During my recent visit to the famous Sukhna lake in Chandigarh, it was shocking to see visitors blatantly feeding snacks to migratory birds. Ducks like Common Pochard (Aythya ferina) and Common Coot (Fulica atra) were fed with biscuits, chips and popcorn, and hence kept flocking close to the lake shore. This is a growing problem in India where citizens indulge in the feeding of avian fauna like gulls, treepies and several other species due to lack of awareness and sensitization. … Read More
Hanle is a small, remote village in Ladakh, Jammu & Kashmir, India, closer to Tibet, with a population of around 1000 people. It is surrounded by mountains, and marshland at the centre. This village is internationally known for hosting the world’s highest observatory.
Its unique landscape supports a vast range of wildlife and a breeding ground of various birds and mammals. The rocky mountains are home to Eurasian Eagle Owl, Upland Buzzard and the likes. Also there are mammals like … Read More
Tourism is one of the largest economic sectors world over, with a direct contribution of 3.1% to GDP and generating USD 7.6 trillion and 300 million jobs. Tourism related revenues from entry fee alone in 10 national parks in India ranged between USD 7000 to USD 300,000 in 2007-08. In 2012, the erstwhile Planning Commission identified tourism as the second largest provider of employment to low and semi skilled labour with a contribution of 6% to the country’s GDP. The … Read More
I visited Arunachal Pradesh recently for birding, and was enthralled by its beauty. The dense green mountains looked as if they were playing hide and seek with the moving clouds. The place was alive with the continuous chirping of birds. It was like being in paradise. We traveled from Nameri to Dirang and stopped at several places for birding. What really disturbed me was the pile of garbage that we saw in most places. Of the many places that I … Read More
Effects of plastic in, with its innate non-biodegradability, has become a cliche, yet things have not changed much. Here is an image of a whiskered tern dangerously entangled with a plastic carry bag. I photographed this in Mangalajodi, Chilika lake, Odisha on 24th January, 2014.
Plastic in our wilderness is a conservation threat in several ways. Last year Conservation India ran a campaign against plastics in response to a Public Notice issued by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on the … Read More
While I love to shoot great action and beauty pictures of wildlife, I could not resist shooting this unfortunate scene in Bandipur recently. In my opinion, Bandipur is amongst the most abused national parks in India. It tolerates all sorts of issues caused by picnickers – starting from litter and yelling tourists, all the way to human-animal conflict. Tourists often enjoy a great picnic beside the National Highway that cuts through the park, after which they throw plastic and paper … Read More
This image was photographed in Kaziranga’s central range on March 31st, 2013.
The tiger was in the grass close to the watchtower, and tourists, including my groups, had congregated in the tower to wait and watch. As the tiger began walking back towards the road there was a crazy rush back down to the track – some groups got into their jeeps and drove up to the tiger, others ran along the track from the tower.
From the watchtower my … Read More
This image was taken on June 3rd, 2014 at Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR) in Tamil Nadu. We were driving from Aliyar in the foothills to Valparai and a group of around 50 tourists were cheering and screaming, we got down to see what was going on. An amazing drama was unfolding in front of us — a herd of elephants (7) were chasing away a pack of dhole (around 20) along the banks of the Aliyar reservoir!
As this road … Read More
A bunch of photographers in safari vehicles were getting very close to a herd of elephants that were bathing in the Ramganga in Dhikala, Corbett Tiger Reserve. There were calves in the herd and the elephants were visibly agitated at the proximity of the jeeps.
The poor elephants huddled together in a row, waiting for the vehicles to move so they could cross. Probably wanting dramatic close-ups, the jeeps gave no room for the elephants to cross. The nervous elephants … Read More
Olive Ridley Sea Turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) are the smallest and the most abundant sea turtles found in the world. These turtles are known for their mass nesting called Arribada, where thousands of females come together on the same beach to lay eggs like in coastal Odisha. Though found abundantly their numbers have been declining rapidly over the past few years and the species have been recognized as vulnerable by the IUCN red list.
Morjim beach in Pernem, Goa, is … Read More
A female Himalayan Marmot (Marmota himalayana) gathering plastic as part of its nesting material. This photograph was taken enroute to Diskit from Leh. Plastic and other litter irresponsibly disposed by careless tourists on these remote roads can create serious problems for wildlife.
Himalayan Marmots live in alpine meadows with very low rainfall, typically inhabiting slopes where soil can be readily excavated (Molur et al. 2005; Smith and Xie 2008). It lives in colonies and excavates unusually deep burrows, … Read More
Rhesus Macaques (Macaca mulatta), although seen in urban and rural areas, deserve the same respect as any other wild animal. They are mostly herbivorous and are known to occasionally eat insects. Processed foods, like biscuits and chips, are not a part of their natural diet.
