Ananda Banerjee (for Info only, not official)

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Ananda Banerjee

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    ...Prithvi Gill Many moons ago, a debate over a wildlife conservation issue with a forest officer led to an unusual invitation. He told me that if I wanted to report on issues related to nature conservation and what goes into managing or protecting a national park, I needed to spend at least one month in the field with forest staff. He added that weekend getaways to the forest, however frequent, would not help me understand the nuances of life inside a national park. It was an invitation too good to turn down. At the time, I was working with an environmental non-governmental organization, and we were allowed to take the stipulated three weeks’ annual leave for voluntary work in the field. Needless to say, the time I spent in the nature reserve had a lasting effect. ...

    Live Mint on March 23, 2017, 2:04 p.m.

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    ...He added that weekend getaways to the forest, however frequent, would not help me understand the nuances of life inside a national park. It was an invitation too good to turn down. At the time, I was working with an environmental non-governmental organization, and we were allowed to take the stipulated three weeks’ annual leave for voluntary work in the field. Needless to say, the time I spent in the nature reserve had a lasting effect. Tracking and observing wildlife on foot deep inside the forest, especially predators like tigers and their prey up close, provided invaluable lessons on how tough life can be in the wild. Each day was an eye-opener—a nugget of information from a forest officer; traditional knowledge shared by forest guards on animal and bird behaviour, even trees. ...

    Live Mint on March 23, 2017, 2:04 p.m.

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    ...On a freezing morning in this inhospitable desert, a young American wildlife biologist, Lauren Hennelly, managed to get close to her research subject: the Himalayan wolf. “Since (these) wolves are rare and few researchers have even seen one here, I was worried that I was not going to end up with any sightings. Before arriving in India, I had previously studied mostly birds and bats; I had never conducted fieldwork on a large carnivore. Additionally, this study was challenging since I had to first find the wolves and then get close for recording and playing (their) calls,” she says. Hennelly had arrived in July 2014 on a Fulbright-Nehru programme, in collaboration with the Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India (WII). She started her research work in September that year, and carried on till May 2015. “Fieldwork was tough in the Transhimalaya. It was very cold and we had to camp in the open. We just sat outside for multiple days and waited for wolves. ...

    Live Mint on March 10, 2017, 7:10 p.m.

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    ...Caracals are more elusive than tigers and leopards; very few can claim to have seen one in the wild. So we wondered if we had actually spotted one. As if on cue, the animal turned its head towards us before disappearing into the tall grass of the jungle. The long, pointed ears with hairy tufts were unmistakable. Our caracal sighting was over in 20 seconds and I haven’t seen one since, despite numerous trips to the same forest. In January, the Uttar Pradesh police seized five caracals and an African serval cat from wildlife traders. The Vindhyan Ecology and Natural History Foundation, or Vindhya Bachao, a non-governmental organization working in Mirzapur, helped identify the animals; the serval cat was initially mistaken for a leopard. Around the same time, the state police and wildlife authorities confiscated 6,000 live Indian flapshell turtles near Amethi. Wildlife authorities describe it as the largest such seizure in the country. ...

    Live Mint on Feb. 24, 2017, 5:48 p.m.

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    ...Since Bogardus’ remarks, two international conventions on nature conservation have been held: the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites), in Johannesburg, South Africa, in September, and the 22nd Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, held in Marrakesh, Morocco, this month. Of course, these high-level conventions offer a number of scientific reports, which then find mention in international media. Take, for instance, the eyeball-grabbing headlines on how humans have destroyed a tenth of Earth’s wilderness in the past 25 years: “Global sea ice shrinking at unprecedented speeds”, “Hottest years on record”, etc. These are startling facts no doubt, but, as Bogardus says, “News of this kind leaves us wondering what we can do to stop these calamities. Caught in the daily grind of urban life, people get disconnected with the outdoors. ...

    Live Mint on Nov. 25, 2016, 4:04 p.m.

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    ...The American naturalist writes in the book that one of the ways to save migratory songbirds, tropical plants and animals is to “have a cup of coffee”. He says the “traditional form of coffee growing is beneficial for wildlife, especially birds”. The words stayed with me. Through the book, I got to know the work of the late Russell Greenberg, an American ornithologist and founder of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. In 1997, Greenberg’s work led to a unique coffee certification programme known as “Bird Friendly coffee”. “Migratory birds are emblematic of the importance of coffee to both the local environments where it is grown and the global environment that we share. Sipping a cup of coffee is a ritual that is played out millions of times a day throughout the world. ...

    Live Mint on Nov. 15, 2016, 3:50 p.m.