Monday, February 05, 2007

Wildlife is no 'wild guess' for these experts

Saving endangered species from extinction, that's what a group of wildlife experts from USA, African and European countries will talk about at a two-day international symposium which begins on February 27 at Karnavati Club in Ahmedabad.

The symposium on 'Conservation of Endangered Species' has been jointly organised by the State Forest Department and Mumbai-based Vanishing Herds Foundation.

"Our main objective is to deliberate on conserving endangered species across the globe. More importantly, we wanted to get inputs on preserving Gujarat's wildlife from renowned experts in the field," said Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Pradeep Khanna on Monday.

Among the prominent wildlife experts expected to participate in the symposium are Don Hunt, chairman of Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy; Iris Hunt, who established Mount Kenya Animal Orphanage; Dr Betsy L Dresser, who is considered to be the world's foremost specialist in 'big cat' reproduction and genetics; Stefanie Powers, a Fellow of the Los Angeles Zoo and also a member on the advisory board of the Atlanta and Columbus Zoos;

Dr Stephanie Dloniak, a Zoology professor at Michigan State University and also the Director of The Mara Carnivore Conservation project, and, Scotland-based

Dr Roger Windsor, an expert in veterinary wildlife science.Giving profiles of the experts, Khanna said: "Don Hunt was part of a Kenyan Government project to stop wildlife, especially the rare White Zebra and Bongo antelope, from decimating.

The project, which lasted 35 years, is one of Africa's greatest success stories as not only did the decimation stop, the numbers of wildlife also increased significantly."

"Don Hunt's wife, Iris, is credited with the setting up of the Mount Kenya Animal Orphanage, a privately-funded animal shelter and refuge for wild animals with special needs.

The orphanage has become a model for a number of wildlife projects across the world. She has also been assisting her husband with wildlife translocations," he said adding that during the symposium, she will talk about the importance of an animal shelter in cohesive conservation programmes.

"Dr Dresser has worked with the University of Cincinnati's Medical Centre and is the senior vice president of the Audubon Centre for Research on Endangered Species. Her goal is to save endangered species from extinction through use of high-tech reproduction such as embryo transfers and in-vitro fertilisation.

Ms Winnie Kiiru, another eminent wildlife conservationist to participate in the symposium, will speak on "man-animal conflicts" and "large mammal translocation".

No comments: