Thursday, April 19, 2018

‘Lalgarh tiger’ had a right to live

Tiger that had ‘strayed’ into a fragmented forest found killed

Dubbed as the ‘Lalgarh tiger’ in media reports, the adult male aged between 10 and 12 years, was allegedly killed by a hunting group with spears and arrows during an ongoing ‘shikar’ (hunting) season in April, according to the state forest department. Initial analysis has revealed skull fractures. 

Binay Krishna Barman, forest minister of West Bengal, promised strict action against the perpetrators. “We issued orders to capture the tiger and relocate it as it had strayed into fragmented forest patches that harbour a considerable number of human settlements. 

Foresters said the big cat never killed a human.

“The tiger was at risk because it was present in a landscape where it was not seen before. We will continue with our sensitisation programme among the tribals,” said Sinha  

Wildlife biologist Milind Pariwakam slammed the portrayal of the tiger as a “stray.” Noting tiger movements or dispersals are routine activities and have always been going on, Pariwakam said such dispersing individuals are good for the population as a whole as they bring much needed genetic viability to the population and can re-colonise areas from which tigers went locally extinct.

“Further, trying to capture a dispersing individual merely because it has been seen in an area is a violation of the law. The Wildlife (Protection) Act under Section 11, allows the capture of an individual only if it ‘has become dangerous to human life’. The Lalgarh tiger was in no way ‘dangerous to human beings’ and thus, its attempted capture was itself a violation of the protection given to wildlife under the law,” Pariwakam highlighted.

“Today, most wild tigers live in small, isolated protected areas within human-dominated landscapes in the Indian subcontinent. These protected areas are too small to even hold demographically viable populations. The future survival of tigers depends on increasing local population size, as well as maintaining connectivity between populations,” said WCT researcher, Aditya Joshi.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Maintaining tiger connectivity and minimizing extinction into the next century: Insights from landscape genetics and spatially-explicit simulations

It is sad that our paper came out on the day a dominant male tiger (BTR T-2) got killed on the National Highway -6. However, it raises relevant questions regarding the future of tigers in human-dominated landscapes.

We used landscape genetic simulations to model 86 different scenarios that incorporated impacts of future land-use change on inferred tiger-population connectivity and extinction.

Key findings and conservation implications:
  • Dense human settlements and roads with high traffic are detrimental to tiger movement. 
  • Unplanned expansion of National Highways without mitigation measures significantly increases probability of extinction in many Protected Areas (for dispersal threshold of 500 km and 300 km)
  • Protecting corridors, stepping-stone populations and increasing numbers would be critical for tiger survival into the next decade
  • Our results highlight the immediate need for regional land-use management and planning exercises aimed at managing tiger populations as a network of PAs connected with corridors.
  • Our simulations provide a means to quantitatively evaluate the effects of different land-use change scenarios on connectivity and extinction, linking basic science to land-use change policy and planned infrastructure development.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Photographic Records of Eurasian Otter Lutra lutra from the Central Indian Landscape

Our photographic record of Eurasian otters from the Satpura Tiger Reserve extends the known geographical range of the Eurasian otter to the central Indian landscape and also provides the first photographic evidence of the species from India till date.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Fan-throated lizard - hunting

Was trying to get a fanning shot of Fan-throated lizard (Sitana ponticeriana), but got something even more interesting :)

Shame-faced crab (Calappa sp.)

Shame-faced crab (Calappa sp.)
They are called so because of the way they cover their face :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Green Scarab Beetle

Hexagonal scales

Hexagonal scales: Hook-nosed sea snake

Wild dogs (Dholes) marking their territory

Wild dogs (Dholes) mark their territory by defecating and urinating. They generally defecate in small amounts which is spread over an area. In this video you can see both male and female are engaged in marking.

River Lapwing (Vanellus duvaucelii) at Bor dam

Saw a River Lapwing (Vanellus duvaucelii) at Bor dam with Dr. Tarique Sani, Swati Sani, Tarun Balpande, Rohit & Rohan Chakravarty. This is the first record of this bird from the Nagpur region.

Indian Bullfrog (Hoplobatrachus tigerinus)

Indian Bullfrog - blue vocal-sacs @ Mahadev Pahadi.

The second Karanth - Getty award

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Oriental Pratincole (Glareola maldivarum)

Sighted three Oriental Pratincoles (Glareola maldivarum)with Kaustubh, yesterday at Makardhokada. A lifer for for both of us :)
Here is a screen-shot from my modified HD video camera-trap.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Oriental Wolf Snake (Lycodon capucinus)

Oriental Wolf Snake (Lycodon capucinus)
Juvenile - Oriental Wolf Snake (Lycodon capucinus)

These are from south Andamans. The juveniles look very different from adults, but the colouration and patterns of juveniles darken as they grow.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Wild Dogs @ Bori Satpuda

