Tiger Killed By Wire Snare, Wayanad, Kerala

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On 21st December, 2011, an adult tiger was found dead at a place called Chekkadi in Tirunelli Village, just two kilometres from the boundary of Wayanad Sanctuary in Kerala. The tiger was caught in a strong wire snare skillfully laid between two trees just beyond a thick hedge.  A case has been registered and investigations are underway. Conservation India carried a note on the ‘Legal Aspects of Tiger Mortality’ along with a picture sourced from local sources. This picture was … Read More

India’s Conservation Challenges

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Wildlife conservation at crossroads

An interview with Dr. K. Ullas Karanth

Dr Ullas Karanth, a Senior Scientist with the international NGO, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), is a world-renowned wildlife biologist.  In a wide-ranging interview with wildlife and conservation filmmaker, Shekar Dattatri, he outlines the basic problems that beset wildlife conservation in India’s human dominated landscape, and shares his views on preserving these last wild places.

(This is an updated version of an interview that was first published under the title Read More

Villager Cooking Langur, Wunstubong, E Nagaland

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As part of a state-wide biodiversity survey in May-June 2011, Shashank Dalvi and Anup BP (post-graduate students of M.Sc wildlife biology and conservation, WCS-India & NCBS) encountered this scene in Wunstubong, E Nagaland. Led by a child who was seen holding a langur (likely Capped) tail, the students saw a woman cook the entire langur for dinner. Nagaland has lost almost all of its wildlife in similar fashion thanks to large-scale traditional hunting practices coupled with poor enforcement of wildlife … 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

Religious Festivals Inside Protected Areas

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CI recently received this very pertinent question (in our ‘Ask CI’ section) from Suraj Kumaar of Coimbatore:

“I would like to know what kind of rights for worship are provided to tribals and forest dwellers (villagers) inside PAs? We have been recording the temple festivals inside Sathyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary over the last two years and the situation is one of absolute mayhem. Between 70,000 to 1,50,000 visitors, over 700 buses, trucks visit two temples deep inside the sanctuary. One temple, Read More

Hunting of Blyth’s Flying Fox in Andaman Islands

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On 26th December 2013, while birding in Mayabunder (North-Middle Andaman), my field assistants and I passed a Ranchi household where we saw the skinned remains of a male Blyth’s flying fox tied to the fence to be decomposed by ants. On further enquiry the man of the house brought a female flying fox that he had shot the previous night. A bullet had punctured the bat’s wing and there was another wound near her elbow rendering her incapable of flight.… Read More

Pelican Poaching, Chennai

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This image is one of a series of pictures I took on 1st January 2013 while watching birds at Chennai’s Kelambakkam lake. This brackish backwater lake is home to a lot of migrant and resident bird species throughout the year.

This is also a haven for poachers who regularly target this place for large number of local and migratory birds during winter for the excessive demand for meat on weekends. In this instance, it didn’t seem like organised poaching but … 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

Pangolin and Monitor Lizard Poachers caught in Bhadra Tiger Reserve

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I was shooting for the documentary “The UNSUNG” at Lakkavalli, when this case was cracked by the Bhadra staff. During their daily patrols, on 12th June 2014, four field staff of Lakkavalli Range (Bhadra Tiger Reserve), came across a few suspicious objects near a stream. This prompted them to intensify their search in that area, which led them to a poachers’ den site. They contacted their office and other Anti Poaching Camp staff using their wireless kit 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

China’s Illegal Ivory Trade Escalating Out of Control – Save the Elephants

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Save the Elephants Press Release

The illegal ivory trade is exploding in China, overwhelming efforts to enforce the law, according to the results of the first detailed research on the markets of Beijing and Shanghai since 2002, published today by Save the Elephants and The Aspinall Foundation.

Skyrocketing demand for ivory in China – the wholesale price of raw elephant tusks has tripled in just four years since 2010 – have sparked a booming trade in smuggled ivory that is … Read More

Miscreants Caught Trying to Poison Vultures

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On a recent visit to Ramadevarabetta Vulture Sanctuary along with my friends Hrishikesh and Preetham, we came across a group of miscreants who were caught red-handed while trying to poison vultures at the sanctuary. Five of them were caught by the local Iruliga tribe while they were trying to poison vultures using chicken meat. An insecticide called PHORATE was applied to the chicken meat and dispersed near the vultures nests. The motive behind hunting these vulture was not clear. However, … Read More

The Endangered Narrow-headed Softshell Turtle

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The Narrow-headed Softshell Turtle (Chitra indica) of the family Trionychidae, is an extremely large, highly aquatic species. It is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List, and placed in Schedule II of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972. It is widely but patchily distributed throughout the riverine ecosystems of the Indian subcontinent. The Narrow-headed Softshell Turtle does not appear to exist at high densities anywhere in its range. Its specialized dietary and habitat requirements make it … Read More

Rescued Great Barbet, Doyang, Nagaland

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This fledgling Great Barbet (Megalaima virens) was rescued from a hunter by an educator who works with the Nagaland Wildlife and Biodiversity Conservation Trust (NWBCT) in Doyang, Nagaland. It was just a chick when it was rescued and is currently being nursed to adulthood so it can be released in the wild. In Nagaland, such incidents of rescue are very rare.

