Gaur in Town!

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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

3rd Tamil Birders Meet — PSN College of Engineering and Technology, Tirunelveli, November 12 & 13, 2016

The 3rd Tamil Birders Meet is going to be on 12th and 13th November 2016 at PSN College of Engineering and Technology, Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu.

Please fill out this form and register for this meet: https://goo.gl/forms/bS1qRDpkCBQoGw4a2

If you have any specific queries kindly write to tnebirder@gmail.com.

Details of the previous meets can be accessed here: http://www.birdcount.in/tamilbirds/tamil-birders-meet/Read More

Declining Indian Fisheries: Perceptions of Fisher Folk from Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu

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Although over four million people worldwide are dependent on wild-caught fish as a source of protein, marine fish are not at the top of the conservation radar. Although fish are among the most important components of marine ecosystems after plankton, they are most seriously threatened by human activities in the sea. In recognition of this fact, fisheries across the world are being managed based on estimates of sustainable harvest rates for each population of fish. However this requires intensive data … Read More

Tahr Alert in Tamil Nadu

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The Nilgiri Tahr (Nilgiritragus hylocrius) is an endangered ungulate found on remote mountain slopes in the southern Western Ghats. Found in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, their current range has been greatly reduced to a mere 400 kilometers. These animals are found among the rocky cliffs of montane grasslands, and it is estimated that around 3000 individuals are distributed evenly between Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Eravikulam National Park and the grassy slopes of the Anamalai hills are the only … Read More

Science-based Approach to Promote Human-Elephant Coexistence — Lessons from Valparai

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Understanding human-elephant interactions is critical for conservation of elephants outside Protected Areas. One of the intriguing questions is how can a person weighing 50kg and a 5000kg animal coexist with no barrier between them?

Conflict incidents frequently lead to use of reactive measures such as chasing elephants, capture and translocation, or retaliatory persecution, but these often fail to resolve conflicts on a sustained basis, empower communities to implement solutions, or help conservation of elephants. Long-term research on behavioural and ecological … Read More

Gaur Crossing, Beware!

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As though to justify a road-side sign warning vehicles to go slow, an Indian gaur crosses the road in front of a motorcyclist. This image was taken late in the evening on the outskirts of Valparai, Tamil Nadu.

Valparai has vast tracts of tea estates that are surrounded by forests. As the day comes to an end, gaur move from the forest patches to graze on the grass growing within tea estates. This is the time at which they are … Read More

“What’s that Lizard?” Workshop — Chennai, May 7 – 8, 2016

Madras Crocodile Bank Trust/Centre for Herpetology (MCBT/CFH) is organising a 2 day 1 night workshop for people who are interested in learning more about lizards in particular as we have a variety of them including our recent additions, the largest lizards in the world. This is part 3 of MCBT/CFH’s 4 part “What’s that Reptile?” series and the last part is “What’s in that Shell?”, which will deal exclusively with Chelonians.

For more information on any of these workshops, please … Read More

New Location Record for Sri Lanka Frogmouth in Anamalai Tiger Reserve

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On our recent birding trip (Feb 13th 2016, The Great Backyard Bird Count) along the buffer zone of the Anamalai Tiger Reserve in Sethumadai, we chanced upon a lucky sighting of the rarely seen Sri Lanka Frogmouth (Batrachostomus moniliger), a bird that is high on the wish list of many birders and photographers.

Closely related to Nightjars, this nocturnal bird was feeding on the ground and flew across our vehicle and sat perched on a tree root overgrown over … Read More

Melanistic Panther, Mudumalai Tiger Reserve

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One cannot imagine the adrenalin rush that explodes through your body when you lock eyes with a Black Panther. It has been a long-held dream of mine to sight and photograph one of these gorgeous melanistic cats. We were driving through the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve at the base of the Nilgiris in South India earlier this year, with our eyes peeled in the hope of chancing upon one of the park’s elusive felines — Tiger or Leopard.

Dusk was approaching … Read More

The Buck Stops Here

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A lone blackbuck walks through real estate development bordering the Vallanadu Blackbuck sanctuary, Tuticorin District, Tamilnadu. About 70 blackbuck are present in the sanctuary and are frequently seen outside its boundary in search of grass.

Vallanadu Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected area created for the protection of Blackbuck. Located on an isolated hillock in Vallanadu Village of Srivaikundam Taluk, it is the southernmost place in India where a natural population of Blackbuck exists (courtesy Wikipedia). … Read More

Shaheen Falcon with Rose-ringed Parakeet Kill, Nilgiris

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The Shaheen Falcon (Falco peregrinus peregrinator) also known as the Indian Peregrine Falcon is a subspecies of the Peregrine Falcon, the fastest member of the animal kingdom. The Shaheen is non-migratory and predominantly feeds on small and sometimes, medium-sized birds. It is famous for its characteristic style of hunting, called the ‘stoop’ – the bird does a high speed dive from a great height and strikes its prey at a high speed. It is known to reach speeds … Read More

Purple Frog, Anamalai Hills

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The Purple Frog (Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis) is a rare and recent addition to the frog world. With its closest relatives in the Seychelles, the purple frog is thought to have evolved separately for millennia. Its discovery also adds to the evidence that Madagascar and the Seychelles separated from the Indian landmass sometime well after the breakup of Gondwana had started. Described to science as late as 2003, the species is now known to be quite widely distributed in the Western Ghats. … Read More

Pelican Poaching, Chennai

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This image is one of a series of pictures I took on 1st January 2013 while watching birds at Chennai’s Kelambakkam lake. This brackish backwater lake is home to a lot of migrant and resident bird species throughout the year.

This is also a haven for poachers who regularly target this place for large number of local and migratory birds during winter for the excessive demand for meat on weekends. In this instance, it didn’t seem like organised poaching but … Read More

Day of the Jackal, Chennai

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While on our usual birding trip, we headed towards this grassland on the outskirts of Chennai looking for migrant species. This is actually a fresh water lake and beautiful grassland side by side, with the monsoon bringing in a copious inflow from sources near the lake. The lake is one of the important wetlands around Chennai, and serves as foraging and breeding grounds for several resident and migratory birds. As we started to scan, we suddenly saw movement, and noticed … Read More

Riparian Forests for Healthy Rivers

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With the new government have come new promises. With a new name of Ministry for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, can the rivers hope for a cleaner future?

India is home to 16% of the world’s total population, but has only 4% of the water resources sustaining the economy in terms of agriculture, power and biological productivity 1 . As a large part of the population is directly dependent upon rivers, it is all the more important to … Read More