Sunday with a Phalarope, Bhigwan, Maharashtra

-  Picture of the Week Leave a Comment

With winter drawing to a close and with it the peak birding season, the weekends are spent in trips to easily accessible birding spots around Mumbai. The last Sunday of March 2016 however brought different tidings – a Red Phalarope had been spotted in Bhigwan, around 250 kms away from Mumbai. A vagrant to beat all rare vagrants!

The Red or Grey Phalarope (Phalaropus fulicarius) is a small wader in the Sandpiper family. It breeds in the Arctic and winters … Read More

Declaring Wildlife as Vermin — Legalising Hunting?

-  Announcements, -  Articles Leave a Comment

Uttarakhand, Bihar and Himachal Pradesh have had – in recent months – notifications issued by the Central Government stating that select species of wildlife have been declared as vermin in specified areas. In other words for a specified period, in these areas, the wild pig in Uttarakhand, wild pig and Nilgai in Bihar and Rhesus Macaque in Himachal Pradesh are shifted to schedule five of the Wildlife Protection Act. Besides, Maharashtra and Telangana have had culling orders issued by the … Read More

Declining Indian Fisheries: Perceptions of Fisher Folk from Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu

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

Although over four million people worldwide are dependent on wild-caught fish as a source of protein, marine fish are not at the top of the conservation radar. Although fish are among the most important components of marine ecosystems after plankton, they are most seriously threatened by human activities in the sea. In recognition of this fact, fisheries across the world are being managed based on estimates of sustainable harvest rates for each population of fish. However this requires intensive data … Read More

Something Fishy — Emptying India’s Seas

-  Announcements, -  Articles Leave a Comment

Marine organisms are frequently seen as resources that can be used or extracted seemingly limitlessly. They certainly do not come to mind as wildlife, which are in need of as much protection as terrestrial creatures, if not more. Mindless fishing or harvesting, combined with unsustainable methods, have wreaked havoc on marine systems. Seafood encompasses any sea life that is fit for consumption by humans, and additionally marine organisms are used as ‘resources’ in a variety of ways – as pets, … Read More

Palm Civet Roadkill, Bhimashankar, Maharashtra

-  Photos, -  Picture of the Week Leave a Comment

This haunting image of a dead Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) was taken on the main road to Bhimashankar temple. We sighted this otherwise nocturnal creature first thing in the morning in this sad state, likely killed by a speeding vehicle at night. Bhimashankar Temple is a Jyotirling shrine (a major site of worship for Lord Shiva; one of 12 in the country) located in the Sahyadri hills near Pune, in Maharashtra.

Also a wildlife sanctuary, Bhimashankar gets very crowded seasonally … Read More

Human — Leopard Conflict; Lessons from Junnar, Maharashtra

-  Announcements, -  Articles, -  Featured Article 2 Comments

In many parts of India, leopards live in close proximity to human habitations with surprisingly low levels of conflict.  They are capable of living and breeding even in degraded forests, plantations and croplands, and manage to survive on a variety of small wild prey, domestic dogs, livestock and feral animals. Rural folk in many of these areas are often remarkably tolerant to the presence of these wild and potentially dangerous predators; but the threat to human lives even if rare Read More

Living in Mumbai with Leopards

-  The Featured Video, -  Videos Leave a Comment

This 7-minute video ‘Living with Leopards’ showcases ‘Mumbaikars for SGNP’ (MfSGNP), a project that was initiated by the Maharashtra Forest Department to manage human-leopard encounters in a novel way. This group engages a variety of stakeholders like scientists, apartment dwellers, tribal colonies, police force and journalists, working with them in tandem to alleviate fear among people. This approach has worked well for both humans and leopards and, since 2013, no leopards have been captured and removed from the area.… Read More

Black Baza — First Record From Tadoba Tiger Reserve

-  Photos, -  Picture of the Week Leave a Comment

Tiger reserves are not just about spotting and photographing tigers, but also a standing testimony to the preservation of larger landscapes and the biodiversity they support. As the saying goes, the jungle is full of surprises and animals or birds can make their appearance when you least expect them. Such was one of our early morning drives on 9th April, 2015 in the Kolsa range of Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve. We were driving through dense bamboo at Shivanzari when I … Read More

