It was January 2017, when I heard their barks and yelps on a fishing trip near Shivanasamudra in Karnataka. I put down the rod for the rest of the two days and watched and photographed the Smooth-coated otter dog and bitch with two pups – the parents pushing the pups to swim, and later feeding them. What a joy it was! In my heart I was so glad that their tribe was increasing in our conservation area (Wildlife Association Of … Read More
CI recently received this very pertinent question (in our ‘Ask CI’ section) from Suraj Kumaar of Coimbatore: “I would like to know what kind of rights for worship are provided to tribals and forest dwellers (villagers) inside PAs? We have been recording the temple festivals inside Sathyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary over the last two years and the situation is one of absolute mayhem. Between 70,000 to 1,50,000 visitors, over 700 buses, trucks visit two temples deep inside the sanctuary. One temple, … Read More
The nine coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh are favourable habitats for resident and migratory water birds. Among these, a few sites have been recognized as Important Bird Areas (IBA) and potential Ramsar Sites. Every year, from October to May, different species of water birds, including threatened species, visit coastal and inland wetlands like mudflats, mangrove creeks, water ponds, agricultural fields and lagoons for food and shelter. These water birds play a key role in many wetland ecosystems in Andhra Pradesh. … Read More
This image of a poached Gangetic Dolphin was photographed yesterday in Bhabanathtola, Bhutni village, Malda district, West Bengal. The man was was probably carrying it from Hiranandapur towards Mathurapur.
The Forest Dept. and the police are visiting area today (30-Dec-2017). DFO Koushik Sarkar said, “We are taking the matter seriously and have also informed the police.”
In Bengal the dolphin is called the Shushuk and is just another fish-like creature for them, and is consumed locally … Read More
This ingenious snare was set just outside a scrub forest in Kanchipuram district. The small patch of scrub forest supports axis deer, monitor lizard, wild pig, peafowl, partridge and black-naped hare. The snares in this area are primarily set for trapping black-naped hare and birds.
While on a casual stroll on 19th June 2013, I came across this set-up and informed the staff of the near-by forest office. Numerous snares such as this are silently concealed in and around our … Read More
We are passionate conservationists from Tamenglong, Manipur. We would like to report the rampant trapping, hunting and sale of wildlife in Tamenglong and its neighbouring villages. We have seen monkeys, pythons, Chinese pangolins (Manis pentadactyla — featured here) , great barbets, civets, leopard cats, Asian forest tortoises and many other species of wildlife for sale in these markets. Many of these species are on the endangered list.
The concerned authorities are turning a blind eye towards this very critical … Read More
The captured animals must be reintroduced into the wild at the earliest after ascertaining their origin, and a thorough investigation should be undertaken to destroy this illegal wildlife crime racket and culprits punished as per law.
The elusive caracal (Caracal caracal), arguably the rarest cat in India, is one of the least known mid-sized carnivores in India, in terms of its ecology, distribution or behaviour. There are few people in India who can claim to have seen one … Read More
Few of us know about this animal called the pangolin, or scaly anteater, found in the tropical forests of Africa and Asia, including India. It’s an odd creature, donning an armour – not unlike a knight of the medieval ages. It has a very narrow, long tongue that extends over 15 inches, coated with a gluey substance to enable it to probe nests, mounds and suchlike for ants, termites, etc. that make for its unique insectivorous diet. The pangolin has … Read More
The White-cheeked Macaque (Macaca leucogenys) is a newly discovered species (in May 2015) of macaque from the Modog (Mêdog County), in Southeastern Tibet in China (Li et al; 2015). The species was distinguished from all potential sympatric macaques (species in the same geographic area) viz. Macaca mulatta, Macaca thibetana, Macaca assamensis and Macaca munzala by several characteristics including pelage (coat of a mammal), relatively uniform dorsal hair pattern, hairy ventral pelage, hairless short tail, prominent pale … Read More
This photographer made this image of illegal sand mining activities going on the Shimsha river bed near Kokkare Bellur (see location below). This could destroy the sanctuary for the Spot-billed Pelicans and Painted Storks which depend on the fish from this river.
This image of sand mining in the Cauvery river captures the norm rather than the exception: across the length of the river, and its tributaries (like Shimsha), sand is being gouged out at a pace that is hundreds … Read More
Nagaland threw up a surprise for wildlife conservationists, particularly those involved with tigers in the country. A dispersing tiger, which landed in Medziphema, a small village near Dimapur on the main highway to Kohima, was tragically shot dead by panicked villagers on February 29, 2016. Tigers have not been officially recorded from the area in over a decade.
