Category : News

1 week, 2 days ago 0
Posted in: Others, Vacancies

WCS India Program is hiring interns under a project on the conservation of endangered lion-tailed macaques in the Western Ghats.

The project involves questionnaire-based surveys in multiple sites across Tamil Nadu. Selected candidates will be required to travel extensively, interact with local communities and conduct surveys as per a predetermined scientific protocol.

Essential qualifications:

i) Candidate must be fluent in speaking Tamil and/or Malayalam
ii) Basic knowledge of MS Excel
iii) Valid driver’s licence
iv) Inter-personal skills, and the ability to work well with a team
v) Can commit to a period of 2 months
vi) Prior field experience with wildlife research or conservation is desirable

The position is open with immediate effect. Renumeration will be decided based on candidate qualification and experience. Accommodation and food expenses in the field will be covered by the project.

To apply, please send an email to <interns.wcsindia@gmail.com> with the subject line ‘Application: Research Assistant, May 2018’, stating interest in brief (100 words), along with your most recent resume/CV.

1 week, 4 days ago 0
Posted in: Others, Vacancies

Centre for Wildlife Studies (CWS) has Research Associate and Research Assistantships available to work on projects focusing on human-wildlife interactions, conservation education and tourism across India.

Qualifications:
(i) Masters’ degree in Wildlife Biology/Wildlife Science/Zoology/Life Science/Environmental Science or related field, or Bachelor’s degree in ecology or related field, with field experience
(ii) Past experience in conducting ecological research
(iii) Valid driver’s license for light motor vehicle is desirable
(iv) Inter-personal skills, and the ability to work well with a team
(v) Knowledge of Kannada/Hindi/Malaylam is desirable
(vi) Strong interest in wildlife conservation.

The candidate will participate in research activities and will be expected to contribute to program logistics. Remuneration will be in accordance with qualifications.

How to apply: Interested candidates may send their CV, including prior work experience in conducting ecological surveys, and a brief description of interest in joining this project, to Dr. Krithi Karanth at kkaranth@wcs.org with the subject line, ‘Application: Research Assistant/Associate’.

1 month ago Comments Off on WCS India Program staff honoured by the ZEISS Group and the Rotary Club
Posted in: Others
Two of WCS India Program ​staff were honoured by the Zeiss Group, New Delhi and the Rotary Club, Mysuru East.​

​Narasimha Chapakanda​

The Zeiss group, Global technology leader, operating in the fields of optics and optoelectronics, awarded Mr Narasimha Chapakanda on 23rd March, 2018 with its prestigious ‘ZEISS Wildlife Conservation Awards 2018’ recognising his valuable contribution to wildlife conservation in India​. ​Mr ​Narasimha has been working with WCS India Program since 2004, in areas ​around Kali Tiger Reserve.

Govindappa​ H L ​
​The ​Rotary Club, Mysore East ​honoured ​Mr. Govindappa H L on 18th April, 2018 for his significant service and contribution in the field of social work. 
​The ​Rotary Club, Mysore East supports the relocated families of Sollepura relocation centre in the field of education and healthcare. Mr Govindappa has been working with WCS India Program since 2013 in areas around the Nagarahole Tiger Reserve.
The WCS India Program congratulates Mr Narasimha Chapakanda and Mr Govindappa H L for the prestigious awards.
1 month, 1 week ago Comments Off on Livestock sustains leopard populations in the tea gardens of West Bengal, study finds
Posted in: Press Releases

BENGALURU, 6th April 2018: A new study on leopards that inhabit the tea-garden and forest mosaic landscape of West Bengal finds that they are highly adaptable to living in human-use areas, and that their prey includes high numbers of livestock like cattle and goats. The study is a part of WCS India’s long-term research on the socio ecology of human-wildlife interactions. The persistence of large carnivores in human-use areas can lead to conservation and management problems globally. Lack of ecological knowledge of such carnivores in human-use landscapes impedes efficient and science-based management. This study focused on understanding the diet of leopards specifically in the Indian state of West Bengal.

The team estimated the diet usage, prey availability and diet selection of leopards in a tea-plantation dominated landscape. The collaborative study between Wildlife Conservation Society–India Program, National Centre for Biological Sciences, Foundation of Ecological Research Advocacy and Learning and West Bengal Forest Department, was conducted in a tea-garden and forest mosaic in northern West Bengal state covering an area ~400 sq km with high human density.

