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

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

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

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

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

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

Local Hunting and Conservation of Large Mammals

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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
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Incident of a Man-Eating Tiger in Nagarahole, Karnataka

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News papers have been reporting the presence of a livestock killing tiger in agricultural fields and state forests outside the eastern boundary of Nagarahole Tiger Reserve over the last few days. Unfortunately on 25-August-2012 the tiger attacked a woman grazing livestock, killed, and partially ate her. On 26-August-2012 Forest Department staff managed to locate the tiger using domestic elephants, tranquilized it and moved it into captivity.

We have been carrying out long term monitoring of tiger populations in Karnataka using … Read More

Counting Squirrels in Indian Forests

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Although the ecology of squirrels has been extensively studied, most past work is characterized by the failure to account for detection and heavy reliance on indices rather than directly measuring abundance. This has involved acoustic and visual surveys, sign surveys (tracks, middens and dreys) and capture-recapture sampling (trapping rates) methods are adopted to estimate squirrel abundance. Such field studies assume the detection probability of the species to be equal in all sites, leading to incorrect estimates of true abundance.

Authors … Read More

Elephants near Human Settlements

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This was photographed in the backwaters of the Kabini River in Nagarahole Tiger Reserve. Across the river, just outside the reserve (Gendathur side of Bandipur Tiger Reserve), there are a lot of human settlements. Elephant Proof Trenches (EPT) protecting this area do little to stop the herds. Elephants easily swim across from the Nagarahole side to graze on grass on the Bandipur side, bringing them into frequent conflicts with humans. Cattle grazing occurs near the human settlements in the morning, … Read More

Mongoose vs Monitor Lizard

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I took this photograph at Nagarahole national park, Karnataka, on 19th Nov 2014 around 6:00 pm. My friends and I were nearing the end of the evening safari when I saw a commotion in the bushes. I got a quick glimpse of a common monitor lizard (Varanus bengalensis). As we passed it by, a mongoose suddenly emerged from the bushes, so we reversed our vehicle to photograph it. Soon we were amazed to see the mongoose viciously attack … Read More

Electric Lines Through Protected Areas

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During a recent trip to Nagarahole Tiger Reserve in Karnataka, we noticed a few common langurs at play. We paused for a few minutes to observe them jumping around trees, very close to some electric lines running beside the road. Suddenly, one of the excited Langurs jumped straight on to the wires. Unfortunately, it touched two wires at the same time. There was a big spark, which threw the langur off. As it fell to the ground and lay still, … Read More

Jumping Ant with Prey

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I saw my first Jumping Ant (Harpegnathos saltator) on the outskirts of Bangalore and observed how it moves about. The ant jumped and lived up to its name!

Back in 2004 near Belgaum, as I photographed a jumping ant, it did something very interesting. I was peering through my view finder when suddenly the ant leapt and went out of my frame. The ant had actually jumped and caught a moth mid-air!

I saw it jump, but missed … Read More

Dhole Pups on a Tree, Nagarahole

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During a morning drive around Nagarahole national park, Karnataka, in March 2013, we encountered a pack of 5-6 dholes (Cuon alpinus) close to the forest office. There were a few pups playing around, even climbing a tree. Being highly social, playing is helpful in cementing bonds between pack members, besides being fun! (Adult dholes too will sometimes climb onto sloping tree trunks or termite mounds – Ed). Pack sizes may sometimes swell to over 20, but will usually then split … Read More

Chital antlers entangled in fishing net, Nagarahole

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This was photographed on the Kabini Backwaters in the Nagarahole tiger reserve on 18th June, 2014. This chital was running desperately trying to get rid of a fishing net entangled in its antlers. I hope this image highlights the threat of carelessly discarded nets to wildlife.

Nets pose a significant threat to wildlife often leading to fatalities. See more images of this threat on Conservation India.

Is there any way the forest department can periodically clean such nets and plastic … Read More

Protected Areas and Beyond

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Authors Ruth DeFries, Krithi K. Karanth and Sajid Pareeth propose the designation of a ‘Zone of Interaction’ (ZOI) around reserves encompassing hydrologic, ecological and socioeconomic interactions between a reserve and the surrounding landscape, in their paper, “Interactions between protected areas and their surroundings in human-dominated tropical landscapes,” published in Biological Conservation in 2010.

