the Bhadra Tiger Reserve in Chikmagalur district.

One was a 124 windmill project to be set-up by Karnataka Renewal Energy Development Ltd (KREDL) subleased to BB Hills Wind Farm Development for a period of 30-years on the Bababudangiri Hills and the other was a resort-cum-spa, promoted by Bangalore-based Brigade Hospitality Services, in collaboration with the Singapore-based Banyan Tree Hotels and … Read More

Tiger Wanders 280 kms Through Karnataka Forests in Search of Territory

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On May 1, a young male tiger which had strayed into a betelnut plantation in gama and was stoned by a mob, attacked and killed a man before it was tranquilized by the forest officials. On May 7th, the tiger was released into the Bhadra tiger reserve. Analysis of the photographs of the tiger’s release by the Centre for Wildlife Studies (CWS), a wildlife NGO which had been camera trapping in Karnataka for around two decades, showed that the tiger … Read More

Lessons from Voluntary Resettlement in the Western Ghats

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K.Ullas Karanth and Krithi Karanth on the lessons learned from resettlement projects in three important protected areas in the Western Ghats — Nagarahole, Bhadra and Kudremukh.

Forests in the Western Ghats occur as fragmented strips within a larger landscape matrix of crops and tree plantations. Reserves in the Ghats cover only twelve per cent of total area and the average reserve size is 243 sq km; the fourteen legally protected areas in the Ghats cover a total of only 6400 … Read More

Insights From A Scientific Study Of The Bhadra Resettlement

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Relocation, resettlement and displacement of people have been carried out for several reasons in India and the history of such efforts goes back forty years. In India it is estimated that resettlement for conservation is a small fraction (less than one percent) of the more than sixty million people relocated for other reasons. The nature of these efforts has ranged from forcible eviction to voluntary relocation and they have ranged from abject failure to mixed success.

Relocation and resettlement of … Read More

Voluntary Resettlement from Bhadra Tiger Reserve, Karnataka

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Devappa was born when the Jagara Valley was a hunting ground of the British. When he was small, the valley had elephants, gaur, and tigers. Within it were villages such as his, sparsely distributed with few people.

In 1951, this 198 sq km area was declared Jagara Valley Game Sanctuary. The population of the villagers inside the reserve was low and the extraction of forest resources was more for self-subsistence than for the market.

In the sixties, a reservoir was … Read More