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Tuesday, December 17

Fish fauna in Bharathapuzha under severe threats, warn scientists

Bharathapuzha, River Nila, Threats to River Nila, Threats to Western Ghats Rivers
A view of Bharathapuzha (Image Credit: Wiki Media Commons/ Jjvellara)

Implement urgent conservation efforts or the rich and endemic fish wealth in the largest river in the Western Ghats of Kerala will remain only on papers, warns a new assessment on the threats to the fish diversity in the Bharathapuzha River, locally known as River Nila.

Through a survey on all the four major tributaries of the Bharathapuzha River system - Gayathripuzha, Chitturpuzha, Kalpathipuzha and Thoothapuzha – the study recorded 117 species of fishes in Nila with the highest species richness from the stretch between Parali to Purathur estuary. Among this, 33 are found only in Western Ghats and three are found only in Bharathapuzha River system. 

A group of researchers including A Bijukumar, Department of Aquatic Biology and Fisheries, University of Kerala, Siby Philip from Department of Zoology, Nirmalagiri College, Koothuparamba, Anvar Ali and Rajeev Raghavan from Conservation Research Group, St Albert’s College, Kochi and S Sushama from Department of Zoology, NSS College Ottapalam carried out the study which is published in the Journal of Threatened Taxa.

Top Ten Threats to River Nila

Despite the richness, the river system of River Nila is under threat from human interference, says the study which is published in the Journal of Threatened Taxa. “Several anthropogenic stressors including deforestation and loss of riparian cover, dams and other impoundments, pollution, sand mining, non-native species, climate change and destructive fishing practices are threatening the fish diversity of Bharathapuzha River system”, it says.

Threat #1: Sand mining

Most notorious, most widely known but most rampant, despite being regulated (encouraged ?) by the il-legal machinery. If we number the threat based on the calamity it brings, this one goes to top. The study marks the region between Pattambi and Thiunavaya as the superhot stretch of legal and illegal sand mining. Studies conducted by CESS in 1997 itself has shown that the rate of sand mining is way too above the rate of sand generation in Nila. For many fishes in Nila, Sand is the breeding substrate, and is the single crucial link that supports the aquatic food web. With the indiscriminate sand mining, it is just a matter of time for fishes like Glossogobius giuris and Sicyopterus griseus to vanish from Nila forever, warns the study.

Threat #2: Dams and impoundments

Known fact: Big dams are a major threat to the rich and endemic fish diversity of Nila, since they change the turbulence of the river causing high sedimentation and other problems. Lesser Known fact: Dozens of smaller check damk dams across Nila are also doing the same. Bigger dams are fixed in number so far – Nila has 11 irrigation dams. Impoundments are still proliferating, turning out to be a lesser noticed diversity killer in Nila. It has severely affected the movement of certain fish species and is believed to be a reason for the near absence of eels in the river system.

Threat #3: Pesticide pollution

When it comes to a River system like Nila, don’t think it is just the factories that are pushing chemicals to the water. River basin dependent extensive agriculture and plantations are also contributing their fair share to polluting this blood line of middle Kerala. Chemical fertilizers, pesticides, chemical nutrients, weedicides, you name it. The resulting eutrophication- the facilitation of aquatic plant growth which in turn decreases the available oxygen in the water, killing the aquatic fauna- is a major issue, especially from Chamravattom to Purakkad, says the study.

Threat #4: Urban sewage

Read Pattambi. According to the study, the town of Pattambi which falls under the Palakkad District of the state of Kerala is a major source of urban sewage which pollutes the river extensively, taking over the pollutant cocktail made by the agro-pollutants. “The urban sewage canals directly open into the river, through which the municipal waste is dumped. Such large scale pollution not only degrades the habitat but also causes endocrine disruptions and several other physiological imbalances in fish including breeding failure which could ultimately lead to their extirpation”, says the study.

Threat #5: Deforestation

According to the study, deforestation in its catchment areas like Mangalam, Nelliyampathy, Walayar, Malampuzha, Nellipuzha, Dhoni and Kalladikode is a major threat. The loss of natural native vegetation has triggered the invasion by exotic plants. Not only that the fishes loose a food resource, the high sedimentation rate due to deforestation is changing the natural composition of the river bed. It makes survival difficult for many endemic loaches in the river since they use the pebbles in the river bed for breeding.

