Archives

Our earlier logo and display board adorning our office wall.


In this space, we share with you some of the past work done by WCS-India in conservation. 
These include some of our long-standing tiger monitoring projects and other scientific work on ungulates, carnivores and other mammals.

WCS – India was the first in the country to put in place a long-term monitoring program for ungulates and other herbivores, using line transect sampling in 1989. The study design, field protocols and analytical methods have all been continually refined since then. Camera trap sampling of tigers in a capture recapture framework was developed in Nagarahole in the early 1990s, and has since been adopted worldwide and used for a large variety of species with individually identifiable markings.

Monitoring studies

Camera trap surveys carried out by WCS – India to estimate tiger and leopard densities across India have produced valuable occurrence records for several rare and elusive carnivores such as the clouded leopard, Malayan sun bear, marbled cat, hog badger, fishing cat and ratel. In addition, we have supported research projects specifically directed at carnivores other than tigers and leopards.

WCS – India’s earliest research (since 1995) on the dhole (Cuon alpinus) focussed on issues such as patterns of prey selectivity (between different species of prey as well as between age-sex classes within species), diet activity patterns, interspecific interactions and the factors that allow the species to coexist with other large carnivores (tiger, leopard) in the tropical forests of southern India. These questions were addressed using a variety of methods including scat analyses, kill studies and direct observations of known individuals and packs. We have also examined food habit studies of dholes in Central Indian landscape and other select sites in India where they co-exist with tigers and leopards.

We worked in monitoring a total area of 22,000 sq km of prime wildlife habitat in the Western Ghats of Karnataka that shelters the meta populations of the Asian Elephant. These monitoring efforts at two levels included: large scale distribution and occupancy survey at the landscape level and fine-scale monitoring of key source populations at the level of protected reserves. Monitoring elephant source populations was undertaken in several Karnataka’s reserves: Nagarahole, Bhadra, Bandipur, Dandeli-Anshi and BRT.

Ungulate research

Work by the WCS – India has focussed on assessing ecological and anthropogenic factors that determine patterns of landscape level occurrence of gaur. We have conducted an immense amount of research and published several papers on ungulate species across India. Our methodological work included pioneering advances in the development and refinement of techniques to estimate population parameters of forest ungulates (including field and analytical protocols for distance sampling-based density estimation in forests), density estimation using occurrence data and the development of hierarchical modelling approaches to assess factors determining ungulate densities. The resulting estimates of population parameters from these field studies have also supported large scale ongoing monitoring of ungulate populations over time and space, assessments of how large carnivores select prey depending on the availability of different species, investigations of how ungulate densities determine tiger densities, and other such questions with immediate applications to the conservation and monitoring of ungulates in India.

We have supported additional research projects that include development of novel non-invasive sampling techniques to estimate chital densities and fawn survival rates, factors affecting the occupancy of the chowsingha, assessing ungulate abundance using camera trap sampling in forests, demographic and behavioural responses of bharal (Pseudois nayaur) to livestock grazing, assessing the potential of dry forests to support tiger populations through occupancy sampling and distance sampling of ungulates and habitat use by the Indian chevrotains.

Student projects

Biology and spatial ecology of endemic small carnivore species in the Western Ghats, using a range of field and analytical approaches, camera trap surveys in a capture recapture framework to estimate hyena densities in Rajasthan, occupancy-based abundance estimation technique applied to estimate small carnivore abundance in a south Indian deciduous forest, are some of the past projects from students.

Other WCS – India supported student projects have included studies on small clawed otter occupancy patterns in protected areas and human-dominated landscapes,  habitat use by Indian foxes and parasite loads in free-ranging Asiatic lions.

Student projects supported by WCS – India have also addressed a variety of questions, including novel approaches to estimating elephant densities, prevalence of disease in wild elephants, impact of landcover changes on human-elephant conflict, factors affecting elephant distribution and conflict in a fragmented landscape, among others.  Other WCS – India supported student projects have included studies on small clawed otter occupancy patterns in protected areas and human-dominated landscapes,  habitat use by Indian foxes and parasite loads in free-ranging Asiatic lions.

WCS – India also supports the work of talented and promising researchers through various small grants. Such supported research covered a wide range of conservation topics, which are identified and executed by researchers who are not full time staff or affiliated to the Doctoral or Masters Programs.

Some of our major long term scientific studies on tigers include:


Independent research

WCS – India has also been supporting independent researchers on their research projects across India over the last 25 years. Listed below are such supported projects from the past.

Title: Ecology of sympatric woodpecker species of Western Ghats, India

Principal investigator: V. Santharam

Institutional collaborator: Kerala State Forest Department.

