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Events

Training Programme on Ornithology and Wildlife Conservation

SACON has conducted a Training programme on “Ornithology and Wildlife Conservation” for wildlife enthusiasts between 15th and 17th June 2017. On 15th morning Dr. K. Sankar, Director of SACON inaugurated the programme. Ten participants from Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andaman Nicobar Islands participated in the training programme. Programme included classroom sessions and field training.   The two days of class room sessions included 11 lectures on different topics such as Introduction to Indian wildlife and Ornithology, Bird migration, Plant-bird interactions, Wildlife study techniques, Contaminants in Nature,  Trends in conservation Practices, Bioacoustics, Conservation Photography and Human Elephant Conflict that were delivered by SACON faculty and invited experts from other institutions. On each day, bird watching programme session was conducted on campus along the nature trail. Wildlife films were screened in the evening hours.  On 16th June evening after the class room sessions, Mr. I. Anwardeen, IFS, Chief Conservator of Forests and Field Director, Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve, Tamil Nadu, distributed the certificates to the participants. On 17th June, a field training was conducted in Silent Valley National Park, Kerala, wherein the course participants were exposed to various signs and tracks of wild animals/birds, behavioural observations of primates and forest management practices.

                            

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Conservation Genetics Workshop

A Conservation Genetics Workshop was held at SACON from the 5th to the 9th of June 2017. Dr. K. Sankar, Director, SACON inaugurated the workshop in a function that was attended by the participants and staff and students of SACON. The coordinators of the workshop were Dr. Shomita Mukherjee, Principal Scientist and Dr. R. P. Singh, Scientist. Dr. Vishnupriya Kolipakam a population geneticist from the Wildlife Institute of India and Mr. Pankaj Koparde, PhD student from SACON served as resource persons for the course.

Fourteen participants registered for the workshop hailing from various regions of India and from a wide range of backgrounds. Two participants were journalists from Hindustan Times and DNA, two from Sanctuary Asia (India’s first and leading environmental news and advocacy magazine), a biologist from Nandankanan Zoo in Orissa, a professional photographer who recently won the prestigious BBC award for photography in the field of wildlife conservation and several independent researchers in the field of biodiversity conservation in various stages of their career.

The workshop included several interactive and hands-on sessions, covering theoretical and practical aspects of Conservation Genetics. Classroom sessions covered the fundamentals including discussions on the applications of genetics in conservation, the Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium, selection, speciation, measuring population structure and genetic distances, genetic markers and a hands-on introduction to various software used in analysis. Laboratory sessions included an introduction to instrumentation, hands-on introduction to DNA extraction, PCR and electrophoresis, a discussion on handling and collection of biological samples for genetic analysis and important field and laboratory ethics. Case studies were presented and discussed. By the end of the course, participants were acquainted with the procedures involved in conducting genetic analysis useful for conservation, the types of questions that could be asked and the interpretation of results.

Dr. Uma Ramakrishnan from the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bengaluru was invited to deliver a talk during this period.Her talk was titled “Cutting Edge Genomics Technologies and Tiger Conservation”.

The valedictory function for the workshop was held on the 9th of June where Ms. R.V. Ramya Bharathi, IPS, Superintendent of Police, Coimbatore was the Chief Guest. The function began with a welcome address by Dr. K. Sankar, Director, SACON. The course report was presented by Dr. Shomita Mukherjee, Principal Scientist. This was followed by the Chief Guest’s address where she appreciated the effort by SACON for having the course and also praised the campus for its serene environs. The feedback from participants was positive and they expressed their appreciation of the course and stay on campus. The Chief Guest distributed Certificates to the participants. This was followed by a Vote of Thanks by Dr. R.P. Singh. A group photograph was taken at the end of the function.

   

 

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Inauguration of Vehicle Parking facility at SACON

 A new vehicle parking facility on SACON campus was inaugurated by Dr. P. Balasubramanian, Senior Principal Scientist, today; 19th April 2017, in a simple ceremony attended by faculty/staff and research personnel. The facility, with a total area of 2024 sq.ft., can accommodate cars, two-wheelers and staff bus. During the occasion, Lt. Col. (Retd) Shri N. Sundararaj, Site Engineer, SACON who was the architect of the parking facility, was felicitated with a certificate of appreciation by the Director, SACON. Necessary funding support for construction of this structure was given by Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Govt. of India.

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Training program on “Monitoring and Management of Wetlands”

The MoEF& CC sponsored training program on “Monitoring and management of wetlands” for the midlevel forest officers from southern states of India was conducted by SACON during 27th and 28th March, 2017. The officers from three southern states viz. Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Karnataka participated in the training program. The program was inaugurated by Dr. Rajeev K. Srivastava, IFS, Director, Tamil Nadu Forest Academy, Coimbatore in the presence of Mr. Chandan Singh, Dy. Director, MoEF&CC, Govt. of India, New Delhi and Dr. K. Sankar, Director SACON. The inaugural program was attended by the faculty, staff and researchers from SACON and TNFA. The program schedule included nine class room sessions, one laboratory session and two field visits. The deliberations in the classroom were given by eminent wetland scientist, policy and decision makers including Dr. E. J. James, Dr. Brij Gopal, Dr. Rithesh Kumar and Dr. S.A. Hussain. The SACON faculty also shared their expertise on wetlands during the training program. The topics  covered include Management of River Basins in relation to wise use of Wetlands; Population monitoring, census techniques of wetland birds; Vegetation profile of wetlands; Wetland habitat assessment and management practices; Ecotoxicological assessment of wetlands using birds as indicators; Environmental impact assessment in the context of wetland conservation; Integrated Wetland Management; What are wetlands and why manage them and how?; Ecology and management of Keibul Lamjao National Park, Manipur; case study with special reference to aquatic ecosystem. The participants were introduced to the mist netting and bird ringing techniques and were also taken to Ukkadam Lake and Perur Lake in Coimbatore city to understand the wetland characteristics in an urban setting where the bird census techniques were also explained. During the valedictory, the participants expressed their satisfaction on the course content while emphasizing on the need to have longer duration training programs.

