- Book Chapter2014Experientially Acquired Knowledge of the Self in a Nonhuman PrimatePages 81-99 in Sangeetha Menon, Anindya Sinha and B V Sreekantan (editors) Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Consciousness and the Self, Springer, India
The pressures of developing and maintaining intricate social relationships may have led to the evolution of enhanced cognitive abilities in many social nonhuman species, particularly primates. Knowledge of the dominance ranks and social relationships of other individuals, for example, is important in evaluating one’s position in the prevailing affiliative and dominance networks within a primate society and could be acquired through direct or perceived experience. Allogrooming supplants among female bonnet macaques usually involve the subordinate female of a grooming dyad retreating at the approach of a third female, dominant to both members of the dyad, although, in a few exceptional cases, the dominant member of the dyad could, instead, retreat. Retreat by the dominant individual was observed to be positively correlated to the social attractiveness of her subordinate companion, indicating that individual females successfully evaluate social relationships among other group females. Logistic regression analysis revealed the probability of retreat of the dominant female to be significantly influenced by her own dominance rank and those of the other two interacting females. Individual macaques thus possess egotistical knowledge of their own positions, relative to those of others, in the social hierarchy and appear to, therefore, abstract and mentally represent their own personal attributes as well as those of other members of the group. The experiential acquisition of such cognitive knowledge of the self raises important questions about the possible mechanisms underlying the nature of this mental representation and the general ability to categorise social information in non-verbalizing animal species such as macaques.
- Poster2014Dhole and Sloth BearDownload
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Dhole(Wild Dogs), Mongrel, Sambar, Sloth Bear, Nocturnal, Termite, Ant Larvae
- Poster2014சிறுத்தையும் நாமும்Poster produced in collaboration with Anamalai Tiger Conservation Foundation, Wildlife Conservation Society and Mumbaikars for SGNPDownload
PDF, 9.95 MB
சிறுத்தை-மனிதன் எதிர்கொள்ளலைப் பற்றிய விளக்கச் சுவரிதழ்
- Journal Article2014Tracing the geographic origin of traded leopardbody parts in the Indian subcontinent withDNA-based assignment testsConservation Biology, 2014, DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12393Download
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Illicit trade in wildlife products is rapidly decimating many species across the globe. Such trade is often underestimated for wide-ranging species until it is too late for the survival of their remaining populations. Policing this trade could be vastly improved if one could reliably determine geographic origins of illegal wildlife products and identify areas where greater enforcement is needed. Using DNA-based assignment tests (i.e., samples are assigned to geographic locations), we addressed these factors for leopards (Panthera pardus) on the Indian subcontinent. We created geography-specific allele frequencies from a genetic reference database of 173 leopards across India to infer geographic origins of DNA samples from 40 seized leopard skins. Sensitivity analyses of samples of known geographic origins and assignments of seized skins demonstrated robust assignments for Indian leopards. We found that confiscated pelts seized in small numbers were not necessarily from local leopards. The geographic footprint of large seizures appeared to be bigger than the cumulative footprint of several smaller seizures, indicating widespread leopard poaching across the subcontinent. Our seized samples had male-biased sex ratios, especially the large seizures. From multiple seized sample assignments, we identified central India as a poaching hotspot for leopards. The techniques we applied can be used to identify origins of seized illegal wildlife products and trade routes at the subcontinent scale and beyond.
- Poster2014Decomposition and Nutrient CyclingDownload
PDF, 3.73 MB
Beetles, Termites, Earthworms, Bacteria, Fungi, Tamil
- Journal Article2014Tiger poaching and trafficking in India: estimating rates of occurrence and detection over four decadesBiological Conservation, doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2014.08.016
Poaching, prey depletion and habitat destruction have decimated the world’s wild tiger population to fewer than 3200–4000. Despite focused efforts, poaching continues to be the key threat to tiger populations in India, home to more than half of the world’s tigers. A rise in the number of incidences of tiger poaching and trafficking may not essentially represent an increase in the actual occurrence of tiger poaching and trafficking, but can instead be an indication of better enforcement. With ad hoc detection rates, it becomes difficult to estimate the true quantum of poaching and the efficiency of enforcement. We empirically estimate the probability of occurrence of tiger crime and that of detecting it during periods of 3–7 years in the past 40 years in the 605 districts of India. We test the hypotheses that tiger crime is influenced by the presence of tiger trade hubs, proximity to a number of tiger habitats, and that tiger poachers prefer to use rail routes over road highways. The annual probability of detecting tiger crime was estimated to be highest (0.46, 95% CI = 0.38–0.54) in the period between 1993 and 1995. Our results identify 73 districts as current tiger crime hotspots with high (>0.5) probability of occurrence of tiger crime. We propose that the probability of occurrence of tiger crime can be a more reliable estimator of changing poaching pressures and that probability of detecting tiger crime provides a robust estimate of the efficiency in tackling tiger poaching and trafficking.
