A ficus full of life

After four months of desk work in Mysore, I was really looking forward to fieldwork in Namdapha Tiger Reserve in Arunachal Pradesh with my Lisu friends. The Lisu are one of the local communities around Namdapha. On day 1, I was marking a transect with my Lisu friends, Ngwayotse and Adusey,when suddenly Ngwayotse, whispered ‘Paigolo’. […]

Journeys in Arunachal

Travelling in north-east India can be an amusing, exhilarating experience or nerve-wracking and frustrating depending on your frame of mind and your stars. Murphy’s law applies – so just bear in mind that if anything can go wrong it will, but then again it may not. As a wildlife biologist who has spent many years […]

The march of the triffids

“In temperate countries, where man had succeeded in putting most forms of nature save his own under a reasonable degree of restraint, the status of the triffid was thus made quite clear. But in the tropics, particularly in the dense forest areas, they quickly became a scourge.” —John Wyndham, The Day of the Triffids In […]

Why Mizoram must revive, not eradicate, jhum

There is something extraordinary about the cheraw (bamboo dance) performed during Chapchar Kut. The dance is unique, elegant, and spectacular, but it carries a deeper connection to the land and lives of the people, particularly to the remarkable practice of shifting agriculture (or jhum) which subtly encapsulates the dance of the bamboos themselves on the […]

The Hunter

November 1995: It was only my third day in Pakke Tiger Reserve – then known as Pakhui Wildlife Sanctuary, – and I was excited by the newness and wonder of everything around. And of being in Arunachal for the first time. The previous day, we had walked 13 km to reach the Khari camp as […]

Perils of oil palm

The Economic Survey Mizoram 2012-13 made a bold claim. After quoting the Forest Survey of India’s (FSI) State of Forest Report 2011 that 90.68% of Mizoram is under forest cover, the Economic Survey claimed, literally in bold letters in a box, that the State’s forests have suffered serious depletion and degradation due to traditional practice […]

A tree hole for a home

By Aparajita Datta Last week, we saw how hornbills are important for seed dispersion in forests. Their nesting habits are linked to how they disperse seeds. So here’s some more information on how these interesting birds nest. Hornbills make their nests in tree hollows. They look for hollows that are large enough for the mother […]