Lessons from Leopards — Uncovering the Real Conflicts in Sanjay Gandhi National Park

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

This article is condensed from ‘Cities, Towns, and the Places of Nature’ (A. Rademacher, K. Sivaramakrishnan ed., Hong Kong University Press, In Press). The study in question was conducted by Frédéric Landy, Professor of Geography, University Paris Ouest-Nanterre, France, in the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SNGP) in Mumbai, and documents the dangerous and sometimes deadly presence of leopards in and around the park. It also focuses on the fact that leopards in Mumbai are not only a matter of human-nonhuman … Read More

Spot-billed Pelican Record for Maharashtra

-  Photos, -  Picture of the Week Leave a Comment

A birding group that I was part of sighted the Spot-billed Pelican (Pelecanus philippensis) on 13th February 2016 at 6:35 PM during an evening boat ride at Kumbhargaon, Bhigwan, Maharashtra. The sun had just set, when we sighted a single Spot-billed Pelican circling in the sky. The Pelican circled around 4-5 times before it flew along the river and disappeared in to the horizon.

The other people with me were Bhavesh Rathod, Ranjan Pendharkar, Urvi Shah, Kavita Trivedi, Saumitra Newalkar, … Read More

Native Grasslands Matter for Denning Indian Foxes

-  Announcements, -  Articles Leave a Comment

Habitats of many species are rapidly getting fragmented and human-modified today; therefore assessing how species respond to such changes in native habitats is an important precursor for any conservation strategy. The tropical short grasslands in India are heavily human-modified landscapes, but are still home to a diverse array of species, including the widely distributed Indian fox (Vulpes benghalensis). Even though commonly seen, Indian fox populations appear to be declining in most parts of its range, and this decline … Read More

Re-sighting of Collared Bar-headed Geese at Veer Dam, Maharashtra

-  Photos, -  Picture of the Week Leave a Comment

It was indeed exciting when a collared Bar-Headed Goose bearing a dark orange collar “RT” was sighted and photographed at Veer dam in Maharashtra on 01 January 2015. This was the only bird with a collar amongst 193 individuals present. Apart from Bar-headed Goose, one Ruddy Shelduck had a collar but could not be photographed. Mumbai birder Adesh Shivkar and team also recorded a collared Bar-headed Goose (C6) on 13 Jan 2008 from Veer Dam.

The information was mailed to … Read More

Forest Owlet, Tansa, Maharashtra

-  Photos, -  Picture of the Week Leave a Comment

To start the New Year with a bang, Saurabh Sawant, Rujuta Phadke and myself went to Tansa Wildlife Sanctuary near Mumbai where Sunil Laad — a naturalist associated with the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) — had sighted and photographed the Critically Endangered Forest Owlet in November 2014.

We had just parked our car to stop and search when, to our incredulity, we heard a Forest Owlet calling. It took us just 10 more minutes to locate a beautiful pair … Read More

Road Killed

-  Photos, -  Picture of the Week Leave a Comment

Anything and everything in excess destabilizes the balance of nature. Wind energy is considered to be green but unfortunately there is no policy regulation on how many windmills a landscape can sustain. This might turn out to be hazardous in future and definitely raises a question on its sustainability. Windmills have changed the area around Satara in Maharashtra dramatically. Asia’s largest wind farm is located in and around the Chalkewadi plateau in the northern Western Ghats. The lateritic rocks of … Read More

Destruction of Grasslands, Pune

-  Photos, -  Picture of the Week Leave a Comment

This is a scene from a hill in Baner, Pune city, Maharashtra. The photo shows a globally threatened bird, the migrant Eurasian Roller (Coracias garrulus) taking off in front of some heavy earthmoving equipment that are destroying its grassland habitat.

Like in the rest of India, grasslands all over Pune district that are not under the control of the forest department are fast disappearing. These grasslands host some threatened fauna. Unfortunately, development will take over and there won’t be habitat … Read More