1. How do you see India as a wildlife country?
India is blessed with diverse biogeographic regions, therefore, sustains rich biodiversity. In my view, this is a very unique characteristic we have in India which excels Indian wildlife globally. I can’t think of any other place where you can find the immense Himalayas, vast desert, rich rainforest and mangroves in the same country! I see India as an “abode for umpteen critical wildlife”.
2. What is your opinion about Indian wildlife conservation?
While we are fortunate to have unique wildlife, we do have great challenges when it comes to wildlife conservation. Having a large country that poses several threatened wildlife that requires urgent conservation action is the biggest challenge for us. Since our conservation action is fairly recent we have a long way ahead. I think community-based conservation programs might be a way to address this challenge, as In India majority of the population share close proximity with wildlife.
3. Tell us about you and your study?
Having grown up in a remote village of the Uttarakhand Himalayas, I witnessed multiple challenges that the surrounding ecosystem and wildlife were facing in this ecologically fragile zone. In the past five years of my field research in the Garhwal Himalayas, I strived towards finding ways for peaceful coexistence between humans and wildlife by, applying a primate behavior and ecology-based model, focusing on the Central Himalayan Langur (Semnopithecus schistaceus), previously unstudied in this high altitude habitat. Based on these findings I have started implementing mitigation strategies at my study site. My ultimate target is to implement these strategies in a broader landscape in the Himalayas through community engagement and conservation education programs. Thus far, I have been active in primate crop-damaging models, and in the future, I hope to apply this model to comprehend other serious issues, such as climate change.
4. How much Uttarakhand special for you? Although in terms of wildlife?
I born and brought up in Uttarakhand and this has a very significant role why I am working in the Himalayas. Due to my affection for the Himalayas and people I have been working in Uttarakhand and will continue working. Alike other Himalayan zones Uttarakhand also supports unique wildlife but still, lots of areas are not researched enough, in particular, Garhwal Himalayas. In this part of Himalayas still, we are at the stage of discovering new ranges of wildlife (for instance Snow Leopard).
5. As a primatologists do you believe in Yeti’s existence?
As primatologist that too working on high altitude primate species, I don’t believe in any ape species existence in the higher Himalayas. Only Himalayan langur are able to adapt these harsh habitats due to their leaf-eating habit. Great apes are primarily fruit eaters and we don’t have fruiting tree diversity in higher Himalayas like the rain forest. But as a primatologist, I am interested in folklores about Yeti (or ape species) and do read a lot about it.
Himani Nautiyal is a PhD student at the Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University, Japan. She is interested in the behavior, ecology and conservation of primate species living in the higher Himalayas. You can read more about her work at https: www.himaninautiyal.com
© 2015-2020 EXPLORE WILD INDIA MAGAZINE MEDIA®
Taken by Devesh Kumar with Himani Nautityal
Media Reports – 2020 May
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Devesh Kumar is Founder and Editor of the Explore Wild India Magazine which is registered by Govt of India under RNI. He is a wildlife researcher currently working and studying on Red Panda Habitat Research Study under RPHS Programme and supporting the cause of Save the Red Panda with Red Panda Network and Rainforest Trust Foundations.
PHOTO ǀ Himani Nautiyal ǀ Species Eurasian griffon – Above Photo Location: Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary