Birds, Forests and Development in Himalayan Oak Forests: A Study in Progress

-  Announcements Leave a Comment

The Himalayas are a biologically diverse region within India owing to their elevational range and geographic location. Apart from essential ecosystem services that they provide to the Gangetic Plains, Himalayan forests protect a large number of endemic species and support extensive tourism activities.

During the last few decades, however, Himalayan forests have become degraded and fragmented due to various economic pressures. It is necessary to understand how human-created disturbance is impacting Himalayan fauna, given the recent spurt in road-widening, construction, … Read More

Polling for Pakke 2019 — Please help Pakke Tiger Reserve pick its best images!

-  Photo Feature, -  Photos, -  Picture of the Week Leave a Comment

Every year the Pakke Tiger Reserve Forest Department holds a prize distribution ceremony for the best camera trap images and also gives prizes to the most sincere staff in the reserve. For this we team up with Conservation India to hold this public voting contest as a unique form of outreach to help motivate our staff on the ground. This year as well our team has compiled notable camera trap photographs where staff patrolled the forests and never left their … Read More

Dholes in the Western Ghats

-  Announcements, -  Articles Leave a Comment

Large carnivores across the world face several threats even as they continue to decline in numbers. Understanding where these species occur, how they use their habitats and what factors influence these patterns are important for their conservation. The Asiatic wild dog or dhole (Cuon alpinus) is a unique endangered predator. It is the only social, wild canid that almost exclusively inhabits forest areas in Asia. Historically treated as ‘vermin’, dholes were bounty-hunted across the India until they were protected under … Read More

Otters in a Famous Tourist Destination

-  Announcements Leave a Comment

Beaches and sunsets are what come to mind when most people think of Goa. This small state in western India has earned its reputation as one of the most favoured top tourist destinations. But very few know that Goa also has a rich diversity of flora and fauna. Much of the eastern rim of Goa falls within the Western Ghats (a global biodiversity hotspot). Goa has an area of 3,702 sq.km with several rivers spread across the state, all of … Read More

Striped Hyena Persistence in India — Insights from Kumbhalgarh and Esrana in Rajasthan

-  Announcements, -  Articles, -  Featured Article Leave a Comment

A threatened but poorly understood species, the Striped Hyena (Hyaena hyaena) is thought to occur in arid ecosystems across India. It is found in human-dominated landscapes in Rajasthan, a region with 4.3 percent of land area protected under nature reserves. This large carnivore predominantly scavenges on domestic and wild ungulate carcasses. At present, we lack robust estimates of hyena densities and understanding of factors that influence their persistence and distribution.

Authors Priya Singh, Arjun M. Gopalaswamy, and K. Read More

Western Ghats Coffee Plantations Sustain High Bird Diversity in India

-  Announcements, -  Articles Leave a Comment

In a recent study, scientists have found that the coffee, rubber and areca agroforests in Karnataka support 204 bird species including 13 bird species found exclusively in the Western Ghats, highlighting the supplementary role of agroforests in conserving wildlife.

Highlights:

  1. One of largest scientific assessments of tropical birds in the world, covering an area of 30,000 sq km in Karnataka
  2. Coffee, rubber and areca agroforests found to support 204 bird species, including 13 endemic birds of the Western Ghats
  3. Coffee
Read More

Tracking Leatherback Turtle Migration

-  Announcements, -  Articles, -  Featured Article Leave a Comment

The Leatherback Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) is the only existing species of the family Dermochelyidae. They are the largest of living sea turtles, growing up to 2 metres and weighing as much as 900 kg. Guided by the earth’s geomagnetic field to navigate, leatherback turtles can migrate more than 10,000 kilometres across oceans from breeding to feeding grounds. Unlike other marine turtles, leatherbacks can regulate their body temperature by a combination of their large size, insulation, and a blood … Read More

The Elusive Leopard Cats of India

-  Announcements, -  Articles Leave a Comment

Small felids, like jungle cats, leopard cats, fishing cats and marbled cats (among others) constitute more than 60% of all cat species in the world. But most of these small cats remain understudied because they are generally secretive, elusive and difficult to observe and monitor. In this aspect, the leopard cat presents a fascinating case study.

