Ecological Restoration Increases Tree Diversity and Carbon Storage in Degraded Rainforest Fragments

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Our research article that appeared recently in the journal, Ecosphere, asks: To what extent can a degraded rainforest be ecologically restored to resemble an undisturbed and mature rainforest? This is the first study that attempts to evaluate the effectiveness of a long term rainforest restoration project in the Anamalai Hills of the Western Ghats in peninsular India.

The results of the study suggest that ecological restoration of degraded rainforests – by controlling invasive weeds and planting native tree saplings – … Read More

Hornbill Watch: A Citizen Science Initiative for Indian Hornbills

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This is a summary of the paper originally published in INDIAN BIRDS Vol. 14 No. 3 (Publ. 25 July 2018).

Hornbills are called the ‘farmers of the forest’ as they play a very important role in dispersal of seeds that grow into trees. These long-lived birds are slow breeders, with larger hornbills usually raising a single chick every year. Hornbills face significant threats from hunting in parts of India and from habitat loss across their range in India. The information … Read More

Lights on for Elephants

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Technology offers solutions for Human-Elephant Conflicts.

The dark hulks ambled in a single file across the stark green landscape of thigh-high tea bushes. Without a pause in their stride, the elephants made their way towards a tiny patch of forest. Save for the tree crickets, there were no other sounds. Had it been daytime, the elephants would have been harassed by people behaving like neurotic monkeys. On such occasions, despite their size, the elephants seemed so vulnerable, with nowhere to … Read More

A Species Recovery Plan for Jerdon’s Courser

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Jerdon’s Courser (Rhinoptilus bitorquatus) is a nocturnal cursorial bird found only in the State of Andhra Pradesh, India. It is one of the world’s rarest bird species and is classified as Critically Endangered (CR) by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The species was believed to be extinct until it was rediscovered in 1986 near Reddipalli village, Cuddapah District of Andhra Pradesh, India. The site where it was rediscovered was designated as the Sri Lankamaleswara Wildlife … Read More

Science-based Approach to Promote Human-Elephant Coexistence — Lessons from Valparai

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Understanding human-elephant interactions is critical for conservation of elephants outside Protected Areas. One of the intriguing questions is how can a person weighing 50kg and a 5000kg animal coexist with no barrier between them?

Conflict incidents frequently lead to use of reactive measures such as chasing elephants, capture and translocation, or retaliatory persecution, but these often fail to resolve conflicts on a sustained basis, empower communities to implement solutions, or help conservation of elephants. Long-term research on behavioural and ecological … Read More

Pakke Paga — Protecting the Hornbills of Arunachal Pradesh

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In 2003, Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF) started a long-term study of hornbill nests in the Pakke Tiger Reserve, western Arunachal Pradesh. Hornbills nest in existing holes in trees and are dependent on specific large trees for this. These birds have a long breeding cycle and intensive parental care which lasts 3 to 4 months depending on the species. After eight years of studying hornbill nests in the Tiger Reserve, we realised the need to extend this work outside the Protected … Read More

Elephant Rescue, Valparai

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It was that time of the year again, when elephants slowly started marking their presence. Like every year, there were incidents of households getting hit here and there, thankfully, nothing major though. What is always interesting to note every year is the consistency they maintain in terms of their movement patterns, and also in the damage sites they choose! Early that morning I decided to take off from my daily routine in front of my Macbook’s hypnotizing screen. I went … Read More

The Great Snow Leopard Camera Trap Expedition

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Snow leopards are elusive animals. The regions they inhabit are remote and extremely difficult to negotiate, adding to the aura around them. Regular monitoring is key to understanding their occurrences. However, the lack of skilled resources has often posed a challenge to monitoring these beautiful species.

In 2013, the Himachal Pradesh Forest Department (HPFD) along with Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF) and the Snow Leopard Trust (SLT) initiated an effort to plug this vital gap. The HPFD along with NCF and … Read More

Healthy Dogs, Healthy Cats — Containing Feral Dogs to Protect Wildlife

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Feral dogs kill more livestock in Spiti region of Himachal Pradesh region than snow leopards and wolves combined. Now, conservationists and local communities are teaming up to contain the canines and protect local wildlife.

In India’s Spiti region, an unlikely threat to wildlife has emerged over the last few of years: feral dogs. Kaza, Spiti’s capital, only has 300 households – but as many as 250 feral dogs. They roam free, without proper homes, care and attention. These dogs have … Read More

Narcondam Campaign Update — Rare Hornbills in danger as Ministry Reopens Radar Project!

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Campaign Update 21st November 2012

Great News! The Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF) has rejected the proposal by the Indian Coast Guard to erect a RADAR installation on Narcondam Island in the Andamans.

Living with Elephants, Valparai, Tamil Nadu

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In the human-dominated landscape of the Valparai plateau, abutting the Anamalai Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu, this is the peak annual elephant movement period, which lasts till the end of February. Given the mosaic of landscapes the herds have to navigate, they encounter curious onlookers, passing tourists and heavy vehicle movement. The elephants normally choose to move once human activities reduce after sundown.

