2-8 October, 2008 was the National Wildlife Week. Here at CEDT, we celebrated it in our own little way. On Wednesday, 8th October, we had a series of interesting talks and presentations that had the auditorium bursting at the seams. Professor Raman Sukumar, Chairman, Centre for Ecological Sciences (CES), IISc talked about the forest cover of India and the issue of forest fragmentation that is a major threat to many wild species. He shed light on the historical, social, cultural and ecological perspectives pertaining to wildlife conservation and human-animal conflict. He then went on to answer several thoughtful querries from the inquisitive audience.
Professor Sukumar's talk was followed by an intriguing presentation by renowned wildlife photographer, Kalyan Varma. Through a collection of exquisite photographs, he narrated an absorbing story about the huge impact that something as trivial as a cup of tea could have on wildlife habitat destruction. The idea was reminiscent of the butterfly effect.
Next we had a PhD graduate from CES, Natasha Mhatre giving a preview of her book, Secret Lives. The book is about the highly diverse - yet little-known - wildlife present inside the IISc campus. It will be published by IISc press and shall be released during the IISc centenary conference to be held in december. She then showed a documentary titled "Snakes in the city" which vividly depicted all the twelve species of snakes found in campus. One can have a look at the wildlife at IISc, as captured by Natasha through her lenses, on the following link:
On Monday, 13th October, we had one more afternoon session in continuation of the National Wildlife Week celebrations. Professor HS Jamadagni, Chairman, CEDT, IISc presented on "CEDT's work on Application of Technology for Conservation". Notable, among other things, was the camera trap project which has met with considerable success. Camera traps are systems that can take pictures of animals in the wild automatically, without requiring the presence of an operator. You can see some of the photographs taken by CEDT's camera traps on the following link:
Mr. Harish Bhat, Ecologist at CES, IISc presented on "Ornithology: a Beautiful Science". He discussed - with colourful anecdotes - about numerous species of birds found in south India. He talked about their peculiar behavioural and migration patterns.
All in all, the event was an eye-opener of sorts for engineers like me. One thing is for sure. I shall shortly embark on a campus exploration trip to check out the elusive wildlife that exists within. And the outcome of those explorations shall constitute yet another blog post :-)