February 03, 2013
"While pictures of nature and wildlife are valuable when contributed to conservation causes, images that depict the destruction of nature are vital for creating change. Unfortunately, most nature photographers in India do not even consider taking “conservation
photographs” such as road kills, mined slopes, deforested hillsides, ugly constructions within forests, or other manmade disasters inflicted on nature. Yet, pictures like these, with a record of the location, date and time, can help conservation immensely.
If you’ve only been photographing nature so far, taking “conservation pictures” will definitely require venturing outside your comfort zone. However, in the interests of India’s wildlife, it’s time for all nature photographers to add this genre of photography
to their repertoire. The good news is, nature and conservation photography are not mutually exclusive and can be practiced side-by-side.
The advantage with conservation photography is that, unlike nature photography, it is not dependent on sophisticated and expensive equipment, or great technical skill......."
Read More at
February 03, 2013
"Most of the conservation focus in India is on protected areas, based on the idea that people and wildlife cannot coexist. But while peddling this theory to try and push for more human-free areas, conservationists are writing off the majority of wildlife
that live out of protected areas and alongside people. This is also closely linked to the history of the conservation movement in India and other parts of the world, and the urban elite now dominating it.
It’s time for NGOs and state forest departments to stop imitating western conservation ideas, and look at what our own culture has to offer. A good starting point is to perhaps start incentivising tolerance, whereby communities are possibly subsidised
for not planting conflict-prone crops, or better protecting their immediate surroundings from animals.
Our research attempted to understand the differences between communities, all living in the same region (within 500 m of the boundary of the Mudumalai tiger reserve) and interacting with the same wildlife. We interviewed 250 people from three tribal communities"—
Read More at
Shashi Kant Sharma
January 31, 2013
That beautiful animal is near extinct - its numbers reduced to 20-40 in Corbett National Park( a park many think of as the first to start a Tiger Conservation effort......exhibiting some good management practices over the years though as of now they seem
to be focussed more on denying people accommodation inside Dhikala/FRHs inside the Park.....story one has heard is it is invariably 100% booked for Government officials............of course there is also the story about tourist resorts outside the Park doing
good business though they do not necessarily focus on the health of the Park and its animals)
The Hog Deer found only in Ganjetic plains and Kaziranga has fallen prey to essentially the pernicious practice of grasslands being burnt every year. It is reported that 500 of them perished in the Kaziranga floods last year.....could the Park there have provided
them passage to higher ground (that is all they would need to survive and not really expect you to take Noah's Ark there....after all floods in the Kaziranga are'nt a surprise/unexpected event
The story written by Ananda Banerjee in the Mint of 01 February, 2013 brings out detail and touches you to the quick. Can we start a petition to Corbett National Park to take up a campaign for saving the Hog?
You will see a beautiful Photograph of the beautiful animal..........Looks so VULNERABLE...Read the story by visiting
Shashi Kant Sharma
January 27, 2013
Have been visiting the Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary since the late 70's. Today, the 27 January, 2013 we visited it again to spend some time birding in the company of some old colleagues and friends - all retired/semi-retired.
A much anticipated outing since this is the time for many migratories being seen at the sanctuary. Experienced mixed emotions - driving on roads much improved from the old times and getting to the Sanctuary in much less time than in the old times. We noticed
how a new Manesar-Dwarka Expressway has resulted in miles and miles of lands being taken over by Colonizers, big and small. Drive to Sultanpur was almost entirely through an already congested/inhabited area. Gone was the romance of driving to the place on
muddy roads, raising clouds of dust in the wake of my car as used to be the case in the 70's. Today it felt as if we were in Sultanpur, having hardly got out of the urbanised/much colonized area (an extension of old/new Gurgaon thanks to the Manesar-Dwarka
We were among large groups inside the Sanctuary itself as well and the parking place provided was choc-a-block with the latest models of cars. families inside the sanctuary wielded the latest DSLR cameras (one with each member of the family) .................In
the 70's I recollected having gone to Sultanpur from Delhi and stayed in the tourist huts for a weekend...the experience was that of visiting a Sanctuary far from the madding crowd and stay in the hut was in sync with that feeling....................Today
things have changed, smoother roads, flyovers providing access, lots of festive tents both sides of the roads (sales/marketing offices put up by Colonizers for prospective buyers).......... So did I expreience the quietitude and peace of old times while driving
to the sanctuary or walking around the lake inside. We did see many more birds and also a Cobra and took many photographs.......our mood fluctuated from happy, relaxed, worrisome, 'happy-sad' not 'happy-happy' ...............the large groups were too noisy,
the walking trail inside had too many plastic wrappers, visitors were all over the place. We remained in touch with the fear that as colonizers construct all the way to the gates of the sanctuary, will it survive? Number of birds coming will surely go down
since the fields/trees and vegetation on both sides of the road has nearly disappeared already (with agricultural lands usage having been converted to urbanised area already).....so fewer trees/bushes for them to pearch on and more people engaged in the business
of life----more vehicles, lots of electric lights, Mobile Towers.....Radiation...........
Given the pressure of numbers, will it renew and regenerate itself..Have my doubts. Do we wish to eliminate the probability of our children/grand children having some place to experience Nature and Unspoilt Surroundings at their healthiest and least spoilt
state of being......Of course there was plenty of water in the Lake, lots of birds were there but there was also an old/very ill-looking blue-bull. Did it pick up an infection something from the domestic cattle that were roaming around the Sanctuary in plenty.
.................I continue to believe that we have to save some islands of peace and quietitude away from constructed areas ----merely designating an area a Sanctuary will not ensure that. We as a society will have to persuade ourselves to not monetise every
inch of land that we see around us
Shashi Kant Sharma
January 24, 2013
It is'nt just about sustainable living.
Saving Greens is necessary for our very survival - be it the essential for species survival bio-diversity, the 'basic' water of life, life-regenerating climate (weather cycles) or the beautyof nature which heals minds and brings smiles to the most harried amongst
us. Every little bit that any one does will help
Good News is that some Institutions are working to make a difference
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) have added their weight to save the Aravalis in and around Gurgaon-Faribadabad belt.
As reported in the Times of India of January 25, 2013, NGT have passed an order prohibiting non-Forest Activity in three villages in the Gurgaon-Faridabad belt. These are Kot, Mangar, Roz-ka-Gujjar and Sikandarpur (of Marble Market and Wine shops fame)
Some of us have been agitated about the Aravalis being sold off to developers by fobbing off the transaction as a step for developing tourism...........This was a move for destroying the Mangar Forests - a 500 acre grove of the Dhau Tree held sacred by the
locals. The effort of the people there is comparable with the Chipko movement of yore in Uttrakhand. A group of 5-6 residents of Mangar Bani literally moved mountains to create awareness about their forest and what that sylvan surrounding was doing to sustain
the Gurgaon-Faridabad belt By the way the sale of Forest land was happening in the garb of 'consolidation of land' (misuse of that policy was reported when the Haryana IAS Officedr Khemka was in the news)
For details on the struggle for saving Mangar Bani and Photographs of this Forest visit http://www.indianwildlifeclub.blogspot.in/2012/07/mangarbani-sacred-grove.html
January 22, 2013
I had been to Parambikkulam Tiger Reserve of South India a couple of times particularly in a bid to observe as well as take some pictures of the shy giants of the Western Ghats, the
gaur. These gentle animals were for long considered as buffaloes (bison) by even a good number of forest department hands, while factually they belong to the family that also boasts of our good old domestic cows.Although I had been able to watch some of these
in close quarters, every time they ensured that I was not given the luxury of ample time in their company, which I desperately needed to carry out my work.