The team collected more than 120 putative leopard scats (faeces) from field and after careful examination, confirmed 70 of the samples to belong to leopards. These samples were analyzed for remains of prey items based on the hairs found in the faeces. The available prey for the leopard was estimated using field surveys (distance sampling) and statistical models. Used prey and available prey were compared to understand the selectivity in diet of the leopards.

The study found high usage of domestic prey such as cattle and goats by leopards and among wild prey, rhesus macaques were preyed upon more that their proportional availability.

Aritra Kshettry, the lead author of the study says, “The domestic prey available to the leopard is six times higher than wild prey in the study area. This implies that leopards are feeding on whatever is more available to them and not necessarily choosing domestic prey over wild prey” The anthropogenic food resource allows carnivores like leopards to persist in tea-estates and non-forested areas in the landscape. However, losses to people due to
livestock kills needs to be reconciled immediately to prevent negative attitudes of local communities towards the leopards. The study highlights the adaptability of leopards and their patterns of prey resource use in tea-gardens that lie outside the Protected Area network.

The study titled “Diet Selection of Leopards (Panthera pardus) in a Human-Use Landscape in North-Eastern India” authored by Mr. Aritra Kshettry, Mr. Srinivas Vaidyanathan and Dr. Vidya Athreya, appeared in the journal Tropical Conservation Science on March 21 st 2018. It may be accessed here: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1940082918764635

The research was supported by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, The Rufford Foundation, Idea Wild and logistical support was provided by the West Bengal Forest Department.

1 month, 2 weeks ago Comments Off on Post-doctoral Fellowships
Posted in: Others

The Centre for Wildlife Studies (CWS) and Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) have two year Postdoctoral Fellowships available to work on projects focusing on human-wildlife interactions, conservation education, remote sensing and agriculture, ecological economics and/ wildlife tourism across India.

Qualifications:
(i) PhD degree in Conservation Ecology/Wildlife Biology/Life Science/Environmental Science/Education/Remote Sensing-GIS/Environmental Economics or related field
(ii) Strong interest in wildlife conservation
(iii) Past experience in conducting field based social science and/ ecological research
(iv) Evidence of writing skills including published papers and proposals
(v) Familiarity with Earth Engine and Python
(vi) Evidence of strong analytical skills
(vii) Fluency in Indian languages (Kannada, Malayalam and/ Hindi is desirable)
(viii) Inter-personal skills, and the ability to work well with a team
(ix) Valid driver’s license for light motor vehicle is desirable

Remuneration will be in accordance with qualifications and expertise.

How to apply: Interested candidates may send their CV, publications, including prior work experience in conducting social or ecological surveys, and a cover letter with brief description of interest to Dr. Krithi Karanth (krithi.karanth@gmail.com) with the subject line, ‘Application: Postdoctoral fellowship’.

1 month, 3 weeks ago Comments Off on WCS India Program congratulates Professor K VijayRaghavan, Principal Scientific Advisor, GoI
Posted in: Press Releases

BENGALURU, 29 March 2018: On behalf of Wildlife Conservation Society–India Program, I am pleased to send across my heartiest congratulations to Professor K VijayRaghavan for being appointed as Principal Scientific Advisor (PSA) to the Government of India. The office of the PSA is a scientific body that the government relies on for advice on matters relating to science. It also acts as the interface between scientific institutions and the government.

One of India’s finest biologists, Professor K VijayRaghavan was formerly the director of the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) and was appointed Secretary of Department of Biotechnology in 2013, a position from which he retired last month. I am grateful for his enthusiastic support in the initiation of the two-year master’s degree program in Wildlife Biology and Conservation at NCBS, which was established in 2004 due to a partnership between WCS – India Program and NCBS.
His continued encouragement and backing for research in wildlife science and ecology, both as the Director of NCBS as well as the Secretary of Department of Biotechnology, has contributed immensely to the success of this program in training a sound cadre of professionals that work for wildlife conservation. Since its initiation, the program has matriculated 88 master’s students who have published 65 peer-reviewed scientific papers from their thesis and 150 papers after graduation. Fifteen students have completed their PhDs and 24 are currently enrolled in PhD programs.

I would like to congratulate Professor VijayRaghavan once again most warmly on his
appointment and wish him success in his future endeavours.

Best wishes,
Prakriti Srivastava
Country Director
Wildlife Conservation Society – India Program

1 month, 4 weeks ago Comments Off on Volunteer with WCS India Program
Posted in: Others

Wildlife Conservation Society India Program has volunteering opportunities for candidates with keen interest in wildlife research, data processing and data analysis.

