For its fifth edition, the Nature inFocus Festival hosted its first-ever curated wildlife photography exhibition – The Wild Nation – showcasing around 100 images from across the country, curated by the top experts in their field. The Wild Nation is an attempt by NiF to throw light on the colossal beauty of India's rich wilderness and to sound out important conversations on conservation.
The exhibition is divided into five categories, based on the different habitats found around the country. Here, we look at the images curated for the Rainforests category by Vijay Mohan Raj.
Vijay Mohan Raj works for the Karnataka Forest Department and is a passionate bird photographer. Vijay networks with individuals and organisations that make conservation click and also believes that everyone can play a part in conserving nature. You can follow him on
Instagram and Twitter. Samyak Kaninde Streams in forests are lifelines for many species, especially for microfauna. Rainforests in the Western Ghats brim with life during the monsoons along gushing streams like these. Location: Tamhini Ghat, Pune Anuroop Krishnan The genus Rhacophorus consists of over 50 species of gliding frogs, many of which are found in India. These frogs have long toes with webbing between them, enabling them to glide from their perches. False Malabar Gliding Frogs (Rhacophorus pseudomalabaricus) are found in small microhabitats in the regions they occur, and are constantly under the threat of human habitation taking over. Location: Munnar, Kerala Arvind Ramamurthy Bullfrogs (Hoplobatrachus tigerinus) are commoners in the Western Ghats. This particular individual is a juvenile. The adults are much bigger in size and can weigh more than two kilograms. Unfortunately, their meat is a delicacy in many villages. Location: Agumbe, Karnataka Umeed Mistry This photograph of tadpoles in a freshwater pond in Agumbe allows for a different perspective of the surrounding rainforest, with the tall towering trees around the pond forming the backdrop for the action happening underwater. Location: Agumbe, Karnataka Vignesh Thangaraj The lush greenery, the constant drizzle and the abundance of life - the Western Ghats take on a special aura during the monsoons. Dragonflies are found in plenty in such habitats during the breeding season. There was a sudden rain when this Nomad dragonfly (Sympetrum fonscolombii) decided to rest on a green leaf, under a natural shade, thus creating an amazing backdrop with the light coming from behind. Location: Gopalapuram, Tamil Nadu Partha Protim Chakraborty Two bugs (Hemiptera) hanging from a branch while mating. Location: Jalpaiguri, West Bengal Jithesh Pai The photographer found this spider on a hibiscus plant in his home garden where it had started raining heavily. The next day, he found the spider inside one of the hibiscus flowers, braced and in position for an ambush. Some blue-banded bees were drinking nectar from the same flower and started attacking the spider, but it simply wouldn't budge. The following day, an unsuspecting butterfly put its proboscis inside the flower to drink nectar and was caught in an instant. In the end, it was patience that yielded the food for the spider. Location: Sanoor, Karkala Shivendra Singh These freshwater crabs are usually found hidden under the basaltic rocks in the plateau region of the Amboli district. With a beautiful pink coloured shell and orange legs, they emerge during the monsoon when the rock crevices fill up with water. Their claw-bearing legs are unequal in size with the left leg much larger than the right. Location: Amboli, Maharashtra Anuroop Krishnan The Elliot's Forest Lizard (Calotes ellioti) is endemic to India and inhabits the Western Ghats, where it is found in the Anaimalai, Tirunelveli and Sivagiri hills, and the Malabar coast. While the original habitats of this agamid lizard are under continuous threat, it adapts well even in human habitations such as tea and coffee estates. Location: Munnar, Kerala Adarsh Raju The Southern Flying Lizard (Draco dussumieri) is an arboreal lizard that glides from tree to tree, feeding primarily on ants and other arthropods. When in flight, these agamid lizards are a spectacle to behold, displaying their dewlap (a fold of loose skin hanging from the neck) and the brilliant patterns on their patagium (a fold of skin between the forelimbs and hindlimbs on each side) that they use as wings. When not displaying, they are so well camouflaged that they are often extremely hard to spot. Location: Mookambika Wildlife Sanctuary, Karnataka Sunil Sachi Malabar Pit Vipers (Trimeresurus malabaricus) are only found in the Western Ghats and nowhere else in the world. Their unique ability to polymorph means that you will find them in shades of grey, azure green, brown, yellow, rusty chocolate and more. This particular individual was found basking on the rocks on a late evening at the foothills of the Kurinjal peak. Location: Kudremukh National Park, Karnataka Umeed Mistry Weaver Ants (Oecophylla smaragdina) in the forest of Wandoor, South Andamans, make short work of an injured Cat Snake. In half an hour they had cut the snake up into pieces and hauled them up into their nest in the trees above. Location: Wandoor, South Andamans Suchi Govindarajan While walking through the forests of Agumbe, the photographer saw a Pill Millipede gathered up into a ball on the ground below. She wanted to capture the millipede in its habitat of leaf-litter, and in the process show what a rainforest looks like underfoot. The Pill Millipede has a short stout body that looks like a set of curved shields and usually feeds on decomposing organic matter. When threatened, it curls up into a tight ball like in the picture. Location: Agumbe, Karnataka Prakash Ramakrishnan Great Hornbills (Buceros bicornis) are evergreen forest birds that mostly feed on ficus fruits. This wide shot of a hornbill mid-flight, against the backdrop of the forests of Valparai, is a perfect representation of an animal in its habitat. Sadly, habitat destruction is the main threat to these beautiful birds. Location: Valparai, Tamil Nadu Mahesh Reddy The Vernal Hanging Parrot (Loriculus vernalis) earns the name from its unique behaviour of sleeping upside down. They prefer deciduous forests, secondary growth or mixed brush and thin jungles, but also pop up occasionally in evergreen forests, especially when flowering trees are nearby. They are a cavity-nesting species, preferring to enlarge already-existing tiny holes in stumps or rotten trees. Location: Coorg, Karnataka Rajiv Basu This beautiful blue pair of Black-naped Monarchs (Hypothymis azurea) were sighted dazzling across the forests of Dandeli when they took a brief pause, allowing the photographer to click this beautiful frame. Location: Dandeli, Karnataka Sunil Sachi The Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary is a biodiversity hotspot with most of the area covered by dry deciduous, moist deciduous and semi-evergreen forests. There are also evergreen patches, with the Mullayanagiri peak creating the cloud forest that supports unique flora and fauna. Here is an image of a Malabar Giant Squirrel (Ratufa indica), a large tree squirrel species native to India, photographed in the rainforest habitat of the Bhadra Tiger Reserve. Location: Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary, Karnataka
NiF thanks all its sponsors and partners for making The Wild Nation a grand success.