Conserving Otters as if People Mattered

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The first time I saw an otter in the wild – a Smooth Coated Otter in the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary – I knew this was the animal I wanted to see much more of. If you have seen an otter – any one of the thirteen species found across the World – you will agree that there is something charming, childlike and engaging about this mammal. Yet what really got me moving along an ottery path about a couple of … 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

A Dead Chestnut-winged Cuckoo

Bikram Grewal Photos, Picture of the Week Leave a Comment

This dead Chestnut-winged Cuckoo was found (probably hit by a speeding vehicle) by the photographer just outside the Thattekad Bird Sanctuary (also known as the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary) in Ernakulam district on the northern bank of the Periyar river. A very unfortunate sight given that the bird has become a rarity in India.

Though seldom seen in the country nowadays, Birdlife International does not treat it as vulnerable due on its wide distribution and its relatively stable status in … 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

Action To Be Taken After Detection Of Tiger Mortality

Praveen Bhargav Announcements, Articles, Featured Article 2 Comments

Background

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

Tiger Killed By Wire Snare, Wayanad, Kerala

superadmin Photos, Picture of the Week 1 Comment

On 21st December, 2011, an adult tiger was found dead at a place called Chekkadi in Tirunelli Village, just two kilometres 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.  A case has been registered and investigations are underway. Conservation India carried a note on the ‘Legal Aspects of Tiger Mortality’ along with a picture sourced from local sources. This picture was … Read More

Silent Valley – A People’s Movement that Saved a Forest

Shekar Dattatri Announcements, Case Studies, Featured Case Study 1 Comment

Long before the Internet era, a remarkable people’s movement saved a pristine moist evergreen forest in Kerala’s Palakkad District from being destroyed by a hydroelectric project. The battle for the now famous Silent Valley raged for over ten years and involved thousands of people who did not even live in the vicinity of the area that was to be destroyed. Although the campaign did not have any centralized planning, it was highly effective. The sustained pressure exerted on the government Read More

Littering — how it impacts birds

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Please do not litter! Especially where birds and animals live. We learn this in school but do not implement it in real life! Nobody cares about the impact of littering. I came across one distressing incident recently. This Darter (Anhinga rufa), a fish-eater, got a piece of cloth entangled in its beak and remained in this position for more than 2 hours. Luckily the bird was finally able to get rid of the cloth; otherwise it could have resulted … Read More

Dholes in Tea Estate near Chembra peak, Kerala

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Chembra is part of the Wayanad hill ranges in the Western Ghats, adjoining the Nilgiri Hills in Tamil Nadu and Vellarimala in Kozhikode district in Kerala. Chembra Peak is accessible by foot from Meppady. District Tourism Promotion Council provides guides and trekking equipment on hire charges to tourists. A heart-shaped lake on the way to the top of the peak is a major tourist attraction.

Last month (September 2013), my friends and I were trekking to Chembra peak. We had … Read More

Small-clawed Otters: Where are they Found?

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The smallest of the world’s otters, the Asian small-clawed otter (Aonyx cinerea) is found widely across Asia from south-western India, through southern China, the Malay Peninsula, to Sumatra, Java, Borneo and the Palawan Island in the Philippines.

Being amphibious in nature, this animal is found in and around a range of habitats including rivers, hill streams, estuaries, marshes, wetlands, and mangroves. As apex predators, the otters function as key links in cycling nutrients between aquatic and terrestrial systems, … Read More

Walayar — Walking on Knife’s Edge

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This image was shot at 1209 hrs on 13th Oct 2012, at km 510/21 on the B-line of the Palakkad- Coimbatore railway line, a kilometre away from the Walayar Railway station, in Kerala. The B-line, which has been laid through the Walayar Reserve forest, bisects an elephant corridor. More than thirty elephants have been killed / maimed during the last two decades (see post on calf being run over), due to speeding trains between Kanjikode and Madukkarai (a … 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

Black-legged Kittiwake, Fourth record for India from Chavakkad, Kerala.

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Black-legged Kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla) is a small sized coastal breeding gull commonly found around north Pacific and north Atlantic oceans in North America and Europe. We were fortunate to observe and photograph two individuals of this species from Chavakkad beach, Kerala, India on January 24th, 2013 during our routine beach birding trip. We (Suhas Kechery and Sandeep Das) located this bird among a flock of Heuglin’s, Brown-headed and Black-head Gulls.

The birds observed were found to be … Read More

Precious Wayanad in Peril

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Wayanad is home to Edakkal Caves, a group of ancient, natural caves, with stone age carvings believed to be around 8000 years old. Located amidst the precious Western Ghats, the huge rocky hills near Edakkal now face the threat of several illegal quarries that blast the hills off to feed the market for sand and gravel. Uncontrolled tourism is also adding to the environmental degradation. Tourists who come from every part of the country litter plastic bags and beer bottles, … Read More

Linear Intrusions, Electricity and Elephants

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This was photographed by my colleague N. Suresh on the way to Mysore from Munnar in a place called “shooting spot” near Munnar where a lot of movie shootings happen. He took this interesting image and shared it with me to post on Conservation India.