The herds I came across in both Parambikulam and Periyar Tiger Reserve were mostly comprised of cows, and rarely I got the sight of a full grown bull. So most of my ventures ended up with mere dung examinations and a number of photographs (most of which were
distorted) when I, along with my talented snapper Arun Prakash, was headed for Nelliyampathy, I hadn't the slightest of ideas what was in store for us on the green hills that we thought were simply part of a tourist destination flaunting its enthralling plantation
It was a local tea-vendor at the cool hilltop that gave us first of the hints that we had from the mystic place that had from the moment we had started driving uphill, began shrouding us with an air of extra-ordinariness. On our disclosing before the old man
serving us an earthy tea, our curiosity in tracking and closely observing a herd of gaur, we noticed a vivid expansion of his brownish pupils as if having had an opportunity to express himself a bit deeply. Dear friends, he said, you definitely can't be at
a better place, providing you have the guts to take them. His words were certainly sounding more than what it conveyed first time; and more, the chilly night breeze howling through the silhouettes formed by the gigantic trees against the late evening sky's
dark blue evanescence, was adding some special effects to them, although a bit eerie.
The first impression did the work. The tea-vendor was drinking with us pretty late into the night. The phantom breeze had started surging as he started unveiling one of the most horrendous folklore of the area. "If you are here to watch the gaur, you definitely
will; rather let me assure you that you will be accosted by one..a dreadful one." "See no man will be as sober as me when I say these words". "But why on the earth should a bovine solicit us, at least considering the fact we are entirely strangers in a strange
land?", Arun just couldn't hold back his curiosity. "A bovine? Is that all respect you have for it gentlemen? Then let me make it clear, I fear you might not be facing cattle class, rather howbout meeting a ghost the next night?...The ghost of planter Hall...a
bereft soul deprived of the care of his dream woman a long time back" "And let me inform you that it was only a while back a local witchdoctor was mauled by it to his doom".
The handsome blue-eyed British planter, Arthur Hall had travelled to the Nellies (Nelliyampathy Hills) after getting the crucial nod from the then ruler of Kochi Rama Varma XIV. At that time, the Kalri Kovilakam had almost acquired the custodianship of entire
Nelliyampathy. Naturally, the planter had to meet the then chief of Kollangode as part of procedures. It should have been there he came across the elite royal lady of Vengunad, Dhathri Thampuratty. It will be fair to guess that if the beauty of the queen hadn't
impressed the solid Briton, her feistiness absolutely would had. For she was the person that brought the family that was reeling under an imperious Ittapu Thampuran's (uncle to Dhaathri) tantrums back into prominence, through a court battle. Furthermore, the
lady had defied a standing ban on Kalari martial arts in 1800's to reconstruct the Kalari palace in 1890, but this time for playing host to leading artists, dancers, philosophers and musicians of the day.
Through out our trek, the next morning the main subject of our conversation was 'how Hall must have acquainted with Dhathri and what might have transpired thereafter to turn a noble man into a vengeful soul in the body of an elegant beast' at least in the heart
of a few people including our friendly tea-vendor, who . Then at the top of a plateau where from the slits on the rocky surface and in between sporadic massive boulders, grew green and juicy grass, we heard the first sounds that resembled the hoof-beat of
an ungulate. The sounds were vivid but somewhere appeared a bit feeble that hardly could be linked to a one tonner beast. But still we had to be careful. Particularly since the tea-vendor had warned us of a rogue loner bull that had all the traits of any of
those infamous loner tuskers of the Ghats. Although, we were secretly thrilled that we would be in just a mater of time hitting upon a decently built gaur, the one that might be carrying with it the legend of Hall, I would be lying if I say that there we were
For a moment I was thinking about a plan B in case the animal behind the boulder, comes out, sees us and launches a decisive charge, and I did not waste any time in tipping Arun about it gesturing towards another huge boulder towards our left with rough sides,
which would help in a smooth climb. Nevertheless, I don't think he should have had the least of concerns there, because for him even the mightiest of gaurs were timid as we had back in Periyar Tiger Reserve. But this can be a fallacy, for attitude of animals
such as elephants, gaur, leopards, tigers and bears towards human beings can vary in different geographical locations. The leopards of Valparai and elephants of Peppara are good examples for this assessment. But here a small head graced with a pair of small
twisted horns that came from behind the boulder insisted that I had no more speculations. The speculations will be laid aside at least for the time being as a Nigiri Tahr (wild goat) is undoubtedly the jewel of the rocky plateaus of the Ghats.
