Category : Press Releases

6 days, 1 hour ago 0
Posted in: News, Press Releases

BENGALURU, 9 December 2017 –  Wildlife conservationists and partners associated with Bengaluru-based Wildlife Conservation Society-India have won various awards at the Sanctuary Wildlife Awards held in Mumbai yesterday, 8 December 2017. The awardees are Mr. Jayachandran S, Mr. Shashank Dalvi, Mr. Nikit Surve and Ms. Vaishali Rawat. The Sanctuary Wildlife Awards were constituted in 2000 by Sanctuary, to shine a spotlight on the unsung heroes who are defending wildernesses in the Indian subcontinent.

 

Mr. Jayachandran S was felicitated with the ‘Wildlife Service Award’ by Sanctuary Nature Foundation.

Mr. Jayachandran S, Wildlife Service Award : Ooty-based conservation activist and long-term conservation partner of Wildlife Conservation Society-India, Mr. Jayachandran S, has won the prestigious ‘Wildlife Service Award’ presented by the Sanctuary Nature Foundation on the 18th edition of the Sanctuary Wildlife Awards.

Over the past 30 years, Mr. Jayachandran S has been a key conservation leader in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve and surrounding areas. In 1990, he started the Tamil Nadu Green Movement (TNGM) which has been actively assisting the forest department in law enforcement and advocacy. In 2010, based on Mr. Jayachandran’s intervention in his capacity as the Honorary Secretary of the Nilgiris Wildlife and Environment Association, the Chennai High Court issued a landmark judgement that evicted illegal tourism infrastructure at Sigur Elephant Corridor. Mr. Jayachandran S has been instrumental in stopping several road and tourism infrastructures in ecologically important forest areas including Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserves in Tamil Nadu, BiligiriRanganatha Temple Tiger Reserve in Karnataka. He has persistently worked with the Tamil Nadu Government and Forest Departments to consolidate key wildlife habitats in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. Mr. Jayachandran is also assisting residents of Mudumalai Tiger Reserve in availing fair relocation packages from the government.

 

Mr. Jayachandran S has assisted Tamil Nadu and Kerala Forest Departments in busting poaching rackets, including in the arrest of Kerala-based poachers linked to an international illegal ivory trader in 2015. Often facing great risk unflinchingly, he has assisted the forest departments in the southern States in apprehending hardened poachers and has made several seizures. Thanks to the initiatives of Mr. Jayachandran, many ex-poachers of Theni District are now transformed and are currently engaged in conservation activities in the Nilgiris.

 

On Mr. Jayachandran being conferred the award, Dr. K Ullas Karanth, Director for Science Asia, Wildlife Conservation Society said, “Mr. Jayachandran is a true conservation warrior. He has helped agencies catch poachers and at the same time convinced poachers to give up trade. He has fought court cases to prevent tourist resorts and industrial projects intruding into sensitive habitats of tigers and elephants. In retaliation, he has been harassed by commercial lobbies and complicit, corrupt officials. But he has fought on. This award is a long overdue recognition of his life-time work for wildlife and wild land conservation”.

 

 

Mr. Shashank Dalvi was felicitated with the ‘Wildlife Service Award’ by Sanctuary Nature Foundation.

Mr. Shashank Dalvi, Wildlife Service Award : For using his vast knowledge, commitment to science, and love for gruelling expeditions in pursuit of his long-term goal which is to pioneer a nation-wide conservation programme for birds outside Protected Areas.

 

 

Mr. Nikit Surve was felicitated with the ‘Young Naturalist Award’ by the Sanctuary Nature Foundation.

Mr. Nikit Surve, Young Naturalist Award : For working with dedication and passion on a complex and burning conservation issue – that of sharing space with our wild cat neighbours.

 

 

Ms. Vaishali Rawat was felicitated with the ‘Young Naturalist Award’ by Sanctuary Nature Foundation.

Ms. Vaishali Rawat, Young Naturalist Award : For striving to popularise conservation and create a groundswell of public support for the natural landscapes on which we all depend.

 


Wildlife Conservation Society India Program.

WCS India Program, based in Bengaluru, has combined cutting-edge research on tigers and other wildlife, with national capacity building and, effective site-based conservation through constructive collaborations with governmental and non-governmental partners. WCS India Program is committed to saving wildlife and wild lands, nurturing and inspiring positive attitudes towards nature in people through its scientific and conservation endeavors.