 

 

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Wildlife painting exhibition by Dr. V. Gokula

An exhibition of wildlife paintings by Dr V Gokula, a well-known artist and alumnus of SACON, was conducted at SACON on 24th March, 2017along with the Silver Jubilee valedictory function. Dr Gokula, currently working as the Associate Professor and Head of the PG and Research Department of Zoology of National College, Tiruchirappalliis an internationally known painter and cartoonist. Being a Wildlife researcher himself, with a Ph.D in Ornithology from SACON, and significant scientific publications in Ornithology and wildlife fields in general, most of his artistic works also revolves around the nature and wildlife themes.

The paintings on display mostly depicted Indian birds with few on other wildlife including big cats and an impressive portrait of Dr Sálim Ali, the Bird man of India.On the occasion, thirty-five original paintings (watercolour on canvas) done by Dr.Gokula were on display at a venue adjoining the main venue of the Silver Jubilee Valedictory function.

Dignitaries of the function, Shri. Ajay Narayan Jha, IAS, (Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), Government of India) along with Dr. T. Chandni, (Scientist-G and Advisor, MoEF&CC) and Dr. K. Sankar, Director, SACON were among the distinguished visitors along with other guests and school childrento visit the Painting exhibition.All appreciated the wildlife portrayals on canvas by the artist. The wildlife photo exhibition was a unique feat that inspired people to venture out to know more of our spectacular wildlife. The exhibition was well received and appreciated by all.

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Inauguration of National Ornithological Databank (NOD) Cell at SACON

The National Ornithological Databank (NOD) Cell, established as part of the SACON’s Silver Jubilee Celebrations, was formally inaugurated on 24th March, 2017 by Shri. Ajay Narayan Jha, IAS, Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), Government of India in the presence of Dr. T. Chandni, Scientist-G and Advisor, MoEF&CC and Dr. K. Sankar, Director, SACON.

It may be recalled here that establishing a national facility for housing ornithological databases was a long-pending mandate of SACON and it has finally come to fruition at a time, when SACON is celebrating its 25 years of service to the nation. The main objectives of the NOD Cell are:

  1. To collate, organize, authenticate, curate, and make key information/data on Indian ornithology
  2. To serve as a single-window clearing house on Indian ornithology and natural history
  3. To publish a serial ‘Indian Ornithological Abstracts’ that would give a periodical abstracting service of all the publications on various aspects of Indian ornithology
  4. To publish a quadrennial ‘State of Indian Birds’ report that would summarize the current conservation status of Indian birds and their habitats

Director, SACON is the Nodal Officer of the NOD Cell and he will be assisted by a team comprising Dr. Rajah Jayapal, Principal Scientist (Ornithology) & Coordinator-NOD Cell, Mr. Manoharan, Librarian In-charge, and Ms. R. K. Niveditha, Programme Fellow in executing the database work and administering the Cell.

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Closing Ceremony of Silver Jubilee Celebrations at SACON held on 24 March, 2017

The year-long Silver Jubilee celebrations of SACON were formally inaugurated by the Hon’ble  former Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri. Prakash Javadekar, in a solemn and grand function at SACON on 28th January 2016. The closing ceremony of SACON’s Silver Jubilee celebrations was conducted at SACON Campus on 24 March, 2017 with Shri. Ajay Narayan Jha, IAS, Secretary,  Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India as the Chief Guest. He commended  SACON’s contributions to the field of biodiversity conservation  in our country and reiterated MoEF&CC’s  continued support to SACON in the coming years.

The Secretary, MoEF&CC, laid the foundation stones for  Central Instrumentation Laboratory and  PG Students Hostel on the SACON campus. He also released a book on “State Birds of India”, being published by SACON to commemorate its Silver Jubilee year. On this august occasion, five information brochures on SACON’s Nature Trail and the campus biodiversity were also released by dignitaries. During the function, winners of Sálim Ali Nature Trophy Competitions held among the schools of Coimbatore district were awarded prizes in different categories by Dr. T. Chandni, Scientist-G & Advisor, MoEF&CC.

Another highlight of the function was the felicitation of Dr. P. Balasubramanian and Dr. S. Muralidharan, Sr. Principal Scientists, Mr. A. Devaraj, Office Attendant and Mr. R. Ravi, Driver who have completed 25 years of service in SACON. In recognition of their service, the Secretary, MoEF&CC presented mementoes to them.

The Secretary, MoEF&CC, inaugurated the National Ornithological Databank Cell and a Nature Trail which are the new initiatives of SACON launched during the Silver Jubilee Year. He visited other facilities on campus after interacting with the faculty and staff of SACON.

