Citizen science projects

In the early 1900s, ornithologist Frank M. Chapman, from the Audubon Society, proposed a new holiday tradition – the “Christmas Bird Census” encouraging citizens to count birds during the holidays than hunt them. Today, over 117 years later, the Christmas Bird Count is one of the most successful citizen science projects – and it’s the data collected by the common man that led to Audubon’s 2014 Climate Change Report that predicts how climate change could affect the ranges of 588 North American birds – indicating that 314 species will lose more than 50 percent of their current climatic range by 2080.

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Wild animals that bear the brunt of conflicts

Picture: Wildlife SoS

My friend who owns a small piece of land on the outskirts of Tumakuru is not new to the world of human-wildlife interactions. He respects wild animals, has been involved in many rescues himself, and is sensitive to their needs and space. But what he has been observing over the last few months makes him anxious. “I would spot sloth bears on farmlands at least thrice a week. We would often hear and witness villagers chasing, screaming and pelting stones at sloth bears. The animosity is very real. There is a growing intolerance towards leopards and bears here.”

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The need to restore elephant corridors

Picture credit: Kaushik Bajibab

They often trumpeted, anxious and confused and driven from one village, only to be forced out from the neighbouring village. The herd even took refuge in a lake, the matriarch making desperate efforts to calm the young ones, while villagers stood close by shouting and screaming. The image of five elephants deep in the water with raised suspecting trunks constantly sniffing the air still remains fresh in my mind. And the commotion continued for over 12 hours.

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