Save the Great Indian Bustard (GIB) from Extinction!

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Powerlines in GIB habitat should go underground. 

The critically endangered Great Indian Bustard has disappeared from over 90% of its former range due to habitat loss, hunting, disturbance and lack of protection in many ‘lekking’ and nesting sites (see 2013 CI campaign). Now, overhead power transmission lines that crisscross its habitat are sounding the death knell of this low-flying, ground-dwelling species (see attached map). According to a study by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), as many as … 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

Naga Wren-Babbler, Nagaland

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Here is an image of the Naga Wren-Babbler or Long-tailed Wren-Babbler (Spelaeornis chocolatinus) which I photographed in Nagaland in Jan 2014.

This species is Near Threatened and dwells in montane broadleaf forest with thick undergrowth of Nagaland and North Manipur, in NE India. A very active species, usually foraging close to the ground, but not as exclusively ground-dwelling like the Pnoepyga Wren-Babblers.

Originally described as “Pnoepyga chocolatina” by Godwin-Austen and Walden in Ibis p.252, 1875, from Kedimai, Manipur, … Read More

Gliding Frogs of India

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Gliding frogs of the genus Rhacophorus are a unique and spectacular group in the arboreal frog family Rhacophoridae. These tree dwelling frogs are one of diverse and the oldest group, globally. They began to radiate about 50-60 million years ago (between Paleocene to Oligocene) and are distributed largely in South and S. E. Asia, and Africa. The rapid diversification occurred just about the time in which modern day angiosperm plants diversified (Roelants et al. 2007).

In India, there are … Read More

GIB Campaign update — Rajasthan launches ‘Project Great Indian Bustard’

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With less than 200 left, will this magnificent bird be the first mega species to go extinct in India since the cheetah? Or can it be pulled back from the brink of extinction, like the California condor in America?

We are not crying wolf. A survey of recent literature — and discussions with experts — reveals that there may be less than 200 Great Indian Bustards (Ardeotis nigriceps) left in India. What’s worse, this tiny number is fragmented … Read More

Malabar White-headed Starling, Dandeli

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Above is an image of a Western Ghats endemic, Malabar White-headed Starling (Sturnia blythii), taken by Vaibhav Kamatkar at Dandeli, Karnataka. “Most people who go to visit wildlife sanctuaries are educated,” he remarks, “so why can we not desist from throwing away plastic trash, which could have such a bad effect on the environment?” … Read More

Brown Palm Civet, Pampadum Shola

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On Dec 15th, 2012, we (Neelakandan Madavana and Navneeth Kishor) visited Pampadum Shola National Park, in Idukki district of Kerala. It was around 6pm and we were returning to camp after a trek. We noticed a movement in a tree trunk, not far from us and on closer observation, noticed this Brown Palm Civet climbing up to rest on a branch. These civets can easily go unnoticed to photographer’s eyes, and indeed, they were thought to be locally extinct in … Read More