- Journal Article2003The role of incentive programs in conserving the snow leopard Uncia unciaConservation Biology 17:1512-1520Download
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Pastoralists and their livestock share much of the habitat of the snow leopard (Uncia uncia) across south and central Asia. The levels of livestock predation by the snow leopard and other carnivores are high, and retaliatory killing by the herders is a direct threat to carnivore populations. Depletion of wild prey by poaching and competition from livestock also poses an indirect threat to the region's carnivores. Conservationists working in these underdeveloped areas that face serious economic damage from livestock losses have turned to incentive programs to motivate local communities to protect carnivores. We describe a pilot incentive program in India that aims to offset losses due to livestock predation and to enhance wild prey density by creating livestock-free areas on common land. We also describe how income generation from handicrafts in Mongolia is helping curtail poaching and retaliatory killing of snow leopards. However, initiatives to offset the costs of living with carnivores and to make conservation beneficial to affected people have thus far been small, isolated, and heavily subsidized. Making these initiatives more comprehensive, expanding their coverage, and internalizing their costs are future challenges for the conservation of large carnivores such as the snow leopard.
- 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
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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 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
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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 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 Article2003Correlates of hornbill distribution and abundance in rainforest fragments in the southern Western Ghats, IndiaBird Conservation International 13: 199-212.
- Journal Article2003Foraging patterns of sympatric hornbills in the non-breeding season in Arunachal Pradesh, north-east India.Biotropica 35 (2): 208-218.
- 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.
- Journal Article2003Diversity, risk mediation, and change in a Trans-Himalayan agropastoral system.Human Ecology, 31, 595-609.
- Journal Article2003Living Amidst Large Wildlife: Livestock and Crop Depredation by Large Mammals in the Interior Villages of Bhadra Tiger Reserve, South IndiaEnvironmental Management 31: 466-475Download
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Conflict with humans over livestock and crops seriously undermines the conservation prospects of India's large and potentially dangerous mammals such as the tiger (Panthera tigris) and elephant (Elephas maximus). This study, carried out in Bhadra Tiger Reserve in south India, estimates the extent of material and monetary loss incurred by resident villagers between 1996 and 1999 in conflicts with large felines and elephants, describes the spatiotemporal patterns of animal damage, and evaluates the success of compensation schemes that have formed the mainstay of loss-alleviation measures. Annually each household lost an estimated 12% (0.9 head) of their total holding to large felines, and approximately 11% of their annual grain production (0.82 tonnes per family) to elephants. Compensations awarded offset only 5% of the livestock loss and 14% of crop losses and were accompanied by protracted delays in the processing of claims. Although the compensation scheme has largely failed to achieve its objective of alleviating loss, its implementation requires urgent improvement if reprisal against large wild mammals is to be minimized. Furthermore, innovative schemes of livestock and crop insurance need to be tested as alternatives to compensations.
- Journal Article2002A theoretical analysis of competitive exclusion in a Trans- Himalayan large-herbivore assemblageAnimal Conservation, 5, 251-258
- Journal Article2002Local hunting and large mammal conservation in IndiaAmbio 31: 49-54Download
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Hunting by local communities is among the most wide- spread threats to Indian wildlife, yet, the understanding of its nature, extent, and impacts on wildlife has been poor. We surveyed 2 protected areas—Kudremukha and Na- gara-holé—in southern India to assess the impacts of local hunting on large mammals. Detailed interviews with retired and active hunters were employed to describe hunting patterns. Impacts of hunting were assessed by comparing large-mammal abundance in adjacent sites differing in their vulnerability to hunting. In Kudremukha, at least 26 species of mammals were hunted, mostly with guns, at an esti- mated intensity of 216 hunter-days per month per village. In Nagaraholé, 6 of the 9 focal species of large mammals occurred at significantly lower densities at the heavily hunted site where enforcement capabilities were poorer. Our data underscore the importance of preservationist programs in the conservation of large mammals in a context of extensive local hunting.
- Book Chapter2002Mitigating human wildlife conflicts in Southern AsiaPages 250-264 in J. Terborgh, C. van Schaik, L. Davenport, & M. Rao (editors) Making Parks Work: Strategies for Preserving Tropical Nature. Island Press, Washington DC, USA.
- Journal Article2001Overstocking in the trans-Himalayan rangelands of India.Environmental Conservation, 28, 279-283.
- Report2001Impact of fragmentation and plantations on rainforest birds in the Anamalai hills, southern Western Ghats, India.NCF Technical Report No. 5. Nature Conservation Foundation, Mysore.
- Popular Article2000Fading flora, vanishing faunaThe Hindu, 10 December 2000
- Book Review2000A voice for the wilderness (Review of Nature’s Spokesman by Ramachandra Guha)The Book Review. December 2000
- Book Chapter2000Hunting for an answer: Is local hunting compatible with large mammal conservation in India?Pages 339-355 in J. G. Robinson & E. L. Bennett (editors) Hunting for Sustainability in the Tropics. Columbia University Press, New York, USA.
- Book Chapter2000India and Sri LankaCoral reefs of the Indian Ocean : their ecology and conservation (eds T. R. McClanahan, C. Shepperd & D. Obura), pp. 295-324.Oxford University Press, New York.Download
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The subcontinent of India occupies a large area of the tropical Indian Ocean, but it has a scant growth of coral reefs along its coasts. Several factors limit reef development here, chief among them being turbid waters stirred by monsoonal systems, fresh water runoff from rivers, and a heavy human population and development pressure along the entire coastline. The island complexes around India, in contrast, show healthy reef growth and support high species diversities. The biological affinities of the reefs include species assemblages typical of the western Indian Ocean and the southeast Asian and central Pacific fauna, and a large variety of habitats and environmental conditions. The reefs of India and Sri Lanka include some of the most used and degraded, as well as some of the most untouched in the region. Although marine protected areas in this region originate from the 1980s, environmental managers rely on an incomplete knowledge of the status and ecology of the reefs. With increasing resource-extraction pressure on these reefs, due to increasing human population and tourism, there is a danger of losing these ecosystems through ignorance and unplanned management. In this chapter we will give a broad overview of the physical and biogeographic influences that shape the reefs of the subcontinent and its islands, and present the major threats to their conservation. The conservation of these reefs may be more limited by their shared cultural and economic institutions so we will also attempt to synthesize the social, economic, and political environment within which rational management will take place, and to identify priority areas for future research and management.
- Journal Article2000Coral bleaching and mortality in three Indian reef regions during an El Niño southern oscillation eventCurrent Science. 79(12): 1723-1729Download
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The 1997–1998 El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) event, which elevated Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) of tropical oceans by more than 3°C, was one of the most extreme ENSO events in recent history. Such increases in SSTs above the seasonal average can trigger widespread bleaching in coral reefs. This study examined bleaching in three Indian coral reef regions in relation to SSTs using quantitative rapid assessment methods between April and July, 1998. The Gulf of Kutch reefs showed an average of 11% bleached coral with no apparent bleaching-related mortality. In contrast, bleached coral comprised 82% of the coral cover in lagoon reefs of Lakshadweep and 89% of the coral cover in the Gulf of Mannar reefs. Bleaching-related mortality was high – 26% in Lakshadweep and 23% in Mannar. The coral mass mortality may have profound ecological and socio-economic implications and highlights the need for sustained monitoring for coral reef conservation in India.