Miscreants Caught Trying to Poison Vultures
On a recent visit to Ramadevarabetta Vulture Sanctuary along with my friends Hrishikesh and Preetham, we came across a group of miscreants who were caught red-handed while trying to poison vultures at the sanctuary. Five of them were caught by the local Iruliga tribe while they were trying to poison vultures using chicken meat. An insecticide called PHORATE was applied to the chicken meat and dispersed near the vultures nests. The motive behind hunting these vulture was not clear. However, … Read More
The Endangered Narrow-headed Softshell Turtle
The Narrow-headed Softshell Turtle (Chitra indica) of the family Trionychidae, is an extremely large, highly aquatic species. It is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List, and placed in Schedule II of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972. It is widely but patchily distributed throughout the riverine ecosystems of the Indian subcontinent. The Narrow-headed Softshell Turtle does not appear to exist at high densities anywhere in its range. Its specialized dietary and habitat requirements make it … Read More
Rescued Great Barbet, Doyang, Nagaland
This fledgling Great Barbet (Megalaima virens) was rescued from a hunter by an educator who works with the Nagaland Wildlife and Biodiversity Conservation Trust (NWBCT) in Doyang, Nagaland. It was just a chick when it was rescued and is currently being nursed to adulthood so it can be released in the wild. In Nagaland, such incidents of rescue are very rare.
The merciless, uncontrolled, rampant, widespread and all-year round hunting in Nagaland of almost all life-forms will, in … Read More
Spiny-tailed Lizard Poaching, Desert National Park
38 half-dead Spiny-tailed lizards were seized from three poachers near Beermadera village in Pokhran subdivision of Jaisalmer district. The forest department received information of a poaching gang catching Spiny-tailed lizards from their burrows. The department team immediately reached the spot and caught the three poachers and recovered the lizards, which had their spines broken and were packed tightly in bags.
Department officials state that the poachers cook and eat these lizards (considered a delicacy) after extracting oil (by burning their … Read More
Yellow-legged Buttonquail hunting in Bangalore
Due to high demand for their meat, wild quails are hunted ruthlessly even though there are licensed quail farms where they are bred in captivity for the table.
This Yellow-legged buttonquail (Turnix tanki) was rescued from hunters by a group of people near HSR layout in Bangalore. The hunters had already killed five. We tried to convince them and create awareness not to kill these birds, but they were ignorant and lacked any concern. Avinash and I had … Read More
Spoon-billed Sandpiper Conservation in Bangladesh
Considering its grim current global status, a group of young ornithologists in Bangladesh took up the challenge to save the critically endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper in 2009, when they began the Bangladesh Spoon-billed Sandpiper Conservation Project (BSCP).
Their surveys confirmed that Bangladesh is an extremely important wintering ground for the Spoon-billed Sandpiper, and identified Sonadia Island (near Cox’s Bazar) as the key wintering site and Domar Char as a stopover (passage) site in the country. In Sonadia Island, they found evidence … Read More
Human — Macaque Conflict
During the recently concluded Melagiri Bird Census we came across this macabre scene. A dead Bonnet Macaque was dangling on a fine wire noose attached to a bamboo fence and another barely alive macaque was writhing in pain with terror written on its face. The situation was appraised quickly and the anti-poaching watcher and the forest guard accompanying us deftly removed the noose from the macaque’s neck and saved it from certain death. The bamboo fence was the boundary between … Read More
Ingenious Bird Trapping near Murlen, East Mizoram
In a recent (Jan 2011) trip to Murlen National Park in East Mizoram, we (Shashank Dalvi, Atul Jain and I) observed rampant bird-trapping near villages. Villagers had set up several traps. We counted 25+ traps in a 1/2 km stretch along the road and released all trapped birds. A trapped Assam Laughing Thrush (a below-Brahmaputra endemic) first caught our attention. Then we found Flavescent bulbuls, Oriental White-eyes and Leaf-birds also caught in traps.
It is very unfortunate in that there … Read More
Jungle Cat in the Bag
On the morning of 28th November, when Balaji Rayadurgam, Karthik Ramamurthy and I went birding on the outskirts of Chennai, we heard gunshots. Closer inspection revealed that the shots were being fired by 2 poachers, who were coming out a field with a gun in hand and a bag. We caught them red-handed and snatched the weapons and the bag, anticipating birds inside. But we were taken by surprise as there was something else — a jungle cat — which … Read More
Life between Net and Death in Chilika
I was on a planned trip to Chilika’s Teen Muhana (Three River Mouths) with friends from Odisha, to watch migratory waterfowl of the great wetland. We started early in the morning from Mangalajodi on a hired boat. It was a lovely winter morning and the sun had gently warmed up the lake, where we witnessed large congregations of waterfowl.
Our first stop was at a very small island no.7 for 10 minutes. As we proceeded again towards Teen Muhana, … Read More
Dead Bonelli’s Eagle
I came across this ghastly sight in Wai, in Satara district, Maharashtra, where I had gone birdwatching. Someone had tied this dead Bonelli’s Eagle to a tree. There was a deep wound on the body near the wing. My enquiries with the people nearby did not reveal who was responsible. I reported it to the forest department. The sight deeply saddened me.
Bonelli’s Eagle populations have declined drastically throughout their range. In addition to persecution by hunters and pigeon fanciers, … Read More
Gangetic Dolphin killed by Villagers, Assam
Lekha Borah sends this picture of a Gangetic dolphin (Platanista gangetica) killed by local villagers in Assam. A fish seller was found selling dolphin meat at a roadside market in Lezai-Kalakhowa, 15 km from Dibrugarh.
Gangetic dolphin, a fresh water dolphin found in the Ganges and the Brahmpautra rivers of India, Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan and Bangladesh is the national aquatic animal of India. It is classified as an endangered species and included in the Schedule I species list … Read More
Brutal hunting of birds, Baisha Bil, West Bengal
On the morning of 5th September 2013, Sourav Mondal and I went to Baisha Bil (wetland) on a birding outing. There were hundreds of Baya Weavers, Zitting Cisticolas, and other birds in the wetland. We were shocked to see two people trapping many of these birds (mainly Baya Weavers) using nets. We heard from the local people that other birds, such as the Open-billed Stork, Little Egret, Pond Heron, and Lesser whistling Duck, are also trapped and killed in this … Read More
Amur Falcon Shooting Incident, Nagaland
On the 6th of May 2013, Rajneesh Suvarna, Jitendra Bhatia, Suja Rangaswamy and myself were on the way back from Pungro in Eastern Nagaland to Kohima. We had been in Nagaland for 6 days and had noticed that guns were common and hunting accepted as a way of life. The few local Nagas we met were surprised that we had come all the way to watch birds, and indeed were skeptical that we would have seen any. Our birding experience … Read More