- Book2004Walk the rainforest with Niwupha.Katha, New Delhi, October 2004, 32 pp.
- Report2004The elephant hills: conservation of wild Asian elephants in a landscape of fragmented rainforests and plantations in the Anamalais, IndiaNCF Technical Report #10, Nature Conservation Foundation, Mysore
- Book Chapter2004Western Ghats and Sri LankaHotspots revisited—Earth’s biologically richest and most endangered ecoregions (Eds R. A. Mittermeier, P. R. Gil, M. Hoffmann, J. Pilgrim, T. Brooks, C. G. Mittermeier, J. Lamoureux & G. A. B. da Fonseca), pp. 152-157. CEMEX, Mexico.
- Journal Article2004Competition between domestic livestock and wild bharal Pseudois nayaur in the Indian Trans-Himalaya.Journal of Applied Ecology, 41, 344-354.
- Journal Article2004Conflicts between traditional pastoralism and conservation of Himalayan Ibex (Capra sibirica) in the Trans-Himalayan mountainsAnimal Conservation, 7, 121-128.
- Popular Article2004Bandipur-Brazil: the falloutsDown To Earth 30 October 2004
- Report2004The high altitude wildlife of Western Arunachal Pradesh: a survey reportTechnical Report No. 8, Nature Conservation Foundation, International Snow Leopard Trust, and Wildlife Conservation Society (India Program), Mysore, India.Download
PDF, 1.38 MB
The high altitude wildlife of Arunachal Pradesh, located in the Eastern Himalaya biodiversity hotspot, has remained unexplored and unprotected. Between August and October, 2003, we undertook a biological expedition in the high altitudes (> 3000 m) of Tawang and West Kameng Districts of Western Arunachal Pradesh, with the objective of inventorying wildlife and identifying areas for the establishment of wildlife reserves. The expedition documented the occurrence of a rich mammalian species assemblage (34 species), 12 of which are of global conservation importance. Our discovery of the Chinese goral Nemorhaedus caudatus represents a new addition to the list of large mammals of the Indian sub-continent. We also recorded a primate belonging to the sinica group of the genus Macaca, which is potentially a species new to science. We recorded 150 bird species, identified 140 plant species, and prepared a preliminary description of the high altitude vegetation. We also documented peoples’ dependence on natural resources (grazing, collection of timber and medicinal plants), and the threats to the region’s wildlife, including widespread hunting, and persecution of the snow leopard Uncia uncia and dhole Cuon alpinus in retaliation against livestock depredation. Preliminary vegetation maps were prepared using field data in conjunction with satellite imageries. Based on information about the wildlife assemblages, extent of high altitude habitat, and levels of anthropogenic disturbance, we identify and propose an important site (815 km²) for the creation of a wildlife reserve. Future conservation efforts need to focus on establishing the state’s first high altitude wildlife reserve, and garnering the support of indigenous people for wildlife conservation through community-based programs.
- Journal Article2004Nest site selection and nesting success of hornbills in Arunachal Pradesh, north-east India.Bird Conservation International 14: 249-262.
- Popular Article2004Rainforest revival.Sanctuary Asia 24(2): 38-41.
- Journal Article2004War and wildlife: A post-conflict assessment of Afghanistan's Wakhan corridor.Oryx, 1, 102-105.
- Journal Article2004Recovery of wild large herbivores following livestock decline in a tropical Indian wildlife reserveJournal of Applied Ecology 41: 858-869Download
PDF, 343 KB
1. Resource competition is an important process governing the impact of livestock on native wild mammalian herbivores, an issue acknowledged to be of global conservation con- cern. Resource competition occurs between species when their resources (habitat and diet) overlap and are limiting. Yet the evidence that livestock compete with wild herbivores has remained weak because resource limitation is often difficult to demonstrate in the field.
2. This 2-year field study at Bandipur National Park, India, examined livestock-mediated resource limitation among five wild herbivore species: wild pig Sus scrofa, chital Axis axis, sambar Cervus unicolor, gaur Bos gaurus and Asian elephant Elephas maximus, by comparing their distribution and densities in adjoining livestock-grazed and livestock- free areas before, and after, a 49% decline in livestock density.
3. During 2001, mean densities of wild grazers, gaur (0·11 ha−1), chital (1·51 ha−1) and elephant (0·61 ha−1), were, respectively, 132, 11 and six times higher in the livestock-free area than in the adjacent livestock-grazed area. Densities of gaur, chital and elephant showed a sharp declining relationship with increasing livestock density, whereas no clear pattern was discernible with wild pig, a non-ruminant generalist, and the sambar, a forest browser. Preferred plant biomass also fell sharply with increasing livestock density.
