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

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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

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(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

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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

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(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

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(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

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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

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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

Views: 932
(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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The Dancing Frogs of India

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(March 20, 2020) In the year 2015, while I was working on an Environment Impact Assessment project in the Western Ghats of India, my advisor Dr Gururaja pointed out the Kottigehar Dancing Frog (Micrixalus kottigeharensis) to me.I still remember that day quite vividly. We parked our car on the roadside. It wasn’t an easy place to park. There were huge potholes on the road and we had to scan the area before we found a safe place. The rains seemed to have subsided, however, there was still a light, steady dri...

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Citizens and Experts Help Rescue a Precious Indian Star Tortoise

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(March 19, 2020) Divya Shetty is a Bangalorean actively involved with the Puttenahalli Neighbourhood Lake Improvement Trust. One day, the gardeners who worked around the Puttenahalli lake found the Indian star tortoise on the embankment. Soon after, it was rescued and rehabilitated with the help of Bannerghatta National Park. In this article, Divya Shetty describes the rescue operation and rehabilitation of the endangered species. This is an example that shows what citizens can do to protect and preserve wildlif...

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