There are 683 Reserves covering less than 5 per cent of total land area in India today. Most of these reserves are embedded in human-dominated landscapes. Land … Read More

Developing Simple and Innovative Techniques to Monitor Elephants

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Authors V. R. Goswami, M.V. Lauretta, M. D. Madhusudan and K. U. Karanth have developed an automated process to identify individual adult male elephants effectively. These are the highlights of their study published in the journal, Animal Conservation in 2011.

There are an estimated 40,000 wild Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) spread across 13 countries in Asia (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka in South Asia and Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam). According … Read More

Q: My question is about the roads which are shut during the night time in Nagarahole and Bandipur National Parks in Karnataka, why can’t we shut these roads completely? I know there was a great struggle to even shut these roads during night time. But with the will and constant fight against the evil powers, your case study has shown how it can be handled. Alternate roads can be developed far away from forest range easily if Government has the willingness to do so. I have left my comment below your case study as well, please advice whether my words make sense or not.

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Answer from Praveen Bhargav, Managing Trustee, Wildlife First:

Your comment on developing alternative alignments to roads that cut through Wildlife Reserves is valid. A lot of effort has been put in by the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) to address this issue. There have been many interventions by Courts as well. So, we are moving forward but we cannot completely close down roads/highways since that would antagonise society, which will lead to the loss of public support for conservation. … Read More

Black Stork, an Uncommon Bird in South India, Nagarahole

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The Black Stork (Ciconia nigra) is an uncommon bird in South India. It is a winter visitor and considered to be rare in the Deccan. It has not been recorded in South India (Ali & Ripley, 2001).

However, over the last few years there have been several sightings in Karnataka. The bird has been seen in north Karnataka in the vicinity of Dandeli. In more recent times, there have been reports of a bird from Bangalore as well … Read More

Electrocuted Elephant, Nagarahole

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This magnificent tusker was electrocuted on Nov 12th, 2012, around 1 a.m., in Balle Range in the Nagarahole Tiger Reserve. The elephant was frequently seen in the area and was known to have sight in only one eye. As it was attempting to cross a tribal village, it appears to have entangled in a triangular section formed by an electric pole and the guy wires holding it up. The elephant’s attempts to free itself seem to have brought the guy … Read More

Replenishing Water Tanks in Wildlife Reserves: How Scientific?

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A recent decision by the Karnataka Forest Department to replenish drying waterholes in Bandipur and Nagarahole Tiger Reserves with water brought in from outside using water tankers, has been opposed by several experienced conservationists, who have worked in these areas for several decades. Sometime ago, CI carried a letter to the PCCF (WL), Karnataka, from K.M. Chinappa, former Range Forest Officer, Nagarahole, and President, Wildlife First, and Praveen Bhargav, Trustee, Wildlife First. Here we present the views of Dr. K. Read More

Field Survey of large mammals (transect surveys) and training program on their population monitoring methods — Call for Volunteers by WCS – India

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Field Survey of large mammals and training program on their population monitoring methods 

Wildlife Conservation Society-India Program and its partner Centre for Wildlife Studies are conducting field training camps for monitoring large mammal populations for the field season 2013. These field workshops will be held at several reserves in Karnataka including Dandeli-Anshi, BRT, Bhadra, Bandipura and Nagarahole. Some of the methods taught will include:

  1. Estimation of large herbivore populations
  2. Relative abundance estimation of large carnivores using scat encounter rates
  3. Demo
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Indian Spotted Chevrotain (Mouse Deer), Nagarahole

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The Indian Spotted Chevrotain (Moschiola meminna) is often referred to as the Mouse Deer. However in recent times, Indian Spotted Chevrotain seems to be the preferred usage.

This diminutive animal is nocturnal in habit, making it very difficult to see one in daylight. Occasionally a chevrotain may be seen late in the evening or early in the morning if it ventures out into the open like the one in this image, photographed one foggy morning near the Kabini … Read More