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Kaapi with Kuriosity
Abi T Vanak (Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), Bengaluru)
4:00 pm to 5:30 pm Sunday, 30 June 2024
Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium, Bengaluru



The vast semi-arid regions of the Indian peninsula harbour some of the last tracts of savanna grasslands. This once extensive habitat was home to the Asiatic cheetah and the Indian wolf, vast herds of blackbuck and chinkara antelopes, and now critically endangered birds such as the Great Indian Bustard. The Indian savanna has been dealt a severe blow, not just because it has shrunk by over 70%, but because its very identity has been denied, and it is now labelled as a wasteland. These beleaguered habitats are now severely degraded and fragmented. Yet, they harbour wildlife that has adapted to survive in heavily human-dominated landscapes and challenge our preconceived notions of separation between nature and humans. In this talk, I will give a glimpse of the secret lives of some lesser-known wildlife that inhabits our Open natural ecosystems and highlight some of the biggest challenges to their conservation and future. This talk will have a documentary embedded within it, that also highlights research on Indian wildlife.

About the Speaker:

Abi T Vanak is the Director of the Centre for Policy Design at ATREE. He’s an ecologist by disciplinary training and has a Ph.D. in Wildlife Science from the University of Missouri, USA. He has published on various topics, including carnivore ecology, human-wildlife coexistence, savanna ecosystems, disease ecology, OneHealth and conservation policy. He works closely on the Science-Policy-Practice interface in ATREE’s key areas of expertise in land conservation and restoration, livelihoods and human well-being. As a Senior Fellow at the SNM Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation, his broad research interests focus on the outcome of interactions between species at the interface of humans, domestic animals and wildlife in semi-arid savannas and agro-ecosystems. Abi’s interests in OneHealth systems and disease ecology include the dynamics of rabies transmission in multi-host systems and understanding the role of small and medium mammals as tick hosts in the transmission dynamics of Kyasanur forest disease.