This herd had a hard time traversing through tea estates interspersed with degraded forest patches because of … Read More

Catalysing Awareness — How Mumbai’s Media Represents its Leopards

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The common leopard (Panthera pardus) is a highly adaptable species that is found throughout the country (and beyond) in a variety of habitats, from the pristine rainforests to human-modified and dominated landscapes. Despite its ability to survive on a wide range of prey species including the wild and the domestic, the leopard population is on a downward spiral owing to intense persecution and pressures of illegal wildlife trade.

Authors Saloni Bhatia, Vidya Athreya, Richard Grenyer and … Read More

Human-Tiger conflict in Russia and its relevance in India by Dr. John Goodrich — Bangalore, 3rd February 2013

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Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF) in association with Panthera, UK, is very happy to invite you to a talk titled “Human-tiger conflict in Russia and its relevance in India” by Dr. John Goodrich, Senior Tiger Program Director at Panthera (see bio). Given the backdrop of an alarming number of human-tiger conflict incidences in Karnataka, Dr. Goodrich’s talk will give a pertinent look at the issue and lessons we can learn from the world’s longest running radio-telemetry based tiger research … Read More

Bridging the Gap

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In the Anamalais, highways and the resulting fragmented canopies, are a huge threat to lion-tailed macaques. The highways department has been widening and improving the quality of roads to cater to the growing tourist population. There has been a sharp increase in the number fairly silent cars that speed through such roads. Macaques have also been emboldened by tourists feeding them, and thus hang out by the roadside. All this has led to a growing number of roadkills to this … Read More

Survival

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In July 2012, I was witness to a story of survival in the wild, and how, despite the best attempts of humans, nature has its way. I was in Valparai and we got news that an elephant herd that we were tracking had given birth to a calf. The mother was a young elephant and an older one was observed always staying by her side. A few days later, while I was at Bangalore, I heard the startling news that … Read More

The Pakke Hornbill Nest Adoption Program

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There is a quiet change taking place in Arunachal Pradesh. Not big, but quite important. Pakke Tiger Reserve lies in South Western Arunachal Pradesh and is home to several Nyishi tribal villages. Late one morning in December 2011, a group of nine tribal headmen representing their villages, the dynamic Nyishi District Forest Officer (DFO) Tana Tapi, and researchers from the Nature Conservation Foundation’s (NCF) had gathered in a community hall. They were kicking off an innovative program – the Hornbill … Read More

Snow Leopard Research Centre To Be Setup At Kibber In Spiti

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One of the first tasks under the funds received from Project Snow Leopard, will be used to setup a research center at Kibber in Spiti, says the Himachal Pradesh Chief Wildlife Warden AK Gulati. A lot of conservation interest has sprung up after the animal has been declared as the state animal. It is proposed to spend Rs. 30 lakhs on the center in the first year. Project Snow Leopard has Rs 5.5 crore allocation, spread over Himachal Pradesh, Jammu … Read More

Heights of Success — Snow Leopard Conservation in the High Himalaya

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The Himalaya and Trans-Himalaya support highly endangered populations of species such as the snow leopard, the black-necked crane, Himalayan black bear, brown bear, red panda, wild yak, Tibetan antelope (chiru), Tibetan gazelle, Tibetan argali, Ladakh urial, musk deer, goral, serow, and takin, to name a few.

Conservation in these high altitudes has been relatively neglected even though the wildlife here faces a variety of threats:

  • The snow leopard, wolf, and other carnivores are widely persecuted in retaliation against livestock depredation.
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NCF Recommendation for Elephant Corridors in Valparai Plateau

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The Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF) has submitted a recommendation to the Tamil Nadu Forest Department, titled, “Elephant Corridors in the Anamalai Tiger Reserve”. The report identifies the unique location of the Valparai Plateau in the Anamalai hills, where the gently undulating terrain is suitable for elephants to move from one forest patch to another. The NCF report identifies the Ryan division belonging to the Tamil Nadu Tea Plantation Corporation as a suitable candidate for bringing under the control of Anamalai … Read More

Environment Ministry seeks draft policy on Minimizing Impact of Linear Instrusions on Wildlife and Habitats

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TR Shankar Raman, a member of the Nature Conservation Foundation has been asked to draft a policy guideline to minimize the adverse impacts of man made intrusions, such as roads, powerlines and railway tracks, on wildlife habitats. Shankar Raman, has already presented a background paper on the subject in meeting held on Jan 24th by the Standing Committee of the National Board for Wildlife. Shankar Raman has identified the issues of fragmentation, spread of alien species, dessication, windthrow and animal … Read More

Nobody’s Heroes: Our Forgotten Forest Watchers

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It was an hour after dawn. Siddarama, a forest watcher, was walking to the Tiger Reserve’s headquarters from his village a good six kilometres away, when he heard the faint sound of voices. Suspicious, he approached quietly, and saw three men sitting by a stream, smoking and chatting. Two guns leaned on the rocks behind them and a dead giant squirrel lay on a sackcloth. Siddarama was alone and unarmed, but all he could think of then was that he … Read More

Wildlife Beyond Boundaries

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The elephants stood at the stream’s edge. As the adults drank in measured trunkfuls, calves gambolled in the water. Just above them, on the slope, a large sambar stag emerged silently from the undergrowth. From a cluster of trees above came the scolding call of a giant squirrel, as a troop of Nilgiri langur foraged in the canopy. Just as we were slipping into a reverie, imagining ourselves in pristine wilderness, a woman called loudly to her children playing nearby … Read More