Saturday, December 28, 2013

Nature drawing competition held at Kuveshi village in Anshi Dandeli Tiger reserve Karnataka

A nature drawing competition was organised by Hypnale Research Station at Kuveshi village in Karnataka. This village is inside the Anshi Dandeli Tiger reserve protected area. Children were encouraged to draw and paint animal life as well as other aspects of forests that they see. Researchers Nirmal U Kulkarni, Devadatta Naik, Adithi Muralidahr and their team were present during the drawing session. Devadatta Naik gave a small talk to the children before the competition. Children were provided with colour pencils and crayons. Images by- Adithi Muralidhar.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Goan mangrove forests- repositories of bio diversity.

Mangroves are also classified as forests. Goan mangroves support fish nurseries and help protect against tidal waves and cyclonic waves. The diversity of fauna is impressive too including smooth coated otters, marsh crocodiles, an array of birdlife and of course crustaceans of various sizes and colour.

Sunday, November 17, 2013


  1. Read the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 and the Forest Conservation Act, and Biodiversity Act thoroughly before embarking on any forest related serious careers or conservation crusades.  Get well versed with these laws systematically and completely (do I have to emphasize more?).
  2. Get accustomed to your subjects, the terrain and the equipment you will use fully. DO NOT be a liability to the team or the field staff. IGNORANCE will have to pay with a price.
  3. Respect local knowledge and local authority. I have noticed a new breed of wildlife enthusiasts who seldom pay heed to advice by forest guards and watchers, and ridicule local guides. Conservation science has to be all-inclusive if you are interested in long term genuine work in the area. Learn to listen more and one will go a long way. Our foot soldiers of the forest are assets to the conservation movement in the country.
  4. Photography is a tool. Use it wisely. Do not use to disturb wildlife or its habitat.  And do not compromise your own safety and that of your team for the sake of a picture. NO one “likes” it…and it is unnecessary.
  5. A handful of lucky folk get to visit wildlife habitats, do trails and spend time with conservation biologists, ecologists and field activists. Make the most of it. Remember every ‘trip’ that you make also has an impact on the habitat and if it can’t be justified it aren’t worth it.

Saturday, November 16, 2013


Goan field ecologist and conservationist, Nirmal Kulkarni, was awarded the Royal Bank of Scotland Earth Hero award 2013 in the ‘Inspire’ category at a recently held award ceremony at the RBS lawns in Delhi on the 15th of Nov 2013.

The award acknowledged the work and dedicated efforts of Nirmal in preserving and protecting India’s natural heritage and specifically for his work that has always been over and above his call of duty and this made the jury unanimously decide on conferring this award to him.

Jury panel included luminaries like Dr Ulhas Karanth, world-renowned tiger expert and Director Asia region Wildlife Conservation Society, Ms Bahar Dutt, environment journalist, Dr Asad Rahamani, Director Bombay Natural History Society, Mr Ranjit Singh and Mr Sunil Kumar, Director RBS India Foundation amongst others.

During his 16 years of ground work with communities, field staff, researchers and students, Nirmal has experimented the combination of science, photography, activism and successfully linked field conservation, communities, livelihoods, natural resource management and environment protection in the Northern Western Ghats of India.

The Award acknowledged his role in inspiring youth as well as adults alike over the past decade and creating an interest in biodiversity amongst the masses. Nirmal’s long conservation work in the Mhadei Bio region corridor also found a mention in the note.

 The RBS Earth Heroes Awards is an attempt to bring recognition and honor to individuals and institutions that work exceptionally hard to preserve and protect our natural heritage. In the past, the awards have been an effective platform for award recipients to display their work to a larger audience and potentially expand the scope of their work from the recognition and networking that accrued. The focus of 2013 was green corridors, highlighting the importance of these crucial links connecting wildlife habitats in the country.

The award was presented to Nirmal Kulkarni by Dr Asad Rahamani, Director of Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai.

