India is home to the largest number of Asiatic Elephants. The last census in 2007 estimated the population at 27,000, a supposed increase of over 1,000 from five years ago. But before we jump to the happy conclusion that ‘all is well’ with the elephant, we must closely examine this claim of an upward trend, which seems dubious in the face of the twin threats that the species continues to face – poaching and habitat loss. Only about five percent … Read More
Hospital threatens Guindy National Park in Chennai
CHENNAI: Wood apple trees form a canopy over the mud trail leading through the forest, the chirruping of crickets fill the air, butterflies flit to and fro, and an ashy drongo sweeps across and settles onto a branch. It’s hard to believe that the busy Sardar Patel Road is just a 10-minute walk away. It’s noon at Guindy National Park (GNP) and not the best time to spot creatures but there’s still so much to see.
A recent announcement, however, … Read More
No signal from translocated tiger in Sariska
JAIPUR: Having successfully completed the first phase of relocation of tigers to Sariska, it is testing time for forest authorities. Since the past three days, authorities have not received any signal from the radio collar of the T-12, a male tiger, which was recently relocated to Sariska. T-12 has been rechristened as ST-4 after its relocation.
“Whenever a tiger comes to a new surrounding it is a matter of habit that it strays off to distant areas in order to … Read More
Frontline of a New War: Environmentalists Under Threat
‘Amit Jethwa shot dead’ read the SMS received at about 9 pm on July 21st. I did not know him personally, but I knew Amit, activist, and warrior for any ecological cause — be it the case of an elephant being treated cruelly in a circus or illegal mining in Kodinar bordering Gir or protesting against a shipyard that would impact the nesting of olive ridley turtles. It was a sleepless night, and I spent most of it trying to … Read More
Wildlife Beyond Boundaries
The elephants stood at the stream’s edge. As the adults drank in measured trunkfuls, calves gambolled in the water. Just above them, on the slope, a large sambar stag emerged silently from the undergrowth. From a cluster of trees above came the scolding call of a giant squirrel, as a troop of Nilgiri langur foraged in the canopy. Just as we were slipping into a reverie, imagining ourselves in pristine wilderness, a woman called loudly to her children playing nearby … Read More
Assessment of recent elephant poaching in Simlipal Tiger Reserve
Simlipal Tiger Reserve (STR) is part of one of the largest contiguous tiger and elephant habitats in the world. With a Biosphere Area of over 5,000 sq km, it is one of the most promising landscapes for tigers and their prey species.
After a number of elephant deaths were reported in April and May 2010, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) constituted an independent assessment team on 3rd June 2010. The two-team members (Biswajit Mohanty and Belinda Wright) proceeded immediately … Read More
Tourism, But Not at the Cost of Wilderness
Unregulated tourism in tiger reserves has created quite a furore of late, with even the Prime Minister Dr Man Mohan Singh writing to Chief Ministers of Uttarakhand and Madhya Pradesh cautioning against “unregulated and unplanned tourism,” following a report and media outcry on the negative impact of tourism on tigers and other wildlife on Corbett.
Resorts (along with other construction) is blocking critical tiger and elephant corridors, there is government infrastructure on crucial grasslands, too many vehicles enter parks, some … Read More
Whither Forest Departments?
Armed with all the right buzzwords such as ‘participatory biodiversity conservation’; ‘use it or lose it’; ‘micro planning’; ‘stakeholder support’… which are liberally bandied about in project proposals to woo funding agencies, a coterie of ill-informed groups with many state forest departments in the middle, are now threatening the ecological foundations of wild India.
My first amateur attempts at conserving wildlife and forests, more than two decades ago, led me to interact with the forest department, which is entrusted with … Read More
Kaziranga short-staffed to protect rhinos
Assam Forest and Environment Minister Rockybul Hussain on Friday informed the state assembly that the present strength of frontline staff of the Kaziranga National Park (KNP) was not sufficient to protect rhinos and other animals there.
Replying to a question by Communist Party of India (CPI) member Drupad Borgohain, Mr. Hussain said the strength of the frontline staff in 152 camps inside the park was 386 and this remained unchanged for the past 20 years though the area had doubled … Read More
Are Indian Tigers Key To Saving The Species?
A study by Samrat Mondol, Ullas Karanth and Uma Ramakrishnan confirms that India’s tigers have higher genetic variation — and are thus the most robust in terms of survival of the species. Conservation India summarizes the findings of the the study from the original scientific paper.
Wild tigers historically occurred across 30 present-day nations ranging from Armenia to Indonesia (from west to east), and the Russian Far East to the southern tip of India (north–south). The range encompassed a variety … Read More
The Myth of Harmonious Co-existence
A version of the article appended below was published as a lead Op-Ed in The Hindu, India’s National Newspaper, on August 13, 2005. It was written specifically to contest the views in a new bill that was being debated in the Indian Parliament, giving ‘forest dwellers’ permanent land rights within India’s tiny and shrinking forest areas, particularly, National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries and Tiger Reserves. The lobbies advocating the Forest Rights Act are also pressing for modern amenities to be provided … Read More