Draco or gliding lizard (Draco dussumieri) is an agamid lizard endemic to the Western Ghats and Northeast India. They are primarily arboreal and occur in rainforests and plantations like areca nut, rubber, etc. It has a membrane called a patagium around its belly which extends to create wings that help it glide across tall canopies. Interestingly, within the Western Ghats, they do not occur beyond the Goa gap, a significant biogeographic barrier between Goa and South Maharashtra, due to the … Read More
Connectivity across habitats and animal populations is critical to conservation. Connectivity is forged by animal movements – or dispersal – across large heterogeneous landscapes. Connectivity boosts the ability of animals to persist over time, and enhances both immunity and adaptability of animal populations, and helps prevent local extinctions. When local extinctions do occur, connectivity allows animals to recolonise previously occupied but currently empty or depauperate habitats.
Today, habitats are sometimes severely fragmented, and human presence has drastically restricted animal movement. … Read More
The extremely fragile, biodiversity-rich forests of the North-Eastern states and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands are facing a major calamity in the form of the National Mission on Edible Oils – Oil Palm. This mega project threatens to wipe out these forests by replacing them with palm oil plantations, as has already occurred across vast swathes of South East Asia.
Add your signature below to this letter of appeal to the Prime Minister of India by Asst. Prof. Dr. Umesh … Read More
The increase in human-driven impacts on the natural world continues to threaten the survival of several species of wildlife. Many endangered species that currently survive in small populations across isolated habitats are particularly vulnerable. It is important to not only conserve these small populations but also enable movement of individuals between them. Facilitating ‘connectivity’ of populations and habitats is therefore a key conservation issue. The Asiatic wild dog (dhole) is one of many endangered species that can benefit from connectivity … Read More
We are in our fourth year of Polling for Pakke, an initiative where people vote for their favourite camera trapping images based on which forest department staff are then given prizes. So far more than 1000 voters have helped pick the best camera trap images from Pakke Tiger Reserve. Our voters have included the head of Arunachal Forest Department Force, scientists such as Dr. George Schaller and the widow of Karo Tayem, who won the 1st prize in the first … Read More
The future of the Pakke Tiger Reserve in Arunachal Pradesh is threatened by a proposal to construct a two-lane Highway through it. The proposed road, from Seijosa, Pakke Kessang district to Bhalukpong, West Kameng district would form part of the 692 km long East-West Industrial Corridor project that seeks to connect towns/villages in the foothill areas of Arunachal Pradesh, from Kanubari in the east to Bhairabkund in the west.
In Phase I of the proposed project, the developers / state … Read More
A tweet from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) reads – “Did you know? The total forest cover of India is 807,276 sq. km which is 24.56% of the geographical area of the country!”
When forest diversion and tree felling for development projects – roads, dams, mining, real estate and other infrastructure, are everyday news headlines, how could India continue its chest-thumping over forest cover, one wonders. Yet, every two years, there is a miraculous increase.
Imagine … Read More
Located in the northeastern state of Manipur, Tamenglong is home to several species of endangered wildlife like Hoolock Gibbons, Serows, Chinese Pangolins and Clouded Leopards, among others. Rampant illegal hunting in the region’s villages have led to a rapid decline of biodiversity. Birds and animals (including freshwater turtles) are mercilessly hunted down for trade. This includes outright sale of bushmeat (birds, pangolin, civet, porcupine, squirrel, python, deer, turtle) in local markets for human consumption. Also, Tamenglong seems to be a … Read More
On my visit to Agartala in the last week of September, 2019, as a member of the jury of the photography competition organized by Pict-O-Real Club, I had a horrific experience. On 28th night, Souvick Mukherjee, one of the members of the club, informed me that in Maharaj Ganj market, one the biggest fish markets in Agartala, different types of turtles were being sold for meat, including species like Indian Softshell turtle and Black Soft-shell Turtle.
To check out the … Read More
Dholes or Asiatic wild dogs (Cuon alpinis) are among the least-studied large carnivores in the world. The IUCN Red List assessment (2015) categorizes the dhole as an Endangered species. With fewer than 2,500 mature individuals remaining in the wild – across 11 countries in South and Southeast Asia – the dhole may be facing a crisis far more severe than the tiger or elephant. India has the highest dhole population in the world, in three key landscapes: the Western Ghats, … Read More
On 25th May 2019, while trekking from the village of Tyrna to Nongriat in the East Khasi hills of Meghalaya, we spotted a partially covered birdcage outside a house near the famous living-root bridge. A closer look through the camera revealed an agitated male orange-bellied leafbird (Chloropsis hardwickii) fluttering from end to end. As we walked a little further, we chanced upon the owner of the house, who casually remarked that it was a pet.
Leafbirds are small, attractive songbirds … Read More
Rodents are amongst the most common mammals; and yet, they are perhaps the most ignored or overlooked. However, for an interested ‘mammals watcher’, this group comprises of some very fascinating creatures. Since my first field season in Mizoram in 2014, a sound from beneath the ground, of something vigorously digging the earth, had always drawn my attention. When asked what animal caused it, people around always had the same answer- ‘sazu’ (rodent). As I learnt more about the rodent involved, … Read More
Around 10:30 p.m near Badsaitila Reserve Forest, Dosdewa Khasi Village, Assam, I heard an animal moving on a tree. I was later able to identify it from the photo I took, to be the Particoloured Flying Squirrel (Hylopetes alboniger).
This is a species that is found in most of the South East Asian countries. It forages at night and uses tree hollows for nesting, as well as for roosting during the day. Sometimes, it has been seen being active … Read More
Unsteadily, we inch our way along the narrow trail on the edge of the mountain, peering cautiously over the edge in search of the elusive spot-breasted parrotbill (Paradoxornis guttaticollis). The parrotbills were spotted along this grassy hillside in Nagaland’s Zunheboto district just a couple of weeks ago by Angulie Meyase, Nagaland’s leading bird guide. So throwing caution to the wind we thread down this treacherous, twisting necklace. An unending expanse of clouds beneath us gives us the illusion we … Read More
There are about 46 species of Flying Squirrels found in the world and they are grouped under one tribe, i.e. the Petauristini tribe. Asia has the distinction of being home to most of the species. Flying Squirrels don’t actually fly, but glide from one tree to the other. They basically use their patagium, a membrane stretching from the wrist (forelegs) to the ankle (hind legs), to glide. Once airborne, these squirrels use their arms, legs, and tail to effectively navigate … Read More