Saturday, December 24, 2011

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The 1st Castle Rock- Kuveshi Biodivesity Workshop 2012.



THE SETTING-

A high altitude mixed moist deciduous and semi evergreen region, with altitudes ranging from 517- 800 msl, the forests around Castle Rock and Kuveshi village are a wildlifers paradise and a researcher’s dream area to work in.

Our base is at Kuveshi village, a small hamlet situated in the heart of rainforests and 12 kilometers away from Castle Rock. The motor able dirt track that leads to Kuveshi passes through some of the most exquisite forests of the region and includes a criss cross network of streams and rivulets that meander through these forests.

The forests that surround Kuveshi fall in the buffer areas of the Dandeli Tiger Reserve and are home to gaur, tigers, leopards, sambar, spotted deer, mouse deer, barking deer, sloth bear, slender loris to name but a few. The Herpetofauna includes King cobra, Indian Rock Python, Hump nosed and Malabar Pit vipers, Draco and Indian Monitor lizard, Malabar gliding frog and Maharashtra Bush frog amongst others.

The fabled Dudhsagar falls are located in tranquil dense tropical forest criss-crossed with small streams which all merge into the Dudhsagar falls. The view from the crown of the falls is spectacular, offering a panorama of the Mollem National Park, the Devil’s Canyon at its foot (a popular picnic spot with locals and tourists), and the little railway bridge that crosses the canyon.

The Base

The research base at Kuveshi is named Hypnale after the Latin name of the Hump nosed pit viper (Hypnale hypnale). The forest that surrounds the villages of Castle Rock and Kuveshi are the type locality of this species that is endemic to the forests of South India and Sri Lanka. The research station is a part of the Wildlife Research Station network that we are trying to establish across the Northern Western Ghats of India and is focused towards study of lesser-known fauna in the region.

THE SEASON-

Climate- Pleasant climate with windy weather.

Temperature- 28 degrees Celsius to 35 degrees Celsius.

Humidity- 60 percent and above.

THE ACTIVITY-

The Trip will include opportunistic surveys, lectures on field data collection and in situ photography of Western Ghats biodiversity.

Field identification of flora and fauna, demonstration, training on field survey techniques and discussion of natural history will also be a part of the program.

Participants will also get to use field equipment, learn basic observation and field skills and work alongside qualified researchers in the field.

WHAT TO EXPECT-

A rainforest eco system that is unique and offers vast prospects for

a. Closely observing,photographing and documenting uncommon and endemic bio diversity.

b. Trekking and participation in field surveys.

c. Learning from field ecologists and use of field equipment.

And more…..

DATES- 26TH JAN 2012 TO 29TH (7.00 am departure from Panjim on 26th and reaching on 29th at 4.00pm at Panjim)

CONTRIBUTION FEES- Rs 3200/- per participant (this includes all meals and snacks, usage of equipment, resource person fees and transportation from Panjim to Hypnale base station at Kuveshi and back.)

ENTIRE FEES HAVE TO BE PAID IN ADVANCE AND ARE NON REFUNDABLE SO PLEASE NE SURE BEFORE YOU CONFIRM.

Please email ophidian_nirmal@yahoo.co.in or glendagoa@yahoo.co.in for details.

NUMBER OF SEATS- 10 on a FIRST COME BASIS.

AGE GROUP- 16 years to 60 years. (Participants have to be physically fit and prepared for the outdoors)

Essentials for the workshop.

1. Fast drying earth colored field clothes.

2. Good walking shoes fit for rough terrain.

3. Tick Socks (if don’t have a pair, buy one from us.)

4. Cap or Hat and Sweater or jacket (it is cold)

5. Field Note Pad and Pen/pencil.

6. Back pack for field.

7. Water bottle or container for Field.

8. Camera.

9. Field guides if you have any.

10. Personal identification papers (Car License or Election card)

Please note-

1. There is very little cell phone coverage in the areas where the workshop will travel. Please note the same.

2. Alcohol consumption is not allowed at any point of time during the workshop. This is not a picnic.

3. Please carry personal identification papers i.e. Election card or Driving license for the expedition.

4. The success of this program will depend on time management, discipline and ethical wildlife protocol. Please stick to the guidelines and suggestions of the Team Leader.

