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A Himalayan effort for conservation

Staff Reporter
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Coffee table book documents the endangered biodiversity

MOUNTAINOUS EFFORT:Conservation biologist Kamal Bawa and photographer Sandesh Kadur spent five years on their book, capturing astonishing images of rarely photographed species and seldom documented behaviours.— PHOTO: K. GOPINATHAN
MOUNTAINOUS EFFORT:Conservation biologist Kamal Bawa and photographer Sandesh Kadur spent five years on their book, capturing astonishing images of rarely photographed species and seldom documented behaviours.— PHOTO: K. GOPINATHAN

As one pores through the 308 pages of Himalaya: Mountains of Life , one can see the mountainous region coming to life. Just to sample, a fiery red panda in eastern Nepal, bright pink rhododendrons blossoming at the Singalila National Park, Bodo women umbrellas crossing a bridge with the Himalayas forming a breathtaking backdrop.

The book, published by the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment and co-authored by conservation biologist Kamal Bawa and wildlife photographer Sandesh Kadur, was launched by Rohini Nilekani, chairperson of Arghyam Foundation, here Wednesday.

Speaking after the launch, Mr. Kadur said: “Even today, these mountains hold many mysteries, unnamed species, primeval cultures and the promise of magical cures to heal all of humanity.”

The sumptuously produced book aims at capturing the biodiversity and the culture of the eastern Himalayan region by documenting behaviours and rarely photographed species. The coffee table book is a sequel to Sahyadris, India’s Western Ghats . “The book reached audiences who rarely read scientific papers; and readers who don’t have an idea about biodiversity also began reading our book. We want to give our readers a glimpse of biodiversity through our book,” Mr. Bawa told The Hindu .

The authors enthusiastically shared their experiences during the making of the book. Mr. Kadur, who camped at Kaziranga for several days, said that travelling the length and breadth of the region helped him explore remote regions in the country and even the hilly areas of Bhutan. “I enjoyed photographing and documenting new things,” he said. Mr. Bawa riposted: “I can do this 10 times over. We not only want to document biodiversity but also want to show how environmental change is impacting biodiversity. We are stressing the need to conserve biodiversity.” Speaking about the dramatic changes in the landscape in that region over the last five years, he said that there was a need to conserve energy and ask ourselves if we are investing enough in renewable forms of energy such as wind and solar energy.


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