Rodents are amongst the most common mammals; and yet, they are perhaps the most ignored or overlooked. However, for an interested ‘mammals watcher’, this group comprises of some very fascinating creatures. Since my first field season in Mizoram in 2014, a sound from beneath the ground, of something vigorously digging the earth, had always drawn my attention. When asked what animal caused it, people around always had the same answer- ‘sazu’ (rodent). As I learnt more about the rodent involved, … Read More
In November 2018, while walking across some fields in my village, Gundbala, in Uttara Kannada district, Karnataka, I was happy to see a lot of bird activity around my village. However, something caught my eye from afar, and when I ventured near I saw that there was a thin net spread across some shrubs/short trees along the dividing fence between adjoining paddy fields. It was thin and looked like a giant spider web, but really strong, with a female Plum-headed … Read More
Unsteadily, we inch our way along the narrow trail on the edge of the mountain, peering cautiously over the edge in search of the elusive spot-breasted parrotbill (Paradoxornis guttaticollis). The parrotbills were spotted along this grassy hillside in Nagaland’s Zunheboto district just a couple of weeks ago by Angulie Meyase, Nagaland’s leading bird guide. So throwing caution to the wind we thread down this treacherous, twisting necklace. An unending expanse of clouds beneath us gives us the illusion we … Read More
This image of a poached Gangetic Dolphin was photographed yesterday in Bhabanathtola, Bhutni village, Malda district, West Bengal. The man was was probably carrying it from Hiranandapur towards Mathurapur.
The Forest Dept. and the police are visiting area today (30-Dec-2017). DFO Koushik Sarkar said, “We are taking the matter seriously and have also informed the police.”
In Bengal the dolphin is called the Shushuk and is just another fish-like creature for them, and is consumed locally … Read More
“Rules are rules; we shall definitely fine the offenders. The village council has set the rules and we all need to obey the same. Other villages should realise that we have completely banned hunting and fishing in our area and our decision should be taken seriously by them” were the words from a youth belonging to Sema tribe of Sukhai village from Nagaland, after they had caught people from the neighbouring villages fishing in their river.
The customary rights of … Read More
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 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
It was January 2017, when I heard their barks and yelps on a fishing trip near Shivanasamudra in Karnataka. I put down the rod for the rest of the two days and watched and photographed the Smooth-coated otter dog and bitch with two pups – the parents pushing the pups to swim, and later feeding them. What a joy it was! In my heart I was so glad that their tribe was increasing in our conservation area (Wildlife Association Of … Read More
This ingenious snare was set just outside a scrub forest in Kanchipuram district. The small patch of scrub forest supports axis deer, monitor lizard, wild pig, peafowl, partridge and black-naped hare. The snares in this area are primarily set for trapping black-naped hare and birds.
While on a casual stroll on 19th June 2013, I came across this set-up and informed the staff of the near-by forest office. Numerous snares such as this are silently concealed in and around our … Read More
Serow are medium-sized goat-antelopes of the genus Capricornis. The taxonomy of serows is not completely resolved; descriptions, range maps, and assessments of conservation status in the literature vary because sources differ on nomenclature and specific/subspecific status of the various taxa. There are six recognized species of Capricornis, of which two occur in India. The Himalayan serow (Capricornis thar) is found over most of the the entire Himalayan range and the Red Serow (C. rubidus) is confined to the … Read More
We are passionate conservationists from Tamenglong, Manipur. We would like to report the rampant trapping, hunting and sale of wildlife in Tamenglong and its neighbouring villages. We have seen monkeys, pythons, Chinese pangolins (Manis pentadactyla — featured here) , great barbets, civets, leopard cats, Asian forest tortoises and many other species of wildlife for sale in these markets. Many of these species are on the endangered list.
The concerned authorities are turning a blind eye towards this very critical … Read More
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
The captured animals must be reintroduced into the wild at the earliest after ascertaining their origin, and a thorough investigation should be undertaken to destroy this illegal wildlife crime racket and culprits punished as per law.
