Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Koraga community of South India

Koraga community is considered one of the most primitive communities in India. They are the worshipers of Nature. They are very shy and do not mingle with outsiders. Koragas are divided into a number of exogamous clans or sects. The clan is known as the bali. There are 17 balis found among Koragas. The Koragas are basically agriculturists and their livelihood depends on forest produce such as bamboo, cane and creepers for basket making. Koragas sing songs and perform folkdances, rituals and magic to appease their deity for bountiful crops and to eradicate epidemics.
               Koragas are experts in making baskets using creepers, canes and bamboos by splitting and weaving them artistically. Basketry is the main source of income of the Koraga tribal community. The skill of making baskets is transferred from one generation to the other. Even the children weave baskets.

I got to visit the community on a project and got exposed to their life. It was a touching experience as i met many Koraga Families. There life style has drastically changed. They were forest dwellers and lived in the forests. They don't have contact with the outside world. Now the state government has built them houses and also toilets. It has been a difficult process as they were unfriendly. Slowly they accepted the govt workers and today their life is better. But the Koraga community have a long road ahead.

I witnessed and met some strong women who fought to get toilets established in their homes. They are more friendly towards the outer world today and i hope we, the community can help such backward groups to have the basic facilities and rights in life.

                             A very Old couple (Both over 90) who has 19 children


                                  House Constructed with a toilet

                                        With a Koraga Baby: Harish

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hornbills at Dandeli!

                                             Malabar Pied Hornbill - Natasha Ballal.

Dandeli has always been known as great place to sight the 4 hornbills. Dandeli- Anshi Tiger Reserve is the second largest reserve in Karnataka.
* The woods of dandeli are known to inhibit four different types of hornbills; Common Grey hornbill, Malabar Grey hornbill, Malabar pied hornbill and Great pied hornbill.

The Malabar pied hornbill is found in good numbers. The Malabar Pied Hornbill (Anthracoceros coronatus) and Indian Grey Hornbill (Ocyceros birostris) are endemic to the Indian subcontinent whereas the Malabar Grey Hornbill (Ocyceros griseus) is endemic to Western Ghat. Hence, the Malabar pied Hornbill is protected under the Wildlife Act (schedule 1) .It has been declared near threatened by the Birdlife International.

They have a very unique and beautiful nesting behaviour. 
The male and female select a suitable nest hold. Once this is done, the female enters into the hold and seals it by using a sticky paste made from her own droppings mixed with twigs and other waste materials. The female hornbill uses her large beak for this cementing process. She covers the hold almost completely, leaving a small opening just wide enough to put her beak out for food. The male hornbill meanwhile travels over a distance of several kilometers within the forest in search of food, which he then passes on to his female through the nest opening. And thus the days go by, with the female laying her eggs inside her cozy habitation. The eggs are hatched over a period of six to eight weeks. The slightest disturbance at the nest site can result in the male refusing to feed the nest inmates, thus threatening the survival of the female and chicks.

A hornbill trail has been set up at the timber depot in Dandeli, to let people explore the world of hornbills.  Recognizing their significance, Dandeli has been declared a Hornbill Conservation Reserve.

Click here for the article:

Thursday, August 5, 2010

My neighbour!

On a visit to Anshi Nature Camp a month ago, i had a visitor at my tent. When i awoke early morning, he was right outside my tent door :) cuddled up around a flap of the tent. The weather was cold and it was pouring. Guess who? A Malabar pit viper.

 Malabar Pit Viper: Trimeresurus malabaricus

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary!

A visit to Gopinatham

Background: The River Cauvery flows through the major part of this protected area. The sanctuary has riverine, dry deciduous forests and some patches of scrub forest. This area has been recognized as an Important Bird Area having a rich diversity of birdlife with nearly 127 species of birds identified here. The stretch of Cauvery River that borders the sanctuary is an ideal breeding ground for the rare mahseer.
MM Hills serves as an important elephant corridor between the Western and Eastern Ghats.
Gopinatham is one of the small villages in the reserve. Soligas and Lingayats are the dominant communities in the MM Hills.

My journey!

This was my second visit to this place. I loved my first visit and was ecstatic when my work took me there again. I was looking forward toward the lovely weather and beautiful lake out, hoping to catch some shots of the Birds. On reaching the Cauvery river side I noticed a group of Babblers whacking a Crested Serpent eagle. He had his feathers ruffled and seemed confused. Suddenly he took flight with the babblers not far behind.

