NCBS Wildlife Programmes announces the first Cohort of “The Habitats Trust Fellows 2020-22”

New Delhi/ Bengaluru, 02 December 2021: NCBS, a premier research institute and a centre of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, today announced the first cohort of “The THT Fellows 2020-22”. This program is curated by The Habitats Trust, founded by Roshni Nadar Malhotra, Chairperson HCL Technologies, and in collaboration with the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore. The Masters Program in Wildlife Biology and Conservation at NCBS- a unique Academia-NGO partnership program- aims to train wildlife biologists and conservation practitioners who have a passion for wild places and a sense of purpose to try and conserve them. The Habitats Trust has a vision to conserve India’s lesser known species and habitats. In support of this vision, the THT Fellowships fund the training of three students in the master’s program, including support for their dissertation research in field sites across the country.

The selected scholars for the fellowship program are:

  • Siddhi Jaishankar is fascinated by marine ecosystems, their astonishing diversity, and is concerned about the effects of human pressures on our oceans. She will be working on the coral reefs in the Andaman Islands, looking at how sedimentation affects reefs and the fish communities that depend on them.  
  • Sidharth Srinivasan is a computer science engineer by training, and a passionate ecologist interested in bird ecology and plant-animal interactions. He will be working on understanding how bamboo forests, a unique and important habitat in the Eastern Himalayan forests, shape bird communities in the region. 
  • Yashendu C Joshi is fascinated by animal behaviour and animal-human interactions. He plans to study mugger crocodile behaviour in human-dominated landscapes in Gujarat, with the aim of understanding why they coexist peacefully with humans in some locations but less so in others. 

Dr. Jayashree Ratnam, Director of the Master’s program in Wildlife Biology and Conservation says, “I would like to congratulate our students who have been awarded fellowships by The Habitats Trust. The Habitats Trust and the Master’s Program in Wildlife Biology and Conservation here at NCBS share a common vision of securing a better future for our wildlife and natural habitats. Our program strives for excellence in capacity building for wildlife and conservation science.  The support of the THT Fellowships will enable these deserving students to make a real difference in their chosen careers.

Rushikesh Chavan, Head of The Habitats Trusts says, Supporting early career wildlife scientists and enthusiasts is a critical step towards nurturing future champions of wildlife conservation. These individuals will play a strong role in shaping a holistic and strong conservation agenda in our country. I am hopeful that the THT Fellows will contribute significantly in this direction and I am quite looking forward to seeing the work by Sidharth, Siddhi, and Yashendu deliver measureable impact in the field.

Selection of the students for the THT Fellows program was done using stringent criteria that included merit of the candidate, novelty of their research, and its alignment with The Habitat Trust’s vision for conservation of lesser-known habitats and species. In late September 2021, the students interacted with representatives from The Habitats Trust through one-on-one interviews and group sessions, to help select the final recipients of the Fellowship.

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