Threat #6: Lime stone mining

Lime stone mining is rampant in certain areas of the catchment of the river, says the study. This is especially prominent in Malampuzha, part of the Kalpathipuzha tributary. The study claims that the lime stone mining in the catchment areas is leading to pollution and siltation in the stream. Apart from triggering an unnatural rise in the silicate content in the water, the dumping of mining debris also damages smaller streams in the system like Seemanthinipuzha.

Threat #7: Alien species

The study has spotted at least six non-native fish species in Nila. While three of them were non-native to Indian rivers, three were from the Gangetic plains. Though the Indian major carps were introduced as part of aquaculture, considered as a success, the study was able to spot them from lower reaches of the river, revealing that they have proliferated though the river beyond their actual reservoirs. Such proliferation of non-native species often wipes out native species in the fight for resources. Species foreign to India like the Nile Tilapia and Mozambique Tilapia were also spotted from Nila, showing that the alien invasion is possibly stifling the endemic fish fauna of the river. However, the surprise factor was that the study reportedly failed to fetch another notorious alien species – African catfish- which is a known diversity killer in Western Ghats Rivers.

Threat #8: Climate change

Studies conducted in 2010 and 2011 discovered that the temperature in the Bharathapuzha basin has been on the rise for a 36 year period from 1969 to 2005. Moreover, rainfall data shows that the Nila watershed gets less rainfall than the state average. Though the temperature rise is often cited as an impact of climate change phenomenon and the increasing anthropogenic pressure in the river banks of the Nila, its effect on the biodiversity of the river system is scarcely studied.

Threat #9: Aquarium fish trade

 Comes in many colours –state supported as well as clandestine. This greed trade is especially wiping away endemic and beautiful fishes like Miss Kerala (Sahyadri denisoni) and Mesonoemacheilus remadevii, the latter being found only in river system in Silent Valley which is part of the Bharathapuzha River System. As per a recent study, Miss Kerala has been found to be collected in massive amounts from Thoothappuzha tributary for pet trade.

Threat #10: Destructive fishing practices

Last, but not the least, as always. Poisoning, use of mesh nets and dynamiting – small effort, good catch. Though traditional fishermen abstain from practices like dynamiting, it is raising a major threat to the fish diversity in the tributaries where the traditional fishermen are lesser in number, warns the study.

Action Time: Conservation Points to save Nila

  • Prioritizing integrated watershed programmes.
  • No more new medium or big dams, cautious about new check dam proposals.
  • Channelize district River Management Fund to Eco restoration of stretches of Nila.
  • Regulation of sand mining has been proved to be futile. So finding an eco-friendly alternative to sand is the only option left. But that will be like legalizing marijuana- you have to first convince the cartels before you convince the government. (They will have to take it, since the sand is running out and the weed is on the rise).
  • Beg people not to use pesticides or agro-chemicals near the river bed cultivations (otherwise also).
  • Regulate large scale riverbed cultivation.
  • Establishing Aquatic Biodiversity Management Zones (ABMZ) to conserve river stretches known to shelter endemic and rare fishes.
  • Regulate the greed pet trade and destructive fishing practices, not to say dynamiting.
  • Above all, let people know – ask them, request them, beg them, threaten them – You may go the extreme since water is the life blood of the green earth, as River Nila is for Kerala.

Wednesday, December 4

New bush frog species discovered from Western Ghats of Maharashtra

Raorchestes ghatei, new frog species, Western Ghats frog, Amphibians of western ghats, bush frogs, Ghate's bush frog, frogs of maharashtra
Raorchestes ghatei
(Photo Courtesy: JOTT, Image Credit: Anand D Padhye)
Amidst the ruckus raised by mining lobbies and real estate mafias against the implementation of the expert panel report on conserving the Western Ghats mountain ranges, researchers continue to discover species unknown to science from different parts of this biodiversity hot-spot. The latest in the line is Raorchestes ghatei, a new species of Bush Frog discovered from the Western Ghats in the state of Maharashtra.

According to a study published in the Journal of Threatened Taxa, the new frog species is very different from its closest relatives. Apart from the observable morphological differences, the sequencing study of the mRNA of the newly described frog confirms its identity as a distinct species of bush frogs. According to the research note, ‘molecular phylogeny based on 16S rRNA gene sequence suggests that the new species is genetically distinct and forms a monophyletic clade within Raorchestes, the genus of bush frogs’ to which it belongs.

Researchers came across this enigmatic species from different places in Satara and Pune districts of Maharashtra. They have christened it after Dr. H.V. Ghate known for his contributions to the herpetology of Western Ghats of Maharashtra. According to the researchers, the frog will be known as Ghate’s Shrub Frog.

Based on historical records, the researchers claim that the Ghate’s Shrub Frog is widely distributed in the Western Ghats of Maharashtra. It typically inhabits scrub patches and semi-evergreen forests. The species shows sexual dimorphism due to which males and females of the species look different. In fact, they are different in their behavior too, say the researchers. While the females prefer to hide under loose stones, males usually perch on shrubs and tree trunks up to 5 meters above the ground.

Unlike many other frogs, the new species does not have a free-swimming tadpole stage in its development.  Instead, it shows direct development – emerging as a morphological miniature of the adult from the egg. As per the study, Raorchestes ghatei usually lays egg in loose soil under stones.

Amphibian diversity in Western Ghats
Western Ghats is known for its rich amphibian diversity, the new discovery adds to human efforts to understand it. According to a theme paper on Amphibian diversity prepared by Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel, India is home to 311 species of amphibians among which 161 are found in Western Ghats. According to the paper, at least 138 species of amphibian species are endemic to Western Ghats. However, much of this diversity was unknown to science until recently and is still getting unearthed. During the last ten years from 2003, at least 37 new species of frogs have been discovered from different parts of the Western Ghats.

According to the new study which described Raorchestes ghatei , though specific threat to the new frog species were difficult to identify, the habitat destruction due to human interference is a major threat to the endemic amphibian diversity in Western Ghats. “Even though no specific threats could be identified for the species, continuous deforestation in these areas leading to habitat fragmentation could be a threat to the species”, says the study. According to the researchers, tourism activities as well as setting up of wind farms are also leading to destruction of amphibian habitat in this area.

Anand D. Padhye and Anushree Jadhav of Department of Zoology, MES’s Abasaheb Garware College, Pune, Amit Sayyed of Wildlife Protection and Research Society, Satara and Neelesh Dahanukar from Indian institute of Science Education and Research, Pune have co-authored the study.

Friday, November 15

Wild Elephants in the Nilgiris help seed dispersal of fruit bearing plants: reveals new study

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Elephant herds in Silent Valley National Park in Western Ghats of Kerala
(Photo Courtesy: N P Jayan)

Wild tuskers in Southern Western Ghats are just like birds. Not that they can fly, but like their winged friends, they play a crucial role in the seed dispersal of some plant species found in this rare biodiversity hotspot, says researchers who studied the seed dispersal role of elephants here.According to their study, Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) are important seed dispersing agents of some fruit bearing plants in the semi-deciduous, thorny forests of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, the oldest biosphere reserve in India which lies in the Western Ghats.

By examining the fruit seeds and remnants in elephant dung piles in the study areas, the researchers found that this biggest terrestrial animal plays a key role in the seed dispersal of at least eight different plant species found in the area like Acacia intsia (Twisted Acacia), Artocarpus heterophyllus (Jack Fruit), Bauhinia racemosa (Bidi Leaf Tree), Grewia hirsuta (Kukurbicha), Grewia tiliifolia (Dhaman), Mangifera indica (Mango), Tamarindus indica (Tamarind) and Ziziphus mauritiana (Indian jujube). Among these eight, Wild Tamarind and Twisted Acacia are the favorite fruit of the tuskers, since their presence was significantly more in the dung piles than the other six species, says the study which is published in the Journal of Threatened Taxa.

Earlier research in Asian and African forests have shown that elephants are a very effective seed dispersing agents. They devour huge amount of fruits and carry the seeds to long distances from the parent tree with their behavior of moving to wide-ranging areas. Moreover, seeds are defecated intact. It is also observed that the dung piles often provide a nutritious medium for seed germination.

Fruit Diet of the Pachyderms in the Nilgiris
The study has also revealed some interesting insights into the food habits of the wild elephants in Nilgiris. According to the researchers, elephants in the area consume more fruits during dry season when compared to the wet monsoon season. “Seeds and other fruit parts appeared in the dung piles significantly more frequently during the dry season than in the wet seasons”, says the study.

Moreover, tuskers prefer a fruity diet more in the thorny forests, than in a moist deciduous area, shows the results of the study. The study also confirms the sometimes notorious truth of the tuskers’ irresistible temptation for mango and jack fruits when they are in moist deciduous areas in NBR. Remnants of both of these fruits were frequently found in the dung piles from moist deciduous areas. Often, fruiting jack fruit trees are blamed for wild elephants raiding villages in the forest fringes of NBR.

However, pachyderms have dislikes for certain items in their fruits menu, says the study. Fruits of Z. mauritiana are less preferred by these animals, as indicated by the lower presence of these fruit remnants in the dung piles, despite the wide presence of the plant in the forests of NBR.

But don’t misunderstand that the wild elephants in Western Ghats consider fruits as their favorite item like their African and Malayan counter parts, reminds the researchers. Grass species like bamboo are the first preference for tuskers in these areas. Fruits are second or third in the list. “Elephants consume a lesser number of fruit species in the tropical dry forests of Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve than in the rainforest habitats of Asia and Africa”, points out the study.

Asian Elephant Population in the Nilgiris
The study was carried out in Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary which is presently a Tiger Reserve, Nilgiri North, Sathiyamangalam and Coimbatore forest divisions, Bandipur Tiger Reserve and Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary which all come under Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.

According to the figures of the last elephant census, the area holds the one of the largest population of Asian elephants in the world, with approximately 4,500–5,800 individuals.

During the study period, the research team extensively followed elephant herds and bulls in these areas. According to the researchers, they have collected fresh dung piles whenever defecation was observed. On a total, they have examined 455 elephant dung piles during the whole study period.

Nagarajan Baskaran and Ajay A. Desai of  Bombay Natural History Society have co-authored the study.


Friday, November 8

Wayanad Keelback: An Endemic Snake from Southern Western Ghats Video


Wayanad Keelback (Amphiesma monticola) is a non-venomous snake endemic to western Ghats. We found it on the way to Agasthyarkoodam, in Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala, India. It was resting on the side of the road, after the area was swept out by a large forest fire. The tribal tracker (who was a member of the kani tribe) with us, said that they call this snake - Padakootti(someone who can gather forces) - and believes that if somebody mess up with one snake, he/she will come back with a lot of snakes. 

However, herpetologists from Kerala suggest that the local name could be a mistake by the tracker. 

Watch more Wildlife Videos from India's deep forests in our YouTube Channel.

Thursday, October 31

Common Mormon bags Butterfly Mumbai Crown

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Mating Common Mormon Butterflies at Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, Tamil Nadu, India
(Image: Indian Biodiversity Talks)
Common Mormon now decorates the coveted title of Butterfly of Mumbai - the financial capital of India. Mumbaikars have selected the most charming common butterfly in their suburbs in a suspense filled competition between a dozen winged beauties. In the race to win the title of the most charming, common butterfly, Common Mormon overtook a couple of winged beauties like Tailed Jay, Common Crow, and Common Emigrant.

Known as Papilio polytes in scientific parlance, this Swallowtail butterfly grabbed the title when biodiversity conservation research organisation Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) organised a public poll on different common butterfly species, as part of their Breakfast with Butterflies programme, to create awareness among the city folk about butterflies. According to sources, the voting was held at the Facebook page of BNHS also.

During the programme, the 150 participants of the programme voted for butterflies like Common Crow, Tailed Jay, Common Mormon and Common Emigrant. 69 voters elected Common Mormon as the most charming one. Tailed jay, the closest rival in the race, managed to bag 35 votes.

Others beauties failed to make many fans among the voters with Plain Tiger scoring 28 votes and Common Emigrant managing to get 17 votes. Common Crow was the least voted species, with just 9 votes. According to organisers at the BNHS, butterfly species were selected for voting based on their popularity and wide distribution in Mumbai.

“Common Mormon is just like any Mumbaikar”
According to Dr. V.Shubhalaxmi, Deputy Director, BNHS, Common Mormon has a lot of similarity with an average Mumbaikar. “Common Mormon resonates the spirit of Mumbai by being elegant and beautiful yet ‘street smart’ to remain grounded. Like any Mumbaikar, Common Mormon fights the odds of life by adjusting with its environment by adopting strategy of mimicry”, she said.

