Krithi Karanth is a National Geographic Emerging Explorer and in 2011 received the Society’s 10,000th grant for research and exploration. She is a conservation biologist working to save India’s increasingly fragile ecosystems and threatened animals. Her research utilizes many forms of data, including camera traps, to monitor and conserve a wide variety of Subcontinental creatures.
By Krithi K. Karanth and Arjun Srivathsa
For more than twenty years, camera traps have helped record the otherwise unseen populations of India’s wildlife. Now, with more than a million pictures in the record, we have uncovered spectacular “selfies” from the reserves.
This is just the latest fringe benefit to come from the scientific work with camera traps pioneered by my father, K. Ullas Karanth. The population data and individual animal identification that has resulted through the work of the
Wildlife Conservation Society-India enables us to continue to protect these magnificent animals facing ever greater threats and challenges.
But it’s not all serious business for India’s wildlife. In a world besieged by humans constantly snapping selfies … other animals are not far behind.
Some Are Fancy
India is home to the largest population of wild tigers in the world, but even here, tiger cubs are typically very secretive. This camera trapping work has helped reveal that individual tigers can be identified and tracked by recognizing their unique striping. (Photo by Ullas Karanth/WCS)
Less massive than their spotted African relatives, striped hyenas are usually found in dry scrub and ravines, and often prey on domestic livestock. (Photo by Ullas Karanth/WCS)
Others Are Flighty
Green bee-eaters feed on bees, wasps, and ants and they remove the stingers of their prey by repeatedly beating them. (Photo by Ullas Karanth/WCS)
The fancifully head-dressed hoopoes protect their eggs by secreting a fluid to make the eggs smell like rotting meat. (Photo by Ullas Karanth/WCS)
Some Are Bold
Leopards are perhaps the most adaptable and versatile large cats in the world and have been found to live in sugarcane fields in India. (Photo by Ullas Karanth/WCS)
Even without its quills standing up, the crested porcupine is the largest rodent in India. (Photo by Ullas Karanth/WCS)
Others Are Bashful
Chital (or spotted deer) is the most abundant cervid species in India and a favorite food of tigers. (Photo by Ullas Karanth/WCS)
The four-horned antelope is the smallest bovid in India. Only the males bear the namesake two pairs of horns. (Photo by Ullas Karanth/WCS)
Some Are Picture Perfect
Sloth bears feed largely on termites and seasonally on fruits, and mothers carry cubs on their backs for up to nine months. Their fleshy nostrils and lips are used to blow away dirt and vacuum up their insect prey. (Photo by Ullas Karanth/WCS)
Hanuman langurs commonly live among people, and though once considered to be a single species, have recently been split into seven distinct species. (Photo by Ullas Karanth/WCS)
Others Are Edgy
Asian elephants are smaller than African elephants, but just as curious and intelligent. Their powerful and dexterous trunks are thought to be comprised of 60,000 muscles. (Photo by Ullas Karanth/WCS)
During the rut, sore spots are seen on these sambar deer where the hair and skin sloughs off and exudes a fluid. (Photo by Ullas Karanth/WCS)
Some Are Curious
This wide-eyed visitor is a muntjak, also called a “barking deer” for the loud dog-like vocalizations it makes when alarmed. (Photo by Ullas Karanth/WCS)
Although they are called “civet cats” for their cat-like appearance, palm civets are veverrids, not felines, and more closely resemble more primitive carnivores. (Photo by Ullas Karanth/WCS)
Others Are Mischievous
These bonnet monkeys are often commensal and communal with people and are endemic to southern India. (Photo by Ullas Karanth/WCS)
And of course, even in the wildest parts of India, you’re never far from other curious humans! (Photo by Ullas Karanth/WCS)
All in all it’s a selfie-filled world!
Read More by Krithi Karanth