Sathyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary Expanded

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The Tamil Nadu forest department has issued a notification expanding the area under the Sathyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary from the current 52,434 hectares to 1.41 lakh hectares, by adding seven reserve forests to the sanctuary. According to the last wildlife census, the sanctuary is home to one fourth of the elephant population in the state. It is also a unique habitat where tigers, elephants and blackbucks co-exist. Hyenas and vultures exist in the larger numbers here than anywhere else in the … Read More

12 New Frog Species Discovered in India

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A team of scientists who have spent years combing tropical mountain forests have found 12 new frog species as well as rediscovered 3 that were thought to be extinct. SD Biju of Delhi University, who headed the team has said that frogs are extremely important indicators of the climate change and pollutants in the environment. Globally, as many as 32% of amphibian species are facing extinction due to habitat loss as well as pollution. Many of the new frogs found, … Read More

Unilever’s Mercury Fever — Dumping Toxic Mercury in a Biodiversity Hotspot

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Corpwatch examines Unilever’s response when caught dumping toxic mercury waste from a thermometer factory in Southern India earlier this year. The Anglo-Dutch company recently closed the factory. Community members, however, allege that the multinational has downplayed the dangers of mercury and misled the public in an attempt to cover up the truth. Indian journalist Nityanand Jayaraman reports for CorpWatch.

In March 2001, residents of Kodaikanal, a pretty hill retreat in Southern India, caught the Anglo-Dutch multinational Unilever red-handed when they … Read More

Study Identifies North East Forests and Western Ghats as Vulnerable to Climate Change

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A forest impact study by a four-member team from the Centre for Sustainable Technologies, Bengaluru has identified that due to climate change, there is going to be a 45 percent change in forest vegetation in the North East and the Western Ghats, by 2100. The study, along with a related crop impact study, was published in the latest issue of the Indian Science Journal, Current Science. In addition to climate change, low biodiversity, low tree density and fragmentation also contribute … Read More

Steady Decline in Tiger’s Habitat Goes Against Tiger Estimation Report Conclusions

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Tiger habitat in the country has been steadily declining in India. Between 2006 to 2010 the country has lost 20,000 sq km of tiger habitat bringing the area down to 72,800 sq km. Close to 30% of the population is outside tiger reserves and there is no real strategy to deal with the situation. The fragmented habitats and shrinking corridors between protected areas mean that young tigers have no room to disperse and create new territories. There are some bright … Read More

Relocation of Human Settlements in Wayanad Awaits Government Action

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Even though around 10,000 people inside Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary want to relocate outside government inaction is delaying their move out. The central government has sanctioned Rs. 80 crores to move out a third of the population inside Wayanad, but of that only Rs 4.5 crores have been released. According to a report from the Kerala Forest Research Institute (KFRI) there are 110 settlements having 2613 families in the sanctuary. Wild animal attacks are frequent as are retaliatory killings. The Central … Read More

Final Notification Comes Into Effect in Sigur Elephant Corridor in the Nilgiris

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The final public notification has been issued regarding the proposed elephant corridor in the Sigur plateau of the Nilgiris District. Resort owners and private land owners have to vacate and hand over their land to the Collector immediately. Private land owners will be given adequate compensation and those living on government poramboke lands will be given alternative dwelling sites as per the Forest Dwellers Act, 2006. The proposed corridor falls within Sholur, Masinagudy, Hullathy and Kadanad villages.

The public notice … Read More

World Heritage Committee Defers UNESCO World Heritage Tag for Western Ghats

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The World Heritage Committee (WHC) has deferred its decision to accord a World Heritage Site tag to the proposed 39 serial sites in the Western Ghats. This is the second time the Western Ghats has not been accorded the tag. The Union Environment Ministry is expected to try once more after Prof. Madhav Gadgil, who is heading the Western Ghats Expert Ecology Panel, submits his report on the 39 sites. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), acting as … Read More

Regular Crop Raider Tusker Radio-collared in Wayanad, Kerala

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A 40-year old tusker, which is said to be a regular crop raider in the Sulthan Bathery area of Wayanad, has been radio collared. The radio collar will help monitor the animals movements and help warn villagers about its movements. Trackers had spotted the animal in the Arakunchi forest and though it tried to evade the trackers, the forest officials kept up the chase and eventually tranquilized the elephant. An expert team then took biometrical measurements of the elephant before … Read More

Mining in the hills

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Quarrying for stone and granite (mostly illegal) is a typical sight in many hilly areas and cause disastrous and irreversible changes to natural habitats. Those engaged in illegal mining are typically businessmen who operate with the tacit support of certain corrupt elements in local village offices, the police and the mining and geology department. They hire migrant labourers and use unlawfully procured explosives to blast rock formations in ecologically sensitive areas without government permission. The racketeers use politically influential goondas … Read More

Camera trap in Sirumugai Reserve Forest near Coimbatore records Tigers

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A camera trap in Sirumugai Reserve Forest has recorded the movement of a Tiger. This is the third sighting of a tiger in the Sirumugai Range. A census conducted in March found several pug marks. The forest department plans to assess whether the tiger is a migrant one or native to the Coimbatore Forests. The Sirumugai range is contiguous with the lower reaches of the Western Ghats, Mudumalai Tiger reserve, Sathyamangalam Forests and Silent Valley in Kerala.… Read More

25 Ecologically Sensitive Areas Identified in Kerala

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The Western Ghats Ecology Experts Panel (WGEEP) has identified 25 ecologically sensitive areas in the state of Kerala. The panel was constituted by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests and its report is due on June 5th. There are indications that Sholayar, Athirapally, Nelliyampathy, Attapadi, Vythiri, Malakkapara, Ranni and Konni are on the list. Certain areas close to the forest in Munnar will also be declared ecologically sensitive. The WGEEP’s proposals have to be cleared by the local panchayats. … Read More

Lessons from Voluntary Resettlement in the Western Ghats

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K.Ullas Karanth and Krithi Karanth on the lessons learned from resettlement projects in three important protected areas in the Western Ghats — Nagarahole, Bhadra and Kudremukh.

Forests in the Western Ghats occur as fragmented strips within a larger landscape matrix of crops and tree plantations. Reserves in the Ghats cover only twelve per cent of total area and the average reserve size is 243 sq km; the fourteen legally protected areas in the Ghats cover a total of only 6400 … Read More

Jairam Ramesh announces plans to setup Western Ghats Ecology Authority

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Union Minster of State for Environment and Forests, Mr. Jairam Ramesh, announced that a Western Ghats Ecology Authority (WGEA) will be setup shortly. After being notified, the body is expected to identify places to be declared “no development areas” in the 51 districts of six states that form a part of the Western Ghats. Nine such authorities have been setup under the Environment Protection Act (EPA). He disagreed with suggestions that the previous authorities were toothless. Mr. Jairam Ramesh was … Read More

Lost Amphibians of India (LAI) initiative rediscovers five species of frogs

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Scientists from the University of Delhi and other researchers who collaborated with them in the LAI program have rediscovered five species of frogs previously believed to have been extinct. The rediscovered species are: Chalazodes Bubble-nest Frog (Raorchestes chalazodes), last reported 137 years ago; Anamalai Dot-frog (Ramanella anamalaiensis), last reported 74 years ago; Dehradun Stream frog (Amolops chakrataensis), last seen 26 years ago; Silent Valley tropical frog (Micrixalus thampii), last seen 31 years ago; and Elegant tropical frog (Micrixalus elegans), last … Read More