 

Visit: wcsindia.org Follow us on Twitter: @WCSIndia | Facebook: @wcs.ind | Instagram: @wcsindia

Scientists find sign-surveys can reliably assess distribution of wildlife
1 month, 2 weeks ago Comments Off on Scientists find sign-surveys can reliably assess distribution of wildlife
Posted in: News, Press Releases
  • Scat and track surveys of wildlife is reliable and cost-effective
  • Scientists studied sloth bears in Bhadra Tiger Reserve in Karnataka
  • First rigorous comparison of two different methods of monitoring distribution of wildlife (camera trap survey and sign survey)
  • Scientists say both sources of data produced nearly identical results

BENGALURU, 26 October 2017 – A new study from the Wildlife Conservation Society-India Program, the Centre for Wildlife Studies, and the University of Florida-Gainesville, shows that cost-effective “sign surveys” can be used to reliably monitor animal distributions in the wild.

 

The authors believe this finding has important implications for conservation as sign surveys offer a cheaper data source for occupancy models compared to direct detection methods.

 

Occupancy models are used to assess where species occur and why, and the status of rare and threatened wildlife to guide conservation interventions. To estimate detection probability, these models can use field data from direct sightings of animals or from camera trap photo “captures”. Such direct surveys, however, involve greater cost and effort. Wildlife scientists therefore often opt to employ surveys of animal signs such as scat or tracks which are more abundant and easier to find.

 

The study, which is based on data from a long term ecological study of tigers led by Wildlife Conservation Society scientist Dr. Ullas Karanth, provides the first rigorous comparison of two different methods (sign surveys and camera trap survey) to estimate proportion of habitat occupied by sloth bears in a 754 km2 area around Bhadra Tiger Reserve in Karnataka, India.

 

“The bears, which are solitary animals endemic to southern Asia, were chosen as a study species because they offer clear advantages in ensuring no false positive detections,” said Arjun Srivathsa, lead author of the paper. “Photo-captures of sloth bears from camera-trap surveys and indirect signs of the species are unmistakable.”

 

Occupancy estimated from sign surveys of fresh scat and tracks made by sloth bears along forest-trails were compared with camera trap captures of bears. Both sources of data produced nearly identical results. About 57% of the area was found to be occupied by sloth bears and this habitat choice was shown to be governed by forest cover and type and terrain ruggedness.

 

“This study demonstrates the importance of using rigorous statistical methods in surveys of rare and elusive species to optimize the quality of results as well as efficiently use substantial investments being made in such surveys now,” said Karanth, who co-authored the study.

 

“Substituting space for time: Empirical evaluation of spatial replications as a surrogate for temporal replication in occupancy modelling” appears in the current edition of the Journal of Applied Ecology.

 

Co-authors include: Arjun Srivastha of the Wildlife Conservation Society-India Program (WCS-India), The Centre for Wildlife Studies in Bengaluru, India (CWS), The School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Florida, Gainesville (SNRE),and The Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, University of Florida, Gainesville (DWEC); Mahi Puri of WCS-India, CWS, and DWEC; N. Samba Kumar of WCS-India, and CWS; Devcharan Jathanna of WCS-India; and K. Ullas Karanth of WCS-India, CWS, WCS, and the National Center for Biological Sciences, Bengaluru, India.

 

WCS’s collaboration on this initiative was made possible by the Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg Foundation.

 


 

Wildlife Conservation Society India Program.

WCS India Program, based in Bengaluru, has combined cutting-edge research on tigers and other wildlife, with national capacity building and, effective site-based conservation through constructive collaborations with governmental and non-governmental partners. WCS India Program is committed to saving wildlife and wild lands, nurturing and inspiring positive attitudes towards nature in people through its scientific and conservation endeavors.

 

Visit: wcsindia.org Follow: @WCSIndia, @wcs.ind

Scientists find media sensitisation helps decrease sensationalism in reportage of human-wildlife conflict incidents
2 months ago Comments Off on Scientists find media sensitisation helps decrease sensationalism in reportage of human-wildlife conflict incidents
Posted in: News, Press Releases
  • Constructive dialogue with the media through workshops encouraged more balanced reporting of human-wildlife conflict issues
  • Workshops aimed to de-sensationalize coverage of negative interactions and provide more fact-based information to the public
  • New study highlights how proactive engagement with the media can lead to positive changes in how wildlife conservation issues are covered

 

BENGALURU, 12 OCTOBER 2017 – Mass media plays an important role in shaping perceptions of the public. It is an important conduit to influence people’s reactions to human-wildlife interactions. The area in and around Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Mumbai, India has been the site of periodic leopard attacks that has continually sparked a high level of media interest.

