Commercial activity in Shola grasslands

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Shola grasslands are high-altitude grasslands, evergreen, with very good water retention capacity. The Western Ghats is a biodiversity hotspot, supporting many endemic and threatened species, a region where many streams and rivers originate. The mountains are known for the wide variety of flora, including many medicinal herbs. The roads are laced with many tiny wild flowers of different hues.

One look at the landscape is enough to take your breath away. It is alright to soak in the beauty. It … Read More

National Green Tribunal (NGT) orders status quo in Challakere grasslands — ESG Press Release

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National Green Tribunal order Status Quo on activities of DRDO, BARC, ISRO, IISc, et. al., in Challakere, Chitradurga

In an unprecedented decision, the Hon’ble National Green Tribunal (South Zone), Chennai, ordered today status quo on all project activities proposed in the Amrit Mahal Kaval grassland ecosystems of Challakere Taluk, Chitradurga, Karnataka with immediate effect. The directions were issued on the interim prayers filed in Applications by the undersigned which complained that Defence Research Development Organisation, Indian Institute of Science, Indian … Read More

Kannada Film Industry Continues to Destroy Hesaraghatta Grasslands

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I have been working towards preserving the grasslands in Hesaraghatta near Bangalore with my colleagues at the Arkavathy River Rejuvenation group. The govt. of Karnataka proposed to build a film city here and a public interest litigation (PIL) opposing that has been filed in the High Court of Karnataka. Consequently, the Karnataka High Court ordered all parties to maintain status quo until further notice.

The land is under the supervision of Kanteerava Studios which lets it out for shooting movies. … Read More

Hesaraghatta PIL — Karnataka High Court Orders Parties to Maintain Status Quo Until Further Notice

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In September 2012, a group of concerned citizens led by photographer Mahesh Bhat, who lives near the Hesaraghatta grasslands in Bangalore had initiated an online campaign to save 300 acres from getting converted into a film city. Earlier, the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) had planted several thousand saplings in almost half of the grassland (See ‘Killing a Grassland‘). The misguided seemingly good-intentioned approach was stopped thanks to an outcry from conservationists in the city but not before considerable … Read More

Dog Menace, Hesaraghatta

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In the first week of September, I visited the Hesaraghatta grasslands in Bangalore with a couple of friends. I have already posted on CI about the habitat destruction in the grasslands (see gallery post in CI here) here.

As soon as I entered, I was witness to a disturbing sight. There were a couple of dogs, of which one was chasing this black-naped hare. It would have almost caught the hare, which was fortunate to live another day.… Read More

Buzzard and Earth Mover, Hesaraghatta

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This image was made a few months back during the winter in Hesaraghatta, a lake on the outskirts of Bangalore city. The habitat is basically a grassland and semi shrub vegetation.¬†During winter a large variety of birds such as kestrel, harriers (marsh, pied, montagu’s and pallid), common stonechat, steppe eagle, greater spotted eagle, zitting cisticola etc., migrate to this small area. Many months ago, the local development body had proposed to build a theme park this area – a … Read More

Eating away their grasslands

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This image was taken in the short grasslands of Solapur in 2010, showing a ‘city’ construction project taking place near the Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary. This picture depicts the unfortunate fate of a majority of dry, arid habitats in the country. Short grasslands in India are fast getting modified due to the expansion of agriculture and industry. Even though crop raiding species such as the Blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra) may seem to benefit slightly from agricultural expansion, such conversion … Read More

Lesser Florican Sighted In Bangalore After A Century!

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Out on a cold gloomy morning with the intent of photographing birds, Mr. Raghavendra Bhat sat in his car in the outskirts of Bangalore, waiting for the sun to warm up the day. As the day brightened-up in about 20 minutes, he observed a medium sized bird cross the kuchha road in front and walk into the grass. At first, he thought it to be a juvenile junglefowl, but on seeing the structure of the head, he thought it could … Read More

Killing a Grassland, Hesaraghatta, Bangalore

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There is an urgent conservation issue related to the Hesaraghatta grasslands in NW Bangalore. Of all places in Bangalore, the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) selects possibly the last remaining grassland to go on a tree-planting overdrive. Using bulldozers, close to 30,000 pits have been dug and most of them planted. The media coverage was helpful and possibly aided in putting a halt to the digging but almost 200 acres of prime grassland is dug and gone — unless the saplings … Read More

A Reprieve for the Wolves of Maidenahalli

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The Indian wolf (Canis lupus pallipes), a subspecies of the Eurasian wolf (Canis lupus), found in the Himalayan ranges, is a lanky animal with short fur, about the size of a German Shepherd Dog. An estimated 2000-3000 of these animals now survive in India, mainly in the states of Orissa, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. They are wide ranging, pack hunting predators requiring large home ranges. As agriculture expanded … Read More