Saswad Grasslands near Pune in Danger

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20 km to the Southeast of Pune lies the Purandar District with its headquarters at Saswad. As we leave the semi-urban environs of Saswad behind, we enter a unique habitat – a mosaic of grasslands interspersed with agricultural lands and human settlements. This human dominated semi-arid savannah landscape harbours unique and threatened faunal diversity.

These areas, historically labelled as ‘wastelands’, have long been ignored by environment policy makers due to the cryptic nature of diversity which they possess. As the … Read More

Declaring Wildlife as Vermin — Legalising Hunting?

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Uttarakhand, Bihar and Himachal Pradesh have had – in recent months – notifications issued by the Central Government stating that select species of wildlife have been declared as vermin in specified areas. In other words for a specified period, in these areas, the wild pig in Uttarakhand, wild pig and Nilgai in Bihar and Rhesus Macaque in Himachal Pradesh are shifted to schedule five of the Wildlife Protection Act. Besides, Maharashtra and Telangana have had culling orders issued by the … Read More

The Endangered Fishing Cat, Howrah, West Bengal

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The Fishing Cat (Prionailurus viverrinus) is listed as Endangered in the IUCN Red List, and is a unique example of the great abilities and diversities of the felid family. Recent studies have shown that they are strongly linked to marshlands. Unfortunately, marshlands are considered to be “wastelands” under Indian land-use policies and are thus subjected to degradation and conversion, especially outside protected areas.

In West Bengal alone, where this image was taken, there has been a 44% decline in marshlands … Read More

Lights on for Elephants

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Technology offers solutions for Human-Elephant Conflicts.

The dark hulks ambled in a single file across the stark green landscape of thigh-high tea bushes. Without a pause in their stride, the elephants made their way towards a tiny patch of forest. Save for the tree crickets, there were no other sounds. Had it been daytime, the elephants would have been harassed by people behaving like neurotic monkeys. On such occasions, despite their size, the elephants seemed so vulnerable, with nowhere to … Read More

Mopa Airport Risks Wildlife and Livelihoods in Goa

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Ecological and social impacts apart, detractors have questioned the economic viability of the airport.

We are at the Barazan plateau on the northern tip of Goa, more famous as the site of Mopa, the state’s contentious upcoming airport, peering with delight at lumpy mounds of defecation not unlike the gobar of the venerated cow. Yes, delight, because that particular turd belongs to the largest bovine in the world, the gaur, or the Indian bison as it is also called.

A … Read More

Rewilding the Rare Pygmy Hog in Assam

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Thanks to a content sharing agreement with Livemint, we are able to bring some interesting conservation articles authored by Ananda Banerjee.

On 24 May, six little pigs trotted out of their wooden box enclosures to freedom, into the wild grasslands of Bornadi Wildlife Sanctuary in north Assam. Those tiny pig steps could turn into a giant leap for conservationists.

Because these were no ordinary pigs but Pygmy Hogs, the smallest and rarest wild pig or hog on the planet. The … Read More

Finding the Fascinating Finfoots

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Cruising through a canal after dusk in the heart of the tiger-swamp certainly sounds most daunting. The glimmering eyes of fish owls perched on overhanging trees, alarm calls of spotted deer, and the soothing sounds of the rowing boat make for a enthralling journey, whose climax reaches its highest peak if a tiger roars close by! Those who have spent a little time in the mangroves of the Sundarbans would clearly understand what I am trying to portray, and the … Read More

Living in Mumbai with Leopards

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This 7-minute video ‘Living with Leopards’ showcases ‘Mumbaikars for SGNP’ (MfSGNP), a project that was initiated by the Maharashtra Forest Department to manage human-leopard encounters in a novel way. This group engages a variety of stakeholders like scientists, apartment dwellers, tribal colonies, police force and journalists, working with them in tandem to alleviate fear among people. This approach has worked well for both humans and leopards and, since 2013, no leopards have been captured and removed from the area.… Read More