 

In a new study, scientists have found that proactive engagement of expert biologists and the forest department with the media has positively influenced the way local media reported human-leopard interactions, leading to informed reportage rather than mere sensationalism.

 

The study, recently published in the Journal of Urban Ecology, is authored by a team of researchers and managers from the Center of Leadership in Global Sustainability, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Virginia (Ryan Hathaway, Ana-Elisa Bryant, and Megan Draheim), the Wildlife Conservation Society – India (Prerna Vinod and Vidya Athreya), in collaboration with the Maharashtra Forest Department (Sunil Limaye).

Media reportage of human-wildlife incidents can affect the way communities deal with the human-wildlife interface and subsequently impact people’s lives and livelihoods” says co-author Dr. Vidya Athreya, Senior Conservation Biologist at Wildlife Conservation Society-India, who was also a resource person for the media workshops.

Starting in 2011, the Sanjay Gandhi National Park Administration, Mumbai proactively engaged with the media in collaboration with expert biologists, citizen groups and press clubs to hold a series of workshops for local reporters as part of an initiative aimed at resolving human-leopard conflicts. The workshops informed the media on basic ecological and sociological characteristics of the nature of human-leopard interactions in Mumbai.

 

To evaluate whether the media sensitisation workshops had any effect on the quality of reportage, in the period following the workshops, scientists pored through news headlines, identifying the tone, content, and characterizations of leopards and human-leopard interactions in the Mumbai area.

 

Interestingly, reporting of attacks increased after the workshops were started; even though, there were fewer leopard attacks on people. Media coverage was less sensational, and instead of passing blame, realistic solutions were presented. Reportage provided more detail on the setting and context of leopard attacks. There was a decrease in leopards being portrayed as the aggressor, rather, the welfare of leopards was considered more often.

 

Headlines increasingly portrayed leopards to be behaving either naturally or having been victims of either human aggression or circumstance and more emphasis was placed on how humans can prevent attacks.

“Encouraging fact-based reporting in regards to wildlife issues is vital, especially in situations where emotions could run high, which is common with large predators” adds Dr. Athreya.

The scientists used Qualitative Content Analysis to analyse headlines to assess the impact of media workshops on the reporting of human-leopard interactions in Mumbai. Analyzing headlines is faster and cheaper than reviewing entire articles, and allows for a smaller team of conservationists to understand the effects of media across a large region.

 

The scientists recommend that scientific knowledge on the ecology of leopards as well as traditional knowledge systems needs to be obtained and communicated to media and other stakeholders in an inclusive and transparent fashion that it decreases fear of the animal and instead increases an understanding of the issue.

 

The study highlights how proactive engagement with the media, even over contentious issues, can lead to changes in how wildlife conservation issues are covered, thereby reducing conflict. This in turn can aid in the conservation of the species and, in this case, even the welfare of people.

 

The full article can be accessed here: https://academic.oup.com/jue/article/doi/10.1093/jue/jux009/4431017/From-fear-to-understanding-changes-in-media?guestAccessKey=bad7c596-9a1b-419d-ae4d-25db097bc1a5

 


Wildlife Conservation Society India Program.

WCS India Program, based in Bengaluru, has combined cutting-edge research on tigers and other wildlife, with national capacity building and, effective site-based conservation through constructive collaborations with governmental and non-governmental partners. WCS India Program is committed to saving wildlife and wild lands, nurturing and inspiring positive attitudes towards nature in people through its scientific and conservation endeavors.

Visit: wcsindia.org Follow: @WCSIndia, @wcs.ind

5 months, 2 weeks ago Comments Off on Study Calls for Urgent Need for Improved Human-Wildlife Conflict Management Across India
Posted in: News, Press Releases
  • Up to 32 Wildlife Species Damaging Life and Property
  • Human-Wildlife Conflict Endangers Both Human Livelihoods and Wildlife Survival Globally

 

BENGALURU 28 JUNE 2017 — There is an urgent need to strengthen human-wildlife conflict management across India, as up to 32 wildlife species are damaging life and property in this nation of 1 billion people, according to a recent study published in the July 2017 edition of Human Dimensions of Wildlife.