Nirmal has dedicated this award to his team, his family and the forests in the Northern Western Ghats of India, without which he would have not been able to do what he does.

In his acceptance speech Nirmal specified that his priorities are research, outreach and education in that order and that his dream is to establish independent platforms for conservation science students as well as interested wildlife enthusiasts actually to work in the Northern Western Ghats of India.
He stated that the next 5 years of his work would be to ensure that people across various landscapes, settings and cultures in India understand the connection between forests and water and take small steps to do something about it.

For more details please contact
Nirmal U Kulkarni

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Nirmal Kulkarni at Students Conservation Science Conference 2013

It was with a great sense of joy and achievement to participate int Students Conservation Science conference 2013 at Bangalore. The Mhadei Research Centre as well as the Hypnale Research Station had their presence there. I gave a plenary talk on Private sanctuaries as new strategies for conservation and it was well received. The icing on the cake was meeting stalwarts in conservation, young ecologists and lots of friends.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

National UGC Sponsored Seminar on Western Ghats- a world heritage at the Mhadei Research Center.

 Dr Milind Watave taking a talk for the participants of the National UGC Sponsored Seminar on Western Ghats- a world heritage at the Mhadei Research Center Chorla Ghats. This was organized by GSS college Belgaum and the Mhadei Research Center.
Participants - zoology and botany teachers at the National UGC Sponsored Seminar on Western Ghats- a world heritage at the Mhadei Research Center Chorla Ghats.

Prof S Y Prabhu, principal of GSS college welcoming Capt Nitin Dhond of Mhadei Research Center at the National UGC Sponsored Seminar on Western Ghats- a world heritage at the Mhadei Research Center Chorla Ghats. Rajendra kerkar of the Mhadei Bachao Abhiyaan is also seen present.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Images from Cebu city in Philippines

Attended a seminar cum workshop on Environmental Law talks and also engaged with youth on subjects of eco tourism as well as on biodiversity conservation.

This image with all the delegates for the Environmental Law conference in the Cebu City Hall.

Interacting with biologists and environment lawyers in Cebu city in the Philippines.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Olive Forest snake in Mhadei Bio region

The Oliver forest snake is yet another uncommon species that is found in the Mhadei Bio region in streams, rivulets and water bodies. I have seen it feed on slugs and tadpoles. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Discussions with Goa's Hon Forest Minister Smt Alina Saldhana on issues pertaining to Goa's forests.

It was a rare opportunity to discuss ground issues pertaining to eco tourism and biodiversity conservation with Hon Forest Minister of Goa, Smt Alina Saldhana and Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Shri Richard Dsouza, Conservator of Forests, Wildlife Shri Carvalho and others during their visit to Wildernest nature resort.
A presentation was made to the dignitaries about our work in the area in the past decade and the changing trends in the hinterlands of Goa as far as biodiversity was concerned. The Forest Minister was urged to look into long term solutions of human wildlife conflict in the state and to define guidelines for eco tourism in Goa's hinterlands.
The Hon Forest Minister opined that we should focus more on children for conservation education and should help in creating biodiversity registers in the state before traditional knowledge is lost. She expressed her commitment to conserve important tiger habitats in the state.
A copy of 'The Goan Jungle Book' and "Truth about Tigers" was presented to the Hon Forest Minister as part of the Global Tiger day campaign too.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Golbal Tiger Day poster.

It is Global tiger day today. Our teams of interns, volunteers and staff across 3 states will conduct awareness programs, conservation outreach talks and walks, and much more...our focus of course is in cities where the tiger's "Leave Me Alone" call needs to be heard...and in villages near tiger habitats in Goa where its "I am here" roar is still of luck pals and well wishers...every effort tomorrow and every day after this will help us strive to conserve our National animal and its forests.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

the hump nose pit viper ( Hypnale hypnale) in Mollem national park Goa.

lying perfectly camouflaged in the wet leaf litter is this hump nosed pit viper...a venomous species of snake found in Goa's protected areas and distributed across the  Northern Western Ghats of India. This individual was photographed at Mollem National park, Goa, India.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Davis Field weather station installed in Mhadei Bio Region of the Western Ghats of India.

