Amrit Mahal Kavals are semi-arid grasslands in Karnataka that were set aside several centuries ago, during the Vijayanagara empire, and protected as grazing grounds for a sturdy local breed of cattle known as Amrit Mahal, which was once highly prized as a military draught animal. The protection of these grasslands was continued by subsequent rulers, including Hyder Ali, Tippu Sultan, and the Maharajas of Mysore, as well as the British during their colonial reign in India. Although these grasslands … Read More
Wolves Chased by Dogs, Pune Grasslands
Grasslands are always neglected and, more often than not, deemed to be ‘wastelands’. In reality, grasslands are a treasure trove of biodiversity. And it is in these spaces that one of India’s endangered species thrives – the Indian Wolf (Canis lupus pallipes). The wolf has adapted to living in close proximity to humans, as it gets an advantage of being able to prey on livestock or domestic fowl.
But with this benefit comes a bane, in the form of … Read More
A Free Meal — Conflict between Wolves and Feral Dogs
My passion is to highlight the plight of grasslands, and to work towards the conservation of these vast, neglected spaces.
On one of the occasions when my friends and I were in the grasslands near Pune, we were observing a few wolves from a distance. They had killed a Chinkara. However, stray dogs from the nearby settlement showed up in no time, running towards the pack of wolves. I have observed that these wolves are quite shy of human presence … Read More
Wild Canids and Hyenas: Flagships for Increasing India’s Conservation Potential?
India has a wide diversity of carnivores that represent multiple unique ecosystems like forests, grasslands, scrublands, open / barren lands, deserts, ravines and the trans-Himalayan plains. A recent study by researchers from Wildlife Conservation Society–India, University of Florida (USA), Ashoka Trust for Ecology and the Environment, Wildlife Conservation Trust, National Centre for Biological Sciences and James Cook University (Australia) proposes that protecting wild dogs or dholes, jackals, wolves, foxes and hyenas, and their habitats, can offer incredible potential to expand … Read More
Uttar Pradesh’s first Sloth Bear Conservation Reserve Proposed in Mirzapur Forest Division
A first of its kind, and Uttar Pradesh’s first Protected Area dedicated to Sloth Bear may come in Mirzapur Forest Division. The proposal for 408 sq.km. Conservation Reserve is backed by the first ever wildlife inventory using camera trap survey conducted in three forest ranges- Marihan, Sukrit and Chunar under Mirzapur Forest Division, Uttar Pradesh. The report titled “Wildlife Inventory and Proposal for Sloth Bear Conservation Reserve” published in July 2019 is authored by Vindhyan Ecology and Natural … 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
Indian Wolf, Ranthambore Tiger Reserve
The Indian Wolf (Canis lupus pallipes), is an endangered species in Schedule I of Indian wildlife according to the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972. It is also in appendix 1 of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Despite the highest level of protection accorded to the wolves in India, hunting remains rampant and is a major cause of concern. Killing of adult wolves and pups by local sheepherders is common … Read More
A Rare Sighting of the Indian Wolf at Tadoba, Maharashtra
For several years now the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) has been in the limelight for its tigers. Tourists visit the park in hordes to fulfil their dream of seeing a wild tiger. However, this forest has much more to offer.
During a visit to TATR on 21st November 2016, I was very surprised to spot an Indian Wolf (Canis lupus pallipes). It was early in the morning and light was low but I managed a few images.
Apparently … Read More
The Wolf and the Sheep: Concerns about the Proposed Purandar Airport in Pune
There are growing conservation concerns about the proposed greenfield International Airport in Purandar taluk, Pune. In addition to local people’s opposition, which led to arrests and subsequent talk of land compensation packages, there is little information on the status of environmental clearance for airport construction. Approved by the Airports Authority of India (AAI), the airport is meant to be fully functional by 2020. Purandar was chosen by AAI after considering other sites in the Chakan-Rajgurunagar area. Various players including top … Read More
Dhole and Indian Wolf, Debrigarh, Odisha
Debrigarh wildlife sanctuary in Western Odisha must currently be one of the very few PAs in the country where dholes and wolves co-exist! Interestingly, sporadic reports in March 2013 by frontline staff seem to indicate that the lone male wolf, which made its appearance about a month back, has been hanging around near the pack of dholes. In fact, the RFO could see them interacting in close proximity for extended periods of time — feigning charges, scent marking, etc.
The … Read More
Jungle Cat feeding on a Nilgai calf carcass, Velavadar
We found this carcass of a Nilgai (Boselaphus tragocamelus) fawn in the Velavadar grasslands. We had seen three Indian wolves (Canis lupus pallipes) in the same area earlier. It was likely that they had killed the Nilgai. A couple of Jungle Crows and a Wild Boar had their share of the carcass a while ago, before this Jungle Cat (Felis chaus) came along to have a bite!… Read More
Dogs at War — Indian Wolf hounded by Feral Dogs
The Indian Wolf (Canis lupus pallippes) though declared as an endangered species, and listed under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972, remains an ignored species in India. Indian wolves, like most canids in India, are found in dry, degraded habitats which fail to get enough attention and protection compared to the green tracts of the country. These creatures are often found around human habitation in rural areas. Blamed for killing poultry, goats and sheep, adult wolves … Read More
A Reprieve for the Wolves of Maidenahalli
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
Killing Softly, But Surely
Spread before me is a grassland — a seemingly unending sea of golden grasses gently swaying in the wind, looking not unlike waves rising and falling to the rhythm of the wind. Out of this azure landscape, something, a bird, shoots straight up in the air some two metres high, but before I can catch and ‘paint’ the picture in my mind’s eye, it’s gone…then, a few furlongs ahead, another one emerges, leaps, a hen-sized bird–shimmering black body, silvery white … Read More