The Bishnoi is a community found in the Thar desert and northern states of India. They follow 29 principles / commandments, laid by their founder Guru Jambeshwar in the 15th century, thus the name (Bish- 20, noi- 9). One major principle pertains to the protection and compassion for all life, refraining from tree cutting and hunting animals. They worship the khejri tree (Prosopis cineraria), chinkara (Gazella bennettii), and blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra) and will go … Read More
Sambar in town, Alwar, Rajasthan
The sambar (Rusa unicolor) is the largest species of deer in Asia. They are (mostly) nocturnal and live in small groups, even solitary, and occur in a wide range of habitats from dry forests to lush evergreen rainforests. But as habitats fragment and populations peak in protected areas, animals disperse through human habitation, often traversing through urban towns, cities, highways and agricultural fields in search of food and shelter.
This adult male sambar was photographed on a road junction surrounded … Read More
Human-leopard Interactions in Rajasthan
Understanding the ecology of large carnivores and their interactions with people across large areas such as landscapes, regions, or entire states, is extremely important yet logistically infeasible. Newspaper reports that regularly document information about wild animals (like bears, leopards, and elephants) that frequently interact with people can be useful sources of information to undertake research on human-wildlife interactions. In a new study, scientists from the Forest Research Institute (Dehradun), Wildlife Conservation Society–India (Bangalore) and the University of Florida (USA) used … Read More
Desert Highway becomes Death Trap – Urgent Action Needed!
This image was taken near Diyatra village, 59 km outside Bikaner en route to Phalodi, in May 2018. Other dogs around it appeared to be well-fed and resting under Prosopis trees and this single individual was feeding on leftovers.
This highway stretch between Bikaner – Phalodi had been recently converted to a four-lane highway (55 km) and 100 km of it was widened to an extra 10 feet. This possibly triggered a lot of wildlife road kills as well. Stray … Read More
Nilgai Attacked by Feral Dog Pack, Bikaner, Rajasthan
There are a lot of articles and discussions about the Human-Animal Conflict around us. But not much is known and discussed Domestic and Wild Animal Conflict. This is a very serious issue for concern in several places in India.
One such serious problem is attack by Feral / Free raging dogs attacking wildlife. Because of deforestation, and shortage of grazing land inside the jungle Herbivores are forced to enter human habitation for food and become easy victims for these feral … Read More
Free Ranging Dogs — A Serious Threat to Wildlife in PAs
During my visit to Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary (Keoladeo National Park), Rajasthan, in February (2019), I had the opportunity to witness a rather ghastly moment in the wild.
A female spotted deer, which was apparently ill and was unable to move was killed by two feral dogs. When I reached the spot, I could see them feeding on the carcass.
These dogs also chased a spotted deer fawn which was able to escape to live another day due to intervention of … Read More
Bird Deaths in Sambhar Lake, Rajasthan, Attributed to Avian Botulism
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
First record of Finsch’s Wheatear for India, Desert National Park, Rajasthan
A Finsch’s Wheatear (Oenanthe finschii), observed and photographed between 20th and 26th December 2018 near Sudasri, Desert National Park by a team of birders including Mukul Balkrishna Wasnik, Surat Singh Poonia, Manoj Sharma, C. Abhinav, Atul Jain, Sudhir Garg and Antar Singh was the first record of the species from the country. The bird had a slim black bill; white coloration of the crown continuing onto the mantle, upper back, lower back and base of the tail; black throat … Read More
Parakeets Attacking Monitor Lizard, Bharatpur
I photographed this sequence of a pair of Rose-ringed Parakeets (Psittacula krameri) attacking a Monitor Lizard (Varanus bengalensis) in Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur, Rajasthan.
Parakeets use cavities in tree trunks to nest, and the parents diligently protect the eggs from predators, including snakes. Monitor lizards are egg thieves, and this one’s attempt to steal the parakeet’s eggs resulted in an aggressive attack by the parent birds.
Monitor lizards are tropical reptiles that belong to the family Varanidae. Due to rampant … Read More
Save the Great Indian Bustard (GIB) from Extinction!
Powerlines in GIB habitat should go underground.
The critically endangered Great Indian Bustard has disappeared from over 90% of its former range due to habitat loss, hunting, disturbance and lack of protection in many ‘lekking’ and nesting sites (see 2013 CI campaign). Now, overhead power transmission lines that crisscross its habitat are sounding the death knell of this low-flying, ground-dwelling species (see attached map). According to a study by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), as many as … Read More
Jackals and porcupine, Bharatpur
On 15th October 2016 at about noon in Bharatpur National Park in Rajasthan, three jackals were seen by us around a fresh carcass of a porcupine right on the edge of water. They fled, and, try as we could, they did not approach the carcass in our presence. The carcass had injury marks on the neck and foot and a small opening at the rear.
Later, at 5.40 the same evening we found the jackals tugging away and feeding on … Read More
Indian Wolf, Ranthambore Tiger Reserve
The Indian Wolf (Canis lupus pallipes), is an endangered species in Schedule I of Indian wildlife according to the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972. It is also in appendix 1 of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Despite the highest level of protection accorded to the wolves in India, hunting remains rampant and is a major cause of concern. Killing of adult wolves and pups by local sheepherders is common … Read More
High tolerance towards wildlife from people living near Rajasthan reserves
Communities living around wildlife reserves in Rajasthan show high tolerance to wildlife, a new study reports. This is despite them having experienced losses in crops and livestock due to interaction with wildlife like nilgai, jackal and wild pig, as well as larger carnivores such as leopard and wolves. In the long term, human–wildlife interactions affect people’s livelihoods, attitudes and tolerance towards wildlife and support for wildlife reserves. Therefore, understanding people’s attitudes towards wildlife is critical to informing park management policies … Read More
Bleeding the Chambal Dry
Reckless water hoarding, diversion, sand mining and fishing are killing a pristine river that once used to recast its vast ravines every flood. Jay Mazoomdaar on the curse of the Chambal.
This article originally appeared in Tehelka, 8 March, 2013.
In a culture where rivers are worshipped, the Chambal, by all means mightier than the Yamuna, would be slighted as a tributary of the latter. Unsurprisingly, no great cities or shrines came up on its banks. This traditional isolation fostered … Read More
Feral Dog with Little Grebe Kill, Jodhpur, Rajasthan
The menace that feral dogs pose to wildlife is once again seen in this picture, taken on 05/11/2017 near Jodhpur.
Feral dogs are fed by people here as a religious practice. Because of the easily available food, and the protection and care received by them in the city, their population has increased by several times in the last few years. The dogs are found just about everywhere. In several parts of the city, they have become quite a menace, and … Read More