Wildlife & Environment Reporting

From pox to drought, goddess invincible, Agumbe’s hope

Mari-thumbIn the wettest spot in the Western Ghats, fabled Agumbe which once mirrored Assam’s Cherrapunji for the highest rainfall in the country, the signs that the spectre of drought hangs over the mountains are all there. For the people of Malnad and Bayaluseeme, the only hope rests with the goddess Mari, revered for bringing the rains and blessing the village with good health and happiness, and in another era, protecting children from chicken pox and diseases that once had no cure. Full Story

Before IT City in Bengaluru, it was fruit basket, thanks to one man!

Lalbagh - thumbBefore Bengaluru became India’s IT City and turned into a ‘hot destination’, both figuratively and literally, as we are discovering this summer, it was India’s ‘Garden City’, ‘Horticulture Capital’ and a veritable ‘fruit basket’. Full Story

Karnataka: Ancient scripts, monuments under threat in Srirangapatna

SR Patna ThumbBengaluru: It’s an island home to over 80,000 ancient scripts and  35 historical monuments of  Islamic, Hindu and Christian importance.  But Ganjam, the treasure trove of Srigangapatna, where the Tiger of Mysuru, Tipu Sultan, built his fort,  is falling into ruin thanks to official apathy. Full Story

The Rat-Eaters of Ramanagara

Iruligas ThumbHave you heard of the Iruligas? They are the‘people of the night’, who have lived close to this gleaming glass-and-concrete city of ours for centuries, yet are largely invisible. And they are very unlike the ‘people of the night’ of the IT metropolis. Shockingly so, says Shravan Regret Iyer, our in-house vegetarian in the wild! Full Story

Ban old diesel vehicles in Bengaluru, say nature lovers

diesel-thumbWith the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) revealing a 57 per cent increase in the particulate matter in the city in just four years, they feel it may be time to ban light and heavy diesel vehicles older than 10 years from its roads as diesel vehicles emit the highest nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter into the environment. Full Story

Bengaluru fast losing its green wealth

green-thumbThe Garden City that was once home to a great variety of natural ecosystem has lost nearly 80-90 percent of its biodiversity since the 1960’s. From the world’s most expensive red sanders to the makali roots that make a tasty pickle, the city has lost almost every natural product that was naturally found here. The rapid and unscientific growth of the city might put an end to even the last remaining species. Full Story

Karnataka: Urbanisation nibbling away at water bodies

lake-thumbA study conducted by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) reveals that the garden city has witnessed a sharp decline in the number of water bodies mainly due to extensive urbanisation. It points out that out of 105 lakes nearly 100 have been encroached to construct illegal buildings such as high-rise apartments, commercial buildings, slums etc. Full Story

Bengaluru’s new normal: 40 degree Celsius?!

Bengaluru-thumbThe average temperature in Bengaluru was 19.03 degree Celsius in 1992 and has risen rapidly since to the mid-30s level now. Before the skies opened up on Monday, the mercury hit the highest ever at 39.2 degree Celsius on Sunday, April 24, 2016. The reasons are not far to seek. Indiscriminate building activity since the 1990s, thanks to lax enforcement of norms by city authorities, has shorn Bengaluru of both its vegetative cover and its water bodies, creating heat islands all across the city.  Full Story

Toxic Nation

thumb MercuryThe simple mercury thermometer may be an essential part of our lives, but it can have a lethal effect on you, unless dealt with care. Shravan Regret Iyer takes a look at how mercury is handled in India and overseas, to reveal how indiscriminate use and careless handling of mercury is poisoning our environment and bodies. Full story

Soliga folk songs to protect mother Earth

Soliga-ThumbBengaluru: They came in handy for the forest department while it was hunting down the ‘maneater’ of Bheemghad in Khanapur taluk of the Belagavi reserve forest recently. Many wildlife activists now feel their intimacy with nature which the forest officers banked on in their hunt, makes the Soliga tribes of the Biligiri Rangaswamy hills, ideal candidates to help with the state’s conservation efforts. Full Story

Do you know where this water came from?

water_thumbCome summer, as the borewells dry up, the private water tanker industry is out to make a killing. Doubtless, the tankers serve some three lakh apartments and an even higher number of individual homes in the newly added areas of the city, where Cauvery water hasn’t reached yet. What’s at issue, however, is the quality of the water supplied and its price. It’s an unregulated business run by a powerful lobby of tanker owners. Needless to say, the risk is all the consumer’s. Full Story

There’s something fishy in the Bengaluru’s lakes!

carfish-thumbWalkers around Ulsoor lake came across the unexpected not once but twice in recent weeks when a huge mass of dead fish floated past them.  But if fish are dying in lakes due to contamination caused by sewage discharged into them and other man-made factors, there is another lurking threat to the native fish species in these waters and it comes from the ‘Catfish,’ a species from Africa imported into the country about two decades ago. Full Story

There’s a giant bit of Madagascar in Haveri!