Location: Bengaluru

Requirements:
1. Graduate degree in any discipline.
2. Extremely meticulous and organised.
3. Basic working knowledge of Microsoft Office (particularly MS-Excel).
4. Good interpersonal skills and ability to work in a team.
5. Passionate about wildlife. 

This position is largely office-based.

Interested candidates are requested to send an email to <interns.wcsindia@gmail.com>, with the subject line “Application: Volunteers, Mar 2018”, stating interest in brief (100 words), along with their resume and other relevant information.

2 months ago Comments Off on WCS scientists Dr Ullas Karanth and Dr Krithi Karanth jointly awarded by Woodland Park Zoo, USA.
Posted in: Press Releases

BENGALURU, 23 March 2018: On behalf of Wildlife Conservation Society, India Program, we are pleased to share that Dr K Ullas Karanth and Dr Krithi Karanth have been jointly awarded the Conservation Leadership Award by the Woodland Park Zoo at the Thrive Leadership Awards ceremony for their dedication to the study and conservation of tigers and other mammals. The ceremony was held at Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle, USA, on 27 February 2018.

Dr Ullas Karanth is the Director for Science, Asia at the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and is considered one of the world’s foremost authorities on tigers. He has conducted extensive research on their ecology, and pioneered the use of remote cameras for studying prey-predator relations and population density of big cats. Dr Krithi Karanth is an Associate Conservation Scientist with WCS, and her work encompasses a broad range of issues examining human dimensions of wildlife conservation. Her research provides insights into the patterns of mammal extinctions, the impacts of wildlife tourism in reserves, and the consequences of voluntary resettlement and land use change. Together, they have published more than 200 scientific articles and authored several books, with their work featured in world media including National Geographic, NPR, Scientific American, BBC, CNN, New York Times, Time Magazine and Animal Planet.

The Thrive Leadership Awards honoured individuals and a local corporation who have demonstrated their commitment to protecting wildlife and the environment around them and advancing Woodland Park Zoo’s mission of conservation. “We honoured some incredible leaders in wildlife conservation—individuals whose dedication to preserving the human-animal connection on this planet spans decades, continents and even conservation methods,” said Woodland Park Zoo’s President and CEO, Alejandro Grajal.

Ms Prakriti Srivastava, Country Director, WCS India Program, said “I am delighted to learn that Dr Ullas Karanth and Dr Krithi Karanth have been honoured with the Conservation Leadership Award by Woodland Park Zoo. Dr Ullas Karanth pioneered the first ever scientific study of tiger and prey populations and has introduced new perspectives to wildlife research in India. Dr Krithi Karanth’s work has provided valuable insights into human dimensions of wildlife conservation through her work with communities that live in and around wildlife habitats. I, on behalf of the entire WCS India Program fraternity, would like to congratulate them on being conferred this prestigious award.”

2 months ago Comments Off on The Smoking Elephant
Posted in: Others

We are excited to share with you a rare video shot by Mr Vinay Kumar, Assistant Director at WCS India, which captures a wild Asian Elephant exhibiting incredibly unusual behaviour – seemingly ingesting charcoal and blowing out the ashes! The following video was taken while he, his colleague Mr Srikanth Rao and our field staff were checking in on our installed camera-traps in the park as a part of WCS India’s long term monitoring of tiger and prey populations in Nagarahole National Park, Karnataka.

Mr Kumar recalls the experience below:

A cool breeze engulfed me as I peeped out to a misty morning from our field station.  Srikanth, my colleague greeted me and over tea we planned for the day’s 70-90 km drive – the plan was to visit and check 20-23 camera-trap locations in Nagarahole National Park, Karnataka, as part of a long-term project of studying tiger and prey populations. At each camera-trap location, we had deployed a pair of cameras facing each other on either side of a forest road or trail, mounted inside a protective iron shell and triggered automatically by the motion of passing wildlife, including the elusive tiger! I was excited at the thought of what the camera traps might have in store for us from the night before.

But first things first, we needed to fuel up! Breakfast, which was pulao (rice laced with sweet n sour masala) and a small pouring of heated sambar (concoction of lentil and mixed vegetables) from last night’s dinner, tasted like manna from heaven in the serene and romantic surroundings of our isolated field station. We followed that with another round of freshly made hot black tea, after which we were set to hit the road. Srikanth, three field assistants and I boarded our sturdy Mahindra 4-wheel-drive Jeep and set out on our pre-determined route through the forest.

