Striped Hyena Persistence in India — Insights from Kumbhalgarh and Esrana in Rajasthan

superadmin Announcements, Articles, Featured Article Leave a Comment

A threatened but poorly understood species, the Striped Hyena (Hyaena hyaena) is thought to occur in arid ecosystems across India. It is found in human-dominated landscapes in Rajasthan, a region with 4.3 percent of land area protected under nature reserves. This large carnivore predominantly scavenges on domestic and wild ungulate carcasses. At present, we lack robust estimates of hyena densities and understanding of factors that influence their persistence and distribution.

Authors Priya Singh, Arjun M. Gopalaswamy, and K. Read More

The Elusive Leopard Cats of India

superadmin Announcements, Articles Leave a Comment

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

Gharial Population Estimation in the Chambal and Conservation Implications

superadmin Announcements, Articles, Featured Article Leave a Comment

India’s Chambal River hosts the largest population of the critically endangered Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus). In the 1970s, the total population of the Gharial was estimated at less than 200, following which conservation programmes involving the creation of protected areas and rear-and-release programmes were established. But, despite the release of over 5000 gharials into various Indian rivers over the past few decades, only about 200 breeding adults reportedly still survive. These programmes were poorly monitored and their outcome never … Read More

Large Carnivores in Human Dominated Landscapes

Vidya Athreya Announcements, Articles, Featured Article Leave a Comment

The conservation of large carnivores like wolves, bears, tigers and lions is always a challenging task in our modern and crowded world. Humans have modified and fragmented habitats and often experience a diversity of conflicts with large predatory neighbours. There is currently a major debate going on among conservationists about how to best go about achieving large carnivore conservation. Alternatives range from a focus on fencing carnivores into protected areas to allowing them to reoccupy shared landscapes where they must … Read More

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

superadmin Announcements, Articles, Featured Article Leave a Comment

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

Incident of a Man-Eating Tiger in Nagarahole, Karnataka

Ullas Karanth Announcements, Articles, Featured Article 3 Comments

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

superadmin Announcements, Articles Leave a Comment

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

Counting Tigers Reliably — Combining Information From Multiple Sources

superadmin Announcements, Articles Leave a Comment

Authors Arjun M. Gopalaswamy, K. Ullas Karanth, Andy Royle, Mohan Delampady, James D. Nichols and David W. Macdonald demonstrate innovative approaches that integrate information from photographic capture-recapture and genetic data to derive more robust estimates of tiger densities in Bandipur Tiger Reserve, India. These are the highlights of their study published in the journal Ecology in 2012.

In landscapes where wildlife occurs in low densities, gathering information from a single method often does not allow accurate estimation of population densities … Read More

Developing Simple and Innovative Techniques to Monitor Elephants

Krithi K. Karanth Announcements, Articles, Featured Article Leave a Comment

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

Small-clawed Otters: Where are they Found?

superadmin Announcements, Articles Leave a Comment

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

Camera-trapping Mammals in Pakke Tiger Reserve

superadmin Photo Feature, Photos, Picture of the Week Leave a Comment

Photographs by Forest Department staff of Pakke Tiger Reserve.

Intensive camera trapping by state forest departments (as per Phase-IV of NTCA) to monitor tiger populations, is now being done on a yearly basis in tiger reserves across India. This was done for the first time in Pakke Tiger Reserve in Arunachal Pradesh. Here are some stunning images of fabulous mammals captured during this season’s monitoring exercise. This effort has been mainly undertaken by the forest department staff of Pakke … Read More

Q: Are the number of tigers present in India accurate? I mean other than the national parks and the sanctuaries, are there no tigers left elsewhere? For example the forests of Goa, Uttar Kannada (not the Anshi-Dandeli Reserve), places like Karwar and the whole belt upto Mangalore?

superadmin Ask CI Leave a Comment

Answer from: Dr. Ullas Karanth, Director for Science-Asia, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS):

The overall tiger numbers being reported by the Government, based on the Wildlife Institute of India’s surveys once in four years, are generated from a weak methodology and hence not very robust. The complicated, ‘double-sampling’ based regression model they use is a somewhat flawed and obsolete approach. Further, the quality of their estimates of tiger densities from individual sites that feed into this model vary. There are … Read More

India to Establish a National Database of Camera-trapped Tigers

superadmin Articles, Featured Article, Front Page Featured, The Featured Posts Leave a Comment

This piece originally appeared in the journal Oryx: Volume 47- April 2013.

Following the adoption of refined protocols for intensive annual monitoring of source populations of tiger (see Oryx, 46(4), 480), India’s National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) is now following through by establishing a country-wide database of wild tigers captured in cameratrap surveys conducted by multiple research and governmental institutions at increasing intensity across the country. The objective of this project is to assign Unique Tiger Identification (UTID) numbers to … Read More

Manual Review — ‘Monitoring Elephant Populations and Assessing Threats’ (edited by Simon Hedges)

superadmin Miscellaneous, Resources Leave a Comment

Monitoring Elephants the right way: A Synopsis of the Manual titled ‘Monitoring Elephant Populations and Assessing Threats’.

Elephants are social, group living mammals revered by people across diverse cultures in the world. Once widely distributed across a range of ecological conditions, currently distribution and abundance of elephants have both dwindled drastically throughout its range due to habitat loss, fragmentation and poaching. India holds the largest population of Asian elephants surviving today.

In spite of its conservation significance, elephant populations across … Read More

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

superadmin Events Leave a Comment

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
Read More

Chilika – A Shade Less Pink?

superadmin Photos, Picture of the Week Leave a Comment

In the winter of 2011-2012, I had the unique opportunity and privilege of being in Lake Chilika, Odisha, for a total of 40 days. While there were many resident and migrant birds to admire, Greater and Lesser flamingos, which used to be regular and abundant visitors to Nalabana Island inside Lake Chilika, were noticeably few. Population studies (done between 2001 and 2005 by scientists from the Bombay Natural History Society) show that around 5000 Greater Flamingos used to arrive until … Read More

First Ever Camera Trap Photo of Striped Hyena in Bandipur Tiger Reserve

superadmin Photos, Picture of the Week 1 Comment

Striped hyenas have been documented before in Mudumalai, but there have only been anecdotal reports of their presence in adjoining Bandipur. Their presence in adjacent areas inside Karnataka is only speculative.  The last two authentic evidences documenting their presence, are a road kill reported by Dr. Ullas Karanth around Nugu Wildlife Sanctuary in 1984 (observed and collected by the then ACF (Wildlife), Mysore); and another observation and a mobile phone capture by Praneet Goteti in farmlands around Bandipur (Moyar area) … Read More

Camera ‘Traps’ Black Leopards in Dandeli-Anshi

Ullas Karanth Photos, Picture of the Week 3 Comments

Perhaps because they remind people of ‘Bagheera’, from Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book, or perhaps because of their distinctive look, black leopards have always generated a buzz. Although they are just a genetic variant among the more common spotted form, it is usually assumed, even among many conservationists, that black leopards are a different species. Though the black form also occurs in dry forests, it tends to be more common in denser and humid forest regions (for example virtually all leopards … Read More

BPL – 123, Tale of a Leopard

Shekar Dattatri Photos, Picture of the Week 2 Comments

This one belies the field guides and the natural history books, which usually dismiss the leopard’s diet as “scrounging on smaller prey.” In actual fact, leopards are powerful predators that routinely kill fairly hefty prey such as spotted deer and sambar fawns.

Even so, Vinay S Kumar’s photograph of a leopard dragging a gaur calf is not a sight you see everyday. The picture, which was taken in Karnataka’s Bandipur Tiger Reserve, shows a male leopard dragging his massive kill … Read More

India Adopts a New Refined Protocol to Monitor Tigers

Prerna Singh Bindra Articles, Featured Article Leave a Comment

Will make India world leader in big cat monitoring, say scientists.

In a move welcomed widely by the conservation and scientific community, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has adopted new refined protocols for intensive annual monitoring of tiger source populations under ‘Phase IV’ of National Tiger Estimation. The new protocol is expected to lead to more robust estimates of population density, change in numbers over time and other crucial parameters such as survival and recruitment rates in key wild … Read More

Annual Tiger Census to Start in Arunachal Pradesh this Month

superadmin News Leave a Comment

The annual tiger census in Arunachal Pradesh will be conducted by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) this month. The tiger numbers in Namdapha and Pakke, the two tiger reserves in Arunachal, would be determined using scientific methods and reputed NGOs are to be involved in the process. The NTCA will provide all the equipment necessary as well as the training required for the field staff. Camera traps are to be placed at a distance of 1 km for 35 … Read More

Yearly Tiger Census in Sunderbans

superadmin News Leave a Comment

Phase IV of the tiger estimation exercise will see Sunderbans gaining more sample sites and also yearly estimation of tigers. Currently, camera traps have been laid in only 100 sq kms. In the new format, three more sites covering upper, lower and middle Sundarbans have been suggested and the new protocol will use 25 pairs of double sided cameras per 100 square kilometres and a minimum trapping effort of 1000 trap nights per 100 sq km. Distance sampling protocols may … Read More

Review of the Tiger Task Force report, 2005 — Joining the Dots but Losing the Cats?

Ullas Karanth Articles, Featured Article Leave a Comment

After the Sariska catastrophe, and the resultant public outcry, the Prime Minister appointed a Tiger Task Force (TTF) to review the status of the species. The TTF submitted a 206-page report titled Joining the Dots in August 2005. Dr Ullas Karanth reviews the TTF report.

Maintaining ‘inviolate’ areas for wild tiger populations

The TTF recognizes that viable breeding populations of wild tigers need sufficient habitats free of incompatible human uses. It projects an area of 37,000 sq km, within boundaries … Read More