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June 14, 2019: Farewell party at the WCS-India office premises for Assistant Director M C Vinay Kumar who signed off from the organisation after almost two decades of association. We wish him good luck and applaud him for his work, which he concluded in a flourish with securing funds from the Karnataka Bank towards the voluntary relocation programme. The Country Director and other staff of WCS-India gathered on the occasion.
15th March 2019, Mysore: WCS India Staff Jayanand Hambir Darekar with the doctorate degree in sociology awarded by the University of Mysore.
14th March, 2019, Bengaluru: Daniele Pascal-Dajer, Regional Legal Counsel from WCS NY giving a presentation on the WCS Code of Conduct policy to the staff at the Bangalore office of WCS-India.
8th March 2019, Bengaluru: International Women’s Day gathering at the WCS-India premises
8th February 2019, Bengaluru: Arjun Srivathsa, PhD candidate at University of Florida and Research Associate with WCS-India, talked about Wild Canids–India Project (WCIP). The “Wild Canids–India Project”, an initiative aimed at making ecological and conservation assessments of wild canids in India is led by a team of five scientists (Arjun Srivathsa, Iravatee Majgaonkar, Sushma Sharma, Girish Punjabi and Priya Singh)
Jan-Feb 2019, Nashik : The leopard ambassadors from Saykheda college, Niphad, Nashik have stared the awareness work in their own villages. They are educating the people on leopard behaviour and precautionary measures to be taken to avoid negative interactions.
Jan-Feb 2019: Posters are being put up to create awareness among local stakeholders to support elephant conservation in places of high human-elephant interaction around Nagarahole and Bandipur National Parks. The posters are in Kannada, and pertain to educating people about basic biological needs of elephants, Dos and Don’ts, especially in areas of human-elephant co-occurrence and dangers of practices like chasing elephants and illegal electrification of fences.
December 19, 2018 | Around 60 RFO and DRO level officers from Telangana participated in the WCS-India training programme at the Telangana Forest Academy.
December 17, 2018 | Awareness activities were conducted on human-leopard interactions, leopard biology and precautionary measures in schools for 1st to 12th grade students in Sinner taluk, Nashik, Maharashtra by WCS-India staff Mrunal Ghosalkar.
December 12, 2018 | Turtle and Crocodile awareness program by TSA (Turtle Survival Alliance) staff for school kids at Kukrail Gharial Rehabilitation Centre, Lucknow.
December 13, 2018 | Daasi, a relocated tribal woman, living at the Sollepura resettlement centre in HD Kote taluk, was honoured by the leading Kannada newspaper Vijaya Karnataka with the ‘VK Superstar Farmer’ award for her achievements.
14th December, 2018 | WCS-India team distributing LPG connections to 23 tribal families in Masthigudi relocation centre, HD Kote, Karnataka
December, 2018 | Students of M.Sc in Wildlife Biology and Conservation during their field visit to Mumbai, interacted with officials and got an insight into the leopard human conflict scenario.
Dec 3, 2018: WCS-India staff gathers to wish Mrunmayee Amarnath good luck in her new venture within the organisation pursuing conservation in the field.
IFS Training on Bhadra Voluntary Relocation
Nov 12-16, 2018: The ‘Compulsory training course on voluntary resettlement of villages for Tiger reserves’ for IFS officers organised by WCS-India and the MoEFCC had a classroom session where key players in the Bhadra voluntary relocation addressed the audience and shared their experiences.
As part of the training for IFS officers, the participants were taken around the Bhadra landscape to understand the conservation context of the relocation. They went around the Lakkavalli range of Bhadra Tiger Reserve to see some of the flora and fauna in the landscape. The participants then visited Basur Kaval Community Conservation Reserve, forest and grasslands stretching across 1800 acres. This was followed the next day by a drive along the Kemmangundi-Muthodi road allowing a view of the resplendent forests, sholas and grassy peaks. They also visited MC Halli and interacted with the relocated people.
In-House training for staff
Oct 17, 2018 | Training was imparted to 12 field staff from Bangalore and Andhra Pradesh, Telangana by WCS-India Scientists Devcharan Jathanna and Killivalavan on animal population monitoring. From basics of monitoring to distance sampling specific to line transect survey, capture recapture theory, design aspects and field protocols, data processing details were discussed during the three day training.
