M Ananda Kumar

Scientist, Western Ghats

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Ph.D.

My doctoral thesis focussed on human-elephant conflict and behaviour of Asian elephants in this human-dominated landscape of plantations and rainforest fragments. I hold a Masters degree in Psychology as well.

My prior work includes the ecology, behaviour, and distribution of primates and large mammals in the region. I have also conducted surveys on the slender loris (Loris tardigradus, a nocturnal primate) in the states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. For over a decade now, I have been working in the Anamalai hills. My major goals are in involving the local communities, government departments, school children, and also the business community in rainforest restoration and wildlife conservation in the region.

Projects

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LTM in the neighbourhood

Building coexistence to conserve an endangered primate

Cover

Nurturing nature appreciation

Rekindling conservation awareness and connections with nature

Elephant 1

Reviving the rainforest

Ecological restoration of degraded rainforest in the Anamalai hills

 gan7842

The Elephant Hills

From conflicts to coexistence in the Anamalai hills

Ltm kalyan 1020

Completed

Towards wildlife-friendly roads

Studying and reducing impacts of roads on wildlife in the Anamalai hills

Publications

  • Journal Article
    2018
    Whose habitat is it anyway? Role of natural and anthropogenic habitats in conservation of charismatic species
    Tropical Conservation Science 11: 1-5.
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    PDF, 493 KB

    Developmental activities have been one of the major drivers of conversion of natural forest areas into mosaics of forest fragments, agriculture, and plantations, threatening the existence of wildlife species in such altered landscapes. Most conservation research and actions are protected area centric and seldom addresses the importance of landscape matrices around these protected areas in providing habitats to a wide range of species. In this article, we bring out the crucial role of natural and anthropogenic habitats for the existence of three charismatic species, namely, Asian elephants, leopard, and lion-tailed macaques. The larger public perception of where the animals should be and where the animals actually are is also discussed. We emphasize that, while habitat generalists often adapt behaviorally and ecologically to modified landscapes, habitat specialists, such as the lion-tailed macaques could find survival harder, with increasing anthropogenic pressures and loss of their habitats.

  • Journal Article
    2018
    Physiological stress responses in wild Asian elephants Elephas maximus in a human-dominated landscape in the Western Ghats, southern India
    General and Comparative Endocrinology
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    PDF, 749 KB

    Increasing anthropogenic pressures on forests, especially in the tropical regions of the world, have restricted several large mammalian species such as the Asian elephant to fragmented habitats within human-dominated landscapes. In this study, we assessed the effects of an anthropogenic landscape and its associated conflict with humans on the physiological stress responses displayed by Asian elephants in the Anamalai Hills of the Western Ghats mountains in south India. We have quantified faecal glucocorticoid metabolite (FGM) concentrations in focal individual elephants within and across herds, inhabiting both anthropogenic and natural habitats, and evaluated their physiological responses to different socio-ecological situations between November 2013 and April 2014. Physiological stress responses varied significantly among the tested elephant age- and sex categories but not across different types of social organisation. Adults generally showed higher FGM concentrations, even in the absence of stressors, than did any other age category. Males also appeared to have higher stress responses than did females. Although there was no significant variation in mean stress levels between elephants on the plateau in the absence of human interactions and those in adjacent, relatively undisturbed forest habitats, FGM concentrations increased significantly for adult and subadult individuals as well as for calves following drives, during which elephants were driven off aggressively by people. Our study emphasises the general importance of understanding individual variation in physiology and behaviour within a population of a seriously threatened mammalian species, the Asian elephant, and specifically highlights the need for long-term monitoring of the stress physiology and behavioural responses of individual elephants across both human-dominated and natural landscapes. Such studies would not only provide comprehensive insights into the adaptive biology of elephants in changing ecological regimes but also aid in the development of effective management and conservation strategies for endangered populations of the species.

  • Journal Article
    2018
    Seasonal variation in wildlife roadkills in plantations and tropical rainforest in the Anamalai Hills, Western Ghats, India
    Current Science. 114(3): 619-626.
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    PDF, 1.42 MB

  • Journal Article
    2018
    Understanding perceptions of people towards lion-tailed macaques in a fragmented landscape of the Anamalai Hills, Western Ghats, India
    Primate Conservation 32: 11 pp.
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    PDF, 2.24 MB

