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Man bites shark

Diving in the seas off Lakshadweep with Mitali Kakkar of Reefwatch, I watched the young white-tipped reef shark swim nonchalantly through its coral universe, searching for octopus and other prey that it had learned to hunt from the moment of its birth.

The Deadly Web

December 2007: I cannot think of a single life form on Earth that has a net negative impact on the health of the planet; can you? One way or another, every single living thing acts as a maintenance engineer to keep the engine of life ticking. Creatures that exceed their brief and destabilise the planet die at the altar of their own impudence.

Death on Track

“An enormous body, two overgrown teeth, and an upper lip, which joins the nose to form a trunk – these are the evolutionary tools, which the world’s largest land animals have used to survive for millions of years. Today, the elephants are dying. By fragmenting their habitats and killing off the best of their breeding stock for ivory, we have effectively destroyed the species’ chances for future…

Carbon Neutral Squirrels; Negligent Policy Makers

October 2007: It’s a rodent, the smallest of the Indian giant squirrels and next to impossible to sight – largely because it spends most of its life up in the canopy of thick forests, far from human eyes. Also because it is very rare, and getting rarer.

Hook, Line And Sinker

August 2007: Ancient Indians worshipped nature. By contrast, ‘modern’ Indians were indoctrinated by the British belief that nature was an impediment to progress and that wild places had to be subdued using clinical violence.

Stern Warning

June 2007: The year is 2050. Or is it 2030?


You can wade across the Ganges and the Brahmaputra rivers whose glaciers have virtually vanished. The plains of Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, and the Assam valley have turned into toxic dust bowls. Farmers’ wells are dry and their soils are drier still.

Of Course, India Pays

April 2007: "We know how to deal with people like you.”


This not-so-veiled threat was issued by antler horn traders in Maharashtra who accused me of being an ‘extremist’ because I was fighting for a ban on deer-antler exports. “We only use antlers that deer drop naturally once a year,” they spat angrily.

The Art Of Living

February 2007: What perfectly well brought up young tigers!


From the time they were able to follow their mother through their forest universe, they learned from heart-thumping observations, imitation and unambiguous instruction how to hunt, how to hide, what to eat, and what not to. The tigers are sub-adults, the gaur fully grown.

Eat Or Be Eaten

December 2006: The ultimate rule of the sea is stark: “eat or be eaten.”


Sharks, orcas, saltwater crocodiles, leopard seals and moray eels are among the most recognisable ocean predators. Morays like this one haunt the shallows of tropical and subtropical seas, living lonesome lives in rock or coral crannies until hunger drives…

As Times Goes By...

October 2006: The fundamental things apply

                          As time goes by


Dooley Wilson, in the song made famous by the film, Casablanca


When I started Sanctuary 25 years ago, India…

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