- Book Chapter2010Status of Dugong dugon (Muller) in Andaman and Nicobar islands based on past records and traditional hunting by indigenous tribesin: Ramakrishna R, C. and Sivaperuman, C. (ed) Recent Trends in Biodiversity of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Zoological Survey of India, Kolkatta, 443-448.
- Journal Article2010Genetic Polymorphism in the Serotonin Transporter Promoter Region and Ecological Success in MacaquesBehaviour Genetics, 40: 672-679Download
PDF, 404 KB
A well-characterised sequence length poly- morphism in the serotonin transporter promoter region (5-HTTLPR) influences individual behavioural traits and cognitive abilities in humans and rhesus macaques. Maca- ques have been classified into four continuous grades on the basis of their behavioural attributes, ranging from highly hierarchical and nepotistic species to the most egalitarian and tolerant ones. A comparative study of several species that spanned these grades revealed only rhesus macaques to be polymorphic at the 5-HTTLPR and concluded that the polymorphism was responsible for their despotic and aggressive behaviour (Wendland et al., Behav Genet 36:163–172, 2006). We studied wild populations of three other species and found that the egalitarian and tolerant bonnet and Arunachal macaques are also polymorphic while liontailed macaques, although belonging to the same group, are monomorphic. We thus reject a role for this particular polymorphism in interspecific behavioural vari- ability and show that polymorphic species enjoy greater ecological success possibly due to their higher infraspecific variability in individual behavioural traits.
- Popular Article2010Monkey Watcher’s DiarySanctuary Asia 30(5):38:41
- Journal Article2010From Bathymetry to Bioshields: A review of post-tsunami ecological research in India and its implications for policyEnvironmental Management 46:329-338
More than half a decade has passed since the December 26th 2004 tsunami hit the Indian coast leaving a trail of ecological, economic and human destruction in its wake. We reviewed the coastal ecological research carried out in India in the light of the tsunami. In addition, we also briefly reviewed the ecological research in other tsunami affected countries in Asia namely Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand and Maldives in order to provide a broader perspective of ecological research after tsunami. A basic search in ISI Web of Knowledge using keywords ‘‘tsunami’’ and ‘‘India’’ resulted in 127 peer reviewed journal articles, of which 39 articles were pertaining to ecological sciences. In comparison, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand and Mal- dives had, respectively, eight, four, 21 and two articles pertaining to ecology. In India, bioshields received the major share of scientific interest (14 out of 39) while only one study (each) was dedicated to corals, seagrasses, sea- weeds and meiofauna, pointing to the paucity of research attention dedicated to these critical ecosystems. We noted that very few interdisciplinary studies looked at linkages between pure/applied sciences and the social sciences in India. In addition, there appears to be little correlation between the limited research that was done and its influence on policy in India. This review points to gap areas in eco- logical research in India and highlights the lessons learnt from research in other tsunami-affected countries. It also provides guidance on the links between science and policy that are required for effective coastal zone management.
- Popular Article2010Coffee, conservation, and Rainforest Alliance certification: opportunities for Indian coffeePlanters' Chronicle 106(12): 15 – 26
- Journal Article2010Seeing the elephant in the room: human elephant conflict and the Elephant Task Force reportEconomic and Political Weekly 45(49): 29-31Download
PDF, 163 KB
The report of the Elephant Task Force acknowledges the gravityof human-elephant conflicts,and makes a set of potentially far-reaching and forward-looking suggestions to alleviate them. The spirit of most of them is admirable and positive, but the devil, as always, is in the implementation. Managing conflict is as much about protecting farmers and farmlands from elephants as it is about reducing our footprint on the elephant’s domain. The first of five articles that discuss the Elephant Task Force report.
