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Protecting underdog species of the Western Ghats: On the Edge launches three-year partnership with India’s Nature Conservation Foundation

The Western Ghats is an extraordinary region for biodiversity, all the more so because of the interplay of human and animal life in this part of India famed for tea production. Pressure on the region’s ecosystems and species is only intensifying, and the need to document and protect the diversity of life in the Western Ghats has never been greater.

Great Hornbill
Great Hornbill, Western Ghats
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A three-year grant and project partnership

On the Edge is partnering with the Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF), one of India’s leading wildlife conservation and research organizations, for a three-year project that will expand conservation action in the Western Ghats and help secure the future of often-overlooked species like the Nilgiri Marten, Kottigehar Dancing Frog, and Great Hornbill.

The grant to NCF marks our first large-scale commitment to an EDGE Zone. These regions, which include the Western Ghats and others like northern Madagascar and peninsular Malaysia, have exceptionally high concentrations of Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) and other threatened species — and are key to protecting biodiversity. Soon to be revealed, our top 25 EDGE Zones cover less than 1% of the world’s land area but contain one-third of its terrestrial vertebrates, one-third of EDGE species, and one-third of the earth’s evolutionary history.

Our grant will support NCF in conserving EDGE species and landscapes outside of protected areas in the Western Ghats. The region extends for nearly 1,000 kilometers along the west coast of India, but only 10% of the landscape is protected.

Over the three year duration of the project, NCF’s work will expand from the southern to the central and northern Western Ghats. Its primary aims are to broaden knowledge and awareness of EDGE species, and forge new partnerships for restoration and conservation. Work will include:

  • Conducting surveys of habitats outside of protected areas including forest fragments and farmed land, and assessing variation in habitat quality.

  • Developing computer applications to monitor amphibians remotely.

  • Establishing native plant nurseries and providing support to landowners to start their own.  

  • Building a network of restoration practitioners and scientists from the Western Ghats and beyond, and establishing an open online restoration portal. 

  • Communicating about EDGE species and biodiversity to people in the Western Ghats.

  • Assessing variation in habitat quality within and across land use types.

Last updated
23/11/2021

Malshej Ghat, Maharashtra, Western Ghats
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About the Nature Conservation Foundation

The Nature Conservation Foundation was established in 1996 to contribute to the knowledge and conservation of India’s wildlife heritage. Its teams work in Indian habitats from coral reefs and tropical rainforests to the high mountains of the Himalaya.

NCF strives to understand the survival needs of endangered species such as snow leopards and elephants, as well as equally fascinating but lesser-known wildlife such as corals and spiders. While promoting wildlife conservation, its programs also strive to safeguard livelihood and development options for local communities.

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