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Western Ghats

House sparrows want old homes

Issue Date: Jun 15, 2009
But there isn't much for them in urban or rural areas In a 2008 Current Science article ornithologist Ranjit Daniels suggested several reasons for the decline of house sparrow populations in India. Daniels suggested studies similar to those on declining amphibian populations. He also suggested house sparrows were more likely to be conserved in agricultural and hilly landscapes rather than cities. Urban areas do not have space for the house sparrows and they are also home

Seeking shikimic

Author(s): Ali Danish Zaidi
Issue Date: May 15, 2009
A major component of the bird flu drug, it is in short supply one way to prepare for the bird flu epidemic is to store large quantities of the drug Tamiflu. The drug blocks the enzyme responsible for helping the virus break the host cell membrane to get out, and so 'traps' it, preventing its spread to healthy cells.

Coorg cardamom gets GI status

Author(s): Deepa Kozhisseri
Issue Date: May 15, 2009
Producers get a boost coorg green cardamom, grown in southwest Karnataka, has received the geographical area indicator or GI status. This means only cardamom grown in Kodagu--formerly Coorg--can be marketed as Coorg cardamom. The Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks, under the commerce ministry, granted the gi status

Court allows widening of 17 km of road

Author(s): Nidhi Jamwal
Issue Date: Apr 30, 2009

In court

Issue Date: Mar 31, 2009
water feud: Acting on a petition against the Kalasa-Bhandura diversion project, the Karnataka high court has issued show cause notice to the state government and the Union ministry of environment and forests. The project will divert 7,560 million cubic metres of water from river Mandovi to river Malaprabha and displace Kankumbi and Nerse villages, said Paryavarni, a non-profit based in Belgaum district, in the petition. The project will also submerge 732 hectares (ha) of land in the Western Ghats, of which 500 ha is under forest cover.

At home in a cave

Women folk number only 161 out of the tribe’s population of 363. The skewed sex ratio in the tribe leads young men to either seek alliances with the neighbouring Kattunaickans, or remain celibate. Photographs by: Ajeeb Komachi

At home in a cave

Stoic yet warm, Kuppumala Chellan bids us farewell. The Cholanaickens live in a present unburdened by the past, and unbothered about the future. Photographs by: Ajeeb Komachi

At home in a cave

The hidden caves of the Cholanaickens in interior Karulai-Chungathara reserve forests in Nilambur valley, Kerala. Cholanaickens, who on translation stand for ‘Kings of Evergreen forest’, migrated from forests in nearby Mysore forests centuries ago.In 2002, the state government recognized Cholanaickens as one of the five primitive indigenous communities in Kerala. Photographs by: Ajeeb Komachi

At home in a cave

The Karimbuzha alai. There are 11 such rock caves in Nilambur, most of them natural rock formations. The Cholanaickens avoid caves close to the ground to protect against wild animals and floods during the rains. During monsoons, they confine themselves to the caves; in other seasons they wander into the forests in search of minor forest produce. Photographs by: Ajeeb Komachi

At home in a cave

A view of the Karimbuzha Alai from the inside. Families of Karimbuzha Mathan and Karimbuzha Ravi live in this alai. The Cholanaicka men add the name of their alai to their name. Kept neat and clean, the tribe folk do not urinate near the alai. The entrance is left narrow, and the unlit space inside is demarcated for pale (sitting) and malathala (sleeping). Photographs by: Ajeeb Komachi
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