How State Fisheries Provisions Complement Wildlife Law in Protecting the Listed Marine Species?

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The menace of illegal wildlife trafficking is primarily understood in the context of terrestrial species from a layperson’s perspective. However, the definition of ‘wildlife’ under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 (WLPA) includes aquatic life and their habitat. The WLPA, in its current form, protects marine species like sea turtles, sea cucumber, sea fans, sea horses, some species of sharks and rays, corals, mollusca, etc., under its Schedules. In addition to these, ITCHS Based Import Export Policy provides for … Read More

Sentries of the Sea – Sea Snakes along the Indian Coast

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Multiple lineages of snakes evolved independently over time to colonise different marine habitats. Sea snakes are a recent lineage of elapid snakes with terrestrial origins from Australian snakes and diversified largely within the Indo-Pacific Ocean. Phylogenetic studies date sea snake evolution back to 6-8 million years but rapid speciation seems to have occurred 2-3 million years ago in Southeast Asia. Sea snakes are the most speciose (species-rich) group of aquatic snakes, contributing to 85% of the marine reptile fauna. The … Read More

Oil Palm Cultivation Can Be Expanded While Sparing Biodiversity in India

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The extremely fragile, biodiversity-rich forests of the North-Eastern states and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands are facing a major calamity in the form of the National Mission on Edible Oils – Oil Palm. This mega project threatens to wipe out these forests by replacing them with palm oil plantations, as has already occurred across vast swathes of South East Asia.

Add your signature below to this letter of appeal to the Prime Minister of India by Asst. Prof. Dr. Umesh … Read More

Proposed Development Tsunami will Engulf Great Nicobar Islands

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In a set of developments that have unfolded with unprecedented speed and uncharacteristic coordination in recent months, the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has cleared the first hurdle for Niti Aayog’s mega development plan for Great Nicobar Island. In two meetings held in quick succession in March and April earlier this year, MoEFCC’s Environment Appraisal Committee (EAC) Infrastructure – 1 “recommended” the project “for grant of terms of reference (TOR)” for undertaking environmental impact assessment (EIA) studies, … Read More

Surveying Cetaceans in the Andaman Sea

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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

Domestic Cats — Threat to Island Biodiversity

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Historically, the domestic cat has accompanied human beings to all the different islands he’s colonised. And history is proof that this cute animal has decimated local biodiversity in all its innocence.

We were photographing birds at a saline water body at Sippyghat in South Andaman, near Port Blair. Created by the tsunami, this water body is a great place to watch many birds, including the Andaman Teal (an endemic duck of the islands), Lesser Whistling Duck, Common Moorhen, Purple Swamphen, … Read More

Rare Bird: White-tailed Tropicbird, Port Blair, Andamans

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I am writing in reference to the sighting of a rare bird in the Indian subcontinent identified as White-tailed Tropicbird (Phaethon lepturus), at South Andaman islands (India). According to records, this bird has been sighted only eight times in last 150 years in India and was last sighted in the Andamans in the 19th century!

On 3rd March 2016 I spotted a white tern-like bird flying over the Bay of Bengal near Ross Island, but could not photograph it. … Read More

Red-tailed Trinket eating a Leaf-nosed Bat

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On 16th November 2013, while collecting data on bats in a seashore cave at Havelock Island in the Andamans, my field assistant, Saw Isaac, spotted this beautiful snake and alerted me. The snake was perched safely in a notch at the low roof of the cave, which was occupied by a colony of about a hundred Anderson’s Leaf-nosed Bats (Hipposideros pomona), and was seen constricting its victim. I clicked a few pictures for documentation, after which we left … Read More

Hunting of Blyth’s Flying Fox in Andaman Islands

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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

Rare sighting of the Andaman Banded Dandy

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The Andaman Banded Dandy (Laringa horsfieldii andamanesis) is a butterfly that is rarely encountered in the Andamans. Butterflies of the genus Laringa are found in S. Myanmar, Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, Java, Borneo and Palawan. This andamanensis subspecies occurs only in South Andaman.

I photographed this butterfly at Chidiya Tapu, South Andaman on Dec 01, 2012. The individual in the photograph is a female. The male is overall dark blue with a pale blue band.

This is probably the … Read More

Narcondam Campaign Update — Rare Hornbills in danger as Ministry Reopens Radar Project!

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Campaign Update 21st November 2012

Great News! The Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF) has rejected the proposal by the Indian Coast Guard to erect a RADAR installation on Narcondam Island in the Andamans.

The Nicobarese get their Megapode

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A unique bird, a unique island, and unique customs that bind them all.

On Oct 04, 2012, Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF) rejected a proposal to create a missile-firing testing system on Tillanchong island, a narrow strip of island in Nicobar.

Tillanchong is an unfamiliar name for many. Uninhabited except for a police post, the Navy chose this Nicobar island for erecting a missile range for shooting dummy missiles. Tillanchong is a long, narrow ridge of land, prone to … Read More

Narcondam Hornbill Receives a Reprieve

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The Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF) has rejected a proposal by the Indian Coast Guard to erect a RADAR installation on Narcondam Island in the Andamans.

The rejection followed a concerted conservation campaign that included scientists, NGOs and members of the public writing to the Minister of Environment & Forests pointing out the fragile nature of the island and the extreme rarity of the endemic Narcondam Hornbill. A few conservationists also took up the issue directly with the ministry. … Read More

ZSI Scientists Discover Bird Species from Great Nicobar Island

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Great Nicobar, July 27, 2012

A team of scientists of Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) here are presently inventorizing the fauna communities of Great Nicobar Biosphere Reserve (GNBR) under the man and biosphere programme of UNESCO with the sponsorship of Ministry of Environment and Forests, GoI. The GNBR is one the 17 biosphere reserves designed in India. The results of the recent survey conducted by ZSI in GNBR discovered a new species of bird Rallina (Water Rail or Crake). For … Read More