Case Study: DR. ANWARUDDIN CHOUDHURY

Dr. Anwaruddin Choudhury is an ornithologist, mammologist, artist, civil servant, photographer and an author of several books on wildlife, notably known for writing a book on ‘Mammals of India’ in 2016. Dr. Choudhury received his Bachelor of Arts degree with Honours in Geography from B. Borooah College, Guwahati in 1981. He then went on to Guwahati University to obtain his Master of Arts Degree in Geography in 1985. He obtained his Ph.D. on primates in 1989 and also became the only second person to get a Doctorate in Science degree from Guwahati University, based on a study on mammals in 2008. Professionally, Dr. Choudhury has been serving as an Assam Civil ServiceOcer since 1983, holding various important posts such as Executive Magistrate, Research Ocer, Sub divisional Ocer (civil), Project Director of Rural Development, Project Coordinator of Shifting Cultivation control, Joint Secretary of Environment & Forests, Tourism; Director of Tea, Deputy Commissioner & District Magistrate.

Dr. Choudhury is also known for his artistic talent related to nature and wildlife documentation in India. His artworks have been published in various Indian and International scientic Journals, magazines and periodicals includingthe Oriental Bird Club Bulletin, published from United Kingdom. He has contributed in including his illustrations in all the books he has authored. Dr. Choudhury has also contributed immensely in the eld of Indian Ornithology. Starting o as a casual birdwatcher, he progressed towards the scientic approach in the early 1980s. His contribution includes writing several articles for popular magazines as well as also writing a regular weekly column on the ‘Birds of Assam’ in ‘The Sentinel’, an English daily published in Guwahati. His publications in daily newspapers in the 1980s.

His contribution includes writing several articles for popular magazines as well as also writing a regular weekly column on the ‘Birds of Assam’ in ‘The Sentinel’, an English daily published in Guwahati. His publications in daily newspapers in the 1980s brought him recognition in the eld of ornithology in Assam and other North-eastern states of India. And his scientic publications brought him into noticeamong researchers worldwide. His pioneering work in conservation also contributed greatly to the awareness of wildlife conservation in North East India. His stewardship of the Rhino Foundation for nature in North East India as well as his other activities was recognised and he was appointed as a member of the State Board for Wildlife, the highest policy making ocial body on wildlife in 2003 by the Government of Assam. The Government of Assam has also made him members of two other high ocial bodies, the State Wetland Steering Committee in 2003 and State Pollution Control Board in 2008. Prior to that, the Government of India made the Rhino Foundation for nature in North East India a member of the Indian Board for Wildlife in 1999. He was one of early members of the World Wide Fund for Nature (formerly called the World Wildlife Fund), and also made him members of two other high official bodies, the State Wetland Steering Committee in 2003 and State Pollution Control Board in 2008. Prior to that, the Government of India made the Rhino Foundation for nature in North East India a member of the Indian Board for Wildlife in 1999. He was one of early members of the World Wide Fund for Nature (formerly called the World Wildlife Fund), and the Bombay Natural History Society in North-East India (since 1981) and has actively contributed towards their activities in this region including wildlife surveys, awareness and identication of Important Bird Areas.Dr. Choudhury is a member of more than nine IUCN/SSC/BLI Specialist Groups. He is also a member of IUCN/SSC Asian Elephant, Asian Rhino, Asian Wild Cattle, Bear, Cat and Small Carnivore Specialist Groups, and IUCN/SSC/BLI Water bird and Galliformes Specialist Groups. In addition he is a member of IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group’s South Asian Network and was also with the IUCN/SSC Conservation Breeding Specialist Group.

Social Impact:

As a bureaucrat, Dr. Anwaruddin Choudhury was inuential in ensuring a rural district of Assam to start e-governance giving transparency to the rural poor. He also took active part and partially succeeded in reducing social murders in the name of witch-hunting in remote areas such as Baksa district at the edge of Eastern Himalaya in Assam. Dr. Choudhury's inuence helped save many protected areas in North-East India from environmentally destructive developmental projects. The diversion of a National Highway from Manas National Park and Tiger Reserve is a recent example. He always spoke against such projects including mega dams.Dr. Choudhury visited the remote Himalayan region in Arunachal Pradesh and Bhutan, and to the mountainous regions of Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram in between year 1980-90, where he noticed that the landscape was occupied by people of the Tibetan-Burman and Tibeto-Chinese ethnicity hunting wildlife (except Bhutan). Dr. Choudhury explored and studied the vanishing wildlife of that region and he also helped in motivating the local community towards conservation.

