Wildlife studies – from lions to lizards

Ishan Agarwal

Studying wildlife in India
A career in wildlife science? It’s strange that this should be considered unusual in India. India is blessed with exceptional biodiversity, stemming from the multitude of biogeographic zones and habitats we have within the political boundaries of our country – from the cold deserts of the trans-Himalaya to the hot deserts of the northwest, the mountains and plains of the northeast, the tropical forests of the Western Ghats, the Indo-Gangetic flood plains, the Eastern Ghats and Satpuras in central and eastern India, the ancient Aravallis and Vindhyas in central and western India. The sad part, however, is that wildlife science remains a niche field with few people interested in such a career and even fewer people who know that such avenues exist. Young students should be made aware of the exceptional biodiversity in India, and a sense of pride must be inculcated. Our natural heritage is something we should all be proud of!

Reptile and lizard diversity in India
Reptiles are found all over the world, with high levels of diversity and endemism. Reptiles have an almost unparalleled diversity of form, which is linked to habitat and habits; making them model organisms for scientific research across various disciplines including biogeography, community ecology, embryology, immunology, physiology and many more.

Ishan Agarwal is a PhD student at the Centre for Ecological Sciences, IISc, Bangalore. His PhD work is on the molecular phylogeny and biogeography of bent-toed geckos of India. His primary interests are in herpetofauna, taxonomy, species distributions and biogeography; as well as wildlife photography, travel, and food. He can be reached at [email protected].

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