The Western Ghats are among the most important biodiversity hotspots in the world, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The controversial Hubballi-Ankola Railway Line Project (HARP) will destroy some of the last remaining primary forests of the Western Ghats in Uttara Kannada and result in massive, irreversible ecological destruction. This region has already lost 3300 sq km of pristine forests, and stands to lose more if HARP becomes a reality. No amount of mitigation will compensate for the loss of … Read More
Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary is a small, but important, protected area in Chengalpattu district, South of Chennai. It is the oldest waterfowl sanctuary in India and is home to more than 40,000 birds every winter, including many migrants and numerous rare species. A 1998 Government Order (GO MS 199) declared this lake area (73 acres / 29 ha) and a five-kilometre radius surrounding it a wildlife sanctuary under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
In March this year, the Tamil Nadu … Read More
A Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) has been sighted on multiple occasions at different locations in the Mirzapur stretch of the Ganges in Uttar Pradesh. It was first reported by two fishermen (Naresh Sahni and Ravindra Sahni) at Shitladham ghat, Adalpura (Chunar) while they were fishing around 4 pm on 26th February, 2020. According to them, the Gharial was old, and may weigh approximately 200 kgs.
In another sighting, on 29th February 2020 near Shastri Bridge, Mirzapur, it was basking on a … Read More
A Fishing Cat was partially electrocuted at a pond in Baikunthapur village, of Haora (Howrah) district in West Bengal. The pond owner, along with some others, then killed the cat and sold off the meat. They then tried to destroy evidence by throwing away the head and skin of the cat in a nearby canal.
When informed of the incident, the Forest department carried out an investigation, which led to the recovery of the head of the cat. An … Read More
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
UPDATE 2 – 21-Nov-2019: The deaths of over 18,000 birds in Sambhar Lake have been attributed to Avian botulism. Attached is the detailed report by the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), Bareilly. The initial cause of the deaths was suspected to be avian flu, but that has been ruled out. Botulism has been recognised as a major cause of mortality in wild birds since the 1900s. A potential cause of the presence of the bacteria could be toxicity of … Read More
On a recent trip to Dachigam National Park, I encountered a large troupe of these langurs (~50) crossing the main road. I was intrigued with the morphology of the monkey and was keen to understand more. This note is a summary of some of the research studies on the animal.
Kashmir (or Dark-eyed Himalayan) Grey Langur (Semnopithecus ajax) is a species of leaf-eating monkey formerly considered as a subspecies of S. entellus. However, recent studies have confirmed its status … Read More
To be able to observe dolphins from one’s balcony or from shore is a possibility for most of us in Mumbai. There must have been a time when Indian Ocean Humpback Dolphins (Sousa plumbea) roamed this coastal stretch in large numbers. Today they are scattered in small pockets, one of which is the bay off Raj Bhavan, Malabar Hill.
Other locations in Bombay, where these dolphins are seen is Worli, off Chowpatty in South Mumbai, Marine Drive, Sassoon Docks, and … Read More
The Indian Wolf (Canis lupus pallipes), is an endangered species in Schedule I of Indian wildlife according to the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972. It is also in appendix 1 of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Despite the highest level of protection accorded to the wolves in India, hunting remains rampant and is a major cause of concern. Killing of adult wolves and pups by local sheepherders is common … Read More
I had the good fortune of this sighting in the summer of 2017 at Tadoba Tiger reserve. On a morning safari, while driving from a waterhole in anticipation of a tiger, we encountered some movement in the bushes. As we turned off our engine, we saw a small cat appear out of the bush. Initially we thought it to be a jungle cat kitten, but later realized we had just spotted one of the most elusive members of the cat … Read More
The Fishing Cat (Prionailurus viverrinus) is listed as Endangered in the IUCN Red List, and is a unique example of the great abilities and diversities of the felid family. Recent studies have shown that they are strongly linked to marshlands. Unfortunately, marshlands are considered to be “wastelands” under Indian land-use policies and are thus subjected to degradation and conversion, especially outside protected areas.
In West Bengal alone, where this image was taken, there has been a 44% decline in marshlands … Read More
Serow are medium-sized goat-antelopes of the genus Capricornis. The taxonomy of serows is not completely resolved; descriptions, range maps, and assessments of conservation status in the literature vary because sources differ on nomenclature and specific/subspecific status of the various taxa. There are six recognized species of Capricornis, of which two occur in India. The Himalayan serow (Capricornis thar) is found over most of the the entire Himalayan range and the Red Serow (C. rubidus) is confined to the … Read More
Western Madhya Pradesh is witnessing a bad year with respect to the arrival of the endangered Lesser Floricans (Sypheotides indicus) in the area.
There are primarily three areas where the floricans used to arrive for the breeding season in western M.P. These are Sailana sanctuary in Ratlam District, Petlawad in Jhabua District and Sardarpur sanctuary in Dhar District. No birds have arrived in M.P. this year until the 31st of July. in earlier years they used to arrive … Read More
Technology offers solutions for Human-Elephant Conflicts.
The dark hulks ambled in a single file across the stark green landscape of thigh-high tea bushes. Without a pause in their stride, the elephants made their way towards a tiny patch of forest. Save for the tree crickets, there were no other sounds. Had it been daytime, the elephants would have been harassed by people behaving like neurotic monkeys. On such occasions, despite their size, the elephants seemed so vulnerable, with nowhere to … Read More
The Leatherback Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) is the only existing species of the family Dermochelyidae. They are the largest of living sea turtles, growing up to 2 metres and weighing as much as 900 kg. Guided by the earth’s geomagnetic field to navigate, leatherback turtles can migrate more than 10,000 kilometres across oceans from breeding to feeding grounds. Unlike other marine turtles, leatherbacks can regulate their body temperature by a combination of their large size, insulation, and a blood … Read More