A Conflict Tale from Valparai, Tamil Nadu

-  Photos, -  Picture of the Week Leave a Comment

On 26th August, 2017, we were roaming around Valparai looking for wildlife, we came across an incidence of Human-Elephant conflict. We could sense some commotion near the sheds of some estate workers, and saw people running here and there. Upon checking, we heard that a female elephant had entered the premises of one of the workers and was polishing off a plantain tree.

There appeared to be two groups of people at the scene – one, consisting mostly of youth, … Read More

Crested Hawk-eagle with Loris Kill, Anaimalais, Tamil Nadu

-  Photos, -  Picture of the Week Leave a Comment

On November 15th 2015, my brother and I were driving back from Valparai in Tamil Nadu after a productive wildlife trip in the Anaimalais. On slowing down near one of the hairpin bends, we spotted a Crested Hawk-eagle with a Slender Loris in its talons. We spent about 15 to 20 minutes observing and photographing the scene, as the eagle dismembered the loris and fed on it, not at all bothered by our presence. The slender loris (Loris tardigradus) is … Read More

Capture of Coimbatore’s Crop-eating, Peaceful Elephant, Chinna Thambi

-  Announcements Leave a Comment

Chinna Thambi, a 25-year old tusker from the Anaikatti region in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, was relocated to Anamalai Tiger Reserve on 26th January, 2018. This was done following repeated complaints by a section of farmers from the region that the elephant was raiding crops and breaking into houses for food. These agricultural lands are adjacent to Thadagam Reserve Forest and Anaikatti South Reserve Forest of Coimbatore Forest Division. Perhaps because this particular bull had never attacked anyone, the indigenous community … Read More

Asian Koel Chicks in House Crow’s Nest, Chennai

-  Photos, -  Picture of the Week Leave a Comment

I saw this sight of House Crows (Corvus splendens) feeding koel chicks in their nest opposite our home in Mylapore, Chennai, on the 5th of August, 2018. I waited until the next morning to be able to make an image right from the terrace (with no disturbance to the birds).

I heard the chicks calling whenever the foster parents came, and found that there were four nestlings, two slightly older (bigger) than the other two. I soon realised that all … Read More

Rare Bird Alert — Grey-tailed Tattler in Pulicat Lake

-  Picture of the Week Leave a Comment

Grey-tailed Tattlers (Tringa brevipes) breed in Siberia and use the East Asian-Australasian Flyway for migration. They are more commonly seen in the north of Australia, where they winter in good numbers.

Late September and early October are productive periods for shorebird lovers. This is the onset of winter migration and surprises are usually encountered. Pulicat lake covering the states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh is one such place in South India where there is always a possibility of seeing … Read More

Mapping the Last Grasslands of the Palani Hills, Tamil Nadu

-  Announcements Leave a Comment

Grasslands in Twilight, Shola in Ascendance.

The Palani Hills of Tamil Nadu are in the midst of significant ecological change. It’s not the kind of process that is easily observed and most people, including those managing forest resources, have been taken by surprise by just how fast the montane (high altitude) landscape of the hills has changed. These are the conclusions of regular observation and photo documentation by the author as well as, a peer- reviewed scientific study using satellite … Read More

Rare Bird Sighted in Pulicat lake, Tamil Nadu Coast

-  Photos, -  Picture of the Week Leave a Comment

Birders and nature lovers were in for a treat this season.

A rare pelagic bird was sighted near the Pulicat coast in the last week of April, 2018. This is the first time the bird was sighted near Chennai. There are only two previous records from Tamil Nadu.

Lesser Noddy (Anous tenuirostris) is a bird that is closely related to terns. Pelagic birds spend most of the time in the sea and visit the shores only when they breed.

Pulicat … Read More

To Chop, or Not to Chop? The Issue of Exotic Invasive Trees in the Western Ghats

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

The Tamil Nadu Forest department is required to respond to a petition filed in the Madurai High court that asked the Forest Department to act to solve a problem. This problem has been in the making for over 50 years and has no simple solution. I define the problem, its complexities, and some interventions that could help guide a response to the court order in the short-term, and possibly address the problem in the long-term.

The problem

Over fifty years … Read More

Ingenious Snare, Kanchipuram

-  Photos, -  Picture of the Week Leave a Comment

This ingenious snare was set just outside a scrub forest in Kanchipuram district. The small patch of scrub forest supports axis deer, monitor lizard, wild pig, peafowl, partridge and black-naped hare. The snares in this area are primarily set for trapping black-naped hare and birds.

While on a casual stroll on 19th June 2013, I came across this set-up and informed the staff of the near-by forest office. Numerous snares such as this are silently concealed in and around our … Read More

Wetlands in Peril, Chennai

-  Photos, -  Picture of the Week Leave a Comment

While driving to work on 13th July 2016, I witnessed rapid changes to the remaining wetlands patches along the Old Mahabalipuram Road in Chennai. Studies show that due to rapid city expansion, Chennai’s wetlands have shrunk to alarming proportions.

At a national scale, one-third of the India’s wetlands are already wiped out or severely degraded because of encroachment. Wetlands that were once home to numerous species of flora and fauna have been replaced by concrete jungles virtually in the blink … Read More

Lights on for Elephants

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

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

Brown Mongoose, Valparai

-  Picture of the Week Leave a Comment

The brown mongoose (Herpestes fuscus) is restricted to evergreen forests, plantations and even human habitations in the Southern Western Ghats and Sri Lanka. Not much is known about this species compared to other mongooses.  Camera trap surveys suggest that they are less diurnal and more crepuscular than other species of mongooses.

During a recent visit to Valparai we came across a brown mongoose in a small stream amidst tea plantations. Valparai is possibly the best place to observe … Read More

Urgent — Help Safeguard the Western Ghats!

-  Announcements Leave a Comment

Urgent! Time is short, so please act immediately – your appeal to the Central Government can help safeguard the Western Ghats.  Use the form below to write to the minister. 

I support the Government’s decision to declare 56,825 square kilometres of the Western Ghats as Eco Sensitive Area (see contents of the letter below the form). 


This campaign is now closed. We received support from more than 3500 concerned citizens. We are now sending a consolidated letter to the ministry, Read More

Gaur in Town!

-  Photos, -  Picture of the Week Leave a Comment

This image of Gaur in Kodaikanal town in the Palani Hills of south India represents a common sight these days. The reasons for their sauntering into urban areas and hanging around needs to be studied in detail, but some, or several, of the following factors may play a role: habitat fragmentation due to the haphazard growth of Kodaikanal town, private estates and plantations (and perhaps the fencing of these?-Ed), rampant tourism and development, invasion of the shola-grassland ecosystem by exotic … Read More