Western Hoolock Gibbon, Bherjan, Assam

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Tucked in a corner of Upper Assam in Bherjan survives a small population of about 35 Western Hoolock Gibbons (Hoolock hoolock). Their lowland evergreen forests have been wiped out and these apes are marooned in an island of tamul or areca nut trees (Areca catechu) and some high canopy trees hemmed in by villages. Fortunately, the villagers are tolerant of these primates and have started protecting these endangered apes and efforts are underway to restore the corridors for their … Read More

Lion-Tailed Macaque and Traffic, Someshwara

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This image is from the Agumbe – Someshwara main road in the Malnad region of Karnataka. This is a very busy road as it provides the shortest connection from Shimoga to coastal towns like Manipal, Mangalore and Udupi. Sadly, there are no signboards or speed-breakers to notify wildlife crossing areas.

The lion-tailed macaque (Macaca silenus) is an endangered and endemic macaque found only in the tropical rainforests of the Western Ghats. These macaques can benefit from ecologically informed and … Read More

Dholes in Tea Estate near Chembra peak, Kerala

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Chembra is part of the Wayanad hill ranges in the Western Ghats, adjoining the Nilgiri Hills in Tamil Nadu and Vellarimala in Kozhikode district in Kerala. Chembra Peak is accessible by foot from Meppady. District Tourism Promotion Council provides guides and trekking equipment on hire charges to tourists. A heart-shaped lake on the way to the top of the peak is a major tourist attraction.

Last month (September 2013), my friends and I were trekking to Chembra peak. We had … Read More

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

Huge Impacts, But No assessment? Groups Urge MoEF to Correct its Blunder on Yettinahole Diversion Project

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Yettinahole Diversion Project is being planned in the Western Ghats and Eastern Plains of Karnataka, by the Karnataka Neeravari Nigam Limited (KNNL) purportedly as a drinking water supply scheme to supply 24 TMC water to Kolar and Chikkaballapur Districts. The scheme involves 8 dams in Western Ghat forests, 250 kms long canals, 80 and 50 kms long raising mains, a reservoir that will submerge 1200 hectares of land and 2 villages. A closer look at the Project Report of the … 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

Hydropower Development in the Indian Himalaya — The Flipside

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Indian Himalayan basins are earmarked for widespread dam building. However, the aggregate effects of these dams on the ecosystems are unknown.

Maharaj K. Pandit & R. Edward Grumbine investigate the impact of the ongoing and proposed dam construction in the Himalayan basins of India based on spatial analyses, geographic distribution of dams, species loss and land-cover change. We highlight the most important findings from their paper in Conservation Biology, 2012.

  • These findings are the first indication of the dire effects
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Sarus Cranes, Noida

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Greater Noida may be on the World Map thanks to the F1 Grand Prix, or its world class infrastructural development; but what is surprising is how it is still home to the world’s tallest flying bird. It is an incongruous sight to see this pair with highrises in the background.

The Sarus Crane (Grus antigone) is the only resident crane of India. Wetland loss and degradation are critical problems throughout the range of these cranes. Destruction of wetlands … Read More

Spot-billed Pelicans on High Tension Cables, Pallikaranai

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The Spot-billed or Grey Pelican (Pelecanus philippensis) is a near threatened bird confined to India, Sri Lanka and Cambodia. Here they are seen perched on high voltage cables that run through the centre of the Pallikaranai marshes in Chennai.

These marshes support scores of bird species, such as jacanas, lapwings, warblers, moorhens, coots and dabchicks, in addition to pelicans.

Even though a major portion of the marshland was declared a reserve forest in 2007, most of it has … Read More

Q: “We are a group of people interested in protecting lakes and wildlife of Bannerghatta National Park (BNP). We noticed that a lake is encroached near Kaleshwari village, Mantapa Grama panchayat, Bangalore 560083. Also, a new layout is coming up in the safe zone of BNP, and they are planning to release sewage water to the lake and drainage water to the stream, which passes through the heart of BNP. This Lake is the main water source for the wildlife of BNP. How can we protect this lake and wildlife of BNP?”

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Answer from Praveen Bhargav, Wildlife First:

Dear Shankara,

Thanks for writing to CI and good to learn about your interest to protect Bannerghatta National Park. You could possibly initiate the following steps:

  1. You should meet the Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Executive Officer, Karnataka Lake Development Authority,2nd Floor, Parisara Bhavana, Chruch Street, Bangalore-560 001 and seek immediate action to stop the encroachment.
  2. Other authorities who can stop encroachment are – The Superintendent of Police Bangalore Rural or
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Blackbuck and Sheep

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This was photographed in a field near the Jayamangali Blackbuck Conservation Reserve (formerly Maidenahalli) in Tumkur district, Karnataka. These free ranging blackbuck share their habitat with sheep herders and a lot of sheep. The sheep herders use dogs to protect their livestock and these dogs sometimes prey on newborn blackbuck — another threat to the numerous ones the reserve and the blackbuck already faces.

See this post for more conservation threats to the Jayamangali Blackbuck.… Read More

Blackbuck Entangled by Barbwire, Jayamangali Blackbuck Conservation Reserve

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I have been visiting the Jayamangali Blackbuck Conservation Reserve (formerly Maidenahalli) over the past 3 years, and have observed the number of blackbuck drastically falling. There are several threats to the reserve:

  • I saw this unfortunate sight of a blackbuck with a wire entangled around its neck. It may have been a trap set to catch blackbuck or drive them away from farms. I have never seen this before — this is a new threat for the animals.
  • Private land
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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.

Stopping ‘Eco-Resorts’ In Their Tracks

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May 30, 2012: Based on a complaint filed by wildlife conservation NGOs, the Deputy Commissioner of Chikmagalur district in Karnataka cancelled the permission given to Satori Eco Adventure Resorts Pvt Ltd. for constructing resorts on Chandradrona hill in the Western Ghats. This cancellation is a significant milestone in the persistent battle by local conservation groups, WildCAT C and Bhadra Wildlife Conservation Trust, to halt commercial resorts in this tiger corridor connecting Bhadra Tiger reserve with adjoining forests.

Importance of the Read More

Lion-tailed Macaque with Ice Cream, Anamalai Hills

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We came across some Lion-tailed Macaques (LTMs) at Pudhuthottam estate near Valparai. While some of the LTMs were feeding on fruits and shoots, this one was feeding on Ice Cream irresponsibly discarded by tourists. This species is in constant conflict, with some of the males even entering the main town of Valparai. Ice Cream should be the last thing this endangered species needs.

The Lion-tailed Macaque (Macaca silenus) is an endangered and endemic macaque found only in the … Read More