- Popular Article2010Nobody’s heroesTimes of India, 31 December 2010
- Popular Article2010Nature without borders: the problemSeminar 613: 12-13
- Popular Article2010Wildlife beyond bordersTimes of India, 30 July 2010
- Popular Article2010The elephant in your coffeeTimes of India, 25 June 2010
- Popular Article2010Need to preserve natural capitalMint, 5 June 2010
- Popular Article2010Saving a culture of coexistenceTimes of India, 28 May 2010
- Journal Article2010Asian elephant Elephas maximus habitat use and ranging in fragmented rainforest and plantations in the Anamalai hills, IndiaTropical Conservation Science 3: 143–158
- Journal Article2009Observations on Rufous-necked Aceros nipalensis and Brown Anorrhinus austeni Hornbills in Arunachal Pradesh: natural history, conservation status and threats.Indian Birds 5: 108-117.Download
PDF, 789 KB
Among the five species of hornbills that occur in north-eastern India, the least studied are the endangered Rufous-necked Hornbill Aceros nipalensis, and the Brown Hornbill Anorrhinus austeni, which has a restricted distribution in India. Based on field surveys conducted in Namdapha National Park, and several forest divisions in eastern Arunachal Pradesh, during 1996–1999 and 2002–2004, I present information on their distribution and relative abundance. I also present some information on diet, flock sizes, canopy levels used, breeding biology, and nesting records for both these species.
- Journal Article2009Effects of rodents on seed fates of hornbill-dispersed tree species in a tropical forest in north-east India.J. Tropical Ecology 25: 507-514.
- Art & Literary2009Who gives a fig?The Hindu Magazine, 26 July 2009, page 5.
Trees are being slaughtered in large numbers in the face of urbanisation. A reflective piece on what is happening to our landscapes from a conservation perspective.
- Journal Article2009Are rice paddies suboptimal breeding habitat for Sarus Cranes in Uttar Pradesh, India?The Condor 111: 611-623
The globally threatened Sarus Crane (Grus antigone) has low annual productivity and occurs mostly in landscapes dominated by agriculture; it is therefore vulnerable to extinction caused by human-related disturbance and mortality. The Sarus Crane’s increased use of rice paddies as breeding habitat has fueled concerns that the species is being forced to use suboptimal habitats. To assess the issue, I studied nest-site selection and quantified nest and brood survival of Sarus Cranes in Uttar Pradesh, northern India, during 2000 and 2001 and evaluated differences between natural wetlands and rice paddies. The cranes preferred wetlands as nesting habitat at the levels of both the landscape and individual territory. The success (daily survival rate) of nests closer to roads was lower, suggesting that human-related mortality played a role. The effect of habitat on nest successwas equivocal, suggesting that rice fields per se are not suboptimal as nesting sites. This result is unique to this area, suggesting that favorable attitudes of farmers still allow Sarus Cranes to nest in rice paddies. Broods hatching later and those in territories with fewer wetlands had a lower probability of survival. Vegetation changes and disturbance during crop harvesting likely decreased brood survival. Maintaining a patchwork of shallow wetlands in rice-dominated landscapes and ensuring that farmers retain a positive attitude toward the species are crucial for survival of Sarus Crane nests and broods.
- Book Chapter2009Tiger reintroduction in India: conservation tool or costly dream?Pages 146-163 in M. Somers and M. Hayward (eds.) Reintroduction of Top-order Predators. Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK.Download
PDF, 468 KB
The tiger (Panthera tigris), like many other large carnivores, has experienced serious declines in its global distribution and abundance. Reintroduction is one of a suite of important conservation tools developed to reverse such declines in a range of species across the globe. Most experience with large- carnivore reintroductions comes from North America, Europe and South Africa, where carnivore declines have ensued from their direct persecution by humans. Once the factors responsible for the original extirpation of a large carnivore have been removed, reintroduction has proved a viable conserva- tion option given the backdrop of low human densities, extensive land avail- ability and the commitment of adequate financial and socio-political support for the reintroduction project. In this chapter, we examine the role of reintro- duction in the conservation of the tiger in India, where the species has been extirpated from many parts of its former range—not only through direct persecution, but also due to prey depletion and habitat loss. Given the complex socio-cultural, economic and political factors that drive habitat loss and prey depletion for the tiger, we review the feasibility of reintroduction as a conser- vation intervention. In the Indian setting, which is characterized by the per- sistence—even aggravation—of conservation threats to tigers, we argue that the prudent course of conservation action is to first invest in effective means of reducing threats to tigers and their habitats before exploring the option of tiger reintroduction.
- Popular Article2009In troubled watersHindustan Times, 21st January