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

Gangetic River Dolphin Rescues in the Ganges, Uttar Pradesh

Anthropogenic pressure has adversely affected nature in many ways. Barrages and dams on river systems have restricted the movement of aquatic wildlife such as the Gangetic River Dolphin (Platanista gangetica), Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus), smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata) and freshwater turtles.

Post the monsoon when the river and canal levels are high, Gangetic dolphins often get stranded in the canals connected with major tributaries of the River Ganga. Once they enter a duct, there is no way back since … Read More

New to Conservation? Read This!

Wildlife filmmaker and conservationist Shekar Dattatri addresses some of the common misconceptions that people have about conservation, and provides pointers on how “ordinary people” can get started in saving wildlife.

At one time or another, most conservationists have had someone come up to them and say, “I’m into conservation too! I have two dogs and a cat, and I volunteer at the Blue Cross on weekends”. Actually, wildlife conservation has nothing to do with keeping pets, being compassionate towards domestic … Read More

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