The incident unfolded after the tiger killed two pigs and a cow the previous night forcing the villagers to launch a … Read More
Rajarhat wetlands (a neighbourhood of Kolkata, in North 24 Parganas district) have become a poachers paradise with numerous trap nets being placed in strategic locations across water bodies, marshes and paddy fields. These nets are quite big (about 10-15 feet in length and about 4-5 feet in width) and strung across bamboo poles. The nets are made of strings so thin that they are not clearly visible from a distance unless viewed carefully. Birds fly into the nets and get … Read More
Every year hunters congregate in different parts of East Medinipur in West Bengal for attending melas to mark the celebrations surrounding the worship of goddess Kali. These coincide with the new moon, or amavasya, which fell on June 5 this year, World Environment Day.
The perpetrators, over 5000 tribal hunters, were organised packs of men out for a day of pure destruction and drunken revelry. They had converged on railway stations such as Uluberia, Deulti, Panskura and Kirai, located … Read More
Bird poaching was one of the pressures that birds in the city faced in the 90’s. It was thought to have died down since then. So much so that, during the planning of the Bangalore Mid Winter Water Bird survey 2015-2016, the coordinators and those assisting in planning the survey had considered dropping some of the parameters such as bird netting, bird shooting, poaching, trapping, etc. However, we were in for a rude shock when we visited a few survey … Read More
Last week, I was travelling in Arunachal Pradesh with a few friends. On our way to Udayak Pass (in the Lohith Valley), we stopped to photograph some birds when a bike sped by us. On the bike was freshly killed bushmeat – a macaque. The hunter’s house was just around the corner and we managed to get there just as he was hauling the macaque off the bike. A close look confirmed our worst fears – this was a White-cheeked … Read More
She was like any other hawker, selling—persuasively, aggressively—extolling the qualities of her wares. Only she wasn’t ‘just another hawker’. Her wares were illegal; she was hawking parakeets, the trapping and trade of which is prohibited under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
I spotted the woman in Vasant Vihar (near Priya Cinema), Delhi, on my way to visit a very sick friend, and almost turned a blind eye. You know how it is, when the task at hand is overwhelming or … Read More
When one is traveling in the Northeastern part of our country, a common sight is that of boys and men with catapult and guns on the way to their next hunt. Hunting in the Northeast is largely influenced by cultural practices, rituals and (perceived) medicinal values. It has also become an activity just to kill time. However, the situation is changing; steadily, though slowly, thanks to access to education, employment, and intervention by NGOs at many places. There has been … Read More
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
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
On 21st December, 2011, an adult tiger was found dead at a place called Chekkadi in Tirunelli Village, just two kilometres from the boundary of Wayanad Sanctuary in Kerala. The tiger was caught in a strong wire snare skillfully laid between two trees just beyond a thick hedge. A case has been registered and investigations are underway. Conservation India carried a note on the ‘Legal Aspects of Tiger Mortality’ along with a picture sourced from local sources. This picture was … Read More
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
As part of a state-wide biodiversity survey in May-June 2011, Shashank Dalvi and Anup BP (post-graduate students of M.Sc wildlife biology and conservation, WCS-India & NCBS) encountered this scene in Wunstubong, E Nagaland. Led by a child who was seen holding a langur (likely Capped) tail, the students saw a woman cook the entire langur for dinner. Nagaland has lost almost all of its wildlife in similar fashion thanks to large-scale traditional hunting practices coupled with poor enforcement of wildlife … Read More
On 26th December 2013, while birding in Mayabunder (North-Middle Andaman), my field assistants and I passed a Ranchi household where we saw the skinned remains of a male Blyth’s flying fox tied to the fence to be decomposed by ants. On further enquiry the man of the house brought a female flying fox that he had shot the previous night. A bullet had punctured the bat’s wing and there was another wound near her elbow rendering her incapable of flight.… Read More
This image is one of a series of pictures I took on 1st January 2013 while watching birds at Chennai’s Kelambakkam lake. This brackish backwater lake is home to a lot of migrant and resident bird species throughout the year.
This is also a haven for poachers who regularly target this place for large number of local and migratory birds during winter for the excessive demand for meat on weekends. In this instance, it didn’t seem like organised poaching but … Read More
This image highlights the serious problem of Indian Bullfrog (Hoplobatrachus tigerinus) poaching during the monsoon. We came across a paddy farmer near Jog falls, Mavingundi, Karnataka, who had collected nearly 30 bullfrogs and kept them in a bucket waiting to hand them over to a guy from Goa who was supposed to come and collect the frogs for the Goan Bar/Restaurant market. They are sold as ‘Jumping chicken’ there. We immediately rescued and released them plus reported the poacher to … Read More