As the sun began extravagantly deluging the hills with its blessings we decided to retire to our shelter, since the wild friends too would be doing more or less the same. Then in the afternoon hours we shall have enough time to roam around the fringes of coffee
plantations and the adjacent bushes with a view to get closer to a foraging gaur herd. We launched our second outing on a colourful not when a giant squirrel (Malabar giant squirrel) rushed in from nowhere and playfully stringed above us munching on some forest
fruit. The squirrel too was a loner much like the tahr we had come across in the morning. Felt strange since I have always maintained that tahr never foraged without company. On the other hand, gaur bulls are pretty inclined to straying out of the herds often
only to return during the time when cows in the herd get into heat. The herds that congregate and focus on small pockets during dry season, they often disperse into the hills during the monsoons.
As the rains have been largely unpredictable in the recent times, one couldn't just guarantee how the herds in Nelliyampathy would behave. Nonetheless, the matured solitary bull in the stories of the tea-vendor will be afraid of none as its formidable size
and power can only be rivalled by the redoubtable tiger. Here too there are many cases of tigers being wasted by gaur. We had reached the fringes of the coffee plantation where starts the forest vegetation, when we heard a soft whistle from one of the dense
grass thickets distributed ahead of us. Then we could see a couple of sturdy whitish horns with dark tips amidst the tall grass. Yes it is gaur... a bull, and it is alone much suiting the descriptions given by the tea-vendor. We kneeled down behind a bush
to make sure that it does not have a glimpse of us, which might urge him to make that decisive charge. Although bulls are known to charge even without provocation, such behaviour can be more expected during dry seasons when they are made more short tempered
than usual by the scorching heat and badgering parasitic insects.
Here the bull does not appear to be wandering in search of a receptive cow, instead looks content with what he has at his disposal in that moment - fresh, juicy and green grass. We waited for more than ten minutes behind the bush anticipating his moves. This
was a massively built animal that could be weighing anything between 700 and 900 kg, the protruding ridge on its forehead was quite high. The pale yellowish white shade dominating its horns and the thin hair growth on its back indicate that the animal is ageing.
It was just about 30 metres between the animal and the spot we were occupying. Arun was so engrossed in snapping the grandeur of the animal that he simply lost the itchy sensation of a battalion of leeches clinging on to his body tasting his vital body fluid.
Damn parasites!!! It was a pent up swear, even which was more than enough to attract the bull's attention. And lo! there he stands fully out of the thicket seriously staring at us. "Shall we bolt?", whispered to me a seriously intimidated Arun. "Wait", said
I. "Let us watch it for some more time if he shows signs of charging we shall take to one of those silver oak trees marking the boundary of the coffee plantation."
Exchange of stares went on for a few more minutes. Minutes that appeared to be hours since everything ran through our minds during the time from the brownish eyes of the tea-vendor to the prominence of Dhathri to the elegance of planter Hall. Then someone had
to make the first move and much to our delight it was the gaur that digressed and started focusing back on his rich food, Now we have the liberty to step out of the bushes infested by leeches to the nearby rock boulders from where we can have a clear view
of the ghost of Hall, which had almost began drifting away from us, heading for the denser greens of the Nelliyampathy forests; leaving us a different story to tell the tea-ventor of Nellies. Then what if he says the one seen by us was not the rogue of his
tale? Arun hardly waited to muse on that, "In that case, we will have to comb these forests once more, as simple as that"
January 22, 2013
it is awesome of nature of manali
January 12, 2013
I have visited jayakwadi bird sanctuary situated near Aurangabad- 60km distance; one of the best places near by. I have sighted around 120 species of birds there in one trip including greater flamingo, eurasian spoonbill, long tailed godwit, whisked tern,grey
heron, small blue kingfisher and many more!
December 12, 2012
Has anyone noticed....the frequency of earthquakes in last few months??? or you must be giving an eye to news related to nature's fury....floods, volcano eruption, drought etc..etc....don't you feel that its a clear indication that now its our turn to pay back
to our mother earth.....it doesn't mean that we will start celebrating days like..earth day, world environment day, ozone day....recent one is Greenathon. For an environmentalist like us, all days should be Earth, ozone or environment day.
