Elephant Taunting – A Despicable Spectator Sport in Coimbatore Forests

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Editor’s note: This report exposes a serious problem that needs urgent resolution. CI requests journalists to highlight this issue so that the authorities put strong measures in place to stop it. We request all conservationists and conservation NGOs in Coimbatore to join hands to help the Forest Department in solving this problem urgently.

Coimbatore, often referred to as the Manchester of South India, harbours hundreds of factories and multinational companies, which need land and other resources. Despite this, the … Read More

Chalazodes Bubble Nest Frog

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The Chalazodes Bubble Nest frog (Roaorchestes chalazodes) is one of India’s critically endangered frog. The species, originally described by Günther in 1876 based on a single specimen that is now located in the British Museum of Natural History, was lost to science for about 136 years. It was thought to be extinct until recently, when it was rediscovered in the remote forests of Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, Tamil Nadu by Dr. Ganesan R, Seshadri.K.S and Dr. Biju S.D. … Read More

Growing City, Displaced Flamingos

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Kelambakkam is a brackish backwater lagoon situated near Chennai. The backwaters are heaven for waders, gulls, terns, pelicans, painted storks and cormorants. Greater flamingos have been spotted here regularly. During migration season, a lot of waders such as (Eurasian curlew, whimbrel, lesser and greater sand plovers, terns (little/gull billed/Caspian/whiskered), gulls, redshanks, greenshanks, stints, black winged stilts, pied avocets etc., are seen here. Kelambakkam is around 30 kms from Chennai city, and was pretty much undisturbed – until recently. Industrial and … Read More

Bridging the Gap

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In the Anamalais, highways and the resulting fragmented canopies, are a huge threat to lion-tailed macaques. The highways department has been widening and improving the quality of roads to cater to the growing tourist population. There has been a sharp increase in the number fairly silent cars that speed through such roads. Macaques have also been emboldened by tourists feeding them, and thus hang out by the roadside. All this has led to a growing number of roadkills to this … Read More

Changing Landscapes

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Chennai is surrounded by a number of waterbodies. Kelambakkam backwaters, near Kovalam beach is home to a variety of birds that stop over on long migratory journeys. Some are local migrants like Painted Storks. Visitors from abroad include Flamingos, Western Reef Egrets and many species of Terns.

Storks like many birds wade in the shallows of the water bodies for catching fish and crabs, but the landscape around these water bodies is changing. With the city growing fast, an array … Read More

Survival

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In July 2012, I was witness to a story of survival in the wild, and how, despite the best attempts of humans, nature has its way. I was in Valparai and we got news that an elephant herd that we were tracking had given birth to a calf. The mother was a young elephant and an older one was observed always staying by her side. A few days later, while I was at Bangalore, I heard the startling news that … Read More

Bird Poachers Caught Red-handed at Kelambakkam Lake, Chennai

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I took this image of two poachers trapping waders (mainly little stints) flying low over Kelambakkam lake near Chennai and getting trapped in mesh nets. I was birding along the lake accompanied by Vaithiyanathan, also a birdwatcher and photographer. Both of us are members of the Photographic Society of Madras (PSM).

When we reached the lake, I saw two people crouched on one of the small islands in the backwaters. I took a test shot with my camera to check … Read More

Mudumalai Masinagudi Road Teeming With Vehicles

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This road teems not just with crossing wild animals, but also vehicle traffic. In an attempt to catch a glimpse of the wild, vehicles often stop, blocking the road for other vehicles. Sometimes people go to the extent of annoying animals, like elephants, to get pictures and videos of “mock charges”, attacks and so on. I have personally observed an elephant calf get separated from its mother, unable to cross the road. The mother had to charge and drive vehicles … Read More

Bird Ringing Camp – Point Calimere, Tamil Nadu, Nov 6 to 11 and Dec 14 to 19, 2012

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Note – Dates are spread across 2 batches. Please see details below.

One of its kind, the Bird Migration Study Centre is a brainchild of Dr Balachandran, Deputy Director, BNHS. The first ever bird migration project in India was started in 1950s by the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS). Since then BNHS has ringed over 3,00,000 birds. This camp will be a stepping stone for serious amateurs, birders and wildlife enthusiasts. Dr Balachandran will be leading the group. This tour … Read More

Melanistic and Common Leopard Pair

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On August 15, 2010, we were in the Nilgiris, in search of a leopard that had killed a porcupine the previous day. It was raining heavily in the morning, but stopped around 3 PM. As the rain stopped, we noticed something black on top of a hill and we cautiously approached it. We climbed about 500 feet of the hill, but the animal had vanished by the time we reached the top. We waited for sometime and a common leopard … Read More

Bonnet Macaque With Liquor Bottle

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We saw this scene en route to Valparai in Tamil Nadu. This Bonnet Macaque had caught hold of a bottle of White Mischief Vodka, and was trying to open it. We don’t know if the sun was playing tricks, but the bottle did seem to have some liquid remaining. We hope the monkey failed in his endeavor. Tourists often visit hill stations such as Valparai with the aim of having a ‘good time’. Valparai is a hotbed of bio-diversity and … Read More

Leopard in a Tea Estate, Nilgiris

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This leopard was photographed in a tea estate, near Kothagiri in the Nilgiris. I have also seen this leopard atop a rock, watching people below plucking tea leaves. So far there have been no reports of a conflict. Thus, at the moment, the leopard lives in harmony with the people in the area.

Editor’s note:  Leopards in India are often found in human-dominated landscapes. Here is another image of a leopard outside a protected area. For insights into … Read More

Q: We live in a small village, Thekambattu, near Salem in Tamil Nadu. Recently we had elephants near us for the first time in living memory of the oldest inhabitants here. We are glad to see your site because it is perhaps what would have helped us at that time. Anyway, the elephants seem to be wandering; so perhaps this is not the last we see of them. We need to know what can be done here as and when they show up without any resources, trained manpower etc. There has to be something like an Elephant Rescue team on call in the country at different places, I guess…

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Answer from Shekar Dattatri, Conservation India:

The problem you describe in your question – and in more much more detail in your blog – is an extremely difficult one to tackle. Although you yourself seem to have analyzed the various dimensions to this dilemma, and may not find this answer very useful, we are posting it here for the benefit of other readers, but with this rider. No one from CI has been to the area or studied the … Read More