New Delhi, India:
In its efforts to bring attention to India’s lesser-known species and habitats, and build a conservation mindset, The Habitats Trust, launched ‘Wild You Were Sleeping’ a six-part original docuseries on Earth Day (22nd April 2022). The series will feature stories of some of India’s most fascinating wild species that live in close proximity to humans but are not understood, often leading to conflict situations. It will showcase short 7 – 9 minute episodes each, on six species including the Malabar Pit-Viper, Striped Hyena, Desert Fox, Greater Adjutant Stork, Smooth-coated Otters, and Hoolock Gibbon. Co-produced by leading documentary film company, Trippintoe Media, an episode from the docuseries will be streamed every Friday at 11 am starting 22nd April 2022 on The Habitats Trust website as well as the social media channels – Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.The Habitats Trust continuously works towards producing original, engaging content to bring into the spotlight lesser-known species in India and draw attention to the challenges and threats to their existence. ‘Wild You Were Sleeping’ will provide a glimpse into the lives of six species that live around us. The films, while scientific in approach, will present the stories of the species in a simple yet creative format, to not only elicit empathy for the animals but rather, enhance a conservationist ethos amongst the general population.
Rushikesh Chavan, Head, The Habitats Trust said, “India, a megadiverse country with only 2.4% of the world’s land area, accounts for 7-8% of all recorded species. Much of the conservation attention and efforts in India today are focused on select large, charismatic species that inhabit our forests. As urban dwellers, we rarely pay attention to the many species that co-inhabit our spaces and how our actions or lack of those may pose a threat to their existence. These species play an important role in maintaining balance in the ecosystems and food-webs and their rapidly dwindling population may force total collapse in the ecosystems, where they exist. At The Habitats Trust we continue to work towards demystifying many of these species and shed light on what threatens their existence in the hope of influencing more action for their conservation.”
Siddharth Ganesh, Founder, Trippintoe Media said, “We are delighted to co-produce ‘Wild You Were Sleeping’ with The Habitats Trust. The series will journey into the world of different species through rich location videos, time-lapse sequences and inputs from wildlife scientists and academicians. Given that each episode is only 7 – 9-minute-long and will be available online, individuals will have the opportunity to watch them on-the-go or during breaks in their busy schedules. Our heartfelt gratitude to The Habitats Trust for partnering with us to narrate these stories in our trademark visually creative style.”
The six-part series will feature:
- The Malabar Pit-Viper: A venomous snake species distributed across the Western Ghats, the Malabar Pit-Viper is often found in the coffee plantations spread in this region. It is a unique, fascinating species that shows ‘polymorphism’ (is found in multiple colours), and appears during the monsoon season – and not much is known about their activities for the rest of the year. Its bite, while not fatal, can leave people unable to work for a few days, unfortunately often leading to the snake being killed when spotted. Very little ecological research has been done on the species, but there is a need for more studies as well as efforts for snakebite mitigation to ensure peaceful coexistence between humans and this reptile.
- The Greater Adjutant Stork: It is among the rarest stork species in the world, only found breeding in India and Cambodia. They are largely scavengers and play a crucial role in maintaining healthy ecosystems. The bird is Endangered, with only 800-1200 individuals remaining worldwide. In India, a third of their population survives in garbage dumps on the outskirts of Guwahati, Assam. Greater Adjutants are threatened given the steady decline of their wetland habitats worldwide due to pollution and rapid urbanisation.
- The Smooth-coated Otter: This species is distributed in freshwater habitats across India (including Goa, Maharashtra, Karnataka and many other states). They are social with large families, but unfortunately, their populations are in decline due to loss of habitat. Additionally, they are threatened due to the presence of feral dogs, and occasional conflict with fisher-folk of the regions that they inhabit. In Goa, otters and fisherfolk compete for the same resources on a daily basis as the boundaries of wild spaces and human habitations blur.
- The Desert Fox: It is a subspecies of the widely ranging Red Fox and is specially adapted to survive in extreme arid weather conditions of the Thar Desert and Kutch. However, due to the widespread perception of deserts as barren wastelands, these regions are not recognized for their biodiversity value, thus leaving the future of this species uncertain.
- Western Hoolock Gibbon: They live in small families including the male, female and their young ones, and communicate with other gibbons by vocalization. They are dependent on connected forest canopies for foraging and dispersal that are essential for their survival. The expansion of linear infrastructure in their already shrinking habitats of evergreen forests, poses a threat to their existence. In Assam, near the Hoollongapar Wildlife Sanctuary, the gibbons survive in fragmented forest patches and agricultural fields.
- The Striped Hyena: The Striped Hyena is a scavenger species that consume carcasses and play an important role in keeping their ecosystem disease-free and healthy. Sadly, they are sometimes considered vermin by the general public. Their natural habitats that include grasslands, dry scrub and rocky outcrops are fast disappearing due to the expansion of the urban spaces and large infrastructural projects. Lack of recognition of their habitats for its biodiversity and tag of wasteland, leaves the future of this scavenger uncertain.
About The Habitats Trust
Founded in 2018 by Roshni Nadar Malhotra, the Chairperson of HCL Technologies and Trustee of the Shiv Nadar Foundation, and Shikhar Malhotra, the Vice Chairman of HCL Healthcare and Trustee, Shiv Nadar Foundation, The Habitats Trust is working towards protecting natural habitats and their indigenous species of flora and fauna through strategic partnerships, sustainable on-ground efforts, engaging technology for conservation and generating conservation awareness. The Trust envisions a world where our natural habitats are secured for future generations, and humans live in harmony with the wildlife that shares our planet.
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Sadaf Khan (Head – Corporate Communications), HCL Corporation, Shiv Nadar Foundation and The Habitats Trust, [email protected], +91-9620696668