4. Following the decline in livestock density in the livestock-grazed area in 2002, the densities of gaur, chital and elephant increased by a factor of 57, five and two in the same area, respectively, whereas no changes were seen in the densities of wild pig and sambar or in the preferred plant biomass. Except for a decline in elephant density, the livestock-free area did not show changes in wild herbivore densities.
5. Given the considerable overlap in habitat and dietary preference/requirements between livestock and wild herbivores in the study area, it is suggested that the recovery of gaur, chital and elephant densities following the livestock decline represents their release from livestock-mediated resource limitation.
6. These results indicate that resource competition may be intense between wild herbivores and grazing livestock, and if left unchecked could trigger declines of wild herbivores, particularly grazing ruminants and bulk feeders. These results also suggest that, where possible, interventions to reduce livestock grazing may rapidly benefit wild herbivores.
- Journal Article2003Conservation as if biological diversity matters: preservationism versus sustainable use in IndiaConservation and Society 1: 49-59
- Conference Proceedings2003Protected areas and beyond: wildlife conservation in the Trans-Himalaya.Bombay Natural History Society WORKSHOP 'A LOOK AT THREATENED SPECIES'. NOVEMBER 13, 2003, Bombay.
- Book Chapter2003Why big fierce animals are threatened: conserving large mammals in densely populated landscapesPages 31-55 in V. K. Saberwal & M. Rangarajan (editors) Battles over Nature: Science and the Politics of Conservation. Permanent Black, New Delhi, India.
- Journal Article2003Discovery of the leaf deer Muntiacus putaoensis in Arunachal Pradesh: an addition to the large mammals of India.Current Science 84 (3): 101-102.
- Journal Article2003Foraging patterns of sympatric hornbills in the non-breeding season in Arunachal Pradesh, north-east India.Biotropica 35 (2): 208-218.
- Journal Article2003Bridging the gap: sharing responsibility for ecological restoration and wildlife conservation on private lands in the Western GhatsSocial Change 33(2&3): 129-141.Download
PDF, 209 KB
A major conservation issue, particularly in the tropics, is habitat loss and fragmentation due to developmental activities and increasing human populations. Ecologists today recognise that much of the once-pristine forests that are now secondary forests, as well as large areas outside existing conservation reserves, harbouring significant levels of biological diversity need to be targeted for long-term conservation. Governmental agencies such as the Forest Department and the conservation community have come to accept that the conventional patrol and protect method has its limitations in addressing the increasing threats to such conservation areas. A complementary strategy is to develop conservation plans for protection and improvement by ecological restoration of forests, particularly isolated fragments and degraded areas on private lands. This requires bridging gaps between private landowners, governmental agencies, and non- governmental conservation organisations and fostering efforts based on mutual cooperation and collaboration as well as developing positive incentives for private landholders involved in conservation of forests and biological diversity. In this paper, we discuss one of the first examples of such an effort of sharing responsibility for long- term conservation in a highly disturbed tropical rainforest region of the Western Ghats.
- Journal Article2003The hunting of the Snark: seeking transcendence in the Indian conservation debateConservation and Society 1: 73-76
- Journal Article2003Changing social strategies of wild female bonnet macaques during natural foraging and on provisioningCurrent Science 84 (6): 780-790Download
PDF, 66.8 KB
Provisioning of free-living primate groups usually leads to a significant increase in competition among individuals for the newly available resources. Do such individuals, however, exhibit altered behavioural strategies to alleviate social tension? Changing pat- terns of social interactions between adult females was studied in a wild group of bonnet macaques (Macaca radiata) in the Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary, Tamil Nadu, southern India, under two conditions of forag- ing. The group spent approximately 66% of the ob- servation time foraging on its natural diet; during the remaining period the group gathered provisioned food from tourists visiting the sanctuary. Provisioning was marked by a sharp increase in aggression and feeding supplants within the group. Dominant females directed contact aggression specifically towards higher-ranked subordinates, while subordinate fe- males increased non-contact aggression towards their dominant counterparts. Allogrooming was, however, much more reciprocated at the group level during provisioning. Subordinate females also initiated rela- tively more allogrooming towards those dominant in- dividuals who were most aggressive during this period. Social tensions thus increase markedly when bonnet macaques move from natural foraging to com- petting for provisioned food; individual macaques, however, can adopt appropriate social strategies un- der such rapidly changing ecological regimes.
- Journal Article2003Diversity, risk mediation, and change in a Trans-Himalayan agropastoral system.Human Ecology, 31, 595-609.