- Journal Article2009Endangered markhor Capra falconeri in India: through war and insurgencyOryx 43(3): 407-411Download
PDF, 170 KB
The flare horned markhor Capra falconeri occurs in northern Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Most of the species’ range is along volatile international borders and limited information is available, especially for the population of the Pir Panjal or Kashmir markhor C. f. falconeri in India. From October 2004 to April 2005 we therefore conducted the first range-wide survey of the species in India since independence. The markhor's range has shrunk from c. 300 km2 in the late 1940s to c. 120 km2 in 2004–2005. Our surveys and interviews with key local informants indicate that 350–375 markhor may yet exist in the region. All the populations are small (usually < 50) and fragmented. International conflicts, developmental projects, the needs of an increasing human population and poaching, along with lack of awareness, are the primary threats to the species. The largest population in India, in Kajinag, may have potential for long-term survival if immediate conservation measures can be implemented.
- Popular Article2009Welcome back,warblersThe Hindu Magazine, 1 November 2009, page 5.
- 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.
- Journal Article2009A conservation status survey of hornbills (Bucerotidae) in the Western Ghats, India.Indian Birds 5: 90–102.
- 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 Article2008Eastern PromisesSimplifly - Deccan inflight magazine
- Report2008Hornbills and endemic birds: a conservation status survey across the Western Ghats, India.NCF Technical Report No. 17, Nature Conservation Foundation, Mysore.
- Popular Article2008Shifting livelihood options and changing attitudes in the Garo hills, western MeghalayaCurrent Conservation
- Journal Article2008Empty forests: Large carnivore and prey abundance in Namdapha National Park, north-east IndiaBiological Conservation 141: 1429-1435.Download
PDF, 462 KB
Illegal hunting poses a dual threat to large carnivores through direct removal of individuals and by prey depletion. We conducted a camera-trapping survey in the Namdapha National Park, north-east India, conducted as part of a programme to evaluate carnivore and prey species abundance. Clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) was the only large carnivore detected by camera-trapping. Indirect evidences indicated the presence of the wild dog (Cuon alpinus) and leopard (Panthera pardus), however, there was no evidence of tigers (Panthera tigris), suggesting their possible extinction from the lower elevation forests. Of the major ungulate prey species, sambar (Cervus unicolor) and wild pig (Sus scrofa) were the only large prey detected, while the Indian muntjac (Muntiacus muntjak) was the only small prey species detected. Relative abundances of all species were appreciably lower than estimates from other tropical forests in south-east Asia. We suspect that illegal hunting may be the cause for the low carnivore and prey species abundance. An ongoing community-based conservation programme presents an opportunity to reduce local people’s dependence on hunting by addressing their socio-economic needs and for using their skills and knowl- edge of the landscape for wildlife conservation. However, long-term wildlife monitoring is essential to assess the efficacy of the socio-economic interventions in bringing about wild- life recovery.
- Popular Article2008Out of the BlueSanctuary Asia, Vol. XXVIII No.1, 40-45.
- Newsletter2008Uttar Pradesh: An unlikely Shangri-laThe ICF Bugle 34(2): 6
- Report2008Tribes of the Anamalais: livelihood and resource-use patterns of communities in the rainforests of the Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary and Valparai plateau.NCF Technical Report No. 16, Nature Conservation Foundation, Mysore.Download
PDF, 1.5 MB
The Western Ghats hill range of India, recognised as a global biodiversity hotspot, also contains impressive cultural diversity including a number of tribal communities. This study uses past records and primary field research to describe aspects of ethnic identity, social change, demography, livelihoods, and resource use among three tribal communities in the Anamalai hills along the Western Ghats mountains of southern India. Kadar, Muthuvar, and Malai Malasar communities across 190 households in 8 settlements located adjacent to rainforests in the Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary were studied to examine current modes of existence vis-à-vis their past and the use of rainforest patches they live within. (Download PDF to read more)
- Journal Article2008Distributional correlates of the Tibetan gazelle Procapra picticaudata in Ladakh, northern India: towards a recovery programme.Oryx, 42, 107-112.
- Newsletter2008Sighting of a rusty-spotted cat in the Varushanad Valley, IndiaCat News 49: 26-27Download
PDF, 406 KB
A solitary rusty-spotted cat Prionailurus rubiginosus was sighted in a dry deciduous habitat of the Varushanad valley (9°
40’ 3.72”N/77° 25’ 44.15”E) in Tamil Nadu, India on 6 June 2008. The Varushanad valley is located in the southern Western Ghats, an ecological subunit of the Western Ghats biodiversity hotspot.
- Newsletter2008Rains in northern India bring floods and Sarus Crane nesting habitatThe ICF Bugle 34(3): 7
- Report2008Strategies for reducing bycatch of susceptible speciesPolicy Brief. UNDP/UNTRS and NCF. Chennai
- Journal Article2008Effects of rainforest fragmentation and shade-coffee plantations on spider communities in the Western Ghats, India.Journal of Insect Conservation 12: 53-68.
- Book2008Secrets of the Rainforest – Nature Activity Book for children in Arunachal Pradesh.A Nature Conservation Foundation publication
- Journal Article2008A Voucher Specimen for Macaca munzala: Interspecific Affinities, Evolution, and Conservation of a NewlyDiscovered PrimateInternational Journal of Primatology 29:743–756Download
PDF, 344 KB
Sinha, A., Datta, A., Madhusudan, M. D., & Mishra, C. (2005. Macaca munzala: A new species from western Arunachal Pradesh, northeastern India. International Journal of Primatology, 26, 977–989) discovered Arunachal macaques (Macaca munzala), a species new to science, in the eastern Himalaya of Arunachal Pradesh in northeastern India. They depicted the holotype and paratypes of the species in photographs, and a specimen of the species had been unavailable for preservation and examination. In March 2005, we obtained an entire specimen of an adult male Macaca munzala, which we propose as a voucher specimen for the species. We provide detailed morphological and anatomical measurements of the specimen and examine its affinities with other macaques. Macaca munzala appears to be unique among macaques in craniodental size and structure, baculum, and aspects of caudal structure, while exhibiting affinities with the other members of the sinica-group to which it belongs. We summarize our insights on the origins and phylogeny of Macaca munzala. Finally, we review the current conservation status of the macaques, which are threatened by extensive hunting in the only 2 districts of Arunachal Pradesh where they are documented to occur.
- Journal Article2008In search of the munzala: distribution and conservation status of the newly-discovered Arunachal macaque Macaca munzalaOryx, 42(3): 360–366Download
PDF, 298 KB
The recently-described Arunachal macaque Macaca munzala is so far known only from western Arunachal Pradesh, north-east India. Here we present the first conservation status assessment for the species. Our surveys enumerated a total of 569 individuals in the Tawang and West Kameng districts of the State. The species seems to be tolerant of anthropogenic habitat change but is vulnerable to hunting. A low infant to adult female ratio suggests that not all adult females reproduce at any given time, and females do not give birth every year. The macaques are persecuted largely in response to crop damage, with the practice of keeping them as pets providing an added in- centive to hunting. The species is, however, able to attain remarkably high densities in the absence of hunting. Crop damage by the macaque is widespread; patterns of crop damage are similar across altitudinal zones and do not seem to be correlated with macaque density. The species will need to be protected in human-modified landscapes, and the issues of crop damage and retaliatory persecution need to be addressed urgently.