The researchers are calling for the identification of effective prevention techniques, strengthening existing compensation schemes, and an open inclusive dialogue between local communities, governments, and conservationists.

The authors of the study, “History, Location, and Species Matter: Insights for Human–Wildlife Conflict Mitigation,” are Dr. Krithi Karanth, conservation scientist with the Wildlife Conservation Society and Sahila Kudalkar, research associate with the Centre for Wildlife Studies.

The study examined the patterns of human-wildlife conflict and mitigation use by 5,196 families from 2011 to 2014 from 2855 villages neighboring 11 wildlife reserves across western, central, and southern India. The study was designed to help inform better policies to mitigate human-wildlife conflict.

Some of the results of the research included:

Of the more than 5,000 households surveyed around 11 reserves in India, crops were lost by 71% of households, livestock by 17%, and human injury and death were reported by 3% of households.

Rural families use up to 12 different mitigation techniques to protect their crops, livestock and property. Night-time watch, scare devices, and fencing are the most common mitigation techniques used by rural families in the periphery of reserves.

Families near reserves in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh were most likely to use mitigation. In recent years, these states have recorded high levels of damage by wildlife, and are among states that provide the highest compensation payments across India. In contrast, families in Rajasthan were least likely to protect crops and property.

Across wildlife reserves, people reported average crop losses amounting to INR 12,559 (US$194) , and INR 2883 (US$44)of livestock losses annually. Such losses constitute a significant chunk of India’s rural economy, where the majority of the population earns less than INR 5000 (US$77) per month.

Said Dr. Karanth: “Resolving human-wildlife conflict requires revisiting the goals of conservation policies and investments by people and organizations. This is especially true with respect to effort and money deployed associated with mitigation and protection. People may be better served by deploying early warning, compensation and insurance programs rather than by focusing heavily on mitigation.”

Said Sahila Kudalkar, “Combined with high poverty, and low awareness regarding government compensation, such families may be most vulnerable to impacts of wildlife damage upon their livelihoods.”

The study was supported by DST Ramanujan Fellowship, National Geographic Society, National Science Foundation, and Rufford Foundation.

 


Wildlife Conservation Society India Program.

WCS India Program, based in Bengaluru, has combined cutting-edge research on tigers and other wildlife, with national capacity building and, effective site-based conservation through constructive collaborations with governmental and non-governmental partners. WCS India Program is committed to saving wildlife and wild lands, nurturing and inspiring positive attitudes towards nature in people through its scientific and conservation endeavors.

Visit: wcsindia.org Follow: @WCSIndia, @wcs.ind

Time-stamps provide valuable information to study tigers, say scientists
6 months, 3 weeks ago Comments Off on Time-stamps provide valuable information to study tigers, say scientists
Posted in: News, Press Releases

MEDIA CONTACT:

Dr. Ullas Karanth

Email: <ukaranth@gmail.com>

Phone: 080-2211 8976

  • For the first time, scientists incorporate time of photo-capture to estimate abundance and spatial distribution of tigers

  • Traditionally time-data is discarded during analysis despite availability of the information in camera-trap data

  • New methodology of analysis represents data closer to reality that provides a chance to learn more about the behaviour and movement of tigers

BENGALURU 22 May 2017 70 percent of wild tigers are concentrated in less than 6 percent of remaining habitats worldwide. Science-based management is critical for tiger conservation. Spatial capture-recapture (SCR) model analysis is often used to estimate tiger abundance. However, scientists Dr. Robert Dorazio and Dr. Ullas Karanth find that the methodology makes inefficient use of potentially important information in the data – this is despite availability of the information when using camera-traps.

Dates and times of animal detections are fundamental considerations to designing and implementing a conservation strategy.

A new study led by Dr. Robert Dorazio of the United States Geological Survey, and co-authored by Wildlife Conservation Society Director for Science in Asia Dr. Ullas Karanth exploits all information provided by the SCR data obtained using continuous-time recorders i.e. camera-traps.

The scientists illustrated this continuous-time SCR model by analysing spatial and temporal patterns evident in the camera-trap detections of tigers living in and around Nagarahole Tiger Reserve in Karnataka.

