The Vultures of Moyar

By Anoop NR With a featherless head and neck along with a large hooked beak, vultures have unique adaptations for scavenging dead animals. Vultures play a vital role in many ecological processes such as eliminating carcasses, controlling the number of other scavengers and epidemic pathogens. They are in severe decline across the globe due to…

Moyar: The Raptor Valley of the Western Ghats

By Anoop NR The Moyar River valley   About 30 km east of Udagamandalam (Ooty) in the Nilgiri district of Tamil Nadu resides a dramatic landscape of the Western Ghats – the Moyar Valley. This valley is an ecologically outstanding region of the Western Ghats and home to a variety of flora and fauna. Nestled in…

Erappinkara has lost its sound

By Jyoti Nair The heavy rains came late this year, transforming much of South India into a lush green landscape.  But just a few months ago South India was in the throes of drought. Rainfall deficit of more than 60% last year had severely affected several districts including my home town in Kilimanoor in Thiruvanthapuram…

Graffiti

  Ecologists are often accused of tunnel vision, as they are unable to see the broader social, economic and political forces that had, and are actually shaping the problems they study. Political ecology takes into consideration these forces, thereby forming a contextual, holistic approach to the ecological problems, rather than a compartmentalized approach. Even in…

Labours of Love: Part Two

Written by R. Venkat Ramanujam Part 2 of 2 (Read Part 1 here) Drops of fresh pig-blood trickled down from Kutuk’s upper arms and chest, and stained his brand new pink loin cloth. A thick beaded necklace hung from his neck. Richard respectfully placed a glass of milk-tea in front, next to the kerosene lantern. Kutuk…

Labours of Love: Part One

Written by R. Venkat Ramanujam Part 1 of 2 Emily looked up at me and smiled her shy, dazzling smile. I might have turned a deep red but was saved from embarrassment by the colour of my skin. “I was at the market just now, and bought this for you, er, for your family. This is…

Use Your Smartphone Smartly: Apps in Ecological Research

Written by Soumya K.V. Have you ever wondered what your smartphone can do besides making calls, waking you up, reminding you of things to do, navigating your way, accessing your emails, communicating with your friends, accessing social media, taking pictures, playing music and videos, and so on? We all have smartphones but do we use…

The “Backstage” of a PhD

Written by Chandrima Home A PhD is a memorable journey in many ways – a motley mix of experiences ranging from the excitement of doing field work to the frustration of data analyses, and endless tedium of formatting your thesis, especially if you are technologically challenged! All these experiences and choices we make are often…

Living with humpback dolphins and fishers: A photo story

Written by Rahul Muralidharan The Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar in Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu are home to humpback dolphins and artisanal fishing communities. Dolphins and fishers here have historically had an uneasy relationship: that is dolphins engage in depredation or in other words -plunder fish caught in fisher’s nets. But, on…