5. The trip will operate in dusty and strong windy areas. Please note that electronic equipment and other personal belongings are protected against the elements.

6. HERPACTIVE or its Team Leaders and service providers will not responsible for the loss of equipment or belongings.

7. Medical emergencies and health issues will be given priority and changes in itinerary due to such reasons will be at the discretion of the Team Leader.

8. The Team Leader reserves the right to shorten/call off the workshop in event of concerns for the security/health/climate/accident and any such eventuality that may put life at risk for the team.

Friday, December 9, 2011

With team member on the Pit Viper Expedition 2011.

Vazra waterfalls base near Chorla Ghats.

This is the base of the 143 m Vazra falls as it cascades into the forests of Virdi in Maharashtra and joins the Valvanti river. The rock face of the entire falls is also the nesting site of the Long billed vulture, an endangered and rare bird.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

use of field equipment

Use of field equipment is essential for good quality work in the the conservation field. our endeavor is to use expose students, research assistants and field workers to field equipment that can help them work better for the study and conservation of biodiversity in the region.

Forests inspire...

Some forests inspire...and need support and attention. Forests like these in Castle rock have been ignored and forgotten by researchers and conservationists alike. My team of committed volunteers and researchers will attempt to document and conserve these forgotten tracts of Castle rock forests in Karnataka over the next decade.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Tree bridge near Kuveshi village.Karnataka India.


This tree bridge near Kuveshi village, Karnataka India is a link to the crown of the Dudhsagar waterfall. The area is in the reserve forests of Castle Rock and is part of the buffer zone of Anshi Tiger Reserve.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The crown of the Dudhsagar falls.

This image is taken from the crown of the famous Dudhsagar falls, and one can see the train pass through the forests of the Mollem national park, Goa.

Of Panic, pythons and garlands!!

As a field herpetologist I would like to point out that the manner in which the Indian rock python has been held apart, head held above the ground and coils around the neck of the handler is unnatural to say the least and will be the cause of unnecessary torture and stress to this protected species. This photograph shows how a snake can be abused and mishandled, shamelessly enough to capture limelight for a moment worth, perhaps unknowingly too that this act would have grievously caused internal injury to the poor creature.

It is not uncommon to see Indian Rock Pythons being paraded in front of cameras, for photographs or for media interviews in the state. It is in fact a growing trend amongst village youth to catch a snake that has unknowingly ventured in a human dominated landscape with the help of sacks and ropes. This poor creature is then either tied up and kept on display for the benefit of village folk or paraded as a wild garland of sorts for cell phone photographs that are then passed around as acts of bravery! It is only after considerable interest has been lost that the Forest officials are called upon to take the snake away.

I have personally rescued dozens of such so called “rescued snakes” from village squares, homes and even market places, often tied to trees or stashed in gunny bags from all across the state. The Wildlife rescue Squad of the Forest Department and other snake rescue volunteers have had similar experiences too. The conditions of snakes like these that are retrieved include multiple internal injuries, dislocation of ribs and jaws, deep bruises in skins and underbelly, broken teeth and numerous other complications. This is not bravery. Nor is it an act of compassion or saving a helpless creature. It is a wrongdoing.

In short an Indian rock Python caught by an individual or a group of individuals without any lack of knowledge of snake handling or training stands a great chance of irreversibly injuring the large snake, knowingly or unknowingly and needs to be discouraged from doing so by society at large too.

This brings me to the core aspect of the issue. The role of the media is crucial in curbing and discouraging this craze of capturing Indian rock pythons and subjecting them to all forms of torture. Any photograph and clipping of untrained and local individuals displaying this species of snake either around their necks, or as mentioned before held across like a huge rope for the benefit of the camera needs to be discouraged strongly by photo journalists themselves and by the editorial teams concerned.

It is my earnest plea to one and all in the media fraternity to stop encouraging this unnatural practice, as it is not only unethical but also illegal to capture, display and possess a protected species like the Indian rock python without the permission of the Chief Wildlife Warden of the state.

Included as a Schedule I species under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, due to demand of its skin in the illegal wildlife smuggling trade, this snake has the highest form of protection accorded to it under the Act across the country and is regarded as one of the flagship species of the reptile world.

