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

Eco-tourism in a Fragile Habitat

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This was photographed near the Banasurasagar Dam, in Wayanad, Kerala. The Banasura Hills and Aralam Forest area shown in this picture are a catchment area for the Karamanathodu stream — a major tributary for the Kabini River. Latest developments in the name of eco-tourism have cut down a lot of trees in this fragile habitat. The Kerala government says this is an eco-friendly hydro electric project. This dam is the largest earthern dam in India and the second largest in … 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

Morning Rush, Nagarahole

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The Mysore-Mananthavadi road passes right through the Nagarahole National Park. This particular stretch of the road is quite smooth and most vehicles zip across, at good speeds. People who have visited this park have seen a lot of wildlife around this stretch and know how dangerous it is when so many vehicles drive past every day.

This image is the last elephant of a herd that crossed the road one evening inside Nagarahole National Park, as safari jeeps and regular … 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 Floricans and Windmills

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A few decades back, there was hardly any village in the state of Gujarat which didn’t fall in the distribution range of the Lesser Florican (Sypheotides indica). As the local name ‘Khadmor’ (Khad = Grass, Mor = Peacock) indicates, the Lesser Florican resembles the Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus), and lives in grassland habitats. This bird is a keystone species of healthy grasslands. The bird’s wide spread distribution of the past has changed significantly now.

Its popularity … Read More

Flamingoes and Trucks – Birds at Lake Rajewadi, Satara District.

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I made this image at Rajewadi Lake, Satara, Maharashtra where even in summer, huge flocks of birds are seen. Even ‘Reversed Migrants’ like Flamingos (Greater and Lesser) and Black-tailed Godwits were seen apart from the resident Spoonbills, Painted Storks, Herons & Egrets, Small Pratincoles, Great Thick-knees, etc during this week in June. This tells us that the lake has a preferable habitat for such birds and already holds good populations. The water level seemed to be quite low because of … Read More

Q: I would like to know what kind of rights for worship are provided to tribals and forest dwellers (villagers) inside PAs? We have been recording the temple festivals inside Sathyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary over the last two years and the situation is one of absolute mayhem. Between 70,000 to 1,50,000 visitors, over 700 buses, trucks visit two temples deep inside the sanctuary. One temple, Karuvannarayar, is 18 kms from the Forest Checkpost and the Masi Temple is close to 45 kms deep inside the Moyar valley. Liquor flows freely, animal sacrifice is rampant, plastics, tree felling, open air cooking in dry scrubland is causing enormous stress. The land otherwise is a haven for wildlife with the highest density of tigers reported here. The Forest Department is a mute spectator. Kindly advice.

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We requested Praveen Bhargav, Managing Trustee of Wildlife First, to field this question. Since many PAs are plagued by similar problems, we think that his answer has wide relevance and so we decided to publish a detailed answer in our articles section.Read More

Painted Storks — Living with Trucks and JCBs, Pune

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Pune Municipal Corporation has undertaken the work of “restoring” the Pashan Lake in Pune. Lots of digging; new additions to the habitat are being made. I hope the flora & fauna present in and around the lake, benefit after the changes take place. Detailed information of the project is not yet available to me. This image shows the ‘Near Threatened’ Painted Storks with a truck carrying rocks in the background.… Read More

Wildlife Gains 25 km Corridor in Kudremukh in Unique “Conservation Swap”

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In a precedent-setting “conservation swap” initiated by the Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), and the Karnataka Forest Department, a 25 km long wildlife corridor disrupted by a 220 KVA power transmission line in Kudremukh National Park has been restored. The line was originally supporting the now defunct Kudremukh Iron Ore Company (KIOCL)’s mining operations, shut down by the Supreme Court in response to litigation by local wildlife conservation groups.

The Karnataka government had … Read More

Unregulated Tourism at Kaas Plateau, Maharashtra.

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Kaas flower plateau is Maharashtra’s valley of flowers. The plateau is located between 1200 – 1240 metres and is about 25km from Satara town. As the monsoon sets in (Sept / Oct), the plateau and the surrounding hillsides come alive with millions of blooming wild flowers. The carpet changes colour every passing day through the monsoon.

This spectacle attracts many tourists and photographers resulting in unregulated tourism causing vehicular traffic, air and noise pollution and pressure on the fragile habitat. … Read More

Magadi Tank — Reducing The Disturbance To Wintering Waterfowl

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Madagi, a small village which is an hour’s drive from Hubli in North Karnataka. Every winter thousands (5000+) of Bar-headed Geese (Anser indicus) and other migratory species like common teal, comb ducks, etc. come to this tank from Central Asia and Europe. This year (2012), 50+ tagged Bar-headed Geese were recorded in the area.

The lake is not protected and is open from all sides. Villagers use this lake for washing clothes, vehicles and other activities.

The forest … Read More

A Lion-tailed Macaque By The Roadside, Anamalai Hills

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How do you feel when you see this photo? Don’t you think that this is one of the ugliest and saddest sights to witness? The lion-tailed macaque Macaca silenus is an endangered and endemic macaque found only in the tropical rainforests of the Western Ghats. Instead of living freely in the canopy of the rainforest, here is a male by a roadside, looking for food.

This individual has been forced into looking for food in passing vehicles. The habitat of … Read More

Developmental Activities Have ‘Seriously Impacted’ Districts Of Ratnagiri And Sindhudurg, Says Expert Panel

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The entire districts of Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg in southern Maharashtra have been “seriously impacted, both environmentally and socially, by a number of mining, power projects and polluting industries”, says a report submitted by the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP). The impacts mentioned include pollution (noise, air and ground water), depletion of fisheries, deforestation, siltation of water bodies and “loss of unique biodiversity elements”, among many others. The report claims that there are also numerous illegal activities in these areas … Read More

Indian Wild Dog (Dhole) in Tea Gardens, Anamalai Hills, Tamil Nadu

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A pack of dhole on the prowl in a tea plantation near Valparai, Tamil Nadu.

The Western Ghats hill range in India contains spectacular landscapes and an incredible array of wild species, many found nowhere else in the world. One among the world’s 34 most biologically diverse “hotspots”, the region has representation of a wide variety of natural ecosystems from grasslands and dry forests to rainforests, rivers, and streams, threatened by a multitude of human activities such as industrialisation, agriculture, … Read More