Baobab-thumbThe Baobab tree avenues of Madagascar are famous. The forests of the island nation, which receives hardly any rain and is bone dry for nearly 10 months a year, are populated with these strange, bulging trees, which store water in their fat trunks. But you don’t need to go as far as Madagascar to see these giant trees as they are also found in a small town of Karnataka. Full Story

No longer elusive, this Phantom of the forest!

Black leopard - thumb“Everybody knew Bagheera, and nobody dared to cross his path; for he was as cunning as Tabaqui, as bold as the wild buffalo, and as reckless as the wounded elephant. But he had a voice as soft as wild honey dripping from a tree, and a skin softer than dawn…” That was Rudyard Kipling in 1894, giving full flow to his imagination of a Black Panther in The Jungle Book, in which he presents Bagheera as a wise figure, level-headed and the most intelligent animal in the jungle. Full Story

The lost ‘daughters’ of our famed Kokkarebellur

Kokkarebellur-thumbFor hundreds of years, the village of Kokkarebellur in Mandya district of Karnataka, which has considered spot-billed pelicans and painted storks as their ‘daughters’, is now witnessing a rapid decline in the number of avian visitors to the village. The same village that was once happy to welcome more than 2000 pelicans, now sees a mere 400 birds or less. Full Story

Bengaluru, concrete jungle, has its wild side, too

Slender-thumbLocated in southern India on the Deccan Plateau at a height of about 3,000 feet above sea level, the city on elevated land may have become an urban jungle, but the City still has its wild side, too – as home to an astonishing range of nocturnal and diurnal species of animals and plants. But where are they all hiding? Full Story

Poached for fur, Srirangapatna’s otters face extinction

Otters-ThumbBengaluru: Conservation has its favourites too. With the spotlight firmly on the endangered big cats, the ministry of environment and forest pumps crores into measures to protect them and deploys hundreds of rangers to patrol their habitat. Full Story

Rowdy Ranga and his gang of 11!

Ranga-ThumbIt’s an all-male gang of eleven adults that have stuck together for years. And as such gangs go, they are a wild bunch, seizing the needs and pleasures of life at will. They raid their own special places for food and water, and they hang out where they know the females frequent. No, we are not talking about a gang of men, we are talking elephants. Full Story

The frog that jumped… stages of evolution!

Frog thumbBengaluru: Growing water scarcity has placed many plant and animal species of the Western Ghats under threat. But a certain species of frogs appears to have adapted to the situation, giving birth to fully developed “froglets” and entirely bypassing the three-month life cycle of tadpoles transforming into frogs in water. Full Story

Not enough jungle for jumbos?

Thumb-elephantKakanakote forest, summer of 1873. Hundreds of men surround a herd of wild elephants, beating drums so loudly that the pachyderms panic and begin to run. It’s exactly as British Army officer G.P. Sanderson had planned. He had dug dozens of ditches (khedda) into which the elephants would fall and be confined, until mahouts and domesticated elephants arrived to calm the injured, panicky giants, and eventually tamed them. His catch: 55 jumbos. Full Story

The Rat-Eaters of Ramanagara

Iruligas ThumbHave you heard of the Iruligas? They are the‘people of the night’, who have lived close to this gleaming glass-and-concrete city of ours for centuries, yet are largely invisible. And they are very unlike the ‘people of the night’ of the IT metropolis. Shockingly so, says Shravan Regret Iyer, our in-house vegetarian in the wild! Full Story

No dedicated agency to curb thriving online wildlife trade

thumb-wildlife tradeBengaluru: It wouldn’t be surprising if in the near future you stumble across an online portal advertisement selling tigers and Kaziranga rhinos. This would be in keeping this the trend of today’s thriving online trade in protected wildlife species, currently rampant on the Internet. Full Story

Who will bat for these creatures?

thumb batBengaluru: With the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBM) leasing Sankey Tank for commercial activities, most people have failed to notice that the existence of a protected flying fox colony is under threat. Full Story

City seeing fewer migratory visitors

thumb migratory birdsBengaluru: Only a few species of migratory birds from Eurasia have managed to break through barriers to spend winter in Bengaluru, a city that has lost 74 per cent of water bodies and 66 per cent of vegetation. Full Story

What’s bugging the insects?

thumb-beetleBengaluru: Rare insect species are disappearing from the city due to rapid urbanization. Bengaluru is known for its greenery. Nicknamed ‘Garden City’, it has for long been the abode of a wide variety of insects. All that is changing now as researchers find that various species of insects can no longer be seen in the city. Is this due to rapid urbanization or alteration of the insect habitat? Full Story

Honey, I poisoned the bees!

Photo by Louise DockerBengaluru:  Fighting to stay green, the city is in danger of losing its honey too, literally. The buzz is that while bees have adapted to the buildings that have sprung up in place of trees and willingly made their hives on them, they are fighting a losing battle against deadly pesticides that are increasingly being used to get rid of beehives in Garden City Bengaluru. Full Story

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