While this species is now threatened due to its conflict with humans in the state as its habitats are being converted into concrete jungles across the state, the process of study, rescue and relocation is one that requires skill and study and should be left to professionals and authorities working in this field – i.e. the various trained rescue volunteers who work in coordination with the wildlife ranges in the state. Their numbers can be obtained from the Forest Department and are on call 24 hours a day. There is a dire need to learn to understand the human reptile conflict situation and respond to the same by means of a scientific solution rather than one, which puts the poor reptile in poor light and causes panic and hysteria amongst the minds of the people. In any case, a photograph of a youth holding a snake across his neck does not serve any educative, conservation, or any other purpose. I rest my case. Keep the faith.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Talk for children at Keri organized by Vivekanand Smruti Sangh

A new species of limbless amphibian Ichthyophis davidi from the bordering districts of Goa and Karnataka states of Western Ghats


In a joint effort by the researchers Dr. Gopalakrishna Bhatta of Department of Biology, BASE Educational Services Pvt. Ltd, Bengaluru; Dr. K.P. Dinesh and Dr. C. Radhakrishnan of Western Ghats Regional Centre, Calicut; Mr. P. Prashanth of Agumbe Rainforest Research Station, Agumbe and Mr. Nirmal U Kulkarni of Mhadei Research Centre, Chorla Ghats have discovered a new species of limbless yellow striped caecilian from the Belgaum district of Karnataka which is part of the Western Ghats of India.

The new species Ichthyophis davidi is one of the largest known yellow striped caecilian from Western Ghats and is named in honor of Dr. David Gower, Department of Zoology, The Natural History Museum, London in recognition of his contributions to Indian caecilian studies. The common name suggested for the species is Chorla Giant striped Ichthyophis.

Systematically this yellow striped limbless amphibian is grouped in the genus Ichthyophis (meaning ‘fish like’) of the Family Ichthyophiidae under the Gymnophiona. The members of the genus Ichthyophis include both striped and non-striped caecilians in Western Ghats, these creatures are nocturnal and are found in forests and plantations.

Western Ghats, one of the global biodiversity hot spots supports 25 species of legless amphibians. Among the 25 species only five are yellow striped forms including the new species and are known from limited in distribution.

Members of the team have discovered earlier the tailless caecilians Gegeneophis madhavai in 2004 from Kundapura, Karnataka; Gegeneophis nadakarnii in 2004 near Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary, Goa; Gegeneophis goaensis in 2007 from Keri village in North Goa; Gegeneophis mhadeiensis in 2007 from the Chorla village in Belgaum, Karnataka.

Habitat destruction due to human interference and usage of chemical fertilizers in the plantations (areca, banana and cardamom) is limiting the distribution of these limbless amphibians in Western Ghats. Conservation of the forested patches adjacent to plantations and usage of organic manure in the plantations next to forested patches are the best means to safe protect these caecilians in Western Ghats.

Discovery of Ichthyophis davidi has been published in the journal, Current Science, Vol Number 101 Issue Number 25 October Pages 1015-1019 Year 2011.

Ichthyophis davidi -the new species of caecilian from Karnataka.image by Vikram Hoshing

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Buy Your copy today!

contact ophidian_nirmal@yahoo.co.in

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


RARE INSTANCE OF GREEN VINE FEEDING ON A STRIPED CORAL SNAKE.

A rare instance of a Green vine snake (Ahaetulla nasuta) preying upon a Striped Coral snake (Calliophis nigrescens ) was recorded by herpetologist Nirmal Kulkarni and his team in the Chorla Ghats forests of the Mhadei Bio region on the 24th of September 2011.

Interestingly, the Green Vine snake is a common partially arboreal species of snake while the striped coral snake is an uncommon venomous forest species that is endemic to the Western Ghats of India.

Earlier the team had reported an instance of a Green Vine snake feeding on a shieldtail snake in the same region a year ago.

The Green Vine snake has been commonly observed on ground in these parts foraging for prey and feeds mainly on lizards, frogs and small birds. It is a mildly venomous snake and the venom is capable of paralyzing small prey.

Striped coral snakes are strictly forest species of snakes that are known to be highly elusive in most of their range. Encountered in thickly forested areas or on the fringes of forest habitats and open patches, coral snakes feed on other species of snakes including worm snakes, shieldtail snakes and geckos. The species documented in the Mhadei Bioregion includes the striped coral snake and the slender coral snake.

There is a lacuna of knowledge about this species whose ecology and habitat preference is lest known merely from a few observations. The toxicity of the venom of the coral snake is a matter of study too and so is that of the Green vine snake which is a semi venomous species. Hence the current observations of predator prey relationships with a partially arboreal species are considered important by researchers.

The team observed the striped coral snake being caught at the head region by the Green Vine snake and pulled up from the leaf litter to 1 meter above the ground. The Coral snake was alive for a period of 40 minutes after being held by the Green vine snake and was taken to 5 meters above the ground when it was listless It was then chewed till mid body by the green vine snake for a span of 30 minutes and was swallowed head first followed by the complete snake.

The entire time span of the incident was 2 hours 15 minutes after which the Vine snake proceeded to a higher branch at 7 meters above the ground and settled there in coils for the night.

The approx length of the Green vine snake was 3.5 feet while the striped coral snake was approx 15 inches. Non-intrusive observations and photo documentation were carried out to document the behavior of the two species and the observations will be reported to various herpetology related research institutes in the country through a research note on the same.

The incident was recorded at 657 meters above sea level in secondary forest vegetation and the skies were sunny and bright. The humidity at the time was 78 percent and the temperature was 28 degrees Celsius. Other data including GPS locations and the dominant vegetation in the area was Makad limbu (Atlantia monophylla) and False guava (Catunaregam spinarum). The nearest water source to the area was approx 100 meters away from the incident.

The team consisted of Mr. Nirmal Kulkarni, Mr. Krishna Gawade and Mr. Ramakant Gawas affiliated to the Mhadei Research Center.

Nirmal Kulkarni

Email- ophidian_nirmal@yahoo.co.in.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

latest images of kankumbi dam site




here are the latest images near kankumbi. the road that now connects goa and all the villages from the chorla side to belagum is under threat. the earth cuttings and walls have collapsed and the huge tunnels pose a threat to life and property. while the case is still SC work continues and will start again after the rains. the forests around here are imp corridors for large cats as well as other wildlife and the area is in close proximity of bhimgad as well as mhadei wls.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

HERP BIKE EXPEDITION 2011.


Yes, it is that time of the year when the rains have slowed down and yet a carpet of greens covers our landscapes. It is a time too for don our field gear one more time and head out to the sprawling forests of the Northern Western Ghats on our trusted motorbikes and do what we do best- record Herpetofauna as we visit various eco systems and create awareness through talks and awareness programs in remote locations.

This time around we will aim to travel on motorbikes and will once again transect the states of Goa-Karnataka and Maharashtra.

While an elaborate network of roads does exist in the Northern Western Ghats of India, we will go off road too especially to visit small hamlets in deep forest locales and on unique high altitude plateaus.

Thus our field work will include documenting reptiles and amphibians in a variety of landscapes and localized eco systems thus providing ample opportunity to observe photograph and record this lesser known diversity of the Northern Western Ghats.

Amongst other things we will also witness some of the largest waterfalls in the country, help 2 local NGOS’s and a school and collect field data for two Herpetofauna surveys that are on in the region.

The Dates for the Expedition are- 30th Sept to 2nd Oct 2011 (will leave on 30th Sept 2011 morning and be back on 2nd Oct 2011 night.)

There are Limited seats for the expedition and scope for pillion riders too.

For more details email ophidian_nirmal@yahoo.co.in

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Nagpanchami and snake bite protocol.








































And as someone who is perpetually in awe of snakes and anything related to their kind, I will join in with other snake devotees to celebrate the relationship of this captivating Indian symbol of nature worship-the Cobra with the Mother Earth.

Amidst offerings of fresh grass blades offered to the clay replica of a hooded cobra and relishing the customary ‘patolyo’ sweets wrapped in turmeric leaves, I wish to absorb traditional knowledge too of the relationship between snakes and humans in today’s changing times.

I will also visit as many people as possible to seek to address issues relating to proper awareness of ‘First aid’ for venomous snake-bite amongst my extended family, friends and acquaintances and with a able team of snake handlers, research associates and well-wishers, will surely contribute in a small way.

Please do your bit too- spread awareness about the below mentioned latest Snake bite protocol amongst friends and family.

“First aid treatment is carried out immediately or very soon after the bite, before the patient reaches a dispensary or hospital.

Unfortunately, most of the traditional, popular, available and affordable first aid methods have proved to be useless or even frankly dangerous. These methods include: making local incisions or pricks/punctures at the site of the bite or in the bitten limb, attempts to suck the venom out of the wound, use of (black) snake stones, tying tight tourniquets around the limb, electric shock and even application of chemicals, herbs or ice packs. While most of these methods/cures have been proved wrong and in fact put the patient at a greater risk than before. So please do not attempt any of these above-mentioned methods in case of a bite.

I have sadly seen many local people have great confidence in traditional (herbal) treatments, but they must not be allowed to delay medical treatment or to do harm.

The recommended First Aid protocol for Snake bite as practiced today follows the below mentioned points

• Reassure the victim who may be very anxious and scared.

• Immobilize the bitten limb with a splint or sling (any movement or muscular contraction increases absorption of venom into the bloodstream.

• Consider Pressure immobilization for bites by elapid snakes only like the Indian Cobra and the Indian krait including sea snakes but should not be used for viper bites because of the danger of increasing the local effects of the necrotic venom. There is considerable debate of which technique to be used and I have personally found the use of a local compression pad applied over the wound pressure bandaging of the entire limb to be very effective.

• Avoid any interference with the bite wound as this may introduce infection, increase absorption of the venom and increase local bleeding.

· The patient must be transported to a place where they can receive medical care (dispensary or hospital) as quickly, but as safely and comfortably as possible. Any movement, especially of the bitten limb, must be reduced to an absolute minimum to avoid increasing the systemic absorption of venom. If possible the patient should not be allowed to walk and carried with the help of a stretcher or bed or sitting on a chair, etc.

And lastly remember, Polyvalent Anti Snake venom Serum is the only effective remedy for a venomous snakebite in India.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Workshop for Snake handler’s held.


A Snake Handler’s workshop was held at Sweet Home Guest house, Candolim on 17th July by Herpactive in collabration with the Mhadei Research Center.

The workshop was attended by 18 snake handlers and rescuers from North Goa. These inlcuded rescuers from NGO’s, individual wildlife volunteers and reptile enthusiasts.

Goan herpetologist Nirmal Kulkarni conducted the 3 hour workshop and was assisted by Ms Glenda Dsouza and Ms Tarika Kiran.

Participants were familiarized with tools and equipment used for snake study and were also made aware of the latest snake bite protocol as is practiced in moderen times.

Other topics included were introduction to basic data sheets and keeping records, techniques and need for serious snake research in Goa and the legal aspects of snake and reptile conservation.

Another important topic covered was the effects of rescue and relocation of snakes from urban to forest habitat. The need for creating awareness about snakes and their benefits in an urban landscape was aslo stressed and discussed by all present.

The program ended with a film ‘One Million Snake Bites’ that was screened for the participants.

The workshop was the first in a series of workshops to be held across the state for creating awareness about serious reptile conservation in the state of Goa. Herpactive is an initiative by Nirmal Kulkarni, herpetologist and wildlife photographer to create awareness and instill appreciation for Herpetofauna (reptiles and amphibians) of Goa in particular and the country in general. Herpactive aims to promote the science of field herpetology by conducting walks, surveys, training workshops and field technique sessions for budding herp- enthusiasts as well as serious students of mainstream science.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

SNAKE HANDLERS WORKSHOP


Over the last few years, I have found more youth interested in snake handling and more specifically, in rescues in the state of Goa. The skills that some of you posses vary for mere handling of snakes to observation and photography,etc.

Many rescuers are now at a stage where they have done all the ‘cool stuff’, posed with with various species for pictures and kept some of the attractive species in captive conditions.

Unfortunately, what lacks is collection and compilation of data that would help you study these reptiles and help conservation in the long run. A need for a common protocol for snake rescue and release needs to worked out as this will help minimze and address issues relating reptile-human conflict and provide vital answers to this growing problem. Rethinking the need for snake rescues and other aspects of snake conservation is also the need of the hour.

Keeping these objective in mind we at HERPACTIVE are taking this initiative to bring together 25 snake rescuers of North Goa as a first step towrds helping train snake rescuers in the new Snake Bite Protocol, Data sheet maintainence and basic taxonomy besides other related activity. This is an opportunity for those snake handlers who wish to take a step ahead beyond being mere snake rescuers and combine hands on work with serious study of herpetofauna.

The 2nd stage will have a similar program in South Goa for snake rescuers in South Goa.


Date – 17th July 2011 (Sunday)

Time- 10.00am to 1.00pm.

Venue- Candolim, Bardez Goa. (Exact venue will be intimated at later stage)

Age Group- Above 18 years and above.

THE WORKSHOP IS BEING CONDUCTED FREE OF COST AS AN INITIATIVE OF HERPACTIVE AND MHADEI RESEARCH CENTER.

Criteria- Snake handlers from North Goa only who are currently rescuing snakes on a first come first serve basis.

Number of seats- 25.

Contact person- Ms Tarika Kiran on 08322278276 and 08322409999.

Acttivity-

1. Introduction to Basic Taxonomy.

2. Familiarization and handling of tools and equipment used for Snake study.

3. Introdutcion to Snake Bite protocol and First Aid.

4. Rethinking Snake handling and rescue- science vs hobby.

5. The path ahead- snakes matter!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

VENOMOUS SNAKES CONSERVATION PROGRAM.


VENOMOUS SNAKES CONSERVATION PROGRAM.

1st Announcement.

Dear herp enthusiast/researcher,

Goa has a vast diversity of snakes of which a few are venomous and one needs to be aware of the same. They are an integral part of our urban as well as rural landscapes and a vital component of any healthy ecosystem. It is the need of the hour to create awareness in urban as well as rural Goa about identification and importance of these species in our environment.

Of course, there is no one specific simple single rule for identifying a venomous snake, as many non- venomous ones have evolved to look like their venomous brethren. However, some of the more medically important ones (yes that’s what they are termed as) can be recognized by their shape, size, color, behavior and sound they make when they are threatened in the field.

Our endeavor will be to document and map these venomous snakes in our environs and in the forests of Goa and compile a simple data sheet for identification of these species in the local language for the public.

We will also address issues of conflict that arise due to disturbance in habitat or loss of prey, both of which sadly are factors that are created by humans.

Join us to conduct opportunistic field surveys, night trails and transect searches in Goa’s wilderness while we attempt to achieve the above objectives.

We will interact with filed staff of the Forest department and snake rescuers, do fieldwork in remote locale and combine field science with local knowledge to help understand these highly ignored group of biodiversity.

This is an opportunity for those who seek to get training about the importance of venomous snakes and their ecology or an occasion to experience first hand the techniques of field data collection at the height of the South West Monsoons.

For photographers and wildlife trekkers, this is a chance to take their skills to the next level as photo documentation will be a key factor here and the opportunities will be endless!

Essentials

Essentials include keen interest to study herpetofauna and ability to work in a team in a given time frame. We will have to brave the South West monsoons and also spend a considerable amount of time in the field.

Dates:- 19th, 20th, 21st and 22nd of Aug 2011 (3 nights and 4 days).

Number of seats: - 8 seats.

Fees: - include food, accommodation and transport (Panjim to Panjim) during the program.

For more details email ophidian_nirmal@yahoo.co.in or call Glenda on 09822586918.

At the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust.


It was great to be at the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust and Centre for Herpetology, Chennai with vet Dr Gowri Mallapur and Dr Collin, Director of MCBT. Also seen Mittal Gala and turtle expert and vet Dr Shanon Ferrell from Fort Worth zoo USA and volunteers.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

1ST MOLLEM HERP EXCURSION 2011.



