A J T Johnsingh

Distinguished Wildlife Biologist, Western Ghats

 mdm3619

Dr. A.J.T. Johnsingh initiated pioneering field research on free-ranging large mammals in India by studying dholes in Bandipur Tiger Reserve in 1976-78 for his Ph.D. After a brief stint at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C. he returned to India in October 1981. He briefly worked with the Bombay Natural History Society and then joined the newly established Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun as faculty.

His research has focussed on the Asian elephant, Asiatic lion, goral, Himalayan ibex, Nilgiri tahr, Sloth bear, grizzed giant squirrel and Nilgiri langur. He also works for the conservation of endangered golden mahseer, blue-finned mahseer and tiger. He has contributed to the training of about 300 wildlife managers, 50 M.Sc. Wildlife Science students and supervised 10 Ph.D. students in India. He has published over 70 scientific papers and over 80 popular articles on wildlife conservation. 

He was awarded the 2004 Distinguished Service Award for Government from Society for Conservation Biology, the Carl Zeiss Wildlife Conservation Award 2004 for lifetime service to Indian wildlife and the ABN AMRO Sanctuary Lifetime Wildlife Service Award in 2005. He retired as Dean, Faculty of Wildlife Sciences at the Wildlife Institute of India in October 2005. He lives in Bangalore and works for Nature Conservation Foundation as Eminent Wildlife Biologist and for WWF-India as Honorary Scientific Advisor.

Projects

Publications

  • Journal Article
    In press
    Goral Nemorhaedus goral
    In: A. J. T. Johnsingh and N. Manjrekar (eds.) Mammals of South Asia: ecology, behaviour and conservation. Permanent Black, Delhi.
  • Journal Article
    In press
    Serow Nemorhaedus sumatraensis
    In: A. J. T. Johnsingh and N. Manjrekar (eds.) Mammals of South Asia: ecology, behaviour and conservation. Permanent Black, Delhi.
  • Popular Article
    2015
    A range of fauna
    Frontline, January 9, 2015 Pages: 67-82
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    PDF, 2.77 MB

    An account of a trek in Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve, Tamil Nadu.

  • Journal Article
    2015
    Distribution, relative abundance, and conservation status of Asian elephants in Karnataka, southern India
    M D Madhusudan, Narayan Sharma, R Raghunath, N Baskaran, C M Bipin, Sanjay Gubbi, A J T Johnsingh, Jayanta Kulkarni, H N Kumara, Prachi Mehta, Rajeev Pillay, R Sukumar
    Biological Conservation 187:34-40
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    PDF, 1.57 MB

    Karnataka state in southern India supports a globally significant—and the country’s largest—population of the Asian elephant Elephas maximus. A reliable map of Asian elephant distribution and measures of spatial variation in their abundance, both vital needs for conservation and management action, are unavailable not only in Karnataka, but across its global range. Here, we use various data gathered between 2000 and 2015 to map the distribution of elephants in Karnataka at the scale of the smallest forest management unit, the ‘beat’, while also presenting data on elephant dung density for a subset of ‘elephant beats.’ Elephants occurred in 972 out of 2855 forest beats of Karnataka. Sixty percent of these 972 beats—and 55% of the forest habitat—lay outside notified protected areas (PAs), and included lands designated for agricultural production and human dwelling. While median elephant dung density inside protected areas was nearly thrice as much as outside, elephants routinely occurred in or used habitats outside PAs where human density, land fraction under cultivation, and the interface between human-dominated areas and forests were greater. Based on our data, it is clear that India’s framework for elephant conservation— which legally protects the species wherever it occurs, but protects only some of its habitats—while being appropriate in furthering their conservation within PAs, seriously falters in situations where elephants reside in and/or seasonally use areas outside PAs. Attempts to further elephant conservation in production and dwelling areas have extracted high costs in human, elephant, material and monetary terms in Karnataka. In such settings, conservation planning exercises are necessary to determine where the needs of elephants—or humans—must take priority over the other, and to achieve that in a manner that is based not only on reliable scientific data but also on a process of public reasoning.

  • Book Chapter
    2013
    Goral Nemorhaedus goral
    Mammals of South Asia (eds A. J. T. Johnsingh & N.Manjrekar).Universities Press, Hyderabad.
  • Popular Article
    2012
    A problem landscape in the Western Ghats
    Hornbill, April-June, 2012 : 4-8
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    PDF, 1.26 MB

  • Journal Article
    2011
    Patterns of spatiotemporal change in large mammal distribution and abundance in the southern Western Ghats, India
    Biological Conservation 144: 1567-1576
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    PDF, 661 KB

    Large mammals face high risks of anthropogenic extinction owing to their larger body mass and associated life history traits. Recent worldwide mammal declines have highlighted the conservation importance of effective assessments of trends in distribution and abundance of species. Yet reliable data depicting the nature and extent of changes in population parameters is sparse, primarily due to logistical problems in covering large areas and difficulties in obtaining reliable information at large spatial scales, particularly over time. We used key informant surveys to generate detection histories for 18 species of large mammals (body mass > 2 kg) at two points in time (present and 30 years ago) in the Southern subregion of the Western Ghats global biodiversity hotspot. Multiple-season occupancy models were used to assess temporal trends in occupancy, detectability and vital rates of extinction and colonization for each species. Our results show significant declines in distribution for large carnivores, the Asian elephant and endemic ungulates and primates. There is a significant decline in detectability for 16 species, which suggests a decline in their abundance. These patterns of change in distribution and abundance repeat in our assessments of spatial variation in occupancy dynamics between the three contiguous forest complexes and two human-dominated landscapes into which the southern Western Ghats has been fragmented. Extinction rates are highest in the human-dominated landscapes. Declines in abundance for several species suggest the presence of extinction debts, which may soon be repaid with imminent range contractions and subsequent species extinctions unless immediate remedial conservation measures are taken. Detection/non-detection surveys of key informants used in an occupancy modeling framework provide potential for rapid conservation status assessments of multiple species across large spatial scales over time.

  • Popular Article
    2010
    Cry in the Wilderness
    Frontline 26(26): 64-74

    Many conservation issues need to be addressed to ensure the future of the wildlife in the Cauvery forests.

  • Popular Article
    2010
    Lure of the wild
    Frontline 27(5): 64-73
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    PDF, 3.87 MB

  • Popular Article
    2010
    The Mukurthy-Mudumalai Large Mammal Corridor
    A J T Johnsingh, R Raghunath, Tarsh Thekaekara
    Sanctuary Asia, Oct 2010 : 72-73
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    PDF, 742 KB

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