She sketches out more striking similarities between the newly elected Butterfly Mumbai and the Mumbai life. “As the young love their food with a dash of curry leaf tadka and drops of lemon juice, so does the Common Mormon’s caterpillar”, she said. Next time you see a Common Mormon, remember they are our buddies and let them live and flourish with us, she reminds.

Watch mating Common Mormon butterflies. The female is mimicking Crimson Rose

The swallowtail butterfly belonging to the Papilionidae, is widely distributed in India and other parts of Asia. The female Common Mormon butterflies show an interesting example of mimicry in the insect world. Some female Common Mormon butterflies mimic Common Rose while some other mimic Crimson Rose, both distasteful to birds due to the poisonous food plants they eat during their larval stages. Common Mormon lays its eggs in Curry leaf plant or lemon plant. 

Monday, October 21

Seventh Kerala Bird Race to be Held on Nov 10th in Major Cities

Kerala Bird Race, Kerala’s biggest mass bird watching event, will launch its seventh edition on Sunday, 10th November 2013 in three major cities of Kerala – Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode. Unlike the yesteryear editions, it will be non-competitive this year as per the information from the Bird Race organizers. 
Birders, bird watching, Kerala Bird Race, kerala birder, MNHS
Birders participating in an earlier edition of  Kerala Bird Race
Photo Courtesy: K. Ananthan

During the event, birders in small groups will compete to spot and identity as many birds as possible within the time between dawn to dusk from a 100 km radius in the three cities. The teams in each city will join together for dinner at a single place and will compare the performances and discuss the findings. In the yesteryears, the team with the most numbers of spotting used to bag the title. However, this year the event is in non-competitive mode.

Bird Race in non-competitive mode

To promote more public participation, the seventh Kerala Bird Race is held in a non-competitive mode, with no prizes for the winners. “The idea is to see how many birds can be seen in a day by all the teams put together. There are no strict rules and it is only about the fun element in this exercise, which will hopefully help stimulate enormous interest in bird-watching as a highly popular hobby”, says a correspondence from Kerala Birder, an online birder group in Kerala.

The highlight is that the participants will be looking for birds, not for prizes, hint the organizers. According to Sunjoy Monga, an organizer of the event, It will still be a race but all participants will be winners. "We are trying this format with some of the cities. The idea came about after discussions from findings wherein we found little bits of over-enthusiasm for prizes . So in a way, this format will hopefully help provide more factual results since no one is going to come first. By making it non-competitive, we will also know the real passionate from the I-want-to-win types ", he said.

However,  participants may find surprises, not just the feathered ones in the field. As per sources close to the organizers, all participants will receive a special souvenir that is being prepared. All children between the age 6 - 12 are likely to receive a complimentary copy of book on birds for children. 

The race is organized annually to enlighten the public about bird watching and to introduce the beginning birders to the religion of serious birding, to keep the species of birders away from extinction. Bird Races in the country began in the year 2005 as a 100 participant event in Mumbai. According to birders, It has grown into India's largest birding event with 16 cities and more than 3500 participants.

Kerala Bird Race had been attracting birders and fresh hobbyists from all over the state and -in fact, even from outside the state. “We sometimes have participants from Kanyakumari district joining us at Thiruvananthapuram”, says the organizers. Last year, the race witnessed about 350 participants.

Green groups in action

The race is being held with the active co-ordination of major green groups in the state. While the race in the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram will be organized and coordinated by the WWF-Kerala team, Cochin Natural History Society will organize it in Cochin. Malabar Natural History Society will be the coordinators of the event in Kozhikode. 

According to the organizers, anybody interested can take part in the race with their own team, provided one in the team is familiar with almost all of the bird species found in the locality. However, if a beginning birder with no connections wants to participate in the event, he or she can contact the coordinators to enroll as part of a team. The event is organized with the support of Kerala Birder along with The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (HSBC) and Yuhina Eco-Media.

Friday, October 11

The Story of Finding Callerebia dibangensis: An Interview with Purnendu Roy

Callerebia dibangensis (Image Courtesy: Purnendu Roy)
A pleasant surprise hit us recently from the lush greenery of Dibang Valley in Arunchal Pradesh, when Purnendu Roy, a naturalist, discovered a new butterfly species Callerebia dibangensis from Mithun Valley, approximately 5 kilometres from Aini. The surprise was double-fold. First- The butterfly was present in the region at least for the last 26 years,(as we know now) but was overlooked so far. Second- Roy was not a full-time scientist, but just a naturalist, with a particular interest in the eastern Himalaya. 

