India’s Conservation Challenges

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Wildlife conservation at crossroads

An interview with Dr. K. Ullas Karanth

Dr Ullas Karanth, a Senior Scientist with the international NGO, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), is a world-renowned wildlife biologist.  In a wide-ranging interview with wildlife and conservation filmmaker, Shekar Dattatri, he outlines the basic problems that beset wildlife conservation in India’s human dominated landscape, and shares his views on preserving these last wild places.

(This is an updated version of an interview that was first published under the title Read More

New to Conservation? Read This!

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Wildlife filmmaker and conservationist Shekar Dattatri addresses some of the common misconceptions that people have about conservation, and provides pointers on how “ordinary people” can get started in saving wildlife.

At one time or another, most conservationists have had someone come up to them and say, “I’m into conservation too! I have two dogs and a cat, and I volunteer at the Blue Cross on weekends”. Actually, wildlife conservation has nothing to do with keeping pets, being compassionate towards domestic … Read More

Beyond The Pretty Picture — Giving Back To Nature Through Photography

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There are probably more amateur nature photographers in India than in any other developing country in the world. India’s most popular web portal for sharing nature photography, India Nature Watch, has several thousand members, some of who now routinely produce the kind of jaw-dropping images that were once the exclusive preserve of magazines like National Geographic or Geo. While this is something to be proud of, the question we are asking today is, “is it time for India’s wildlife … Read More

Youth for Conservation (YFC) School Outreach Marathon in Tamil Nadu

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Youth for Conservation (YFC), an upcoming non-profit that aims to inform and inspire the youth of the country about nature and conservation, has kicked off phase two of its outreach marathon in Tamil Nadu. The marathon, which will cover various parts of Tamil Nadu in five phases, revolves around screening the documentary, “The Truth about Tigers” by Shekar Dattatri, to fourteen and fifteen year olds and having an interactive discussion on various questions they have about the documentary and the … Read More

Be a Conservation-friendly Wildlife Tourist, Nature Lover or Photographer

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(With inputs from Praveen Bhargav and Ramki Sreenivasan)

Merely visiting a wildlife reserve or being a wildlife photographer does nothing to save wildlife.  In fact, uncontrolled visitation by tourists and ‘nature lovers’ is leading to the degradation of reserves and the ‘wilderness experience’ that one craves.  But we can offset the impact of our visits (somewhat) by becoming conservation watchdogs.

The number of people visiting wildlife reserves for recreation is increasing rapidly, thanks largely to an upwardly mobile middle class … Read More

Using RTI for Wildlife Conservation

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Excerpts from a presentation given by Biswajit Mohanty in Bangalore on 23rd August 2013. You can reach him for questions or comments at kachhapa@gmail.com.

What is Government?

This is a difficult question for an ordinary Indian citizen. He/she knows that Government is an omnipotent and omnipresent entity but is not exactly sure who “Government” is. When you want something from any government office, you will frequently hear the words … “Government will decide”. If there are dues/taxes to be … Read More

Running a Conservation Campaign

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(With inputs from Praveen Bhargav and Sanjay Gubbi)

Feel helpless in the face of conservation problems?  So do most people. But with a proper plan and a carefully thought out strategy, you’ll be surprised by what you can achieve.

There are numerous examples from around the world, which show that determined individuals – acting alone or working as a group – can win conservation battles even against huge odds.  To quote renowned anthropologist Margaret Mead, “never doubt that a Read More

Right to Information (RTI) — a Powerful Tool for Wildlife Conservation

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RTI stands for Right To Information and has been given the status of a fundamental right under Article 19(1) of the Constitution. Article 19 (1) under which every citizen has freedom of speech and expression and the right to know how the government works, the role it plays, its functions, and so on. This empowers any citizen to demand access to government files and after scrutinizing the files obtain certified copies of the letters, documents, file notings etc. Another important … Read More

Making a Conservation Film

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Pictures speak louder than words.  That’s a fact.  A crisp, well-researched film that illustrates a problem and offers practical solutions can often prod people into action and be a powerful catalyst for change.

Unlike wildlife filmmaking, where the emphasis is to capture animal behaviour and the beauty of nature to the highest standards, and which therefore requires specialized equipment and big budgets, conservation films do not require very high production values and can be produced even with rudimentary equipment and … Read More

Writing a Conservation Article

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Never underestimate the power of words. A printed article can serve as a powerful tool for conservation that can impact the situation on the ground and effect policy change. What I broadly mean by a ‘conservation article’ is an article that is written to highlight a particular threat  to wildlife or its habitat.

General tips:

Read. Read. Read. That’s your mantra, if you want to write. Read on nature, wildlife, the subject; get acquainted with issues, and the kind of … Read More