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

Habitat Fragmentation in the Western Ghats

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Habitat fragmentation is the alteration of habitat, which results in the division of a continuous habitat into smaller, isolated fragments. While natural causes can contribute to habitat fragmentation, humans are the main cause. Human activities such as roads, mining, agricultural land conversion and urbanization contribute greatly to fragmentation. Habitat fragmentation has a greater effect on terrestrial animals as they have to cross human inhabited areas and roads to reach the habitats and resources they depend upon. This leads to road … Read More

National Highway through Sathyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary is a death trap for animals

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Urgent Action Needed!

Effective speed control measures to reduce wildlife road kills needed immediately as per locations suggested in report (download).

This report has been submitted to the Principal Secretary, Environment and Forests Department, Tamil Nadu and the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden, Tamil Nadu Forest Department for action.

Summary

  1. The National Highway (NH209) passing through Sathyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary poses a grave threat to wildlife.
  2. The extent of the road within the sanctuary is
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Elephant Rescue, Valparai

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It was that time of the year again, when elephants slowly started marking their presence. Like every year, there were incidents of households getting hit here and there, thankfully, nothing major though. What is always interesting to note every year is the consistency they maintain in terms of their movement patterns, and also in the damage sites they choose! Early that morning I decided to take off from my daily routine in front of my Macbook’s hypnotizing screen. I went … Read More

Nilgiri Martens, Mukurthi, Nilgiris

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On the 18th of October, 2011, we were camping in a trekking shed, on the way to Mukurthi peak in the Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu. The trek involved walking about 3 km through wattle and grassland to reach a stream, followed by another uphill trek. Two of us reached the last hill around 11 AM, and as it was hot, we decided to turn back. The disappointment at not completing the trek turned out to be a blessing in disguise. As … Read More

Wildlife in Tea Plantations, Western Ghats

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When was the last time you saw a continuous stretch of forest in India — wilderness as far as your eyes can see? It has indeed become a rarity. There is always a settlement or an agricultural field. Human imprint is everywhere and the notion of a ‘pristine’ wilderness doesn’t exist anymore. Our growing demands have led us to expand widely and rapidly, and now, more than ever, this has brought us in direct contact with wild animals. Wildlife is … Read More

Human-Elephant Conflict, Coimbatore

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Though an old picture (taken in 2012), this image shows the rise of Human-Elephant Conflict (HEC) in the The Thadagam valley of Coimbatore. This area has become a major centre for brick production and the numerous brick kilns have drastically altered the landscape and interfered with the animal movement in the area. The outskirts of Coimbatore have served as traditional elephant migratory corridors connecting the various major forested regions of the Western and Eastern Ghats.

These two tuskers were standing … Read More

Marsh Crocodile and Fishing Net, Cauvery

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Tamilnadu Forest Department in association with Kenneth Anderson Nature Society (KANS) had organised the ‘Melagiri Bird Survey’ – from 29th of January 2014 to 2nd of February 2014 – in the Hosur Division. I was lucky to have taken part in the survey and was assigned to Urigam Range. The anti-poaching camp (APC) I was assigned to is on the banks of the Cauvery river. Due to the location of the camp, our transit was along the banks.

We saw … Read More

Human — Macaque Conflict

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During the recently concluded Melagiri Bird Census we came across this macabre scene. A dead Bonnet Macaque was dangling on a fine wire noose attached to a bamboo fence and another barely alive macaque was writhing in pain with terror written on its face. The situation was appraised quickly and the anti-poaching watcher and the forest guard accompanying us deftly removed the noose from the macaque’s neck and saved it from certain death. The bamboo fence was the boundary between … Read More

Jungle Cat in the Bag

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On the morning of 28th November, when Balaji Rayadurgam, Karthik Ramamurthy and I went birding on the outskirts of Chennai, we heard gunshots. Closer inspection revealed that the shots were being fired by 2 poachers, who were coming out a field with a gun in hand and a bag. We caught them red-handed and snatched the weapons and the bag, anticipating birds inside. But we were taken by surprise as there was something else — a jungle cat — which … Read More

Living with Elephants, Valparai, Tamil Nadu

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In the human-dominated landscape of the Valparai plateau, abutting the Anamalai Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu, this is the peak annual elephant movement period, which lasts till the end of February. Given the mosaic of landscapes the herds have to navigate, they encounter curious onlookers, passing tourists and heavy vehicle movement. The elephants normally choose to move once human activities reduce after sundown.

This herd had a hard time traversing through tea estates interspersed with degraded forest patches because of … Read More

Large-scaled Forest Lizard, Anamalais

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The Large-scaled Forest Lizard (Calotes grandisquamis) is an agamid lizard endemic to the forests of central and southern Western Ghats of India.

Western Ghats has lost over two-thirds of its original forest cover in the last several decades and only 3,200 square kilometres, or 15% of the intact area, is protected. This loss of habitat is mainly due to conversion of forests for various plantations as well as development. Even though few species struggle to adapt to newly altered environments, … Read More