A Case of Found and Lost – How Karnataka is Driving Away a Bird on the Verge of Extinction

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Thoughtless construction work and habitat alterations may spell doom for Karnataka’s last Great Indian Bustards. Urgent action needed!

The Great Indian Bustard or GIB (Ardeotis nigriceps) is one of the rarest birds in the world. Endemic to the Indian subcontinent, it is listed under Schedule-1 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. With fewer than 150 birds estimated to be surviving in the wild, the GIB is listed as Critically Endangered in the IUCN’s red list, and sadly, could be first … Read More

Wild Canids and Hyenas: Flagships for Increasing India’s Conservation Potential?

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India has a wide diversity of carnivores that represent multiple unique ecosystems like forests, grasslands, scrublands, open / barren lands, deserts, ravines and the trans-Himalayan plains. A recent study by researchers from Wildlife Conservation Society–India, University of Florida (USA), Ashoka Trust for Ecology and the Environment, Wildlife Conservation Trust, National Centre for Biological Sciences and James Cook University (Australia) proposes that protecting wild dogs or dholes, jackals, wolves, foxes and hyenas, and their habitats, can offer incredible potential to expand … Read More

India’s Protected Area (PA) Network

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Here is an explainer piece on Protected Areas in India.

What is a Protected Area (PA)?

PAs in India comprise National Parks, Sanctuaries, Conservation / Community Reserves and Tiger Reserves. It does not include Reserved Forests.

Protected Area (PA) has been defined in the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Section 2(24A) says: “Protected Area” means a National Park, Sanctuary, Conservation / Community Reserve. These are notified under Chapter IV titled “Protected Areas”. 

A Tiger Reserve on the other hand is notified … Read More

Uttar Pradesh’s first Sloth Bear Conservation Reserve Proposed in Mirzapur Forest Division

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A first of its kind, and Uttar Pradesh’s first Protected Area dedicated to Sloth Bear may come in Mirzapur Forest Division. The proposal for 408 sq.km. Conservation Reserve is backed by the first ever wildlife inventory using camera trap survey conducted in three forest ranges- Marihan, Sukrit and Chunar under Mirzapur Forest Division, Uttar Pradesh. The report titled “Wildlife Inventory and Proposal for Sloth Bear Conservation Reserve” published in July 2019 is authored by Vindhyan Ecology and Natural … Read More

Carnivores as Co-owners of our Lands

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Among the range of attributes that represent India is the little-known, seldom-acknowledged diversity of carnivore species it harbors. The country has 23% of the world’s terrestrial carnivore species. While popular discourse typically links large carnivores to forested reserves or large inviolate spaces, many of India’s carnivore species have historically shared spaces and adapted to using human modified landscapes. A recent study by researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society-India, Centre for Wildlife Studies, Foundation for Ecological Research And Learning, University of … Read More

A Landmark Event: UN Declares “Decade of Ecosystem Restoration”

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In the first week of March the UN declared 2021-30 as the decade of ecosystem restoration. The resolution pioneered by El Salvador was supported by calls from the international community to put ecological restoration at the forefront of national agendas. The Society for Ecological Restoration (SER) has called this an important step toward focusing the world’s attention on the imperative of restoring degraded ecosystems. The UN declaration is expected to bring political commitment, scientific research and financial muscle to scale … Read More

Trends and Pathways for Ecotourism Research in India

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Tourism is one of the largest economic sectors world over, with a direct contribution of 3.1% to GDP and generating USD 7.6 trillion and 300 million jobs. Tourism related revenues from entry fee alone in 10 national parks in India ranged between USD 7000 to USD 300,000 in 2007-08. In 2012, the erstwhile Planning Commission identified tourism as the second largest provider of employment to low and semi skilled labour with a contribution of 6% to the country’s GDP. The … Read More

Going Nowhere? Roads and Conservation in India

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The ongoing controversy about widening National Highway 7 (NH7) has highlighted the inevitable trade-offs in conservation and development. Conservation groups and National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) have been at logger-heads. The former contend that widening the parts of NH7 that pass through Kanha and Pench Tiger Reserves will further fragment an important wildlife refuge and corridor. NHAI opposed the high costs of wildlife-friendly mitigation measures, and agreed to build underpasses and overlays only after the Supreme Court’s intervention. Nonetheless, … Read More

Opportunity to Build Conservation Support: Local People’s Perceptions of Parks in India and Nepal

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Protected areas and parks in South Asia are tasked with protecting biological diversity and supporting local livelihood needs, particularly so in human-dominated landscapes of India and Nepal. Krithi K. Karanth and Sanjay Nepal examine attitudes and perceptions of local residents living around five well known parks in South Asia, namely Annapurna, Chitwan, Ranthambore, Kanha and Nagarahole. These are the highlights of their study from a paper published in the journal Environmental Management.

  • Surveys and interviews with 777 local residents
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Lights on for Elephants

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Technology offers solutions for Human-Elephant Conflicts.

The dark hulks ambled in a single file across the stark green landscape of thigh-high tea bushes. Without a pause in their stride, the elephants made their way towards a tiny patch of forest. Save for the tree crickets, there were no other sounds. Had it been daytime, the elephants would have been harassed by people behaving like neurotic monkeys. On such occasions, despite their size, the elephants seemed so vulnerable, with nowhere to … Read More

Lantana in India: A Losing Battle?

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Lantana (Lantana camara) has become one of the world’s most invasive weeds. Shonil Bhagwat and others analyze the history of lantana invasion and management in India, Australia and South Africa. These are the highlights from their study published in the journal PLoS One, summarized for Conservation India by Krithi K. Karanth

  • The authors examined 75% of known historical records for the species in India, Australia and South Africa.
  • Aggressive extermination measures taken by the government over the
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Local Hunting and Conservation of Large Mammals

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Hunting wildlife for the pot and for commercial sale is far more widespread than most people realize, and is leading to an ‘empty forest’ syndrome in many parts of the country.  M.D. Madhusudan and K. Ullas Karanth conducted a fascinating study on local hunting around two wildlife reserves in Karnataka. These are the results of their study, excerpted from their original scientific paper published in Ambio in 2002.

  • Mammals that weigh over one kilo are the most prone to hunting
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The Six Percent Solution — a New Recipe for Saving Wild Tigers

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21 leading conservation biologists from across the world have proposed that since it might be far too expensive and far too difficult to save all wild tigers, we should focus a major part of our efforts and expenditure on 42 selected sites that show the greatest promise. Here’s CI’s distilled version of the original paper titled Bringing the tiger back from the brink – The six percent solution.

Current approaches to tiger conservation have not succeeded in slowing the decline … Read More

Wildlife Tourism in India — New Challenges for Park Management

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Wildlife or Nature-based tourism is growing in many countries across the world including India. Krithi K. Karanth and Ruth DeFries examine trends and practices in wildlife tourism for ten parks across India. These are results of their study from the forthcoming paper in the journal, Conservation Letters.

Study Sites in India

Ten parks were selected across India – Ranthambore, Sariska, Pench, Kanha, Anshi-Dandeli, Bhadra, Nagarahole, Bandipur, Periyar and Mudumalai. These protected areas vary in tourist numbers, access to cities, and … Read More