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New Delhi, NFAPost: The Masters Programme in Wildlife Biology and Conservation at NCBS, a premier research institute and a centre of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), announced the first cohort of “The THT Fellows 2020-22”.

This programme 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 Programme 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 the 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
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
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
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
Dr. Jayashree Ratnam, Director of the Master’s programme 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.

Expressing happiness over selecting members for the first cohort of “The THT Fellows 2020-22”, The Habitats Trusts Head Rushikesh Chavan 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,” said Rushikesh Chavan.

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.

The MSc. Programme in Wildlife Biology and Conservation held at the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bangalore is offered once every two years. The programme aims to produce well-trained biologists and conservation practitioners who will retain their passion for wild places and a sense of purpose to try and conserve them.

NCBS provides students a strong foundation of science that will help them design, implement and monitor a range of ecological studies and conservation projects. As future conservationists they are also exposed to the historical, social, economic, legal and political contexts that underlie the conservation process. In addition, NCBS also teach effective communication using a variety of media, conflict resolution, and problem-solving skills, all key to dealing with real life conservation issues.

About The Habitats Trust
The Habitats Trust was founded in 2018 by Roshni Nadar Malhotra, the Chairperson of HCL Technologies and Trustee of the Shiv Nadar Foundation, and Shikhar Malhotra, the Vice Chairman of HCL Healthcare and Trustee, Shiv Nadar Foundation.

The Trust works towards protecting natural habitats and their indigenous species of flora and fauna through strategic partnerships, sustainable on-ground efforts, engaging technology for conservation and generating conservation awareness. It envisions a world where our natural habitats are secured for future generations, and humans live in harmony with the wildlife that shares our planet.

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