Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Kanha Pench Corridor- an Illustrated Map

(Click on the images for a larger view)

Here's a caricatured map I illustrated for WWF's Satpura Maikal Landscape project, that focuses on the corridor between Kanha and Pench Tiger Reserves in Madhya Pradesh (Central India). The map is a detailed illustration of some of the threatened animals that use the corridor for subsistence and movement, as well as the people that depend on it, such as the Pardhi and Gond tribes. The illustration aims at raising awareness of the importance of corridors that connect forests, and are indispensable for animal migration and movement. The Kanha-Pench landscape is home to some exceedingly rare wildlife such as the Hardground Barasingha, the Indian Pangolin; the critically endangered White-rumped, Long-billed and Red-headed Vultures, and of course, a stronghold for tigers and leopards in Central India. The place has witnessed exploitation and assault recently, in the form of the widening of the National Highway 7, passing through the corridor. 

A big thanks to WWF for choosing me for the project! Here are some snippets from the map-

The mammals- Top row from left- Hanuman Langur, Sloth Bear, Barasingha, Barking Deer
Centre- Dhole, Asian Palm Civet, Bengal Tiger, Leopard, Indian Fox
Bottom row- Chousingha, Eurasian Otter (A recent record from the region!), Indian Flying Squirrel, Sambar, Rusty-spotted Cat.

Birds- Top row- Grey headed Fish Eagle, Malabar Pied Hornbill, White-rumped Vulture, River Tern, Centre- Asian Paradise Flycatcher (the State Bird of Madhya Pradesh), Alexandrine Parakeet, Darter
Bottom- Indian Peafowl, Crested Serpent Eagle, Red Junglefowl, Red-headed Vulture

The people that live in and around the Kanha Pench Corridor.

A peacock compass that was designed as a mini-tribute to Gondi art, along with some very typical Gondi houses, that have little animal icons drawn all over them in a style so characteristic of the Gonds.

WWF India conducts trails across the Kanha Pench corridor annually. Visit the link here to register for this year! 
(Copyrights to all images belong to WWF India).

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Amur Falcons in North East India

Very rarely does conservation news sound positive, but one such course of events is that of communities from villages in North East India coming together to save the Amur Falcon. Tiny birds of prey, the Amur Falcons make a brief halt in India every winter, on their arduous migratory flight from East Asia to Africa. After photographers documented the mass massacre of these birds at local markets in 2012-13, immediate and massive conservation action followed, and NGOs as well as forest departments worked tirelessly to spread information and awareness about the falcons. One such effort was led by Ms. Bano Haralu, managing trustee of the Nagaland Wildlife and Biodiversity Trust, along with Rokohebi Kuotsu, biologist Shashank Dalvi and Ramki Sreenivasan of Conservation India, in the Wokha district of Nagaland. In a place like Nagaland where hunting is prevalent even today, this was no easy feat to achieve, and several other regions which have witnessed hunting in the past have now taken a cue from Ms. Haralu's work, adopting conservation measures to save the birds. Amur Falcons are insectivores, preying on dragonflies in large quantities and offering pest control services to agriculture. To study their migration better, hunters and scientists came together in Nagaland, to capture and satellite-tag three of these birds. Recently, Pangti, a village in Nagaland erected a monolith to commemorate the arrival of Amur Falcons, and others in Assam, Manipur and Meghalaya have been conducting festivals to observe the occasion, which not only draw crowds of tourists and birdwatchers to the areas, but also ensure a safe passage of the tens of thousands of Amur Falcons that fly over North East India. If this could be replicated for all other wild animals that are still hunted in these regions, the North East could well be a conservation spearhead in the near future!

The comic appears in my column with Mid-Day today.