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A Day with Herp-wizards!

When it comes to nature conservation and animal welfare, the focus almost always gets shifted to the big names, the glamorous names like tiger, rhino or elephant.

 

What the common man often fails to realise is that a little creature such as a frog or a lizard or a water snake plays as important a role as the big ones in keeping us, humans, alive and safe. They are as much important for the food cycle and nature conservation as a tiger.

 

The Day with Herp-Wizards is an initiative by WISH Foundation to create this extremely important awareness among all sections of the society and local nature enthusiasts in particular.

 

The four guest speakers are among the leading and most celebrated herpetologists of India and it is a rare occasion and opportunity for Kolkata to have them under one roof sharing their expertise, experience, knowledge and concerns with the audience.

 

Dr. Abhijit Das is a renowned herpetologist who knows the seven sisters of North-east in a serpentine way.He has introduced the audience with the beautiful world of herps. He was our first speaker and he had a wonderful inietractive ice-breaking session with the audience.

 

Sandeep Das, a conservation herpetologist and a naturalist and an EDGE fellow, is wellknown for his knowledge of the purple frog, a frog that reconnects India and Africa. The baritone croak has messages for you from underneath the soil. ‘Mahabali Frog — the Story of the Underworld King’ was the next talk and the audience was perplexed to the hear the story of the frog which comes out only for a day to reproduce. Sandeep Das is working with the local people to secure the future of Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis.

 

Dr. Harikrishnan S has done extensive research in the islands of Andaman and Nicobar and has unearthed the hitherto unknown reptile community structure in the two biodiversity hotspots of the world. He has shared his experience in the islands. The audience witnessed the magnificent herps of the islands and at the same time this talk was an eye opener for all of us regarding the deleterious effect of invasive species.

 

Dr. Varad Giri has spent almost an era in the wild and with the museum specimens to describe new lizard species one after another. He has lizards and snakes named after him which is a sheer acknowledgement of his sensational work. He summed up the whole session by talking about importance of herpetofauna in an innovative way which left the audience mesmerized. He pointed out our negligence about non-charismatic animals which has created a dearth of knowledge. The animals are vanishing unnoticed. Dr. Giri's buzz-worthy speech mesmerized the audience and provided food for thought for all. He differentiated the 'Madaris' and the scientists working with snakes with nice examples and criticized the habit of handling snakes to show off. He said rightly - 'You may consider yourself as a friend of snake but the snake doesn't know that'. He addressed the real time issues a herpetologist faces which is the need of the hour. His session raised vital questions.

 

The Audience:

 

It's a truly mixed group comprising people from different walks of life — homemakers, students of different streams like law, psychology and literature, zoologists, engineers, teachers, researchers, professors, naturalists, army officers, government forest officials, filmmakers and more!

 

We are really honoured to have all of you as our guests. Kindly, be in touch with us as we wish to organize many programs in future!

 

Our sincere thanks to our friends and well-wishers whose generous support has made our dream come true - Suchismita Mukherjee, Arijit Dey, Brinta Chakraborty, Bibek Jyoti Roy, Shibajee Mitra, Abhishek Paul, gramtarangfoods.in, w.a.t.e.r, Forest Dwellers, Baghrol Basa, Little Nababharati Prakashani

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