On reaching I was in for a rude shock. The lake had dried up and the streams were empty. The lovely weather was replaced by a humid feeling and the forests were dry. It was pouring in Bangalore but it hadn’t here as yet.

We freshened up and set out to trek. We had gone to work on the Trail booklets. My colleague and I, with a forest guard set out on our trek. The lake which was buzzing with activity the last time was duller. There were little pockets of water left. The kingfishers I saw was the White Breasted Kingfisher gliding over the water for his meal. The other kingfisher I spotted was the Common blue Kingfisher. Other water birds like the Cormorants were seen near the lake and the noisy Red Wattled Lapwing. Red rumped Swallow’s were gliding and perched on the wires. There’s a temple built near the dam and the locals offer prayers. The temple was built at the same time the dam was built. This is dedicated to God Muneshwara. The signage board is the start of our trek into the forest. Lots of Blue jays or Indian Roller is seen as it’s hard to miss them in flight, flashing its brilliant wings. (This is the State bird of Karnataka).

As I was walking I realized there were a lot of Lantana Camara bushes. Here in this forest, Lantana invasion is high (covering 80%) of the land. This happened due to the mass felling of native vegetation - especially bamboo, leaving the ground open for the rapid spread of lantana. This has had an impact on the native flora and fauna. (Atree involves locals to make furniture out of these Lantana bushes to reduce the spread of theses bushes).
Interesting note: Lantana (Lantana camara) is native to tropical America. Lantana was brought to India by the British in 1807 as an ornamental plant for the Calcutta Botanical Garden.

As I was walking I suddenly spotted a sambar, I walked further and could hear an alarm call of another Sambar close by. The trek took me mostly around the lake. I saw lots of indirect evidences of sloth bears and dung of elephants. The guide told us that during the monsoons lots of elephants flock to the lake. Bird life is good as I heard the constant calls of the Brain fever bird (Common Hawk Cuckoo), Rufous treepie and the crimson throated barbet. All the stream beds I passed were dry. The trek was pleasant and I saw lots of butterflies. While passing a stream I spotted a lovely peacock. Nearing camp there seemed to see lots of bear activity. We saw the bears foot prints and all the termite mounds were broken. We crossed the dam and headed to camp as it was getting dark. The camp is being renovated and it’s basic. The forest at night is lovely and quite. The camp is being done up and is called The Mystery Camp. We had our dinner at camp and headed to bed as we had a long trek ahead the next day.

We awoke early and set out on the trek. I spotted a lovely Pied Cuckoo near camp. We headed along the lake to see the memorial of the Late Shri P. Srinivas the DCF who was murdered by the late forest brigade Verappan. In honour of his Chivalry he’s been awarded the Keerthi Chakra.

I observed lots of butterflies’ mudpuddling and took decent pictures of them :) From there we turned back, to head to camp. On the trek I noticed a squirrel screeching and suddenly a monitor lizard is up on the tree and enters a hole. It was amazing.

I noted a lovely smooth greyish-white bark tree with a silvery luster with soft leaves called Gyrocarpus americanus. (The seeds are sometimes strung into necklaces) I found this everywhere. On one particular tree I saw a bear’s foot print. We didn’t see much wildlife on foot but nevertheless this place is unique in its habitat.

A Fallen Egg: Looks like a Jewel.

Bear Foot prints:

We reached camp, freshened up and left. On our way after passing MM Hills we saw a Jackal on the road, trying to cross. But it proved difficult for the fellow as the vehicles were zooming by.

This place is home to a variety of flora and fauna as this is a unique habitat. The disturbance seen in this forest is high. I truly wish this place survives as its an important wildlife corridor.

A Photo log :-

Crimson Tip

Yellow Pansy

Gyrocarpus americanus


This is a social activity where at times several hundred butterflies, especially males of one or more species can be seen on damp sand or mud banks.

The forest


Friday, July 2, 2010

Adventureholic:- Rafting!

On one of my trips to Dandeli, we had a day to spare from work. I had always wanted to go rafting and finally my colleagues agreed for it. :) Rafting in Dandeli is organized by Jungle Lodges. So we headed to Jungle lodges from Kulgi. We met Mr. Shashidhar, who took us to the Supa dam, which is an hour’s drive from the Dandeli city. (Here when the water is let out from the dam during the morning and evening rafting is possible.)

