Precious Wayanad in Peril

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Wayanad is home to Edakkal Caves, a group of ancient, natural caves, with stone age carvings believed to be around 8000 years old. Located amidst the precious Western Ghats, the huge rocky hills near Edakkal now face the threat of several illegal quarries that blast the hills off to feed the market for sand and gravel. Uncontrolled tourism is also adding to the environmental degradation. Tourists who come from every part of the country litter plastic bags and beer bottles, … Read More

Linear Intrusions, Electricity and Elephants

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This was photographed by my colleague N. Suresh on the way to Mysore from Munnar in a place called “shooting spot” near Munnar where a lot of movie shootings happen. He took this interesting image and shared it with me to post on Conservation India.

The image, while it looks “green”, has hardly anything wild about it — cleared mountain slopes, exotic plantation all around and transmission lines right through it. The image conveys the serious treats to these elephants … Read More

From Wild To Captivity: An Orphaned Elephant Calf

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This four-year old elephant calf was found in the Malapuzha forest range of Palakkad, Kerala, dehydrated, tired and not eating anything. Thanks to the efforts of forest department staff and doctors, this tired little one was brought back to life. Unfortunately, the calf refused to go back into the forest. So the forest department had to take him to a rescue center. Even though the life of an elephant was saved, it was painful to see the transformation of a … Read More

Eco-tourism in a Fragile Habitat

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This was photographed near the Banasurasagar Dam, in Wayanad, Kerala. The Banasura Hills and Aralam Forest area shown in this picture are a catchment area for the Karamanathodu stream — a major tributary for the Kabini River. Latest developments in the name of eco-tourism have cut down a lot of trees in this fragile habitat. The Kerala government says this is an eco-friendly hydro electric project. This dam is the largest earthern dam in India and the second largest in … Read More

Captive Hill Myna, Munnar, Kerala

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In many parts of India, people still keep wild animals captive in their homes as pets. This photographer found this captive Southern or lesser Hill Myna (Gracula indica) at a grocery store in Munnar, Kerala. The store also had a captive Malabar (blue-winged parakeet). This photo was taken in March 2012.

The Wildlife Protection Act (WLPA) prohibits any person (other than a recognized zoo including a rescue centre) from keeping any wild animal (species listed in Schedule I … Read More

Thirunelli-Kudrakote Elephant Corridor, Wayanad, Kerala

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This picture of a tusker attempting to cross the road was taken in the Thirunelli-Kudrakote Elephant Corridor in Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala. A number of human settlements are present here adding to the pressure in addition to roads like these. This road leads to the famous Thirunelli Temple which is a very popular tourism destination.

Several Indian and International wildlife NGOs and charities are working with the government to secure the 42-mile Thirunelli-Kudrakote corridor, a vital funnel route for elephants, … Read More

Innocent Victim — Elephant Calf Railway Kill, Walayar, Kerala

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Tragically unresolved and burning issue of the deaths of wild elephants around Walayar, Palakkad, Kerala, due to train hits. This is not a freak accident — during the last two years, this little calf is the eighth such victim of our carelessness and negligence. With both the Indian Railways and the Forest Department busy blaming each other over this issue, the end result is this emotionally wrenching scene of the the whole mourning herd standing guard and not allowing anybody … Read More

Kerala National Parks Face Funds Crisis

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On the same day Assam declared a serious shortage of funds, Kerala’s national parks and sanctuaries also stated they are cutting back on conservation activities due to lack of funds. There has been a drastic reduction in the central allocation and the state has not filled the void. The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) had reduced this years allocation to Rs. 2.88 crores as against last year’s Rs. 4.4 crores. This has led to downsizing of the protection staff … Read More

Poaching For Crude Medicines Continues To Threaten Nilgiri Langurs

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Poaching continues to be the key threat for Nilgiri Langurs, where their pelt, organs, blood and flesh are used to produce crude medicines and aphrodisiacs. This was highlighted by the National Studbook on Nilgiri Langurs, released recently by the Central Zoo Authority and the Wildlife Institute of India. Prior to the Wildlife Protect Act, 1972, these crude medicines were widely available and even advertised. Karinkorangu Rasayanam was one of the leading products at that time. With the act and campaigning … Read More

Unrestricted Plantation Activity Destroying Lion-tailed Macaque Habitat in Nelliyampathy

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Unregulated plantation activity is destroying the lion-tailed macaque habitat in Nelliyampathy. There are 13 troops with around 200 individuals in the area. This is the second biggest population of the endangered primate in Kerala. Silent Valley hosts around 250 individuals. Nelliyampathy has a fragmented ecosystem for these primates due to coffee and tea plantations, as well as hydel projects. Two-thirds of the evergreen forests in Nelliyampathy was cleared for plantation around 60 years ago. There are forests in the south-west … Read More

Four Elephant Carcasses Found; Lightning Suspected

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Carcasses of four wild elephants, two of them calves, were found in the interior forest areas in Pachakkanam forest station limits in Thekkady, Kerala. Severe burns were found on the carcasses. Frequent lightning strikes were reported to have struck the forest tracts on August 17th. Electrocution has been ruled out since there are no power lines in the area. Hence, lightning is suspected to have been the cause of death. An autopsy would be conducted by a wildlife veterinary surgeon.… Read More

Relocation of Human Settlements in Wayanad Awaits Government Action

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Even though around 10,000 people inside Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary want to relocate outside government inaction is delaying their move out. The central government has sanctioned Rs. 80 crores to move out a third of the population inside Wayanad, but of that only Rs 4.5 crores have been released. According to a report from the Kerala Forest Research Institute (KFRI) there are 110 settlements having 2613 families in the sanctuary. Wild animal attacks are frequent as are retaliatory killings. The Central … Read More

Regular Crop Raider Tusker Radio-collared in Wayanad, Kerala

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A 40-year old tusker, which is said to be a regular crop raider in the Sulthan Bathery area of Wayanad, has been radio collared. The radio collar will help monitor the animals movements and help warn villagers about its movements. Trackers had spotted the animal in the Arakunchi forest and though it tried to evade the trackers, the forest officials kept up the chase and eventually tranquilized the elephant. An expert team then took biometrical measurements of the elephant before … Read More

Kerala Grants Permission to Farmers to Kill Wild Boar

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The Kerala cabinet has given special permission to farmers in the state to kill wild boars attacking their crops, under the most stringent of conditions. Permission would have to be applied from the forest officials and the permit will carry strict stipulations. The carcasses should be burnt and not used as meat. Chief Minister Oomen Chandy announced this decision today and said that attacks by wild animals was causing crop loss worth many crores of rupees. … Read More

Tiger Population Doubles at The Kalakad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve (KMTR)

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TIRUNELVELI, Tamil Nadu: The Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve (KMTR) has witnessed two-fold increase in tiger population in 2010-11, when compared to the last estimate in 2006-07. H Malleshappa, Chief Conservator of Forests and Field Director of Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, said the tiger population was around 15 to 18 as per the tiger estimate taken in 2010-11. “This is a two-fold increase when compared to the 2006-07 estimate of six to eight tigers,” he informed. Tigers that migrate from Periyar … Read More