Thane Creek In Mumbai To Be Declared A Flamingo Sanctuary

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The Maharashtra state forest department has decided to declare Thane creek as a Flamingo sanctuary, to protect the flamingos and several other birds that are threatened by pollution and habitat destruction in the north-eastern Mumbai area. The notification is expected soon. Mumbai based NGO Vanashakti had approached the state forest department seeking its intervention to protect the birds and mudflats along the Thane creek. Kavita Mallya, project officer with Vanashakti said that the number of birds arriving has reduced drastically … Read More

New Species Of Bronzeback Tree Snake Discovered In Western Ghats

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A new species of snake has been discovered in the Western Ghats. The snake was first spotted by nature enthusiasts in Amboli village in Maharashtra in 2001. The snake is predominantly bronze coloured, arboreal and when aggressive, expand their skin to reveal a blue coloured skin between the scales.

In 2003, Varad Giri, a deputy director and curator of the herpetological collection with the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) saw a similar snake during his visit to Goa and took … Read More

NHAI Violations Come Up In Standing Committee Meeting Of National Board for Wildlife

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The violations by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) were brought up by members of the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) in its 24th standing committee meeting held on 13th December, 2011.

NHAI’s non-compliance with conditions while constructing a four-lane expressway through the Lumding Reserve Forest in Assam that will cut through a crucial Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong migratory corridor for tigers, elephants, gibbons and gaur was brought up by Prerna Bindra, member of NBWL and co-ordinator of Panthera, an NGO … Read More

The Leopards of Mumbai

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Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) in the north of Mumbai seems to have always been associated with leopards attacking humans. However, a little delving into the patterns of attacks finds that conflict is a recent phenomenon. The attacks began around the nineties and took on its worst form in 2004, when in a single month in May, nineteen attacks on people were reported. Now again, post-2006, there have been no attacks on humans.

Recently the Forest Department of SGNP (headed … 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

Leopard Trapped In Well, Maharashtra

Vidya Athreya Photos, Picture of the Week 1 Comment

This leopard chased a village dog and fell into a percolation well in Takli Dokeshwar village, Ahmednagar district. These percolation wells which dot the landscape are at ground level without a parapet wall (and mostly surrounded by shrubbery) and it is common for leopards to fall in them. The leopard (named Ajoba by the study team; codenamed 5863) was captured with the help of a ladder (that led to a cage) and then fitted with a GPS+ collar. It was … Read More

NHAI Violates Forest Conservation Act With Work On NH7 Near Mansingh-Deo Wildlife Sanctuary

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The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is performing road widening work on NH7 near Mansingh-Deo Wildlife Sanctuary, as part of a 117.058 km project from Deolapar on the Madhya Pradesh — Maharashtra border. While most of the work is complete, it is yet to get clearance in the 39 km patch from the Deolapar side. Yet, after completing the work near Tekadi and Mansar, NHAI has started road and canal work near Chorbahuli. This, wildlife experts say, is in … Read More

Rampant Mining Poses Threat To Tadoba Says Expert Wildlife Panel

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Rampant coal mining in Chandrapur and its surrounding areas in Maharashtra pose a grave threat to tigers. A fact-finding team, comprising of Praveen Bhargav, Biswajit Mohanty and environment lawyer Rahul Choudhary, released its findings and recommendations in a report titled, “Undermining Tadoba’s tigers” said that no new mines should be given forest clearance in the region and further expansion of mines in operation should be stopped. The team has visited the area in September of this year, interacted with villagers, … Read More

Nagzira — Navegaon Reserve Area in Maharashtra To Be Expanded

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An earlier plan to include only the existing area of Nagzira and Navegaon in a proposed tiger reserve, has been shelved in favour of a new and better one, by adding more areas and creating a 556.12 sq km reserve. This will be done by including adjoining forests that come under the territorial wing and the Forest Development Corporation of Maharashtra (FDCM). Thus, an additional area of 117.68 sq km will be added to Navegaon and 151.75 sq km will … Read More

SC Notification for The Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary in Maharashtra

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Finally, the Supreme Court (SC) has cleared the long-pending denotification of Great Indian Bustard (GIB) Sanctuary at Nannaj in Solapur district. From 8,496 sq km earlier, the sanctuary will now be restricted to 1,222 sq km.

The matter was pending in the court since 2006. In October, 2008, the SC had directed the committee for rationalization of boundaries to recommend the area of the GIB sanctuary. Accordingly, a committee headed by VB Sawarkar, ex-director of Wildlife Institute of India (WII), … Read More

Villagers Happily Move Out Of Melghat Tiger Landscape

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Three villages in the Wan sanctuary, in the Melghat Tiger Reserve have successfully and willingly relocated to new areas outside the reserve. Other villages have also petitioned the forest department to rehabilitate them. 350 families from Amona, Nagartas, Bharukheda have moved with a relocation package of Rs. 10 lakhs per adult and free land for a house. All three villages are now closer to their administrative headquarters and all the people have better access to healthcare, education, courts, and other … Read More

Melghat Tiger Reserve Staging a Turnaround

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Melghat tiger reserve is staging a turnaround of sorts, with various improvements and better wildlife health across the reserve. For one, camera traps have recorded the presence of six new tiger cubs. The reserve’s field director, A.K.Mishra estimates the tiger numbers to go up to 50-55 with the new additions. He attributes the success to better protection and group patrolling, awareness amongst villagers and imposing curbs on grazing. 500 cattle have been seized and cases filed against illicit grazers. Forest … Read More

NTCA Sets up Ten Member Committee to Monitor Land Use Practices in Tiger Reserves