They have developed a model to estimate the spatial distribution and abundance of animals making full use of location of photo-capture data and time of photo-capture data – which is a significant advance from traditional SCR analysis which uses only location of photo-capture data. This new method represents data closer to reality.

Dr. Robert Dorazio says, “Modeling photo-capture times of tigers and other large carnivores uses all of the information in the data and gives us a chance to learn more about the behaviors and movements of these animals— information that is crucial to their conservation.”

A short video features Dr. Ullas Karanth discussing how this study might change that thinking and benefit scientists.

Says Dr. Karanth: “We are now able to exactly incorporate the time of capture into the data analysis. This gives us more power to mimic nature in the sense of how tigers actually get ‘trapped’ in cameras, and how their movement, behavior, and space-use relate to time. This is a significant advance.”

The study by Dr. Dorazio and Dr. Karanth “A hierarchical model for estimating the spatial distribution and abundance of animals detected by continuous-time recorders” was published in the current issue of the international journal PLOS ONE. The full paper is accessible here.

This research was supported by the Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg Foundation, the Government of India, and the USGS Wetland and Aquatic Research Center—Gainesville, Florida.


Wildlife Conservation Society India Program.

WCS India Program, based in Bengaluru, has combined cutting-edge research on tigers and other wildlife, with national capacity building and, effective site-based conservation through constructive collaborations with governmental and non-governmental partners. WCS India Program is committed to saving wildlife and wild lands, nurturing and inspiring positive attitudes towards nature in people through its scientific and conservation endeavors.

Visit: wcsindia.org Follow: @WCSIndia, @wcs.ind

Sliding towards extinction: Scientists find that 60% of mammals are imperiled
9 months ago Comments Off on Sliding towards extinction: Scientists find that 60% of mammals are imperiled
Posted in: News, Press Releases

MEDIA CONTACT:

Dr. Varun R. Goswami

Email: <varunr.goswami@gmail.com> | Phone: +91-9901-943676

  • Treating large mammals as ‘umbrella species’ for conservation facilitates protection of the larger ecosystems and overall biodiversity

 

BENGALURU, March 14, 2017 – A public declaration made last year by a group of 43 renowned international scientists called for a global plan to prevent the world’s large mammals from slipping into oblivion. This led to debates among scientists on whether a focus on megafauna conservation would ignore other forms of biodiversity. Allaying such fears, the same scientists have published an article that makes a strong case for how megafauna conservation does not come at the cost of all else, but rather complements biodiversity conservation.

 

Dr. William Ripple and his colleagues highlight how terrestrial megafauna––large-bodied carnivores and herbivores such as tigers, leopards, wolves, bears, elephants and gaur––remain the strongest candidates to serve as ‘umbrellas’ for many species and ecosystems. “Conserving megafauna requires us to safeguard large tracts of forests, grasslands and various other ecosystems that meet the vast habitat requirements of such species”, said WCS India scientist, Dr. Varun R. Goswami, a co-author of the paper. “By conserving these megafauna, we also conserve birds, amphibians, reptiles, as well as a variety of ecosystem processes”, he added.

 

Notably, big charismatic animals attract larger political and public support, owing to their unique socio-economic cultural values and the strong emotional responses they evoke in many people. Tiger Reserves in India represent an ideal example.

Tiger. Photo by Kalyan Varma

The establishment of tiger reserves, tiger conservation efforts and resources earmarked in India have helped safeguard many other species and habitats. “Megafauna such as tigers and elephants are ideal ambassadors for the conservation of nature”, concluded Dr. Goswami.

 

 

Megadiversity countries like India, China, Indonesia, Philippines, Brazil, Ecuador and Venezuela also house an astonishing number of threatened megafauna. This reinforces the compatibility of conservation efforts focused on megafauna with those that target biodiversity as a whole.

 

Whether the focus is on megafauna, ecosystems or overall biodiversity, conservationists are always left with dealing with the crises in a race against time. The rallying call of Dr. Ripple and colleagues is for all concerned conservation scientists to come together to “confront the fierce necessity of ‘how?‘ in the fierce urgency of now.”

 

The article “Conserving the World’s Megafauna and Biodiversity: The Fierce Urgency of Now” was published in January 2017 in the international journal Bioscience, published by the Oxford University Press. It is available online here: https://labs.eemb.ucsb.edu/young/hillary/PDF/Ripple_etal_BioScience_2017.pdf

*Top photo of Indian one-horned Rhinocerous by Kalyan Varma.

