India’s Conservation Challenges

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Wildlife conservation at crossroads

An interview with Dr. K. Ullas Karanth

Dr Ullas Karanth, a Senior Scientist with the international NGO, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), is a world-renowned wildlife biologist.  In a wide-ranging interview with wildlife and conservation filmmaker, Shekar Dattatri, he outlines the basic problems that beset wildlife conservation in India’s human dominated landscape, and shares his views on preserving these last wild places.

(This is an updated version of an interview that was first published under the title Read More

Polling for Pakke 2020 — Please help Pakke Tiger Reserve Pick its Best Images!

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We are in our fourth year of Polling for Pakke, an initiative where people vote for their favourite camera trapping images based on which forest department staff are then given prizes. So far more than 1000 voters have helped pick the best camera trap images from Pakke Tiger Reserve. Our voters have included the head of Arunachal Forest Department Force, scientists such as Dr. George Schaller and the widow of Karo Tayem, who won the 1st prize in the first … Read More

Tiger Stalks and Hunts Down Wild Dog in Nagarahole

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We witnessed an astonishing natural history moment while on a ride inside Nagarahole Tiger Reserve on the 20th of September, 2017. 

Just as the rain stopped in the morning in the Kabini area of the park, our safari jeep came upon a tiger facing off with a large pack of dholes. The crouching tiger seemed ready to pounce, when a bike-borne forest department staffer came riding between them, inadvertently chasing both away. The tiger disappeared into a bush, so we … Read More

Studying Patterns of Human Injuries and Deaths Due to Leopards, Lions and Tigers in Three Countries

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Human-large cat (like lions, tigers, leopards, jaguars) interactions often have an aura around them. Although there are many positive components, conflict between these felines and people dominate popular media and research. Conflict with large cats most often manifest in the form of livestock attacks, retaliatory killing and conflict between different invested stakeholder groups. One extreme and most feared form of conflict is injuries and deaths of people by these cats. Although attacks on people by large cats are rare, the … Read More

Lost Tigers, Plundered Forests: Tracing the Decline of the Tiger in Rajasthan

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One species of wild animal that has captivated human beings for time immemorial, is the tiger. Its popularity has however oscillated depending on the time-period in context. Until the 19th century, it was ‘the dangerous beast’; during the first half of the 20th century it became the royal quarry; the two decades post Indian independence it played the role of a mascot luring trophy hunters to India; and today, it is an unrivalled conservation emblem.

From the perspective of large … Read More

Tourist Photographs Aid Tiger Research and Monitoring

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Conservation India carried a photograph on 9th November 2016 of a tigress making a wild pig kill in Nagarahole. All tigers have stripes that are unique, just like human finger prints. To identify this tigress and trace its history, a WCS team of researchers working under my guidance rapidly matched patterns of this tigress against 850 other wild tigers, whose images are in our long-term camera trap database, maintained as part of a long-term monitoring of tiger populations in the … Read More

Tigress Making a Wild Pig Kill, Nagarahole

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We were on a morning jungle safari on 29th November 2016 in the Kabini backwaters area of Karnataka’s Nagarahole Tiger Reserve. Repeated peacock alarm calls alerted to us to the possible presence of a predator. Soon, we saw this tigress on the track stalking some wild pig that were on the other side of the elephant proof trench (EPT). We were lucky to witness the tigress jump across the EPT into the agricultural fields of Machegowdanahalli village, make a kill … Read More

The Six Percent Solution — a New Recipe for Saving Wild Tigers

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21 leading conservation biologists from across the world have proposed that since it might be far too expensive and far too difficult to save all wild tigers, we should focus a major part of our efforts and expenditure on 42 selected sites that show the greatest promise. Here’s CI’s distilled version of the original paper titled Bringing the tiger back from the brink – The six percent solution.

Current approaches to tiger conservation have not succeeded in slowing the decline … Read More

Camera Trapping Reveals Exciting Secrets of Tiger Dispersal

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On 1-5-2011, Forest officials of the Shimoga Wildlife Division, had safely captured a male tiger that strayed into Gama village near Shikaripur. A decision was made by the Forest Department, based on consultation with WCS senior scientist and NTCA member Dr. Ullas Karanth, to release the tiger in Bhadra Tiger Reserve, rather than hold it in perpetual captivity. This decision was based on the fact that the tiger was estimated to be of dispersal age (about 3 years), healthy and … Read More

Swamp tiger, Sundarbans

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The Sundarbans is the largest single block of tidal halophytic (saline) mangrove forest in the world. The Sundarbans covers approximately 10,000 square kilometres, of which 60 percent is in Bangladesh, and the remainder in India. The Sundarbans is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Like many species of the Sundarbans, its tigers too remain highly understudied. Though it is a known fact that the big cats love water, these mangrove specialists are a step ahead and are excellent swimmers. Sundarban … Read More

Report: TigerLink — May 2014

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The Ranthambhore Foundation publishes TigerLink, a news letter that serves as a valuable resource library and is a strong pressure lobby to counter misguided development policies of the government. It is distributed widely, especially among policy makers, decision makers, experts and NGO’s concern with tiger conservation across the globe. It also serves as an information base for media professionals and those seeking concise information on tiger conservation issues.… Read More

Report: TigerLink — Jan 2015

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The Ranthambhore Foundation publishes TigerLink, a news letter that serves as a valuable resource library and is a strong pressure lobby to counter misguided development policies of the government. It is distributed widely, especially among policy makers, decision makers, experts and NGO’s concern with tiger conservation across the globe. It also serves as an information base for media professionals and those seeking concise information on tiger conservation issues.… Read More

What do Carnivores Eat?

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As umbrella species, the tiger and its co-predators, the leopard and dhole play a fundamental role in shaping prey communities in the forest. Understanding the food habits and dietary seperation of these three large carnivores is vital for conservation of prey species and overall ecosystem functioning.

Authors Anish P. Andheria, K. Ullas Karanth and N. Samba Kumar conducted a study of diets of three sympatric large carnivores, the tiger (Panthera tigris), the leopard (Panthera pardus) and … Read More

Tiger – Gaur Face-off, Bandhavgarh

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I was on a evening drive in the Magdhi zone of Bandhavgarh national park when I came across this big male tiger. He was walking along the fence that was erected to contain gaur when they were reintroduced to Bandhavgarh from Kanha. Suddenly the tiger froze. I couldn’t figure out why. He had certainly detected something,  but I couldn’t see it. After about ten minutes he walked back on the road and suddenly I saw him face to face with … Read More