- Poster2014Malabar Whistling ThrushDownload
PDF, 1.69 MB
The Whistling Schoolboy, Moist Forests, Plantations, Dark Plumage, Tamil
- Popular Article2014Fancy sea fanThe Hindu in School, 24 December
- Journal Article2014Tilting at wildlife: reconsidering human–wildlife conflict2014 Fauna & Flora International, Oryx, 1–4, doi:10.1017/S0030605314000799Download
PDF, 102 KB
Conflicts between people over wildlife are widespread and damaging to both the wildlife and people involved. Such issues are often termed human–wildlife conflicts. We argue that this term is misleading and may exacerbate the problems and hinder resolution. A review of 100 recent articles on human–wildlife conflicts reveals that 97 were between conservation and other human activities, particularly those associated with livelihoods. We suggest that we should distinguish between human–wildlife impacts and human–human conflicts and be explicit about the different interests involved in conflict. Those representing conservation interests should not only seek technical solutions to deal with the impacts but also consider their role and objectives, and focus on strategies likely to deliver long-term solutions for the benefit of biodiversity and the people involved.
- Poster2014Migrant BirdsDownload
PDF, 6.8 MB
Flycatchers, Wagtails, Warbles, Rosefinches, Cuckoos
- Popular Article2014How corals got their colourThe Hindu in School, 29 October
- Journal Article2014Seagrasses in the age of sea turtle conservation and shark overfishingFrontiers in Marine Science 1:28. doi: 10.3389/fmars. 2014.00028.Download
PDF, 1.95 MB
Efforts to conserve globally declining herbivorous green sea turtles have resulted in promising growth of some populations. These trends could significantly impact critical ecosystem services provided by seagrass meadows on which turtles feed. Expanding turtle populations could improve seagrass ecosystem health by removing seagrass biomass and preventing of the formation of sediment anoxia. However, overfishing of large sharks, the primary green turtle predators, could facilitate turtle populations growing beyond historical sizes and trigger detrimental ecosystem impacts mirroring those on land when top predators were extirpated. Experimental data from multiple ocean basins suggest that increasing turtle populations can negatively impact seagrasses, including triggering virtual ecosystem collapse. Impacts of large turtle populations on seagrasses are reduced in the presence of intact shark populations. Healthy populations of sharks and turtles, therefore, are likely vital to restoring or maintaining seagrass ecosystem structure, function, and their value in supporting fisheries and as a carbon sink.
- Popular Article2014For the love of honeydewThe Hindu in School, 19 June
- Journal Article2014Photographic records of the Ratel Mellivora capensis from the southern Indian state of KarnatakaSmall Carnivore Conservation, 50, 42-44.
Understanding about the occurrence and distribution of the Ratel Mellivora capensis from the Indian subcontinent is hindered by the animal’s elusive nature. The first photographic evidence of Ratel for the southern Indian state of Karnataka comprises 41 camera-trap records from Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary. During January–March 2014, Ratels were detected in the sanctuary’s different forest types broadly in proportion to camera-trapping effort therein. A wider occupancy survey, using a range of methods including camera-trapping, would help obtain a better understanding of the distribution of this cryptic species in Karnataka and neighbouring regions.
- Popular Article2014Damn that riverDown to Earth blog http://www.downtoearth.org.in/content/damn-river
- Popular Article2014From hunters to protectorsThe Hindu in School, 23 July
- Popular Article2014Mermaid's second lifeDown to Earth, September issue, http://www.downtoearth.org.in/content/mermaids-second-life
- Poster2014Deciduous ForestsDownload
JPG, 1.38 MB
Dry Deciduous Forests, Teak, Bamboo, Chital, Drongos, Moist Deciduous Forests,Rosewood, Malabar Pied Hornbills, Asian Elephants, Gaur, Tiger, Leopard, Dhole, Timber, Tamil
- Journal Article2014Our backyard wildlife: Challenges in coexisting with uneasy neighbours. [Guest Editorial]Current Science 106: 1463-1464.
Available here: http://www.currentscience.ac.in/Volumes/106/11/1463.pdf
- Poster2014சிறுத்தையை அறிந்துகொள்வோம்Poster produced in collaboration with Wildlife Conservation Society.Download
PDF, 2.28 MB
சிறுத்தை-மனிதன் எதிர்கொள்ளலைப் பற்றிய விளக்கச் சுவரிதழ்.