The Elusive Leopard Cats of India

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Small felids, like jungle cats, leopard cats, fishing cats and marbled cats (among others) constitute more than 60% of all cat species in the world. But most of these small cats remain understudied because they are generally secretive, elusive and difficult to observe and monitor. In this aspect, the leopard cat presents a fascinating case study.

Leopard cats are among the world’s most widely occurring small cat species. There have been substantial studies of their ecology in Southeast Asia. In … Read More

Urgent — Help Safeguard the Western Ghats!

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Urgent! Time is short, so please act immediately – your appeal to the Central Government can help safeguard the Western Ghats.  Use the form below to write to the minister. 

I support the Government’s decision to declare 56,825 square kilometres of the Western Ghats as Eco Sensitive Area (see contents of the letter below the form). 


This campaign is now closed. We received support from more than 3500 concerned citizens. We are now sending a consolidated letter to the ministry, Read More

Bannerghatta National Park In Grave Danger — Act Now!

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New 2018 Notification Further Reduces Bannerghatta ESZ. 

The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has released a new draft notification seeking to reduce the proposed Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ) around Bannerghatta National Park by a further 100 sq. km. This would reduce the zone to just 1km from the park’s boundary, and a mere 100m in some places. 

Read / download the new 2018 draft MoEFCC notification here.

Bannerghatta National Park is part of a contiguous wildlife habitat … Read More

Tourist Photographs Aid Tiger Research and Monitoring

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Conservation India carried a photograph on 9th November 2016 of a tigress making a wild pig kill in Nagarahole. All tigers have stripes that are unique, just like human finger prints. To identify this tigress and trace its history, a WCS team of researchers working under my guidance rapidly matched patterns of this tigress against 850 other wild tigers, whose images are in our long-term camera trap database, maintained as part of a long-term monitoring of tiger populations in the … Read More

Karnataka Bird Festival: Hampi-Daroji Bear Sanctuary, Jan 5 – 7, 2017

The third Karnataka Bird Festival will be held at Hampi- Daroji Bear Sanctuary in Ballari District of Karnataka from 5th to 7th January 2017.

Karnataka is a forerunner in the field of wildlife conservation as well as ecotourism, being the “Tiger State” for the country with the highest number of tigers and also an “Elephant State”, but more importantly, Karnataka has over 500 species of birds with rare endemics and colourful birds.

Above all, the state has an active, vibrant … Read More

A First-hand Account of Incidental Dolphin Entrapment in a Fishing Net

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“Dolphin!” the driver of the fishing boat said to me excitedly, as he shook me awake from my slumber in the cabin. It was pitch dark outside. I looked at the time – it was ten past one in the morning. We were far from shore, almost eighty kilometres off the middle of the Karnataka coast, and on the crystal clear, inky blue waters of the continental shelf, just over two-hundred feet deep at our location.

Out on these seemingly … Read More

Tigress Making a Wild Pig Kill, Nagarahole

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We were on a morning jungle safari on 29th November 2016 in the Kabini backwaters area of Karnataka’s Nagarahole Tiger Reserve. Repeated peacock alarm calls alerted to us to the possible presence of a predator. Soon, we saw this tigress on the track stalking some wild pig that were on the other side of the elephant proof trench (EPT). We were lucky to witness the tigress jump across the EPT into the agricultural fields of Machegowdanahalli village, make a kill … Read More

New records of Swinhoe’s and Ashy Minivet in Bengaluru, Karnataka

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Swinhoe’s Minivet, aka Brown-rumped Minivet, (Pericrocotus cantonensis), breeds in central, eastern, and south-eastern China, and winters in parts of southern Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam (BirdLife International 2016). The Ashy Minivet (P. divaricatus) breeds in parts of Siberia, China, Korea, and Japan. The species is a winter migrant to South and Southeast Asia (Robson 2008; BirdLife International 2016).

However, very little is known about the status of these two species in India.

This presents details of the first record of a … Read More

Understanding the Distribution and Occurrence of India’s Smallest Bovid: The Chousingha

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Endemic to the Indian sub-continent, the four-horned antelope (FHA) or Chousingha is listed as Vulnerable (C2a (i)) in the IUCN Red list. In 2008, there were an estimated 10,000 adults in the wild in Nepal and India. Being a low-density species, FHA are particularly sensitive to changing habitat conditions and anthropogenic pressures. In India, the species is protected under Schedule-I of the Wildlife Protection Act (1972).

At present, there is little scientific information available on the four-horned antelope, and the … Read More

Illegal Sand Mining, Shimsha River, Karnataka

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This photographer made this image of illegal sand mining activities going on the Shimsha river bed near Kokkare Bellur (see location below). This could destroy the sanctuary for the Spot-billed Pelicans and Painted Storks which depend on the fish from this river.

This image of sand mining in the Cauvery river captures the norm rather than the exception: across the length of the river, and its tributaries (like Shimsha), sand is being gouged out at a pace that is hundreds … Read More

Mapping Sloth Bear Distribution in India and in Western Ghats of Karnataka

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Endemic to the Indian subcontinent, the Sloth Bear (Melursus ursinus) inhabits tropical and sub-tropical habitats across India, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka. Being the most common among the four species of bears in India, it is widely distributed from the foothills of the Himalayas to the southern tip of the Indian peninsula. With sloth bear populations in the Himalayan foothills and northeast India becoming isolated, the Western Ghats and central Indian landscapes now possibly harbor the largest populations.

Despite their … Read More

Mating Indian Vultures, Ramadevarabetta

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In early February​ 2016​, a few of us from Bangalore went to the Ramanagara rocks to see Shaheen Falcons (Falco peregrinus peregrinator). On our way back, we stopped over at the Ramadevarabetta Vulture Sanctuary. We reached the sanctuary around 11 am and spent 1.5 hours there observing the resident vultures. We saw five Long-billed or Indian Vultures (Gyps indicus) and a lone Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus).

There were two courting pairs of Indian Vultures, and we saw both … 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

Demoiselle Crane — First Record from Bengaluru, India

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At the last minute, on Sunday morning, I convinced 20 other birders that instead of going to Valley School, we should bird along the Kaggalipura-Bannerghatta stretch, and then go to check out Hulimangala. And there, at nearly the end of a long birding outing, we saw a migrant which has never before been sighted in the Bangalore area – the Demoiselle Crane. I have since got information that there were at least two individuals on the lake.

Demoiselle cranes undertake … Read More