N S Harish

Project Associate, Western Ghats

Harishns 2016 1

B E (Mechanical Engineering), 2008

Over the last four years, I have been actively involved in wildlife conservation awareness campaigns and have worked on projects involving local people residing close to critical wildlife habitats. I now contribute to a range of field research, public outreach and on-ground conservation efforts carried out under the Karnataka Western Ghats Programme



The secret lives of leopards

Understanding the ecology of leopards in Karnataka 


  • Journal Article
    From intent to action: A case study for the expansion of tiger conservation from southern India
    Sanjay Gubbi, N S Harish, Aparna S, H C Poornesha, Vasanth Reddy, Javeed Mumtaz, M D Madhusudan
    Global Ecology and Conservation, 9: 11–20

    PDF, 2.61 MB

    To conserve a large, wide-ranging carnivore like the tiger, it is critical not only to maintain populations at key habitat sites, but also to enable the persistence of the species across much larger landscapes. To do this, it is important to establish well-linked habitat networks where sites for survival and reproduction of tigers are complemented by opportunities for dispersal and colonization. On the ground, expanding protection to areas with a potential for tiger recovery still remains the means of operationalizing the landscape approach. Yet, while the gazetting of protected areas is necessary to enable this, it is not sufficient. It is essential to benchmark and monitor the process by which establishment of protected areas must necessarily be followed by management changes that enable a recovery of tigers, their prey and their habitats. In this paper, we report a case study from the Cauvery and Malai Mahadeshwara Hills Wildlife Sanctuaries of southern India, where we document the infrastructural and institutional changes that ensued after an unprecedented expansion of protected areas in this landscape. Further, we establish ecological benchmarks of the abundance and distribution of tigers, the relative abundance of their prey, and the status of their habitats, against which the recovery of tigers in this area of vast conservation potential may be assessed over time.

  • Report
    ಚಿರತೆಗಳು ಜನ ನಿಬಿಡ ಪ್ರದೇಶಗಳನ್ನು ಪ್ರವೇಶಿಸಿದ ಸನ್ನಿವೇಶಗಳನ್ನು ಸುರಕ್ಷಿತವಾಗಿ ನಿಭಾಯಿಸುವ ವಿಧಾನಗಳು (Safely handling situations when leopards enter human dense areas - Kannada version)
    October 2016

    ಚಿರತೆಯು ಜನ ನಿಬಿಡ ಪ್ರದೇಶಕ್ಕೆ ಬಂದಾಗಿನ ಸಂದರ್ಭಗಳನ್ನು ನಿಭಾಯಿಸುವಲ್ಲಿ ವಿವಿಧ ಸಂಸ್ಥೆಗಳು ಕೈಗೊಳ್ಳಬೇಕಾದ ಪ್ರಮುಖ ಕ್ರಮಗಳನ್ನು ಈ ಕೈಪಿಡಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ನೀಡಲಾಗಿದೆ. ಚಿರತೆ ಪಟ್ಟಣ, ಗ್ರಾಮದಂತಹ ವಸತಿ ಪ್ರದೇಶಕ್ಕೆ ಬಂದಾಗ, ಚಿರತೆಯು ನೀರಿರುವ ಅಥವಾ ನೀರಿಲ್ಲದ ಬಾವಿಗೆ ಬಿದ್ದಾಗ ಮತ್ತು ಚಿರತೆಯು ಉರುಳಿಗೆ ಸಿಕ್ಕಿಕೊಂಡ ಸಂದರ್ಭಗಳನ್ನು ಪ್ರಾಯೋಗಿಕವಾಗಿ ನಿಭಾಯಿಸುವ ಬಗೆಗಿನ ಮಾಹಿತಿಯನ್ನು ಇದರಲ್ಲಿ ನೀಡಲಾಗಿದೆ.