Thesis presentation at NCBS
12th & 13th Oct 2018 | The public defense of thesis of the graduating cohort (2016-18) of MSc Wildlife Biology and Conservation Program took place on 12th and 13th of October at the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bangalore.
WCS pitches in with flood relief
(Clockwise from top left) : Assistant Conservator of Forest Mr. Anaz MA and DFO Flying Squad, Mr. Raju Francis from the Kerala Forest Department receiving flood relief material from WCS-India staff, research assistants M N Santosh and Shivkumar. Distribution of the flood relief material among the needy.
WCS stall at the Student Conference
Sept 27-30, 2018: WCS – India participated in the 9th edition of Student Conference on Conservation Science (SCCS) – Bengaluru at JN TATA Auditorium in Bengaluru. More than 500 student participants attended the conference to learn about conservation work happening in India.
Relocated families reap bumper harvest
36 families in Sollepura relocation centre near Nagarahole cultivated organic maize this year. Few families sold their yield of 1300 kilograms for more than Rs.1.2 lakhs! When many traditional farmers are giving up farming citing losses, these people from the forests have taken interest and harvested a very good crop. WCS – India staff Govindappa HL has been working tirelessly with the people to ensure that things are done in the right way, as advised by agricultural experts from GKVK and other agricultural institutions.
Harvest time! Dasappa family from Sollepura relocation centre harvested approximately 1850 kilograms of chilli this September! They are the only family in Sollepura who chose to grow chilli. WCS – India provided them seeds and support.
Wildlife Biology students meet WCS staff
Students of the MSc program in Wildlife Biology and Conservation, offered by the NCBS in partnership with WCS-India, visited the WCS-India office and interacted with Country Director Prakriti Srivastava and other senior research and conservation staff.
RBS officials meet WCS Conservation Director
Chairman of RBS-Howard Davies, Managing Director RBS India-Pankaj Phatarphod and N Sunil Kumar, Head, Sustainability, RBS Asia Region & CEO, RBS Foundation met with P M Muthanna, Assistant Director (Conservation), WCS-India.
WildCAT C team visited WCS-India office and interacted with Country Director Prakriti Srivastava on various conservation issues. They sought scientific assistance from WCS-India to guide their conservation work in Chikmagalur.
Thirty six out of sixty families in Sollepura relocation centre have grown maize this year and got a very good yield out of it. One acre of farm land yielded 25 quintal of maize. WCS – India field staff Mr. Govindappa helped these farmers by providing them maize seeds. Each year they change crop to improve the fertility of the soil.
WCS – India Mumbai team with Bachelor’s in Mass Media & Master’s students from the Wildlife Management and Biodiversity Conservation course offered by Bhavan’s college. Role of media in wildlife reportage was the subject of the interaction.
WCS-India team met with the Chief Wildlife Warden, West Bengal, Mr. Ravi Kant Sinha, IFS at Kolkata. Team is here seen with Forest Department and WCCB officers and trainees from the Forest Department
WCS-India team with BSF personnel during the field visit to the Indo-Bangla border (Left) and WCS-India Country Director Ms. Prakriti Srivastava, IFS receives a memento from the Inspector General, BSF Mr. Rajesh Mishra, IPS (Right). The team visited the BSF checkpost at Gojadanga where they had a very productive discussion with the Assistant Commandant Mr. Pradeep Kumar, and Sub Inspector Mr. Pardeep Vats, 153 Batallion and Sub Inspector Mr. Girish Gogoi, SHQ Kolkata and Inspector Mr. S.K. Meena.
WCS – India Country Director Ms. Prakriti Srivastava, IFS and Research Consultant Sahila Kudalkar met with Additional Director General, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence Mr. Deepankar Aron, IRS (above) at Kolkata. DRI and Customs officers are important agents of change in the fight against wildlife trafficking. We are hopeful that facilitating interagency cooperating will help ensure strict and enduring action against wildlife traffickers in West Bengal and Northeast India.