THE SETTING-

Nature’s Nest campsite is located in a working areca nut and organic fruit farm on boundaries of the Bhagvan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary of Goa and is surrounded by typical Western Ghats including mixed moist deciduous, deciduous and semi evergreen forest types. Home to an array of biodiversity, the region has been acknowledged as a Mega Biodiversity hotspot as well as an Important bird Area by international conservation bodies.

THE SEASON-

Climate- Medium showers with windy weather.

Temperature- 18 degrees Celsius to 22 degrees Celsius.

Humidity- 80 percent and above.

TRAVEL-

Pick Up and drop for participants will be arranged from Panjim to Panjim for all participants.

THE ACCOMODATION-

Participants will stay in shared accommodation at Nature’s Nest in the picturesque village of Surla near Mollem National Park.

Food will include Vegetarian and Non-vegetarian options.

TEAM LEADER-

Nirmal Kulkarni- A qualified field ecologist and herpetologist, Nirmal Kulkarni has to credit the discovery of 2 new species of legless amphibians (caecilians), a host of research papers and an experience of over 15 years in the forests of the Western Ghats of India. He is also a wildlife photographer and specializes in photographing lesser-known fauna. He currently works on pit vipers and amphibians in the Northern Western Ghats of India.

THE ACTIVITY-

The 1st Mollem Herp Excursion 2011 will include sessions of snakebite protocol, basic taxonomy, opportunistic searches and in situ photography of lesser-known Herpetofauna of the Western Ghats.

Field identification of Herpetofauna, photography tips and natural history will also be a part of the program.

Participants will also get to use field equipment, learn basic observation skills and work alongside qualified herpetologist Nirmal Kulkarni and his team in the field.

WHAT TO EXPECT-

The Monsoons offer opportunities for closely observing and photographing Herpetofauna that is uncommon and endemic to the Northern Western Ghats of India.

Our target species that we aim to document include the

1. Banded Ground Gecko (Geckoella albofasciata)

2. Hump Nosed Pit viper. (Hypnale hypnale)

3. Beddome’e keelback snake. (Amphiesma beddomei)

4. Malabar Pit viper. (Trimeresurus malabaricus)

5. Goan Day gecko. (Nemesphis goaensis)

6. Malabar Night frog. (Nyctibatrachus major)

And many other endemic and threatened wonders of the Northern Western Ghats of India.

DATES- 9TH JUlY 2011 (AT 8.00AM) TO 10TH JULY (3.00PM) INCLUDING A NIGHT STAY IN SHARED ACCOMODATION.

NUMBER OF SEATS- 10.

PARTICIPATION FEES- RS 1600/- ONLY INCLUDING TRANSPORT AND USE OF EQUIPMENT AND RESOURCE MATERIAL.

AGE GROUP- 15 years to 55 years. (Participants have to be physically fit and prepared for rains.)

For details email at ophidian_nirmal@yahoo.co.in OR call Glenda on 09822586918.

Essentials for Mollem Herp Excursion 2011.

1. Fast drying earth colored field clothes.

2. Gumboots or good walking shoes fit for rainy weather.

3. Powerful Torch or Headlight- with extra batteries.

4. Rainwear (Raincoats or Ponchos).

5. Field Note Pad and Pen/pencil.

6. Personal medical kit if any.

7. Back pack for field.

8. Water bottle or container for Field.

9. Sleeping bag or blanket and sheet.

10. Camera.

11. Personal toiletries.

ABOUT HERPACTIVE

Herpactive is an initiative by Nirmal Kulkarni, herpetologist and wildlife photographer to create awareness and instill appreciation for Herpetofauna (reptiles and amphibians) of Goa in particular and the country in general.

Herpactive aims to promote the science of field herpetology by conducting walks, surveys, training workshops and field technique sessions for budding herp- enthusiasts as well as serious students of mainstream science.

With education and in situ conservation as its objectives Herpactive seeks to conduct reptile and amphibian treks, photo documentation surveys and dedicated Herpetofauna study expeditions in Goa and as well as in the country.

A key component of the activities of Herpactive will be awareness generation amongst society about Herpetofauna and this will be achieved through programs, discussions and sessions from time to time.

With ethics, education, science and conservation as the combined foundation stones of this initiative, Herpactive aims to propagate the science of field herpetology amongst one and all.