In the last 50 years, global conservation practices, resource allocation and plans have all seen a disproportionate and lopsided focus on large mammals (elephants, whales, rhinos, pandas, tigers) and other charismatic species (birds such as Great Indian Bustard, Bald eagles, flamingos, cranes and storks and vultures; reptiles such as King Cobras, Pythons and Sea Turtles; et al.). As a result, the importance, roles and rights of these creatures has been compromised. Also the overall information available about these smaller, less charismatic and seemingly benign creatures has been abysmal, pushing some of them over the brink.
This lopsided approach has led to absurd and illogical legal, socio-political and management interventions, besides drastic actions such as sanctions for culling, classification as vermin species or ignoring their ecological signification during EIAs and creation of EMPs. Top of the list would be creatures that provide important ecological services such as pollinators (bees, butterflies, birds, bats, etc); scavengers and decomposers (fungi, snails, ants, and millipede); pest control and minor predators (Odonates, scorpions, centipedes, frogs, snakes, bats). Studies on endemic and localised (small range) species is also limited, especially in case of plants and marine invertebrates.
This workshop focuses on identifying lacunae and developing appropriate resources and mechanisms to increase public awareness and engagement, options/avenues for research and conservation funding, available media, publications, outreach mechanisms and networks as well as newer ideas of achieving non-protected area focused or hotspot-based conservation, including role of urban biodiversity.