Another month has passed and here’s a bunch of interesting happenings at NCF, caught in the news…
Being a marine conservationist
The primary challenge is yourself, and what sort of life you want to lead. It’s a choice one has to make and decide in which area of conservation one fits in.
Reflections on a wetland
On the Malabar civet
NCF scientist Divya Mudappa writes about the puzzles that remain on the elusive Malabar civet in the Deccan Herald supplement Spectrum of 25 January 2011.
From conflict to conservation
The Spectrum issue also carried an interesting article by Sanjay Gubbi on human-elephant conflict, where he also mentions the cooperative power-fence by NCF scientist M. D. Madhusudan. You can read the complete version titled Splintering elephant habitat also on Sanjay Gubbi’s blog here.
An experiment of shared farm fencing initiated by M. D. Madhusudhan of Nature Conservation Foundation has seen excellent results on the boundaries of Bandipur.
This work and other NCF work on dealing with human-wildlife conflict also finds mention in an Op-ed piece by Dr Mahesh Rangarajan in the Deccan Chronicle, titled Why victims turn killers. He writes about the work of M. D. Madhusudan and Charudutt Mishra of NCF on dealing with conflict in two contrasting landscapes:
Both Dr Madhusudan and Dr Mishra… have such working approaches in place. …The former has worked with cultivators at the edge of Bandipur fencing fields to keep out elephants and boars. This in itself is not novel, but the cooperation and maintenance by the farmers is. The fenced-in fields are close to a well-protected national park. Fences guard the crop, the park and the wildlife.
Dr Mishra has been in a vastly different landscape, in Kibber valley, Himachal Pradesh, setting up insurance for those who lose stock to snow leopards and wolves. In Kibber, villagers were compensated for loss of grazing, following which they set aside some of their grazing land for wild sheep and goats.
In both cases, it is patient long-term work that looked at both the biology of the wildlife and the livelihood concerns of the residents. It then sought to transform a problem into an opportunity, to defuse a conflict of interests by mitigating loss. Both have ties to traditional conservation.
Roads and wildlife: the way ahead?
Another nice article that appeared on 28 January, by M. D. Madhusudan and Pavithra Sankaran, took a look at the effects of roads on wildlife and habitats. You can read this in The Times of India, in The Economic Times, or right here on our blog. Take your pick! They highlight the need for a policy on linear intrusions like roads in our forests and natural areas. In fact, NCF is currently involved in an effort on these lines as a member of the Standing Committee of the National Board for Wildlife.
Publications: tigers and elephants
Scientists from WWF, NCF, and other organisations, including A. J. T. Johnsingh, look at prospects for tiger conservation in a recent paper in the journal Conservation Letters. Examining the possibility of doubling wild tiger populations, they conclude that it may even be possible to triple existing populations, although it would require both site-level protection and landscape-scale interventions [PDF]. Dr Johnsingh also has reviewed a new book on conservation in India by Ghazala Shabuddin [PDF].
An interesting paper on the behaviour of Asian elephants in a land-use mosaic of plantations and rainforest in the Anamalai hills by M. Ananda Kumar and Mewa Singh also appeared in the journal Wildlife Biology and Practice. This open access article is available here.
Finding new species
The Financial Chronicle writing about treasure… in nature. The discovery of new species in India by young researchers, including our own Anindya (Rana) Sinha and his team who described the Arunachal macaque Macaca munzala.