This image of a macaque, eating from a packet of Oreo cookies, exemplifies the pitfalls of unregulated wildlife tourism. In May 2013, we came across this macaque at Rukhad, Pench Tiger Reserve, eating … Read More
Above is an image of a Western Ghats endemic, Malabar White-headed Starling (Sturnia blythii), taken by Vaibhav Kamatkar at Dandeli, Karnataka. “Most people who go to visit wildlife sanctuaries are educated,” he remarks, “so why can we not desist from throwing away plastic trash, which could have such a bad effect on the environment?” … Read More
On 4th May 2013, these two guards — one seen taking photos and another next to him (not in pic) — were on foot just a few metres away from this huge male tiger in the Telia range of the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve. When questioned about their behavior, they were rude and said the law did not apply to them. Soon, a furious exchange of words happened between a few tourists and the guards and later a formal complaint … Read More
I saw this young tigress in Bandipur with a plastic bottle near its feet.
In spite of a nighttime traffic closure (see CI casestudy), the Ooty-Mysore highway (NH 67) through Bandipur Tiger Reserve causes serious disturbances to wildlife. Tourists and passersby are always stopping by the road to look at wild animals or disturbing them like feeding monkeys, getting close to already agitated elephants, honking and, not the least, speeding.
Hoever, what disturbed me most was this plastic … Read More
This was photographed in November 2010 in the Bandipur Tiger Reserve of Karnataka. It is evident that the mother elephant is completely agitated and trying to protect her calf. In spite of the efforts of the forest department in educating tourists and operators about maintaining a distance of at least 200m from wild animals, many violate these rules and approach animals closely, and provoke them at close range, seeking dangerous thrills. … Read More
Wayanad is home to Edakkal Caves, a group of ancient, natural caves, with stone age carvings believed to be around 8000 years old. Located amidst the precious Western Ghats, the huge rocky hills near Edakkal now face the threat of several illegal quarries that blast the hills off to feed the market for sand and gravel. Uncontrolled tourism is also adding to the environmental degradation. Tourists who come from every part of the country litter plastic bags and beer bottles, … Read More
May 30, 2012: Based on a complaint filed by wildlife conservation NGOs, the Deputy Commissioner of Chikmagalur district in Karnataka cancelled the permission given to Satori Eco Adventure Resorts Pvt Ltd. for constructing resorts on Chandradrona hill in the Western Ghats. This cancellation is a significant milestone in the persistent battle by local conservation groups, WildCAT C and Bhadra Wildlife Conservation Trust, to halt commercial resorts in this tiger corridor connecting Bhadra Tiger reserve with adjoining forests.
Importance of the … Read More
With decisions like the Supreme Court’s interim order banning tourism inside tiger sanctuaries becoming inevitable in the face of increasing political and executive resistance to expansion of protected nature reserves on public land, the issue of tiger tourism calls for a pragmatic approach that can resolve contradictions between the burgeoning tourism demand and the tiger’s shrinking habitats.
Wildlife biologists K Ullas Karanth & Krithi K Karanth propose a “Tiger Habitat Expansion Model”, based on a shared profit motive between private … Read More
Tourism can increase its natural capital by converting farms to wildlife viewing land, with shared profits.
The media splash—exemplified by a hyper-ventilating Guardian report following the Supreme Court’s July 2012 interim order suspending tourism in some tiger reserves—has convinced the public that all wildlife tourism activity in India stands permanently abolished. Following the August 22 ruling on a review petition by the SC, in which it extended its ban on tourism in the ‘core areas’ of tiger reserves, people might … Read More
We saw this scene en route to Valparai in Tamil Nadu. This Bonnet Macaque had caught hold of a bottle of White Mischief Vodka, and was trying to open it. We don’t know if the sun was playing tricks, but the bottle did seem to have some liquid remaining. We hope the monkey failed in his endeavor. Tourists often visit hill stations such as Valparai with the aim of having a ‘good time’. Valparai is a hotbed of bio-diversity and … Read More
In spite of all the advisory messages provided by the forest department to the contrary, tourists choose to feed wildlife without understanding all of its impacts. It is a shame to see these langurs, usually shy, approach vehicles for food. This was photographed in Mudumalai Tiger Reserve.… Read More
Conservation India received this letter from Joanna Van Gruisen on July 29th 2012. Joanna has lived in the subcontinent for nearly 35 years. She has filmed, photographed, written and been an advocate for wildlife throughout this time. Two years ago she and conservation biologist, Dr Raghu Chundawat, began a small, earth-friendly lodge in Madhya Pradesh, designed as an alternative place to stay for tourists visiting Khajuraho. It also lies close to the Panna Tiger Reserve.
Regulation and bans are two … Read More
I saw this scene in Tadoba, where an ambulance, supposedly on its way from Moharli to a village named Jamni to check on a patient, actually ventured into the forest to check out tigers. With excessive rights, comes great responsibility too.… Read More
There is a Nilgai on the banks of the Tadoba Lake in Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve, which has been relocated from a zoo. The Nilgai is obviously used to human presence and humans feeding it. Hence the scene shown in the picture. Animals in forests may behave in various ways due to various reasons. The onus is actually on us to refrain from interacting with them in irresponsible and dangerous ways.… Read More
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