So when we contacted Roy to know more about the story behind this discovery, he responded to us in detail. Here we share our email interview with Purnendu Roy for our readers.

Q. What was the most difficult part in deciding the identity of the new species?

A. The only field guide I had in 1987 was a reprint of Wynter-Blyth "Butterflies of the Indian Region".  Though pretty comprehensive it poorly covered the northeast, the plates were of an extremely poor quality and some of the keys were not sufficient to identify all the species you would come across in the NE.

At the end of my trip in 1987 I had several species of interest which I could not identify. I tried to identify them by checking the literature available at the Zoological library. I had some success in some of the species, but the literature on Callerebia was not very illuminating and very few species were actually illustrated so I reached a dead end trying to identify that specimen.

In April 2012 I assisted Sanjay Sondhi of the Titli Trust(a non-profit nature conservation organisation based in Dehradun) with a biodiversity survey of Pakke, Sessa and Eaglenest in Arunachal Pradesh. At Eaglenest we saw Gonepteryx amintha thibetana which I had previously collected from the Dibang valley in 1987, but never reported. In the preparation of that paper, I took the opportunity to look again at some of the specimens I was not able to identify in 1987.

It was through the assistance of Dr David Lees at the British Natural History Museum, London that some of the species were finally determined, but there was nothing quite like this Callerebia in the NHM collection and it was suggested that I should describe it as a new species.

Not having access to comparison materials is the biggest obstacle for identification and is one of the main reasons why I am strong supporter of open access resources. The more materials we have on open access the easier it will be for naturalists to document and make discoveries.

Q. It appears to have a long gap between collecting the specimen and publishing the study (almost more than 25 years). Why was it so delayed?

A. As I said earlier, I reached a dead end in trying to identify some of the species. I subsequently concentrated on my work in fair trade. In 2012, my partner insisted that I take a sabbatical from work and go back to my interest in butteflies and this led to me to the work of Sanjay Sondhi.

I was a member of the Bombay Natural History society earlier, but I never really made contact with anyone else interested in butterflies in that society. The internet has made it easier now to connect with people and I think this is encouraging a resurgence in Indian butterfly interest and is also enabling me to keep up my interest. 

Q. In the study, you point out that Upper Dibang valley has certain geographical characteristics which increases the endemic nature of the species found here. Does it increase the conservation significance of the place?

A. I think so. In addition the whole of the Dibang river watershed lies within India. It is relatively intact with unbroken stretches of sub-tropical forests to the permanent snow line of the main Himalayan range. I am not sure if there is any comparable region in India.

Q. Is there any specific threat for the species in particular and the other insect diversity in the area?

A. At the elevation it was collected there are no specific threats. The proposed Dibang dam is however a serious threat to the riverine forests at lower elevations as highlighted by the MoEF forest panel which rejected the clearance.

Q. It is interesting to see that the species was overlooked for such a long period. Is it actually pointing out that there could be more unknown species in the area? Do you think there is need for more systematic surveys in these areas?

A. If in a well studied group such as butterflies a new species has been overlooked then I think it does illustrate that more new species especially in the less studied fauna will be discovered. There is certainly a need for more systematic studies so that a greater range of altitudes and seasons are covered.

Q. After the publication of the study, did you get any correspondence from any other part regarding the report of the species?

A. None as yet. Recently though another one of the species I recorded in the Dibang valley has been photographed and an article on that species will be published at a later date.

As I work very much with communities in fair trade. I would very much like to see community and grass roots involvement in any conservation initiatives. I am hope that I do get some correspondence in this respect.

Discovery of Callerebia dibangensis, is a pleasant surprise. However, what Purnendu did, adds to the pleasant part of it. From age immemorial, the knowledge of the biodiversity was vital for survival of the human. So the earlier communities handed over the knowledge through their folk songs, tales and traditional customs. When we started devouring the nature and entrusted the responsibility of studying nature upon university courses and arm chair scientists who hate field trips, we left out that vital knowledge, which will decide the fate of being human. 

It is again the time when we need people’s participation in indexing and conserving biodiversity at local level. Purnendu’s attempt, even after a long delay, is a good sign in that way. Let’s hope it will inspire the umpteen people biodiversity initiatives budding around the country.