Advait, Bicchu and I were looking for tiger scats in Bori-Satpuda. Driving in the lively forest soon brought us to a pond where we saw wild pigs munching happily on pieces of a sambar carcass. Suddenly, a pack of wild dogs appeared on the scene, looking unhappy at the scene they chased them away from the carcass - not an easy task, but the sambar was probably the dholes' kill. However, finally they managed to claim the carcass and settled down to enjoy their meal. It was amazing, watching these wild dogs feed. Watching animals conduct their day to day activities provides us an amazing glimpse into their lives; In the case of these dogs, some kept a sincere vigil as the rest of them ate. One can get an idea of the hierarchical system by observing their behaviour.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Tiger from BOR Wildlife Sanctuary (Maharashtra)

Tiger from BOR Wildlife Sanctuary (MAH) which is a 63 Sq Km. of Protected Area ! Although the area protected is very small, it has quite a good forested area surrounding it. There are several reports of tigers from these surrounding forests :)
In Feb 2010 I was in BOR, looking for tiger scat. Every day I would sample roads and trails in search of fresh tiger poop :).
While walking along a trail, me and Sachin (Forest Guard) came across a carcass of wild pig; we looked at it and then continued walking on the trail, hoping to get a scat.
On the way back somewhere near the spot where we saw the pig, we could hear a tiger roaring (Crazy !). We stood still; we could make out its movement based on the changing direction of the sound. After a while we headed back to the base. But at night we could still hear the tiger :)
Next day we deployed few camera traps in the surrounding area and also marked the GPS locations. After 4 days we returned to the sight and were very happy to see the captures.
The forest department staff was happy to see these images and was convinced that they can get basic idea about individual tigers with such opportunistic camera trapping and GPS locations.
The department dose not have the expertise and the number of equipments required to monitor tigers systematically. But these images helped in a way that they decided to use the cameras and GPS that they had to generate a very basic database of tigers in that area :)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Greater Painted Snipe (Rostratula benghalensis) Female

Greater Painted Snipe (Rostratula benghalensis) is a very cryptic species, found in shallow waters and fringes of ponds and marshes. They would just sit still or quickly enter some vegetation to escape.
One of the most interesting thing about them is that unlike most bird species where males are "Beautiful" than females, here the Females are more colourful. Females in this species mate with several males and its the male who takes care of the eggs and chicks.
This is a video of a female snipe which was busy foraging in shallow waters of Ambazhari Lake in Nagpur.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Jungle Bush Quail (Perdicula asiatica)

So far its just for a few seconds that I have seen these birds for, either running under a thick blanket of grass or when I happened to flush them while walking.
This video was taken in Bor Wildlife Sanctuary, where me and my friends saw around 3-4 Jungle bush quails coming down a hill. We waited for them to come all the way down where there was a open patch. After a few minutes there were around 8 quails moving around us, searching for food in the leaf-litter present in-between the rocks.
We saw them for around 10 min.
This was the best sighting of these birds I ever had.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Clown Bug !

Here is Bug; looks pretty normal !
But look at it this way:
What i can see is a very angry guy :(
Raised eyebrows
Wide open mouth
Flared Nostrils
Nice big mustache
Fancy beard
Also a hat !!!

Nilgai (Boselaphus tragocamelus)

Nilgai Boselaphus tragocamelus is an antelope.
"Nil"= Blue & "gai"= Cow
But its the adult male whose coat is greyish-blue; the female have a brownish coat.
People often mistake female of Nilgai as a "Sambar".
This image is from "BOR wildlife sanctuary"; with the backwaters of the bor-dam.

Common Stonechat (Saxicola torquata) - Adult male

Common Stonechat Saxicola torquata (Adult male), a winter migrant.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Awaiting Death !

Awaiting Death - Vultures are scavengers, and their life depends on a death. Today, it seems like they are awaiting their own demise. Can we stem the tide?
Moved by the plight of the vultures in Ramnagaram, we decided to make a short documentary that showcases various aspects of the problem. We thought that the reason vultures numbers were decreasing could have been due to changing cattle practices, illegal sale of cattle diclofenac and loss of habitat due to quarrying. We spoke to local villagers about the cattle practices followed in their villages. What follows is a story of one of the last few breeding populations of vultures in southern India. We hope that immediate steps are taken to save this landscape and its inhabitants.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Changeable Hawk-Eagle enjoying a feast !

While looking for Tiger scats on a trail in Bor wildlife sanctuary, came across a carcass of a calf of Nilgai. I looked at it and moved ahead. On the way back saw a Changeable Hawk-Eagle on the carcass. For the next 3 days this eagle had a feast! I couldn't make out who made the kill, but it was clear that the Hawk-eagle was enjoying it. As my routes were fixed, I got to see it daily, and the eagle didn't bother at all; it was busy with it's for life. It was a nice opportunity to observe this amazing raptor at close quarters.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Bharal the "Blue Sheep"

Bharal the "Blue Sheep" from Sikkim. On the way to Gurudongmar Lake from Lachen, at around 5000 mt above the sea level; saw these animals. They merge with the background excellently and thus are hard to see; but some males were fighting and that's why we could spot them. Females were nicely enjoying the warmth of sun, but males had something else on their mind.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Hodgson's flying squirrel (Petaurista magnificus)

