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

Western Ghats Coffee Plantations Sustain High Bird Diversity in India

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In a recent study, scientists have found that the coffee, rubber and areca agroforests in Karnataka support 204 bird species including 13 bird species found exclusively in the Western Ghats, highlighting the supplementary role of agroforests in conserving wildlife.

Highlights:

  1. One of largest scientific assessments of tropical birds in the world, covering an area of 30,000 sq km in Karnataka
  2. Coffee, rubber and areca agroforests found to support 204 bird species, including 13 endemic birds of the Western Ghats
  3. Coffee
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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

Are Green Businesses a Myth? CSR and Biodiversity Conservation

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This is an adaptation of an essay that was published in Conservation Biology titled ‘Common and Conflicting Interests in the Engagements between Conservation Organizations and Corporations’ by John G Robinson of Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). In it the author examines the development of corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices within the corporate community and looks at what drives conservation NGOs to engage with corporations, and the risks associated with that engagement.

Summarized for Conservation India by Prema Naraynen.

How are the Read More

Mapping Sloth Bear Distribution in India and in Western Ghats of Karnataka

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Endemic to the Indian subcontinent, the Sloth Bear (Melursus ursinus) inhabits tropical and sub-tropical habitats across India, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka. Being the most common among the four species of bears in India, it is widely distributed from the foothills of the Himalayas to the southern tip of the Indian peninsula. With sloth bear populations in the Himalayan foothills and northeast India becoming isolated, the Western Ghats and central Indian landscapes now possibly harbor the largest populations.

Despite their … Read More

Statement of Concern by Tiger Biologists on the WWF-GTF Report

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On Sunday, April 10th, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Global Tiger Forum (GTF) issued a report stating that the world’s wild tiger population was on the rise, and on track for a doubling in a decade. We do not find this report1 and its implications scientifically convincing.

  1. Having devoted years of our lives to trying to understand and save wild tigers, we believe their conservation should be guided by the best possible science. Using flawed survey methodologies can
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Volunteering Can Help Save Wildlife

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Participation of non-scientists as volunteers in conservation can play a significant role in saving wildlife, finds a new scientific research led by Duke University, USA, in collaboration with Wildlife Conservation Society and Centre for Wildlife Studies, Bengaluru.

The study has shown that citizen science projects greatly contribute to ‘increased environmental awareness among the general public’. It also reported direct impacts on conservation including – shift in formal profession by volunteers to become conservationists, initiation of new conservation organizations or groups, … 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

Camera Trapping Reveals Exciting Secrets of Tiger Dispersal

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On 1-5-2011, Forest officials of the Shimoga Wildlife Division, had safely captured a male tiger that strayed into Gama village near Shikaripur. A decision was made by the Forest Department, based on consultation with WCS senior scientist and NTCA member Dr. Ullas Karanth, to release the tiger in Bhadra Tiger Reserve, rather than hold it in perpetual captivity. This decision was based on the fact that the tiger was estimated to be of dispersal age (about 3 years), healthy and … Read More

Re-sighting of Collared Bar-headed Geese at Veer Dam, Maharashtra

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It was indeed exciting when a collared Bar-Headed Goose bearing a dark orange collar “RT” was sighted and photographed at Veer dam in Maharashtra on 01 January 2015. This was the only bird with a collar amongst 193 individuals present. Apart from Bar-headed Goose, one Ruddy Shelduck had a collar but could not be photographed. Mumbai birder Adesh Shivkar and team also recorded a collared Bar-headed Goose (C6) on 13 Jan 2008 from Veer Dam.

The information was mailed to … Read More

Disease is Not the Most Urgent Threat to Wild Tigers

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Canine Distemper Virus (CDV), a common disease among millions of street dogs in India, has infected wild tigers in some parts of the country, as reported in the media (CTV News, Salon.com). Given that conservation resources are limited, how should we treat this ‘outbreak’?

In the Western Ghats, where I have worked as a tiger researcher for the past 25 years (and been a conservationist for 50+ years), diseases such as distemper, mange, anthrax, foot and mouth … 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

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

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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

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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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Kodagu Villagers Demonstrate a Model Response to Managing Human-Tiger Conflict

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Most often, in situations involving a large predator, which is accidentally cornered in human dominated landscapes, local people swiftly form raging mobs and attack the animal as well as impede forest officials handling the situation. This often ends tragically with the death of the big cat, and sometimes injuries to people and forest staff. In this context, WCS India would like to highlight the exemplary restraint and positive conservation attitude of village community of Nidugumba, which is about 1.2 km … Read More

A Tiger in the Drawing Room — Can Luxury Tourism Benefit Wildlife?

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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

Call for Applications: 2013 Conservation Leadership Programme (CLP) Awards

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Call for Applications: 2013 Conservation Leadership Programme Awards

Deadline: 9th November 2012

The Conservation Leadership Programme (CLP) aims to contribute to long-term conservation in priority areas by encouraging and engaging potential leaders in biodiversity conservation and providing opportunities for individuals to gain practical skills and experience. This partnership initiative, including BirdLife International, Conservation International, Fauna & Flora International, and Wildlife Conservation Society, has been helping young conservationists across the world to achieve their goals for over 25 years. … 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

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

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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

A Wildlife Survey along the Khanduli River, outside Ranthambore

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The river Khanduli emanates from the Mansarovar dam, situated south of Ranthambore National Park and heads along the Eastern boundary of Sawai Mansingh Sanctuary. It gradually drifts Southeast and merges with the mighty Chambal, in the National Chambal Sanctuary. The Khanduli flows through a mixed-use landscape comprising of forest, agricultural fields and plantations. However, like the Chambal, the Khanduli river floods heavily during the monsoon and as a consequence the most dominant features along its course are its ravines. These … Read More

Wildlife Gains 25 km Corridor in Kudremukh in Unique “Conservation Swap”

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In a precedent-setting “conservation swap” initiated by the Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), and the Karnataka Forest Department, a 25 km long wildlife corridor disrupted by a 220 KVA power transmission line in Kudremukh National Park has been restored. The line was originally supporting the now defunct Kudremukh Iron Ore Company (KIOCL)’s mining operations, shut down by the Supreme Court in response to litigation by local wildlife conservation groups.

The Karnataka government had … Read More