A Species Recovery Plan for Jerdon’s Courser

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Jerdon’s Courser (Rhinoptilus bitorquatus) is a nocturnal cursorial bird found only in the State of Andhra Pradesh, India. It is one of the world’s rarest bird species and is classified as Critically Endangered (CR) by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The species was believed to be extinct until it was rediscovered in 1986 near Reddipalli village, Cuddapah District of Andhra Pradesh, India. The site where it was rediscovered was designated as the Sri Lankamaleswara Wildlife … Read More

Reject the Draft Wetland Rules 2016 that are designed to destroy wetlands

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Urgent! Calling all citizens to reject the Draft Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules 2016 which pose a serious threat to India’s wetlands. Let us demand the ministry new Rules through a scientific, consultative and participatory process. Act now by signing this petition!

While the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) never implemented the Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules 2010, it has now brought out a new and seriously watered down Draft Wetland Rules 2016 (in Hindi, followed by … Read More

Stop! Don’t Shoot Like that — A Guide to Ethical Wildlife Photography

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“I will not harm my subject!” 

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

This is not hard to do, and for those with a genuine love for nature, or even just a conscience, it should be second nature. Unfortunately, thanks to the vast numbers of people who now own high-end photography equipment, and are constantly on the look out for excitement – and instant gratification on social media … Read More

Saving the Spoon-billed Sandpiper in Bangladesh

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The first specimen of the Critically Endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper (Eurynorhynchus pygmeus) was collected in mid-19th century from Bangladesh. The country also holds the record for the highest single count of the bird anywhere in the world — 202 birds in 1989 from Moulevir Char (Bakewell & Howes 1989)!

That was history.

The bird has since undergone a drastic decline in its population. According to Birdlife International, this charismatic species is listed as Critically Endangered because of its extremely small population … Read More

Pakke Paga — Protecting the Hornbills of Arunachal Pradesh

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In 2003, Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF) started a long-term study of hornbill nests in the Pakke Tiger Reserve, western Arunachal Pradesh. Hornbills nest in existing holes in trees and are dependent on specific large trees for this. These birds have a long breeding cycle and intensive parental care which lasts 3 to 4 months depending on the species. After eight years of studying hornbill nests in the Tiger Reserve, we realised the need to extend this work outside the Protected … Read More

Saving the Elusive Pygmy Hog

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Thanks to a content sharing agreement with Livemint, we are able to bring some interesting conservation articles authored by Ananda Banerjee.

Success in conservation is usually measured by the effectiveness of steps to boost the numbers of big, charismatic species. In India, the stars are the Bengal tiger, followed by the Asiatic lion, the leopard, the elephant and the rhinoceros.

Assam, for instance, is celebrating an increase in the population of the endangered, greater one-horned rhinoceros by 250. Earlier this … Read More

Volunteering Can Help Save Wildlife

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Participation of non-scientists as volunteers in conservation can play a significant role in saving wildlife, finds a new scientific research led by Duke University, USA, in collaboration with Wildlife Conservation Society and Centre for Wildlife Studies, Bengaluru.

The study has shown that citizen science projects greatly contribute to ‘increased environmental awareness among the general public’. It also reported direct impacts on conservation including – shift in formal profession by volunteers to become conservationists, initiation of new conservation organizations or groups, … Read More

The Six Percent Solution — a New Recipe for Saving Wild Tigers

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21 leading conservation biologists from across the world have proposed that since it might be far too expensive and far too difficult to save all wild tigers, we should focus a major part of our efforts and expenditure on 42 selected sites that show the greatest promise. Here’s CI’s distilled version of the original paper titled Bringing the tiger back from the brink – The six percent solution.

Current approaches to tiger conservation have not succeeded in slowing the decline … Read More

India’s Conservation Challenges

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Wildlife conservation at crossroads

An interview with Dr. K. Ullas Karanth

Dr Ullas Karanth, a Senior Scientist with the international NGO, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), is a world-renowned wildlife biologist.  In a wide-ranging interview with wildlife and conservation filmmaker, Shekar Dattatri, he outlines the basic problems that beset wildlife conservation in India’s human dominated landscape, and shares his views on preserving these last wild places.

