Newly described scorpion species from Western Ghats highlight need for more research and conservation

Since March 2020, scientists from the Institute of Natural History Education and Research (INHER), Pune have described seven new species of scorpions from the Western Ghats – six from the Sahyadris in Maharashtra and one from the southern Western Ghats near Bengaluru. These discoveries highlight the need for dedicated surveys and integrated taxonomic research on scorpions to be able to effectively conserve them.

New species of snake described with the help of a 185-year-old painting

A new snake species has been described from the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, The new species, now known as Joseph's racer, was first collected in the mid-19th Century, but the confusion around this

The Bee Garden Project- BSF Small Grants Programme

The Bee Garden Project aims to highlight the importance of ‘functional biodiversity’ and draw attention to the role of non-honey bee pollinators in an urban context. Solitary bees are important pollinators that ‘buzz-pollinate’ plants such as brinjal, tomato and chillies. They require dead wood, twigs, or exposed soil for nesting, and are thus constrained in the urban environment. ‘Bee hotels’ are a simple and accessible means of conservation action to help meet the dearth of nesting material. A bee hotel essentially consists of a structure that contains wooden tubes or cavities in which bees can nest and raise their larvae. Bee hotels incorporated into edible home gardens could help increase harvest as vegetable and fruit plants provide excellent bee forage. This project will serve as an initiative for integrating pollinators in urban landscapes and furthering citizen interest in pollinator conservation.

Muhamma vying for prizes in U.S. contest

“Prior to the implementation of the project, about one lakh synthetic sanitary pads were disposed of in the ecosystem every month, polluting ground and lake water in Muhamma. The project has helped reduce water pollution from menstrual wastes which were impacting the water bodies and public health. Further, reduction in menstrual waste is expected to improve the ecosystem health of the Vembanad Ramsar site,” says Ms. Anand

Winners of the Harper Prize 2020

Congratulations to Atul Joshi and Blanca Arroyo-Correa for the award "Harper Prize 2020". Atul Joshi’s paper shows how alien species can disrupt ecological processes... Find out more about award-winning research articles here:

Spotting the whistling hunter

Perhaps the world's least-studied canid, the dhole faces heavy persecution from farmers and villagers in its range countries, where it is viewed as vermin. Although the dhole is rarely involved in cases of human-wildlife conflict, unlike wolves and big cats, it is immensely disliked and easily dismissed.

Protect biodiversity to prevent the next pandemic

The dwindling proportion of unaltered land for animals and wildlife that remains today, has led to increased interactions between humans and animals thus posing the threat of pathogen transfer.

A colonial mindset fans the flames in our forests

"Forest departments still rigidly stick to the notion that all forest fires are bad, and follow centrally approved working plans, although officials in Delhi simply cannot know the specifics of Chamarajanagar. What is required is both flexible thinking about fire and changing the relationship between the departments and local communities. The Forest Rights Act 2006 offers a way for achieving both: if community forest rights are recognised, communities will have both the incentive to control fires in 'their' forests, and the space to use their traditional knowledge on fire management, to experiment."

Public trained to identify invasive flora

Recently, the Ashoka Trust for Research on Ecology and Environment (ATREE), Bengaluru, along with Keystone Foundation in Kotagiri, organised a training programme for residents from local communities to identify around 27 species of invasive flora in different parts of the Nilgiris.

Rohini Nilekani pledges ₹50 cr. to ATREE

City philanthropist and author Rohini Nilekani pledged ₹50 crore to ATREE (Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment), a think tank.