To mark the year-long Silver Jubilee celebrations, SACON, under the leadership of Dr. K. Sankar, Director, has conducted various events. The Silver Jubilee publications of SACON include compendiums of SACON’s research works in both Andaman & Nicobar Islands and the Western Ghats of Kerala, a comprehensive monograph on flora and fauna of SACON campus, information brochures on the newly established SACON Nature Trail and its biodiversity, and an illustrated book on State Birds of India. In addition, a two-day Silver Jubilee seminar was organized at Port Blair in Andaman and Nicobar Islands in November 2016 to showcase SACON’s research projects on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

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TRAINING PROGRAMME ON “INSTRUMENTATION AND ANALYTICAL TECHNIQUES

A training programme on “Instrumentation and Analytical Techniques” was organized between 13th  and 17th  March 2017 by the Division of Ecotoxicology at SACON. Professor M G Sethuraman, Head,   Department of Chemistry, Gandhigram Rural Institute-Deemed University, Dindigul inaugurated the programme in a function presided over by Dr K Sankar, Director, SACON. 23 candidates from different streams such as chemistry, environmental sciences, environmental management, and wildlife biology from institutions, namely GITAM University (Vishakapatnam and Bengaluru), Periyar University (Salem), Defense Research Development Organization – Bharathiar University (Coimbatore), Avinashilingam University (Coimbatore) and AVC College (Mayiladuthurai) participated in the said training course. During the five-day-long programme, participants were exposed to the basic principles and working mechanism of analytical instruments, namely Gas Chromatograph, High Performance Liquid Chromatograph, Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer, UV Spectrophotometer and Ultracentrifuge. Experts in the field of Analytical chemistry, namely Professor Avudainayagam, Head, Department of Environmental Sciences, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Mr. K Chandrasekar, Application Scientist, Agilent Technologies, Dr R Jayakumar, Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Studies, GITAM University (Bengaluru) delivered lectures as resource persons to highlight the applications of the instruments in ecotoxicological research. Dr Rajah Jayapal, Principal Scientist, SACON, delivered a special lecture on statistics at the programme. Director, SACON distributed certificates to the participants at the valedictory function.

 

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ECO Award for SACON for the year 2016-17

SACON received ECO Award for the year 2016-17 in appreciation of its efforts in encouraging and motivating students towards nature conservation. The said award was presented by the District Collector, Shri T. N. Hariharan, Coimbatore during the function organized by Nature Conservation Society, Coimbatore.

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Release of book titled ‘A bibliography on SACON’s research work in Kerala State’

A book titled “A bibliography on SACON’s research work in Kerala State” was released by Dr. Balakrishna Pisupati, Vice-Chancellor, Trans Disciplinary University, Bangalore, during the inaugural session of the 3rd National Biodiversity Conference organized by Kerala State Biodiversity Board held at Thiruvananthapuram on 23rd February 2017. The same was received by Dr. M. Chandra Dattan, Scientific Advisor to Chief Minister, Govt. of Kerala. Dr. Amita Prasad IAS, Addl. Secy. MoEF & CC, Govt. of India inaugurated the function on 23.02.2017. The publication was compiled by M. Manoharan, R.K. Niveditha, & M. Jayageetha.  Mr. M. Manoharan, Librarian in charge and Dr. P. Pramod, Principal Scientist participated in the book release function on behalf of SACON.

 

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National Nature Camping Programme at SACON

SACON has conducted first National Nature Camping Programme for this year (2017) between 1st and 3rd February 2017. This residential Nature camp is a programme supported by Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change, Govt. of India.  Thirty children from Helix Open School, Salem, Tamil Nadu, (which is working for the support of children with dyslexia) along with their teachers participated in the camp.   Scientists and research scholars of SACON interacted with the children all three days. We conducted many activity based programme to introduce the concepts of nature to  the children  such as camouflage and mimicry in nature, identification of indirect and direct signs of wildlife in forests, communication among animals through scent and sounds in nature and the importance of biodiversity.  Most of the teaching was through various games and activities. The programme was planned to develop their observation skills, curiosity and to engage them with nature and natural elements.  The participants were taken on nature walks at dawn and dusk every day and they enjoyed learning to watch and identify birds and butterflies.  During the camp, participants expressed understanding they got on environment through their creativity in drawing and skits.  It is planned that the first two nature camps are targeted for special children and the rest three camps will be conducted for the children from two aided schools in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, during February 2017.

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Inauguration of ‘Conservation Genetics Laboratory’ at SACON by Dr. Amita Prasad, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of India

Dr. Amita Prasad, Additional Secretary, MoEFCC, Government of India visited SACON on 27th January 2017. She was welcomed to SACON by the Director, Faculty and Staff of SACON and presented with a bouquet by Dr. Shomita Mukherjee. After a brief introduction of Faculty and Sectional Heads, Dr. K. Sankar, Director made a presentation on the activities of SACON. Following this, Dr. Amita Prasad inaugurated the `Conservation Genetics Laboratory’ at SACON and Dr. Shomita Mukherjee showed the facilities within the Laboratory. A short discussion on the future prospects of training and research through the Conservation Genetics Laboratory were discussed. This was followed by a visit to the Ecotoxicology Laboratory where Dr. Muralidharan explained the importance of the research and training conducted here and its contribution towards conservation issues.