A Davis Field weather station was installed at the Mhadei research center in the Mhadei Bio region of the Northern Western Ghats of India. This is the first independent field weather station in the region and will contribute to the monitoring and compilation of field weather data in the region that is a part of the Western Ghats of India. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Summer morning in the proposed Mhadei Tiger reserve, Goa India

Mornings unwrap to a mixed assortment of sounds and smells in the proposed Tiger reserve of North Goa. It is here that the large cat still rules the wilds and an array of biodiversity await to be observed, studied and conserved. The Mhadei Research Center in the Chorla Ghats is one such facility that provides a platform for such work.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Field Equipment Training workshop was successfully conducted at the Mhadei Research Center on the Goa Karnataka border, situated near the Mhadei wildlife sanctuary.
A total number of 10 participants participated in the workshop that was conducted on the 13th and 14th of April 2013.
The workshop was aimed at training wildlife volunteers and nature enthusiasts to use field equipment as well as help learn modern basic techniques of data collection.
The workshop included opportunistic surveys, lectures on field data collection and in situ photography of Western Ghats biodiversity.
Participants were exposed to field identification techniques of micro fauna, demonstrations of use of camera traps for mammal documentation and formulation of data sheets by researchers from the Mhadei Research Center.
An important component was also the practical use of basic field equipment lie GPS, Weather meters, distance finders and discussions on natural history of lesser known biodiversity.
The aspect of Field safety protocol and snake-bite protocol were also covered besides topics on Wildlife law and ex situ research.
The workshop was conducted by Nirmal Kulkarni and Rahul Prabhu Khanolkar of the Mhadei Research Center and other resource persons included Devadatta Naik and Atul Sinai Borkar from the Hypnale Research Station.
For more details-
Nirmal U Kulkarni
6, Hiru Naik Bldg, Dhuler Mapusa, Goa-403057. India.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Face of Goa- Find All mag April 2013

Thanks to FInd All management including Tomoko Lobo, Lee Ann Lopes, Nancy Desouza and to Assavri Kulkarni for the portrait photograph.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

celebrate the colors of life this holi. conserve water

Water is an important natural resource. Conserve it. Today and everyday. Forests like these give birth to a zillion springs and streams that nurture life and its varied forms- we are just one of them. Conserve water to conserve Life. Happy Holi.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Sunday, March 3, 2013

3 Water filters installed at Chorla school.

We recently handed over and installed 3 water filters sponsored by the Sandwich School Kent, UK to the Chorla Government School at Chorla, Karnataka. The support of members of the Mhadei Research Station including Nirmal Kulkarni and Rahul Prabhu Khanolkar, Team Wildernest including Sudhir naik and sushma gaonkar and priya, was appreciated.

Gerry Martin of the The Gerry Martin Project and Matt Finnick from Sandwich school UK is acknowledged to promote this initiative.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

the mhadei bio region

the Mhadei Bio region has always been an area of high endemism and diversity. We begin intensive surveys on lesser known biodiversity in this area from the 1st of March through the Mhadei Research Center. for details

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Threatened Reptiles- the 10 unlucky ones

