Birdwatchers Help Nab Waterfowl Poachers in Siruthavur Lake Near Chennai

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Two and half of hours of drama unfolded at the Siruthavur lake this morning (3rd June 2012). Five of us from the Madras Naturalists Society (MNS) had come to watch and photograph birds in Siruthavur lake, 40 km from Chennai in Tiruvallur district. The lake was full of birds when we arrived around 7 AM. Just as we reached the lakeshore we heard gunshots. We saw grey herons fall followed by egrets. The shots lasted for half an hour or … Read More

Q: How can I stop a tourism-centric hotel project being planned in the heart of a wildlife sanctuary by a State Tourism Department together with the Forest department? The project is in its early planning stage.

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Answer from Praveen Bhargav, Trustee, Wildlife First:

  • The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 (WLPA) makes no distinction between a private and a government tourism company. So a State Tourism department is not exempted from the provisions of the WLPA. (Link to the Wildlife Protection Act).
  • Section 29 of the WLPA prohibits any kind of destruction or diversion of habitat within a Sanctuary without a permit and no such permit shall be granted unless it is for the improvement of
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Need For Elephant Corridors Throughout The Country

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A report by the Elephant Task Force (ETF) has estimated that roughly 400 people are killed in India every year in conflicts with elephants. Encroachment of elephant habitat by a growing human population creates a situation where elephants frequently raid crops. Retaliatory killings are on the rise and, for instance, in Karnataka alone, 16 elephants were killed in 2006-07, 46 were killed in 2008-9 and 41 were killed in 2009-10. The Karnataka forest department paid 4.2 crores in 2008-9 for … Read More

Kerala National Parks Face Funds Crisis

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On the same day Assam declared a serious shortage of funds, Kerala’s national parks and sanctuaries also stated they are cutting back on conservation activities due to lack of funds. There has been a drastic reduction in the central allocation and the state has not filled the void. The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) had reduced this years allocation to Rs. 2.88 crores as against last year’s Rs. 4.4 crores. This has led to downsizing of the protection staff … Read More

Watchers and Guards — Unsung Heroes of Wildlife Conservation

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Originally published in The Hindu Survey of the Environment 2011.

Scorching sun, raging fires, inhospitable terrains and a few men trying to douse fires in these hostile conditions. Does this sound like a science fiction from a Hollywood blockbuster, unfortunately you are wrong. This is the scene in several of our protected areas during summers and few can bear with these situations and continue to fight for a cause. This clan has continued with this daunting task for decades in … Read More

Sariska National Park Faces Shortage of Officials

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Sariska national park in Rajasthan faces a shortage of officials willing to stay on as District Forest Officers (DFO). Officials do not want to stay in the park because of the big responsibility and the possibility of more tiger deaths. So soon after appointment, they start pulling strings to get transferred to a new location. Rajasthan’s Chief Conservator of Forests, P.S. Somshekar contends that there is a shortage of senior officials who can take up the DFO post. Three out … Read More

Increase in Incidents of Illegal Pet Keeping of Wild Birds in Meghalaya

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In response to reports of a sharp increase in incidents of captive birds kept as pets in the Gasuapara and Jatrakona areas of South Garo Hills, the Meghalaya Forest Department conducted comprehensive raids on Jun 21. A total of 10 captive birds, which included 5 Brown Fish Owls, 2 Owlets, 2 Common Drongos and 1 Bank Myna, were seized. The Veterinarian from the Forest Department will examine these birds for their health and prescribe measures for rehabilitation and release. … Read More

Gujarat Seeks 3,000 Hectare Land for Bustard Conservation

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The Gujarat forest department wants about 3,000 hectares of revenue land near the Bustard Sanctuary in Naliya taluk of Kutch district to be converted into forest land to save the crtitically endangered Great Indian Bustard.

“We have written to the revenue department to convert the revenue land adjoining the Bustard Sanctuary (in Naliya taluk of Kutch) to forest land which could be used for conservation of the Great Indian Bustard. We are yet to get any reply from revenue department … Read More

Elephants Face Severe Threats in Orissa

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The Elephant population in Orissa’s forests are facing multiple and severe threats. Rampant poaching in Similipal National Park has caused more than 20 elephant deaths in two years. Maoist fears have kept conservation activities to a minimum.

A severely skewed sex ratio, under staffed protection camps, large number of electrocution deaths, fragmented habitats and retaliatory killings against depredations add to the list of threats that elephants face. The State Government has put in place a Rs. 50 crore management plan … Read More

Camera Traps Reveal Four Tigers in Anamalai Tiger Reserve

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The presence of four tigers has been revealed by camera traps setup in three ranges of the Anamalai Tiger Reserve. The cameras had been installed after understanding the movement of the animals through front line uniform staff and anti-poaching watchers. The cameras were installed in Ullandy, Valparai, Manambolly and Amaravathy ranges and the sightings were recorded by the ones in Ullandy and Manambolly. Encouraged by the results, camera traps have been relocated in other strategic locations to know the presence … Read More

Armed Poachers Arrested While Attempting to Enter Kaziranga

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Police arrested three armed poachers in the Bihali area of Sonitpur district in Assam, while trying to sneak into Kaziranga National Park. The three were found during a combing operation, hiding in the house of a local. The local escaped. A .303 rifle, ammunition, some food and camp materials were found on them. It is believed their plan was to spend a week inside Kaziranga and poach Rhinos. … Read More

Erode farmer finds a crocodile in his farm

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Govindasamy, a farmer, found a 2 and ½ feet long crocodile in his field in P. Mettupalayam village near Kavunthapadi. Alerting other farmers and labourers, the reptile was captured and handed over to the police and forest personnel. A team led by Forest Ranger G. Palanisamy rushed to the spot and rescued the crocodile. The crocodile would be released into either the Amaravathy or Hogenekkal crocodile farm.… Read More

Two Elephant Reserves Being Set-up in Tripura

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Agartala, May 4: In an effort to check the number of elephants straying into human habitats in search of food, the Forest department in Tripura has started work to establish two elephant reserves in the state. “The aim of the project is to restore existing natural habitats and migratory routes of elephants, promotion of measures for mitigation of man-elephant conflict and strengthening of measures for protection of wild pachyderms from poachers,” Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) R P Tangwan … Read More

Using RTI for Wildlife Conservation

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Excerpts from a presentation given by Biswajit Mohanty in Bangalore on 23rd August 2013. You can reach him for questions or comments at

What is Government?

This is a difficult question for an ordinary Indian citizen. He/she knows that Government is an omnipotent and omnipresent entity but is not exactly sure who “Government” is. When you want something from any government office, you will frequently hear the words … “Government will decide”. If there are dues/taxes to be … Read More