Stories written by Malini Shankar
Malini Shankar is an investigative wildlife photojournalist, radio and TV producer and documentary filmmaker based in Bangalore, India. Malini writes about anthropogenic conflict and quantifies its impact on wildlife conservation. She has written extensively about biodiversity hotspot Western Ghats, the WTO regime and its impact, indigenous peoples’ rights, wildlife crime, wildlife crises, developmental polemics in protected areas, habitat loss, wildlife veterinary infections, census methods and wildlife advocacy. Malini writes for IPS,, PTI, AIR, Gyandarshan and Gyanvani, Terrascape, Getty Images and others. Malini also runs Media Content Production House, the Weltanschauung Worldview Media Centre that is dedicated to communications for a cause. | Web

Women Hit Hard by Natural Disasters

In the aftermath of a natural disaster, women are often the most vulnerable. Particularly in rural areas, women suffer disproportionately from inadequate shelter and poor sanitation facilities and are often tasked with rebuilding shattered homes.

Culling or Conservation?

Midway through Wildlife Week in India, celebrations have been marred by news that 29.8 kilogrammes of ivory, worth 336,800 dollars, had been seized on the Andaman Trunk Road.

Crocs and Humans Clash in Shrinking Space

Twenty two-year-old Ajay Kallu, hailing from the Bakultala village in northern Andamans, was devoured by an estuarine crocodile when he waded waist deep into a creek to fish on the morning of Aug. 1, marking the fifth fatal crocodile attack in 28 months in the remote Islands that lie at the juncture of the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea.

From the Ashes of Tragedy, Lessons for Disaster Management

At 4:30 a.m. on the morning of Jul. 30, sleeping passengers in carriage S 11 on the Chennai-bound Tamilnadu Express were awoken by a blazing fire, as the train approached the east coast town of Nellore, just two and a half hours shy of its final destination.


UNESCO Protection Crucial – and Controversial

It took six years for a dedicated team of scientists from the Wildlife Institute of India, wildlife officials from six Indian states and officials from the federal ministry to secure international protection for one of India’s most precious biological reserves.

Shipping Canal Threatens Culture, Ecology, Livelihoods

One hundred and fifty years ago, the British colonial administration in India proposed a shipping canal project that would allow cargo vessels, commercial liners and large ships to cut through the Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park in the Palk Straits between India and Sri Lanka, thereby slashing 424 nautical miles (about 780 kilometres) off the traditional shipping route around Sri Lanka to the Far East.

The Chikka Sampige tree is revered by the Soligas tribe in the Billigiri Ranga Temple Tiger Reserve as the sister of the 1000 year old Dodda Sampige tree. Credit: Malini Shankar/IPS

Earth Summits Fail Biodiversity in India

Heads of state and governments are meeting in Rio de Janeiro this week to decide how to renew their pledges made during the first Earth Summit held in Rio in 1992.

Indian Ocean Rim Countries Battered by Disasters – Part 2

The heat wave in the Indian state of Orissa, which saw a 10-degree Celsius increase in summer temperatures last month, claimed 21 lives, according to government sources; unofficial estimates counted 87 deaths.

Turning Disaster Management Strategy Into Action – Part 1

Islanders on India’s Great Nicobar Island in the Bay of Bengal, barely 144 kilometres from Sumatra, fled when they felt the first tremors of the 8.6 magnitude earthquake on Apr. 11. They leaped across creeks inhabited by estuarine crocodiles, haunted by memories of the devastating 2004 Asian tsunami that took the lives of thousands of people.

Smugglers Devastate Gulf of Mannar Marine Reserve

Forest officials of the Gulf of Mannar Marine Biosphere Reserve abutting the Palk Straits between India and Sri Lanka have reported a decline in marine wildlife, as smugglers exploiting lax conservation laws in the region tank up on protected species used in traditional Chinese medicines and fine dining.

Bringing the Lost Cheetah Back to India – But at What Cost?

On Monday, the Indian Supreme Court declined to call a scheduled hearing of the Federal Ministry of Environment and Forests regarding plans to reintroduce African cheetahs, which were declared extinct in 1952 as a result of over-hunting by India’s nobility, into 10 identified sites in north and central India by May 2012.

Community Radio Tunes Into Ad Revenues in India

Community Radio (CR) broadcasting in India, long bound by red tape, has received a fillip with the government announcing a hike in advertising tariffs and the auction of licenses.

INDIA: Indigenous Rights Versus Wildlife Rights? – Part 2

As the amount of protected forest dwindles rapidly in India, indigenous groups and wildlife find themselves living cheek to jowl in an increasingly contested space.

INDIA: Indigenous Rights Versus Wildlife Rights? – Part 1

Tucked away in a dense and ecologically diverse tiger reserve in Southern India, tribes-people and wildlife defenders are locked in a battle of indigenous peoples’ rights versus wildlife rights.

INDIA: Industrial Pollution Brings Crocodile Tears

Industrial pollution from a paper manufacturing factory in one of India's most precious biodiversity hotspots is wreaking havoc on the local ecology, driving up the population of wild crocodiles in the area while simultaneously destroying the creatures' habitat and food supply.

Elephants roaming free in the forest, away from their trainers. Credit: Malini Shankar/IPS

INDIA: Elephants and Mahouts Held Captive by Tradition

As the number of captive elephants grows to 35 percent of the wild population of the world’s largest land-dwelling mammal, elephant trainers, or mahouts, find themselves just as chained to hardships as their charges.

INDIA: Dangers of a Lax Nuclear Strategy

On August 26, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan resigned, taking responsibility for the disastrous meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which was caused by the March 2011 undersea earthquake and ensuing tsunami.

A fatally injured olive ridley turtle on Puri Beach, Orissa. The turtles face multiple threats - including missile launches. Credit: Malini Shankar/IPS

ENVIRONMENT: Military Debris Threaten Oceans

Military debris dumped into the world’s oceans are hazardous to coral ecosystems, reefs, fish and marine wildlife, say experts, who also warn - in light of the recent tragedy in Japan - that earthquakes and tsunamis could disturb this debris and even wash it ashore.

Wild Seismic Predictions Disputed

Without in-depth scientific documentation of marine mammal strandings, natural history and animal behaviour, the prediction of seismic events based on behaviour of marine mammals is not widely accepted. Sceptics often dismiss such predictions as conjecture.

Villagers near the Bandipur reserve are accuses of conniving with poachers. Credit: Malini Shankar/IPS

INDIA: Balancing Biodiversity and Livelihood A Juggling Act

Hanumantha Nayak had not ventured too far into the forest in search of firewood. But, while he was apparently attempting to tear up a cluster of dried bamboo, a tigress leapt onto his back, bit his forearm, and then went for his throat. Nayak, 50, never stood a chance.

MEDIA-ASIA: Community Radio Carves Out Space for Itself

Community radio is moving from the margins to the mainstream in many countries in Asia, carving out spaces from where they respond to public needs ranging from disaster management to gender awareness, cultural identity and belonging.

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