Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Wishing one and all a Happy and Prosperous New Year 2015. Let this year bring in peace and stability in our lives and living environments. Wishes and prayers to all those who are striving to make a difference in their own way…and to those who hopefully will begin from this year onwards…:)

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Sanctuary Asia ' Wind under Wings' award 2014 received

I received the Sanctuary Asia 'Wind under Wings' award 2014 on behalf of Team Wildernest, my research colleagues at Mhadei Research Center and Hypnale Research Station, and of course the communities and students i work with across the forest landscapes of Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Environment activists from Goa, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu came together for two days brainstorming session from October 28 and 29 to discuss and take stock of the threats to the Western Ghats vis-a-vis powerful pressures from growing population demands and to discuss about the socio-economic development needs, new government policies and climate change and to break the impasse on the political and popular acceptance towards immediate implementation of the best of WGEEP reports.
Pandurang Hegde, the initiator of Appiko movement has co-ordinated the meeting. Claude Alvares, the Director of Goa Foundation at the inaugural session said, “As a result of the Save Western Ghats movement launched in 1987, the area under the Western Ghats to be protected was increased from 8000 to 65,000, which is a great success. In order to strengthen our mission further, youngsters should take part in the movement and achieve the unfinished goals.”
Environmentalist Ramesh Gauns said, “Unplanned and haphazard development in name of hinterland tourism will result in creating garbage and other wildlife conflict related problems and these need to be studied”
Kumar Kalanand Mani of Peaceful Society told, “We have to give the call of ‘Chalo (go to) Western Ghats’. There is need of documenting various struggles launched for the protection of environment and ecology in the form of book and web site. We have to build up strong groups for the implementation of Kasturirangan’s Report and to start dialogue with government  about Gadgil Report.”
S.R. Hiremath, Padmashree Adv. Norma Alvares, S.Y. Prabhu, Vaishali Patil, Rajendra Kerkar, Nirmal Kulkarni, Terence George and 70 other researchers, wildlife activists, lawyers and grassroots workers took part in the brainstorming sessions. People for Western Ghats, Peaceful Society and Mhadei Research Center jointly organized the meeting.
Press note by Rajendra Kerkar, Member, National Wildlife Advisory Board and Founder of Vivekanand Environment Awareness Brigade, Keri Sattari Goa.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The South Indian Monsoons are receding…it is the beginning of yet another winter in the Northern Western Ghats of India. As we await the arrival of Winter migrant avi fauna and the blooming of a myriad of flowers, we also thank the Rain Gods for a good monsoon this year.

Monday, October 6, 2014


Join herpetologist and nature photographer Nirmal U Kulkarni on an exclusive road trip in the Northern Western Ghats of India where he connects with his researcher colleagues, helps document biodiversity and creates awareness at grassroots level.
Learn basic conservation photography and field equipment skills, help compile field data and learn from Nirmal’s vast experience in conservation science over a period of 3 nights and 4 days in exquisite forest habitats.
We will stay at field stations, campsites and home stays that contribute to nature conservation and awareness and empower their work in the process.
The road trip will traverse through forest roads and jeep tracks at dawn and dusk to provide opportunity for mammal and bird photography besides undertaking night cruises to maximize sightings of reptiles and amphibians.
There will be ample of opportunity to shoot landscapes, macro images of butterflies, reptiles, and varied insects. This is also an excellent opportunity to observe and absorb village life of forest communities for those who wish to do so.

We will travel in a well-equipped Mahindra Scorpio that has been modified to suit field requirements and long distance travel.

Climate - Pleasant weather with chilly nights.
Temperature - 12 degrees Celsius to 30 degrees Celsius.
Humidity - 70 percent.

About Nirmal -
A field ecologist and herpetologist, Nirmal Kulkarni has to credit the discovery of 3 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 an excellent storyteller.  Nirmal has been awarded with the Karmaveer Award, the Carl Zeiss award for conservation and the RBS Earth Hero ‘Inspire’ award for his work.
He currently works on pit vipers and fresh water turtles in the Northern Western Ghats of India.
The team size will be 5 people including Nirmal and his man Friday driver Paresh.
1.   Fast drying earth colored field clothes.
2.  Good walking shoes.
3.  Cap and Glares.
4.  Field Note Pad and Pen/pencil.
5.  Personal medical kit if any.
6.  Back pack for field.
7.  Water bottle for Field.
8.  Woollens for night and sleeping bag.

16st Oct 2014 Departure at 9.00 am from Panjim (Heera petrol pump).
19th Oct 2014 Arrival at 3.00pm at Panjim (Heera Petrol pump).

1.   Rs. 10,000/- per participant including stay and food and transport from ex Panjim, usage of field equipment and local guide.
2.  Camera entry fees, personal expenses for beverages, medical expenses etc. not part of the fees.

1.   First Aid and safety protocol for participants as well as the wildlife we observe are of primary importance and decisions of Team Leader is final in this matter.
2.  Transportation will be from Panjim to Panjim only.
3.  Confirmation of seat can be done by making a 100 percent advance payment in Cheque/Cash or Direct Transfer in the name of ‘HERPACTIVE’. This is NON-REFUNDABLE so please be sure before you confirm.

HERPACTIVE- 611401010050078.
Account type- Current account.
IFSC Code is UBIN0561142.
Union Bank of India,
Dhuler, Mapusa Branch, North Goa.

For more details email at

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Rajendra Bhai on National Wildlife Advisory Board.

