Endangered Sloth Bear Rescued from a 40-ft Deep Well, Tumakuru, Karnataka

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In a two-hour long risky and dangerous operation carried out by Wildlife SOS, a male sloth bear that had accidentally fallen into a forty feet deep well was rescued. It was released back into the wild after medical treatment and observation. The Wildlife SOS team at the Bannerghatta Bear Rescue Center (BBRC) received a call from the forest officials about a sloth bear that had fallen into a deep well in Tumkur, a few hours’ drive from Bangalore. The well … Read More

“Ganesha” Spider — a Unique New Spider that Masquerades as a Leaf!

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An oft-used survival strategy in nature is to mimic something you’re not, either to ambush unsuspecting prey or to convince predators that you’re not tasty!

On a warm summer night in April 2015, we headed out on a night trail in the evergreen forests of Agumbe, Karnataka. We were quite happy to see a few snakes, scorpions and frogs. We were still on the trail when I noticed something unusual. Initially I dismissed it as a fallen dried leaf. But … Read More

Rare Cinereous Vulture Sighted in Nagarahole Tiger Reserve

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I observed three Cinereous Vultures (Aegypius monachus) in the Kabini backwaters area of the Nagarahole Tiger Reserve in December 2016. They were feeding on a kill alongside Long-billed Vultures and Red-headed (King) vultures.

This is just the fourth sighting of the species in South India though it is not an uncommon bird in North and Northwest India as well as the Himalayas. Just a few weeks ago an individual was seen flying over Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve, Tamil Nadu, in February … Read More

Student Conference on Conservation Science — IISc, Bengaluru, Sep 27 – 30, 2018

Ramki Sreenivasan

Student Conference on Conservation Science (SCCS) – Bengaluru is the largest student conference in India, where over 500 of Africa and Asia’s brightest conservation researchers and practitioners participate. It brings together young researchers in the science and practice of biodiversity conservation. The conference facilitates interaction, encourages exchange of research ideas and methods, sharing of knowledge and experience related to conserving wildlife and helps build contacts and capacity.

As a sister conference to SCCS-Cambridge, SCCS-Bengaluru focuses on attracting student participants, primarily … Read More

Short-nosed Fruit Bat and its Tents

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Short-nosed Fruit Bats (Cynopterus sphinx) make their own roosts in the form of hanging tents. These tents are usually made in palm trees, either within the fruiting pods or dry leaves, by removing the center portion of pods/leaves. This small colony made their tent within a Fishtail Palm (Caryota urens). These palms are best suited for these bats and make a great case to encourage planting them in urban parks and gardens.

These were photographed in a park near … Read More

Wild Seve – Empowering People and Fostering Tolerance for Wildlife

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India’s Bandipur and Nagarahole National Parks are home to the highest densities of tigers, leopards and elephants globally. People living adjacent to these parks frequently experience crop and property damage, livestock predation and occasionally are injured or killed. As a result, the traditional tolerance that rural communities of India have for wildlife can get eroded due to continued financial losses they incur.

Wild Seve is a novel conservation initiative developed by WCS Scientist Dr. Krithi Karanth in collaboration with the … Read More

Langur Roadkill, Nagarahole Tiger Reserve, Karnataka

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We were on an evening safari at Nagarahole national park on 9th June 2018. Because of incessant rains we had little wildlife sightings and decided to return when the downpour got heavy. We had reached the tarmac road connecting Mysuru (Mysore) to Kerala (State highway 33) and our driver stopped the safari vehicle. I was aghast to see the sight of a mother and baby langur lying on the road. I realized that the langurs had been tragically runover by … Read More

Perceiving Animal: A Human Question

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How would we treat beings differently if we granted them ‘selves’? I live life with the experience that I possess a self and navigate interactions with other humans with the assumption that they too have ‘selves’. Is it possible that there are communities and cultures in this world that relate to the non-human beings around them with the belief that these beings have ‘selves’, and can this make communities more willing to negotiate rather than dictate space with them?

As … Read More

Death of an Otter

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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

Roads to prosperity? Not for the Jackal.

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Roads. Possibly the most common habitat in India today. On March 31, 2018, India had 6,603,293km of roads or 1.70km of roads per square kilometre of area (according to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways). It is the second largest road network in the world. Unfortunately, the most common habitat is very often not the refuge of the living. Roads take away crucial habitat from wildlife, often planned at the expense of our biodiversity-rich forests and countryside. They also … Read More

Tiger Stalks and Hunts Down Wild Dog in Nagarahole

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We witnessed an astonishing natural history moment while on a ride inside Nagarahole Tiger Reserve on the 20th of September, 2017. 

Just as the rain stopped in the morning in the Kabini area of the park, our safari jeep came upon a tiger facing off with a large pack of dholes. The crouching tiger seemed ready to pounce, when a bike-borne forest department staffer came riding between them, inadvertently chasing both away. The tiger disappeared into a bush, so we … Read More

Scutiger Feeding on Western Tree Frog, Bisle, Karnataka

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On a rainy night on 6 July 2015, we encountered an arthropod of the genus Scutigera feeding on a juvenile Western Tree Frog, Polypedates occidentalis. Commonly known as the house centipede, the Scutigera spp we saw was chewing on the eye of the froglet. We made observations for about five minutes and continued on our survey as part of the annual “Bisle frog watch” activity. The froglet seemed to be stunned with venom, as it never moved. This incident was … Read More

Another One Bites the Dust — Pangolin Roadkill, Davangere, Karnataka

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I was riding back from Karwar to Bangalore, when, 30 Kms before Davangere, on NH4 (Now NH48), at around 8:30 a.m., I saw a man standing on the roadside staring at something. At first I passed it off as a log of wood, but as I got closer, I realized that it was the carcass of a pangolin (Manis crassicaudata). The animal had visibly damaged scales on its right shoulders and a bleeding right paw. One of its … Read More

An Exhibition on Insects (Keetavismaya) — University of Agricultural Sciences, Bengaluru, Jan 5 – 7, 2018

Ramki Sreenivasan

Keetavismaya, an exhibition on insects, includes specimens that depict the great diversity of insects and informative posters on the life of insects. Wonderful photographs of insects, insect paintings on the glass and insects on stamps will be special attractions of the exhibition.