The merciless, uncontrolled, rampant, widespread and all-year round hunting in Nagaland of almost all life-forms will, in … Read More

Palm Civets Rescued, Trade Busted in Mysore

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The Forest Mobile Squad (FMS), Mysore, busted a pet trade involving Common Palm Civets (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) following a raid on a house outside the city. The accused, who has been handed over to the police, was rearing the civets at his residence. He confessed that he hunted the civets in Madahalli reserve forest between Mysore and HD Kote.

See media report about this bust.

Wildlife poachers and traders in India are not just going after large, charismatic … Read More

Eating pangolins to extinction — ZSL / IUCN Press Release

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The enigmatic pangolin, or scaly anteater, is literally being eaten out of existence according to the latest update of The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, which shows that all eight species are now threatened with extinction.

Resembling an artichoke with legs and a tail, the pangolin is the world’s only truly scaly mammal. Their scales act as armour against natural predators but offer no defence against poachers.

The IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) Pangolin Specialist Group, which is hosted … Read More

Spiny-tailed Lizard Poaching, Desert National Park

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38 half-dead Spiny-tailed lizards were seized from three poachers near Beermadera village in Pokhran subdivision of Jaisalmer district. The forest department received information of a poaching gang catching Spiny-tailed lizards from their burrows. The department team immediately reached the spot and caught the three poachers and recovered the lizards, which had their spines broken and were packed tightly in bags.

Department officials state that the poachers cook and eat these lizards (considered a delicacy) after extracting oil (by burning their … Read More

Important convictions in wildlife cases in Uttarakhand

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In the last four days there have been two important convictions in wildlife cases in Uttarakhand – both cases were WPSI assisted seizures – and one important arrest.

The first case involved the seizure of a tiger skin and a full tiger skeleton, one otter skin, a turtle carapace and a steel trap on 30 January 2009 in Fatehpur Range of Ramnagar Forest Division, which adjoins Corbett Tiger Reserve in the nothern state of Uttarakhand. The tiger was killed by … Read More

Yellow-legged Buttonquail hunting in Bangalore

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Due to high demand for their meat, wild quails are hunted ruthlessly even though there are licensed quail farms where they are bred in captivity for the table.

This Yellow-legged buttonquail (Turnix tanki) was rescued from hunters by a group of people near HSR layout in Bangalore. The hunters had already killed five. We tried to convince them and create awareness not to kill these birds, but they were ignorant and lacked any concern. Avinash and I had … Read More

Blackbuck in Captivity, Karnataka

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Although the species is protected under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, this male Blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra) is illegally held in captivity at a religious place (Devargudda) near Ranebennur. It was captured in the nearby fields when it was young and is now an adult buck. Sadly, this sprinter is kept chained the entire day from dawn to dusk. Since Ranebennur blackbuck sanctuary is close, there are frequent sightings of blackbuck in the fields. But holding them captive is an offence … Read More

Chemical Poisoning of Freshwater Fish in Western Ghats

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Kumaradhara River, a major lifeline of Netravathi Basin, hosts an impressive diversity of fish species, including endemics such as Garra Gotyla stenorhynchus, Barilius canarensis and Tor malabaricus. The River has nourished the local communities with fish for centuries, which have traditionally been harvested using gill nets, cast nets, passive fish traps and plant-based fish poisons. However, more toxic and destructive methods of fishing have become a convenient alternative in recent times. Most locals now use low cost, easily … Read More

Barn Owl Hunter, Maharashtra

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On 7th March, in rural Maharashtra, I came across a few young men coming out of the forests near Vajreshwar adjacent to the newly declared Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary. We were a little off the road towards a tiny hamlet called Lendipara.

It was shocking to see they had come out with a dead barn owl which they had freshly hunted with a catapult. The young boy was more than happy to pose with his sick ‘trophy’, and when asked … Read More

Stemming illegal trade vital to saving the world’s wildlife, says TRAFFIC

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Media Release | 12 February 2014, New Delhi

The London Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade that takes place from 12-13 February, is an opportunity for governments to commit to finally ending the illegal trade in elephants, rhinos, tigers and other endangered wildlife species whose very survival is in crisis due to rampant poaching for illegal trade.

The event is being hosted by UK Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague. The Prince of Wales and his son HRH … Read More

Human — Macaque Conflict

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During the recently concluded Melagiri Bird Census we came across this macabre scene. A dead Bonnet Macaque was dangling on a fine wire noose attached to a bamboo fence and another barely alive macaque was writhing in pain with terror written on its face. The situation was appraised quickly and the anti-poaching watcher and the forest guard accompanying us deftly removed the noose from the macaque’s neck and saved it from certain death. The bamboo fence was the boundary between … Read More