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Showing posts from 2016

Closer to Nature

There are countless ways of expressing the bond we share with the world around us. Not only visual, but also sensual – even silence is a medium of expression. I’ve been using words and photographs as a way to express what I see and feel for quite some time now, but there are countless – metaphorically – instances when I was witnessing a miracle of nature when the silence engulfed me and I was at loss for words, and those moments, although I cherish them for what they were, will never translate into something that I could write, or photograph.
I spent the last week by the beach trying to make sense of the world through the medium of numbers and figures – I was a part of a PRiMER course of Gubbi Labs here to learn statistics, mapping, scientific reasoning, and expressing – and at the end of the day I buried my feet in the sand watching the sun set over the horizon and dolphins leaping from the waves. Words swelled into my head like a hightide every time I walked on the beach, but I co…

The Man v Wild Conundrum

There’s never been a time in history when a wild vertebrate did not kill a man or man did not kill a wild vertebrate. Not once for the last 15 million years since early humanoids roamed the planet. In fact, man killed more wild vertebrates than they killed us, and that is perhaps evident in us becoming the most successful species in spite of lacking claws and fangs.
Man has always been against the wild, always the rebel, always the one to straighten things out, to mend and to tame. If it did not suit him, he destroyed it, and if he liked it, he finished it off. And then we drifted off, slowly, from all things wild. Today, we believe that money plants (Epipremnum aureum) bring us wealth, but we don’t know that that inconspicuous little fly, lovingly called a tiger fly (Coenosia sp.), is sitting on its leaf to prey upon the other tiny insects that feed on this plant, and we bug-spray the plant, killing everything with it. That’s wildlife right there. We just wiped it out of existence fro…

Field Guide to Insects and Spiders of Kanha Tiger Reserve

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After fourteen long months since I wrote a report on insects and spiders of Kanha in August, a few of us (myself, Malay and Ankita of Resurrect, and Kedar Gore of The Corbett Foundation) got together to discuss on turning this into something much more than just a report, and we came up with a field guide – a handy book on common insects and spiders of Kanha Tiger Reserve. It is currently available in India on Amazon: http://www.amazon.in/Field-Guide-Insects-Spiders-Reserve/dp/8193208528/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1477455449&sr=1-2&keywords=kanha+tiger+reserve

And also on BNHS: http://bnhs.org/bnhs/index.php?option=com_virtuemart&view=productdetails&virtuemart_product_id=338&virtuemart_category_id=13&Itemid=538

For Europe (especially UK) it is available on NHBS: http://www.nhbs.com/title/212834/a-field-guide-to-insects-spiders-of-kanha-tiger-reserve

For USA it is available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Field-Guide-Insects-Spiders-Reserve/dp/8193208…

The Karvy Question

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There is a shrub – an omnipresent one – on the gentle as well as steep slopes of the Western Ghats called Karvy (or Karvi), Strobilanthes callosus. It grows in dense thickets with its stems shooting straight up from the ground into a loosely held bunch. In summer they appear as a maze of bone-dry sticks which are collected by local communities to build walls – the sticks, being straight, are tied next to one another upon which a layer of mud and dung is plastered (these structures are very cool and very sustainable in their make). By late winter the leaves dry out, first developing warts, then turning yellow and orange, and then as they desiccate with rising temperatures they turn brown and crumble away. It is between these two seasons that they’re at their best – their leaves are dark and large, crenate, and shaped roughly like a spearhead. Right at the onset of monsoons, the new leaves arise in a bunch, and slowly regain their spread over the Ghats. They look marvellous, whether bar…

An Android-based Spider App for Common Spiders of India

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The Corbett Foundation and Earthwatch Institute (India) have come up with an easy-to-use app called Spider Watch that looks at 50 common species of spiders belonging to 23 families found in India – whether you’re in a city, a garden, or a sanctuary – you’re likely to find them there. This app was made to facilitate on-field identification of common spiders of India, with an objective to bring these little tigers of the undergrowth to the forefront, and to inculcate further interest in them.
Just search for “Spider Watch” on Google Play store from your android phones, or follow this link. Its usage is fairly simple. Here are some screenshots of the app: