Moths of Churicad Estate, Kodagu

-  Articles Leave a Comment

Like butterflies, moths depend on specific host plants to develop, help in plant pollination, and are an important source of food for birds. They come in many colors, shapes and sizes, designed over millions of years by mechanisms of evolution. However, unlike butterflies, in India, they remain poorly documented and studied.

During the pre-monsoon months of 2021, as a hobby, I documented the moth diversity at Churicad Estate- a small coffee plantation in southern Coorg. Located in the biodiverse central … Read More

Tale of a Scorpion

-  Photos, -  Picture of the Week Leave a Comment

Three decades after I first saw a scorpion carrying a cluster of young on its back, I had a chance to photograph this spectacle recently. Walking in the dark within the Dubare Jungle Lodges campus armed with a camera and a torch, I started looking for the creatures of the night.

After spotting some bicoloured frogs, spiders, and geckos, I saw a scorpion on the trunk of a tree. Upon closer observation, I realised that it had babies on its … Read More

Tiger and Civet, Nagarahole Tiger Reserve, Karnataka

-  Photos Leave a Comment

Nagarahole Tiger Reserve offers a variety of habitats 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. 

On a cool February afternoon in 2020, we were all excited to see a huge male tiger resting on the bund of a waterhole. Initially he appeared to be very calm. But soon he seemed a bit uneasy and stood looking up at the trees, seemingly … Read More

A Leopard’s Meal – the Ubiquitous Feral Dog

-  Photos Leave a Comment

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

Precious Amrit Mahal Kavals are not Wastelands

-  Announcements, -  Articles Leave a Comment

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

Albino Indian Grey Mongoose, Daroji, Karnataka

-  Photos, -  Picture of the Week Leave a Comment

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

Major Mortality of Birds in a Vineyard in Karnataka

-  Photo Feature, -  Photos, -  Picture of the Week Leave a Comment

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

Hessarghatta Grasslands Must Be Saved!

-  Announcements, -  Front Page Featured Leave a Comment

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

Pelicans in Peril – Nematode Infestation Alert!

-  Announcements, -  Articles, -  Featured Article Leave a Comment

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

Crake Amidst Plastic Waste, Hubli, Karnataka

-  Photos, -  Picture of the Week Leave a Comment

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

Wetland Habitat Destruction at Sonnapura, near Chikkaballapur, Karnataka

Leave a Comment

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.

The exact location can be accessed here. 

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

Celebrating World Elephant Day!

-  Photos, -  Picture of the Week Leave a Comment

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

Another One Bites the Dust

-  Photos, -  Picture of the Week Leave a Comment

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

A Case of Found and Lost – How Karnataka is Driving Away a Bird on the Verge of Extinction

-  Announcements, -  Articles, -  Featured Article Leave a Comment

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

Stray Dogs Killing a Chital Fawn, Muthanga, Kerala

-  Photos Leave a Comment

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