Indian Wolf, Ranthambore Tiger Reserve

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The Indian Wolf (Canis lupus pallipes), is an endangered species in Schedule I of Indian wildlife according to the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972. It is also in appendix 1 of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Despite the highest level of protection accorded to the wolves in India, hunting remains rampant and is a major cause of concern. Killing of adult wolves and pups by local sheepherders is common … 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

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

Sarus Cranes in Intensely Cultivated Floodplains

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Sarus Cranes (Grus antigone) in north India and other locations occur in landscapes with very high human populations and intensive agriculture. Their successful breeding is dependent on remnant wetland patches. Traditional agricultural practices help them to persist on the otherwise disturbed lands. Alongside the struggle to maintain wetlands amid a burgeoning human population, the changes in rainfall patterns, likely driven by global climate change, are new challenges that cranes here face. … 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

Wildlife Tourism in India — New Challenges for Park Management

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Wildlife or Nature-based tourism is growing in many countries across the world including India. Krithi K. Karanth and Ruth DeFries examine trends and practices in wildlife tourism for ten parks across India. These are results of their study from the forthcoming paper in the journal, Conservation Letters.

Study Sites in India

Ten parks were selected across India – Ranthambore, Sariska, Pench, Kanha, Anshi-Dandeli, Bhadra, Nagarahole, Bandipur, Periyar and Mudumalai. These protected areas vary in tourist numbers, access to cities, and … Read More

‘Gajah’: The Report of the Elephant Task Force

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A major report on securing the future for the Elephant in India was today submitted to the Minister of Environment & Forests. The report lays out a comprehensive action agenda for protecting elephants in the wild and in captivity, and for addressing human-elephant conflict. The Minister welcomed the Report and promised speedy implementation of the major recommendations.

The Executive Summary is posted here. The full report can be downloaded from the MOEF website here.

Executive Summary

Securing a future … 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

Supreme Court Calls for New Standards for Endangered Species Conservation

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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, 1995). It … Read More

Rare Black-breasted Parrotbill Spotted In Manas

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The Black-breasted Parrotbill (Paradoxornis flavirostris) is one of India’s rarest, enigmatic and least-known birds. Till recently Debeshwari, in the Eastern Zone in Kaziranga, and Dibru-Saikhowa close to Tinsukia in N Assam were the only two places where the bird was found. However it seems that for the last few years the birds seem to have become extremely scare in these areas.

On 17th March 2011, birders Soma Jha and Sushmita Jha sighted this bird in Manas National Park … Read More

Purple Frog, Anamalai Hills

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The Purple Frog (Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis) is a rare and recent addition to the frog world. With its closest relatives in the Seychelles, the purple frog is thought to have evolved separately for millennia. Its discovery also adds to the evidence that Madagascar and the Seychelles separated from the Indian landmass sometime well after the breakup of Gondwana had started. Described to science as late as 2003, the species is now known to be quite widely distributed in the Western Ghats. … Read More

Gharials On The Chambal

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The Chambal river (here on the MP-UP border) is under severe pressure from human activity like sand mining and agriculture. The National Chambal Gharial Wildlife Sanctuary, is a 5,400 sq. kms. protected area for critically endangered Gharial Crocodiles, the Red-crowned roof turtle, the endangered Gangetic Dolphin and vulnerable bird species like Indian skimmer, Sarus Crane, Pallas’s Fish Eagle and Indian Courser.… Read More

FDA Maharashtra Issues Order on Diclofenac Malpractices in Veterinary : A Step forward

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Recent pilot surveys by our team indicated a significant lack of awareness as well as rampant malpractice among stakeholders with respect to the veterinary use of (banned) diclofenac in Pune district, Maharashtra. Typical issues reported were :

  • Lack of knowledge on the ban on veterinary use of diclofenac.
  • Unrestricted over the counter sale of diclofenac for veterinary use.
  • Easy access to human formulations of diclofenac for veterinary use.

These issues were raised with senior forest officers. In response to the … Read More

Palamu’s Killer Tracks

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One of the biggest threats to the wildlife of Palamu Tiger Reserve (PTR), spread over an area of 1130 sq.kms in West-Central Jharkhand, has been the New Delhi-Ranchi Railway line that slices through the Tiger Reserve’s core ranges of East & West Chhipadohar over a distance of 8 kms. About 70 trains — both passenger and freight — ply on this busy rail route everyday (these lines have been in existence before Palamu’s notification as a Tiger Reserve in 1973). … Read More

Flamingo City Campaign Update — NBWL Clears Road Project

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Campaign Update July 2013

The road proposal whose ecological damages CI highlighted in this campaign was unanimously and strongly rejected by all members of the MOEF constituted Standing Committee of the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) on June 6th, 2013. The project was rejected on grounds that it was having a serious impact on the wildlife of the fragile Kutch region particularly the nesting site of flamingoes.

