On July 11th, 2020, Mint, an Indian business newspaper, carried a centrepiece titled, “The Big Himalayan Earthquake Is Coming”. This story quoted several scientific studies that warned of the risks posed to cities, towns, and hundreds of villages in the Himalayan region from a future earthquake that has been predicted with a high degree of certainty. The seismological research supporting the key premise of this article is impeccable, has been subject to examination, validation, and peer-review, and therefore … Read More
Dibang Valley Must Be Saved from Destruction — Act Now!
The proposal for the Etalin Hydro-Electric Project (3097 MW) in Arunachal Pradesh’s Dibang Valley (RO/Ministry File Number F. No. 8-20/2014-FC), was placed for approval before the Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) on the 23rd of April, 2020. Reports state that 2.7 lakh forest trees will be felled in the process. Long-term research in Dibang Valley (including areas which will see impacts of the proposed hydro-project) show that the region is crucial habitat for many Schedule I endangered species, including a genetically … Read More
Polling for Pakke 2020 — Please help Pakke Tiger Reserve Pick its Best Images!
We are in our fourth year of Polling for Pakke, an initiative where people vote for their favourite camera trapping images based on which forest department staff are then given prizes. So far more than 1000 voters have helped pick the best camera trap images from Pakke Tiger Reserve. Our voters have included the head of Arunachal Forest Department Force, scientists such as Dr. George Schaller and the widow of Karo Tayem, who won the 1st prize in the first … Read More
Hornbill Nest Adoption Program (HNAP) — A Community-based Conservation Initiative in Arunachal Pradesh
Research on hornbills in Pakke Tiger Reserve (PTR) began with a 4 year PhD study (1997-2000) on various aspects of hornbill biology (Datta 2001). The research program of the Eastern Himalaya Program of the Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF) has continued in the Pakke Tiger Reserve since 2003. Long-term monitoring of hornbill nesting showed that nest sites were limiting and that there was competition for nest trees between hornbill species. While three species of hornbills (Great, Wreathed and Oriental Pied … Read More
Park in Peril — Proposed Highway Through Pakke Tiger Reserve, Arunachal Pradesh
The future of the Pakke Tiger Reserve in Arunachal Pradesh is threatened by a proposal to construct a two-lane Highway through it. The proposed road, from Seijosa, Pakke Kessang district to Bhalukpong, West Kameng district would form part of the 692 km long East-West Industrial Corridor project that seeks to connect towns/villages in the foothill areas of Arunachal Pradesh, from Kanubari in the east to Bhairabkund in the west.
In Phase I of the proposed project, the developers / state … Read More
Conservation Status of Dholes (Asiatic Wild Dogs) in Northeast India
Dholes or Asiatic wild dogs (Cuon alpinis) are among the least-studied large carnivores in the world. The IUCN Red List assessment (2015) categorizes the dhole as an Endangered species. With fewer than 2,500 mature individuals remaining in the wild – across 11 countries in South and Southeast Asia – the dhole may be facing a crisis far more severe than the tiger or elephant. India has the highest dhole population in the world, in three key landscapes: the Western Ghats, … Read More
Flying Squirrels of Arunachal Pradesh
There are about 46 species of Flying Squirrels found in the world and they are grouped under one tribe, i.e. the Petauristini tribe. Asia has the distinction of being home to most of the species. Flying Squirrels don’t actually fly, but glide from one tree to the other. They basically use their patagium, a membrane stretching from the wrist (forelegs) to the ankle (hind legs), to glide. Once airborne, these squirrels use their arms, legs, and tail to effectively navigate … Read More
Stolen from Wild Dogs
In April 2012, I did a two-day, solo-bike drive from Roing to Anini in a thunderstorm in the extreme Northeastern part of Arunachal Pradesh. The rains stopped on the second morning, and while I was on the last stretch to Anini, I came across a fresh kill of a Himalayan Serow made by wild dogs. However, before the wild dogs could feed on the kill they were driven away by the local villagers, and the kill was taken to the … Read More
Polling for Pakke 2019 — Please help Pakke Tiger Reserve pick its best images!
Every year the Pakke Tiger Reserve Forest Department holds a prize distribution ceremony for the best camera trap images and also gives prizes to the most sincere staff in the reserve. For this we team up with Conservation India to hold this public voting contest as a unique form of outreach to help motivate our staff on the ground. This year as well our team has compiled notable camera trap photographs where staff patrolled the forests and never left their … Read More
Himalayan Forest Thrush — New Bird Species discovered in India and China
A new species of bird has been described from northeastern India and adjacent parts of China by a team of scientists from Sweden, India, China, the US, and Russia.
The bird has been named Himalayan Forest Thrush (Zoothera salimalii). The scientific name honours the great Indian ornithologist Dr Sálim Ali (1896–1987), in recognition of his huge contributions to the development of Indian ornithology and wildlife conservation. This is the first Indian bird named after Dr. Salim Ali.
Dr. Per … Read More
Yellow-throated Marten in Garbage, Sela Pass, Arunachal Pradesh
I visited Arunachal Pradesh recently for birding, and was enthralled by its beauty. The dense green mountains looked as if they were playing hide and seek with the moving clouds. The place was alive with the continuous chirping of birds. It was like being in paradise. We traveled from Nameri to Dirang and stopped at several places for birding. What really disturbed me was the pile of garbage that we saw in most places. Of the many places that I … Read More
Oil Palm Should not be Expanded in Arunachal Pradesh
Arunachal Pradesh has recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Ruchi Soya Industries to plant 25,000 hectares of oil palm in four districts – East Kameng, Papumpare, Lower Subansiri and West Siang. This brings the total area earmarked for oil palm in the state to 45,000 hectares (or 450 sq. km.). Oil palm is a highly productive crop – more than any other oil crop in the world – yielding up to 6 tons of palm oil per hectare of … Read More
Polling for Pakke — Vote for the Best Camera Trap Image
As we have been doing in the past, this year we will be giving three prizes to our frontline staff for the best camera trap images. We fondly remember Late Koro Tayem, a forest guard who was killed by an elephant who won the first ever prize for his growling camera trap photograph.
Please vote for your best photograph.… Read More
Pakke: From Darkness into Light
Tana Tapi is in a tough spot. He has the enormous task of protecting 862 sq. km of mostly inaccessible, and difficult eastern Himalayan wilderness. His job is made more difficult by the fact that some of the people that log and hunt inside these forests belong to the same community as him, the Nyishi tribe of Arunachal Pradesh. This general area bordering Assam is also one of India’s deforestation hotspots where logging networks are fuelled by larger market forces … Read More
Oil Palm vs. Rainforests
Palm oil production has caused deforestation of huge swaths of biodiversity-rich rainforests in many equatorial countries. India should not repeat this mistake in the fragile and vulnerable northeast states. Here is cartoonist Rohan Chakravarty’s take on it.
The comic first appeared in Sunday Mid-day dated 27/11/2016.… Read More