Right to Information (RTI) — a Powerful Tool for Wildlife Conservation

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RTI stands for Right To Information and has been given the status of a fundamental right under Article 19(1) of the Constitution. Article 19 (1) under which every citizen has freedom of speech and expression and the right to know how the government works, the role it plays, its functions, and so on. This empowers any citizen to demand access to government files and after scrutinizing the files obtain certified copies of the letters, documents, file notings etc. Another important … Read More

Wild India’s Grim Reapers — Interview with Belinda Wright, WPSI

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In an interview to CI, Belinda Wright, Executive Director, Wildlife Protection Society of India, talks to Prerna Singh Bindra about the growing illegal trade in wildlife.

Belinda Wright, tiger conservationist and wildlife campaigner, is the Founder and Executive Director of the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI). Born in Kolkata, she has spent her entire life working with wildlife in India. She was a internationally renowned wildlife photographer and Emmy Award winning documentary filmmaker before turning to full time Read More

Making a Conservation Film

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Pictures speak louder than words.  That’s a fact.  A crisp, well-researched film that illustrates a problem and offers practical solutions can often prod people into action and be a powerful catalyst for change.

Unlike wildlife filmmaking, where the emphasis is to capture animal behaviour and the beauty of nature to the highest standards, and which therefore requires specialized equipment and big budgets, conservation films do not require very high production values and can be produced even with rudimentary equipment and … Read More

Bird Haven Threatened by Builders in Dadri, Noida

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Dadri in Greater Noida is now home to a bird species that is rarely seen in the Indian subcontinent — the Bristled Grassbird. Bird watchers have not only spotted breeding grounds of the rare bird but also managed to capture the sight of their breeding on camera for the first time.

Enthusiasts from Delhi, Noida and adjoining areas have recorded the presence of over 220 species of rare migratory and resident birds in the wetlands of Bil Akbarpur village.

But … Read More

Hunters are Invited — a Hunting Tribe in Pakke can be a Partner in Conservation

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At Pakke Tiger Reserve, in Arunachal Pradesh, Nandini Velho learns how a hunting tribe can be partner in conservation. 

I am often witness to and a part of small disasters while in the field, but I learn something each day that keeps me going. I still remember the day we spent five hours pulling our Maruti Gypsy out of the dirt track. We were on our way to Pakke Tiger Reserve in East Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh. To

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Freeing sea turtle nesting beaches from Casuarina plantations – A case study from Tamil Nadu

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When two powerful entities such as the World Bank and a State Government agency make an expensive ecological blunder, what are the chances that they can be persuaded to undo the damage? In the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu, a massive coastal plantation project initiated by the two was about to permanently destroy sea turtle nesting grounds. Would a small group of conservationists be able to make them see sense? Shekar Dattatri recounts the untold story of a campaign … Read More

Safe Passage for Elephants in Rajaji

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Once a killer track, Rajaji Park has seen no elephant deaths in six years.

Over the past seven years, over 75 elephants have been killed in train accidents across India — more than those killed by poaching, at least officially — and the carnage continues in Assam, North Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Yet, in the same period, no blood was shed on the track that cuts through Rajaji National Park (Uttarakhand) and its Chilla-Motichur elephant corridor. This … Read More

Writing a Conservation Article

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Never underestimate the power of words. A printed article can serve as a powerful tool for conservation that can impact the situation on the ground and effect policy change. What I broadly mean by a ‘conservation article’ is an article that is written to highlight a particular threat  to wildlife or its habitat.

General tips:

Read. Read. Read. That’s your mantra, if you want to write. Read on nature, wildlife, the subject; get acquainted with issues, and the kind of … Read More

Jerdon’s Courser Species Recovery Plan Announced

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One of the most threatened bird species in India; Jerdon’s Courser (Rhinoptilus bitorquatus) is endemic to the state of Andhra Pradesh, India. Its extremely elusive and nocturnal behaviour makes it difficult to conserve this cursorial bird. International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Birdlife International have classified this one of the world’s rarest bird species under Critically Endangered (CR) status.

Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) along with the Royal Society for Protection of Birds (RSPB), Universities of … Read More

Black Magic Behind Illegal Owl Trade in India

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New Delhi, India, 2nd November 2010 — Use of owls in black magic and sorcery driven by superstition, totems and taboos is one of the prime drivers of the covert owl trade, finds a TRAFFIC India investigation into the illegal trade, trapping and utilization of owls in India. TRAFFIC India’s report entitled “Imperilled Custodians of the Night” was launched today by Mr. Jairam Ramesh, Minister of Environment and Forests at his office in New Delhi.

Hunting of and trade in … Read More

International Efforts Save Dugongs, The World’s Last Remaining Mermaids

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UN Conference adopts a new conservation strategy to protect the sea cow

Bonn/Abu Dhabi, 7 October 2010 – Dugongs are believed to have been at the origin of mermaid legends when spotted swimming in the water from a distance. Now the remaining populations of this seemingly clumsy sea mammal, commonly known as a sea cow, are at serious risk of becoming extinct within the next 40 years.

At an international meeting this week on dugongs convened by the Convention on … Read More

Railways and West Bengal govt. to declare Railway stretch as ‘elephant corridor’

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The Railways and the Wildlife officials of both the West Bengal government and Centre today unanimously agreed to declare the entire 164-km stretch between Siliguri and Alipurdiar on the North East Frontier Railway as an “elephant corridor” and put a speed restriction of 45 kmph on all the trains – day and night.

Both the sides formulated and agreed on a number of other steps to prevent recurrence of such animal dashing by speeding trains, official sources said.

On Wednesday … Read More

Leonardo DiCaprio to help save India’s tigers

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NEW DELHI — Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio will put his fame to work to raise global awareness about India’s dwindling number of tigers, an official said Saturday.

DiCaprio and India’s Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh met at a reception Friday in New York organised by the Coalition of Rainforest Nations, an inter-governmental organisation.

“The actor met the minister and has expressed his interest to play a crucial role in sensitising the global community to the cause of the Indian tiger,” a … Read More

Centre rejects Vedanta’s Niyamgiri mining proposal

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NEW DELHI: The Union environment and forests ministry on Tuesday rejected the clearance for Orissa Mining Corporation to mine Niyamgiri hills for Vedanta’s aluminium refinery in Lanjigarh. The rejection is the most drastic of the measures taken by the government, which has generated the impression that noose could be tigthening around Anil Agarwal’s $1.7 billion operations in Orissa. The MoEF has decided to slap a showcause notice on the aluminium czar, asking why his refinery unit should not be denied
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Frontline of a New War: Environmentalists Under Threat

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‘Amit Jethwa shot dead’ read the SMS received at about 9 pm on July 21st. I did not know him personally, but I knew Amit,  activist, and warrior for any ecological cause — be it the case of an elephant being treated cruelly in a circus or illegal mining in Kodinar bordering Gir or protesting against a shipyard that would impact the nesting of olive ridley turtles. It was a sleepless night, and I spent most of it trying to … Read More