Precious Amrit Mahal Kavals are not Wastelands

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Amrit Mahal Kavals are semi-arid grasslands in Karnataka that were set aside several centuries ago, during the Vijayanagara empire, and protected as grazing grounds for a sturdy local breed of cattle known as Amrit Mahal, which was once highly prized as a military draught animal. The protection of these grasslands was continued by subsequent rulers, including Hyder Ali, Tippu Sultan, and the Maharajas of Mysore, as well as the British during their colonial reign in India. Although these grasslands … Read More

How the tiger can regain its stripes

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This article was written for/first published in The Hindu, OpEd page, August 13, 2020, titled “How the tiger can regain its stripes”.

Tiger conservation needs a reboot to match the scale of India’s aspirations in other domains.

On International Tiger Day, July 29, authorities proudly declared that India should “celebrate” the increase in tigers from about 2,000 in 1970 to about 3,000 now. This is an annual growth rate lower than 1% after 50 years of incredible, sometimes heroic, efforts. … Read More

Hunting Festivals of West Bengal — An Untold Story of Wildlife Massacre

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Ritualistic Hunting — The Silent Wildlife Killer of West Bengal

HEAL has been documenting South Bengal’s hunting festivals since 2016 and working with enforcement authorities to put an end to this indiscriminate mass killing of endangered wildlife.

This is the earlier documentation of their work on CI. 

All of us are acutely aware of the hunting of megafauna connected with the multi-billion dollar illegal wildlife trade. Many of us also know of the problem of hunting that persists in the … Read More

Is It Time to Rethink Wildlife Crime and its Data In India?

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COVID-19 emerged as an endemic zoonotic disease and has now become a pandemic that poses a critical threat to global health security. Over the past several years, humanity has faced a number of zoonotic diseases such as Ebola, Hanta, Influenza A (H1N1), Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), and now COVID-19. It is estimated that the top 56 zoonotic diseases are responsible for 250 crore cases of human illness and 27 lakh deaths worldwide each year. Researchers from the … Read More

Peregrine Falcons and other Raptors being Brutally Killed by Pigeon-fanciers in Punjab

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Pigeon-fancying is a popular hobby for many around India. Across the world, raptors are viewed as a threat to the pigeons kept by pigeon-fanciers. However, in Punjab (especially in the regions of Doaba and Malwa), some who participate in this activity have taken it upon themselves to deal with these threats in the most extreme manner.

Several shocking videos showing raptors, particularly falcons and accipiters, being caught and brutally “executed” have surfaced on online platforms such as Tik Tok, Whatsapp, … Read More

Trade in Dolphin Oil and Body Parts in Central West Bengal

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South Asian River Dolphin, also known as Ganges River Dolphin (Platanista Gangetica) is an endangered species found in Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna river systems in India and Bangladesh. It is listed as Endangered by IUCN and protected as Schedule I species under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. It is also the National Aquatic Animal of India and the focus of a number of conservation projects.

Around mid-2019, Human and Environment Alliance League (HEAL), a conservation focused NGO in Kolkata, started receiving news of … Read More

Uncovering India’s Illegal Jackal Trade

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Religious beliefs in superstition, coupled with extensive online advertisements, have helped sustain local and transnational markets in a talisman called the ‘jackal horn’. In a recent study published in Journal of Threatened Taxa, scientists from the Wild Canids–India Project team document that the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (Government of India) has seized 126 skins, 8 tails, more than 370 ‘jackal horns’, 16 skulls and two live jackals between 2013 and 2019. The findings indicate that the illegal wildlife trade … Read More

India’s Protected Area (PA) Network

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Here is an explainer piece on Protected Areas in India.

What is a Protected Area (PA)?

PAs in India comprise National Parks, Sanctuaries, Conservation / Community Reserves and Tiger Reserves. It does not include Reserved Forests.

Protected Area (PA) has been defined in the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Section 2(24A) says: “Protected Area” means a National Park, Sanctuary, Conservation / Community Reserve. These are notified under Chapter IV titled “Protected Areas”. 

A Tiger Reserve on the other hand is notified … Read More

Q: I am a law student and want to purchase a legal commentary on the Wildlife Protection Act 1972. Unfortunately I am not able to find it anywhere. Law book store owners state that there no such detailed commentaries available. Can you help? 

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Answer from the CI Team:

Thank you for your interest. This book would be really helpful for a commentary on the WLPA : Wildlife Law for Rangers.

It is a practical guide to the effective implementation of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 (WLPA). Prosecution of offenders requires Forest Officers to also have a reasonable understanding of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) which is explained in the book.

You can buy the book on Amazon India hereRead More

Illegal Turtle Trade at Agartala, Tripura

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On my visit to Agartala in the last week of September, 2019, as a member of the jury of the photography competition organized by Pict-O-Real Club, I had a horrific experience. On 28th night, Souvick Mukherjee, one of the members of the club, informed me that in Maharaj Ganj market, one the biggest fish markets in Agartala, different types of turtles were being sold for meat, including species like Indian Softshell turtle and Black Soft-shell Turtle.

To check out the … Read More

Book Release – Wildlife Law for Rangers

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About the book

Effective implementation of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 (WLPA) and prosecution of offenders requires Forest Officers to also have a reasonable understanding of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC). However, lack of formal training makes interpretation of law and criminal procedures, an intimidating subject. This book seeks to address this major lacuna and has therefore been written in a very simple, easy to understand style along with specific wildlife related examples.

The step-by-step procedure to … Read More

Chousingha near Pune, Maharashtra

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We were out on our regular Sunday bird-watching trip, 70 kms outside Pune city when we stumbled on this Chousingha or Four-horned Antelope (Tetracerus quadricornis) on 22nd May 2016 at 6:50 AM.

Arriving at a road section where the hills were clothed in scrub jungle, we decided to explore the area on foot. We saw something like a Chinkara (Indian Gazelle) take a couple of jumps and run behind a small hill in a matter of seconds. Sandip was quick … Read More

Illegal Wildlife Trade Amidst the Biggest Animal Fair of Asia – The Sonepur Animal Mela in Bihar

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Background

The Sonepur Cattle Fair, aka the Harihar Kshetra Mela, the biggest cattle fair of Asia is rooted in Hindu mythology. Based on a sacred legend in Hinduism – Gajendra Moksha (The Liberation of Gajendra), folklore has it that Lord Vishnu descended upon earth to protect Gajendra, (the elephant) from the clutches of Makara, (the crocodile) and awarded him Moksha (salvation).

An official survey of the Sonepur Cattle Fair, led by TRAFFIC in November-December of 2013, unveiled … Read More

Declaring Wildlife as Vermin — Legalising Hunting?

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Uttarakhand, Bihar and Himachal Pradesh have had – in recent months – notifications issued by the Central Government stating that select species of wildlife have been declared as vermin in specified areas. In other words for a specified period, in these areas, the wild pig in Uttarakhand, wild pig and Nilgai in Bihar and Rhesus Macaque in Himachal Pradesh are shifted to schedule five of the Wildlife Protection Act. Besides, Maharashtra and Telangana have had culling orders issued by the … Read More

Vasant Vihar Parakeets

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She was like any other hawker, selling—persuasively, aggressively—extolling the qualities of her wares. Only she wasn’t ‘just another hawker’. Her wares were illegal; she was hawking parakeets, the trapping and trade of which is prohibited under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

I spotted the woman in Vasant Vihar (near Priya Cinema), Delhi, on my way to visit a very sick friend, and almost turned a blind eye. You know how it is, when the task at hand is overwhelming or … Read More