 While the focus on wildlife in Goa is currently centering on the leopard conflicts in the Bicholim taluka, a greater cause of concern is the steady decline of reptile populations in the state on one hand and the increase in man reptile conflicts on the other.
I attempt to put limelight on the ten most vulnerable reptile species that are threatened in the state and hope to gather public as well as bureaucratic support for their survival.
1. The Marsh Crocodile-
Threats- Habitat destruction and poaching has drastically reduced the last surviving local populations of this magnificent reptile in earlier strongholds like the Kumbharjua canal and elsewhere. The added pressures of being killed for meat and captured for being kept as wild pets seem to fix the final nail in their coffins.
2. The Indian Rock Python-
Threats- Habitat destruction and alteration are taking their toll on this keystone species of Indian snakes and forcing individuals to enter human landscapes in search of prey thus causing conflicts. The results are death or displacement and both are taking a heavy toll on the numbers of this protected species.
3. The Indian Monitor Lizard-
Threats- Mass poaching for skins to be used on traditional Ghumat drums still continues despite efforts by several musical experts and wildlife conservationists to provide alternatives. The drastically reduced numbers are further endangered due to killing of the Indian Monitor lizard for blood which supposedly has cure for asthma in local medicine.
4. The Olive Ridley turtle-
Threats- Disturbance in vital habitats on the nesting sites as well as the coastal waters near our shoreline are responsible for reduced numbers in nesting females of the Olive Ridley Sea turtle. Besides which sporadic poaching of nests for eggs and female turtles continues in many coastal areas and is a cause of concern.
5. The King Cobra-
Threats- Habitat destruction and reduction of prey species, i.e. snakes and monitor lizards is causing this flagship species of the Western Ghats to enter into human dominated landscapes and is a cause of serious concern amongst ecologists. Besides Goa, only Agumbe in Karnataka is known to have the same problem and is worrisome as the King Cobra is a strictly forest species and does not frequent fringe forest areas like it does in Goa.
6. The Indian Flapshell turtle-
Threats- This once common species has been pushed to the brink of local extermination in the past decade by a combination of factors including extensive usage of pesticides and fertilizers in fields and pastures, filling of lakes and ponds for land purposes and poaching for meat which is a delicacy in many parts of Goa.
7. The Malabar Pit Viper-
Threats- Replacement of monoculture plantations and rapid deforestation of forests at higher altitudes in Goa’s hinterlands is forcing this endemic species into local extinction and very little study or documentation is available on the same. The disappearance of this species from certain earlier strongholds like Vagheri, Surla, and Netravali etc is sending alarm signals amongst the wildlife researchers in the state.
8. The Indian Draco or Gliding Lizard-
Threats- This significant and unique gliding lizard is losing out in some parts of its natural domains due to disturbance of its niche habitats and alterations due to plantation of monoculture plantations like Australian acacia and cashew.
9. The Indian Rat Snake-
Threats- Mercilessly killed due to ignorance and fear, this harmless snake species is also called the friend of the farmer for its ability to keep in check the rodent population in farms. But today, this species is killed upon sight and has caused considerable depletion in numbers all across the state. Besides which, reduction in green cover in urban and semi urban areas has taken a toll on this once common species of the Goan landscape.
10. The Banded Ground Gecko-
Threats- This relatively unknown Gecko inhabits the forest floor of our protected areas and is threatened due to changes in its niche habitats due to destruction of earth cuttings, forest fires, exotic tree plantations and weed infestation.

And although these 10 species constitute a very small percentage of the number of species of reptiles and other lesser known life forms that are threatened due to reduction and disturbances in forest ecosystems, the fact that timely scientific intervention aided by strong conservation policy implementation can still conserve these species that are a vital link of the ecosystem they survive in.
It is but important for us all to understand that while the mega fauna like the leopard and Gaur are already facing a risk o local extinction, species like the Banded Ground Gecko, the Indian rat snake and the Gliding Draco may not even be heard of before they get extinct from our forests. It is the need of the hour to recognize that all life forms, whether big or small, have an important role to play in every ecosystem and are our natural heritage-something which we as a people should not take for granted.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Engaging with people for biodiversity conservation education

It is understood that the results of the work we do as a team in the Northern western Ghats of India needs to reach the people in urban areas. This is being done in a sustained and focussed manner beginning 2013. Talks, walks and power point presentations for clubs, schools, social gatherings are being conducted on a regular basis and I hope this will help create awareness about our work as well as the richness of our forests and their denizens.