Amrit Mahal Kavals are semi-arid grasslands in Karnataka that were set aside several centuries ago, during the Vijayanagara empire, and protected as grazing grounds for a sturdy local breed of cattle known as Amrit Mahal, which was once highly prized as a military draught animal. The protection of these grasslands was continued by subsequent rulers, including Hyder Ali, Tippu Sultan, and the Maharajas of Mysore, as well as the British during their colonial reign in India. Although these grasslands … Read More
Ritualistic Hunting — The Silent Wildlife Killer of West Bengal
HEAL has been documenting South Bengal’s hunting festivals since 2016 and working with enforcement authorities to put an end to this indiscriminate mass killing of endangered wildlife.
All of us are acutely aware of the hunting of megafauna connected with the multi-billion dollar illegal wildlife trade. Many of us also know of the problem of hunting that persists in the … Read More
Pigeon-fancying is a popular hobby for many around India. Across the world, raptors are viewed as a threat to the pigeons kept by pigeon-fanciers. However, in Punjab (especially in the regions of Doaba and Malwa), some who participate in this activity have taken it upon themselves to deal with these threats in the most extreme manner.
Several shocking videos showing raptors, particularly falcons and accipiters, being caught and brutally “executed” have surfaced on online platforms such as Tik Tok, Whatsapp, … Read More
South Asian River Dolphin, also known as Ganges River Dolphin (Platanista Gangetica) is an endangered species found in Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna river systems in India and Bangladesh. It is listed as Endangered by IUCN and protected as Schedule I species under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. It is also the National Aquatic Animal of India and the focus of a number of conservation projects.
Around mid-2019, Human and Environment Alliance League (HEAL), a conservation focused NGO in Kolkata, started receiving news of … Read More
Panna’s success story is now a conservation case study in other tiger range countries where efforts are ongoing to increase tiger numbers.
Every monsoon the stunning Dundhwa Seha gorge in the middle of the Panna Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh, comes alive with a spectacular waterfall. Even during the drier months, the rocky outcrop is a refuge for wildlife looking to escape the grueling summer heat of Bundelkhand.
In this deep gorge, Panna recorded its first litter of tigers on this … Read More
On the morning of November 3, 2019, I witnessed the bycatch mortality of a sub-adult Ganges River Dolphin (Platanista gangetica gangetica), measuring 2.75′ feet and about 22 kg, in a drift gillnet set for catching fish near Jotkasturi, Panchanandpur, Malda, West Bengal. A Wallago attu catfish was also caught in the gillnet. The fishermen who had landed the dolphin said that it might have got accidentally entangled. Usually, in such cases, fishermen fear penalties being imposed, and are not … Read More
A palm civet (either common or masked, id unclear) was killed by villagers near my residence at Dharamtul this morning, inspite of my repeated requests to leave the animal alone. It was spotted on a tree in the neighborhood, and I left the spot after telling them that it will go away after dark. After about two hours I heard a commotion and rushed there but found that it had already been killed. The white ring on the tail confuses … Read More
A Fishing Cat was partially electrocuted at a pond in Baikunthapur village, of Haora (Howrah) district in West Bengal. The pond owner, along with some others, then killed the cat and sold off the meat. They then tried to destroy evidence by throwing away the head and skin of the cat in a nearby canal.
When informed of the incident, the Forest department carried out an investigation, which led to the recovery of the head of the cat. An … 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
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
In November 2018, while walking across some fields in my village, Gundbala, in Uttara Kannada district, Karnataka, I was happy to see a lot of bird activity around my village. However, something caught my eye from afar, and when I ventured near I saw that there was a thin net spread across some shrubs/short trees along the dividing fence between adjoining paddy fields. It was thin and looked like a giant spider web, but really strong, with a female Plum-headed … 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
This image of a poached Gangetic Dolphin was photographed yesterday in Bhabanathtola, Bhutni village, Malda district, West Bengal. The man was was probably carrying it from Hiranandapur towards Mathurapur.
The Forest Dept. and the police are visiting area today (30-Dec-2017). DFO Koushik Sarkar said, “We are taking the matter seriously and have also informed the police.”
In Bengal the dolphin is called the Shushuk and is just another fish-like creature for them, and is consumed locally … Read More
“Rules are rules; we shall definitely fine the offenders. The village council has set the rules and we all need to obey the same. Other villages should realise that we have completely banned hunting and fishing in our area and our decision should be taken seriously by them” were the words from a youth belonging to Sema tribe of Sukhai village from Nagaland, after they had caught people from the neighbouring villages fishing in their river.
The customary rights of … Read More
The Yellow-throated Laughingthrush is a secretive species with a very limited distribution in India, mainly along the India-Myanmar border. It has been only reported from a handful places in Nagaland and Manipur in the recent past. The species is most reported from Pungro region in East Nagaland after it was originally described in May 2011.
This species was recently recorded at the Doyang reservoir in Nagaland. After spending the whole day watching the spectacular Amur Falcon congregations at Doyang … Read More