A new conservationist website hopes to make a big difference

Against a backdrop of big cat pictures, conservationist and wildlife filmmaker Shekar Dattatri talks about Conservation India, a one-of-its-kind non-profit and non-commercial portal. The website, with its prowling tiger logo, was recently launched with wildlife photographer and entrepreneur Ramki Sreenivasan.

Conservation India aims to become a one-stop shop for anyone interested in conservation. “This isn’t just a collection of articles on wildlife. If you’re interested in conservation and asking yourself what you can do to help, this site is for you,” says Shekar. “Our motto is ‘enabling conservation action’ and we focus on empowering people with knowledge.” Many people want to help with conservation but typically, they confuse animal welfare with conservation. Also, enthusiasts need to be sensitised to the many wildlife laws that are in place in order to react adequately. This is what the website seeks to do.

After two years of research and preparation, the site went live a few months ago. “Often, people think wildlife conservation is all about getting into a jeep and roaring off into the jungle,” says Shekar, “but it also involves boring things like paperwork.”

A wildlife enthusiast and photographer for many years, Ramki was disillusioned by what he saw. “As a photographer or tourist, you are just a mute spectator,” he says. The team realised that the best way to get conservation practices across is to codify best practices on a public domain. “It becomes accessible and becomes repeatable. We opted for a website that is minimalist and to the point.”

The website has an exhaustive array of articles, essays and interviews. “We’re looking at experts in every domain. For example, if it’s a case study about someone who has fought against roads running through national parks, we will bring them on board to write about it,” says Shekar. Contributors include Dr. Ullas Karanth, Belinda Wright and Praveen Bhargav. “The portal will be a repository of information,” says Shekar, with static content as well as dynamic content like news and pictures.

With 10,000 unique visitors already, most of them Indian, the response has been overwhelming so far, say the two conservationists. The Conservation India team will soon be holding workshops, talks, film screenings and more. Visit Conservation India at www.conservationindia.org

What it has

Featured images – where public can send in images relevant to conservation

Conservation toolkit – with information about conservation, how to start a campaign, handle the media, make videos and constitutional imperatives

Topics – with insights into different aspects of wildlife like tourism or illegal trade

Q&A – where people can pose questions to experts

Publications – where relevant research papers will be edited and uploaded