Have we ever wondered if we, the common people are affected in any way by the wildlife that surrounds us? Is it or is it not our responsibility to try and save the species that are slowly becoming extinct? We, being from the engineering background, might not feel directly affected by these changes in the environmental domain. But in fact, we are. It's about time we take a moment's pause and reflect on our responsibilities in preserving the fauna that is slowly marching towards extinction. To put light on this aspect, Professor Randall C Kyes from the University of Washington visited our Institute on the 28th of November,2014 to give an one hour presentation on "GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP IN RESEARCH TRAINING AND OUTCOME: PROMOTING CONSERVATION BIOLOGY AND GLOBAL HEALTH". Randall C. Kyes is a research professor in the Department of Psychology and Adjunct Research Professor in the Department of Global Health and Anthropology, in the University of Washington. He is also the Founding Director of the University's Centre for Global Field Study and Core Scientist and Head of the Division of Global Programs at the Washington National Primate Research Centre. His research focuses on field-based studies of nonhuman primates and other wildlife in the areas of Conservation Biology and Global Health, at the human-environment interface. All of Dr. Kyes' research, teaching and service activities have a strong international focus. Since coming to the University of Washington, he has been responsible for helping to establish collaborative programs in a number of countries, including Indonesia, Nepal, China, Thailand, Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mexico, and India, with developing programs in Brazil and Laos. These partnerships involve joint research and annual training programs ("field course in conservation biology & global health") for local university students and professionals.
During the one hour presentation, he shed light on various aspects of his field of research in conservation biology and related to us the accounts of his travel across the globe. He highlighted a few key points of his research work which were mainly centered on the concepts of human-environment interface and its impact on global health, their training and outreach programs, and the metrics they use to measure the extent of development they have made so far. He, in association with his collaborators, organizes field training programs, where they train the participants to conduct various scientific experiments related to saving the fauna of that region. Their training programs also involve an active community outreach education component for children from local schools. He gave us an account of the annual, month-long study abroad program in Indonesia (in collaboration with PSSP-IPB), which provided field-based educational and research opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students from UW. The program was conducted on Tinijil Island, in conjunction with the field course for Indonesian students, thus allowing the students of both countries to learn about the endangered species, mainly primates, of their locality. He also explained the concept of "human-environment" interface and global health whereby they found, from their experimental studies in Indonesia, microorganisms which causes harm to humans, being present in the body of a certain primate that is on the verge of extinction in that region and vice versa. Also people from time immemorial had been killing and selling the endangered species in local markets of Indonesia. Mr. Randall, along with his collaborators, had been spreading words and awareness, and making serious efforts for the past two decades in saving these endangered species. In Assam, he is collaborating with the Gibbon Conservation Centre, Jorhat , which deals with the conservation of Hullock Gibbon, one of the endangered species of this region.
It was a very enlightening lecture given by Professor Kyes and we, on our part, should also make necessary efforts to contribute in the conservation of the extinct species of our region. Even spreading the words and spreading awareness can make a huge difference. A lot of the faculties from our Institute seemed very eager and enthusiastic to take part in the field research programs that they conduct annually. It's about time we take a step!