Leopard cats are among the world’s most widely occurring small cat species. There have been substantial studies of their ecology in Southeast Asia. In … Read More

Understanding Sloth Bears — An Interview With Dr. K. Yoganand

-  Announcements, -  Articles, -  Experts, -  Featured Expert 1 Comment

CI: Tell us about your research on sloth bears

I conducted intensive field research on sloth bears (Melursus ursinus) between 1996 and 2000 in Panna National Park (Madhya Pradesh), a partly degraded, dry deciduous forest habitat in Madhya Pradesh, central India. I captured and fitted radio-collars on several sloth bears and followed them to observe their behaviour and learn more about their secretive lives, such as, when did they sleep, what did they eat, how far did they … Read More

Polling for Pakke — Vote for the Best Camera Trap Image

-  Photo Feature, -  Picture of the Week Leave a Comment

As we have been doing in the past, this year we will be giving three prizes to our frontline staff for the best camera trap images. We fondly remember Late Koro Tayem, a forest guard who was killed by an elephant who won the first ever prize for his growling camera trap photograph.

Please vote for your best photograph.… Read More

Gharial Population Estimation in the Chambal and Conservation Implications

-  Announcements, -  Articles, -  Featured Article Leave a Comment

India’s Chambal River hosts the largest population of the critically endangered Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus). In the 1970s, the total population of the Gharial was estimated at less than 200, following which conservation programmes involving the creation of protected areas and rear-and-release programmes were established. But, despite the release of over 5000 gharials into various Indian rivers over the past few decades, only about 200 breeding adults reportedly still survive. These programmes were poorly monitored and their outcome never … Read More

Leopards in Crisis — Learnings for Uttarakhand

-  Announcements, -  Articles, -  Featured Article Leave a Comment

Not a month goes by without newspaper reports about the attack by a leopard or a tiger on humans in Uttarakhand, followed by days of reporting of the hunt for the cat, and invariably, ending with the capture or death of the unfortunate animal. In December 2016, the Uttarakhand High Court passed an order that leopards and tigers that have been declared man-eaters should not be killed, but should, instead, be tranquilized and translocated to another forest. While the order … Read More

Tourist Photographs Aid Tiger Research and Monitoring

-  Photo Feature, -  Photos, -  Picture of the Week Leave a Comment

Conservation India carried a photograph on 9th November 2016 of a tigress making a wild pig kill in Nagarahole. All tigers have stripes that are unique, just like human finger prints. To identify this tigress and trace its history, a WCS team of researchers working under my guidance rapidly matched patterns of this tigress against 850 other wild tigers, whose images are in our long-term camera trap database, maintained as part of a long-term monitoring of tiger populations in the … Read More

Mammals in the Jeypore-Dehing forests, Assam

-  Photo Feature, -  Photos, -  Picture of the Week Leave a Comment

The Jeypore-Dehing Landscape is located in eastern or Upper Assam. It comprises three large blocks of forest (Jeypore, Upper Dehing West Block and Upper Dehing East Block) and several forest fragments. The reserve forests lie within a mosaic of oil and coal mining grants, tea plantations, agriculture and settlements. The forest type is lowland Assam Valley Tropical Wet Evergreen forest (Dipterocarpus-Mesua) and together stretch over roughly 600 sq km. The landscape is part of the Dehing-Patkai Elephant Reserve and 111 … Read More

Large Trees are Critical for Conserving Woodpecker Abundance and Diversity in Sub-Himalayan Forests

-  Announcements Leave a Comment

Study: Habitat determinants of woodpecker abundance and species richness in sub-Himalayan dipterocarp forests of northwest India.

Authors: Raman Kumar, Ghazala Shahabuddin & Ajith Kumar Journal: Acta Ornithologica 49: 243-256. Published 2014.

Summary

Birds are highly sensitive to changes in habitat caused by human activity. Habitat change may be manifested in the structural elements of habitat (such as density and size of both live and dead trees), or its composition (i.e. tree species profile), which may translate into alteration in quality … Read More