A Dead Blue Pitta

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The Blue Pitta (Pitta cyanea) is a very rare bird in India. There have been no recent reports (and certainly no photographs) from India. Pam Rasmussen (Birds of South Asia) lists it for the South Assam Hills (North Cachar, Tripura and an old specimen from Garo Hills).

This image of a dead Blue Pitta featured in the brilliant award-winning documentary called “The Wild Meat Trail” directed by Rita Banerji and Shilpi Sharma (Dusty Foot Productions) on sale in … Read More

Effective or Not? Has the Ban on Diclofenac to Save India’s Vultures Worked?

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The results of a study published in 2011, five years after the ban in 2006, says yes, there has been a perceptible change in the use of diclofenac for veterinary use. But there is much more work to be done for the ban to be a success and for the country to see a rise in vulture populations.

The Indian subcontinent lost 95 per cent of its vultures in just 15 years. Of the eight species of vultures found in … Read More

Long-billed Vulture Chick, Ramanagara, Karnataka

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The welcome sight of a Long-billed Vulture chick on the crags of Ramanagara signal some hope for the augmentation of the very low population of this bird in the south of India. As of now, the number of Vultures at this location seem to have dwindled from thirteen, a year or two earlier, to only nine or ten. The painkiller chemical, Diclofenac, which is still not banned for human use, has decimated the population of Long-billed Vultures across the Indian … Read More

Olive Ridley hatchlings at Rushikulya, Orissa

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Olive Ridley turtles are the smallest marine turtles. They hatch in millions on certain sections of Orissa’s coasts. But due to several threats (all man-made), very few of those that hatch make it to the sea — a distance of less than a 100 metres. And even those that make it to the sea get caught in fishermen’s dragnets further lessening the number that grow into adults to come back and lay eggs.

Some NGOs are working hard to protect … Read More

Lesser Florican Sighted In Bangalore After A Century!

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Out on a cold gloomy morning with the intent of photographing birds, Mr. Raghavendra Bhat sat in his car in the outskirts of Bangalore, waiting for the sun to warm up the day. As the day brightened-up in about 20 minutes, he observed a medium sized bird cross the kuchha road in front and walk into the grass. At first, he thought it to be a juvenile junglefowl, but on seeing the structure of the head, he thought it could … Read More

Rusty-spotted Cat, Maharashtra

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The Rusty-spotted Cat (Prionailurus rubiginosus) is the smallest wild cat species that occurs only in India and Sri Lanka. Available information relies on a few sightings across its range and the species is thought to be rare. I discovered a breeding population of rusty spotted cats from a human-dominated agricultural landscape in W. Maharashtra. I propose that we should also focus on agricultural landscapes, which are likely to have high rodent densities, to study some of the smaller … Read More

National Level Plan Drawn To Protect Endangered Bustard And Floricans

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A draft plan for national recovery of the critically endangered Great Indian Bustard (Ardeotis nigriceps) and the endangered Lesser Florican (Sypheotides indica) has been submitted by a special task force to the MoEF. The ‘Draft Guidelines for Species Recovery Programmes’– is hosted on the MoEF website. Comments/suggestions are invited from civil society owithin a week of issue of this notification, the website says.

“There is an immediate need for an executable plan both at the … Read More

Lesser Florican and Humans — Conflict or Co-existence?

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An endangered male Lesser Florican (Sypheotides indicus) displays in the Sonkhaliya grasslands in Ajmer, Rajasthan. Most of Sonkhaliya have been converted into agricultural fields and the remaining into shrub land of the invasive Prosopis juliflora. Surprisingly, in a recent survey more than 150 male floricans were seen in the Sonkhaliya area of about 100 square kilometers. This author (G.S. Bhardwaj — a scientist at the Wildlife Institute of India) who conducted the survey in NW India observed … Read More

Coal Mining Destroying Critical Tiger Habitat Around Tadoba Tiger Reserve

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New Delhi, 22 November, 2011: Coal mining poses a serious threat to tigers in Maharashtra’s Chandrapur region, near the Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) and must be reined in. This is the verdict of a Fact Finding Mission to the area organized by Greenpeace India, consisting of wildlife experts Praveen Bhargav and Biswajit Mohanty and environmental lawyer Rahul Choudhary.

The team released its findings and recommendations in a report titled “Undermining Tadoba’s Tigers” at a press conference in New Delhi. … Read More