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

Asian Vulture Crisis – It’s Not Over Yet

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The widespread use in cattle of the painkiller and anti-inflammatory drug, diclofenac, led to the unprecedented and dramatic disappearance of vultures over the past 20 years. This inadvertently poisoned around 40 million vultures, causing populations to plummet across South Asia. It’s tempting to think that with the government bans now in place for over ten years, the job is done. While there are indeed some early indications that the remnant vulture populations may be stabilising, albeit at very low … Read More

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

Bustard, Wires, and the Flight to Extinction

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On behalf of the Bustard Conservation Team, Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun.

This article is an outcome of Wildlife Institute of India’s ongoing research and conservation activities under the Great Indian Bustard Conservation Project investigated by Yadvendradev Jhala. The team members are, apart from the author, Sujit Narwade, Tushna Karkaria, Bipin C.M., Arjun Awasthi, Mohib Uddin, Devendradutta Pandey, Tanya Gupta, Sourav Supakar, Vineet Singh, Priyamvada Bagaria, Srinivas Y. and Shaheer Khan.

Much of India’s conservation movement has focused on forested … Read More

The Amur Falcon Goes to School!

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Through music and dance, children in Nagaland are championing the cause of the little raptor.

On his way to school this October, 13-year-old Seiminlen saw a ngeikang. He told the school’s eco-club that the first Amur falcon of the season had been spotted. The children gathered outside their school to watch, trying to count the birds, listening to their high-pitched calls. They perhaps didn’t know it, but these children have been at the forefront of bird conservation in the remote, … Read More

Rare Yellow-throated Laughingthrush at Doyang, Nagaland

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The Yellow-throated Laughingthrush is a secretive species with a very limited distribution in India, mainly along the India-Myanmar border. It has been only reported from a handful places in Nagaland and Manipur in the recent past. The species is most reported from Pungro region in East Nagaland after it was originally described in May 2011.

This species was recently recorded at the Doyang reservoir in Nagaland. After spending the whole day watching the spectacular Amur Falcon congregations at Doyang … Read More

The Wolf and the Sheep: Concerns about the Proposed Purandar Airport in Pune

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There are growing conservation concerns about the proposed greenfield International Airport in Purandar taluk, Pune. In addition to local people’s opposition, which led to arrests and subsequent talk of land compensation packages, there is little information on the status of environmental clearance for airport construction. Approved by the Airports Authority of India (AAI), the airport is meant to be fully functional by 2020. Purandar was chosen by AAI after considering other sites in the Chakan-Rajgurunagar area. Various players including top … 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

Janata Waghoba: A Story of People and Leopards in Rural Maharashtra

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The Northern Western Ghats, also known as the Sahyadris, are home to many species of flora and fauna. The area is one of the richest biodiversity hotspots in the world, as well as the origin of important rivers like the Godavari, Kaveri, Krishna, Thamiraparani and Tungabhadra. The part of Maharashtra state which has been flanked by the Ghats on the west is known as Western Maharashtra.

Junnar and Sangamner talukas in Pune and Ahmednagar Districts respectively, which are interspersed with … Read More

Urgent — Help Safeguard the Western Ghats!

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Urgent! Time is short, so please act immediately – your appeal to the Central Government can help safeguard the Western Ghats.  Use the form below to write to the minister. 

I support the Government’s decision to declare 56,825 square kilometres of the Western Ghats as Eco Sensitive Area (see contents of the letter below the form). 


This campaign is now closed. We received support from more than 3500 concerned citizens. We are now sending a consolidated letter to the ministry, Read More

Great Indian Bustards near Desert National Park, Rajasthan

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On a trip to the Desert National Park in Nov 2014, I was fortunate to see 17 bustards in a fallow field just outside the park. The image captures seven of that flock.

The critically endangered Great Indian Bustard (Ardeotis nigriceps) is amongst the heaviest of flying birds. Less than a hundred remain in the wild, with the most (~70) being in Rajasthan, in and around the Desert National Park.

Currently (March 17 to 25, 2017), the Rajasthan forest department … 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

Pakke: From Darkness into Light

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Tana Tapi is in a tough spot. He has the enormous task of protecting 862 sq. km of mostly inaccessible, and difficult eastern Himalayan wilderness. His job is made more difficult by the fact that some of the people that log and hunt inside these forests belong to the same community as him, the Nyishi tribe of Arunachal Pradesh. This general area bordering Assam is also one of India’s deforestation hotspots where logging networks are fuelled by larger market forces … Read More

Bannerghatta National Park In Grave Danger — Act Now!

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Illegal dynamiting of hillocks for stone quarrying and crushing activities are wreaking havoc in the Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ) of Bannerghatta National Park (BNP). Stone quarrying activity is going on unchecked in Ragihalli and Shivanahalli villages adjacent to the Park just outside Bengaluru, destroying families and endangering wildlife, as stones rain down upon their homes every day. Most of the quarries operating are inside the ESZ boundary of the park (see map below).

What you can do

Help us put a … Read More

Amur Falcon, Malampuzha, Kerala

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While birding with a few friends near Malampuzha dam in Palakkad District, Kerala, I was pleasantly surprised to encounter a group of 30 Amur Falcons perched on high tension electricity wires. At around 1400 hours they descended to the grasslands and started to hunt insects — crickets, locusts and grasshoppers. They were oblivious to our presence and kept feeding on the abundant prey. We were completely awe-stuck by their presence and their hunting.

Until only a few years ago, these … 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

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

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

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

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

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