Prime Intention of the Blog

"People without children would face a hopeless future; a country without trees and wildlife is almost as helpless".

I still remember my childhood days when I used to visit Dandeli a place where even my father started his professional career and also where my most of the relatives were staying.Even though I never brought up in Dandeli no one could stop me to go there since it was just two hours journey from my native. And during every visit I used to get the scoldings from my father and relatives since I used to spend most of the time in forests than in house.So as I grown up my visit to Dandeli became very less except twice or thrice in a year since I became busy with studies but always I had in my mind that I should contribute something to these magnificent forests which inspired me a lot to fall in love with the Conservation.So it is just an attempt from my side to create awareness to save these magnificent animals and landscapes they exist in.If this blog contributes in a small way to achieve this goal I will be the most happiest person in this world.
This blog mainly focuses towards conservation activities in and around Dandeli-Anshi Tiger Reserve.This blog doesn't provide any information regarding tourism and its related activities in and around Dandeli-Anshi Tiger Reserve.

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Monday, January 13, 2014

Loss of habitat endangering king cobras

Neither fear nor awe has helped the king cobra. The world's longest venomous snake faces threats from various illegal activities in its home, the Western Ghats.

Experts, environmentalists and range forest officers from all over Karnataka revealed this at a two-day workshop that began here on Saturday to spread awareness of the ways to protect the endangered species.

B B Mallesha, director of the Dandeli-Anshi tiger reserve, explained that construction of dams, forest degradation, hunting and poaching, trade of skin for meat and medicines, mining and introduction of exotic species pose serious threats to king cobras. "Nearly 13 king cobras were rescued over the last three months in the region. So, we found it necessary to train our officers in conservation of king cobras. The officers who get trained here will, in turn, train villagers and people to rescue king cobras, which are considered a vulnerable species. We are planning to educate schoolchildren on conservation methods so that king cobras are saved for future generations.''

P Gowrishankar of the Kalinga Foundation, who has been conducting a research on king cobras for the last 12 years, said destruction of habitats is the key threat to them. "Hydel projects, developmental activities in the forest and fragmentation are the main threats to the species."

He, however, points out that people generally hold king cobras in reverence and, therefore, do not kill them on encountering them. "There is also a belief among farmers that if they see a king cobra in their fields, they can expect a bumper crop the next time.''

P R Manjunath, range forest office, Anashi wildlife range, has rescued seven king cobras since he assumed office last year. "It is a deadly venomous snake. We rescued seven from the Kadra village while looking for rat snakes."

G Raghavendra, a snake rescuer from Bangalore, said he had rescued eight king cobras in Kadra area near the Anashi range. "We should protect the species as they are endangered.''

Fact check

There is only one species of king cobras (ophiophagus)

They can grow up to 15ft in length

The average weight is 6-8 kg

King cobras primarily feed on other snakes and occasionally on monitor lizards

They are the only snakes in the world that build nests to lay eggs

They lay an average clutch of 22-50 eggs

Their lifespan is 30 years

King cobras are avid climbers

An edited version of this article can be read from the link below:

Save-King Cobra drive goes to schools

Range forest officers, snake rescuers, forest watchers and guards from the Western Ghats took a vow on Sunday: To educate students and locals on the need to conserve King Cobras, and to save them from extinction due to killing and other illegal activities.

BB Mallesha, director, Dandeli-Anshi Tiger Reserve, directed officials attending a two-day workshop on conservation of King Cobras to visit schools and colleges in their respective areas and spread the good word.

Western Ghats has the highest density of the venomous snake in the country.

P Gowrishankar of Kalinga Foundation trained 30-odd range forest officers and a number of forest guards and snake rescuers to catch the reptile, and provide first aid in case of snake bite. They were provided with cobra hooks, bags to catch the slithering snakes, snake bagger and a book.

UD Naik, assistant conservator of forest, Dandeli, told TOI that the department regularly gets calls from residents when snakes come visiting their homes. "We didn't have enough rescuers in the department and had to depend on locals. The training has helped us get department officials to catch snakes.''

S Balakrishna, ACF, Anashi range forest, said he will use his trained staff not only to rescue King Cobras but also educate locals on their conservation through posters and school visits.

ND Reshma, forest watcher, Anshi range, felt there's a need to educate people on conservation of King Cobras. "The training has helped me understand the lifestyle of these reptiles and how to catch them.''
An edited version of this article can be read from the link below:

Friday, January 10, 2014

Pangolin scales seized; 3 persons arrested

The forest department officials have arrested three persons on charges of illegally storing scales of Pangolin in a shop in Dandeli.

The arrested have been identified as Nagappa Wakod, Tukaram Wakod and Maruti Dundashi. They were arrested as per provisions in the 1972 Wildlife Protection Act and were produced before the court.

Resident of Dandeli, Nagappa Wakod had illegally stored pangolin scales in his shop. Based on a tip-off, the forest officials along with the Anashi Tiger reserve Area officials conducted a joint raid and have seized the pangolin scales weighing more than 2kg.

The rate was conducted under the guidance of Anashi Tiger reserve project Director BB Mallesh and Deputy Conservator of Forest Manjunath Chauhan.