The elusive caracal (Caracal caracal), arguably the rarest cat in India, is one of the least known mid-sized carnivores in India, in terms of its ecology, distribution or behaviour. There are few people in India who can claim to have seen one … Read More
The White-cheeked Macaque (Macaca leucogenys) is a newly discovered species (in May 2015) of macaque from the Modog (Mêdog County), in Southeastern Tibet in China (Li et al; 2015). The species was distinguished from all potential sympatric macaques (species in the same geographic area) viz. Macaca mulatta, Macaca thibetana, Macaca assamensis and Macaca munzala by several characteristics including pelage (coat of a mammal), relatively uniform dorsal hair pattern, hairy ventral pelage, hairless short tail, prominent pale … Read More
Rajarhat wetlands (a neighbourhood of Kolkata, in North 24 Parganas district) have become a poachers paradise with numerous trap nets being placed in strategic locations across water bodies, marshes and paddy fields. These nets are quite big (about 10-15 feet in length and about 4-5 feet in width) and strung across bamboo poles. The nets are made of strings so thin that they are not clearly visible from a distance unless viewed carefully. Birds fly into the nets and get … Read More
Every year hunters congregate in different parts of East Medinipur in West Bengal for attending melas to mark the celebrations surrounding the worship of goddess Kali. These coincide with the new moon, or amavasya, which fell on June 5 this year, World Environment Day.
The perpetrators, over 5000 tribal hunters, were organised packs of men out for a day of pure destruction and drunken revelry. They had converged on railway stations such as Uluberia, Deulti, Panskura and Kirai, located … Read More
Last week, I was travelling in Arunachal Pradesh with a few friends. On our way to Udayak Pass (in the Lohith Valley), we stopped to photograph some birds when a bike sped by us. On the bike was freshly killed bushmeat – a macaque. The hunter’s house was just around the corner and we managed to get there just as he was hauling the macaque off the bike. A close look confirmed our worst fears – this was a White-cheeked … Read More
On 21st December, 2011, an adult tiger was found dead at a place called Chekkadi in Tirunelli Village just two kilometers from the boundary of Wayanad Sanctuary in Kerala. The tiger was caught in a strong wire snare skillfully laid between two trees just beyond a thick hedge. Preliminary investigations by the Forest department have revealed that the land belongs to one Beerabahu a resident of Apparapara Village who is absconding. A case has been registered and investigations are … Read More
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
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
When one is traveling in the Northeastern part of our country, a common sight is that of boys and men with catapult and guns on the way to their next hunt. Hunting in the Northeast is largely influenced by cultural practices, rituals and (perceived) medicinal values. It has also become an activity just to kill time. However, the situation is changing; steadily, though slowly, thanks to access to education, employment, and intervention by NGOs at many places. There has been … Read More
Hunting wildlife for the pot and for commercial sale is far more widespread than most people realize, and is leading to an ‘empty forest’ syndrome in many parts of the country. M.D. Madhusudan and K. Ullas Karanth conducted a fascinating study on local hunting around two wildlife reserves in Karnataka. These are the results of their study, excerpted from their original scientific paper published in Ambio in 2002.
- Mammals that weigh over one kilo are the most prone to hunting
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 has lost no less than 62 leopards in the first 50 days of 2010—more than a leopard a day, according to records available with the Wildlife Protection Society of India. Given that within the same period we have lost eight tigers, the Panthera pardus may well beat the tiger in the extinction race. The killings are mainly concentrated in Uttarakhand: from the dawn of the new year to February 20, 26 of these big cats met their end, a … Read More
Fishing is a big activity in the National Chambal Sanctuary (that extends over three Indian states — Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh). Reptiles (even mammals and birds) get entangled in the nets and drown while trying to catch a fish already entangled in the nets. Every year many Gharials and Marsh Crocodiles get entangled in the fishing nets and die. Several scientific studies have shown that a number of aquatic mammals, birds and reptiles, accorded with highly protected status … Read More