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Republic Day Celebrations – 2017

Sixty eighth Republic Day of India was celebrated on 26th January 2017 at SACON with aplomb. Dr. K. Sankar, Director, SACON hoisted the flag and delivered the Republic Day speech. He exhorted the faculty and staff of SACON to strive to uphold the ideals of the constitution by working towards achieving the goal of environmental conservation.  Volleyball matches and tug of war competitions were conducted among the Faculty, Administrative Staff and Research Scholars of SACON as part of the celebrations.

   

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A report on the Activity “Digital Payment” for Commemoration of National Youth Day-2017, conducted at

Sálim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON), Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu  on 12th January, 2017

SACON conducted an activity to mobilize youth group in and around Anaikatty Hills, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, on “Digital Payments” on 12.01.2017 at 2 PM at our campus. In Total around 40 participants attended the said event. Central Bank of India, Nanjundapuram branch, Coimbatore officials were invited to give training on Digital Payment system available in India.

At the outset a brief introduction was given by Dr. K Sankar, Director, SACON on the origination of the Activity. The Director SACON informed that the Activity was actually proposed in a Review meeting of Youth Organization Chaired by Hon’ble Prime Minister during April 2016. Further The Central Bank’s Assistant Manager Ms. Priya N, made a detailed presentation on available digital payment mode,  the importance of holding bank account in present system and also about the available Digital Payment systems like Debit Card, Prepaid Card, Mobile Banking, E- Wallet, Mobile Apps like UPI, BHIM and other applications available with various banks. She also demonstrated how the Central Bank App called “Cent UPI” operates in a smart phone and how payment can be made through the App. The officials advised all the participants to reduce hard cash transaction and to shift to digital payment system. The training programme ended with an interaction session between the participants and bank officials, which was followed by vote of thanks by Director, SACON.

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Workshop on ‘Ecology and Conservation of Andaman & Nicobar Biodiversity’   

in Port Blair, Andaman (24th & 25th November 2016)

Andaman & Nicobar Islands are known for its extraordinary geological features, exceptional range of rich biodiversity, endemic flora and fauna, threatened species and species which are restricted to these islands. SACON is one of the Indian scientific institutions to work in Andaman and Nicobar Islands with a special focus on this unique island for the past 20 years.

 As part of Silver Jubilee Celebrations, SACON  organized a two-day workshop on ‘Ecology and Conservation of Andaman & Nicobar Biodiversity’  in Port Blair on 24th and 25th November 2016. The workshop deliberated upon various aspects of ecology and conservation of A&N biodiversity. SACON has invited researchers / scientists from all over the country who have worked or have been working on A&N biodiversity to this workshop and they shared the rich experience of their valuable research work.

The programme conducted in the auditorium of Regional Medical Research Centre, Indian Council of Research, Dolly Gunj, Port Blair. Dr. Alok Saxena, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Andaman Nicobar Islands has lauded the positive role SACON played in conservation of Andaman Nicobar Ecology while inaugurating the workshop. Shri. M. S. Negi, Chief Wildlife Warden and PCCF of A& N islands, Guest of Honour, has pointed out many SACON projects and highlighted the importance in natural resource conservation of Islands and invited all scientists to take proactive role. While Dr. K.Sankar, Director of SACON welcomed the gathering and delivered a talk on “Research activities and accomplishments (1990-2016) in Andaman & Nicobar Islands by SACON”, Dr. Vijayachari, Director, Regional Medical Research Centre gave the felicitation address.

During the inaugural session of the workshop SACON released two publications namely,

  1. Social organization, behaviour and phylogeography of Macaca fascicularis umbrosa on the Nicobar Islands, India.
  2. A Compendium on SACON’s research work in Andaman & Nicobar Islands.

Total of 18 papers were presented in four technical sessions [viz 1) Conservation and Management of Forests and Wildlife in A&N Islands, 2) Conservation of Birds in the A&N Islands 3) Coastal and Marine Ecosystems and 4) Conservation Education] by scientists from SACON and nine other organizations, NGOs and attended by over 100 deligates and participants.. The workshop discussed a wide range of wildlife and conservation issues related to A& N islands. After the technical sessions a discussion meeting of participants highlighted the major research gaps and conservation and education issues in the islands. Director, SACON informed that he will send the minutes of the meeting as recommendation of the workshop to forest officials of A & N islands.

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Salim Ali Rolling Trophy for Nature Awareness 2016

 SACON conducted “Salim Ali Rolling Trophy Nature Competitions – 2016” on 20th November 2016 in G D Mat. Hr. Sec. School  Coimbatore. More than 2500 students from 50 schools participated in the competitions. Results of all the competitions will be declared on 7th December 2016.

SACON has been conducting these competitions for more than two decades.  Over this period of time, this event has become very popular in and around schools of Coimbatore and nearby districts. Every year two to three thousand students from 50-80 schools participate in various categories of competitions such as Elocution, Essay writing, poetry writing, story writing (both in English and Tamil), painting and pencil drawing and nature quiz. One unique competition in this event is the bird watching or spot the bird contest to identify the young bird watcher of the year. Uniqueness of all these competitions is that the topics will be given only on the spot, to test the spontaneity, the real knowledge and skill of the student as opposed to the trained / or prepared competitions. First three positions in each of the competition will fetch points for the school and the school with highest point will become the Champion of the year and the rightful owner of the Rolling Trophy for the next one year. The following schools have crowned the position of champion in the previous years.

