This summer bore witness to one-of-its-kind synchronisation of fireflies that took place in the sprawling Western Ghats of Anamalai Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu. A cluster of a thousand lighting bugs cast a bioluminescent blanket over the lush jungle, making the core protected area glow like Christmas lights on a December evening. The event has been compared to the wildebeest migration in Africa, drawing parallels with the rare phenomenon. In fact, it has never been documented at such a large scale anywhere else in the world. Even so, not much is known about the conservation of these nocturnal insects or their species, which have caught the attention of researchers .
Photographers Pravin Shanmughanandam and Dhanu Paran unveil the wondrous sighting, alerting us of the need to preserve their habitats from biodiversity loss, artificial lighting and pesticides.
—As told to Vamika Singh
Pravin Shanmughanandam is the co-founder of The Pollachi Papyrus- an online travel platform that aims at promoting responsible tourism in Pollachi and the Anamalais. His travel company The Papyrus Itineraries curates itineraries to explore the natural wonders of Anamalais and experience Pollachi’s vibrant culture in an authentic, immersive way.
Dhanu Paran is a Pollachi-based wildlife photographer whose work has been published in several magazines. He has won BBC Young Wildlife Photographer 2017 and his images have featured in National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year 2017 and at many more organisations.