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"We must unite and fight to save the bustard": Dr. Nigel Collar's Message on Bustard Conservation

"We must unite and fight to save the bustard": Dr. Nigel Collar's Message on Bustard Conservation
(May 21, 2020) A message from Dr. Nigel Collar, Chairman of the IUCN Bustard Specialist Group to the WCS event at CMS, February 2020.Dr. Nigel Collar with other experts at the Desert National Park. Photo courtesy: H S Sathya Chandra SagarThousands of species are coming to the end of their lives in our current extinction crisis. Many of them can be saved with relative ease (if global warming does not take away their habitat), because they have restricted ranges in which reserves can be establishe...

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Better Tourism for a Better Terra

Better Tourism for a Better Terra
(May 19, 2020) By Jisha JacobOn July 5th 1841, 500 people took an excursion from Leicester to Loughborough on a chartered train. Thomas Cook had marshalled one of the first organized tourism packages ever, kick-starting the era of modern tourism. Little did he know that he had pioneered a global industry. Over the century, the travel and tourism industry has grown immensely. Today it has spread out into various niche areas; rural, medical, cultural and heritage tourism being few of the many. Globally, the indu...

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Small or Big, Your Home Garden Has the Potential to Be a Refuge for Urban Wildlife

Small or Big, Your Home Garden Has the Potential to Be a Refuge for Urban Wildlife
(May 15, 2020) In recent days, I have taken to reading a book that has opened my eyes to much of my city Bangalore’s ecological history. Nature in the City: Bengaluru in the Past, Present and Future, authored by Harini Nagendra, ecologist and Professor of Sustainability at Azim Premji University explores urban green spaces in the city, including parks, slums, streets and lakes.However, what stayed with me was a chapter on home gardens, and their role in supporting much of a city’s biodiversity.Phot...

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Fearless in the Face of Pressure, ‘Encroachment Eviction Specialist’ Basu Kannogia has Cleared Over 6,800 Hectares of Encroached Forest Land

(April 30, 2020) By Manish Machaiah and Aashika RaviThe name ‘Encroachment Eviction Specialist’ isn’t conferred on just anyone. With over 6,800 hectares of total encroachment land cleared, and over 150 cases of illegal activity and nearly 50 cases of poaching filed, Basu Kannogia lives up to her title.Photo courtesy: Basu KannogiaAfter completing her primary education from Kanpur, she earned her Master’s degree in Zoology from Allahabad University in Uttar Pradesh. Belonging to the Indian...

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Living with Leopards

Living with Leopards
(April 29, 2020) It was late in the night, and I was busy comparing pictures of leopards on my laptop. Leopards have rosette patterns which are unique to each individual and can help identify them. It was tough to concentrate, though, as I kept hearing the eerie call of a barn owl. Just as I leaned out of my window to photograph the owl with my smart phone, it rang. Off went the owl into the night!Screen grab from a video where the mother returns to take her cubs. Source: Wildlife SOSThe caller was my friend, Ja...

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Global Health Implications of Wildlife Trade

(April 27, 2020) A third of the first 41 patients that were admitted to the hospital for symptoms of COVID-19, then an unknown and unnamed disease, had had an exposure to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, central China (Huang et al, 2020). Naturally, strong speculations were made that COVID-19 causing novel coronavirus might have emerged from this wet market (ibid.), that also sold wildlife illegally. It had ideal conditions for the novel mutation of the coronavirus (Evans, 2020): hygiene conditions ...

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State Forest Departments Across the Country Provide Relief to Forest Communities during Lockdown

(April 20, 2020) After our reportage on the Kerala Forest Department’s efforts to support interior forest communities during the lockdown, the state Forest Department has released a video documenting its efforts.Meanwhile, we received multiple responses from other state forest departments carrying out similar initiatives.  We spoke to Satovisha Samajder, Divisional First Officer, Balod, Chattisgarh, who is spearheading a Door-to-Door collection system during these unprecedented times.“Normall...

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Why Birdwatching is the Perfect Hobby to Take Up This Lockdown

Why Birdwatching is the Perfect Hobby to Take Up This Lockdown
(April 14, 2020) Picture this. A cacophony of bird calls near a tree, indicating something is amiss. A shikra tries to go into the tree. Just then, a kite flying overhead dive bombs into the tree. A serpent eagle is revealed to be the object of attention, flying out and into a much denser tree in its attempts to escape the kite’s attacks. When it flies in, a few grey hornbills fly out in confusion.This is not an Our Planet episode or a Nat Geo documentary. This spectacle took place in Mohit, a wildlife pho...

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An Evening with Bianca – The leopard who attended the Aarti and Azaan

An Evening with Bianca – The leopard who attended the Aarti and Azaan
(April 13, 2020) It was a winter evening from Aarey milk colony. Well, we Mumbaikars like to call “winter” any day when we receive some relief from the heat. Honestly, I don’t remember stepping out in a sweater for school. But, that has never been the case with the people in Aarey. One can evidently feel the temperatures drop once you enter Aarey’s vicinity and the residents, unlike other Mumbaikars, do have to pull out their winter wear, at least till the first week of March.One fine win...

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Newly Minted MPAs in the Lakshadweep Archipelago: Their significance and way forward

(March 23, 2020) In February 2020, the Lakshadweep Administration notified three new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), with a total area of 645 sq.km. These three protected sites are: Dr. K.K. Mohammed Koya Sea Cucumber Conservation Reserve, Cheriyapani (239 sq.km.), P.M. Sayeed Marine Birds Conservation Reserve (62 sq.km.) and Attakoya Thangal Marine Conservation Reserve between Amini and Pitti Archipelago (344 sq.km.). A view of Bitra island in Lakshadweep. Photo courtesy: Vardhan PatankarThe declaration of ...

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