Caracals in India-The forgotten cats
The book, Caracal in India is written with an aim to share my findings on the status, distribution, behaviour in the wild and chances of survival of the caracal in India. Babette de Jonge and Anton Buijen van Weelden were very fortunate to have had the rare chance to see and film successfully three caracals in Ranthambore National Park during their safari in June 2008. Having known me they offered their rare footage and I
promised a book that would help raise interest in a forgotten cat.

Through this book I hope to re- introduce the caracal and help raise familiarity with the species to the reader. I believe that once a person familiarizes himself with a magnificent cat such as the caracal, he or she will look for them in their next trips to a National Park and that some keen naturalist will unravel more interesting information on the species.

Shekhar Kolipaka
Wildlife Researcher
Tracks & Signs - A Field Guide

A field guide to the Tracks and Signs of Indian wildlife is an innovative approach to wildlife identification. Conventionally, in India, hunting- gathering tribes, hunters, farmers and people working in wildlife reserves knew the art of identifying animals and interpreting their behaviour by observing tracks and signs of wild animals. Their very livelihood and survival depended on such skill.

In today’s India, such skills are no longer valued and the skill of interpreting wildlife tracks and signs is fast disappearing and very few people pursue it. This is primarily because people do not interact with wildlife and forests like they used to, they do not depend on wildlife like they used to.

This field guide is an attempt to resurrect interest in the art of identifying wildlife tracks and signs accurately and interpreting animal behaviour.The field guide allows the reader to first look at the tracks or signs and then by means of key illustrations, to determine the animal groups or species responsible for what you see. The keys refer to detailed descriptions, pictures and illustrations. There are chapters on animal tracks, droppings and bird pellets, feeding signs, nests and animal shelters, other signs (such as mud wallows, tree scratching and waterholes) and a detailed glossary of terms.


As a conservationist, you noticed that in your work area people’s actions influence wildlife survival. You want to change this existing scenario and instead want local people to support wildlife. This book is a case study and shows how planning and implementation in change attempts are realised.

Shekhar Kolipaka conducted action research and used the powerful Theory U change management framework to assess the potential of stakeholders of Panna Tiger Reserve in India to support transformational change to a human-tiger coexistence scenario in the newly created buffer zone. The names of people mentioned in the book are not real and have been changed to ensure privacy. The change methodology used in the action research is highlighted in this book and the case study may be of particular value to wildlife conservation practitioners and students who wish to understand how change attempts are managed. Theory U provides a framework to guide and assess the transformative change as it happened. The readers of this work should not be distracted and vilify stakeholder groups for not supporting change but should critically consider the underlying reasons that create barriers to change processes. The author highlights that in the absence of a shared common vision of the future scenario, stakeholders knowingly or unknowing pursue their own self-interests and create barriers to change attempts.

Dr. Shekhar Kolipaka questions and investigates the survival prospects of reintroduced tigers and their offspring’s in the human dominated landscape of Panna tiger reserve in India. In this book he recognises the importance of both the sociological (human) and biological (tiger) aspects to address tiger survival in human dominated landscapes. The study describes the factors that allow local people in the Panna tiger reserve area to co-existence with tigers such as, people avoiding the forest at night and allowing unwanted surplus cattle to roam the forests. People’s behaviours are a result of their age old beliefs on tigers, good knowledge on wild animals and traditional practices. Tigers show adaptation to people’s activity and practices and also prey on free-roaming cattle. They did not target villages or become problem animals. These insights show how people’s practices in a landscape shape human and carnivore coexistence. Such understanding also provides insights for improving local practices and emphasise the need for in-depth understanding of local cultures. The study also describes the behaviour of tigers. It shows how the originally released animals and their offspring use their environment vis-à-vis their spatial movements and choice of prey. Tigers exhibit high adaptability and also avoid areas of high human activity. These findings demonstrate how an expanding tiger population could co-exist alongside humans. Understanding these processes is essential to guide the reintroduction of large carnivores like tigers and their successful management in human dominated landscapes.
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