The image, while it looks “green”, has hardly anything wild about it — cleared mountain slopes, exotic plantation all around and transmission lines right through it. The image conveys the serious treats to these elephants … Read More

From Wild To Captivity: An Orphaned Elephant Calf

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This four-year old elephant calf was found in the Malapuzha forest range of Palakkad, Kerala, dehydrated, tired and not eating anything. Thanks to the efforts of forest department staff and doctors, this tired little one was brought back to life. Unfortunately, the calf refused to go back into the forest. So the forest department had to take him to a rescue center. Even though the life of an elephant was saved, it was painful to see the transformation of a … Read More

Eco-tourism in a Fragile Habitat

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This was photographed near the Banasurasagar Dam, in Wayanad, Kerala. The Banasura Hills and Aralam Forest area shown in this picture are a catchment area for the Karamanathodu stream — a major tributary for the Kabini River. Latest developments in the name of eco-tourism have cut down a lot of trees in this fragile habitat. The Kerala government says this is an eco-friendly hydro electric project. This dam is the largest earthern dam in India and the second largest in … Read More

Captive Hill Myna, Munnar, Kerala

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In many parts of India, people still keep wild animals captive in their homes as pets. This photographer found this captive Southern or lesser Hill Myna (Gracula indica) at a grocery store in Munnar, Kerala. The store also had a captive Malabar (blue-winged parakeet). This photo was taken in March 2012.

The Wildlife Protection Act (WLPA) prohibits any person (other than a recognized zoo including a rescue centre) from keeping any wild animal (species listed in Schedule I … Read More

Thirunelli-Kudrakote Elephant Corridor, Wayanad, Kerala

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This picture of a tusker attempting to cross the road was taken in the Thirunelli-Kudrakote Elephant Corridor in Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala. A number of human settlements are present here adding to the pressure in addition to roads like these. This road leads to the famous Thirunelli Temple which is a very popular tourism destination.

Several Indian and International wildlife NGOs and charities are working with the government to secure the 42-mile Thirunelli-Kudrakote corridor, a vital funnel route for elephants, … Read More

Innocent Victim — Elephant Calf Railway Kill, Walayar, Kerala

Manumenon Photos 1 Comment

Tragically unresolved and burning issue of the deaths of wild elephants around Walayar, Palakkad, Kerala, due to train hits. This is not a freak accident — during the last two years, this little calf is the eighth such victim of our carelessness and negligence. With both the Indian Railways and the Forest Department busy blaming each other over this issue, the end result is this emotionally wrenching scene of the the whole mourning herd standing guard and not allowing anybody … Read More

Kerala National Parks Face Funds Crisis

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On the same day Assam declared a serious shortage of funds, Kerala’s national parks and sanctuaries also stated they are cutting back on conservation activities due to lack of funds. There has been a drastic reduction in the central allocation and the state has not filled the void. The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) had reduced this years allocation to Rs. 2.88 crores as against last year’s Rs. 4.4 crores. This has led to downsizing of the protection staff … Read More

Poaching For Crude Medicines Continues To Threaten Nilgiri Langurs

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Poaching continues to be the key threat for Nilgiri Langurs, where their pelt, organs, blood and flesh are used to produce crude medicines and aphrodisiacs. This was highlighted by the National Studbook on Nilgiri Langurs, released recently by the Central Zoo Authority and the Wildlife Institute of India. Prior to the Wildlife Protect Act, 1972, these crude medicines were widely available and even advertised. Karinkorangu Rasayanam was one of the leading products at that time. With the act and campaigning … Read More

Unrestricted Plantation Activity Destroying Lion-tailed Macaque Habitat in Nelliyampathy

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Unregulated plantation activity is destroying the lion-tailed macaque habitat in Nelliyampathy. There are 13 troops with around 200 individuals in the area. This is the second biggest population of the endangered primate in Kerala. Silent Valley hosts around 250 individuals. Nelliyampathy has a fragmented ecosystem for these primates due to coffee and tea plantations, as well as hydel projects. Two-thirds of the evergreen forests in Nelliyampathy was cleared for plantation around 60 years ago. There are forests in the south-west … Read More

Four Elephant Carcasses Found; Lightning Suspected

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Carcasses of four wild elephants, two of them calves, were found in the interior forest areas in Pachakkanam forest station limits in Thekkady, Kerala. Severe burns were found on the carcasses. Frequent lightning strikes were reported to have struck the forest tracts on August 17th. Electrocution has been ruled out since there are no power lines in the area. Hence, lightning is suspected to have been the cause of death. An autopsy would be conducted by a wildlife veterinary surgeon.… Read More

Relocation of Human Settlements in Wayanad Awaits Government Action

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Even though around 10,000 people inside Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary want to relocate outside government inaction is delaying their move out. The central government has sanctioned Rs. 80 crores to move out a third of the population inside Wayanad, but of that only Rs 4.5 crores have been released. According to a report from the Kerala Forest Research Institute (KFRI) there are 110 settlements having 2613 families in the sanctuary. Wild animal attacks are frequent as are retaliatory killings. The Central … Read More