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
A flash of white caught our eye just as we entered the gates of the Daroji Bear Sanctuary. While we only had sloth bears on our minds, a furry white creature had us freeze in our tracks. It wasn’t hard to pick it out against the brown of the brush. An albino Indian grey mongoose (Herpestes edwardsii). A first for all of us there and quite a sight.
Colour variations can occur within a species and sometimes there … Read More
While on a birding trip to the Jayamangali Blackbuck Conservation Reserve on February 27th, 2021, my friend, Chris Bowden, and I, witnessed a serious problem involving the killing of hundreds of birds on a nearby private property. A vineyard, owned by Krushnamruga Wineyard and Blackbuck Vineyards Pvt Ltd., was covered over with a fine synthetic net, presumably to protect the ripening grapes from bird depredation. Unfortunately, gaps at the sides of the net due to poor installation had allowed … Read More
OUR APPEAL TO THE GOVERNMENT OF KARNATAKA
We urge the government to take a visionary decision to protect the natural grassland habitat of Hessarghatta for posterity by notifying it as a Conservation Reserve. This will not only ensure the safeguarding of Karnataka’s precious natural heritage but will also protect the water catchments of Arkavathy, which provides water security to the people and farmers in the area. Such a decision would be in consonance with India’s Constitutional mandate under Article 48-A,… Read More
On the morning of December 20, 2020, when international birders Mike Prince and Chris Bowden visited Sonnapura Lake near Chikkaballapur Town, about 23 km from Bengaluru, they were not prepared for what they found along the water’s edge — two dead Spot-billed Pelicans (Pelecanus philippensis). Subsequent visits to the lake resulted in the matter being brought to the attention of the Karnataka Forest Department, which promptly despatched the dead birds to the Bannerghatta Zoo on the outskirts … Read More
On September 19, 2020, while exiting the forest after wrapping up our afternoon safari in Bandipur Tiger Reserve, we noticed a free-ranging/feral dog enter the park from the highway. Although we tried our best to chase it back towards where it came from, it ventured deeper inside the forest. We were quite concerned as we had just sighted a tiger cub near a waterhole, 500m from the highway.
The next day, we skipped the morning safari and drove around the … Read More
This picture is from one of the wetlands near Hubli, North Karnataka, where we would regularly see waterbirds. Rails and snipes were quite common, but that has now been replaced by an assured sighting of garbage.
On one of my recent visits, I saw this Brown Crake (Zapornia akool), one of the bolder rails, with its striking yellow beak. The IUCN Red List ranks it as a species of ‘Least Concern’. However, the wetlands scream a different story. Due … Read More
There is heavy digging and destruction of the ecologically-important wetland habitat in Sonnapura, near Bannikuppe, just east of Chikkaballapur town in Karnataka. Two JCBs (diggers) are working in the area.
Several concerned citizens wrote to the district administration and the forest department immediately. The memo is attached on the right and is downloadable.
It seems the digging is for a park with walking / jogging track, a water body and boating, and a … Read More
A young tusker walks along Aala Halla in Lokkere reserve forest (RF), an important migratory corridor connecting two parts of Bandipur Tiger Reserve. Ecological restoration in this landscape over the last 12-years involving Junglescapes (an NGO specialising in ecological restoration) has created a very healthy habitat for elephants, with excellent grass cover and numerous browsing trees / shrub species. The area has been made almost completely free of the exotic invasive Lantana camara. Usage of the habitat by elephants … Read More
Asian palm civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) is a nocturnal and very rarely seen animal. Although listed as least concern in IUCN’s red list, this is increasingly being poached, and traded illegally. Sadly, most sightings of late have been that of dead civets.
This berry and fruit-eating omnivore has a gastrointestinal tract with the power to ferment coffee beans, improving the caffeine content. This power is one of its biggest threats, as it is “bought” to produce kopi luwalk or civet coffee.… Read More
Thoughtless construction work and habitat alterations may spell doom for Karnataka’s last Great Indian Bustards. Urgent action needed!
The Great Indian Bustard or GIB (Ardeotis nigriceps) is one of the rarest birds in the world. Endemic to the Indian subcontinent, it is listed under Schedule-1 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. With fewer than 150 birds estimated to be surviving in the wild, the GIB is listed as Critically Endangered in the IUCN’s red list, and sadly, could be first … Read More
Nagarahole Tiger Reserve offers a variety of landscapes with its mix of dry and moist deciduous forests. It is one of the best places to experience a wildlife safari full of surprises and thrills. It is a privilege to see nature’s inhabitants in their natural habitat, displaying raw emotions.
On a cool February afternoon in 2020, we started on our jungle safari. Soon we were all excited as we sighted a huge male tiger resting on the bund of a … Read More
I was driving from Kerala to Bangalore on 18th May 2018 around 2.45 pm through Muthanga Wildlife sanctuary (Wayanad) in Kerala. Near the forest border, on the Kerala side and next to the highway, I noticed two stray dogs chasing a spotted deer fawn. Within a few minutes they hunted down the fawn. I just slowed down the vehicle and clicked this picture. I didn’t stop the vehicle as it is not permitted to stop inside the protected area.
Later … Read More
It was my first trip to Jayamangali (formerly Maidenahalli) Blackbuck Conservation Reserve in 2008. Soon after we reached I got my first glimpse of blackbuck.
Later in the day while I was trying to photograph an Indian Courser, when I heard a pack of five stray dogs chasing a blackbuck exactly like what dhole or wilddog do in the jungle. They circled the animal and were attacking the antelope from all sides. Amidst all this commotion came another bigger pack … Read More
We witnessed an astonishing natural history moment while on a ride inside Nagarahole Tiger Reserve on the 20th of September, 2017.
Just as the rain stopped in the morning in the Kabini area of the park, our safari jeep came upon a tiger facing off with a large pack of dholes. The crouching tiger seemed ready to pounce, when a bike-borne forest department staffer came riding between them, inadvertently chasing both away. The tiger disappeared into a bush, so we … Read More