U’khand: Scientists to find ways to protect wildlife from climate change

The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) will study the impact of climate change on wildlife and devise strategies to lessen its effects on various species found in the state.

A team of 11 scientists along with 22 project personnel from the institute reached the Bhagirathi Basin on October 1 as part of the National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem (NMSHE).

As part of the study, the team will focus on biodiversity conservation and protection of wildlife, traditional knowledge of societies and their livelihood.

“Evidence suggests that the wild species are being influenced by seasonal and annual variation in climate, director WII Dr VB Mathur told Hindustan Times.

“Realizing the need for developing science-based action plans to address both the existing as well as emerging threats of climate change in the fragile mountain ecosystems, the NMSHE has been conceived and is expected to offer practical adaptation strategies based on inputs from various reputed institutions.”

The NMSHE was launched under the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC). The Mission covers 12 Himalayan states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Meghalaya, Assam and West Bengal.

Two project sites have been identified in the Western and the Eastern Himalayas to study species that abound these fragile eco-systems.

The project started in early 2015 followed by training of newly engaged project personnel and reconnaissance. Presently, WII representatives are studying the habitat of various animals in the Bhagirathi Basin listed in the project.

According to S Sathyakumar, the nodal scientist of the project, the expected output of the study will be consistent. “We will work on vulnerability indices for wildlife species, habitats and ecosystem besides, establishing monitoring protocols for long-term climate change impacts, he said.

“The project outputs would provide researched and collated information for use during current negotiations and future strategies in the Himalayan region.”

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