Wildcat Lecture #2


Wildcat Lecture #2

For the Love of Asiatic Lions — 30 years of Experience in India

When people think of Indian wildlife, images of tigers, leopards and elephants tend to dominate their minds. It is pretty rare for them to relate to the fact that India hosts a thriving but endangered population of Asiatic lions Panthera leo persica, the last surviving population of wild lions in Asia.

Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary located in Saurashtra peninsula of the western Indian state of Gujarat and its surrounding largely human-dominated landscapes are currently home to reportedly 600 to 800 lions. More than 50% of this population is outside the protected areas, living and interacting with people and their livestock on a regular basis.

The story of the Asiatic lions over the last 200 years or so is one of varying fortunes. The lions had a close brush with extinction in the late 1800s and early 1900s and their population has since recovered remarkably. Even success needs to be effectively managed for it to endure and the current challenges largely relate to this aspect of wildlife management, conservation planning and action.

Principles of conservation science and prudence dictate that all members of an endangered species are not restricted to one location which is akin to having all your eggs in one basket, a high-risk scenario. Ravi’s doctoral research and subsequent work have focussed on planning and implementing the translocation of lions to establish a geographically separated additional free-ranging population of lions to mitigate conservation risks and safeguard against any catastrophe.

In this richly illustrated talk, Ravi will trace the conservation history of lions, describe their current status, talk about the priority conservation actions which are needed, describe their ecology and refer to his personal experiences since 1985 in what has been a fantastic but often frustrating journey.

Date: 17 May 2019

Time: 7.00 - 8.30 p.m.

Venue: Singapore Sustainability Academy

#06-10 City Square Mall (Sky Park)

180 Kitchener Road


Light vegetarian refreshments will be served after the talk.

About Ravi Chellam

Ravi Chellam, Ph.D.
Wildlife Biologist & Conservation Scientist
Chief Executive Officer, Metastring Foundation

Ravi has been involved with wildlife research, education and conservation since the early 1980s. During his career he has worked with the Wildlife Institute of India, United Nations Development Programme, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, Wildlife Conservation Society - India Program, Madras Crocodile Bank Trust, Gharial Conservation Alliance, Asian Nature Conservation Foundation, Foundation for Ecological Security and Greenpeace India. He has played leadership roles in many of his assignments. His current interests include conservation of large carnivores, conservation and management of wildlife and biodiversity outside Protected Areas, human-wildlife conflicts, restoration of wildlife habitats, mitigation of climate change, and using information technology to enable public participation in research, conservation and public health which particularly involves working with the India Biodiversity Portal and the Open Platform for Rare Diseases. He is associated with other conservation NGOs in governance roles; serves on the Governing Council of BNHS and Board of Advisors of Nature Conservation Foundation. He has served as an expert adviser to the Amicus Curiae of the Forest Bench of the Supreme Court of India which dealt with the lion translocation case and works closely with the government on several conservation projects as well as on policy issues. He is currently a member of the expert committee appointed by the Government of India to guide the translocation of Asiatic lions. He is closely associated with the Student Conference on Conservation Science-Bengaluru. Apart from his scientific, technical publications and academic teaching, he writes for the general public in newspapers, magazines and websites as well as gives talks on wildlife and conservation.

He has a B.Sc. in Botany from the University of Madras, a M.Sc. in Wildlife Biology from AVC College, Bharatidasan University and a Ph.D. from Saurashtra University based on his work on the ecology of Asiatic lions, research which was conducted through the Wildlife Institute of India.

*Cover photo by Kalyan Varma

  • The event description was updated. Diff#434508 2019-05-15 06:39:17
Fri May 17, 2019
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM SGT
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General Admission FULL
Venue Address
180 Kitchener Road, Singapore Singapore
Singapore Wildcat Action Group