  1. Chinmaya Vidyalaya Mat. Hr. Sec. School, Coimbatore
  2. R.G. Mat. Hr. Sec. Peelamedu, Coimbatore
  3. K.D. Mat. Hr. Sec. School, Peiyanaikeen Palayam, Coimbatore
  4. B.O.A. Mat. Hr. Sec. School Coimbatore (4 Years)
  5. Kadri Mills Hr. Sec. School, Ondiputhur
  6. D. Mat. Hr. Sec. School ( 6 years in two series)
  7. Kongu Vellalar Mat. Hr. Sec.School, Karumathampatti (3 Years).

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Inauguration of water hole for wild elephants

Shri K. Chandra Prakash, Senior Regional Manager, Central Bank of India, Coimbatore inaugurated a ‘Water Hole’ constructed exclusively for wild elephants on the SACON campus on 18th November 2016. The present water hole, sponsored by Central Bank of India, is the third one on the campus for providing water for wild elephants.

       

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Workshop cum seminar on the ‘Significance and Conservation of Traditional Rice Varieties’ on 5 September 2016

A workshop cum seminar  on the ‘Significance and Conservation of Traditional Rice Varieties’ was  held on 5 September 2016 at Abhayam, Koppam,  Pattambi, Palakkad, Kerala  on 5th September 2016 which was jointly organized by SACON and ‘Abhayam’,  an NGO committed to organic farming and conservation of the traditional rice varieties.

Shri. V.S. Sunilkumar, Hon’ble Minister of Agriculture, Govt. of Kerala inaugurated the programme in a function presided over by Shri. Mohammed Muhsin, MLA, Pattambi. The message by Dr. K. Sankar, Director, and SACON was read by Dr.R.Jayapal, Principal Scientist, SACON. Faculty of Kerala Agricultural University, Senior Officials of Dept. of Agriculture, Govt. of Kerala, representative of NGO’s and  farmers involved in the conservation of traditional rice varieties from different parts of Kerala and representative of Local Self Government Bodies participated in the event.

In the morning session Dr. Mathew K. Sebastian presented an overview of the status of the cultivation of traditional varieties in south India with special reference to Western Ghats. Few of the participants who are prominent in the cultivation and conservation of traditional rice varieties shared their experiences.  Faculty of Kerala Agricultural University viz. Prof. M.C. Narayanankutty, Prof. C.R. Elsy and Prof. Israel Thomas, and  Dr. Shaji James and Dr. P.V. Karunakaran and Dr. P.R. Arun Principal Scientists, SACON delivered talks on different aspects of the conservation of traditional rice varieties.

In the afternoon session group discussions were held on the following topics:

  1. Problems faced by the cultivators of traditional rice varieties and remedial measures
  2. Issues related with the ownership of traditional rice varieties
  3. Conservation of traditional rice varieties
  4. Marketing of traditional rice varieties

Results of the group discussions were consolidated and presented in the concluding session.

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Training Workshop on MobileGIS

A training workshop on MobileGIS was conducted on Thursday 14 July 2016 in the Board Room of SACON. The workshop was attended by 7 faculty members and 17 PhD scholars/Interns/Research Fellows. The participants were welcomed by Dr. P.V. Karunakaran, Principle Scientist and coordinator of training workshop and Dr. K. Sankar, Director, SACON made brief introductory remarks. The workshop focussed on two mobile applications, EpiCollect and OsmAnd, the former one for collecting geotagged field data while the second one helps in digitising the transect or area covered during the field work. The workshop started with a presentation on introduction to MobileGIS and EpiCollect and proceeded through giving hands on training in developing ‘PROJECT’ and ‘DATA COLLECTION FORMS’. Later the participants developed separate ‘PROJECT’ and ‘DATA COLLECTION FORMS’ for conducting the field work in SACON Campus. Two formats were prepared, viz., (i) on birds and (ii) trees. The participants spent almost an hour in the field and collected data pertaining to birds and trees of the campus. Later they uploaded (synchronised) the data, projected and saved as vector model (point) format usingqGIStools. A session on OsmAnd, another GPS based applicationwas conducted in the afternoon which enabled the user to digitise the field tracks or area covered during the field study. A demonstration was also with mobile handset. The workshop was concluded with feed-back from participants.

  

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BIOSTATISTICS COURSE

 (8th to 10th & 13 to 14th June 2016)

A module on `Biostatistics’ was conducted for the research personnel and Ph.D. scholars between 8th and 14th June 2016 at SACON. In total, 34 research personnel/Ph.D. scholars, interns and faculty members attended the course. The major objective of the course was to expose the research personnel to the principles and assumptions of basic and advanced statistics used in the field of ecology and conservation biology. Dr. K. Thiyagesan, Former Principal of A.V.C. College, Mayiladuthurai, Tamil Nadu conducted the said course. First three days (8 -10th June, 2016) were devoted for learning various sampling methods and its design and uni-variate Statistics (parametric and non-parametric) using SPSS package. Last two days (13-14th June, 2016) were spent on learning about advanced statistics such as ordination techniques, regression models and reliability analysis. Students and scholars were also given the opportunity to discuss with Dr. K. Thiyagesan regarding the data analysis pertaining to their respective projects in the evening hours. On the concluding day, Dr. Thiyagesan distributed the course certificates to all participants.

 

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29th Meeting of the Research, Monitoring and Advisory Committee (RMAC)

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Annual Research Seminar 2016.

