Painted Storks — Living with Trucks and JCBs, Pune

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Pune Municipal Corporation has undertaken the work of “restoring” the Pashan Lake in Pune. Lots of digging; new additions to the habitat are being made. I hope the flora & fauna present in and around the lake, benefit after the changes take place. Detailed information of the project is not yet available to me. This image shows the ‘Near Threatened’ Painted Storks with a truck carrying rocks in the background.… Read More

Private Vehicles – Bane of Wildlife Tourism?

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Screeching tyres, engines revving noisily, exhausts spewing black smoke, horns blaring, cars cutting in front of each other, people shouting and even the odd bang or two. Sounds like normal urban India? Think again, this is a scene from a safari in the heart of a tiger reserve in Maharashtra!

Some tiger reserves allow private vehicles (albeit with a forest guide) for safaris. The drivers have no sensibilities on how to drive in a forest (we barely have any road … Read More

Two tigers caught in poachers’ traps near Chandrapur; one dead

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Two tigers were caught in steel traps set by professional tiger poachers in a heart-rending incident that took place yesterday in Palasgaon Range near Chandrapur in Maharashtra. One tiger died and the other has been rescued by the Forest Department with serious injuries.

The scene of the crime was a small pond in scrub forest, only 2.5 km from the nearest village Gondmohadi which also has a forest chowki. The Forest Department had been setting up camera traps there to … Read More

Tourists Breaking Rules, Tadoba

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This image shows two tourists on foot in the Kolsa zone of Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR), in Maharashtra. This happened during the afternoon safari on 10th Apr 2012. Forest authorities should take stringent action against both the tourists as well as accompanying the forest guide who allowed it. Private vehicles should also be banned inside the national park. … Read More

Unregulated Tourism at Kaas Plateau, Maharashtra.

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Kaas flower plateau is Maharashtra’s valley of flowers. The plateau is located between 1200 – 1240 metres and is about 25km from Satara town. As the monsoon sets in (Sept / Oct), the plateau and the surrounding hillsides come alive with millions of blooming wild flowers. The carpet changes colour every passing day through the monsoon.

This spectacle attracts many tourists and photographers resulting in unregulated tourism causing vehicular traffic, air and noise pollution and pressure on the fragile habitat. … Read More

Developmental Activities Have ‘Seriously Impacted’ Districts Of Ratnagiri And Sindhudurg, Says Expert Panel

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The entire districts of Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg in southern Maharashtra have been “seriously impacted, both environmentally and socially, by a number of mining, power projects and polluting industries”, says a report submitted by the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP). The impacts mentioned include pollution (noise, air and ground water), depletion of fisheries, deforestation, siltation of water bodies and “loss of unique biodiversity elements”, among many others. The report claims that there are also numerous illegal activities in these areas … Read More

Thane Creek In Mumbai To Be Declared A Flamingo Sanctuary

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The Maharashtra state forest department has decided to declare Thane creek as a Flamingo sanctuary, to protect the flamingos and several other birds that are threatened by pollution and habitat destruction in the north-eastern Mumbai area. The notification is expected soon. Mumbai based NGO Vanashakti had approached the state forest department seeking its intervention to protect the birds and mudflats along the Thane creek. Kavita Mallya, project officer with Vanashakti said that the number of birds arriving has reduced drastically … Read More

New Species Of Bronzeback Tree Snake Discovered In Western Ghats

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A new species of snake has been discovered in the Western Ghats. The snake was first spotted by nature enthusiasts in Amboli village in Maharashtra in 2001. The snake is predominantly bronze coloured, arboreal and when aggressive, expand their skin to reveal a blue coloured skin between the scales.

In 2003, Varad Giri, a deputy director and curator of the herpetological collection with the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) saw a similar snake during his visit to Goa and took … Read More

NHAI Violations Come Up In Standing Committee Meeting Of National Board for Wildlife

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The violations by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) were brought up by members of the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) in its 24th standing committee meeting held on 13th December, 2011.

NHAI’s non-compliance with conditions while constructing a four-lane expressway through the Lumding Reserve Forest in Assam that will cut through a crucial Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong migratory corridor for tigers, elephants, gibbons and gaur was brought up by Prerna Bindra, member of NBWL and co-ordinator of Panthera, an NGO … Read More

The Leopards of Mumbai

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Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) in the north of Mumbai seems to have always been associated with leopards attacking humans. However, a little delving into the patterns of attacks finds that conflict is a recent phenomenon. The attacks began around the nineties and took on its worst form in 2004, when in a single month in May, nineteen attacks on people were reported. Now again, post-2006, there have been no attacks on humans.

Recently the Forest Department of SGNP (headed … Read More

Rusty-spotted Cat, Maharashtra

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The Rusty-spotted Cat (Prionailurus rubiginosus) is the smallest wild cat species that occurs only in India and Sri Lanka. Available information relies on a few sightings across its range and the species is thought to be rare. I discovered a breeding population of rusty spotted cats from a human-dominated agricultural landscape in W. Maharashtra. I propose that we should also focus on agricultural landscapes, which are likely to have high rodent densities, to study some of the smaller … Read More

Leopard Trapped In Well, Maharashtra

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This leopard chased a village dog and fell into a percolation well in Takli Dokeshwar village, Ahmednagar district. These percolation wells which dot the landscape are at ground level without a parapet wall (and mostly surrounded by shrubbery) and it is common for leopards to fall in them. The leopard (named Ajoba by the study team; codenamed 5863) was captured with the help of a ladder (that led to a cage) and then fitted with a GPS+ collar. It was … Read More

NHAI Violates Forest Conservation Act With Work On NH7 Near Mansingh-Deo Wildlife Sanctuary

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The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is performing road widening work on NH7 near Mansingh-Deo Wildlife Sanctuary, as part of a 117.058 km project from Deolapar on the Madhya Pradesh — Maharashtra border. While most of the work is complete, it is yet to get clearance in the 39 km patch from the Deolapar side. Yet, after completing the work near Tekadi and Mansar, NHAI has started road and canal work near Chorbahuli. This, wildlife experts say, is in … Read More

Rampant Mining Poses Threat To Tadoba Says Expert Wildlife Panel

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Rampant coal mining in Chandrapur and its surrounding areas in Maharashtra pose a grave threat to tigers. A fact-finding team, comprising of Praveen Bhargav, Biswajit Mohanty and environment lawyer Rahul Choudhary, released its findings and recommendations in a report titled, “Undermining Tadoba’s tigers” said that no new mines should be given forest clearance in the region and further expansion of mines in operation should be stopped. The team has visited the area in September of this year, interacted with villagers, … Read More

Nagzira — Navegaon Reserve Area in Maharashtra To Be Expanded

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An earlier plan to include only the existing area of Nagzira and Navegaon in a proposed tiger reserve, has been shelved in favour of a new and better one, by adding more areas and creating a 556.12 sq km reserve. This will be done by including adjoining forests that come under the territorial wing and the Forest Development Corporation of Maharashtra (FDCM). Thus, an additional area of 117.68 sq km will be added to Navegaon and 151.75 sq km will … Read More