Rajendra P. Kerkar, environmentalist from Goa and known to all of us as Bhai Kerkar is one of the 10 non official members who has been nominated to the National Wildlife Advisory Board. An affidavit to this regard was submitted to the Ho Supreme Court of India by MoEF — Bhai kerkar focuses on water conservation, community knowledge documentation and protection of the Northern Western Ghats of India. A well-known conservationist he has spent his life spreading awareness about nature, especially in the hinterlands of Goa. He is also a member of the Goa State Wildlife Board. I have been fortunate to have learnt some early lessons in community conservation and human-wildlife interactions from him and continue to do so. Image by Stalin SM.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Anti Poaching and Patrolling camps like these are often our frontline defence for field wildlife conservation. They are not only ears and eyes of the Forest Department but also a vital field level link between field biologists, communities, field staff of the forest department and nature tourists. We acknowledge and appreciate their vital role in conservation as well as in enforcement of rule of law.

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Sun came out for a bit and this Indian Bronze back tree snake ( Dendrelephis trisits) came out from nowhere and began foraging actively in the leaf litter. Primarily a tree dweller I have seen individuals of this species forage on ground before, but this one was bold enough to do so in my presence. Yes of course i sat still, but It did see me twice…and went ahead and tried stalking a skink before slithering away in a tree hollow that was a foot above the ground.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Village outposts near fringe forest farms

it is such small village outposts bar homestead plantations and agriculture plots near fringe forests that are the first line of defence/caution in cases of human wildlife interactions. While in some cases these lead to conflict especially when large ungulates like Gaur and Sambar enter into areas where there are standing crops, in most cases the presence of humans at night do help in keeping away wildlife.
Our teams endeavour has been to observe this process and its effectiveness and wherever possible suggest some measures that can enhance and safeguard both the farmers as well as wildlife.
It has been an uphill task but nevertheless there has been some limited success after trial and error.

The base of the vazra falls

The vazra falls in the Chorla Ghats have been home to me for a decade and half now and have shaped my career as well as my life. Here the falls cascade almost 142 meters into the valley and later join the Valvanti river.
Here, at the fag end of the monsoons these falls cascade into a rainbow and give it an ethereal feel.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Asian Weaver Ants || Oecophylla smaragdina (Fabricius, 1775) taking away a shrimp head

Asian Weaver Ants || Oecophylla smaragdina (Fabricius, 1775) taking a shrimp away at Nerul, bardez Goa. It is such smaller facets of urban biodiversity that need to be observed and appreciated. This image was taken in my backyard and I am sure one can see such events unfolding in any homestead farm or garden across the state.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Indian Hump Nosed pit viper (Hypnale hypnale) near Mollem National Park, Goa, India.

Seeking blessings for Guru Pournima

I did seek blessings from my mentors and teachers today morning on occasion of Guru Pournima just the way I do every year. And then realisation dawned upon me that I did miss out on paying my respects to nature itself and its denizens who have taught me much…and continue to do so every single moment. I will pay my respects in my own way to nature too. You should too!!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

And herping for the monsoons of 2014 has begun. Hoping our work here in the Northern Western Ghats and that of our colleagues and co researchers contributes to conservation science and awareness and goes beyond academics.  Image by Shilpa Avate

Chorla Ghats 'Do not Litter' campaign 2014

The beginning of the Do not litter Chorla Ghats campaign organised by Parye Patrakar Sangh had a good response- more importantly because like minded people from the media, Government officers from Forest Dept, Police and Excise, concerned MLA's and local youth leaders, environment activists and nature lovers from all walks of life stopped and supported our cause and understood the need for conservation of the Chorla Ghats region.Thank you Nilesh Shetkar Gopinath Gawas and Raghoba Lau Pednekar for organising this. let us keep the momentum in the weeks to come.

I appeal to our supporters, patrons, friends and well wishers…and all those who value wildlife, verdant forests and free flowing fresh water streams…to speak up, intervene, act and voice your opinion against littering of forest habitats in your neighbourhood green patch, a forest nearby or a Protected Area.

 Remember, every piece of unwanted litter, garbage,discarded plastic and broken glass bottle adds to the irreversible damage caused to area where it is done. 
This monsoons, let us not just be mute spectators, let us act to make a difference.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Promoting eco conscious tourism in Goa in its true sense

The government has been talking of promoting hinterland tourism recently, but most of the plans seem to revolve around concrete, building infrastructure and development. This approach is rather contrary to the entire concept of eco or hinterland tourism.
The concept as we all know is low-key eco conscious promotion of spots for natural or cultural and historical value. This is the essence of eco tourism and needs to be followed. Use of natural low impact materials, involvement and capacity building of local community and highlighting of landscapes and sites of natural interest for education and relaxation to discerning eco tourists are key factors. The Govt needs to use expertise within the state for promoting new areas for hinterland and eco tourism as these areas are also within the Protected area network and need careful planning. The need of the hour is to firstly understand that hinterland or eco tourism is a niche form of tourism and cannot be executed and practiced by the regular system and norms that Goa’s mass tourism follows.

The Government must bring on board all existing eco tourism entrepreneurs by firstly identifying them and then creating a network that can further develop skill sets as well as promote the concept in Goa in its true sense.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Nirmal Kulkarni received the Lokmat Gaurav Award for environment 2014.

 I received the Lokmat Gaurav Award 2014 for Environment category yesterday at the hands of Shri Vishnu Surya Wagh, MLA and eminent writer, poet and orator at a function held at Kala Academy Goa. This award is truly a ‘people’s choice’ award and I take this opportunity to thank one and all for their support and votes and more importantly for your trust in my work and that of my team. Last but not the least I thank my family and my team for being there by my side through thick and thin always.