Duration: 1990-1993

Title: Ecology and conservation of the Great Pied Hornbill (Buceros biornis) in the Western Ghats of Southern India.

Principal investigator: Ragupathy Kannan

Institutional collaborators: University of Arkansas; Karnataka State Forest Department, Kerala State Forest Department, Tamilnadu State Forest Department.

Duration: 1991-1993

Title: Land-use conflicts in Indian protected areas: the case of Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala

Principal investigator: Sultana Bashir

Institutional collaborators: Cambridge University; Kerala State Forest Department

Duration: 1992-1994

Title: Effects of human disturbance on the ecology and conservation of non-human primates in Northeast India

Principal investigator: Atul K. Gupta

Institutional collaborators: Cambridge University;Tripura State Forest Department

Duration: 1993-1995

Title: Ecology and evolution of non-breeding distributions in the old world leaf warblers 

Principal investigator: Madhusudhan Katti

Institutional collaborator: Kerala State Forest Department

Duration: 1993-1995

Title: Ecology of the lion-tailed macaque

Principal investigator: R.Krishnamani

Institutional collaborators: Karnataka State Forest Department.

Duration: 1994-1996

Title: A survey of the Indian great black woodpecker (dryocopus javensis) and its habitat in the Western Ghats, India.

Principal investigator: V. Santharam

Institutional collaborators: Tamilnadu State Forest Department; Gujarat State Forest Department

Duration: 1995-1996

Title: Survey of fruit bats in Namdapha Tiger Reserve, Arunachal Pradesh

Principal investigators: Abi Tamim Vanak and Surendra P. Goyal

Institutional collaborators: Arunachal Pradesh State Forest Department.

Duration: 1995-1996

Title: Sustainability of fruit extractions from two nontimber forest product tree species, phyllanthus emblica and phyllanthus indofischeri, in the forest of South India

Principal investigator: Aditi Sinha

Institutional collaborators: University of Massachusetts, Karnataka State Forest Department

Duration: 1995-1997

Title: Ecology of the tropical rainforest turtles in South India

Principal investigator: B.K. Sharath

Institutional collaborator: Mangalore University, Karnataka State Forest Department

Duration: 1995-1997

Title: Ecology of the king cobra in the Western Ghats of Karnataka

Principal investigator: B.K. Sharath

Institutional collaborators: University of Mysore; Karnataka State Forest Department.

Duration: 1995-1997

Title: Wildlife conservation in the Trans-Himalaya

Principal investigator: Charudutt Mishra

Institutional collaborators: Nature Conservation Foundation; International Snow Leopard Trust; Wageningen University; Himachal Pradesh Forest Department; Jammu & Kashmir Wildlife Department

Duration: 1996

Title: Food selection and ranging in the hoolock gibbon (hylobates hoolock) in Borajan Reserve Forest, Assam

Principal investigator: Kashmira Kakati

Institutional collaborators: Wildlife Institute of India; Assam State Forest Department

Duration: 1996-1997

Title: Review of status of river dolphin (plantanista gangetica) in Brahmaputra river of Assam, India

Principal investigator: Sujit P. Bairagi

Institutional collaborators: Assam State Forest Department; Dolphin Conservation Society.

Duration: 1997

Title: An investigation of the effects of disturbance of Kalakkad Mundantharai Tiger Reserve: Implications for herbivore and plant management

Principal investigator: Mahesh Sankaran

Institutional collaborators: Syracuse University; Tamil Nadu Forest Department.

Duration: 1997-1998

Title: An ecological study of sympatric hornbills and fruiting patterns in a tropical forest in Arunachal Pradesh: An overview

Principal investigator: Aparajita Datta

Institutional collaborators: Nature Conservation Foundation; Wildlife Institute of India; Arunachal Pradesh State Forest Department; Saurashtra University.

Duration: 1997-2001

Title: El niño related coral bleaching in Indian reefs

Principal investigator: Rohan Arthur

Institutional collaborators: Centre for Ecological Research and Conservation; Nature Conservation Foundation; Lakshadweep Forest Department.

Duration: 1998

Title: Population densities and biomass of herbivorous mammals in the bamboo-dominated forests of Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary, Karnataka

Principal investigator: Farshid S.Ahrestani

Institutional collaborators: State University of New York, Syracuse; Karnataka State Forest Department; Centre for Wildlife Studies.

Duration: 1998-1999

Title: Ecology of tigers: To enable a realistic projection of the requirements needed to maintain a demographically viable population of tigers in India

Principal investigator: Neel Gogate

Institutional collaborator: Madhya Pradesh State Forest Department

Duration: 1998-1999

Title: Impact of human populations on biodiversity in protected areas in India

Principal investigator: Sachidananda Jha

Institutional collaborators: Tamilandu State Forest Department.