    The fragmentation of the rainforests of India’s Western Ghats mountains has left the endemic lion-tailed macaque sur- viving in numerous forest patches in a mosaic of commercial tea and coffee plantations. On the Valparai Plateau, Anamalai Hills, some macaque groups have evidently altered their behavior, becoming habituated to people, suffering from frequent roadkill, and facing problems related to people feeding them and their use of open waste dumps. We carried out a questionnaire survey around three rainforest fragments (Puthuthottam, Korangumudi, Old Valparai) and the town of Valparai to understand people’s percep- tions towards macaques, and to identify appropriate conflict-mitigation measures. Macaques near Korangumudi and Old Valparai rarely ventured near residences, and most people were unaware of their presence. Respondents in and around Puthuthottam were aware of the macaques, and most (68%) had negative perceptions of them because the macaques often visited houses in the area. Most respondents (87%) believed that macaques visited houses in search of food and garbage, and 84% reported that macaques were doing this only over the last 10 years. Housing conditions influenced people's perceptions: people living in tiled-roof houses that were vulnerable to incursions by the macaques had higher negative perceptions (84.5%) compared to people living in asbestos-roof and concrete structures. To reduce negative interactions with people and promote harmonious human-macaque co-existence, we suggest implementing a combination of measures that would involve plantation management, conservation orga- nizations, and the state forest and municipal authorities. The measures include cost-effective monkey-proofing of houses, regular garbage collection, preventing open waste disposal and the feeding of macaques, mitigating the effects of roads, and promoting people’s awareness, rainforest restoration, and the use of native shade trees in plantations.

  • Journal Article
    2018
    Understanding Perceptions of People Towards Lion-Tailed Macaques in a Fragmented Landscape of the Anamalai Hills, Western Ghats, India
    Primate Conservation (32).
    Download

    PDF, 2.24 MB

    The fragmentation of the rainforests of India’s Western Ghats mountains has left the endemic lion-tailed macaque surviving in numerous forest patches in a mosaic of commercial tea and coffee plantations. On the Valparai Plateau, Anamalai Hills, some macaque groups have evidently altered their behavior, becoming habituated to people, suffering from frequent roadkill, and facing problems related to people feeding them and their use of open waste dumps. We carried out a questionnaire survey around three rainforest fragments (Puthuthottam, Korangumudi, Old Valparai) and the town of Valparai to understand people’s perceptions towards macaques, and to identify appropriate conflict-mitigation measures. Macaques near Korangumudi and Old Valparai rarely ventured near residences, and most people were unaware of their presence. Respondents in and around Puthuthottam were aware of the macaques, and most (68%) had negative perceptions of them because the macaques often visited houses in the area. Most respondents (87%) believed that macaques visited houses in search of food and garbage, and 84% reported that macaques were doing this only over the last 10 years. Housing conditions influenced people's perceptions: people living in tiled-roof houses that were vulnerable to incursions by the macaques had higher negative perceptions (84.5%) compared to people living in asbestos-roof and concrete structures. To reduce negative interactions with people and promote harmonious human-macaque co-existence, we suggest implementing a combination of measures that would involve plantation management, conservation organizations, and the state forest and municipal authorities. The measures include cost-effective monkey-proofing of houses, regular garbage collection, preventing open waste disposal and the feeding of macaques, mitigating the effects of roads, and promoting people’s awareness, rainforest restoration, and the use of native shade trees in plantations.

  • Report
    2018
    Population assessment of the Nilgiri tahr (Nilgiritragus hylocrius) using the Double-observer Survey method in the Anamalai Tiger Reserve
    Technical Report, Nature Conservation Foundation, Mysore, India
    Download

    PDF, 4.59 MB

  • Book Chapter
    2014
    Fostering human-elephant coexistence in the Valparai landscape,Anamalai Tiger Reserve, Tamil Nadu
    Pages 14 - 26, in Human-Wildlife Conflict in the Mountains of SAARC Region - Compilation of Successful Management Strategies and Practices. SAARC Forestry Centre, Thimpu, Bhutan.
    Download

    PDF, 823 KB

  • Journal Article
    2014
    Our backyard wildlife: Challenges in coexisting with uneasy neighbours. [Guest Editorial]
    Mewa Singh, M Ananda Kumar
    Current Science 106: 1463-1464.
  • Poster
    2014
    Spotting Elephant Signs
    Download

    JPG, 353 KB

    Dung, Herd, Inefficient Digestion, Debark, Tuskers, Deciduous Forests, Grewia, Teak

  • Book Chapter
    2014
    Restoring nature: wildlife conservation in landscapes fragmented by plantation crops in India.
    Pages 178-214. In Nature Without Borders (Eds. Mahesh Rangarajan, MD Madhusudan & Ghazala Shahabuddin), Orient Blackswan, New Delhi.

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