Blackbuck – Feral Dog Conflict, Vetnai

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The romanticism of Jack London’s ‘The Call of the Wild’ evaporates fast when one considers the feral dog scourge in the country. I have witnessed several occasions where feral dogs are are still being pampered despite creating serious social and ecological problems.  Man’s best friend is not wildlife’s best friend.

We witnessed a feral dog chase a Blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra) in Vetnai or Bhetnai sanctuary (in Ganjam district of Odisha) in July 2015. Luckily for the buck, my guide and … Read More

Tahr on the Road!

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Further to the ‘Tahr alert in Tamil Nadu’ Featured Photo, CI reader, Pravin Shanmughanandam, has sent us another image taken recently on the Pollachi – Valparai highway in Tamilnadu. He says that all along the 40-km stretch that cuts through prime forests, tourists get down at various places, without much monitoring.  According to him, from the 5th to the 11th hairpin bends, where Nilgiri Tahr and Bonnet Macaques thrive, tourists approach them at close quarters and cause disturbance. This sometimes … Read More

Spotted in the News: Understanding Leopards Through Media Reports

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Print media plays a crucial role in disseminating knowledge and in influencing public opinion. Further, media publications could also provide powerful information about wild animals like leopards and elephants, which frequently interact with people. A study by scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society India Program relied on information from ​newspaper media reports to understand leopard ecology, leopard-human interactions, and management practices that deal with problem leopards outside protected areas of Karnataka.

The study used reports of leopards from 11 widely … Read More

Leopard Cat Killed by Feral Dogs, Coorg, Karnataka

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During my recent bird watching visit to Coorg (Suntikoppa), Karnataka on December 13, 2015, I witnessed a tragic incident in which a leopard cat was killed by feral dogs. A bunch of friends and I were busy photographing birds close to a coffee estate when one of my friends noticed two dogs trying to catch something in the bushes close by. He alerted us about the situation, and the next moment, one of the dogs caught something and started running … Read More

The Six Percent Solution — a New Recipe for Saving Wild Tigers

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21 leading conservation biologists from across the world have proposed that since it might be far too expensive and far too difficult to save all wild tigers, we should focus a major part of our efforts and expenditure on 42 selected sites that show the greatest promise. Here’s CI’s distilled version of the original paper titled Bringing the tiger back from the brink – The six percent solution.

Current approaches to tiger conservation have not succeeded in slowing the decline … Read More

The Leopard Crisis

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India has lost no less than 62 leopards in the first 50 days of 2010—more than a leopard a day, according to records available with the Wildlife Protection Society of India. Given that within the same period we have lost eight tigers, the Panthera pardus may well beat the tiger in the extinction race. The killings are mainly concentrated in Uttarakhand: from the dawn of the new year to February 20, 26 of these big cats met their end, a … Read More

Tiger Killed By Wire Snare, Wayanad, Kerala

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On 21st December, 2011, an adult tiger was found dead at a place called Chekkadi in Tirunelli Village, just two kilometres from the boundary of Wayanad Sanctuary in Kerala. The tiger was caught in a strong wire snare skillfully laid between two trees just beyond a thick hedge.  A case has been registered and investigations are underway. Conservation India carried a note on the ‘Legal Aspects of Tiger Mortality’ along with a picture sourced from local sources. This picture was … Read More

Marsh Crocodile Dead In Fishing Net, Chambal River

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Fishing is a big activity in the National Chambal Sanctuary (that extends over three Indian states — Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh). Reptiles (even mammals and birds) get entangled in the nets and drown while trying to catch a fish already entangled in the nets. Every year many Gharials and Marsh Crocodiles get entangled in the fishing nets and die. Several scientific studies have shown that a number of aquatic mammals, birds and reptiles, accorded with highly protected status … Read More

‘Gajah’: The Report of the Elephant Task Force

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A major report on securing the future for the Elephant in India was today submitted to the Minister of Environment & Forests. The report lays out a comprehensive action agenda for protecting elephants in the wild and in captivity, and for addressing human-elephant conflict. The Minister welcomed the Report and promised speedy implementation of the major recommendations.

The Executive Summary is posted here. The full report can be downloaded from the MOEF website here.

Executive Summary

Securing a future … Read More

Compensation for Coexistence — Lessons from Kanha

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Although attacks by tigers and leopards on livestock cause devastating losses to owners around Kanha Tiger Reserve in Central India, villagers now rarely retaliate. A prompt compensation scheme by Reserve authorities may be the secret to saving cattle-killing big cats in the wild.

(The author has adapted this article from its original publication form, which appeared in Frontline)

Sweat running from every pore, Vishal exhaled with relief at the sight of his dead buffalo. For two days he … Read More

Intruding the personal space of elephants, Bandipur

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We were driving back to Bangalore on 10th March 2013. That weekend saw an extraordinary rush to Bandipur, Mudumalai and Ooty. There were a lot of places on the Bandipur – Mudumalai (NH 67) highway where people were stopping to see wildlife. After we crossed the Kakkanhalla checkpost, we saw a car (Xylo) stop; two people casually got out, walked towards this pair of elephants and started taking pictures. I shot a video anticipating a charge, but the truck scared … Read More

Whose Forest is it Anyway?

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Sanjay Gandhi National Park is a gift to Mumbai. Often labelled as Mumbai city’s only green lungs, this is one of the very few protected areas in the world to fall within the limits of a metropolitan city. The forest also supplies a portion of the city’s fresh water through its lakes, Tulsi and Vihar.

However, Mumbai is mushrooming at a rapid, and its suburbs are ever increasing in size, as a lot of pressure is on them to fulfil … Read More

A Longline Fishing Victim from Indian Pelagic Waters

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Longline fishing is a commercial oceanic fishing technique which uses a long line, called the main line, with baited hooks attached at intervals by means of branch lines called snoods. A snood is a short length of line, attached to the main line using a clip or swivel, with the hook at the other end. Hundreds or even thousands of baited hooks can hang from a single line (Wikipedia). In India, there are top-driven programmes to promoting this technique to … Read More

Man-eaters — When Caring Less May Actually Help

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Conservationists should be concerned about saving the species, rather than every individual tiger.

The shooting of a man-eating tiger, as it happened recently in the Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu — barely two weeks after two other tigers preyed on four people in neighbouring Karnataka — invariably polarises public opinion. Locals, whose lives are at risk, want maneaters shot. Animal lovers, on the other hand, demand their “safe capture.” Caught in the middle, officials have to confront increasingly angry mobs, while authorities … Read More

Habitat Fragmentation in the Western Ghats

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Habitat fragmentation is the alteration of habitat, which results in the division of a continuous habitat into smaller, isolated fragments. While natural causes can contribute to habitat fragmentation, humans are the main cause. Human activities such as roads, mining, agricultural land conversion and urbanization contribute greatly to fragmentation. Habitat fragmentation has a greater effect on terrestrial animals as they have to cross human inhabited areas and roads to reach the habitats and resources they depend upon. This leads to road … Read More