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Tue, 13 Nov 2018

Northeast Today

Role of Technology in Conservation Highlighted

Role of Technology in Conservation Highlighted
July 30
10:12 2017

On the occasion of World Tiger Day on Saturday, July 29, Youth Empowerment Club of Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati organized a student-expert interaction with the theme “Technology for conservation” at the mini auditorium of the institute. The program included a documentary screening on usage of drones for conservation followed by a short quiz and an interactive panel discussion.

The event was also attended by the members of Team SEEK (Save Endangered, Endemic and Key Species), which is an initiative organized by Environment Conservation Group (ECG) based at Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. The team is on an all India expedition covering around 25,000kms by road with a mission of spreading awareness on conservation of endangered species and documenting best conservation strategies that they encounter en-route. The team traversing across 29 states of India and 3 neighboring countries includes Mohammed Saleem, Abishek Ravi, Srinivasan G and Sisir Kalita. The team interacted with the students of IIT Guwahati and shared their experiences from the 29 days of journey. They have another 31 days to go, covering North and west India before culminating at Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu.

The highly informative and interactive panel discussion was attended by DP Bankhwal, IG- NTCA, AK Johari, PCCF, Biodiversity and Climate Change; Hirdesh Mishra, CCF (IT); Chandan Mahanta, Professor, IITG; Parag Deka, Programme Manager, Pygmy Hog Conservation Program; Narayan Sharma, Asst. Professor, Cotton University; Smarajit Ojah, Asst. Professor, Nowgong Girls’ College; Bhrigu Prasad Saikia, Field Researcher at Karbi Anglong Forest Division; Jayaditya Purkayastha, Researcher with Gauhati University and Mohammed Saleem, Conservationist and Wildlife Enthusiast

Participants for the event included students, researchers and post doctoral fellows from IIT Guwahati, Cotton University, Gauhati University, ATREE, Assam Biodiversity Board and Wildlife Institute of India.

Important issues such as lack of a portal for interaction between experts and technologists; poor battery performance; high cost of equipment; lack of skilled manpower; lack of indigenous technologies specific to our requirements were discussed during the panel discussion.

The panelists emphasized on the need for young engineers from technical institutes to take up developing devices taking the field conditions into consideration. There was keen interest among the panelists to deal with human-animal conflicts using technology by providing monitoring and early warning systems. Mobile applications to spark curiosity and enhance awareness should be developed that are user friendly.

With these as major points of discussion, the experts also offered to host and collaborate with students from technical institute like IITs to work on efficient prototype that can be put into effective use. The major takeaway of the day’s event was, technology has a critical role to play in conservation, and technologists need to collaborate with field experts and take up projects that demand immediate attention.

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