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

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

River Linking Project Threatens Decade-long Success Story Of Panna Tiger Reserve

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Panna’s success story is now a conservation case study in other tiger range countries where efforts are ongoing to increase tiger numbers.

Every monsoon the stunning Dundhwa Seha gorge in the middle of the Panna Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh, comes alive with a spectacular waterfall. Even during the drier months, the rocky outcrop is a refuge for wildlife looking to escape the grueling summer heat of Bundelkhand.

In this deep gorge, Panna recorded its first litter of tigers on this … Read More

Bycatch Mortality and Poaching of Ganges River Dolphins in Malda District, West Bengal

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On the morning of November 3, 2019, I witnessed the bycatch mortality of a sub-adult Ganges River Dolphin (Platanista gangetica gangetica), measuring 2.75′ feet and about 22 kg, in a drift gillnet set for catching fish near Jotkasturi, Panchanandpur, Malda, West Bengal. A Wallago attu catfish was also caught in the gillnet. The fishermen who had landed the dolphin said that it might have got accidentally entangled. Usually, in such cases, fishermen fear penalties being imposed, and are not … 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

Palm Civet Poached In Morigaon, Assam

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A palm civet (either common or masked, id unclear) was killed by villagers near my residence at Dharamtul this morning, inspite of my repeated requests to leave the animal alone. It was spotted on a tree in the neighborhood, and I left the spot after telling them that it will go away after dark. After about two hours I heard a commotion and rushed there but found that it had already been killed. The white ring on the tail confuses … Read More

An Electrocuted Fishing Cat, Howrah, West Bengal

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A Fishing Cat was partially electrocuted at a pond in Baikunthapur village, of Haora (Howrah) district in West Bengal. The pond owner, along with some others, then killed the cat and sold off the meat. They then tried to destroy evidence by throwing away the head and skin of the cat in a nearby canal.

When informed of the incident, the Forest department carried out an investigation, which led to the recovery of the head of the cat. An … Read More

Illegal Wildlife Hunting and Trade in Tamenglong, Manipur

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Located in the northeastern state of Manipur, Tamenglong is home to several species of endangered wildlife like Hoolock Gibbons, Serows, Chinese Pangolins and Clouded Leopards, among others. Rampant illegal hunting in the region’s villages have led to a rapid decline of biodiversity. Birds and animals (including freshwater turtles) are mercilessly hunted down for trade. This includes outright sale of bushmeat (birds, pangolin, civet, porcupine, squirrel, python, deer, turtle) in local markets for human consumption. Also, Tamenglong seems to be a … Read 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

Under Cover: Orange-bellied Leafbirds as Pets in Nongriat Village, Meghalaya

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On 25th May 2019, while trekking from the village of Tyrna to Nongriat in the East Khasi hills of Meghalaya, we spotted a partially covered birdcage outside a house near the famous living-root bridge. A closer look through the camera revealed an agitated male orange-bellied leafbird (Chloropsis hardwickii) fluttering from end to end. As we walked a little further, we chanced upon the owner of the house, who casually remarked that it was a pet.

Leafbirds are small, attractive songbirds … Read More

Poached Gangetic Dolphin, Malda, West Bengal

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This image of a poached Gangetic Dolphin was photographed yesterday in Bhabanathtola, Bhutni village, Malda district, West Bengal. The man was was probably carrying it from Hiranandapur towards Mathurapur.

The Forest Dept. and the police are visiting area today (30-Dec-2017). DFO Koushik Sarkar said, “We are taking the matter seriously and have also informed the police.”

Read TOI Kolkata report.

In Bengal the dolphin is called the Shushuk and is just another fish-like creature for them, and is consumed locally … Read More

Death of an Otter

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It was January 2017, when I heard their barks and yelps on a fishing trip near Shivanasamudra in Karnataka. I put down the rod for the rest of the two days and watched and photographed the Smooth-coated otter dog and bitch with two pups – the parents pushing the pups to swim, and later feeding them. What a joy it was! In my heart I was so glad that their tribe was increasing in our conservation area (Wildlife Association Of … Read More

Religious Festivals Inside Protected Areas

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CI recently received this very pertinent question (in our ‘Ask CI’ section) from Suraj Kumaar of Coimbatore: “I would like to know what kind of rights for worship are provided to tribals and forest dwellers (villagers) inside PAs? We have been recording the temple festivals inside Sathyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary over the last two years and the situation is one of absolute mayhem. Between 70,000 to 1,50,000 visitors, over 700 buses, trucks visit two temples deep inside the sanctuary. One temple, Read More