A really rare image. Hodgson's flying squirrel (Petaurista magnificus). On the way back to Gangtok from Lachen (Sikkim) at around 9.30 PM, saw something like a flying squirrel on the edge of the road. First we thought it is injured, but when looked through the binocs it was clear that its a flying squirrel and is not injured but is licking the ground.It was there for about 3 minutes. Then it went to the other side of the road, facing the valley..... got ready to glide.........then................vanished in the dark.
The main identification character is the reddish-orange tail with black tip. This was an amazing sighting of this elusive animal.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Ant-Mimic Spider (Myrmarachne plataleoides)

Ant- mimic spider (Myrmarachne plataleoides).
This spider mimics the weaver ants.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Hermit crabs from South Andamans

Hermit crabs, amazing variety of shells can be seen and even the hermit crabs too
These guys utilize shells of snails to protect their soft abdomen from predators. Not only abdomen but whole body is retracted inside the shell.
As the hermits grow in size, they change the shells, the abdomen is flexible enough to grip the shell on inner side. And they have amazing shells and even hermits themselves come in variety of colours.

Hermit crab from South Andamans.

Hermit crab from South Andamans.

Bay island forest lizard

Bay island forest lizard (Coryphophylax subcristatus)from South Andamans.

Sarus Cranes !

Sarus Cranes from Navegaon NP. The one with a Brownish orange head is a Sub-adult. These are amazing birds, but the habitat in which they live is heavily modified, even the eggs are stolen as they are believed to have some So called "Medicinal properties". The future of these cranes is really uncertain in this area.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Bar-headed Geese

Collared Bar-headed goose photographed near Nagpur city, Maharashtra, India

Mr. Martin Gilbert of WCS, successfully captured and marked several waterfowl species while sampling for avian influenza in wild waterbirds in Mongolia during July 2007. It says during the course of this fieldwork in summer, a subsample of 30 Whooper Swans Cygnus cygnus, 50 Bar-headed Geese and 21 Bean Geese Anser fabalis have been fitted with coloured neck collars in Hovsgol (Khuvsgul) aimag (province) in northern Mongolia.

One of these collared Bar-headed goose came near Nagpur, Maharashtra (First Photograph).Due to this photograph of collared Bar-headed goose, the migration of these birds was revealed.

These birds come every winter season near Nagpur. These are amazing birds migrating large distances away from there breeding grounds in winter and then return back as the winter withdraws.

Stream Glory (Neurobasis chinensis) - a Damselfly

Stream Glory - Female. These are really wonderfull. Females of this species are with brownish- semi-transparent wings. The body is greenish metallic in colour. But the males are just Superb.
Stream Glory - Male, This one is a male, normally when it is in the resting position the outer wing colouration are blackish with metallic sheen on it.
click on the image to enlarge
But the vibrant colour is displayed when inner side of the wing is exposed.

Blue bottle

Got this beautiful Blue bottle when it was mud puddling. Took this image at Top Slip.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Indian Vulture........ Soaring.......

`~ Gyps indicus ...followed by a Black Kite.....~'

Went to Ramnagar near Bangalore, superb rocky area.Some of the sightings were wonderfull. Saw some black kites following the vultures, some juveniles practicing their flying skills.

But the best part was looking at these beauties soaring right above us while we were resting on top of a hillock.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Elliot's forest lizard (Calotes ellioti)

Elliot's forest lizard (Calotes ellioti) is endemic to western Ghats. This is an Arboreal lizard. It has dorsal keeled scales and black angular mark on the side.

In breeding season the male changes its colouration, it is somewhat blackish in colour with patches.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Grey Francolins roosting (Francolinus pondicerianus)

Grey Francolins roosting (Francolinus pondicerianus)

When i started birdwatching, I use to wonder whether these birds can ever sit on a tree like most of the others do? Although I got the answer but never saw them roosting. Early morning in State Forestry College campus , Coimbatore, we went for searching Slender Loris with AJT Johnsing Sir and came across this roosintg group. It was a superb experience.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Indian Pitta (Pitta brachyura)

Indian Pitta (Pitta brachyura)

Short - nosed fruit bat

Short - nosed fruit bat

They live in small colonies. Their diurnal roosts generally consist of shed of large surface trees, like palm, and even man made structures made of natural resources ex. huts. Diet generally consists of fruits, flowers, etc.

Bengal Monitor (Varanus bengalensis)

Bengal Monitor (Varanus bengalensis)

The Formadible Lizard. There are stories which say people use to climb forts using Monitors !!!! But these lizards have really very powerfull claws. Their diet consists of small mammals, lizards, snakes, birds, eggs, etc.
Sad part is that they are hunted for meat and as most of the other wildlife, for "medicinal properties".

Indian Rock Python (Python molurus)

Indian Rock Python
(Python molurus)
It is an amazing experience to see these massive creatures while swimming.
The another one on the move, is around 9 feet and really massive.