Lessons from the field
May 13, 2019: Students of the MSc course in Wildlife Biology and Conservation interacted with conservationists at WCS-India and learnt about the various aspects of conservation applied in the field, as well as the challenges involved. From the ingredients for a good relocation process to how wildlife trade is detected, they were given a quick view of the ground realities.
Addressing the audience, Mr P M Muthanna, Assistant Director of Conservation at WCS-India, touched upon the conservation activities undertaken by the organization in support of the various stakeholders. Voluntary relocation, private land purchase, support to law enforcement, etc were some of the areas pointed to. He also threw insight into the approaches used by conservationists and the requirements for being an effective conservationist.
Being familiar with the ground situation not only in terms of wildlife conservation, but also the socio-economic and political scenario plays an important role in conservation actions, said Mr Muthanna. “A lot of thinking and analysis is also involved,” he told the young audience, and stressed on the need to build strong relationships with the local people.
Adding to Mr Muthanna’s observations, Mr M C Vinay Kumar, Assistant Director at WCS-India, advised the students on three categories of people to pay attention to when doing conservation. These are the government officers, religious leaders and the politicians – all of who hold a significant amount of power in deciding the turn of events. He gave examples to show the audience the power wielded by these sections in determining if a certain detrimental practice is stopped or not. Often a small step calls for lot of patience and persistence as one chases files or pushes for a change in policy, he noted.
Mr Gopalkrishne Gowda, retired IAS officer, and Senior Advisor at WCS-I, known for his actions that benefitted environment and wildlife conservation during his various tenures in administration, gave the audience a brief view of conservation from the inside. The successful Bhadra voluntary relocation, closure of KIOCL operations in Kudremukh, etc were touched upon. How the government functions, some of the roadblocks and areas of neglect were also noted by sharing from his experiences.
Later, during tea the students interacted with the speakers and other staff at WCS-India.