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

If you’ve played Save the Purple Frog or seen our mini-series, you know that the Western Ghats is one of the coolest hotspots on the planet for biodiversity. The region extends for nearly 1,000 kilometres along India's west coast and is one of the world’s EDGE Zones: areas with super-high concentrations of Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) species. Preserving them is vital if we want to protect biodiversity.

Great Hornbill
Great Hornbill, Western Ghats

In October 2021, we awarded Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF) a three-year grant. This was to help with its work conserving EDGE species within (and outside) of already protected areas in the Western Ghats. NCF is one of India’s leading wildlife conservation and research organizations and the grant was our first large-scale commitment to an EDGE Zone.

The Western Ghats is home to EDGE species like the Nilgiri Marten and the Kottigehar Dancing Frog, and only 10% of it’s protected. Their survival, and that of many other species, is at risk like never before. Which is why we’re committed to helping. Alongside our stories, we’re driving action on the ground.

We’re thrilled to have an update from NCF on its work.  

Here’s what NCF has done in the first six months of the grant period:

  • Almost finished fieldwork in northern Western Ghats. The data will be used for a study of birds, lizards and their habitats.

  • Started conversations with landowners, nursery entrepreneurs and restoration practitioners with the aim of developing strategic partnerships.

  • Established a rainforest nursery with 2,000 seedlings of 20 native species in central Western Ghats. 

  • Organized street plays aimed at increasing tolerance of elephants. 

Here’s what we’ll be working on for the next few years

  • Developing computer applications to monitor amphibians remotely.

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

  • Building a network of restoration practitioners and scientists, and establishing an open online restoration portal.