Finding Refuge in India: The Relocation of Asiatic Lions or African Cheetahs

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Introduction

Rampant hunting and habitat loss changed the fate of two large Indian carnivores; the Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica) and the Asiatic cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus venaticus), the latter of which was driven to extinction in India in 1952. The last and only population of Asiatic lions in the wild is now confined to the Gir Forest in Gujarat and its environs. For years experts have been urging the authorities to translocate a subset of the … Read More

Proposed Development Tsunami will Engulf Great Nicobar Islands

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In a set of developments that have unfolded with unprecedented speed and uncharacteristic coordination in recent months, the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has cleared the first hurdle for Niti Aayog’s mega development plan for Great Nicobar Island. In two meetings held in quick succession in March and April earlier this year, MoEFCC’s Environment Appraisal Committee (EAC) Infrastructure – 1 “recommended” the project “for grant of terms of reference (TOR)” for undertaking environmental impact assessment (EIA) studies, … Read More

How the tiger can regain its stripes

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This article was written for/first published in The Hindu, OpEd page, August 13, 2020, titled “How the tiger can regain its stripes”.

Tiger conservation needs a reboot to match the scale of India’s aspirations in other domains.

On International Tiger Day, July 29, authorities proudly declared that India should “celebrate” the increase in tigers from about 2,000 in 1970 to about 3,000 now. This is an annual growth rate lower than 1% after 50 years of incredible, sometimes heroic, efforts. … Read More

A Flawed Vision — Demystifying India’s Tiger Counts

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This article was originally published in The Telegraph.

For some reason, reports on India’s ‘tiger numbers’ get a lot of people excited. This was the case on July 28, 2020 when a report on the country’s tiger numbers from 2018 was released accompanied by profuse self-laudatory statements. The fact is there is nothing new in this report because the same results were released by the prime minister a year earlier. Perhaps everyone was bedazzled by the beautiful tiger photos and … Read More

Voice your rejection of the Hubballi Ankola Railway Line Project (HARP) in Uttara Kannada

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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

Save the Great Indian Bustard (GIB) from Extinction!

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Powerlines in GIB habitat should go underground. 

The critically endangered Great Indian Bustard has disappeared from over 90% of its former range due to habitat loss, hunting, disturbance and lack of protection in many ‘lekking’ and nesting sites (see 2013 CI campaign). Now, overhead power transmission lines that crisscross its habitat are sounding the death knell of this low-flying, ground-dwelling species (see attached map). According to a study by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), as many as … Read More

Narcondam Campaign Update — Rare Hornbills in danger as Ministry Reopens Radar Project!

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Campaign Update 21st November 2012

Great News! The Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF) has rejected the proposal by the Indian Coast Guard to erect a RADAR installation on Narcondam Island in the Andamans.

Amur Falcon Campaign Update

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Campaign Update 30th October 2013

Great news! The peak migration of Amur Falcons is on, and there have been absolutely no killings reported so far! This remarkable outcome has been the result of a full year of painstaking effort from the Nagaland government (especially the forest department), NGO groups, and most importantly, the local communities who were determined to end the killings.

GIB Campaign update — Rajasthan launches ‘Project Great Indian Bustard’

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With less than 200 left, will this magnificent bird be the first mega species to go extinct in India since the cheetah? Or can it be pulled back from the brink of extinction, like the California condor in America?

We are not crying wolf. A survey of recent literature — and discussions with experts — reveals that there may be less than 200 Great Indian Bustards (Ardeotis nigriceps) left in India. What’s worse, this tiny number is fragmented … Read More

Flamingo City Campaign Update — NBWL Clears Road Project

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Campaign Update July 2013

The road proposal whose ecological damages CI highlighted in this campaign was unanimously and strongly rejected by all members of the MOEF constituted Standing Committee of the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) on June 6th, 2013. The project was rejected on grounds that it was having a serious impact on the wildlife of the fragile Kutch region particularly the nesting site of flamingoes.

India Adopts a New Refined Protocol to Monitor Tigers

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Will make India world leader in big cat monitoring, say scientists.

In a move welcomed widely by the conservation and scientific community, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has adopted new refined protocols for intensive annual monitoring of tiger source populations under ‘Phase IV’ of National Tiger Estimation. The new protocol is expected to lead to more robust estimates of population density, change in numbers over time and other crucial parameters such as survival and recruitment rates in key wild … Read More