- WCS-India has scaled up its combatting wildlife trafficking (CWT) efforts. Since September 2018, our staff that includes scientists, trained lawyers and retired forest department officials, has been imparting training through workshops to over 500 personnel across seven states. We have signed MOUs with numerous state and federal branches of the Government of India towards capacity building of staff. These include the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau of India, State Forest Departments of Nagaland, West Bengal, and Telangana, and Border Security Force (BSF). We now have a manned helpline (99575 67525) to assist government officials with CWT cases, and a CWT smartphone app is under development.
- WCS – India has partnered with governments and local NGOs to assist in the voluntary relocation of over 1900 families in Karnataka and 305 families in Kerala. These people living in remote, inaccessible areas of forests have benefitted from the move, while biotic stresses on forests have been reduced too. Work has been initiated in Telangana. Our staff has also been closely working with the resettled people to strengthen livelihood opportunities.
- In Kaziranga National Park in Assam, the first photographic database of Asian elephants has been developed by WCS-India team. This photographic database, based on identifying individual elephants from their distinguishable morphological features under a rigourous sampling framework, allows us to estimate elephant densities in this protected area.
- As the world witnesses climate extremes, the impacts of climate change are most felt on the ocean ecosystem. With oceans absorbing a large chunk of the carbon dioxide, there is need to understand ways in which the impact on marine ecosystems is limited. Our marine program has been studying long-term assessment of coral assessing reef resilience in the Andaman islands. We have sampled six out of 10 sites in South Andaman island. The data is in the process of being analysed and will contribute to the global understanding of reef resilience.