Fringe Ford is a beautiful semi-deciduous forest in the Western Ghats of India, nestled close to the borders of the state of Kerala with Karnataka. It directly abuts the Wyanad Wildlife Sanctuary, and hosts a full complement of Indian wildlife, including but not limited to leopards (Panthera pardus fusca), tigers (Panthera tigris), elephants (Elephas maximus indicus), Great Indian gaur (Bos gaurus), dhole (wild dogs, Cuon alpinus) and gray langurs (Semnopithecus hypoleucos). The forest at Fringe Ford has remained intact by good fortune. It was originally acquired by a British settler in 1912 for the purpose of pepper, cardamom and coffee agriculture, but never attained its full potential. Ownership of the land changed hands around 1970, and except for a small lodge maintained by a small staff, the forest and wildlife therein have been left to run their natural course. The result? A pristine forest that represents everything beautiful about Indian forests.
FPI has been keen to establish a field site in India for several years now, and after just one visit to Fringe Ford in August 2014 our minds were made up. The forest canopy is as variable as we have grown accustomed to seeing in the Peruvian Amazon. There are several perennial streams, waterfalls (large and small), a 365-degree view just a short hike up to the surrounding mountain ridge, megafauna galore (more information further down this page), and a conspicuous absence of mosquitoes!
In short, this is as exciting as it gets for biologists, anthropologists, wildlife enthusiasts and photographers.