Duration: 1998-1999

Title: Community ecology and conservation of amphibians in the tropical rain forests of Karnataka

Principal investigator: Surya N. Rao Addoor,

Institutional collaborators: Karnataka State Forest Department.

Duration: 1998-1999

Title: Ecology and conservation of endemic small carnivores in the tropical rainforests of the Southern Western Ghats, India

Principal investigator: Divya Mudappa

Institutional collaborators: Nature Conservation Foundation; Tamilnadu State Forest Department

Duration: 1998-2000

Title: Survey of binturong (arctitis binturong) in Trishna Wildlife Sanctuary, Tripura

Principal investigator: Atul Kumar Gupta.

Institutional collaborators: Wildlife Institute of India; Tripura State Forest Department.

Duration: 1999

Title: Population ecology and threats for the survival of some anuran populations in the tropical rainforests of Western Ghats.

Principal investigator: Savitha Krishna

Institutional collaborator: Karnataka State Forest Department.

Duration: 1999

Title: The ecology and behavior of the large brown flying squirrel (petaurista philippensis) in a rain forest fragment, Western Ghats.

Principal investigator: Nandini Rajmani

Institutional collaborators: Pondicherry University; Tamilnadu State Forest Department.

Duration: 1999-2000

Title: Butterflies of Shimoga district: A biodiversity assessment

Principal investigator: Manjunath Hegde Hosabale

Institutional collaborators: Karnataka State Forest Department; Centre for Wildlife Studies.

Duration: 2000

Title: Status and ecology of the endangered hispid hare caprolagus hispidus in Jaldapra Wildlife Sanctuary, West Bengal

Principal investigator: Gopinathan Maheswaran

Institutional collaborators: Bombay Natural History Society; West Bengal State Forest Department.

Duration: 2000

Title: NTFP extraction in Uttara Kannada district: Results from a preliminary study in Uttara Kannada district, Karnataka.

Principal investigator: Balachandra Hegde

Institutional collaborators: Karnataka State Forest Department; Centre for Wildlife Studies; 21st Century Tiger

Duration: 2000-2001

Title: Density, biomass and habitat occupancy of ungulates in Bhadra Tiger Reserve, Karnataka, South India

Principal investigator: Devcharan Jathanna

Institutional collaborators: Wildlife Institute of India; Karnataka State Forest Department; Centre for Wildlife Studies; Saurashtra University; Save the Tiger Fund

Duration: 2000-2001

Title: Tracking wildlife use of a ntfp: fruit removal & seed dispersal of emblica officinalis

Principal investigator: Soumya Prasad

Institutional collaborators: Wildlife Institute of India; Saurashtra University; Uttaranchal State Forest Department.

Duration: 2000-2001

Title: Status and habitat utilization of the threatened white-bellied shortwing brachypteryx major in the Western Ghats (Kerala and Tamil Nadu)

Principal investigator: Robin Vijayan

Institutional collaborators: Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science; Tamil Nadu State Forest Department; Kerala State Forest Department.

Duration: 2000-2001

Title: Basking behavior and survey of marsh crocodiles crocodylus palustris in Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary, Karnataka, India

Principal investigator: Dilip Venugopal

Institutional collaborator: Karnataka State Forest Department.

Duration: 2000-2001

Title: Impact of forest fragmentation on the hoolock gibbon (hylobates hoolock) in Assam, India

Principal investigator: Kashmira Kakati

Institutional collaborators: University of Cambridge, Wildlife Institute of India, Assam State Forest Department.

Duration: 2000-2002

Title: Resource utilization and niche separation in sympatric rain forest arboreal mammals

Principal investigator: H.S. Sushma

Institutional collaborators: Mysore University, Tamilnadu State Forest Department.

Duration: 2000-2002

Title: Rainforest fragments, coffee, and conservation of rainforest birds

Principal investigator: T.R.Shankar Raman and Divya Mudappa

Institutional collaborators: Nature Conservation Foundation; Tamilnadu State Forest Department

Duration: 2001-2002

Title: Behavioral ecology and conservation of the Asiatic wild ass (equus hemionus khur) in the little Rann of Kutch, India

Principal investigator: Siva Sundaresan

Institutional collaborators: University of Princeton; Gujarat State Forest Department.

Duration: 2001-2003

Title: Ecology and conservation of the slender loris (loris tardigradus) in Kalakad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, India

Principal investigator: Kaberi Kar Gupta

Institutional collaborators: Arizona State University, Kerala State Forest Department.

