Surveying Cetaceans in the Andaman Sea

The Andaman & Nicobar Islands lie between the Andaman sea and the deeper Bay of Bengal and are the peaks of a subsurface mountain range known as the Andaman and Nicobar Ridge. The islands are situated on the great tectonic suture zone that extends all the way from the eastern Himalayas in the north to Sumatra in the east and the Lesser Sundas in the south. The geographic features of the sea-floor in this region leads one to wonder about … Read More

Precious Amrit Mahal Kavals are not Wastelands

Amrit Mahal Kavals are semi-arid grasslands in Karnataka that were set aside several centuries ago, during the Vijayanagara empire, and protected as grazing grounds for a sturdy local breed of cattle known as Amrit Mahal, which was once highly prized as a military draught animal. The protection of these grasslands was continued by subsequent rulers, including Hyder Ali, Tippu Sultan, and the Maharajas of Mysore, as well as the British during their colonial reign in India. Although these grasslands … Read More

The Monarch of the Anamalais: Monitoring Nilgiri Tahr Populations to Inform Conservation

In India, the words, Mountain ungulates- Wild sheep and goat of the subfamily Caprinae-, often invokes the images of flamboyant species like  the Ibex (Capra sibirica), standing atop a crag in the snowy Himalayas. Aptly titled “Mountain Monarchs” by the legendary conservationist Dr. George Schaller, given their elaborate horns (particularly on males), mountain ungulates of High Asia are mesmerizing species.  However, beyond the Himalayan heights, there is also the Nilgiri Tahr (Nilgiritragus hylocrius), a mountain monarch … Read More

How the tiger can regain its stripes

This article was written for/first published in The Hindu, OpEd page, August 13, 2020, titled “How the tiger can regain its stripes”.

Tiger conservation needs a reboot to match the scale of India’s aspirations in other domains.

On International Tiger Day, July 29, authorities proudly declared that India should “celebrate” the increase in tigers from about 2,000 in 1970 to about 3,000 now. This is an annual growth rate lower than 1% after 50 years of incredible, sometimes heroic, efforts. … Read More

A Flawed Vision — Demystifying India’s Tiger Counts

This article was originally published in The Telegraph.

For some reason, reports on India’s ‘tiger numbers’ get a lot of people excited. This was the case on July 28, 2020 when a report on the country’s tiger numbers from 2018 was released accompanied by profuse self-laudatory statements. The fact is there is nothing new in this report because the same results were released by the prime minister a year earlier. Perhaps everyone was bedazzled by the beautiful tiger photos and … Read More

Hunting Festivals of West Bengal — An Untold Story of Wildlife Massacre

Ritualistic Hunting — The Silent Wildlife Killer of West Bengal

HEAL has been documenting South Bengal’s hunting festivals since 2016 and working with enforcement authorities to put an end to this indiscriminate mass killing of endangered wildlife.

This is the earlier documentation of their work on CI. 

All of us are acutely aware of the hunting of megafauna connected with the multi-billion dollar illegal wildlife trade. Many of us also know of the problem of hunting that persists in the … Read More

A Roadmap for Dhole Conservation in India

Country-level species conservation plans serve as a blueprint for identifying important areas, prioritizing management actions and judicious use of conservation funds. India is a biologically megadiverse country, yet many threatened and endangered species do not have science-based conservation plans. In a new study, scientists from Wildlife Conservation Society–India (WCS-India), University of Florida, Wildlife Conservation Trust (WCT), and National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) propose a detailed framework for conserving the endangered dhole in India using a combination of ecological, social, … Read More

The Ethics of Utilising Drones in Wildlife Conservation and Monitoring

Applications of Drones in Ecology Research

Conservation technology is a growing field, and right up in the forefront are drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, which are either operated by a remote controller or programmed to fly unaided. Drones have had a long history of use in the military and by large tech companies in mapping roadways, and their applications in conservation and ecology are growing.

Drones have various uses in wildlife conservation and monitoring, especially given the smaller sizes and … Read More

The State of Wildlife and Protected areas in Maharashtra – News and information from the PA update 1996-2015

Book review

‘The state of Wildlife and Protected areas in Maharashtra – News and information from the PA update: 1996-2015’.
Edited by: Pankaj Sekhsaria
Publishers: Duleep Matthai Nature Conservation Trust, Kalpavriksh, and Rainfed Books, 2019
Price: INR 400/-
Reviewed by: Santosh Shintre

Nature conservation is perhaps one of the more successful cultural movements in the history of humans, and has led to the setting aside of significant areas of the planet for nature. Presently, close to 15% of the Earth’s … Read More

Fever from the Forests

This is a slightly modified version of an op-ed first published in the Assam Tribune dated June 5, 2020. 

Studies have shown that since 1980 three-fourths of the pandemics and emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) have originated from wildlife. Deforestation and habitat alteration are cited as the prime reasons for the transmission of zoonotic diseases from the wild.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization’s ‘State of the World’sForests’ report, 2020, forests cover roughly 31% of earth’s land area. Of the … Read More