Saturday, December 3, 2016

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

 Conception of ECHIS:
I have envisaged the Echis Conservation Hub as a means of creating a platform for students, nature enthusiasts and wild life researchers in a semi urban landscape. The Echis Conservation Hub is located in Nachinola village, a quiet hamlet situated in the heart of Bardez taluka 10 kilometres away from capital city of Panjim and 5 kilometers from Mapusa city in Goa. 
Among our many objectives, the most important one is to set up a permanent conservation research base and nature reference and reading library that can be used by researchers and students.
Even though I will lead activities here, this is essentially your base and together we must aim to put into place-
3 different habitats for young students to study
a) Pond ecosystem.
b) Stony laterite ecosystem.
c) Mixed moist forest ecosystem.
 A self sustained vegetable patch and fruit trees plot.
 A small holding facility for injured and rescued urban wildlife.
 An Art Gallery that will house artefacts, art and images inspired by nature that will sustain the space.
hope to see you all here soon.

Friday, November 4, 2016

“Will the people of Belagavi take Mahadeis water or conserve their own?”
Finally a hard hitting question that we need to address in this crisis.…/dont-steal-someone-elses-wate…/

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Fire crackers are definitely a bane for urban wildlife as well as infants and elders. Eyes hurt, throats and heads ache soon after. Earaches too. Add to that the noise and smoke pollution and its a deadly combination. Besides which pets are severely affected, at times permanently I am told. And then there is the mindless waste of create noise and smoke... I wonder why and how people who indulge in this act enjoy it. I am at a loss of words.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Vazra Sakla falls. Chorla Ghats. 2016.
For over a decade and a half I have been witness to the rebirth of these majestic meter falls that cascade 146 meters to revive the Valavanti river during the South West monsoons. This later joins the Sankhli tributary of the Mhadei- Goa's lifeline. My work and that of my team to document this regions ecological, cultural and anthropological diversity continues…and these falls provide the much needed push to carry this work forward.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Throughout Indian history, as agriculture became more demanding, the need for additional power from draft animals became essential. 
Indian yokes were designed with specific agricultural and transportation tasks in mind.
Over time yokes were adapted and almost exclusively hand carved to better fit the animal in order to maximize comfort and their willingness to work. Even today, where they are still in use, animal comfort is given priority whilst crafting a new yoke.
Yoke designs continue to vary according to local customs and regions India. This has been influenced by the type of cattle, the resourcefulness of the farmers, their skills in recognizing animal comfort and the culture of the people.
Placement of the holes on a yoke is a skill and almost achieved flawlessly as an art. It decides the comfort as well as the utility of the yoke for the bulls as well as the tiller.
This yoke has been used for over three generations, venerated and loved till a mechanical tractor replaced it. The holes that held the ropes now seem like gapes in an abyss of uncertainty.
My tryst with bull yokes began a decade ago whilst walking and interacting with forest and hinterland communities in Goa and Karnataka. With a small collection of yokes that hold on to memories now, the journey contunies…

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Bull yokes and light

Wooden yokes, usually hand carved from local materials, have traditionally been easy, effective and economical ways to harness the locomotive energy of the Indian humped bull or ox. Yokes are simple in design compared to the more complicated harnessing systems used for horses.
Cattle have been yoked for thousands of years for one reason. They can be. While I draw parallels to this very fact to instances in human society, that tale will be for another day.
But bulls easily adapt to training without complicated bridles, nose rings, bits, reins and harnesses. Cattle work in pairs because they are herd animals that are calmed and more easily controlled by the presence of another animal.
Yokes are made from traditionally mandated wood and often single piece logs. These are cared for and sustained for years, handing them down one generation after another until they give way. My fascination with yokes and the tales they withhold began a decade ago…whilst I watched two oxen pull this yoke with neck, shoulders and grit. Over time these yokes were cast away and replaced by tractors and power tillers.

But my tryst with this simplistic and yet powerful field tool that shaped our agricultural economy continues…’Bull yokes and Light’ will be the first step in this direction.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Vazra Sakla falls. Chorla Ghats. 2016.
For over a decade and a half I have been witness to the rebirth of these majestic meter falls that cascade 146 meters to revive the Valavanti river during the South West monsoons. This later joins the Sankhli tributary of the Mhadei- Goa's lifeline. My work and that of my team to document this regions ecological, cultural and anthropological diversity continues…and these falls provide the much needed push to carry this work forward.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Dear family, extended family, friends, friends of friends, acquaintances and distant pals…….cooking and consumption of Indian Bull frog meat is as illegal as hunting the species itself. And so is possession and purchase. This year 2016 the Goa Forest Department has initiated strict proceedings against offenders. Please note that any information received of Indian bull frog meat being consumed at any home or public eatery/restaurant will be passed on to the FD and police immediately. The law will then take its own course. Conserve the Indian Bull frog. Obey the law.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Once in a while I get all these out…collate them from various locales where they have been placed so that they come in handy- at field stations, in my ruck sack, across the study table I sit at home and of course in the cars that help me travel. While every snake hook is special and has a tale to it (all snake hooks do!!), these are a class apart, and have stood by me in times of need and deed.
And yet, none of them have been used for unnecessary adventure and irresponsible stuntmanship that exists in today’s times and is a cause of worry for us all.

Anyways, I must stop my charade of sermons now… for research colleagues, fellow herpetology enthusiasts and students of ophiology, have a great South West monsoon ahead. Be safe and practice what you preach.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Dwindling Indian Bull frog populations- a cause of concern

An unexpected phenomenon is taking place across our state of Goa. Amphibian populations — especially Indian bull frogs, Indian toads and Fungoid frogs are rapidly, and mysteriously, declining across a range of habitats.
In some cases, field volunteers and interns have reported loss of habitats due to varied types of development factors including land fills, construction in key habitats like plateaus, etc.
But in general, the most consistent observation is that amphibians are simply missing from areas where they once were found. The Indian Bull frog is reportedly the most severely affected in this regard. I am personally observing this phenomenon too and hence this is a note of caution.
We should be very concerned about the loss of this species because this large flagship species of the Indian Amphibian world also serves as an indicator of the overall condition of the environment. They have permeable, exposed skin and eggs that come in direct contact with soil, water and sunlight. Thus their skin and eggs may readily absorb toxic substances from the environment and afford them little protection from harmful solar radiation.  Poaching for human consumption can be another key factor. The life history of this species, which usually includes an aquatic larval and tadpole stage and an ability of the adult to live on land, can also expose them to a wide array of environmental contaminants including overdoses of pesticides and inorganic fertilizers. There has not been a single factor, I agree but the decline is for real.
Indian Bull frogs are integral components of many ecosystems, and because of their important contributions to the web of life, a decline could have important impacts on other species.
Being key predators themselves within their ecosystems, and they are also prey for a number of other animals such as snakes, birds, fish and even invertebrates. Tadpoles also serve as important plant eaters in aquatic habitats. As they move about and forage, tadpoles can significantly alter the characteristics of lakes and ponds. Fluctuating populations can cause changes in nutrients, algae quantities and suspended particle concentrations.

The need to recognize and understand the contribution of this species is of paramount nature. It is a fervent appeal. Conserve the remaining populations and their habitats of the Indian Bull frogs before their characteristic presence as well as familiar vocal calls fades away forever.

Friday, April 1, 2016

'Feedback Loop' curated by Kanchi Mehta at TARQ Art Gallery, F 35/36 Dhanraj Mahal, CSM Marg, Colaba, Mumbai
A group exhibition featuring the works of eight emerging artists, whose multi-disciplinary practices each bring a unique perspective to the central premise of the exhibition, Feedback Loop.
Featuring works that include photography, painting, sculpture and performance, 'Feedback Loop' constructs various circuits of cause and effect, tracking the cyclical nature of a variety of forms.
Exhibition will be on till 23rd April 2016.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Here it is. A time where I attempt to combine aspects of conservation science, cultural documentation and main stream art to reach out to a wider audience about forgotten natural and cultural nuances that once upon a time enveloped our being.  
On the 30th of March 2016, at TARQ gallery in Mumbai, a single representative work of my foray in conservation/archival art has been chosen. ( the work on the invite isn't mine wink emoticon )Thank you Kanchi Mehta for this trust and support. For those in Mumbai, I hope to connect with fellow artists and conservationists, and with art aficionados to seek response and feedback of these works in particular and my new journey in general…this is the invite.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

ANNUAL PIT VIPER EXPEDITION 2016 Northern Western Ghats of India.

This is the 7th consecutive year of the now acclaimed PIT VIPER EXPEDITION of Herpactive. The last 6 years have seen teams gather vital data, compile popular articles and research notes and help collate baseline data on pit vipers as well as other Herpetofauna of the 3 states of Goa- Karnataka and Maharashtra.

This year the expedition broadens its scope and plans to set up long term monitoring data at a new field site and contribute to the existing knowledge of these highly evolved snakes. Study of their niche habitats through systematic photo, ecological documentation will be another objective and so will be conservation education to a selected target community target group.

We will target 3 species for data collection on color morphs and abundance besides collection of habitat preference data and photo documentation of other Herpetofauna. The 3 species of Pit vipers are the Hump Nosed Pit viper (Hypnale hypnale), Malabar Pit viper (Trimeresurus malabaricus) and Bamboo pit viper (Trimeresurus graminieus).

Besides this, the team will document any and all other forms of lesser forms of biodiversity that is intrinsic to the habitats of these charismatic species. We will also learn field data collection techniques, snakebite protocol and basic taxonomy amongst other aspects of ophiology and basic herpetology.

This year is special as I have dedicated it to the world of Asian Pit Vipers and my aim is to spread as much knowledge and awareness about these species as possible.
For those who wish to contribute to a one of its kind annual expedition through Northern Western Ghats canopy forests, cross the seasonal monsoon waters at picturesque locales and can brave high humidity and excessive rainfall, this trip is meant for you. 

Team strength will be restricted so join up soon.

Date- 29th June to 3rd July 2016. (29th June, 30th June, 1st July, 2nd July and 3rd July)

Fees- Rs. 15,500/- only including transportation and basic camp meals. This does not include stay on day prior to the expedition and day after the expedition is over. Meeting point is at Panjim on 29th June 2016 at 9.00 am at Heera petrol pump. We do not look at stay arrangement before or after the expedition.

To book a seat one has to pay entire amount as advance to the following account. This amount is non refundable so please be cent percent sure that you are attending the expedition.

HERPACTIVE- 611401010050078.
Account type- Current account.
The IFSC Code is UBIN0561142.

Union Bank of India, Dhuler Mapusa Branch, North Goa.