SACON’s Annual Research Seminar (ARS) was conducted on the 25rd of May 2016 at the Conference Hall of the Tamil Nadu Forest Academy (TNFA), Forest Campus, R.S. Puram, Coimbatore.   Ms. Sharada Balasubramanian compèred the event. Dr. Shomita Mukherjee, Principal Scientist, SACON, welcomed the Chief Guest Dr. N. Krishnakumar, IFS, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Head of the Forest Force of Tamil Nadu, the Chair of the ARS, Dr. Ramakrishna, Director (Retd), Zoological Survey of India and Chairman of the SACON Research Monitoring and Advisory Committee (RMAC),other dignitaries, SACON Alumni, SACON Faculty, students and scientists and individuals from various other organisations who attended the event.  SACON Director, Dr. K. Sankar presented the Opening Remarks after which Dr.Krishnakumar delivered the Inaugural Address and Dr. Rajiv Shrivastava, IFS, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Director, TNFA, delivered the Special Address. This was followed by the release of SACON publications by dignitaries and included four technical reports, two current newsletters and six posters and a documentary video. The releases were as follows:

Technical reports:

  1. Impact of Hara Wind Power Project on Wildlife including Migratory birds and Raptors at Harapanahalli, Davangere, Karnataka released by D Rajiv Srivastava.
  2. Assessment of conflicts between peafowl and farmers in Coimbatore, released by Shri Raghuram Singh, Addl. Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Tamil Nadu.
  3. Population status of Rhesus Macaque (Macaca mulatta) in Himachal Pradesh, India, released by Dr.Prasanth, Director, Institute of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding, Coimbatore.
  4. National Nature Camping Programme at SACON, released by V.S. Vijayan, Founder Director, SACON.

Newsletters:

  1. SACON NEWS, released by Ramakrishna.
  2. SAROVAR SAURAB released by Dr. S.N. Prasad,former faculty, SACON

Posters:

  1. Poster on Impacts of Wind turbines; A comparison of case studies from Gujarat & Karnataka, released by Dr.Lalitha Vijayan, former faculty, SACON.
  2. Poster on Owls of Andaman Islands, released by Ravichandran, Chief Conservator of Forests, Andaman and Nicobar islands.
  3. Four species posters released by Raghuram Singh:
    1. Lesser Flamingo
    2. Smooth Coated Otter
    3. Greater Adjutant Stork
    4. Edible Nest Swiftlet

Video CD:

  1. “A Day in Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve: A Lifescape to Experience”, released by Dr. A.J.T. Johnsingh Dean(Retd.), Wildlife Institute of India.

 

The video was screened for the gathering. Following this, Dr.Sankar introduced Dr. Sushil Kumar Dutta who delivered the Dr. Bhupathy Memorial Lecture. Dr. Dutta is a Visiting Professor at the Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore and member of the RMAC, SACON. His talk addressed current trends in taxonomy of amphibians in the Indian Sub-continent. After the inaugural session there was a Group Photography session and tea followed by the Technical Sessions of the Seminar. There were a total of 14 presentations in four thematic sessions, Ecological Studies, Ecological Studies-Islands, Conservation Studies and Environmental Impacts and Monitoring. Three presentations were made by SACON Faculty and 11 by researchers. Each session was presided over by a panel consisting of a Chair and two Co-chairs. The student presentations were graded by a panel of judges who were members of the RMAC.

The Director, SACON invited some dignitaries to share their opinions and remarks on the ARS in the Concluding Session. Dr. Y.V. Jhala, Scientist-G, Wildlife Institute of India, commented on the high quality of the presentations and congratulated SACON on the wide range of topics studied. He advised researchers to understand the statistical tests they utilise in their analysis and explain these in a simple manner in presentations. Dr.Geetha, Professor, University of Delhi & Member, RMAC-SACON expressed her satisfaction with the arrangements and also the high quality of research and presentations. Dr. A.J.T. Johnsingh commended SACON for the quality of research and researchers and urged all at SACON to take up long-term monitoring of the diversity on SACON’s Campus. He also urged researchers to use the invaluable resources in SACON’s library. Dr. Sushil Kumar Dutta lauded SACON for the wide range of research topics and modern analysis used in research and expressed his appreciation on the organisation and arrangements for the seminar. Dr. A. B. Shanbhag, Professor & Head (Retd), Dept. of Zoology, Goa University & Member, RMAC-SACON appreciated the efforts put in by the researchers for their high-quality presentations.

Dr. Mathew K. Sebastian, Principal Scientist, SACON announced the winners of the Photographic Competition that was held alongside the ARS. Students and Faculty of SACON were invited to send in their photographs and a panel of judges viewed the photographs and picked the best ones under specific themes for the awards. There were approximately 250 photographs sent by researchers and 40 by faculty.

The list of winners is provided below.

