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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Economic value of ecosystem services


American biologist E O Wilson once said, “Nature holds the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive and even spiritual satisfaction.” In today’s world, people pay for these services (in an urban setup) generously, and yet, nature provides that same for free. How then, has it always been taken for granted?

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White Stem borers – bitter coffee this!

Picture: by NICE

Picture: by NICE

This year, the monsoon has not been very kind to the coffee growers in Kodagu district of Karnataka. Besides low rainfall, they are now dealing with another critical problem — most of their crops are infested with coffee white stem borers (CWSB). Continue reading

Living with leopards


In September 2015, news of the first ever leopard population estimation was published. Including the felines living outside reserves, their population has been estimated to be anywhere between 12,000 and 14,000. The leopard count was carried out along with tiger census in the year 2014. Scat survey and camera trapping in 18 states resulted in numbers close to 7, 872 leopards. Yadvendradev Jhala, a scientist at the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), which conducted the survey, has stated publicly that, “There are leopards outside the areas we covered during the survey. Based on these numbers, we estimate India’s total leopard population to be in the range of 12,000 to 14,000.”

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Saving sloth bears

sloth bear1*January 5: Forest guard mauled to death by a sloth bear in Chhattisgarh.
*March 25: Sloth bear shot dead by Forest department in Kotagiri.
*April 18: A man injured grievously by a sloth bear in the Nilgiris.
*May 8: Poachers in possession of a sloth bear arrested near Jharkhand. The bear was found to have bleeding nails, broken teeth and a pierced infected muzzle with a rope forced through the raw infected wound.
*May 8: Sloth bear run over in Arsikere taluk. Continue reading

“Being a conservationist is not easy”


And sometimes, if you look deeper, will you uncover a few secrets that will leave you inspired. The expanse of wild lands, interactions with relocated villagers and wildlife volunteers led me to one man – who is known for his unflinching determination to save this magnificent reserve. Continue reading