Athirappilly Hydroelectric Project in Kerala Threatens Great Hornbills

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The 163-MW Athirappilly hydroelectric project proposed by the Kerala State Electricity Board could wipe out Great Hornbills from these unique low-elevation (180 m MSL) riparian forests. The Athirappilly Falls is situated on the Chalakudy river, which originates in the upper reaches of the Western Ghats. Many endangered and endemic species of flora and fauna are found in the forests of the Athirappilly-Vazhachal area. This area is the one of the few places in the Western Ghats where all four endangered … Read More

Human-Elephant Conflict and its Mitigation: Q&A with Sanjay Gubbi

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Is human–elephant conflict on the rise?

Yes, it seems to be.  We have failed to reduce crop depredation loss and injury to human life, which has made people living around wildlife habitats more hostile towards conservation.

As a consequence, there has been a constant increase in the retaliatory killing of elephants. In Karnataka alone 16 elephants were killed in 2006–07, 46 in 2008–09 and 41 in 2009–10. The compensation paid by the Karnataka Forest Department for loss to life and … Read More

India Proposes New Strategies to Conserve Elephants

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This was published in Oryx, February 2011.

India is home to a population of c. 26,000 Asian elephant Elephas maximus over an area of c. 110,000 km2. Currently 65,000 km2 of this area is declared as 32 Elephant Reserves across Protected Areas (30%), Reserved Forests (40%) and private lands (30%). Securing this landscape for the elephant is a challenging task in a country that has an expanding economy and over a billion people competing for space, some of it with … Read More

Elephant Calf Roadkill, NH-212, Bandipur 2003

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Two highways pass through Bandipur Tiger Reserve. NH-67 (Gundlupet-Ooty Road) and NH-212 (Gundlupet-Sultan Batthery Road) and both those highways experience heavy traffic. The traffic on NH-67 is typically tourist traffic from Karnataka to the hill resort of Ooty, while on NH 212 there is heavy passenger and truck traffic plying to northern Kerala.

Due to speeding vehicles several animals mostly chital, nocturnal animals such as civets, black-naped hare, mouse deer were killed in large numbers. Roadkills shockingly included the illustrated … 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

Man held near Ranthambore while trying to sell panther skin

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The Karauli police have recovered a panther skin and arrested a villager who wanted to sell it. The police are trying to find out how the accused got it but are not ruling out the possibility of poaching.

On a tip-off by NGO Tiger Watch, the Baran police arrested Hari Gujjar, a resident of Nibhera village near Keladevi Sanctuary.… 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

The Elusive Malabar Civet

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Have we really lost another mammal species from India? If not, what has become of the Malabar civet? Intrigued, Divya Mudappa sets out to look for the species in the Western Ghats along with NIAS researcher Nandini, only to find the Indian civet. The Malabar civet, she says, is rare in museum collections too, and even a bad photograph of a wild Malabar civet would be better than none at all.

The forests of the Western Ghats are believed to … Read More

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

Report: Tiger Link — December 2009

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The Ranthambhore Foundation publishes TigerLink, a newsletter that serves as a valuable resource library and is a strong pressure lobby to counter misguided development policies of the government. It is distributed widely, especially among policy makers, decision makers, experts and NGO’s concern with tiger conservation across the globe. It also serves as an information base for media professionals and those seeking concise information on tiger conservation issues.… 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

Mansingh-Deo declared a Wildlife Sanctuary

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Mansingh-Deo has been notified as a Wildlife Sanctuary by the Maharashtra Government. This brings protection to about 183 sq. km of critical habitat that provides connectivity between the forests of Central India and also provides a crucial buffer to Pench National Park. The notification was first proposed in 1980 and it has taken more than two decades of lobbying. The latest move was the result of Dr. Ranjithsinh’s (Chairman of WTI) letter to Union Minister Jairam Ramesh, appraising him of … Read More

Tiger Tourism or Trauma?

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I recently refused to write a travelogue on Corbett for a renowned travel magazine. With some reluctance, given that I am always scouting for an excuse, and an opportunity, to visit the reserve. But as author of a report that established that tourism is a major threat to Corbett, I could hardly cross the fence and promote the ‘evil empire’.

Wait a minute here: Isn’t tourism the best means to win supporters for the cause? Doesn’t it benefit the local … Read More

The International Tiger Conservation Forum aims to double numbers

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Governments of the 13 countries where tigers still live aim to agree moves that could double numbers of the endangered big cats within 12 years.

The International Tiger Conservation Forum in St Petersburg will discuss proposals on protecting habitat, tackling poaching, and finance.

About 3,000 tigers live in the wild – a 40% decline in a decade. There are warnings that without major advances, some populations will disappear within the next 20 years.

Five prime ministers are due to attend … Read More