- 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.
- Report2008Hornbills and endemic birds: a conservation status survey across the Western Ghats, India.NCF Technical Report No. 17, Nature Conservation Foundation, Mysore.
- Journal Article2008In search of the munzala: distribution and conservation status of the newly-discovered Arunachal macaque Macaca munzalaOryx, 42(3): 360–366Download
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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.
- 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 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.
- Journal Article2007Application of photographic capture-recapture modelling to estimate demographic parameters for male Asian elephantsAnimal Conservation 10: 391-399Download
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In addition to the threats of habitat loss and degradation, adult males of the Asian elephant Elephas maximus also face greater threats from ivory poaching and conflict with humans. To understand the impact of these threats, conservationists need robust estimates of abundance and vital rates specifically for the adult male segment of elephant populations. By integrating the identification of individual male elephants in a population from distinct morphology and natural markings, with modern capture–recapture (CR) sampling designs, it is possible to estimate various demographic parameters that are otherwise difficult to obtain from this long-lived and wide-ranging megaherbivore. In this study, we developed systema- tic individual identification protocols and integrated them into CR sampling designs to obtain capture histories and thereby estimate the abundance of adult bull elephants in a globally important population in southern India. We validated these estimates against those obtained from an independent method combining line-transect density estimates with age–sex composition data for elephants. The sampled population was open to gains and losses between sampling occasions. The abundance of adult males in the 176 km2 study area was N(se N)= 134(14.2) and they comprised 14% ( ± 1%) of the total elephant population. Time-specific abundance estimates for each sampling occasion showed a distinct increase in adult male numbers over the sampling period, explained by seasonal patterns of local migration. CR-based estimates for adult male abundance closely matched estimates from distance-based methods. Thus, while providing abundance data of comparable rigour and precision, photographic CR methods permit estimation of demographic parameters for the Asian elephant that are both urgently needed and difficult to obtain.
- Journal Article2007Responses of small carnivores to rainforest fragmentation in the southern Western Ghats, India.Small Carnivore Conservation 36: 18-26.
- Journal Article2007First Post-tsunami Sighting of the Coconut Crab in the Nicobar IslandsOryx, 41(3) 1-2.
- Book Chapter2007Protecting with people in Namdapha: threatened forests, forgotten people.In: G. Shahabuddin & M. Rangarajan (Eds.) Making Conservation Work, Permanent Black, New Delhi.
- Popular Article2007Succeeding poorly or failing better?Seminar 577: 53-57
- 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.
- 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.
- Popular Article2007Spinners and Stalkers.Deccan Herald (School Edition), December 19, page 3. Bangalore.
- Journal Article2007A new bird species from Eastern Himalayan Arunachal Pradesh – India’s biological frontier.Current Science 92: 1205-1206.
- Journal Article2007A Strategy for Conservation of Tibetan Gazelle Procapra picticaudata in Ladakh.Conservation and Society, 5, 262-276.
- 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.
- Popular Article2007Namdapha: beyond the tiger.The Hindu Survey of the Environment 2007, pp. 89-95.
- 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.
- Book2007The Alphabet BookDownload
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This Alphabet book was produced mainly for Lisu children at several Kindergarten schools in remote villages of eastern Arunachal Pradesh near the Namdapha National Park that are supported by Katha, New Delhi. The Katha-Lisu schools set up in 2003 are managed by the Nature Conservation Foundation (as part of its community-based conservation program) and Lisu villagers. Lisu youth are employed as school teachers. We felt the need for making a book that uses words from nature (animals, plants) and everyday objects that rural children are familiar with and would more readily identify with than those that are usually used in such books. We have tried our best to do this, although we faced difficulties with some letters!
- 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.