The Northern Chhattisgarh landscape is located at the intersection of the Eastern Baghelkhand plateau and the Chhattisgarh plains. The region is drained by the Mahanadi and Son rivers. Geologically, it is composed of lower Gondwana and the eastern extension of the Deccan Peninsula. It is surrounded by the Chhota Nagpur and Hazaribaug plateaus, which are rich in coal deposits. Over this buried ‘black gold’ stand the tropical dry deciduous and mixed forests inhabited by a wide variety of wildlife, including … Read More
Living with Elephants in the Anaimalais (Elephant Hills)
In the foothills of the Anaimalai Tiger Reserve (ATR) in Tamil Nadu, a couple of ‘mango showers’ mark the end of summer and herald the beginning of the monsoon. At this time, the private farmlands that adjoin the Tiger Reserve in the small village of Sethumadai are leased out by their owners to the local villagers – temporary tenant farmers, who work as daily laborers during the rest of the year. They plough the leased farmlands and sow the most … Read More
Human-leopard Interactions in Rajasthan
Understanding the ecology of large carnivores and their interactions with people across large areas such as landscapes, regions, or entire states, is extremely important yet logistically infeasible. Newspaper reports that regularly document information about wild animals (like bears, leopards, and elephants) that frequently interact with people can be useful sources of information to undertake research on human-wildlife interactions. In a new study, scientists from the Forest Research Institute (Dehradun), Wildlife Conservation Society–India (Bangalore) and the University of Florida (USA) used … Read More
Against the Elephant: MoEFCC’s Guidelines for Human-Elephant Conflict Management
In August 2020, the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) released an advisory document titled Best Practices of Human Elephant Conflict Management in India (attached, right). The report, authored by the Project Elephant Division of the MoEFCC and the Elephant Cell of the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, attempts to compile current practises adopted by Forest Departments and other agencies, and is meant to serve as a guide for various Forest Departments working on mitigating the critical issue … Read More
Dog finishes victim of vehicle at Velavadar, Gujarat
We had been on a visit to Blackbuck National Park, Velavadar, in 2016. While on safari, we observed this blackbuck which was injured after getting hit by a vehicle. While it was struggling to walk, a stray dog spotted it and followed the blackbuck until the latter collapsed. The dog began feeding on the blackbuck while it was still alive.
Blackbuck National Park in Velavadar has a healthy population of blackbuck that also roam outside the protected area, and are … Read More
Sightings of Adult Gharial in Mirzapur stretch of River Ganga in Uttar Pradesh
A Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) has been sighted on multiple occasions at different locations in the Mirzapur stretch of the Ganges in Uttar Pradesh. It was first reported by two fishermen (Naresh Sahni and Ravindra Sahni) at Shitladham ghat, Adalpura (Chunar) while they were fishing around 4 pm on 26th February, 2020. According to them, the Gharial was old, and may weigh approximately 200 kgs.
In another sighting, on 29th February 2020 near Shastri Bridge, Mirzapur, it was basking on a … Read More
Ecological Restoration Increases Tree Diversity and Carbon Storage in Degraded Rainforest Fragments
Our research article that appeared recently in the journal, Ecosphere, asks: To what extent can a degraded rainforest be ecologically restored to resemble an undisturbed and mature rainforest? This is the first study that attempts to evaluate the effectiveness of a long term rainforest restoration project in the Anamalai Hills of the Western Ghats in peninsular India.
The results of the study suggest that ecological restoration of degraded rainforests – by controlling invasive weeds and planting native tree saplings – … Read More
A Conflict Tale from Valparai, Tamil Nadu
On 26th August, 2017, we were roaming around Valparai looking for wildlife, we came across an incidence of Human-Elephant conflict. We could sense some commotion near the sheds of some estate workers, and saw people running here and there. Upon checking, we heard that a female elephant had entered the premises of one of the workers and was polishing off a plantain tree.
There appeared to be two groups of people at the scene – one, consisting mostly of youth, … Read More
Conserving Shared Spaces for People and Predators
Conservation of carnivores and their habitats is a complex challenge. Many of India’s carnivore species continue to share space with humans, and this necessitates understanding human-carnivore interactions to minimize conflict and foster co-existence. A recent study by researchers from the Centre for Wildlife Studies, University of Florida, Wildlife Conservation Society-India and USA, and Duke University examined interactions between humans and carnivores (dhole, Indian wolf, Indian fox, golden jackal and striped hyena) in the Kanha-Pench corridor in central India.
The study … Read More
The Hornbills of Malabar Hill, Mumbai
It’s been over a year since the Indian Grey Hornbill (Ocyceros birostris) decided to make their presence conspicuous in the Malabar Hill area of South Mumbai, just as the peacocks of ‘Doongerwadi’ and the Raj Bhavan have made theirs for some time now.
These ‘urban hornbills’, as my friend and ace birder Shashank Dalvi calls them, are seen mostly at dawn and dusk flying around from tree to tree as they are mostly arboreal in nature.
The male has a … Read More
Carnivores as Co-owners of our Lands
Among the range of attributes that represent India is the little-known, seldom-acknowledged diversity of carnivore species it harbors. The country has 23% of the world’s terrestrial carnivore species. While popular discourse typically links large carnivores to forested reserves or large inviolate spaces, many of India’s carnivore species have historically shared spaces and adapted to using human modified landscapes. A recent study by researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society-India, Centre for Wildlife Studies, Foundation for Ecological Research And Learning, University of … Read More
Studying Patterns of Human Injuries and Deaths Due to Leopards, Lions and Tigers in Three Countries
Human-large cat (like lions, tigers, leopards, jaguars) interactions often have an aura around them. Although there are many positive components, conflict between these felines and people dominate popular media and research. Conflict with large cats most often manifest in the form of livestock attacks, retaliatory killing and conflict between different invested stakeholder groups. One extreme and most feared form of conflict is injuries and deaths of people by these cats. Although attacks on people by large cats are rare, the … Read More
Endangered Sloth Bear Rescued from a 40-ft Deep Well, Tumakuru, Karnataka
In a two-hour long risky and dangerous operation carried out by Wildlife SOS, a male sloth bear that had accidentally fallen into a forty feet deep well was rescued. It was released back into the wild after medical treatment and observation. The Wildlife SOS team at the Bannerghatta Bear Rescue Center (BBRC) received a call from the forest officials about a sloth bear that had fallen into a deep well in Tumkur, a few hours’ drive from Bangalore. The well … Read More
A Dogged Problem
Free-ranging dogs are unfavourable to wildlife, they are reservoirs of many diseases.
The word carnivore often conjures up images of large, dangerous predators such as lions and tigers. Few, however, realize that they spend most of their lives in the presence of the world’s most common carnivore — the domestic dog. Man’s so-called best friend is indeed the most numerous and widespread of the world’s carnivores.
In much of the developed world, dogs are generally confined to certain areas, but … Read More
A Cat Among the Dogs — Leopard Diet in a Human-dominated Landscape
Large cats are often icons of wilderness. However, like humans, they too are very adaptable, especially a species like the leopard, which has the largest range of any of the large felids; perhaps a testimony to its high degree of adaptability. Most of us view wildlife through the prism of protected areas; researchers study mainly within parks and sanctuaries and therefore our understanding about these animals when they reside in human use areas is poor.
This study carried out in … Read More