    ಚಿರತೆಗಳು ಜನ ನಿಬಿಡ ಪ್ರದೇಶಕ್ಕೆ ಬರುವ ಸನ್ನಿವೇಶಗಳನ್ನು ಆಗಾಗ್ಗೆ ಎದುರಿಸುವ ಪ್ರದೇಶಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಅರಣ್ಯ ಇಲಾಖೆ ಮತ್ತು ವಿವಿಧ ಸಂಸ್ಥೆಗಳು ಇಟ್ಟುಕೊಳ್ಳಬೇಕಾದ ಉಪಕರಣಗಳ ಮಾಹಿತಿಯನ್ನು ಸಹ ಕೈಪಿಡಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ನೀಡಲಾಗಿದೆ. ಕರ್ನಾಟಕ ಸರ್ಕಾರದಿಂದ ವನ್ಯಜೀವಿ ಹಾವಳಿಗೆ ಪರಿಹಾರ ನೀಡುವ ಪ್ರಕ್ರಿಯೆಯ ಬಗ್ಗೆ, ಒಂದು ಪ್ರದೇಶದಲ್ಲಿ ಚಿರತೆಯ ಇರುವಿಕೆಯನ್ನು ಧೃಡಪಡಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳುವ ಬಗ್ಗೆ, ಅಧಿಕ ಸಂಘರ್ಷ ಇರುವ ಪ್ರದೇಶಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಅರಿವು ಮೂಡಿಸುವ ಚಟುವಟಿಕೆಗಳನ್ನು ಹಮ್ಮಿಕೊಳ್ಳುವ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಸಹ ಮಾಹಿತಿಯನ್ನು ನೀಡಲಾಗಿದೆ.

  • Report
    Safely handling situations when leopards enter human dense areas - English version
    September 2016

    PDF, 21.9 MB

    This manual covers key measures to be taken by various agencies in handling situations when leopards venture into human dense areas. It provides practical information to handle leopard situations when they enter cities, towns, villages, when leopards fall into dry or wells with water, or when they are found caught in snares. 

    The manual also provides information on the equipment that's required to be kept by the forest department and other agencies in areas where there are repeated instances of leopards entering human dense areas. It provides information on Karnataka government procedures in providing ex-gratia, documenting leopard presence in an area, and outreach activities that could be undertaken in high interface areas.

    This manual is also available in Kannada.

  • Report
    Tigers of Malai Mahadeshwara and Cauvery Landscape
    November 2015

    PDF, 5.13 MB

    Report on tiger numbers in the dry forests in the confluence of Western and Eastern Ghats in southern India

  • Journal Article
    Photographic records of the Ratel Mellivora capensis from the southern Indian state of Karnataka
    Small Carnivore Conservation, 50, 42-44.

    Understanding about the occurrence and distribution of the Ratel Mellivora capensis from the Indian subcontinent is hindered by the animal’s elusive nature. The first photographic evidence of Ratel for the southern Indian state of Karnataka comprises 41 camera-trap records from Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary. During January–March 2014, Ratels were detected in the sanctuary’s different forest types broadly in proportion to camera-trapping effort therein. A wider occupancy survey, using a range of methods including camera-trapping, would help obtain a better understanding of the distribution of this cryptic species in Karnataka and neighbouring regions.

  • Report
    Ecology and conservation status of leopards in Bhadravathi Territorial Division
    October 2014

    PDF, 15.6 MB

    Despite the leopard (Panthera pardus) being a highly conflict-prone species with a wide distribution range, there are few population estimates of this species in Karnataka, especially outside protected areas. Effective conservation of this large carnivore and mitigation measures towards leopard conflict requires reliable estimates of population density in various habitats and landscapes with different management priorities. We conducted a population estimation exercise for the leopard using photographic capture-recapture analysis, using spatially explicit capture–recapture (SECR) models, in the multiple-use forests in Bhadravathi Division in central-interior Karnataka. Density estimates for leopards in this 370 km2 area, which includes 14 state, minor forests and sandal reserves, all continuous to each other, was found to be 11.1/100 km2 (95% CI 9.7-12.2/100 km2) with an estimated population size of 44 individuals (95% CI 39-49). We also recorded 14 species of large and small leopard prey from this area including gaur, sambar, chital, barking deer, four-horned antelope, wild pig and mouse deer. Using publicly available forest cover analyses tools, we estimate that the area has lost forest cover of ~14% since their notification between 1905 and 1941. We propose that the forest areas surveyed be declared as a wildlife sanctuary under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 to uphold to their rich wildlife values.

  • Journal Article
    Roads emerging as a critical threat to leopards in India?
    Cat News 60 Spring 2014 (30)

    PDF, 565 KB

    Leopards (Panthera pardus) face severe threat from poaching, loss of habitat and killing in retaliation to conflict. However, in India a new threat appears to be emerging in the form of vehicle accident mortalities. In the past 60 months 23 leopards have been recorded as killed due to road accidents in the southern Indian state of Karnataka alone. When roads overlap with important wildlife habitats, considerable scrutiny and critical conservation planning is urgently required

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