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

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

Uncovering an Obscure Trade: Threatened Freshwater Fishes and the Aquarium Pet Markets

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An analaysis of trade data on freshwater fish exports for ornamental trade was recently published in Biological Conservation 164: 158-169: R. Raghavan, N. Dahanukar, M. Tlusty, A. Rhyne, K. Krishnakumar, S. Molur & A.M. Rosser (2013) Uncovering an obscure trade: threatened freshwater fishes and the aquarium pet trade.

The trade deals with 30 species that are threatened with extinction. Here are the highlights of the paper.

Highlights of the study

  • This study for the first time assessed the extent, magnitude
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Rampant Bird Poaching Activities in West and East Godavari districts of Andhra Pradesh.

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The nine coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh are favourable habitats for resident and migratory water birds. Among these, a few sites have been recognized as Important Bird Areas (IBA) and potential Ramsar Sites. Every year, from October to May, different species of water birds, including threatened species, visit coastal and inland wetlands like mudflats, mangrove creeks, water ponds, agricultural fields and lagoons for food and shelter. These water birds play a key role in many wetland ecosystems in Andhra Pradesh. … 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

Chinese Pangolin, Tamenglong Market, Manipur

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We are passionate conservationists from Tamenglong, Manipur. We would like to report the rampant trapping, hunting and sale of wildlife in Tamenglong and its neighbouring villages. We have seen monkeys, pythons, Chinese pangolins (Manis pentadactyla — featured here) , great barbets, civets, leopard cats, Asian forest tortoises and many other species of wildlife for sale in these markets. Many of these species are on the endangered list.

The concerned authorities are turning a blind eye towards this very critical … Read More

Trade of Endangered Caracals Busted in Mirzapur, UP

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The captured animals must be reintroduced into the wild at the earliest after ascertaining their origin, and a thorough investigation should be undertaken to destroy this illegal wildlife crime racket and culprits punished as per law.

The elusive caracal (Caracal caracal), arguably the rarest cat in India, is one of the least known mid-sized carnivores in India, in terms of its ecology, distribution or behaviour. There are few people in India who can claim to have seen one … Read More

Pangolins: ‘The New Rhinos’

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Few of us know about this animal called the pangolin, or scaly anteater, found in the tropical forests of Africa and Asia, including India. It’s an odd creature, donning an armour – not unlike a knight of the medieval ages. It has a very narrow, long tongue that extends over 15 inches, coated with a gluey substance to enable it to probe nests, mounds and suchlike for ants, termites, etc. that make for its unique insectivorous diet. The pangolin has … 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

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

Bullfrogs in a Bucket

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This image highlights the serious problem of Indian Bullfrog (Hoplobatrachus tigerinus) poaching during the monsoon. We came across a paddy farmer near Jog falls, Mavingundi, Karnataka, who had collected nearly 30 bullfrogs and kept them in a bucket waiting to hand them over to a guy from Goa who was supposed to come and collect the frogs for the Goan Bar/Restaurant market. They are sold as ‘Jumping chicken’ there. We immediately rescued and released them plus reported the poacher to … Read More

Hunter’s Bag, Zuneheboto, Nagaland

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Staring idly out of the window as we made our way along the winding, dust-covered roads of Nagaland’s picturesque green hills, we were suddenly snapped out of our reverie by the sight of two young boys dangling a collection of squirrels and birds including a slender, black and white badger-like creature. We could buy the whole bunch for just Rs. 800 we were told, and the boys proudly posed for a picture with their wares. The badger and birds were … Read More