River Kali (Kalinadi) is a daunting River since its black. The river has its origin at Diggi in the Western Ghats and flows westwards to join the Arabian Sea near the town of Karwar. She is the fastest west flowing river and many dams have been constructed to produce electricity.

So as we reach the banks, there’s a briefing on the rules of rafting. We choose our boat a small one since we were 4. (Choose the smaller one as its lighter and you have more fun on the water). We have a guide who goes through the standard procedure of rafting. We have our safety jackets and helmet on. We are excited as ever. Once the rapids start its amazing they v named each rapid point.

This place is excellent for birding and a walk along the banks will help you capture some amazing shots of the bird life. All my birding was from the boat. I noted River terns, Darters, Black-capped Kingfisher, Malabar Pied Hornbills, Grey headed Fishing eagle, Brahminy kite and Honey buzzard to name some.

The rafting is 9 km long and is exciting. You pass islands and the flora is spectacular.
Towards the end they let the rapid water come on you full force:)

The whole time you enjoy the adventure. :)

A photolog of this amazing experience :)

River Kali

Saturday, June 5, 2010

June 5th- World Environment Day

June 5th- World Environment Day

International Year of Biodiversity 2010

India, a country occupying only 2.3% of the earth's land surface is recognized as one of seventeen “mega diverse” countries. India is endowed with a rich flora and fauna and areas rich in endemism are north-east India, the Western Ghats and the north-western and eastern Himalayas.

Biodiversity is the Variety of life on earth and today we need to make a change so we can have a Healthy future. Securing our forests is only securing a brighter future.


UNEP has and A-Z ON what one can do so click on the link and find out.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Green Diaries!

My World!

When i first started blogging i wanted my excitement and love for Wildlife to rub off on people and to also show the beauty of our forests, Flora and Fauna. I've learn't and seen so many things being in a forest and the memories of various instances are still vivid in my mind. Passion is a key factor to be in this field and if you do let yourself submit to nature, she will certainly enthrall you.

Conservation includes many aspects and is a long term process. There are different success formulas depending on each situation and this is vital as there can be no hard and fast rule. The cause should be identified at the grassroot level and likewise a solution found.

Today the main threat faced by wildlife all over the world is from Habitat Loss and the need is to stem this loss. As individuals we all have a role to play and i believe small efforts do contribute largely. I don't agree its wishful thinking. Today we are aware but the most important question is Are we doing anything about it?

Make choices that would certainly help the environment and contribute when you can. Being responsible is important and with today's technology we can.


Wildlife Update:

A healthy female tigress was found dead. Please read the article below, followed by a report.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Lets be Responsible Tourists

Eco tourism is defined as "Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people." (TIES, 1990)

But sadly, while traveling into the jungles and trekking through the lovely forests we, tourists are so careless. You will see plastic bags thrown carelessly, empty water(plastic) bottles, wrappers, plates and cups left by tourists spoiling the scenic beauty. We, come for a vacation and leave a large ecological footprint behind.

Whats irresponsible is when tourists demand for unreasonable stuff. Being apart of nature camps and volunteering on projects,you come across Tourists with different options. Some want a camp fire and when you say "Sir, please understated this is a Tiger Reserve" , he quickly adds "Oh but you get it in a resort". The others feel they have been cheated that they haven't seen a "Tiger" in a Tiger Reserve.
These are well educated people yet so utterly indifferent.

This all stems from a lack of responsibly as an individual. As i mention in my earlier post, its high time we act like Responsible tourists, travelers and buyers. Eco tourism can surely benefit Wildlife and our ecological footprints can be greatly reduced. You can also make sure the Resort you go to is being responsible and Eco friendly.

Eco tourism is about uniting conservation, communities, and sustainable travel.
On further reading I read this lovely article and a blog post by NCF and it couldn't have been written in a better way.

Here's a link to see the article,

Lets act Responsibly and be responsible the next time we venture into the forests.

Monday, April 19, 2010

A visit to the Mookambika Wildlife Sanctuary.

Trekking in the Western Ghats!