Faculty

Theme Position Name of the winner
Flora & Fauna 1st place Dr. Arun P.R.
1st Runner Up Dr. Arun P.R.
Field Activities 1st Place Dr. Arun P.R.
1st Runner Up Dr. Rajah Jayapal
Non-theme 1st Place Dr. Balasubramanian P.
1st Runner Up Dr. Balasubramanian P.
2nd Runner Up Dr. Shomita Mukherjee

 

Scholars

Theme Position Name of the winner
Flora & Fauna 1st place Jins J.V.
1st Runner Up 1. Babu Rao

2. Prakash L.

3. Jins J.V.

2nd Runner Up Prakash L.
Field Activities 1st Place 1. Akshaya Mohan Mane

2. SuhirtaMuhil S.

1st Runner Up Babu Rao
2nd Runner Up Akshaya Mohan Mane
Non-theme 1st Place Santhakumar S.B.
1st Runner Up Shivkumari Patel
2nd Runner Up 1. Akshaya Mohan Mane

2. Santhakumar S.B.

Camera Trap 1st Place Aditi Mukherjee
1st Runner Up PrafullChoudhary
2nd Runner Up Aditi Mukherjee
Behaviour 1st Place Prakash L.
1st Runner Up Manikandan P.
2nd Runner Up Jins J.V.

 

Dr.Karunakaran, Principal Scientist, SACON, announced the three best presentations of the ARS and the IARS, that was held on the 23rd of May 2016. The winners of the best presentations for the ARS were:

Name Topic Position
Ms. Madhumita Panigrahi What drives species diversity along an elevational gradient? A case study of reptiles and birds in Agasthiamalai Hills, southern Western Ghats. First
Mr. Pankaj Koparde Phylogenetic affinities and past climate distribution of the Critically Endangered Forest Owlet (Heteroglaux blewitti). Second
Mr. Roy Aditya Ashimkumar Effects of environmental contaminants on the ecology and breeding biology of Gyps vultures in India. Third

 

The three best presentations from the IARS were:

Name Topic Position
Mr. Prafull Choudhary Co-occurrence in the non-Panthera cat community of Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary and Community Reserve, Arunachal Pradesh. First
Mr. Suresh Marimuthu Factors influencing the habitat use of owls in Andaman Islands. Second
Ms. C. Divyapriya Vocalisations of land birds in Anaikatty hills, Tamil Nadu-preliminary results. Third

 

Dr. Ramakrishna delivered the Concluding Remarks and congratulated SACON on the success of the event. He praised SACON for achieving the targets of the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) that India is signatory to. He also appreciated SACON’s contribution in conservation especially in the Andaman and Nicobar islands.

The ARS was concluded by the Vote of Thanks conveyed by Dr. P. Balasubramanian, Senior Principal Scientist& Research Coordinator, SACON.

The first Alumni Meeting of SACON students was conducted alongside the ARS. Dr. V.S. Vijayan, Founder Director of SACON presided over the meeting. Approximately fifty former students of SACON met and discussed ways to network and strengthen the Alumni and collaboratively contribute towards the goals of their Alma Mater.


   

 

 

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Alumni Meet

In order to bring together and build up a well-knit alumni network, SACON organized its first Alumni Meet on 25th May 2016 as a part of its Silver jubilee celebrations. In total, 50 Ph.D. scholars who have completed their doctorates from SACON and research personnel who had worked in various research projects at SACON attended the said meet. The event was held in the Conference Room of GIS Building at TNFA Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu on 25th May 2016 with a welcome address by Dr. K. Sankar, Director, SACON. The meet was inaugurated by the founder Director of SACON, Dr. V S Vijayan, who stressed the need for researchers to be socially committed and scientifically sound. The meet was also attended by some of the former faculty members of SACON namely, Dr Lalitha Vijayan, Dr. S. N. Prasad and Dr. N. Sivaganesan.  The participants recounted their nostalgic memories and expressed their willingness to collaborate with SACON in coming years. The nostalgic reconnect with their prestigious ‘alma mater’ was appreciated and well received by the alumni community.  The modalities of taking the SCON Alumni network forward was the major agenda for discussion and responsibilities were assigned to select members of the alumni for starting an `e-newsletter’ and also updating Alumni database. On this occasion SACON also brought out the ‘SACON Alumni Profile’, comprising of 68 individual profile pages and a list of 126 people so far registered with SACON alumni data base. The Alumni meet proceedings ended with vote of thanks by Dr. P.R. Arun, Principal Scientist and Alumni Meet Coordinator. The meet was dovetailed with campus visit to SACON on the following day.

 

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SACON’s Internal Annual Research Seminar (IARS) was conducted on the 23rd of May 2016 at the Conference Room, GIS Building of the Tamil Nadu Forest Academy (TNFA), Forest Campus, R.S. Puram, Coimbatore. Dr. P.V. Karunakaran welcomed the Chief Guest and Chairman of the IARS, Sh. Qamar Qureshi, Scientist G, Wildlife Institute of India and the gathering. SACON Director, Dr. K. Sankar introduced the IARS after which Sh. Qureshi delivered Opening Remarks.There were a total of 15 presentations in three thematic sessions, Avifauna Habitats, Ecological Studies and Assessment Studies. Three presentations were made by SACON Faculty and 12 by researchers. The event was concluded by the Chairman with a very eloquent speech in which he appreciated the effort put in by the researchers and faculty to make this a very successful occasion. He remarked on the high quality of presentations and the importance of the research done at SACON in the context of current conservation issues. Dr. Goldin Quadros presented the Vote of Thanks.

        

   

 

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Dr. S. Bhupathy Memorial Lecture on “Amphibians of India – Rapidly changing taxonomy and how many species?” by Dr. Sushil Kumar Dutta, Member, RMAC, SACON.

