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Of Wildlife in Their Habitats

N. Kalyani

By Asad R. Rahmani , Zafar-ul Islam, Raju Kasambe, Jayant Wadatka 
Bombay Natural History Society and Oxford University Press, 2013, pp. 174, Rs. 300.00

By Ajit Johnsingh
Bombay Natural History Society  and Oxford University Press, 2015, pp. 149, Rs. 450.00

By Abasar Beuria and Basudeb Pal Majumdar
Chhaya, 2015, pp. 112, Rs. 1500.00


The three books under review here, all belonging to the Environment and Nature category, cover India’s many protected areas. India has designated its protected wildlife areas as National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries, Bird Sanctuaries and Tiger Reserves. Besides this, there are areas that are designated as Important Bird Areas. Similarly, the country’s Western Ghats and the North East are declared global biodiversity hotspots. Important Bird Areas of Maharashtra: Priority Sites for Conservation covers twenty Important Biodiversity Areas (IBAs), also called Key Biodiversity Areas of the State Areas, identified by Bird Life International and partner organizations in countries around the world. In India the organization along with the Bombay Natural History Society and other partners has identified 466 IBAs, perhaps the largest in any country. These IBAs are characterized by diverse avifauna need protection. Needless to say such areas are also home to other wildlife— mammals, reptiles, butterflies, thus calling for the protection of the high biodiversity areas. The book begins with an introduction that gives Maharashtra-specific information on vegetation, avifaunal diversity, the near threatened, vulnerable, endangered and critically endangered bird species, protected areas and a list of existing and proposed IBAs. The various threats and conservation issues are also discussed. Also, the State of Maharashtra has two biomes—the Indian Peninsula Tropical Moist Forest, in the Western Ghats, and the Indo-Malayan Tropical Dry Zone, that is, biomes number 10 and 11. The various protected areas fall under these two categories of biomes as habitats. Thereafter, each of the twenty IBAs of the State are described individually, with maps accompanying each of them. The IBAs include protected areas like the Navegaon and Sanjay Gandhi National Parks, the Melghat, Tadoba-Andhari and Nagzira Tiger Reserves, the Bhimashankar, Koyna and Nandur Madhmeshwar Wildlife Sancuaries, the Jaikwadi Bird Sanctuary, and others like the Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary, the Taloda and Toranmal reserve forests and areas like the Burnt Island, the Mahul Sewri Mudflats and the Thane Creek. The book is very well illustrated with pictures of birds which are seen in the State. Walking the Western Ghats by Dr A.J.T. Johnsingh is a fascinating first-hand account of the author’s travels in the Western Ghats, all undertaken on foot. There are nearly two dozen chapters in the book and parts of these were published over the years in various prestigious magazines, publications and journals, such as Hornbill, Sanctuary Asia, Saevus, Frontline and The Hindu. The ...

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