UPDATE 2 – 21-Nov-2019: The deaths of over 18,000 birds in Sambhar Lake have been attributed to Avian botulism. Attached is the detailed report by the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), Bareilly. The initial cause of the deaths was suspected to be avian flu, but that has been ruled out. Botulism has been recognised as a major cause of mortality in wild birds since the 1900s. A potential cause of the presence of the bacteria could be toxicity of … Read More
Hanle is a small, remote village in Ladakh, Jammu & Kashmir, India, closer to Tibet, with a population of around 1000 people. It is surrounded by mountains, and marshland at the centre. This village is internationally known for hosting the world’s highest observatory.
Its unique landscape supports a vast range of wildlife and a breeding ground of various birds and mammals. The rocky mountains are home to Eurasian Eagle Owl, Upland Buzzard and the likes. Also there are mammals like … Read More
I photographed this Little Cormorant (Microcarbo niger) with a sheet of plastic in Puttenahalli Lake, Bangalore, on 9th June ’18 while out birdwatching. The bird did not seem entangled in it, so I was unable to understand what was happening. The incident ended in under a minute, with the cormorant suddenly swimming away. Was it looking for a fish under the plastic? Only my speculation!
Despite plastics being non‐biodegradable, most tourists to lakes, wetlands and our wildlife parks consume plastic … Read More
I visited Arunachal Pradesh recently for birding, and was enthralled by its beauty. The dense green mountains looked as if they were playing hide and seek with the moving clouds. The place was alive with the continuous chirping of birds. It was like being in paradise. We traveled from Nameri to Dirang and stopped at several places for birding. What really disturbed me was the pile of garbage that we saw in most places. Of the many places that I … Read More
Effects of plastic in, with its innate non-biodegradability, has become a cliche, yet things have not changed much. Here is an image of a whiskered tern dangerously entangled with a plastic carry bag. I photographed this in Mangalajodi, Chilika lake, Odisha on 24th January, 2014.
Plastic in our wilderness is a conservation threat in several ways. Last year Conservation India ran a campaign against plastics in response to a Public Notice issued by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on the … Read More
While I love to shoot great action and beauty pictures of wildlife, I could not resist shooting this unfortunate scene in Bandipur recently. In my opinion, Bandipur is amongst the most abused national parks in India. It tolerates all sorts of issues caused by picnickers – starting from litter and yelling tourists, all the way to human-animal conflict. Tourists often enjoy a great picnic beside the National Highway that cuts through the park, after which they throw plastic and paper … Read More
Ladakh, the trans-himalayan region of Jammu and Kashmir and home to faunal diversity rarely found elsewhere in the country, is fast becoming a viable destination for various classes of tourism. Ever since the opening up of some areas close to the LoC as well as the elimination of the need for an Inner Line Permit in several of the areas to Indians and, to some extent, international tourists, the inflow of tourists to the region has increased from 527 in … Read More
The Principal Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has issued a Public Notice on the matter of use of various types of plastic products, with a view to phasing out many of them. Click here to see the order of the Tribunal.
Since many types of plastics create havoc in the environment, CI is urging readers to send their representations to the NGT as soon as possible, i.e., immediately! You can use the template provided below. Feel free to … Read More
Please do not litter! Especially where birds and animals live. We learn this in school but do not implement it in real life! Nobody cares about the impact of littering. I came across one distressing incident recently. This Darter (Anhinga rufa), a fish-eater, got a piece of cloth entangled in its beak and remained in this position for more than 2 hours. Luckily the bird was finally able to get rid of the cloth; otherwise it could have resulted … Read More
Just a 20-minute drive from Kolkata lies this 13,75,000 sq feet lake, known as the Santragachi jheel or lake. The Santragachi lake is a great place for many migratory birds. Winter months (October to March) draw 4000 to 5000 ducks and waders to this safe haven. This season thousands of Lesser Whistling Ducks arrived along with Northern Pintails, Gadwalls, the endangered Ferruginous Pochard, Common Teal, Cotton Pygmy Goose and other waterfowl.
What is really the key feature of Santragachi is … Read More
On 9th Nov 2013, on our way to Ooty through Bandipur National Park, we witnessed this scene of a chital with its face inside a plastic bag. A couple of months before, we had seen forest staff of Bandipur National Park clearing plastic from the same road. On the whole, they have been doing a commendable job. But tourists need to be educated about littering and there should be regular patrolling on the main road to penalise offenders. It is … Read More
A female Himalayan Marmot (Marmota himalayana) gathering plastic as part of its nesting material. This photograph was taken enroute to Diskit from Leh. Plastic and other litter irresponsibly disposed by careless tourists on these remote roads can create serious problems for wildlife.
Himalayan Marmots live in alpine meadows with very low rainfall, typically inhabiting slopes where soil can be readily excavated (Molur et al. 2005; Smith and Xie 2008). It lives in colonies and excavates unusually deep burrows, … Read More
Answer from Debi Goenka, who heads Mumbai-based environmental NGO Conservation Action Trust (CAT):
Private vehicles are only allowed to ply from the main gate at Borivili to the Kanheri Caves, which are not part of the notified National Park. We have tried to get the forest dept. to introduce shuttle buses, but since these are not financially viable, the forest dept. is not interested.
