Draco or Gliding Lizard, Agumbe, Western Ghats, Karnataka

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Draco or gliding lizard (Draco dussumieri) is an agamid lizard endemic to the  Western Ghats and Northeast India. They are primarily arboreal and occur in rainforests and plantations like areca nut, rubber, etc. It has a membrane called a patagium around its belly which extends to create wings that help it glide across tall canopies. Interestingly, within the Western Ghats, they do not occur beyond the Goa gap, a significant biogeographic barrier between Goa and South Maharashtra, due to the … Read More

“Ganesha” Spider — a Unique New Spider that Masquerades as a Leaf!

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An oft-used survival strategy in nature is to mimic something you’re not, either to ambush unsuspecting prey or to convince predators that you’re not tasty!

On a warm summer night in April 2015, we headed out on a night trail in the evergreen forests of Agumbe, Karnataka. We were quite happy to see a few snakes, scorpions and frogs. We were still on the trail when I noticed something unusual. Initially I dismissed it as a fallen dried leaf. But … Read More

Dead Giant Flying Squirrel, Agumbe

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Came upon this sad sight recently. An Indian Giant Flying Squirrel (Petaurista philippensis) is caught in a barbed wire fence near Agumbe (Shimoga district) in the Western Ghats of Karnataka. This animal must have suffered a slow and agonizing death entangled in the fence. Possibly, the squirrel had died a few days ago as the body was beginning to decompose.

A local said he saw a similar sight last year in the vicinity. Incidentally, that incident was also reported on Read More

Lion-Tailed Macaque and Traffic, Someshwara

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This image is from the Agumbe – Someshwara main road in the Malnad region of Karnataka. This is a very busy road as it provides the shortest connection from Shimoga to coastal towns like Manipal, Mangalore and Udupi. Sadly, there are no signboards or speed-breakers to notify wildlife crossing areas.

The lion-tailed macaque (Macaca silenus) is an endangered and endemic macaque found only in the tropical rainforests of the Western Ghats. These macaques can benefit from ecologically informed and … Read More

Fences in Protected Areas — No Easy Solutions

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Fences are meant to protect forests from encroachment. Sometimes, however, they can prove fatal for the very animals that they are in place for. An Indian Giant Flying Squirrel (Petaurista philippensis) is caught in one such fence near Agumbe (Shimoga district) in the Western Ghats of Karnataka.

This is a popular tourism spot that is also part of the rainforest. The fences were erected to protect the rainforest – to stop people from trespassing into the forest and … Read More