Wildlife Conservation Society India Program.

WCS India Program, based in Bengaluru, has combined cutting-edge research on tigers and other wildlife, with national capacity building and, effective site-based conservation through constructive collaborations with governmental and non-governmental partners. WCS India Program is committed to saving wildlife and wild lands, nurturing and inspiring positive attitudes towards nature in people through its scientific and conservation endeavors.

Visit: wcsindia.org Follow: @WCSIndia, @wcs.ind

Home-range size of dhole estimated using camera traps for the first time in India
9 months, 3 weeks ago Comments Off on Home-range size of dhole estimated using camera traps for the first time in India
Posted in: News, Press Releases

MEDIA CONTACT:

‌Arjun Srivathsa

Email: <arjuns.cws@gmail.com>

Dr. Ullas Karanth

Email: <ukaranth@gmail.com> | Phone: 080-2211 8976

  • Researchers present for the first time using camera-traps, home-range size of Asiatic wild dogs (dholes)
  • Study is based on intensive camera-trap surveys in the Western Ghat forests
  • Researchers track two marked individuals, and record their movement in these forests

 

BENGALURU 27 February 2017 – A new study led by scientists from Wildlife Conservation Society-India Program, Centre for Wildlife Studies (Bangalore), and University of Florida, USA, presents the first home-range size estimate of Asiatic wild dogs or ‘dholes’ based on camera trap surveys.

The study, based on intensive camera-trap surveys conducted in Nagarahole and Wayanad wildlife reserves in the Western Ghats India, was part of a long-term project on tiger population dynamics in the region.

Lead author of the study Mr. Arjun Srivathsa, who is a doctoral student at the University of Florida says that “Typically, radio-telemetry is used to obtain information on home-range sizes of large carnivores such as dhole. This is expensive and requires careful handling of animals. In contrast, our estimates are generated through innovative use of non-invasive and relatively inexpensive camera-trap pictures”.

From November 2014 to January 2015 (45 days), the researchers set-up and monitored camera traps which yielded incidental photographic captures of dholes. Unlike tigers or leopards, individual dholes cannot be uniquely identified from camera-trap photographs because they do not have pelage patterns or natural body markings. Yet the researchers were able to identify two individuals in a pack of five animals, based on distinct markings on their pelage, enabling them to map locations of the pack during the survey period.

Dholes labelled DHL-101 and DHL-102 from the pack of five, identified based on an injury mark (yellow circle) and white coloration on the lower right forelimb (blue circle), respectively, photo- captured in a single frame. Photo ©Ullas Karanth/WCS

Dholes are among the least studied large carnivores in the world. Unlike many other social carnivores, dholes occur at low densities in dense tropical forests. They are wary, difficult to capture and radio-collar, and thereby pose several logistical challenges in the field for tracking their movements or studying their behaviour. For the first time in India, their home-range size (roughly 85 sq. km) has been estimated based on non-invasive camera-trap surveys. ‍

The study appears in the January issue of the international journal Canid Biology and Conservation. Authors: Arjun Srivathsa (Centre for Wildlife Studies, Wildlife Conservation Society-India Program and University of Florida, USA), Dr. N. Samba Kumar (Centre for Wildlife Studies and Wildlife Conservation Society-India Program) and Dr. K. Ullas Karanth (Centre for Wildlife Studies, India and Wildlife Conservation Society, New York). It is accessible online at: http://www.canids.org/CBC/20/Dhole_home_range.pdf

*Top image of Asiatic Wild Dog by Shekar Dattatri

Wildlife Conservation Society India Program.

WCS India Program, based in Bengaluru, has combined cutting-edge research on tigers and other wildlife, with national capacity building and, effective site-based conservation through constructive collaborations with governmental and non-governmental partners. WCS India Program is committed to saving wildlife and wild lands, nurturing and inspiring positive attitudes towards nature in people through its scientific and conservation endeavors.

Visit: wcsindia.org Follow: @WCSIndia, @wcs.ind

9 months, 4 weeks ago 1
Posted in: News, Press Releases

MEDIA CONTACT:

Dr. Divya Vasudev

Email: <vasudev.divya@gmail.com>, Phone: +91 96638 99211

Dr. Ullas Karanth

Email: <ukaranth@gmail.com>, Phone: +80 22118976

 

Bengaluru, 18 February 2017 – A new WCS study in India shows that three carnivores – tigers, leopards, and dholes (Asian wild dog) – seemingly in direct competition with one other, are living side by side with surprisingly little conflict.

Usually, big cats and wild canids live in different locations to avoid each other.

Yet in four relatively small reserves in India’s wildlife-rich Western Ghats region, WCS researchers have found that they are co-existing, despite competing for much of the same prey, including sambar deer, chital, and pigs.

Using dozens of non-invasive camera traps for sampling entire populations, rather than track a handful of individuals, the research team recorded some 2,500 images of the three predators in action.

The authors found that in reserves with an abundance of prey, dholes, which are active during the day, did not come in much contact with the more nocturnal tigers and leopards. But in Bhadra Reserve where prey was scarcer, their active times overlapped, yet dholes still managed to avoid the big cats. In Nagarahole, a park teeming with all three carnivores and their prey, leopards actively to avoid tigers.

Overall, the authors say that these carnivores have developed smart adaptations to coexist, even while they exploit the same prey base. However, these mechanisms vary depending on density of prey resources and possibly other habitat features.

Said Ullas Karanth, WCS Director for Science in Asia and lead author of the study: “Tigers, leopards, and dholes are doing a delicate dance in these protected areas, and all are manging to survive. We were surprised to see how each species has remarkably different adaptations to prey on different prey sizes, use different habitat types and be active at different times. Because of small and isolated nature of these high prey densities in these reserves, such adaptions are helpful for conservationists trying to save all three.”

Both tigers and dholes are classified as Endangered by IUCN; leopards are considered Vulnerable.

Understanding these separate yet overlapping species’ needs is critical to managing predators and prey in small reserves, which is increasingly the scenario of the future.  The authors say that by managing populations of flagship predators, like tigers, carefully overall biodiversity can also be conserved.

The study titled “Spatio-temporal interactions facilitate large carnivore sympatry across a resource gradient” authored by Dr. Ullas Karanth, Mr. Arjun Srivathsa, Dr. Divya Vasudev, Ms. Mahi Puri, Dr. Ravishankar Parameshwaran and Dr. Samba Kumar, appeared in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences in February 2017.

This research was supported by the Department of Biotechnology and Department of Science and Technology, Government of India; The Forest Department and Department of Science and Technology, Government of Karnataka; and the Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg Foundation.

 


Wildlife Conservation Society India Program.

WCS India Program, based in Bengaluru, has combined cutting-edge research on tigers and other wildlife, with national capacity building and, effective site-based conservation through constructive collaborations with governmental and non-governmental partners. WCS India Program is committed to saving wildlife and wild lands, nurturing and inspiring positive attitudes towards nature in people through it’s scientific and conservation endeavors.

 

Visit: wcsindia.org Follow: @WCSIndia, @wcs.ind

10 months, 2 weeks ago Comments Off on Ullas Karanth’s Book on Conservation Science Released
Posted in: News, Press Releases

MEDIA CONTACT:

Dr. Ullas Karanth

Email: <ukaranth@gmail.com>

Phone: +80 22118976

  • Science and Conservation of Wildlife Populations released by conservation icon Dr. George Schaller
  • The book is a compilation of 26 Articles co-authored by Dr. Ullas Karanth and other global conservation experts
  • The book covers topics ranging from species population biology to conservation policy and targets Indian wildlife conservationists 

 

BENGALURU, JANUARY 31 2017 – Eminent wildlife scientist Dr. George Schaller, who is currently in India formally released the book Science and Conservation of Wildlife Populations by Ullas Karanth and co-authors on 27-1-2016 at the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bengaluru.

Cover page of the book ‘Science and Conservation of Wildlife Populations’

The book is a compilation of 26 articles that are authored or co-authored by Dr. Karanth in collaboration with other leading scientists and conservationists including James Nichols, Melvin Sunquist, John Seidensticker, Eric Dinerstein, Stuart Pimm and others. It is published by Natraj Publishers New Delhi and enables Indian readers to easily access articles published in prestigious international journals and books in one comprehensive volume.

 

Spread over three sections, the book covers techniques and analytical approaches to studying wildlife populations, robust and practical methods of population assessments of wildlife such as tigers, leopards, elephants, hyaenas, sambar deer, gaur. The final section addresses effective policy interventions for wildlife conservation that describe studies on the consequences of mining, carnivore translocations, wildlife tourism, and fair and incentive-driven village resettlement projects.

 

Says Dr. George Schaller, “His [Ullas Karanth] depth of knowledge has influenced government policy and reserve management in India as well as perceptions and research techniques internationally. His writing both scientific and popular, including books such as Monitoring tigers and their Prey and The Way of the Tiger, have influenced a wide audience”.

 

Dr. Melvin E. Sunquist, University of Florida says “In a nation of a billion or more people, with enormous pressure on natural resources, it is amazing that India is still home to the largest surviving wild tiger population on just 3% of the world’s land. Without a doubt, outstanding individuals like Ullas have made a difference”.

Edit: The book can be bought in all leading book stores in India. It can also be ordered online here.


Wildlife Conservation Society India Program.

WCS India Program, based in Bengaluru, has combined cutting-edge research on tigers and other wildlife, with national capacity building and, effective site-based conservation through constructive collaborations with governmental and non-governmental partners. WCS India Program is committed to saving wildlife and wild lands, nurturing and inspiring positive attitudes towards nature in people through it’s scientific and conservation endeavors.

 

Visit: wcsindia.org Follow: @WCSIndia, @wcs.ind

Elephant connectivity cannot be ignored while mitigating conflict, Scientists say
11 months, 1 week ago Comments Off on Elephant connectivity cannot be ignored while mitigating conflict, Scientists say
Posted in: News, Press Releases

MEDIA CONTACT:

Dr. Divya Vasudev

Email: <vasudev.divya@gmail.com>

Mobile: +91 96638 99211

 

PRESS RELEASE

  • Landscape connectivity critical for elephant conservation

  • Sites important for elephant connectivity often faced with human–elephant conflict

  • Barrier-centric conflict mitigation that come with substantial monetary costs can also come at the cost of elephant conservation

  • Minimising conflict without impinging on elephant connectivity is the need of the hour

 

BENGALURU, JANUARY 9 2017 – Scientists from Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), India Program are calling for a re-think on conservation strategies for threatened and wide-ranging large mammal species.

In an article published in the international journal Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, Dr. Varun R. Goswami and Dr. Divya Vasudev, conservation biologists at WCS India, highlight the need to balance multiple conservation needs and opportunities in large landscapes.

“Asian elephant conservation provides the perfect example”, says Dr. Goswami who heads the elephant program for WCS India. “Elephant survival in heterogeneous landscapes rests on their ability to move among habitats in search of food and space,” he elaborated. But this movement often brings elephants into contact and potential conflict with people, especially in densely populated countries like India.

A typical response to conflict is to prevent elephants from coming out of forests through fences and trenches. “But this strategy has a direct negative impact on connectivity, and as a result, on elephant persistence”, says connectivity expert Dr. Vasudev.

While some say that demarcated corridors will not be fenced, Dr. Vasudev cautions, “animals don’t always move through corridors that people demarcate, rather they use routes they view as least threatening. Corridors are of course important, but we still have a way to go in knowing where animals move, what stops dispersal, and which areas are most critical for maintaining connectivity”.

This debate becomes highly pertinent in light of the railway fences coming up around some of India’s most important forests. The cost of these fences reportedly runs to more than Rs. 1 crore per km. “These fences come at huge monetary and manpower costs, and before putting them up, we need to think hard about where we place them” Dr. Goswami emphasized. “It is critical that we minimize human–elephant conflict, but while simultaneously thinking about elephant movement needs between habitats.”

“Endangered species—elephants, tigers, gibbons—are more and more present in fragmented landscapes. Conserving them in these landscapes means that we need to have science-based policy, long-term vision, and incorporate diverse challenges and opportunities”, says Dr. Vasudev.

The article titled ‘Triage of conservation needs: the juxtaposition of conflict mitigation and connectivity considerations in heterogeneous, human-dominated landscapes’ authored by Dr. Goswami and Dr. Vasudev appeared in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, and can be accessed at: https://doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2016.00144


Wildlife Conservation Society India Program.

WCS India Program, based in Bengaluru, has combined cutting-edge research on tigers and other wildlife, with national capacity building and, effective site-based conservation through constructive collaborations with governmental and non-governmental partners. WCS India Program is committed to saving wildlife and wild lands, nurturing and inspiring positive attitudes towards nature in people through it’s scientific and conservation endeavors.

Visit: wcsindia.org Follow: @WCSIndia, @wcs.ind