Thiruvananthapuram: Not all photos at 'The Western Ghats: Our Lifeline' exhibition are of threatened species, however being endemic to the Western Ghats, these are special. Biju P.B., one of the 11 photographers whose works have been displayed at the exhibition, says, "Since the habitats are threatened, because of monocrop plantations and human encroachments, one can say that all species in the Western Ghats are in danger."
A broad-tailed grassbird he clicked is listed as a vulnerable species. The place in Ponmudi where the bird was spotted has now been cleared for a parking space for tourist cars. "The birds here may have moved to another hill. But one by one we are losing all hills," he says.
The exhibition is no awareness campaign on habitat degradation or man-animal conflict. However the photos speak for themselves. A photograph by O.M. Mathew shows a metal wire wound around the neck of a wild gaur. Another by Bharath Krishnan shows a monkey savouring traces of food in a plastic cover.
Some photos are rare even if the species depicted is classified by the IUCN Red List as 'Least Concern'. Take for instance, the great-eared nightjar shot by S Shinu. Known by the name 'Cheviyan Rachuk', there are very few photos of the bird in daylight.
For, its camouflage is real smart. "You might be standing right next to it, but it will not move. It will fly only if you touch it. Our group had to really look for this nightjar during our trip to Arippa forests before Shinu clicked this one," says Abhilash Arjunan, who has also displayed his works here.
He knows the effort that goes into clicking a rare photo. He had to wait for five days in the Thiruvananthapuram Museum before he got the perfect shot of an Indian fruit bat dipping itself in the Museum pond. There are over 250 photographs at the Museum Auditorium.