WCS-India Country Director Ms. Prakriti Srivastava, IFS and Research Consultant Sahila Kudalkar met with Special Director, Enforcement Directorate Mr. Yogesh Gupta, IPS (above) and Regional Deputy Director, Wildlife Crime Control Bureau Mr. Agni Mitra, IFS (below) at Kolkata. As part of WCS India’s efforts to combat wildlife trafficking in India, the organisation will facilitate interagency coordination and trainings and build law enforcement capacity to detect, investigate, and prosecute wildlife crimes in the country. The meetings were an important first step, and will help pave the way towards effective action against wildlife traffickers in West Bengal and Northeast India.
WCS-India will collaborate with WCCB to organize interagency, multi-tier capacity building workshops to improve detection, investigation, and prosecution of wildlife crimes in the country.
WCS India team distributing agriculture implements and pepper saplings to the relocated tribals of Hebballa relocation centre near Nagarahole
Belthangdi MLA Harish Poonja distributing agriculture implements to the relocated families under the WCS India – RBS project near Kudremukh National Park
Tiger Day celebrations at KBR National Park and Nehru Zoological Park in Hyderabad on 27th and 28th July 2018. Over 1000 school students participated at an event organized by WCS-India and HyTiCoS. © HyTiCoS
In a first, an image of a tigress will grace an Indian postal stamp. This picture of tigress Phalguna and her cubs sighted in the forests of Kaghaznagar Forest Division in Asifabad district, will be released as an India Post stamp soon. Phalguna migrated from Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra to forests of Kaghaznagar Forest Division in Kumram Bheem Asifabad district in 2015. She delivered four cubs in the first litter in 2016 and three in the next litter in 2018. All seven have survived and settled in Asifabad and neighbouring Mancherial district, bringing cheer to the Kawal Tiger Reserve. | © HyTiCoS & Telangana State Forest Department
Endemic to the Western Ghats, the Malabar grey hornbill (Ocyceros griseus) is known for its ‘cackling’ and ‘laughing’ call | © WCS India archives
Endemic to Western Ghats, South Indian blue oakleaf (Kallima horsfieldii) is known for its resemblance to a dry leaf. The butterfly when sitting with wings closed resembles a leaf and the undersides have varying shades of brown, with markings representing the midrib and the veins of a leaf. This rare species is very difficult to spot while they are resting | © WCS India archives
Ms. Prakriti Srivastava (third from right) handing over a memento to Mr. Abdul Wahab (second from right) along with Mrs. Wahab (first from right), Yogesh Neelkanth (fourth from right), Dhanesh Kumar (fifth from right), P M Muthanna (sixth from right), Abdullah Kunjiparambath and K G Anwar. WCS India team met the MP to discuss some conservation issues | July, 2018 | © Kerala Forest Department
Missing Obits on the ‘Highway to death’
India has the second largest road network in the world to which we are adding a record 28 kms every day. Wildlife is not taken into consideration while planning these ‘roads to prosperity’. Besides losing habitat, animals also end up as casualties to speeding traffic on these roads. While charismatic species get media coverage and a signboard is installed or speed breakers added after a roadkill, smaller and not so charismatic species like Jackals, Small cats and Hares are killed in large numbers on the roads and go unnoticed. Vinod Kantamneni and his wife were returning to Bangalore from a weekend trip to Coorg when he spotted a pair of shining eyes down on the road (near Elivala on Mangalore – Mysore highway). He stopped his jeep, got down and crossed the road to the median to check. It turned out to be a fresh roadkill of a Jungle Cat. “The poor thing had run out of its nine lives, just a few inches from safety.” As single roads get upgraded to double lane highways, there is an urgent need to study their impact on wildlife and come up with solutions to stop them from becoming ‘highways of death’ | © Vinod Kantamneni
Imran Siddiqui, founder of HyTiCos and Assistant Director of WCS India has been working with the forest department to help control poaching and revive the wildlife in the tiger reserves of Telangana and Andra Pradesh. Here Imran is seen giving training to the Forest Department staff in Khanapur.
Sollepura settlement in HD Kote, Karnataka. Nearly 60 tribal families live in this settlement who relocated from Nagarahole Tiger Reserve in the year 2007-08 | © P M Muthanna
WCS India & HyTiCos team patrolling buffer areas with Forest Department Staff in Telangana | © Imran Siddiqui
Participants of grassland conservation workshop at NCBS campus. July 2018 | © WCS India archives
Camera-trap image of a Hyena. Despite Koppal district in Karnataka not having a national park or sanctuary, it has diverse landscapes and is home to some of the most endangered and elusive wildlife species of India | ©Deccan Conservation Foundation & Karnataka Forest Department.