Dandeli Sub-division assistant conservator of Forest S V Naik told that pangolin is an endangered animal and is no verge of extinction. The accused had reportedly stored scales of the animal which is in more demand in international market. They have been arrested and further investigation is on, he added.

Mr Naik said, the accused due interrogation have revealed that lot many people are also involved in poaching. A high-level forest officials meeting will be conducted to form a team and stop Poaching and arrest those involved in it.

An edited version of this article can be read from the link below:

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Big cat spotted again in Mhadei sanctuary

Range forest officer at the Mhadei wildlife sanctuary Paresh Porob has said that the presence of a tiger has been confirmed on many occasions during December in the areas of Anjunem dam reservoir and in Golauli, Sattari.
In April 2013, for the first time Goa's forest department was successful in taking pictures of a tigress in the forest of the sanctuary at Dongurli.
Porob said, "We have already received the information about the presence of a few more tigers in the sanctuary, besides the camera -trapped tigress." Goa government has agreed to conduct a comprehensive study about the existence of tigers in the forests, in the first meeting of the state wildlife advisory board on February 4, 2013, and accordingly Ullas Karanth of the Wildlife conservation society of Bangalore was assigned with the task.
He has used the camera- trap technique to capture images of wild animals without direct human interference. To distinguish one tiger from another, the society has developed image-processing software which allows speedy and reliable identification of tigers from photographs.
In December, this year, the final report was submitted by the society to the principal chief conservator of forest Richard D'Souza, which mentions that in order to ensure long-term sustenance of the tiger population, it is imperative that a standardized and a well-thought out annual prey monitoring system is put in place in the Cotigao-Mhadei complex.
This would ensure long-term sustenance of the tiger population with active participation of forest officials and civil society volunteers, a system already existing in the Dandeli-Anshi tiger reserve area. It has also stated the need for rigorous monitoring of the prey population using best practices followed in the Dandeli-Anshi tiger reserve in view of strategic importance of the protected areasof Goa in conserving tiger meta-population, as a whole in the region.
During the tiger census conducted by Belgaum forest division between December 16 and 23, only one 10-year- old tiger was spotted in Chorla of Belgaum district adjacent to Hivre-Khurd of the Mhadei wildlife sanctuary.
Ambadi Madhav, deputy conservator of forests said, "Though only one tiger was spotted during the field survey, there were several pug marks and scats of big cats, which indicate there are more tigers in the Belgaum forest division." In Copardem, the local residents living in the vicinity of the sanctuary over the last 2-3 months have sighted the tiger on many occasions and their cattle too became victims of big cat attacks.
Dasharath Morajkar, member of Vivekanand environment awareness brigade said, "Mhadei region is a known tiger habitat since the past. Sighting of tiger is not uncommon here." Shantaram Kamat of the wildlife conservation society said, "We will resume this year work of camera trap very soon in the forests of Goa."
An edited version of this article can be read from the link below:

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Second phase of tiger census to have camera-trapping

The second phase of the tiger enumeration exercise will commence in the first week of January and entail camera-trapping of tigers and leopards in Bandipur.
The first phase of the census concluded on Monday with the volunteers dispersing after six days of data collection pertaining to carnivores, herbivores, and the surrounding vegetations at Bandipur, Nagarahole, BRT Wildlife Sanctuary, Bhadra, Anshi-Dandeli, and other reserve forests.
Conservator of Forests and director of Bandipur Tiger Reserve, H.C. Kantharaj, told The Hindu that the second phase would involve tiger specialists from the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, and the Forest Department.
In all, 130 cameras would be placed at key and vantage points identified by trackers based on the movement of tigers in Bandipur alone. The objective is to get a photo identity of the big cats and the software developed by the authorities would help ascertain specific features based on the stripes of each of the animals and help eliminate duplication. Mr. Kantharaj said the first batch of the cameras had arrived and the department was awaiting the dispatch of the second batch of nearly 60 cameras which would help them cover about 50 per cent of tiger reserve landscape spread over 874 sq. km.
“The cameras will be in place for 45 days and once completed they will be fixed at other places so as to cover the entire tiger landscape area Each camera will have an 8 GB memory card and can store anywhere between 500 to 800 images. We will can either replace the memory card or carry our laptops, download the images, and reload the camera after formatting the memory card,” Mr. Kantharaj said.
D. Rajkumar of Wildlife Conservation Society said the camera would not only help identify the carnivore density but also help ascertain prey density of an area. He said the cameras would have infrared sensor. “It will be triggered off when the light beam is broken by the animal movement and the data so captured will be superior as the stripes and other patterns can be matched with the available database. It is also least intrusive and the animals are not disturbed,” Mr. Rajkumar said.
He pointed out that camera trapping was a reliable and a scientific method and helped ascertain the presence of Melanistic Leopard in Wayanad though it had not been sighted earlier. “As tigers are territorial, the camera trap method will be useful to ascertain as to how many tigers are living in any given area apart from helping the scientists in estimating the prey density and habitat evaluation,” Mr. Rajkumar said.
The data collected by volunteers in the first phase and the camera trapping results will be extrapolated by scientists to arrive at an estimation on the number of tigers which will be a close approximation. The last such survey and estimation was done in 2009 and the results were declared in 2010 as per which the number of tigers in Bandipur was estimated to be between 85 and 110 and on an average harboured one tiger for every 8 sq. km. The prey density in the national park is reckoned to be high to support tigers, leopards, dholes – the three flag-ship species of carnivores in Indian forests.
Mr. Kantharaj said the same protocol would be followed in other national parks such as Nagarahole, BRT Wildlife Sanctuary, Bhadra, Anshi-Dandeli.
The habitat evaluation would help identify if there were any areas bereft of tigers or other carnivores which could help ascertain the reason for it. A fallout would be intervention measures to improve wildlife habitat so that the spill-over animals could reclaim the forests.
An edited version of this article can be read from the link below:

Karnataka eyes Dudhsagar's waters again

The Karnataka government on Friday informed the the Mhadei water disputes tribunal team of its desire to revive projects to dam and divert Dudhsagar's tributaries to the River Kali basin to enhance the power generation, potable and irrigation potential of the Supa dam.
They claimed that the dam, built in 1987 across Kalinadi in Joida taluk of Uttara Kannada district, has been at full capacity for only the first two years, thus affecting the state. The dam has two electricity generators of 50 megawatt capacity each, a gross storage capacity of 4,178 Mcum and a live storage of 4,115.25 Mcum.
The tribunal was told of plans to divert Pasal, Diggi, Niranjol, Katla and Palna, by building five dams, to divert 5.27 tmc ft of water into the basin. Officials claimed that since the diverted water is meager it will not impact the River Dudhsagar.
The Goa team headed by additional chief engineer Premanand Kamat and WRD advisor Chetan Pandit objected to Karnataka's plans.
Karnataka had sent a detailed project report (DPR) over the same in November 1985 to the Centre. It was returned in October 1987.
Katla and Palna are two important perennial feeders of the Dudhsagar waterfalls that flow into the River Khandepar, joining River Mandovi (Mhadei) at Bimbal in Ponda. Both originate in the Anshi-Dandeli tiger reserve of Karnataka. River Khandepar provides water to Goa's Opa water treatment plant that supplies 140 MLD drinking water daily to Ponda and Tiswadi talukas.
Tribunal members once again raised questions of environmental and other clearances for the projects. Officials said work had not started yet and would only after clearances are received.
An edited version of this article can be read from the link below:

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Tiger census gets under way in Karnataka

Final results expected in about eight months

The six-day tiger enumeration that got under way in the State as part of the nationwide exercise on Wednesday, is reckoned to be the world’s largest endeavour to count or estimate tigers in the wild.
More than 1,000 volunteers had registered for the State-wide tiger enumeration which will cover not only the notified Project Tiger reserves in the State but also other reserve forests and wildlife sanctuaries. Vinay Luthra, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife), told The Hindu that an area of nearly 40,000 sq. km was being covered. “We are also assessing the status of prey density, co-predators and habitat status,” he added. The final results are expected to take between 6 and 8 months, Mr. Luthra said.
Karnataka has around 300 to 320 tigers as per the 2010 census and the bulk of it was in the tiger reserves of Bandipur (Mysore-Chamarajanagar districts), Nagarahole (Mysore-Kodagu) Bhadra (Chikamagalur), BRT Wildlife Sanctuary (Chamarajanagar), and Anshi-Dandeli (Uttara Kannada). However, there are indications of spill over population groups inhabiting areas outside the tiger reserves and the enumeration exercise would throw more light on it, according to H.C. Kantharaj, director, Bandipur Tiger Reserve.
The total tiger population range was in excess of 500 in the entire Western Ghat landscape complex spread over Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
The protocol for tiger enumeration has been devised by wildlife scientists and vetted by the National Tiger Conservation Authority and Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, and is being followed uniformly across the country. The procedure entails collecting field data at the beat level in the first phase followed by habitat analysis using satellite data and camera trapping methods in the subsequent phases. The data will be audited by wildlife scientists and experts.
“The methodology is simple and robust and the estimation will be based on studies of systematically distributed sampling units or beats throughout the tiger landscape. While the volunteers will seek signs of carnivores on the first three days by way of direct sighting and indirect evidence like scats or pellets and tracking pug marks, the focus will be on herbivore survey and vegetation for the remaining three days to give a holistic picture of the entire landscape,” Mr. Kantharaj said.
Volunteers will walk along the transect line and cover 15 km spread over three days and record carnivore signs. While 232 volunteers would collect samples in Bandipur, 106 would do it in Nagarahole. R. Gokul, Conservator of Forests, said this was a total census of carnivore, herbivore and vegetation which would give a holistic picture of the entire food chain in which tiger held the apex place.
The territorial forest area which are not under project tiger, are larger and is being covered across the State as any spill over animal population may have inhabited these ranges or their numbers diminished and the ongoing enumeration exercise will give a better picture of animal dispersal. The 2010 census pegged the tiger population across the country between 1,571 at the lower end and 1,875 at the higher end.
An edited version of this article can be read from the link below: