PK Sen: A Large-hearted Gentleman

A personal tribute by Prerna Singh Bindra

It was early 1998. I was a rookie reporter passionate about wildlife when I first met with PK Sen, a 1967 batch Bihar cadre Indian Forest Service officer, who was then the Director of Project Tiger. He was in Mumbai for a function that I gate-crashed begging for an interview. PK—as he was affectionally known—had a packed schedule and a plane to catch. “Dukhi mat ho. Don’t be dejected,” he admonished,” … Read More

Human-leopard Interactions in Rajasthan

Understanding the ecology of large carnivores and their interactions with people across large areas such as landscapes, regions, or entire states, is extremely important yet logistically infeasible. Newspaper reports that regularly document information about wild animals (like bears, leopards, and elephants) that frequently interact with people can be useful sources of information to undertake research on human-wildlife interactions. In a new study, scientists from the Forest Research Institute (Dehradun), Wildlife Conservation Society–India (Bangalore) and the University of Florida (USA) used … 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

Counting Dholes: A First For India

India hosts a wide diversity of carnivores in a relatively small fraction of the global land area. Unfortunately, a lot of these carnivores are at risk of extinction with barely any information on their populations, nor methods available to monitor them. The Asiatic wild dog or dhole (cuon alpinus) ranks among the most threatened carnivores in the world. Till date, monitoring their populations has proven to be a challenge because dholes do not have visible distinguishing features such as stripes … Read More

Pelicans in Peril – Nematode Infestation Alert!

On the morning of December 20, 2020, when international birders Mike Prince and Chris Bowden visited Sonnapura Lake near Chikkaballapur Town, about 23 km from Bengaluru, they were not prepared for what they found along the water’s edge — two dead Spot-billed Pelicans (Pelecanus philippensis). Subsequent visits to the lake resulted in the matter being brought to the attention of the Karnataka Forest Department, which promptly despatched the dead birds to the Bannerghatta Zoo on the outskirts Read More

Three New Linear Intrusions in Goa will Fragment Western Ghats

On April 7 2020, the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) cleared three infrastructure projects during a standing committee meeting via video conference of the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL), namely:

  1. The 400 KV High Tension Line, cutting through both protected areas (PAs) — Mollem National Park and the Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary.
  2. Double-tracking of the railway line from Vasco to Castle Rock, which hits two segments of Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary.
  3. The National Highway expansion damaging both the protected
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Conserving tigers against the odds: Lessons from Karnataka

The tiger is one of the most visible icons of conservation in India, and massive investments have been made for its conservation for over five decades. While there have been a few, well-documented success stories at the scale of individual reserves, there have been no concerted efforts to assess the efficacy of long term conservation programs at large regional scales (> 10,000 sq km). In a recent paper titled “Tigers against the odds: Applying macro-ecology to species recovery”, published … Read More

Dead or Dying Wild Birds (via Bird Count India)

This is a mirror post from Bird Count India covering the vital (and shocking) issue of dead/dying birds in India. All incremental updates will be posted here on Bird Count India.

A dead Spot-billed Pelican at the Sonnapura wetlands, Dec 2020

Over the past two weeks there have been reports of wild birds dying in separate incidents at different locations in the country. That wild birds die is not necessarily worrying. But it is possible that some of these recent … Read More

Against the Elephant: MoEFCC’s Guidelines for Human-Elephant Conflict Management

In August 2020, the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) released an advisory document titled Best Practices of Human Elephant Conflict Management in India (attached, right). The report, authored by the Project Elephant Division of the MoEFCC and the Elephant Cell of the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, attempts to compile current practises adopted by Forest Departments and other agencies, and is meant to serve as a guide for various Forest Departments working on mitigating the critical issue … Read More

Killing Fields at Bortir Beel, near Kolkata, West Bengal

A vast wetland near Kolkata was found to be killing fields for hundreds of birds every day, many of which fly in from thousands of kilometres away. Our team unearthed a large racket of commercial poachers operating in Bortir Beel near Neelgunj, North 24 Paraganas, North of Kolkata. The scale of bird trapping and sale in local markets here was much larger than other bird trapping activities we had experienced earlier.

Tipped off by one of our members, we first … Read More