Re alcohol, this is strictly prohibited, and complaints should be immediately made to the SGNP … Read More
Above is an image of a Western Ghats endemic, Malabar White-headed Starling (Sturnia blythii), taken by Vaibhav Kamatkar at Dandeli, Karnataka. “Most people who go to visit wildlife sanctuaries are educated,” he remarks, “so why can we not desist from throwing away plastic trash, which could have such a bad effect on the environment?” … Read More
In August 2010, two cargo ships collided off the coast of Mumbai spilling around 400 tonnes of oil into the Arabian Sea.
This image from the mangroves of Navi Mumbai shows the plight of an oil-bathed Kentish Plover in an oil-soaked habitat that was the aftermath of the incident. Oil penetrates the plumage of birds, reducing its insulating and waterproofing properties. As a result, oil-soaked birds are more vulnerable to temperature fluctuations and are much less buoyant in the water. … Read More
I saw this young tigress in Bandipur with a plastic bottle near its feet.
In spite of a nighttime traffic closure (see CI casestudy), the Ooty-Mysore highway (NH 67) through Bandipur Tiger Reserve causes serious disturbances to wildlife. Tourists and passersby are always stopping by the road to look at wild animals or disturbing them like feeding monkeys, getting close to already agitated elephants, honking and, not the least, speeding.
Hoever, what disturbed me most was this plastic … Read More
Chennai is surrounded by a number of waterbodies. Kelambakkam backwaters, near Kovalam beach is home to a variety of birds that stop over on long migratory journeys. Some are local migrants like Painted Storks. Visitors from abroad include Flamingos, Western Reef Egrets and many species of Terns.
Storks like many birds wade in the shallows of the water bodies for catching fish and crabs, but the landscape around these water bodies is changing. With the city growing fast, an array … Read More
Once bustling with Snipes, Crakes and Sandpipers among other birds, the Rampura lake near Horamavu is now dying a slow, woeful death. A large area of the lake bed serves as a dumping ground for garbage and construction wastes. Water is choked by hyacinth and other weeds and a large electric line cuts right through the lake. However, there is no shortage of the number of ‘lake view’ property projects in the immediate vicinity.… Read More
This is an image from Bandipur. After a fine morning drive, having sighted a leopard in all its glory, the constituents of our vehicle were beaming with happines. However, the drive back to the resort brought everyone back to reality. Very close to the checkpost of Bandipur National Park, we saw tourists proceeding towards Ooty, feeding bread and jam to a herd of Chital. It has to be noted that of late, drivers and naturalists of Jungle Lodges and Rests … Read More
Screeching tyres, engines revving noisily, exhausts spewing black smoke, horns blaring, cars cutting in front of each other, people shouting and even the odd bang or two. Sounds like normal urban India? Think again, this is a scene from a safari in the heart of a tiger reserve in Maharashtra!
Some tiger reserves allow private vehicles (albeit with a forest guide) for safaris. The drivers have no sensibilities on how to drive in a forest (we barely have any road … Read More
A dustbin cover stuck in the neck of a Sambhar Deer (Rusa unicolor) in Pench National Park, Madhya Pradesh. On 12th March 2012, I spotted this deer early morning at 6am, and it was desperately trying to get this cover out of its neck. Unfortunately, we could not help. A guide from the forest department accompanied us who promised to inform his higher authorities so I just took a picture and we moved on. I dont know whether … Read More
Answer from Praveen Bhargav & Shekar Dattatri:
- Some lakes / water bodies / wetlands such as Bharatpur, Ranganathittoo or Vedanthangal are notified as protected areas and enjoy the same protection as any sanctuary or a national park.
- Waterfowl listed in any of the Schedules of the Wildlife Protection Act (WLPA) receive legal protection from hunting and anybody found even in possession of a gun near any lake can be prosecuted under the Wildlife Protection Act (WLPA). For more details read
Corpwatch examines Unilever’s response when caught dumping toxic mercury waste from a thermometer factory in Southern India earlier this year. The Anglo-Dutch company recently closed the factory. Community members, however, allege that the multinational has downplayed the dangers of mercury and misled the public in an attempt to cover up the truth. Indian journalist Nityanand Jayaraman reports for CorpWatch.
In March 2001, residents of Kodaikanal, a pretty hill retreat in Southern India, caught the Anglo-Dutch multinational Unilever red-handed when they … Read More
The year 2004 was a fateful one for Bharatpur, India’s most famous bird sanctuary. In order to appease farmers belonging to particular community, the then Chief Minister of Rajasthan, issued an order diverting water from the Ajan Bund away from the Bharatpur marshes and into the fields surrounding the park, unleashing catastrophic consequences for this 250 year-old artificial wetland. Since then, Bharatpur has never been the same. While various schemes to bring water to the park are under consideration, bird … Read More