The Mookambika Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Udupi district of Karnataka, Kollur and was established in 1974 covering an area of 247 sq km. The vegetation type is a mix of evergreen, semi-evergreen and moist deciduous forests covering the steep slopes typical of the Western Ghats Mountains. These forests can support a myriad of butterflies due to the varied plant composition and diversity. Hence, this forest comes under the Medicinal Plants Conservation Areas. (Local communities are actively involved in this conservation effort. MPCAs serve as the study sites for conservation biology related research and also the source of authentic and quality planting material for propagation)

Longitudes : 13o41'25.87"E to 13o58'51.85"E
Latitudes : 74o39'8.68"N to 74o56'8.84"N.
Annual rainfall : 4,593 mm
Elevation ranges : 9-1,315 m above sea level.

The sanctuary receives an annual rainfall of 4,593 mm and the elevation here ranges from 9-1,315 m above sea level. Water sources include the Chakra nadi, Kollur River, 27 perennial streams, 36 large seasonal streams, several smaller streams, two seasonal natural lakes, one spring and 20 artificial water tanks. (Source from Atree’s Website)

A wide variety of butterflies, reptiles and birds are found here. My trek through this beautiful forest opened my eyes further on the beauty and endemism of species of flora and fauna seen in this region. I was completely amazed at the beauty of this forest. I trekked a lot in a period of 3 days; a trek to Arshinagundi Falls, A trail specifically for butterflies, a trek into the forests to explore a Nature trail and a trail for Birds. I was amazed at the butterfly and bird life. It’s truly a joy to trek. This place is truly a haven for butterflies and birds. Unfortunately I couldn’t spot any large mammals and the shy Lion Tailed Macaques. Nevertheless I saw some beauties and rare flora.

My highlight: I spotted a lovely Ornate flying snake near a stream basking on a tree; 6 m above ground.

A photo log of my Experience:

Ornate Flying Snake


Arshinagundi trek

The falls:

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Fading Feline!

This year so far hasn't been a good year for the Tiger. Even with all the Media coverage and the public outcry, the fact of the matter is how it’s being translated into addressing the ground realities. To a Layman the situation seems simple “Save the Tiger” but they do not realize the complexities involved in Conservation. People rather say presumptuous lines not realizing the situation at the grassroots level. This is what I, personally feel should be addressed. What’s translated on field to address the situation is going to help in saving the last few truly Wild Tigers.

To a person driven by the Economy in today’s fast paced world it is rather difficult to understand the Vital role that Nature has, be it the Reptiles, birds or Animals. An insensitive question like why do we even need them arises. This attitude isn’t healthy and is harmful. What Nature does freely; we cannot even think of replacing the small or large processes performed by Nature. Each Individual needs to be Responsible as this is the first step in conserving the wildlife or resources.

The Tiger is not only a symbol in Indian Culture but also a part of our History. We need to save this beautiful Feline and we can achieve it by protecting its habitat. In turn the other species in the forest are protected in the Name of the Tiger. India, a country occupying only 2.3% of the earth's land surface is recognized as one of seventeen “mega diverse” countries. Only 5% of our forests are protected and the need of the hour is to stem the loss of Habitat.

Tigers are fast Vanishing and the numbers that are accounted for are shocking. So if we imagine the unaccounted ones the numbers are staggering considering the total numbers of tigers left in India.


Mortality 5
Poaching & 12
Total 17

Mortality 53
Poaching & 32
Total 85


Tiger died due to strangulation in Corbett Tiger Reserve, 2010.

Poisoning of 2 Sub Adult Male Tigers in Ranthambhore: March 2010
Do see this blog for the complete story

Now is the time we start behaving as responsible buyers, responsible tourists, and responsible individuals converting our voices in to actions.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


I watched this brilliant Documentary called Home. This documentary takes you through the evolution of the earth and the changes seen in the landscapes. Breath taking scenery and the simple narration; leaves you with a sense of positivity in protecting the earth. This is a must watch.

This is the link to view the documentary.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Be A part of a Global Initiative to save the Loktak Lake, the life line of Manipur.
Loktak Lake is the largest freshwater lake in Northeast India.It has an area of 300sqkm.Considering the ecological status and its biodiversity values,the lake was designated as a‘wetland of international importance’ under the Ramsar Convention on March23,1990.KeibulLamjao, the only floating national park in the world is situated at the southwest part of the lake.It is home to the endangered Manipur ‘Sangai’-Cervuseldieldi and many plant species.

North East Centre for Environmental Education and Research Sagolband Tera AkhamLeikai,Imphal West –795 001, Manipur (INDIA)