(This is an updated version of an interview that was first published under the title Read More

Another Amur Falcon Migratory Season Begins

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The first Amur Falcons have started arriving in the Northeast, and in Nagaland. The local communities in various parts of the state have been eagerly awaiting the birds in the last couple of years — to welcome them as honoured guests, and to provide them with safe passage.

For the last two years, the Amur Falcon conservation efforts in Pangti and Sungro villages in Wokha district of Nagaland have passed off successfully in a remarkable conservation turnaround. In 2013 and … Read More

Mining and its aftermath

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Iron ore was discovered in Kudremukh in 1913, when P. Sampath Iyengar, a geologist from Mysore, set out on a quest for the mineral.  As he rode along the Bhadra River he noticed that fine particles of ore had adhered to his horse’s shoes. Following the trail, he finally reached the Aroli range of hills and discovered Kudremukh’s iron-ore deposits. However, full-scale mining operations only began decades later, when the Iranian government, under Mohammad Reza Pahlavi — the Shah of … Read More

Silent Valley – A People’s Movement that Saved a Forest

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Long before the Internet era, a remarkable people’s movement saved a pristine moist evergreen forest in Kerala’s Palakkad District from being destroyed by a hydroelectric project. The battle for the now famous Silent Valley raged for over ten years and involved thousands of people who did not even live in the vicinity of the area that was to be destroyed. Although the campaign did not have any centralized planning, it was highly effective. The sustained pressure exerted on the government Read More

Urgent! The Compensatory Afforestation (CAF) Bill 2015 Must be Recast — Act Now!

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Urgent! Calling all citizens to endorse this campaign to prevent over ₹ 35,000 Crores being wasted on meaningless tree planting projects. Let’s demand a better Compensatory Afforestation Bill! Act Now by signing this petition!


The Honourable Chairman,
Department Related Standing Committee
Science & Technology, Environment & Forests
Rajya Sabha Secretariat
Room No. 142, First Floor, Parliament House Annexe
New Delhi – 110 001

Sub: The Compensatory Afforestation Bill 2015 must be revised and recast.

Dear Sir,

At the outset, … Read More

Dead Indian Vulture at Ramanagara, Karnataka

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Ramnagara (or Ramadevarabetta) Vulture Sanctuary, with an area of 346.14 hectares, was declared as a Vulture Sanctuary on January 31, 2012. It has received attention from Bangalore’s ‘wildlifers’ and consequently, there have been a few interesting articles published about this area in the media. However, the story I am about to relate is not a pretty one and exposes the potential deficiencies in vulture conservation strategy.

While birding at Ramanagara on 14th June 2015, Vishnupriya and I scanned the cliffs … Read More

Protest against Plastics — Act Now!

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Campaign Details — May 2015

Protest against Plastics — Act Now! Deadline for NGT Public Notice May 7th.

The Principal Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has issued a Public Notice on the matter of use of various types of plastic products, with a view to phasing out many of them. Click here to see the order of the Tribunal.

Since many types of plastics create havoc in the environment, CI is urging readers to send their representations to … Read More

Bhadra River Recovering after Stoppage of Mining in Kudremukh

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The picture of the Bhadra River on the left loaded with silt after a heavy rainstorm was taken on 30th September 2002, during an inspection by the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) as ordered by the Supreme Court. The photo on the right, showing the clear waters of the Bhadra River was taken on 18th October 2010, again after a heavy rainstorm, from the same location, five years after mining was stopped by the Apex Court based on a petition filed … Read More

Urgent Campaign for a Credible National Board for Wildlife — Act Now!

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Campaign Details — September 2014

Urgent Campaign for a Credible National Board for Wildlife — Act Now!

Most urgent! Write to the Minister of Environment & Forests urging him to constitute a CREDIBLE National Board for Wildlife. The few minutes you spend on this could make a huge difference to India’s precious protected areas. Act now!


All development projects, such as roads, dams, mines, power plants etc. that are proposed in or within 10 kms of a Sanctuary or … Read More