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Our team is excited to share that we have started our low-water season population survey of the endangered Ganges river dolphin in the Karnali-Geruwa-Katarniya international waterways of Nepal and India. We received a 2013 CLP Future Conservationist Award for this project, entitled “Ecology and Conservation of Ganges river dolphin Platanista gangetica in the Karnali Nepal.” The survey started on December 17, 2013 and is taking place upstream of the Girijapuri barrage in India in collaboration with Bardiya National Park of Nepal and WWF India.

By T. R. Ramachandran and T. R. Shankar Raman (This article appeared as a lead on the edit page of The Hindu on 13 July 2013) The recent flood-related disaster in Uttarakhand was labelled a Himalayan tsunami, recalling the deaths, damage, and destruction that followed the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami of December 2004. Yet, this is a misleading metaphor, because there is little evidence that real tsunamis are linked to human activities that impact our oceans or sea-floors. In contrast, there is compelling evidence that climate change and the occurrence of extreme meteorological events—such as the one in Uttarakhand—are also related to human activities that have altered our atmosphere through greenhouse gas emissions. In today’s world, many weather-related disasters are not merely chance occurrences. Extreme weather and related disasters are becoming more common. In an analysis published in 2012, Munich Re, the global insurance giant, reported that disasters tied to extreme weather events have more than doubled worldwide since 1980. So far in 2013, many examples stand out—record high temperatures in Australia and the …

By Elrika D’Souza and Vardhan Patankar Out in the wonderfully clear azure seas of the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago, we embarked on a quest to study the little known animal, the dugong, commonly known as sea cow. Spending about seventy percent of their lives below the surface dugongs come into view only briefly when they rise up to breath, once every five to seven minutes; no wonder they are still shrouded in mystery! In India, dugongs inhabit waters around the 
Gulf of Kutch, Gulf of Mannar, Palk Bay and the Andaman & Nicobar archipelago. Our research has gathered new clues about a crucial part of the dugong’s life which occupies much of their time; their feeding habits in seagrass meadows. The search for answers started seven years ago when we sighted two dugongs while snorkeling around an island in Ritchie’s archipelago. We observed these two individuals closely for months and found them feeding in the same seagrass meadows through the year. They fed specifically on two species of seagrasses that were relatively small-sized and low …

The arrival of the postman at our doorstep, just before noon, is always a welcome event, more so when he brings something always awaited by us: a book or a magazine, or even the rare letter. Today, he brought the latest issue of Indian Birds, volume 8 number 5 of our subscription to this excellent bird journal, which we have in our little library from the very first issue. The latest issue promised interesting reading over a quiet weekend indoors, tucked away from melancholy mists and monsoon rains. Opening the issue, I was delighted to see the first paper titled ‘Notes on Indian rarities—1: Seabirds’, by three leading ornithologists, J. Praveen, Rajah Jayapal, and Aasheesh Pittie. It was the first part of a very welcome series on Indian birds, a critical review of all bird species reported from India, especially rare birds with few records, all as a prelude to making a systematic checklist of Indian birds that I will much look forward to. Their task is not an easy one, to sift through reports and publications, examine records …