Defragmenting Nature

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THE three proclaimed goals of the proposed law, ‘Scheduled Tribes (Recognition of Forest Rights) Bill’ (or Forests Rights Act FRA) – the bill hereafter – are:

  1. To redress past social injustices perpetrated against forest dwelling tribal people, to improve their socio-economic conditions, and
  2. To protect India’s natural biodiversity under a new conservation paradigm rooted in the traditional ecological wisdom of the tribal people. No one can disagree with these objectives expressed by activists who genuinely champion adivasi causes. However, the
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Want To Save Tigers? Better Have Your Numbers Straight.

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  • New Book Provides Proven Methods for Monitoring Tiger and Prey Populations
  • The earth is currently home to less than 4000 wild tigers

(NEW YORK- December 12, 2017) A new book co-edited by tiger biologist Dr. Ullas Karanth of (WCS) Wildlife Conservation Society and Dr. James Nichols, an Emeritus statistical ecologist from the United States Geological Survey (USGS), provides an authoritative text on monitoring tigers, their prey, and many other similarly endangered species.

The volume is co-authored by 32 authors, from … Read More

The Six Percent Solution — a New Recipe for Saving Wild Tigers

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21 leading conservation biologists from across the world have proposed that since it might be far too expensive and far too difficult to save all wild tigers, we should focus a major part of our efforts and expenditure on 42 selected sites that show the greatest promise. Here’s CI’s distilled version of the original paper titled Bringing the tiger back from the brink – The six percent solution.

Current approaches to tiger conservation have not succeeded in slowing the decline … Read More

India’s Conservation Challenges

Shekar Dattatri Announcements, Articles, Featured Article, The Ready Reckoner, Toolkit 2 Comments

Wildlife conservation at crossroads

An interview with Dr. K. Ullas Karanth

Dr Ullas Karanth, a Senior Scientist with the international NGO, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), is a world-renowned wildlife biologist.  In a wide-ranging interview with wildlife and conservation filmmaker, Shekar Dattatri, he outlines the basic problems that beset wildlife conservation in India’s human dominated landscape, and shares his views on preserving these last wild places.

(This is an updated version of an interview that was first published under the title Read More

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

Kaoosi Rustum Sethna — The Last Authentic Planter-Naturalist

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My friend of thirty years, Kaoosi Rustum Sethna (88), passed away recently. He was a friend to many, ranging from the legendary Salim Ali, to animal-welfare activist Maneka Gandhi, and guardian of Bhadra, DV Girish. Kaoosi grew up in Pune, dodging high school to learn falconry! He later became a professional jockey, finally settling down as a coffee planter in Chikmagalur, Karnataka. Kaoosi replicated, with brilliant authenticity, the life-style of a 19th century colonial planter-naturalist.

As a plantation manger in … Read More

Expand Reserves, Involve Locals in Tiger Tourism — On Record Dr. Ullas Karanth

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Originally an engineer, Ullas Karanth decided to become a professionally trained wildlife biologist. A Senior Conservation Scientist with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Dr Karanth has adjunct teaching faculty status at the National Centre for Biological Studies, Bangalore (part of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research), and at the Department of Wildlife Biology, University of Minnesota. He has conducted pioneering long-term research on the ecology of tigers and other large mammals. Dr Karanth was elected member of the Indian Academy … Read More

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

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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

WCS — India Celebrates 25-years Of Tiger Conservation

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The Centre for Wildlife Studies (CWS) and Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) celebrated 25-years of existence and service here on Tuesday (Nov. 22, 2011) — a milestone in the history of tiger conservation in India. Their work began in 1986 with a single tiger research project led by Dr. Ullas Karanth in Nagarahole. Today, their conservation learnings and strategies are pursued across the globe.

Present on the occasion was Dr. George Schaller, world renowned wildlife biologist and emeritus scientist of Wildlife … Read More

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

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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

National Geographic Newswatch: Dr. Ullas Karanth shares his views on India’s latest Tiger Census

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Dr. Stuart Pimm, a Conservation Biologist from Duke University, North Carolina shares details about his time spent with Dr. Ullas Karanth in Nagarhole National Park, India. The article provides insights into Dr. Ullas Karanth’s crtical views on India’s latest Tiger Census results. Dr. Karanth summarizes that it is high time that the four year national estimation be changed to an annual exercise based on DNA analysis and camera trapping. He also calls for an end to the Government’s monopoly over … Read More

Why the ‘Pugmark Census’ Used to Monitor Tiger Populations Failed

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In 2003, some highly respected conservationists got together to write a paper for an international journal, in which they laid bare the loopholes in the pugmark method of counting tigers in India. Shortly thereafter, in an extraordinary sequence of events, newer and more advanced methods were used to assess the tiger population, which resulted in the shocking denouement that there were only about 1411 tigers in India. Read on to discover how the scientists rated the old ‘pugmark census’.

The … Read More

Human – Tiger conflict: Cause, Consequence and Mitigation

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Dr. K Ullas Karanth, Senior Scientist, Wildlife Conservation Society, and Dr. Rajesh Gopal, Member Secretary of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) explain how conflict between humans and tigers can be reduced.

Wherever wild tiger populations survive and come into contact with landscapes dominated by humans, they pose a threat by preying on livestock, and, less commonly, on people. In most parts of India, people are remarkably tolerant of wildlife damage compared with elsewhere in the world, but sometimes, in … Read More

Book review — A View from the Machan

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According to Ullas Karanth, wild animals have dominated his consciousness ever since he can remember. His father, a well-known Kannada writer, was not only deeply interested in the natural world himself, but also lacked faith in formal education of any kind. So, until he joined high school directly at the age of 11, Karanth was free to wander the woods around their home in rural Karnataka to his heart’s content, picking up natural history skills that would prove vital years … Read More