Category Archives: Wildlife

the biligirirangan hills

The BR Hills forests, until recently protected as a wildlife sanctuary under the

BR Hills have been identified as a source site for tigers, one among 42 such sites globally (Source: Walston et al, Plos Biology)

Wildlife Protection Act have recently been upgraded to a Tiger Reserve. And by no means without reason; BRT is one of the 42 global source sites for tigers, “so termed because these areas contain concentrations of tigers that have the potential to repopulate larger landscapes”. However, the forests are also a sanctuary to the Soliga people, who are themselves also increasingly seeing a role in tiger conservation. With a new, dynamic officer taking over as the Field Director of the tiger reserve, there was an effort at making a booklet to introduce new visitors to the rich wildlife, people and culture that these hills hold. Reproduced below is my contribution to the booklet, now incorporated into a well-designed booklet available to all visitors to the hills. Continue reading

NarcondaMn

Update: Apparently, the ayes have it! The Envt. & Forests Ministry’s committee decidees NOT TO go ahead with the proposal!

The Narcondam Horbill, an endangered species of hornbill from the Narcondam Island in the Andaman & Nicobar chain of islands is under threat. A

Sketch of the Narcondam Hornbill (Aceros narcondami)

proposal (a short-sighted one, clearly) to install a RADAR and a power supply source on this 681 hectare island by the Indian ministry of defence could endanger this species of hornbill found nowhere else in the world. Continue reading

Dazzled and deceived

Thanks to a recent British library membership acquisition, I got hold of this book by Peter Forbes – Dazzled and deceived: Mimicry and Camouflage. The book effortlessly leads the reader through a journey that begins in earnest with the comma butterfly flying across a garden and slowly winding its way through personal lives of luminaries in biology, through the private struggles and public lives of the proponents of various sorts of camouflage for both sides in the two world wars, artists and naturalists. There has been much talk about the role of camouflage nets in the winning of the Second battle of El Alamein in World War II. The battle was quite important – it got Churchill to apparently ring bells all over Britan, signifying the impending end to the war. Continue reading

“old and fragile records” in an age of RTI and computers: How our heritage collections are managed by ZSI

The Zoological Survey of India has an illustrious history. On 1st July, 1916, the organisation was instituted with a mission to “…to promote survey, exploration

Alfred Alcock, the physician-naturalist who was instrumental in the creation of the Zoological Survey of India

and research leading to the advancement in our knowledge of various aspects of exceptionally rich life of the erstwhile British Indian Empire” (Emphasis mine). Alfred William Alcock was a British physician-naturalist, a common breed in those colonial days when doctors were still excited about working in “difficult” Continue reading

Valparai TEN

January 15th was the tenth year of Wikipedia. Although, I missed being at the Bangalore TEN celebrations, along with Kalyan, some of us held the celebrations in Valparai. Here is a brief write-up I did on it as a guest contributor on the restoration blog of NCF.

Pasted below is the article from there:

In the little Tamil village that we know so well, it was just another day. The coffee was flowing like potion and the local Geriatrix had just set up lamps to prevent wild boar-human conflict. The village had just welcomed Cacofonix who brought with him an extended phenotype of electronic lyres to garnish the horrendous volume of what he called ‘song’. Impedimenta had just finished reflecting on civets while the chief had had a long night appreciating the mellifluous notes emanating from the august pharynx of Biligirix. All was well in the village we know so well.

The Valparai TEN

Continue reading