You have an opportunity to get your insects identified too, if you bring them along!

All are cordially welcome.

keetavismaya-ci

Entry free.… Read More

Dholes in the Western Ghats

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Large carnivores across the world face several threats even as they continue to decline in numbers. Understanding where these species occur, how they use their habitats and what factors influence these patterns are important for their conservation. The Asiatic wild dog or dhole (Cuon alpinus) is a unique endangered predator. It is the only social, wild canid that almost exclusively inhabits forest areas in Asia. Historically treated as ‘vermin’, dholes were bounty-hunted across the India until they were protected under … Read More

Western Ghats Coffee Plantations Sustain High Bird Diversity in India

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In a recent study, scientists have found that the coffee, rubber and areca agroforests in Karnataka support 204 bird species including 13 bird species found exclusively in the Western Ghats, highlighting the supplementary role of agroforests in conserving wildlife.

Highlights:

  1. One of largest scientific assessments of tropical birds in the world, covering an area of 30,000 sq km in Karnataka
  2. Coffee, rubber and areca agroforests found to support 204 bird species, including 13 endemic birds of the Western Ghats
  3. Coffee
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The Elusive Leopard Cats of India

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Small felids, like jungle cats, leopard cats, fishing cats and marbled cats (among others) constitute more than 60% of all cat species in the world. But most of these small cats remain understudied because they are generally secretive, elusive and difficult to observe and monitor. In this aspect, the leopard cat presents a fascinating case study.

Leopard cats are among the world’s most widely occurring small cat species. There have been substantial studies of their ecology in Southeast Asia. In … 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

Bannerghatta National Park In Grave Danger — Act Now!

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New 2018 Notification Further Reduces Bannerghatta ESZ. 

The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has released a new draft notification seeking to reduce the proposed Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ) around Bannerghatta National Park by a further 100 sq. km. This would reduce the zone to just 1km from the park’s boundary, and a mere 100m in some places. 

Read / download the new 2018 draft MoEFCC notification here.

Bannerghatta National Park is part of a contiguous wildlife habitat … Read More

Tourist Photographs Aid Tiger Research and Monitoring

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Conservation India carried a photograph on 9th November 2016 of a tigress making a wild pig kill in Nagarahole. All tigers have stripes that are unique, just like human finger prints. To identify this tigress and trace its history, a WCS team of researchers working under my guidance rapidly matched patterns of this tigress against 850 other wild tigers, whose images are in our long-term camera trap database, maintained as part of a long-term monitoring of tiger populations in the … Read More

Karnataka Bird Festival: Hampi-Daroji Bear Sanctuary, Jan 5 – 7, 2017

Ramki Sreenivasan

The third Karnataka Bird Festival will be held at Hampi- Daroji Bear Sanctuary in Ballari District of Karnataka from 5th to 7th January 2017.

Karnataka is a forerunner in the field of wildlife conservation as well as ecotourism, being the “Tiger State” for the country with the highest number of tigers and also an “Elephant State”, but more importantly, Karnataka has over 500 species of birds with rare endemics and colourful birds.

Above all, the state has an active, vibrant … Read More

A First-hand Account of Incidental Dolphin Entrapment in a Fishing Net

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“Dolphin!” the driver of the fishing boat said to me excitedly, as he shook me awake from my slumber in the cabin. It was pitch dark outside. I looked at the time – it was ten past one in the morning. We were far from shore, almost eighty kilometres off the middle of the Karnataka coast, and on the crystal clear, inky blue waters of the continental shelf, just over two-hundred feet deep at our location.

Out on these seemingly … Read More

Tigress Making a Wild Pig Kill, Nagarahole

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We were on a morning jungle safari on 29th November 2016 in the Kabini backwaters area of Karnataka’s Nagarahole Tiger Reserve. Repeated peacock alarm calls alerted to us to the possible presence of a predator. Soon, we saw this tigress on the track stalking some wild pig that were on the other side of the elephant proof trench (EPT). We were lucky to witness the tigress jump across the EPT into the agricultural fields of Machegowdanahalli village, make a kill … Read More

New records of Swinhoe’s and Ashy Minivet in Bengaluru, Karnataka

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Swinhoe’s Minivet, aka Brown-rumped Minivet, (Pericrocotus cantonensis), breeds in central, eastern, and south-eastern China, and winters in parts of southern Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam (BirdLife International 2016). The Ashy Minivet (P. divaricatus) breeds in parts of Siberia, China, Korea, and Japan. The species is a winter migrant to South and Southeast Asia (Robson 2008; BirdLife International 2016).

However, very little is known about the status of these two species in India.

This presents details of the first record of a … Read More

Understanding the Distribution and Occurrence of India’s Smallest Bovid: The Chousingha

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Endemic to the Indian sub-continent, the four-horned antelope (FHA) or Chousingha is listed as Vulnerable (C2a (i)) in the IUCN Red list. In 2008, there were an estimated 10,000 adults in the wild in Nepal and India. Being a low-density species, FHA are particularly sensitive to changing habitat conditions and anthropogenic pressures. In India, the species is protected under Schedule-I of the Wildlife Protection Act (1972).

At present, there is little scientific information available on the four-horned antelope, and the … Read More