Economic Impact:

Dr. Choudhury’s contribution to science and conservation has very little or direct impact through an economic viewpoint. But notably, he has helped in the securing of multiple protected areas that provides the community with invaluable ecosystem services.

Ecological Impact:

Dr. Choudhury is the author of more than 500 scientic articles and papers, including 17 authored books and monographs on Ecology and Environment, and also 29 detailed survey reports on wildlife. He is also the founder of the Rhino Foundation for Nature. He has been involved in scientic research and conservation work in the North-east Indian landscape formore than 25 years. He has also carried out detailed and systematic bird surveys in various regions in North-east India. Dr. Choudhury was also responsible in the rediscovery of a rare galliform species, Manipur Bush Quail (Perdicula manipurensis), which was last seen 75 years ago. He has also documented several country-based records of new birds in India and Bhutan. He also serves as the coordinator of Asian Mid-winter Waterfowl Census for Assam as well as the whole of North-east India. He is also the State Coordinator of the Indian Bird Conservation Network. Dr. Choudhury has also done pioneering work in identifying the status and range distribution of the endangered White-winged Wood Duck (Asarcornisscutulata) and Mrs. Hume's Pheasant (Syrmaticus humiae) in India. He also led a two-decade long research project on primates, starting from Dima Hasao District and extending to the whole of North-east India in the later years. Some of his most signicant contributions to mammalian research were the discovery and and distribution of two species of ying squirrels that was new to science, back in 2007 and 2009. The ying squirrels were named by him as Petaurista mechukaensis (nigra) and Petaurista mishmiensis. Dr. Choudhury also discovered a new subspecies of primate Macaca thibetana for science in the North-east Indian region, which was later described as a separate primate species called the Macaca munzala, by other scientists. He also revealed that the Stump-tailed and Pig-tailed macaques are restricted by the Brahmaputra river towards west of their range. His authoritative works on the wild water bualo have been published as the rst monograph on the endangered species.Dr. Choudhury’s work in conservation has resulted

Hollongapar Gibbon, Nambor-Doigrung, Nambor, East Karbi Anglong, North Karbi Anglong, Amchang and Marat Longri; and two Elephant Reserves, the Dhansiri-Lungding and Dihing-Patkai. He was also instrumental in upgrading Dibru-Saikhowa into a national park,inclusion of Laokhowa and Burhachapori Sanctuaries in Kaziranga Tiger Reserve and declaration of the White-winged Wood Duck as the State Bird of Assam. Interestingly, he is among very few fortunate scientists who could implement their own scientic/conservation recommendations later on as a bureaucrat. Many of the above have been ocially notied and gazetted by himself as the Joint Secretary to the Government in Environment & Forest Department. He was also a key member of the Assam Forest Policy Drafting Committee. His writings in 1980s also resulted in shelving of a railway project through the Southern edge of world famous Kaziranga National Park and World Heritage Site. in the protection of a large number of areas in the North-East India, more particularly Assam. Due to his work, at least 12 wildlife sanctuaries have been established, including Bordoibam-Bilmukh, Pani-Dihing, Barail, Bherjan-Borajan-Podumoni, Dihing-Patkai,Hollongapar Gibbon, Nambor-Doigrung, Nambor, East Karbi Anglong, North Karbi
Anglong, Amchang and Marat Longri; and two Elephant Reserves, the Dhansiri-Lungding and Dihing-Patkai. He was also instrumental in upgrading Dibru-Saikhowa into a national park, inclusion of Laokhowa and Burhachapori Sanctuaries in Kaziranga Tiger Reserve and declaration of the White-winged Wood Duck as the State Bird of Assam. Interestingly, he is among very few fortunate scientists who could implement their own scientic/conservation recommendations later on as a bureaucrat. Many of the above have been ocially notied and gazetted by himself as the Joint Secretary to the Government in Environment & Forest Department. He was also a key member of the Assam Forest Policy Drafting Committee. His writings in 1980s also resulted in shelving of a railway project through the Southern edge of world famous Kaziranga National Park and World Heritage Site.

Anwaruddin was responsible in the rediscovery of a rare galliform species, Manipur Bush Quail (Perdicula manipurensis), which was last seen 75 years ago.

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