Duration: 2002-2003

Title: Effects of resource extraction on biodiversity conservation values: Towards a sustainable forest management strategy in Sariska Tiger reserve, Rajasthan

Principal investigator: Ghazala Shahabuddin

Institutional collaborators: Council for Social Development; Rajasthan State Forest Department.

Duration: 2003

Title: Preliminary survey of Indian fox (vulpes bengalensis) distribution in Southern India

Principal investigator: Abi Tamim Vanak

Institutional collaborators: Karnataka State Forest Department; Andhra Pradesh State Forest Department.

Duration: 2003

Title: Assessment of the significance of visitor awareness and education programs to conservation education in three South Indian zoos

Principal investigator: Avanti Mallapur

Institutional collaborators: National Institute of Advanced Studies; Arignar Zoological Park; Shri.Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens; Thiruvananthapuram Zoo.

Duration: 2003

Title: A study of the offshore distribution of olive ridley turtles (lepidochely olivacea) in the coastal waters of Rushikulya rookery along the Orissa coast

Principal Investigator: Basudev Tripathy

Institutional Collaborator: Orissa State Forest Department.

Duration: 2003-2004

Title: In search of the Tawang macaque: A preliminary survey of the status, demography and behavioural ecology of a potentially new macaque species in western Arunachal Pradesh, North-eastern India

Principal investigator: Anindya Sinha

Institutional collaborators: National Institute of Advanced Studies, Nature Conservation Foundation

Duration: 2004

Title: Population survey and conservation of the Bengal slow loris in North-east India

Principal investigator: Sindhu Radhakrishna

Institutional collaborators: National Institute of Advanced Studies

Duration: 2004

Title: Study on the roost locations, population monitoring and feeding preferences of wintering harriers in south India

Principal investigator: Ashok Kumar Verma

Institutional collaborators: Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment

Duration: 2004-2005

Title: Study on the benefits to local communities from UK travel operators and conservation organizations at Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, Rajasthan

Principal investigator: Abhishek Behl

Institutional collaborators: DICE, UK

Duration: 2004-2005 

Title: Visual and vocal announcement of reproductive status; why do lion-tailed macaque females swell and yell?

Principal investigator: Anantha Krishna Sharma

Institutional collaborators: Mysore University

Duration: 2004-Ongoing

Title: Effects of disturbance on foraging and nest-site selection of the Indian giant squirrel (ratufa indica maxima) in the southern Western Ghats, India

Principal investigator: Jahnavi Pai

Institutional collaborators: Pondicherry University

Duration: 2005

Title: A preliminary survey of small carnivores in the Western Ghats of south-western Karnataka

Principal investigator: Devcharan Jathanna

Institutional collaborators: Centre for Wildlife Studies, Karnataka Forest Department

Duration: 2005

Title: Distribution and status of the Nilgiri langur (semnopithecus johnii) in the Western Ghats, India

Principal investigator: Sunita Ram

Institutional collaborators: FERAL, Fordham University

Duration: 2005

Title: Song structure and variation of an endemic, threatened passerine, white-bellied shortwing at Grasshills National Park, India

Principal investigator: Aditi Sancheti

Institutional collaborators: National Institute of Advanced Studies

Duration: 2005


Books

English

Indian Languages

  • Vanya Jeevigala Ramya Loka (2007): T S Gopal, S Gubbi & SvS Mummigatti (Editors). Navakarnataka Publications, Bangalore.
  • Hulirayana Akashavani (2007): Ullas Karanth (Kannada, with TS Gopal). Navakarnataka Publications, Bangalore.
  • Huliya Baduku (2007): Ullas Karanth (Kannada, translated by HR Krishnamoorthy). Navakarnataka Publications, Bangalore.
  • Kanurai Venrai (2006): Ullas Karanth (Tamil, translated by Theodore Bhaskaran). Kalachavadu Publications.
  • Kaadu Pranigala Jadinalli (2001): Ullas Karanth (Kannada). Athree Publishers, Mangalore.
  • Aranya mattu Samaja (1985): Ullas Karanth (Kannada). Akshara Prakashana, Sagar, Karnataka.

 


Videos

Conservation Conversations with Dr K. Ullas Karanth

In Episode-3 of Conservation Conversations, renowned wildlife biologist, Dr. K. Ullas Karanth, Director for Science in Asia for Wildlife Conservation Society, talks about the role of science in conservation in India.

In Episode-2 of Conservation Conversations, renowned wildlife biologist, Dr. K. Ullas Karanth, Director for Science in Asia for Wildlife Conservation Society, talks about human-wildlife coexistence within Protected Areas in India.

In Episode-1 of Conservation Conversations, renowned wildlife biologist, Dr. K. Ullas Karanth, Director for Science in Asia for Wildlife Conservation Society, talks about wildlife recovery in India.

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