Srikanth Rao (left) and I with our trusted Mahindra and able field assistants. ©Vinay Kumar MC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we drove through Nagarahole, five pairs of eyes strained to catch any possible glimpse of wildlife that we were passing by. While Srikanth focused on driving slowly on these forest roads, all my senses were on full alert.  We had just entered a partially burnt patch of the moist deciduous forests, when we suddenly came face to face with a female elephant standing calmly on the side of the road. This was not an unusual sighting, but what we saw her doing was something that I had never witnessed before, and it has probably not been commonly captured on film earlier either.  As cameras clicked, I switched on to the video mode and filmed what would be an amazing sight to behold, and a behaviour that has had experts trying to decipher the exact nature of the action.

What we saw that day almost appeared as though the elephant was smoking – she would draw up a trunk full of ash close to her mouth and blow it out in a puff of smoke! I quizzed my colleague and elephant biologist, Dr. Varun R. Goswami, on what was going on. In all likelihood, he concluded, the elephant was trying to eat wood charcoal. That made sense as the elephant appeared to be picking up something from the burnt forest floor, blowing away the ash that came along with it in her trunk, and consuming the rest. Charcoal has well recognised toxin-binding properties, and although it may not have much nutritional content, wild animals may be attracted to it for this medicinal value. Charcoal can also serve as a laxative, thereby doubling its utility for animals that consume it after forest fires, lightning strikes, or controlled burns of the type we saw in Nagarahole that day.

This was a unique experience for me, and I am excited to share it with all of you.

2 months ago Comments Off on On the International Day of Forests, some stories from our citizen science program
Posted in: Others

21 March 2018, Bengaluru: Today is the International Day of Forests, first instituted by the UN General Assembly to raise awareness about the ecological importance of our forests. We take this opportunity to share stories about our long-running citizen science program, which has been introducing people of all ages, and all walks of life to India’s forests and its wildlife for over three decades! We talk about the evolution of our citizen science program and our volunteers, many of whom muddied their boots in a forest for the first time by participating in our line-transect/occupancy/socio-economic surveys and continue to be involved in wildlife conservation efforts till today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three decades back, Dr Ullas Karanth first began his pioneering study of tiger and prey populations in the forests of the Mysore-Malenad landscape. He soon realised that he not only needed more people on the ground to aid with collecting ecological data but also felt the need to share his vision and rigorous science with the common man. It also dawned on him that he was left with very little time to walk transect lines (marked paths in a forest, which when walked would provide data for assessing prey populations) by himself while expanding his study of the tiger. Thus, he started the process of recruiting and training his team of amateur naturalists who would walk transects and record ecological data of prey populations. This team of ‘volunteer-naturalist’ recruits was put through rigorous screening – long hikes to test capacity for fieldwork, the ability to spot and identify animals quickly, accurately record information and of course, tolerate the incessant tick-bites in the forests of Nagarahole! Fast-forward to over 30 years later, many of these early recruits are staunch conservationists today, and several also chose to switch careers full time to work as ecologists and conservationists!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our rigorous volunteer programs are sometimes jokingly called ‘boot-camps’, as they require participants to brave difficult terrain, live with very basic facilities while engaging in rigorous scientific exercises such as land use mapping, conducting human-wildlife conflict surveys, or participating in transect and occupancy surveys. Yet, several participants report that despite having to conduct arduous fieldwork and living in very basic conditions, they remember their time fondly, and leave with an increased appreciation for forests and wildlife.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of our early volunteers, Mr Rohit S Rao has been volunteering with our line transect camps for the last 23 years! He recalls, “Being in the wilderness and watching wildlife had always been a dream for me since I was a little boy. So when I learnt of the opportunity to volunteer for WCS’ line transect camp way back in 1995, I jumped at it. This camp turned out to be one of the greatest experiences of my life, where I observed wildlife at close quarters and walked in the stunning forests of Nagarahole National Park. I interacted with experts in the field of wildlife science and conservation, also met so many like-minded people. After this camp, I got hooked.” Mr Rao has been working on conservation initiatives in Kudremukh National Park and has been the Managing Trustee of the Kudremukh Wildlife Foundation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We regularly invite volunteers from diverse backgrounds and professions to participate in our field projects, and train them in wildlife science and conservation. In the last 20 years, over 4,000 people have been trained by us and have volunteered for several research projects. Volunteers and interns are engaged to count and identify animals, map land use, and conduct household socio-economic, conflict, tourism and biodiversity surveys. These citizen science initiatives are designed to provide intensive exposure to various aspects of conservation practice, and to harness an appreciation for nature and wildlife in participants. We conclude this post on our citizen science program with warm wishes to all of you on the International Day of Forests, 2018.