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The power games around leopards

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The power games around leopards
(November 30, 2018) The Wildlife Protection Act 1972 clearly states that you cannot trap a leopard (Schedule 1 species) only because it has been seen. But this happens everyday somewhere or the other in India. Again, not because the leopard has threatened or killed a person but simply because it has been seen. Often in the shine of the vehicle or torch light.I remember about ten years ago we were called to talk to the management of the Dahanu Thermal Power plant near Mumbai. Their campus was by the side of the sea ...

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Bhadra relocation: The people's heroes

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Bhadra relocation: The people's heroes
(November 27, 2018) IFS officers saw and heard the success story of Bhadra when they went visiting the relocation sites and the tiger reserve.The hushed silence for an hour or more as the forest department jeep trundled on the patchy roads of Muthodi  Range inside Bhadra Tiger reserve was almost reverential. The bamboo dominant moist deciduous forests with its teak and native flora is known to be home to elephants, tigers, leopards, dholes, sloth bear, gaur, cheetal, sambar, muntjac, civets, leopard cats, jung...

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The strange case of the Weaver birds

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The strange case of the Weaver birds
(November 23, 2018) Unusual nesting behaviour of the Streaked Weaver Bird came as a precursor to drought and failed monsoon.In the month of July 2016, bird watchers of WildCAT-C, a wildlife conservation team in Chikmagalur noticed a strange nesting behavior of the Streaked Weaver Bird around Chikmagalur town. The bird is less common compared to the Baya Weaver Bird. The weaver birds nest mostly on reeds in lake beds and ponds and the nesting generally starts in the month of September. However, that year in Chikmaga...

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When two man-eater leopards resulted in 33 leopards killed!

Views: 1051
(November 20, 2018) As conflict situations increase, there are lessons to be learnt from the past. Looking at the source of the conflict and solving it could help provide a long-term solution rather than a shoot-and-kill approach.Leopard seen in Bhadra © Pradeep V HegdeSuddenly and sadly, ‘problem tigers’ and ‘problem leopards’ are everywhere in the country. Following the removal of one tiger in Yavatmal, by means now contested, there are more demands to remove ‘straying’ ca...

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Not burning bright

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(November 16, 2018) India’s national animal has fallen prey to human-tiger conflict© The New Indian ExpressThe tiger is in the news, and yet again for the wrong reasons. We have lost two of our national animals to targeted killings in two rich landscapes — Yavatmal (Maharashtra) and Dudhwa (Uttar Pradesh). The big cats were victims of human-tiger interface conflict.India is in a leadership position on the tiger front with almost 70 per cent of the global tiger population. We pioneered tiger conserv...

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Rusty story

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(November 13, 2018) How fear makes the smallest wild cat in India into a dangerous leopard.Many years ago while we were studying the leopard ecology in the agricultural landscape of Akole, W Maharashtra I had many friends coming to help out especially during the camera trapping work. This was a blessing as some were good photographers, some good cooks and some terrible two wheeler drivers. Sachin Rai had come to help and one day while we were returning from our field work, I got a call from the Forest Department sa...

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The 'Elephant fair'

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(November 07, 2018) A real incident quite common in parts of India where elephants and humans share common spaces.Much has been written about the plight of elephants in the face of aggression by people and also about the immense losses people face due to elephants in human-use areas. However, the picture is not always as grim as portrayed. If the situation was indeed dismal, elephants would not have continued to persist in densely populated areas like the duars in west Bengal.In this part of India, local people hav...

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Revisiting Bhadra relocation

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(November 02, 2018) Almost two decades since the people moved out of the forest to start a new life, what greets a visitor at the sites of rehabilitation and forest alike is hope and wonder.His shabby clothes notwithstanding, Huliyappa Gowda is a man who earns more than what an average city-bred youngster earns, toiling long hours in air-conditioned offices. He makes an annual Rs 8-10 lakh from his coffee and pepper crop grown on four acres of land. That is after deducting his expenses in terms of pesticide and man...

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An encounter with a rare reptile in the Anamalai Hills

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(October 30, 2018) The palm-sized cane turtle is endemic to the Indian Western Ghats.It was a monsoon morning in the Anamalai hills. Ferns and shrubs were dancing to the pitter-patter of water droplets falling from the canopy. Very few birds were vocal as many of them were busy trying to keep themselves dry before they go hunting for their meals. Malabar Giant Squirrels and Nilgiri Langurs were contemplating whether to take a rest in such misty weather as they were crossing across tree canopies clumsily. I too was...

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C Rajendran, IFS – One man, many roles

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(October 26, 2018) C RajendranC Rajendran grew up right next to a forest in Mithirmala, a small village in Trivandrum, Kerala. After graduating in Mathematics, he taught the subject for 5 years at a tutorial college.Following his teaching stint, he was posted briefly as a Village Extension Officer in the Rural Development Department. A year later, in 1986, he was selected for the Forest Rangers course at the Southern Forest Rangers College, Coimbatore.On completion of his training, he was appointed as a Forest Ran...

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