- Journal Article2008Effects of rainforest fragmentation and shade-coffee plantations on spider communities in the Western Ghats, India.Journal of Insect Conservation 12: 53-68.
- Journal Article2008Molecular evidence for the occurrence of the leaf deer Muntiacus putaoensis in Arunachal Pradesh, north-east India.Conservation Genetics 9: 927-931Download
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The discovery of the leaf deer Muntiacus putaoensis in northern Myanmar has added to the growing list of large mammals recently discovered in remote, unex- plored parts of south and south-east Asia. Its subsequent discovery in eastern Arunachal Pradesh, India, based on morphometric analyses of two skulls collected from local hunters, doubled the size of its known east-west range, which is significant for a newly-discovered and poorly understood species. However, ambiguity remained regarding several other partial skulls and dried skin samples collected during subsequent surveys. The sympatric occurrence of the Indian muntjac Muntiacus muntjak further complicates species identification based primarily on morphometry. In this paper, we develop molecular genetic analyses that can unambiguously identify muntjac species. Further, we test and apply our methods to unknown skin samples to confirm the occurrence of the leaf deer in Arunachal Pradesh. Finally, we use our samples and genetic data from three mitochondrial markers to establish phylogenetic affinities between these samples and other extant members of the Muntiacus genus. Our approach, which combines the use of specific primers and phylogenetic analyses, is generally applicable towards the detection of cryptic biodiversity in unexplored and species-rich areas like north-east India.
- Popular Article2008Out of the BlueSanctuary Asia, Vol. XXVIII No.1, 40-45.
- Journal Article2008A Voucher Specimen for Macaca munzala: Interspecific Affinities, Evolution, and Conservation of a NewlyDiscovered PrimateInternational Journal of Primatology 29:743–756Download
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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 Article2008MigrantWatch: A citizen science programme for the study of bird migrationIndian Birds, 3(6) 202-209Download
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What are the consequences of rapid global change for the behaviour and ecology of wild species? Answering this very broad question is a challenging but important task. One relatively manageable question under this broad umbrella is how the timing of biological events (i.e., phenology) is changing as the earth’s climate
changes. In this article, we describe a new programme aimed at assessing the timing of migration of birds that winter in the Indian Subcontinent and monitoring changes in this timing over the long term. MigrantWatch is a volunteer-based programme in which participants record the arrival, presence and departure of migrant species across India. We also outline the goals, structure, and open-access philosophy of the programme, and illustrate its potential by briefly describing information collected on the arrival patterns of winter migrants in the second half of 2007.
- Newsletter2008Uttar Pradesh: An unlikely Shangri-laThe ICF Bugle 34(2): 6
- Newsletter2008Sighting of a rusty-spotted cat in the Varushanad Valley, IndiaCat News 49: 26-27Download
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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.
- Popular Article2008Eastern PromisesSimplifly - Deccan inflight magazine
- Journal Article2007Molecular evidence for the occurrence of the leaf deer Muntiacus putaoensis in Arunachal Pradesh, north-east India.Conservation Genetics, doi 10.1007/s 10592-007-9410-3.
- Journal Article2007Foraging ecology and time-activity budget of the Arunachal macaque Macaca munzala – A preliminary studyCurrent Science, 93 (4): 532
The Arunachal macaque Macaca munzala was discovered in 2003 from the high altitudes of western Arunachal Pradesh, and described as a new species in 2005. Vir- tually nothing is yet known of this new macaque spe- cies. In order to generate scientific knowledge on this primate, a field study was conducted to collect infor- mation on its ranging patterns, diet and behaviour. Two multimale multifemale troops were observed for a pe- riod of 112 h in Zemithang valley, Tawang District. The two troops, consisting of 22 and 13 individuals re- spectively, spent on an average, 48% of the observed time in moving and foraging, 36% in sitting and rest- ing, and 16% in social interactions. Foraging alone accounted for 29% of the time-activity budget and was the major activity of the macaques throughout the study. The troops had home ranges of 28 ha and 16 ha respectively, much smaller than those of other ma- caque species studied in similar environments else- where. The macaques ranged largely in the secondary scrub habitat in the study area, where they were ob- served to feed mainly on Elaeagnus parvifolia and Erythrina arborescens. Although fruits of the former species constituted more than 65.8% of the overall diet, this largely frugivorous diet is likely to be seasonal. Our preliminary results suggest the ranging and forag- ing behaviour of the Arunachal macaque to be largely in response to food resource availability. The species also appears to be a typical member of the sinica spe- cies-group of the genus in exhibiting a matrifocal society with tolerant social relationships.
- Book Chapter2007Rainforest restoration and wildife conservation on private lands in the Western Ghats.Making conservation work (eds G. Shahabuddin & M. Rangarajan), pp. 210-240. Permanent Black, Ranikhet, Uttaranchal.
- Journal Article2007Phylogenetic relationships and morphometric affinities of the Arunachal macaque Macaca munzala, a newly described primate from Arunachal Pradesh, northeastern IndiaMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 44(2): 838–849Download
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A new species of primate, the Arunachal macaque Macaca munzala, belonging to the sinica species-group of the genus, was described from northeastern India in 2005, and, based on its appearance and distribution, hypothesised to be closely related to M. assamensis and M. thibetana. We subsequently obtained an entire adult male specimen and tissue remains from two other M. munzala individuals. Molecular analyses establish the distinct identity of the species and indicate a time of origin of c. 0.48 mya for it. The species also shows close phylogenetic affinities with the allopatric M. radiata and with the geographically closer M. assamensis and M. thibetana, possibly mediated by male introgression from an ancestral M. assamensis–M. thibetana stock into an ancestral M. munzala stock. Morphometric analyses, on the other hand, reiterate its close similarity only with M. assamensis and M. thibetana, presumably resulting from convergent evolution under similar ecological conditions and along a latitudinal gradient, as predicted by Bergmann’s and Allen’s rules.
- Report2007Review of human – elephant conflict mitigation measures practised in South AsiaWWF AREAS Technical Support Document 2007. World Bank – WWF Alliance for Forest Conservation and Sustainable Use, AREAS, Centre for Conservation and Research, Nature Conservation Foundation.
- Journal Article2007A Strategy for Conservation of Tibetan Gazelle Procapra picticaudata in Ladakh.Conservation and Society, 5, 262-276.
- Book Chapter2007Hornbill populations in important conservation units along the Western Ghats, India.The Active Management of Hornbills and their Habitats For Conservation, (eds A. C. Kemp & M. I. Kemp), p. 76. CD-ROM Proceedings of the 4th International Hornbill Conference, Mabula Game Lodge, Bela-Bela, South Africa. Naturalists & Nomads, Pretoria.
- Book Chapter2007Effects of habitat alteration on hornbills and frugivorous birds in tropical rainforests of India.The Active Management of Hornbills and their Habitats for Conservation, (eds A. C. Kemp & M. I. Kemp), pp. 383-394. CD-ROM Proceedings of the 4th International Hornbill Conference, Mabula Game Lodge, Bela-Bela, South Africa. Naturalists & Nomads, Pretoria.
- Journal Article2007First Post-tsunami Sighting of the Coconut Crab in the Nicobar IslandsOryx, 41(3) 1-2.
- Journal Article2007Pastoral nomads of the Indian Changthang: production system, landuse and socioeconomic changes.Human Ecology, 35, 497-504.
- Book Chapter2007Protecting with people in Namdapha: threatened forests, forgotten people.In: G. Shahabuddin & M. Rangarajan (Eds.) Making Conservation Work, Permanent Black, New Delhi.
- Journal Article2007Suceeding poorly or failing better?Seminar 577: 53-57