Since November 2021, Himalayan Black Bear (Ursus thibetanus laniger) have been spotted in the foothills of north Bengal, perplexing Forest Department personnel, wildlife biologists, and local inhabitants alike. The species is usually only found at altitudes between 1200-4300m above sea level in tropical, subtropical, and temperate broadleaved and conifer forests of the Himalayas. Ursus thibetanus laniger is easily identified by a cream-coloured, crescent-shaped patch on the chest, earning its other common name, ‘Moon Bear’. It is one of the four … Read More
Sharing Space with Big Cats and Elephants — Lessons from Tea Gardens of North Bengal
This article originally appeared in the Last Wilderness on 7th July 2016.
The morning siren at a tea estate factory ushers in a new day in the life of a tea garden worker in the duars region of northern West Bengal. The term ‘duar’ means gateway since this landscape is the foothills or the gateway to the ‘Himalayas’. Historically, the region comprised of prime moist deciduous and semi-evergreen forests in a Bombax (Silk Cotton) and Shorea (Sal) dominated forests. In … Read More
The Elephant Conflict Story from the Terai Region, West Bengal
The conflict between humans and elephants is turning very grave, with many human and elephant casualties (numbers can be as high as 50-100/year both sides), and severe crop damage. The situation worsens with fragmented corridors on their migration routes and continuous denudation of forest patches. The added issue of the 17-km long fencing along the Nepal border cuts off their traditional migration routes, pushing them into small forest patches and adjoining forest lands (Terai).
A few days back I witnessed … Read More
A Satyr Tragopan From Neora Valley, North Bengal
The male Satyr Tragopan (Tragopan satyra) is easily one of the most beautiful birds in India and also one of the rarest. The Satyr Tragopan is found in the Eastern Himalayas, besides Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan. It is best seen in Neora Valley National Park in North Bengal. Male Satyr’s are 68cm and are a bright crimson red with white spots. Females are smaller and less conspicuous.
Tragopans are often called “horned pheasants” because they display horn-like projections … Read More