Camera trap image of a leopard in Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Maharashtra. Given the nature of this habitat – located next to the densely populated slum settlements and residential colonies of Mumbai, leopards are often sighted outside the forest | © Nikit Surve/WCS India
Experts met and deliberated on an action plan for identifying, protecting and maintaining grasslands in the country. WCS India is leading the project. Photos: (clockwise from top) 1. Dr. G V Reddy; 2. Prakriti Srivastava; 3. Dr. Aparna Watve; 4. Dr. Vidya Athreya; 5. Discussion with the participants | July 2018| © Manish Machaiah
Camera-trap image of a wild boar | © Ullas Karanth/WCS
Camera-trap image of an elephant calf | © Ullas Karanth/WCS
WCS India signed a MoU with BSF for detect illegal trade of wildlife products and parts across transnational borders through inter-agency training and capacity building | © Sahila Kudalkar
Chia, a Mexican superfood rich in fibre, antioxidants, and Omega 3 help cut the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. According to a recent survey, India is highly deficient in Omega 3 and hence consumption of Chia seeds has been actively encouraged. the crop requires lesser water as compared to crops like rice and sugarcane, it also did not attract wildlife and there was a drastic reduction in conflicts after cultivating Chia | © P M Muthanna
WCS India Program team helped the forest department staff in extinguishing the forest fire in Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary, Vasai | © Nikit Surve
Workshop participants for the Assam FD – WCS India collaborative project on creating a photographic database of individual elephants in Kaziranga NP for conservation and monitoring held at Kohora, Kaziranga, on the 14th of May 2018 | ©Pragyan Sharma/WCS India
Camera-trap image of honey badger | © Ullas Karanth/WCS
Camera-trap image of a langur troop | © Ullas Karanth/WCS
An enclosure in Kudremukh National Park, Bhagawathi, had eight families with over 450 cattle head in all, living in the forest. In a program fully funded by WCS India during 2003, the families opted for relocation. The image here shows the re-entry of wildlife into the region | © Niren Jain
Bumper chilli crop yield by the relocated tribals from Sollepura relocation centre in Nagarahole | © P M Muthanna
Hailing from the Yerawa tribe, Nisha and her parents moved out from Marapalla forest of Nagarhole tiger reserve near Thithimathi. Now at the Hebbala settlement where 130 families have moved in to, Nisha has been pursuing studies and has completed diploma in Computer Science. She is keen to continue with studies and procure a good job | © Meghana Sanka
There lies a small rock formation about two acres wide, in Koppal, Karnataka. This rock, though, is unlike other rocks. Rising about 100 feet off the ground, this formation houses small packs of Indian foxes, jackals, a family of jungle cats and monitor lizards, under the same roof – a phenomenon rare and unusual | © Meghana Sanka
Cheetal grazing in the pastures of Ammavayal, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary where paddy used to be cultivated. The human inhabitants have moved out four years ago, after seeking voluntary resettlement outside the forest | © Arul Badusha
Math class on at Girijana Ashram School for students of Jenukuruba families who moved out of Nagarhole tiger reserve and settled in Shettahalli during 2010-11. Around 150 students study and stay within the school premises and are provided food four times in a day | © Meghana Sanka
WCS India Program awareness coordinator Mrunal Ghosalkar has been training school students in parts of Maharashtra as ‘leopard ambassadors.’ Using a combination of leopard biology and behaviour, along with traditional knowledge, these children are being given information that can reduce conflict scenarios. They pass it on to the adult community | © Nikit Surve
Frolicking dhole in Bhadra tiger reserve after 463 families from 13 villages and over 4000 livestock moved out between 2001 October and 2003, leaving over 49 sq km of forest inviolate | © Mrunmayee Amarnath
Ajoba, the ‘wise’ leopard, who travelled 120 km to his home after being relocated, taking care never to confront or be seen by humans during the long journey across hills, highways, industrial suburbs, farmlands and creeks | ©John Linnel
WCS India conducts conservation workshops to educate field staff on laws and regulations. A file photo from the workshop in August 2017 | © Manish Machaiah