Engagement with Media Change the Way Human-wildlife Interactions are Reported

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Mass media plays an important role in shaping public perception of human-wildlife interactions. In India, sensational and horrific imagery is often used to portray encounters between the two, even though most of them are neutral.

Media reports on human-leopard interactions are usually focussed on either attacks on people by leopards, or leopards being killed by people. The area in and around Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Mumbai, India, is a leopard hotspot, and witnessed many leopard attacks on people in … Read More

Living with Leopards: Making Sense of it for the Media

Ramki Sreenivasan Leave a Comment

“Leopard changes spots, strikes fear” blazed the headline of a leading daily in Dehradun. This, even as we were travelling to the interiors of Uttarakhand, to Tehri and Pauri, to conduct media workshops for sensitizing the “fourth estate”.

The Uttarakhand Forest Department, with support from WCS-India, and Titli Trust, Dehradun, has initiated pilot programs in Tehri and Pauri in Uttarakhand, to mitigate the leopard conflict; one of the most serious human-wildlife conflicts in this pristine hill state. The pilots include … Read More

Spotted in the News: Understanding Leopards Through Media Reports

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Print media plays a crucial role in disseminating knowledge and in influencing public opinion. Further, media publications could also provide powerful information about wild animals like leopards and elephants, which frequently interact with people. A study by scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society India Program relied on information from ​newspaper media reports to understand leopard ecology, leopard-human interactions, and management practices that deal with problem leopards outside protected areas of Karnataka.

The study used reports of leopards from 11 widely … Read More

A ‘Conflict’ of Words – One-sided Reporting Can Harm Wildlife

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Scanning through wildlife news in Indian newspapers, a disturbing theme repeats itself – CONFLICT. Words frequently used include, ‘menace’, ‘threat’ and ‘fear’. These are repeated so often that every time someone mentions a wild animal, we assume some form of “conflict” or “threat”.

Headlines are written to grab eyeballs, and most often we are influenced and affected by them subconsciously. In a paper titled ‘Discourse analysis of newspaper headlines: A methodological framework for research into national representations’, by Christine Develotte … Read More

Catalysing Awareness — How Mumbai’s Media Represents its Leopards

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The common leopard (Panthera pardus) is a highly adaptable species that is found throughout the country (and beyond) in a variety of habitats, from the pristine rainforests to human-modified and dominated landscapes. Despite its ability to survive on a wide range of prey species including the wild and the domestic, the leopard population is on a downward spiral owing to intense persecution and pressures of illegal wildlife trade.

Authors Saloni Bhatia, Vidya Athreya, Richard Grenyer and … Read More

Q: The Tamil TV media shows Man- wildlife conflict regularly and shows the damage caused to property and produce in stark visuals. This creates a negative mind set in viewers about wildlife. How can this be altered /corrected?

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Answer from Ramki Sreenivasan: The world over, most TV news channels sensationalize everything to get more viewers. While the top English news channels in India are somewhat amenable to reason and persuasion, and responsive to expert opinion, many regional news channels are a law unto themselves. Their viewers have little exposure to nature education. Many regional channels are controlled by powerful personalities or organizations who care little about social responsibility or balanced reporting. Since making money is their primary goal, … Read More