WWF India

Delhi, India

WWF India

Delhi, India
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Syed Z.,The Corbett Foundation Kanha | Khan M.S.,WWF India
Journal of Threatened Taxa | Year: 2017

Pastoralism is among the major land use practices in the Himalaya and the main source of livelihood for local communities. In naturally occurring herbivore populations, the co-occurrence of native species has evolved through evolutionary processes over millions of years which has enabled coexistence. In the modern scenario, however, the intrusion of livestock into the wild habitats impose additional pressure on the limited resources, given that there has been insufficient time for resource partitioning to evolve. Realizing the need to develop a better understanding of wild herbivores and livestock interactions, the present review was compiled. The review demonstrates that a group of similar species using similar habitats and feeding on similar foods leads to more competition. Also, goat/sheep impose a potential threat to the resource of wild herbivores and such resource exploitation by livestock is not compatible with their conservation. Further, wild herbivores shift their habitat to avoid the risk of being exposed to competition or predation. Livestock grazing and associated activities affect the wild herbivores' habitat use and foraging behaviour, and these are changes that may also affect their survival in the future. There is a prime need to find out the threshold of livestock population which can sustain itself without compromising livestock production and wildlife. High conflict areas need to be identified and compensatory mechanisms should evolve. It is also necessary for ecology to be integrated with an understanding of the social dynamics that influence the status of the resources. © 2017 Zarreen Syed, Mohd Shahnawaz Khan.

There is broad consensus among ecosystem experts that river dolphins, as top predators, can structure riverine ecosystems and benefit biodiversity. The effects of dolphins on rivers and vice versa do not operate in isolation, but are context dependent, being conditioned by other factors such as human interference. Based on the aforesaid presumption, the focus of the present study was on quantifying the factors responsible for the decline of the Indus River dolphin and species tolerance towards these factors in the upper sub-basin of the Indus River system (River Beas, India). Dolphins avoided (r≤-0.667; P≤0.001) the study section with higher disturbance, until some other factors, such as prey availability, came into play. Species occupancy was significantly different for different flow seasons and was associated with deep pools, eddy currents, and low disturbance index. The results indicated a marked decrease in species occurrence above a disturbance index level of 44. The findings of the present study contribute towards a better understanding of the complex ecological interactions of river dolphins with their environment and provide valuable insights into the wider conservation status of other threatened components of sympatric freshwater biodiversity that can further help in designing effective conservation measures for the ecosystem as a whole. © CSIRO 2017.

Mazumdar S.,Shibpur Dinobundhoo Institution College | Mazumdar S.,University of Calcutta | Ghose D.,WWF India | Saha G.K.,University of Calcutta
Journal of Ethology | Year: 2017

Research on raptors in general in India is scanty, and it is practically non-existent on black kites (Milvus migrans govinda) which are the major scavenging raptor in many urban areas. The aim of this study was to analyse the seasonal abundance and roosting behaviour of black kites in an urban metropolis. Data on the abundance and behaviour of roosting black kites in this setting were collected using evening roost counts and ad-libitum sampling, respectively. Analysis was performed using separate generalized linear models considering roosting kite abundance, number of black kites arriving to roost and number of black kites showing pre-roosting display as response variables, respectively. We found that black kites roosted communally and that their number varied in different years and seasons, with the abundance highest in the summer and lowest during the winter. Pre-roosting displays also varied seasonally, being highest during the monsoon and at a minimum in the winter. In our urban setting, black kites arrived at the roosting sites mostly after sunset, and their arrival was influenced by sunset time, temperature, relative humidity and season. Some behavioural aspects of black kites within the roosts were also documented. This is the first quantitative assessment of roosting black kite abundance in Kolkata, India, and our data provide insight on the roosting behaviour of these birds relative to various environmental parameters. © 2017 Japan Ethological Society and Springer Japan

Chakraborty S.,Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research | Chakraborty S.,Indian Institute of Science | Boominathan D.,WWF India | Desai A.A.,WWF India and WWF International | Vidya T.N.C.,Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research
Conservation Genetics | Year: 2014

With growing human and, possibly, elephant populations and a drastic increase in anthropogenic activities, human-elephant conflict in Asia has been on the rise. The Alur area in Karnataka state, southern India, is one such case in point, which has witnessed increasing levels of human-elephant conflict over the last two decades. The tiny, moderately protected habitat available for elephants in this human-dominated landscape does not appear to be able to support elephants over the long term. Options to deal with the escalating conflict include translocation of elephants, bringing elephants into captivity, and culling. We carried out a molecular genetic study of elephants in the Alur area to estimate the minimum number of elephants using the area, the sex ratio, genetic relatedness between individuals, and genetic structure with regard to the larger population in the landscape, so that informed management decisions could be made. Fresh dung samples were collected from the field and genotyped using 12 microsatellite loci. We found 29 unique individuals in the population, comprising 17 females and 12 males of different age classes. Relatedness between females suggested independent colonisations by discrete, small groups rather than by one cohesive clan of related females. This obviates the need for a single solution for dealing with all the females in the area in order to maintain social integrity, and has implications in terms how these elephants can be dealt with. We demonstrate how social organization inferred through molecular data from non-invasive sampling can inform management decisions. © 2014 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

Batchelor C.,Water Resources Management Ltd | Reddy V.R.,Livelihoods and Natural Resource Management Institute | Linstead C.,WWF UK | Dhar M.,WWF India | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Hydrology | Year: 2014

Water saving and conservation technologies (WCTs) have been promoted widely in India as a practical means of improving the water use efficiency and freeing up water for other uses (e.g. for maintaining environmental flows in river systems). However, there is increasing evidence that, somewhat paradoxically, WCTs often contribute to intensification of water use by irrigated and rainfed farming systems. This occurs when: (1) Increased crop yields are coupled with increased consumptive water use and/or (2) Improved efficiency, productivity and profitability encourages farmers to increase the area cropped and/or to adopt multiple cropping systems. In both cases, the net effect is an increase in annual evapotranspiration that, particularly in areas of increasing water scarcity, can have the trade-off of reduced environmental flows. Recognition is also increasing that the claimed water savings of many WCTs may have been overstated. The root cause of this problem lies in confusion over what constitutes real water saving at the system or basin scales. The simple fact is that some of the water that is claimed to be 'saved' by WCTs would have percolated into the groundwater from where it can be and often is accessed and reused. Similarly, some of the “saved“ runoff can be used downstream by, for example, farmers or freshwater ecosystems. This paper concludes that, particularly in areas facing increasing water scarcity, environmental flows will only be restored and maintained if they are given explicit (rather than theoretical or notional) attention. With this in mind, a simple methodology is proposed for deciding when and where WCTs may have detrimental impacts on environmental flows. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Forrest J.L.,Conservation Science Program | Wikramanayake E.,Conservation Science Program | Shrestha R.,WWF Nepal | Areendran G.,WWF India | And 6 more authors.
Biological Conservation | Year: 2012

Climate change is likely to affect the persistence of large, space-requiring species through habitat shifts, loss, and fragmentation. Anthropogenic land and resource use changes related to climate change can also impact the survival of wildlife. Thus, climate change has to be integrated into biodiversity conservation plans. We developed a hybrid approach to climate-adaptive conservation landscape planning for snow leopards in the Himalayan Mountains. We first mapped current snow leopard habitat using a mechanistic approach that incorporated field-based data, and then combined it with a climate impact model using a correlative approach. For the latter, we used statistical methods to test hypotheses about climatic drivers of treeline in the Himalaya and its potential response to climate change under three IPCC greenhouse gas emissions scenarios. We then assessed how change in treeline might affect the distribution of snow leopard habitat. Results indicate that about 30% of snow leopard habitat in the Himalaya may be lost due to a shifting treeline and consequent shrinking of the alpine zone, mostly along the southern edge of the range and in river valleys. But, a considerable amount of snow leopard habitat and linkages are likely to remain resilient to climate change, and these should be secured. This is because, as the area of snow leopard habitat fragments and shrinks, threats such as livestock grazing, retaliatory killing, and medicinal plant collection can intensify. We propose this approach for landscape conservation planning for other species with extensive spatial requirements that can also be umbrella species for overall biodiversity. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Paliwal A.,WWF India | Mathur V.B.,Wildlife Institute of India
Journal of Forestry Research | Year: 2014

Landscape structure is often regarded as an important factor that governs the distribution and abundance of species. Therefore it is critical to understand the landscapes and their dynamics. Patterns of landscape elements strongly influence the ecological characteristics. This study was designed to document and map the current status of the tropical dry deciduous forest of the Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR), Central India, (using IRS P6 LISS IV data) and to describe its landscape structure at three levels of organization viz. landscape, class, and patch. The study area was classified into 10 land cover classes that include 6 vegetation classes. The landscape structure was analyzed using FRAGSTATS using 12 set of indices. The TATR landscapes have a total of 2,307 patches with a mean patch size of 25.67 ha and patch density of 1.7 patches per km2. Amongst all land cover classes, mixed bamboo forest is dominant-it occupied maximum area (77.99%)-while riparian forest is least represented (0.32%). Mixed forest has maximum number of patches among all vegetation classes. Results have shown that despite being dominant in the area, mixed bamboo forest has low patch density (0.25/100 ha). Dominance of mixed bamboo forest is attributed to large patch sizes and not to the number of patches. This study has focussed on the approach of integrating satellite forest classification and forest inventory data for studying forest landscape patterns. © 2014 Northeast Forestry University and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Midha N.,WWF India | Mathur P.K.,Wildlife Institute of India
Environmental Management | Year: 2014

The Sharda River creates and maintains the ecologically diverse remnant patches of rare Terai ecosystem in northern India. This study used repeat satellite imagery and geographic information system analysis to assess the planform dynamics along a 60 km length of the Sharda River between 1977 and 2001 to understand the altered dynamics and its plausible causes in this data-poor region. Analyses revealed that the Sharda River has undergone significant change corresponding to enhanced instability in terms of increased number of neck cut-offs and consistent occurrence of avulsions in subsequent shorter assessment periods. An increased channel area (8 %), decreased sinuosity (15 %), increased braiding intensity, and abrupt migrations were also documented. The river has migrated toward the east with its west bankline being more unstable. The maximum shifts were 2.85 km in 13 years (1977-1990), 2.33 km in next 9 years (1990-1999), and a substantial shift of 2.39 km in just 2 years (1999-2001). The altered dynamics is making the future of critical wildlife habitats in Kishanpur Wildlife Sanctuary and North Kheri Forest Division precarious and causing significant economic damage. Extensive deforestation and expansion of agriculture since the 1950s in the catchment area are presumed to have severely impacted the equilibrium of the river, which urgently needs a management plan including wildlife habitat conservation, control, and risk reduction. The present study provides a strong foundation for understanding channel changes in the Sharda River and the finding can serve as a valuable information base for effective management planning and ecological restoration. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York.

Maheshwari A.,WWF India | Midha N.,WWF India | Cherukupalli A.,WWF India
Human Dimensions of Wildlife | Year: 2014

When large carnivores cause socioeconomic losses in a community, conflict increases, retaliatory killing of the carnivore can occur, and conservation efforts are undermined. We focused on Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) and economic compensation schemes as approaches for managing conflict. PRA is a tool for collecting data on the large carnivore-human conflict and economic compensation schemes for those affected negatively by carnivore presence. We reviewed published papers and reports on large carnivore-human conflicts, PRA, and compensation schemes. This article details insights into common pitfalls, key lessons learned, possible solutions including new approaches for compensation and protocols to be followed while managing large carnivore-human conflict. We hope to contribute to a meaningful dialogue between locals, managers, and researchers and help in effective implementation of conservation programs to mitigate large carnivore-human conflict around the protected areas. © 2014 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

Shahnawaz Khan M.,WWF India
IUCN/SCC Otter Specialist Group Bulletin | Year: 2015

Decline in the populations of the Smooth-coated Otter throughout its range of distribution and a perception that it is a 'keystone species' for riverine ecosystem stirred the idea of the presented paper. The species inhabits major freshwater wetlands throughout the south and south-east Asia and often comes into the direct conflict with humans for food and habitat. Further the species is also suffering with neglecting attitude and mismanagement due to lack of baseline information. Thus WWF India initiated the conservation work towards the documentation of the distribution of the species in Punjab in 2010. State wide population assessment surveys and secondary information obtained shows the occurrence of smooth-coated otters along some stretches of Rivers Beas, Sutlej and Ravi and Harike wetland in Punjab.

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