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Being a Wildlife Enthusiast...
written by: Nishand Venugopal
"I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand" - Confucius
10 days of course for Wildlife enthusiasts comprise all these three. You hear, see and experience the nuances of how wildlife conservation happens in real life situations. There are a lot of challenges that the forest managers and researchers face in general, which is difficult to apprehend when we get emotionally connected to a species or an animal. So to see and observe it will help to give a new dimension to our perception which nowadays shaped by a lot of articles and posts in social media and other publications. It is difficult to have a balanced view on these issues as day by day it is getting more and more complex. Hope is still there as more people are working from various perspectives of conservation, and they are trying their best to figure out solutions. We learned a lot about such efforts during our course at the Wildlife Institute of India.
Classes regarding geography, geology, history, and methods related to conservation, almost 18 topics were introduced and discussed in 5 days at WII. Topics varied from mighty elephants to tiny cicadas, the reintroduction of tigers to research on Tricarinate Hill-Turtle, from fastest bird peregrine falcon to the primitive order of spiders, and knowing about them, expanded the mindscape of an enthusiast like me. Even a small field trip to Asan barrage, the first conservation reserve of India shed light on the importance of the inter-department coordination in conservation. The trip to museums at Forest Research Institute of India and Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, it was an eye-opener for me. Every exhibit there had a mind-boggling tale around it.
Now it was time for another exciting part of our course and that was the 5-day field trip to Kolluchaur and Choukam, in Lansdowne Forest Division. Loved to walk in the forest, looking for signs, hearing sounds and sensing the nature around you. Saw various birds, elephants, the gorals, smooth-coated otter, etc. in their undisturbed habitat. We stayed in a Van Gujjar's Hamlet and heard about the issues and measurements taken by the Departments regarding the resettlement of these people. While on the trail we came to know that every element like sand, rock, trees, plants has a story to tell. It ranges from the life of Sivatherium, an old extinct giraffe species, the mammoths with long straight tusks, that moved without fear in the tall grasslands more than 10000 years ago to the tiger or an elephant that passed before us through this route a few hours ago. I felt like we were travelling in time loop back and forth, and simultaneously getting connected with nature. During this journey through the jungle I am grateful to our mentors, the scientists and teachers from WII, Sri Suresh Kumar, Sri Navendu Page and the guide Imam Ji who made every moment of this trip memorable and informative with their tales. Also meeting people from various backgrounds and sharing thoughts and ideas definitely improved my understanding of conservation efforts in India. This conservation course has been an excellent experience for me. Events inspired me to be a 'conservation ambassador' and express my passion for conservation.
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Amateur Nature Photographer...Happy to click moments that matter and loves to share and educate about it. Trying to do some bit in conserving nature. Volunteering for WWF and an occasional traveller...