In my Recent trip to Sahayadris from where Western Ghats starts, made me feel like what I am giving to my planet. Am I doing enough to save my nature and natural resources? No, I think answer is no, nothing....the work I am trying to do is not enough. One
of my friend who is very passionate about wildlife conservation is doing way beyond his capabilities despite the fact that he doesn't have the proper degree in his hand, still he is worried about conservation. When he can try his level best, then why not others?
My trip to Sahayadri was to assess the impact on few migratory bird due to some developmental activity which is going on there, but when I reached there and saw the impact...it was awful, not on birds but on the entire landscape. Blasting, digging, red soil
all over which was making the low visibility in the area...........it was soooo painful and made us think whether we should take up the study or not? Now, we are doing the study coz we want to come up with the proper conservation action which has to be taken
out while carrying out all these developmental activities.
During my stay, I came across few threatened species of flora and fauna and was surprised how and why government has given permission for this activity? Government has certain rules and regulation before initiating such activities but alas! this activity has
not been included under EIA norms. Still wondering why?
Due to some official constrain I cannot write detail in this blog but I strongly believe if government think of renewable energy resources also, then before initiating the proposed project, see the proper impact on the environment.........
December 12, 2012
|Annual river in Kumbhalgarh WLS
I do not know how to express my view today….I was in the field “Kumbhalgarh WLS” to share our research findings with local community called “Raika”. Raika is a community whose main
occupation is livestock rearing especially sheep and goat rearing and they are traditionally dependent on the forest for their need.
|View of Aravalli Hills
This workshop cum field visit was organized by an NGO called “Lok-hit Pashu Palak Sansthan (LPPS) that is working with Raikas for
the welfare of this community in the vicinity of Kumbhalgarh WLS. Then being with Foundation for Ecological Security (FES) (presently with Green Future Foundation, GFF) my colleague and I was asked to share our research as well as “what we are doing inside
and outside the protected areas for the benefit of local communities and on conservation aspect”. Other participants were from Kalpvriksh (NGO from Pune) and Sahjeevan (NGO from BHuj-Kachchh) along with few members of Maldhari community from Banni Grassland
(Kachchh- Gujarat). This Maldhari community was invited to share their views about the conservation of grasslands in extreme western part of country. Apart from this they did share their notion about Forest Right Act (2006) and how they are managing their
resources in sustainable manner.
|Grass potential of Kumbhalgarh WLS
Known person from Kalpvriksh was very clear in telling about the Forest Right Act, Individual Property Right (IPR) and Community Property Right (CPR). Many things are very much clearly
mentioned in the Act but some of the NGOs are trying to misinterpret the information available and the local community vivaciously grasping this information. It is so disheartening to see how the real facts are getting distorted!!!!! I wanted to tell many
things but I didn’t find it as a suitable platform. Though, it was very difficult for me to keep myself quiet, and I did communicate with local community but in a different perspective. One thing which came up, was the management aspect, it’s not that local
community cannot manage their resources but lack of collective efforts or you can say lack of UNITY is becoming a major problem. Most of my friends think that these tribal and local communities are innocent people but increased impact of technology and politics
has grown its root deeper at the village level and that is where their innocence is paying interest. Literate people are taking advantage of their innocence and lack of accord to earn their bread. It’s so ridiculous!
I am a wildlife biologist, I do care about the forest and practically I am against any type of developmental activities inside the forest, I do believe in natural flow of nutrient and
natural regeneration of forest but on the other hand I do aware of the rights which are being asked by local community. Here comes my concern of transient the information, passing on the right information and in precise way should be the criteria in engaging
these people with us. Dialogue with respective department and local community should be in agenda. If government has brought some Act for the welfare of the tribal community, then we all should join hands together towards the sustainable management and conservation
of our resources.
Some of the NGOs are behaving like a rival of forest department. In this way the differences and clashes between the forest department and local community cannot be filled. These NGOs
should work like cement instead of working like a negative catalyst. Overall these resources are all ours and it’s our duty to conserve these resources in sustainable manner. If economic growth is necessary for the country then same thing should apply for
the tribal also and I don’t think anyone will deny this fact of economic and social uplifting of local and tribal community but in this social and economic uplifting one should never forget our environment and sustainable use of natural resources.