Wednesday, 25 th May 2016  – 1000-1045 hrs

Venue: Conference Hall, Tamil Nadu Forest Academy (TNFA) Forest Campus, R. S. Puram, Coimbatore

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Dr André Dhondt’s visit to SACON during 3-8 May, 2016

Dr. André Dhondt, Director of Bird Population Studies, Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, Cornell University, USA visited SACON during 3-8 May, 2016. Holding the position of Edwin H. Morgens Professor of Ornithology at Cornell, Dr. Dhondt is a world-renowned avian biologist with varied research interests ranging from bird population studies, avian behavior, evolutionary ecology, conservation biology, and disease ecology of wild birds.

During his stay at SACON, Dr. Dhondt visited different facilities at SACON including the Ecotoxicology Lab, ENVIS Centre, and Library followed by interactions with the faculty members and research scholars. Earlier, a detailed presentation on SACON and its key activities and achievements was made to Dr Dhondt. He, later, participated in a couple of brainstorming sessions convened by the Director, SACON regarding the proposed post-graduate programme in Ornithology & Natural History at SACON, and offered many suggestions and comments over the coursework, curriculum, and other academic matters. The Director, SACON also had detailed discussions with him over possible collaboration between SACON and Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology in conducting the proposed MSc programme and in various field research activities of SACON.

Dr. Dhondt delivered two talks at the Centre as part of SACON’s ongoing Silver Jubilee Lecture series; the first talk was on ‘Mycoplasma gallisepticum in House Finch Haemorhous mexicanus: the study of an emerging wildlife disease’ and the second one was on ‘Interspecific competition between Great and Blue Tits’. The talks were well received and were followed by lively discussions with the audience. At the end of the session, Dr. Dhondt donated a copy of his much acclaimed book “Interspecific Competition in Birds” [2012, Oxford Avian Biology Series, Oxford University Press, UK, pp.282] to SACON Library. He was also honoured by SACON with a memento of a bird painting, which was one     of the prize-winning entries in the Sálim Ali Nature Trophy Competitions conducted by SACON every year among the school children in Coimbatore.

      

Dr. Dhondt also visited Silent Valley National Park, Kerala for the last two days of his programme, after which he left SACON on 8 May 2016.

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Internal Annual Research Seminar on Monday, 23rd May, 2016
Annual Reserach Seminar on Wednesday, 25th May 2016
SACON Alumni Meet on Wednesday, 25th May 2016

Thursday, 26th May 2016

 1000 – 1300 hrs         Meeting of the Research Monitoring & Advisory Committee (RMAC)

(Venue: Board Room, SACON – RMAC Members only)

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Sálim Ali Trophy Nature Competition Awards 2015-16

            Sálim Ali Trophy Nature Competitions 2015-16 prize distribution ceremony was held at Champion Hall, Central Academy of State Forest Servces, Forest College Campus, R. S. Puram, Coimbatore on Sunday, 20th March 2016 at 10:00 AM. Dr. K. Sankar, Director, SACON presided over the function and Dr. P. Pramod, Principal Scientist, presented the background information and report of the Sálim Ali Trophy Nature Competitions. Dr. K. Ravichandran, IFS, Conservator of Forests, A&N Islands, the Chief Guest, gave away the prizes and trophies to the winners. In total, 120 students from 17 schools received the prizes. Kongu Vellalar Mat. Hr. Sec School, Karumathampatti won the overall Champions Trophy and honoured with the Sálim Ali Trophy for the Sálim Ali Trophy Nature Competitions 2015-16. Bharathi Mat. Hr. Sec. School, Thadagam Road, Coimbatore received the first runner-up title, whereas G.D. Mat. Hr. Sec School, Coimbatore received the second runner-up title. http://www.saconeducation.org/

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Inauguration of Silver Jubilee Celebrations of SACON by Shri. Prakash Javadekar, Hon’ble Minister of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Government of India.

Silver Jubilee Celebrations of Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON) was inaugurated on 28 January 2016 in a function conducted at SACON campus, Anaikatty, Coimbatore by Shri. Prakash Javadekar, Hon’ble Minister of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Government of India. The function was presided over by Shri. Ashok Lavasa, IAS, Secretary to the Government, MoEF & CC. Shri. P.K.Das, IAS, Additional Secretary & Financial Advisor, MoEF & CC and Ms. Manju P Pillai, IPoS, , Post Master General, Western Region, Tamil Nadu graced the occasion by their presence and also offered felicitations. Dr. A.B. Harappanahalli, Advisor, MoEF &CC offered the vote of thanks.

A special postal cover was released to commemorate the silver jubilee of SACON. Two books entitled ‘‘Flowering plants of SACON campus in the Anaikatty hills, Western Ghats’ authored by P. Balasubramanian, L. Prakash & C. Anbarasu and ‘Glimpses to the biodiversity of Ramsar sites in India by Goldin Quadros, B. Hemambika, A. Julffia Begam, A. Srinivasan and P. A. Azeez were also released.

The function was attended by several dignitaries such as Senior Forest Department Officials, Scientists from different research organizations, nature lovers and alumni of SACON.

   

   

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Flowering plants of SACON campus in the Anaikatty hills, Western Ghats.

Authors : Balasubramanian, P., Manikandan, P., Prakash, L. and Anbarasu, C.

220 pages, 402 photos with descriptions

Price: Rs.560/-.  20% discount for students on production of student ID

Published by :  Sálim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History, Coimbatore.

For purchase of book  contact

saconadmin@gmail.com

admin@sacon.in

Mobile No: 9442069453