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
Let’s get to know the Fishing Cat in February!
The Beautiful Baghrol – A Fascinating Feline
What is the state animal of West Bengal? Many of you may guess, Royal Bengal Tiger, because of the ‘Bengal’ in the name. Or you may remember Bengalis’ love for all things piscine, and say it is the fish! But you would be wrong again, for it is neither the tiger, nor the fish, but an animal associated with both – the fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrinus), locally known as Baghrol or Macchbagha… Read More
A Community-based ‘Goat Bank’ for Fishing Cats in West Bengal
A community-owned and managed seed goat bank – this was what a local NGO, Sarada Prasad Tirtha Janakalyan Samity, started last year to decrease loss of goats due to fishing cat depredation.
Go-Bagha is one of the local names for the fishing cat. Go is rooted in Goru meaning Cow. According to a local myth, if a cow gives birth to a still-born calf, then the calf will be re-born as Go-Bagha.
Black Bengal goats (small country goats) weighing around … Read More
Tiger vs. Cow: Risk Models Help Beat the Odds
A tiger and a cow meet in a jungle. The scenario is tragically predictable: tiger kills cow, cow’s owner kills tiger. Yet in India, where repeated conflict can amount to sizeable livelihood losses and tiger declines, predicting where the scenario plays out is far from easy. However, a simple statistical method applied to mapping human-carnivore conflict could up the odds by helping people anticipate high-risk hotspots.
Our study, published in Ecology and Evolution, explored a technique that could be … Read More
Compensation for Coexistence — Lessons from Kanha
Although attacks by tigers and leopards on livestock cause devastating losses to owners around Kanha Tiger Reserve in Central India, villagers now rarely retaliate. A prompt compensation scheme by Reserve authorities may be the secret to saving cattle-killing big cats in the wild.
(The author has adapted this article from its original publication form, which appeared in Frontline)
Sweat running from every pore, Vishal exhaled with relief at the sight of his dead buffalo. For two days he … Read More
Rhino and Cattle, Pobitora, Assam
This image was captured in Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, Assam in November 2014. This small sanctuary, just 30 km east of Guwahati, houses the highest density of wild rhinos in the world. It is hemmed in on all sides by villages. It also has a sizeable population of Asiatic Water Buffalos, Wild Boar, Jackals and a huge variety of resident and migratory birds. Though declared a sanctuary in 1987 it has an extremely porous border, with cattle, wood cutters and herdsmen … Read More
Blackbuck and Sheep
This was photographed in a field near the Jayamangali Blackbuck Conservation Reserve (formerly Maidenahalli) in Tumkur district, Karnataka. These free ranging blackbuck share their habitat with sheep herders and a lot of sheep. The sheep herders use dogs to protect their livestock and these dogs sometimes prey on newborn blackbuck — another threat to the numerous ones the reserve and the blackbuck already faces.
See this post for more conservation threats to the Jayamangali Blackbuck.… Read More
Cattle grazing inside Bandipur National Park
This was photographed in December 2011 in Bandipur National Park. … Read More
Lone Elephant in Degrading Landscape
This was photographed in the Nugu Backwaters, near Saragur, H D Kotte, Mysore. Cattle Grazing and collecting timber for firewood look like the major problems here. Once livestock return to their thatched huts, elephants start to come out of the forests late in the evening, heading towards water. They returns back to woods after finishing a quick drink. Landscape such as this slowly degrades over time due to the human land use modifications.… Read More
Bharatpur — Can we Regain this Bird Paradise?
The year 2004 was a fateful one for Bharatpur, India’s most famous bird sanctuary. In order to appease farmers belonging to particular community, the then Chief Minister of Rajasthan, issued an order diverting water from the Ajan Bund away from the Bharatpur marshes and into the fields surrounding the park, unleashing catastrophic consequences for this 250 year-old artificial wetland. Since then, Bharatpur has never been the same. While various schemes to bring water to the park are under consideration, bird … Read More