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The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has set-up a 10-member expert panel to monitor land-use practices like mining, road construction and railway lines that affect tiger habitats. The panel will draw upon the best practices prevailing in other countries. The panel will examine current demands for diversion of habitat areas towards infrastructure projects in the tiger range states. It will also make recommendations for harmonising land use vis-a-vis tiger conservation in India. The panel will submit its report in six … Read More

NTCA Will Study Adverse Impacts of Adani Power Project Near Nagzira Sanctuary

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The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) will study the adverse impacts of a proposal to divert 163.84 hectares of land to the Adani Power Project in Gondia district. This land is within 10 kms of the Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary. The NTCA study will focus on the adverse impacts of the gaseous and particulate emissions and additional thermal load from the plant on flora and fauna. The Adani plant is meant to be a 3300 MW one. Work is already in … Read More

Wild Buffaloes Sighted in Kamalapur Forest Range, Maharashta

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Eight wild buffaloes in two groups were spotted in Kamalapur Forest Range in Nagpur, by veteran wildlife expert, Mahendrasignh Chouhan. The group had two calves indicating a breeding population. Wild buffaloes are facing extinction and are listed under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. There are demands to declare the area as a buffalo sanctuary. The Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, SK Khetrapal, however is not keen on the idea as the area is Naxal infested making … Read More

Study to understand impact of Jaitapur Nuclear Project on Marine Ecology and Biodiversity

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The National Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) has planned to undertake a study to understand the possible effects of the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project on the marine ecology and biodiversity. The study will be conducted by five environmental organizations and headed by the BNHS director, A.R. Rahmani. The marine ecology around Jaitapur is considered vibrant. The study is expected to take a year and cost Rs. 5.86 crore. However, activists and experts are skeptical of the study as environment … Read More

Recently Inaugurated Nagpur NTCA Office Found Locked

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The recently inaugurated regional office of the National Tiger Conservation Authority in Nagpur is now locked. The NTCA board inaugurated by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and Union Minister Jairam Ramesh is also missing. During the inauguration, Chavan and Ramesh said that the opening of the NTCA office is the first step towards boosting tiger tourism in and around Nagpur. NTCA Joint Director and Deputy Inspector General S P Yadav says that until an Assistant Inspector General is appointed, the office … Read More

Flamingo Festival at the Sewri-Mahul mudflats in Mumbai

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The Bombay Natural History Society organized Flamingo Festival attracted a lot of visitors including children. The annual festival, organized since 2007, highlights the thousands of Flamingos that visit the Sewri-Mahul mudflats. However, the mudflats are at risk as they are the proposed starting point for the Sewri-Nhava trans harbour link. BNHS director, Asad Rahmani, believes there is a way to develop the Sewri-Nhava trans harbour link can be developed around the mudflats thus also making the link a world class … Read More

Environment Ministry Guidelines advise against capture and relocation of leopards

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The Environment Ministry has issued guidelines to the States for dealing with man-leopard conflicts. The guidelines advise against the capture and relocation of leopards as their homing instinct will bring them back into the area again and cause more problems. These guidelines and others come from the experience in Maharashtra which has brought down the number of leopard encounters significantly in second half of the previous decade. According to Jairam Ramesh, “In India, tigers face a crisis of extinction, and … Read More

Illegal Windmills Operating in Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary, Maharashtra

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Koyna sanctuary, a part of Sahyadri Tiger Reserve has about 200 windmills operating within the sanctuary boundaries. Around 500 trees have been estimated to have been chopped up for this purpose. Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) activist Nana Khamkar says that 250 endangered species of birds are found in the sanctuary and since the windmills have come, the birds have not been seen. An RTI application sent to the Forest Department has shown that the windmills have been setup without … Read More

Maharashtra proposing to promote Tiger Tourism

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Maharashtra is proposing to advertise its tiger assets and increase tourism. The government is proposing to tag Nagpur as the ‘tiger capital’ to promote the state . The state has an estimated 169 tigers (as per the 2010 Tiger Estimation Survey). Tadoba, Melghat and Sahayadri reserves have shown an increase in tiger population, according to the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, A. K. Khetrapal. Maharashtra has 4 reserves and 34 sanctuaries. The state has created buffer zones of around 8 … Read More

Mansingh-Deo declared a Wildlife Sanctuary

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Mansingh-Deo has been notified as a Wildlife Sanctuary by the Maharashtra Government. This brings protection to about 183 sq. km of critical habitat that provides connectivity between the forests of Central India and also provides a crucial buffer to Pench National Park. The notification was first proposed in 1980 and it has taken more than two decades of lobbying. The latest move was the result of Dr. Ranjithsinh’s (Chairman of WTI) letter to Union Minister Jairam Ramesh, appraising him of … Read More

130 Leopards Poached in India this year (as of Sept 2010)

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Watching a leopard amble along a sun-beaten track at dusk is a captivating sight. But now these big cats are in danger in India. At least 130 leopards have been poached this year so far, say experts describing the figures as “alarming”. 

Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra recorded the highest number of leopard deaths, stated the NGO Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI).

There have been reports of 240 leopard deaths so far.

Across the country, 17 leopards were killed

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Living with Leopards in Mumbai

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Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) is said to be the lungs of Mumbai and provides the bustling metropolis with clean drinking water among other ecosystem services. Biologically rich, SGNP is often in the news as the site of conflict between people and wildlife, mainly leopards. The forest department of SGNP has taken a proactive step to help manage the park better, mitigate conflicts and engage with the interested citizens of Mumbai.

The Forest department has launched a project called ‘Mumbaikars … Read More