Post Doctoral


Life Science graduates can do research in Wildlife conservation

Dr.T.P.Sethumadhavan

Globally conservation is emerging as one of the focus areas of research. Many international agencies are collaborating with Government and non Governmental institutions to conduct research on conservation issues. Research on Asian elephants, Rhinoceros and Tiger assumes more significance now a days. In 2012 Wildlife without borders awarded 50 grants from Asian elephants, Rhinoceros and Tiger conservation fund totaling 2.6 million US dollars for research. These funds supported innovative conservation projects. They include education and outreach programmes, strengthening the collaborating efforts, developing multi agency monitoring systems for transnational wild life crimes and law enforcement, strengthening capacity and building conservation support among front line border enforcement officers and building support within national and regional government agencies to more effectively address cross border wild life crimes.

Asian elephants occur in isolated populations in 13 range States, with an approximate total range area of almost 880,000 square kilometers equivalent to only one-tenth of the historical range as defined by the IUCN. Today Asian elephants occur in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam. Feral populations occur on some of the Andaman Islands in India. Recent reports from across the 13 Asian elephant range States suggest that there are between 39,500 and 43,500 wild Asian elephants. In addition, there are approximately 13,000 domesticated (working or former working) elephants in Asia.

Asian elephants occur in isolated populations in 13 range States, with an approximate total range area of almost 880,000 square kilometers equivalent to only one-tenth of the historical range as defined by the IUCN.Historically they were used for work. Destruction of forests, the advancements of agriculture and the encroachment of human development pose the greatest threats to the survival of Asia’s wild elephants. Poaching- the illegal killing of elephants for ivory, meat, skin, teeth, feet and bones-poses a serious threat among Asian elephant male tuskers.
As early in 1960s, International discussion began focusing on the rate at which the world’s wild animals and plants are being threatened by unregulated international trade. CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) entered in to force in 1975, and became the only global treaty to ensure that international trade in plants and animals does not threaten their survival in the wild. It provides a framework for cooperation and collaboration among nations to prevent decline in wild populations of animals and plants. Currently 175 countries are implementing CITES. CITES secretariat is located at Geneva, Switzerland which administers the treaty and provides technical and scientific including research support to member countries. The Conference on Parties (COP) meets approximately every three years to review CITES implementation and assess the status of species in trade.

Recently conservation research is an emerging area of research for life science graduates. There are plenty of international agencies and research institutes ready to fund sustainable projects in these areas. Life science graduates can do research in the areas of conservation, habitat loss, emerging diseases like Tuberculosis and Elephant endothelial herpes viral infection, wild life crimes, human elephant conflict, international trade, etc. United States, Canada and European Union are some of the best destinations for wild life research. Students can collect data from India and can do research from overseas institutions. Smithsonian institution, Washington DC, USA, US fish and Wild life, Ringling brothers, Conservation and research centre., Pitts burgh zoo, Asian elephant support, international elephant and rhino foundation, Disney animal kingdom, Houston zoo, Cincinnati zoo, London zoo, etc are some of the best institutions students can identify for research programmes.English proficiency examination TOEFL/IELTS and Graduate record examination GRE are required for admission to any doctoral programmes in United States.

Some of the useful websites are:

www.toefl.org
www.gre.org
www.ielts.org
www.fws.gov
www.asianelephantsupport.org
www.internationalelephantfoundation.org

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