What’s brewing at Current Conservation?

by Devathi Parashuram and Greta Ann Sam

A lot, as it turns out. How is it already 2022?! Last year was action-packed for Team CC. 

We brought out three issues of the magazine: 15.1 and 15.2—which are, as always, freely available for download on the website. And 15.3, which was a special issue on ‘African conservation today: New trends, perspectives and opportunities’, guest edited by Fred Nelson and Gladys-Kalema Zikusoka, and launched in December 2021 at the 30th International Congress for Conservation Biology. 

Due to the volume of high quality submissions we have been receiving and the limited space in the quarterly print magazine, we are publishing more and more online-only articles. As a result of this, the total number of articles we published in 2021 was more than double that of 2020. Below are some of our recent favourites: 

Feature: Bats have a bad rap for being reservoirs of zoonotic diseases, amongst other things. In ‘Growing up to be a bit batty’, Kami Koyamatsu shares with us her fascination for the “coolest creatures ever”.

Field Notes:Living with snakes’, where Chandini Chhabra of The Liana Trust writes about sharing space with her reptilian neighbours.

Field Associates: There’s no question of doing fieldwork without them. ‘The well-being of field collaborators – Going a step further’ by Rohit Jha and Sutirtha Lahiri is a must-read for all field ecologists.

Research in Translation:Not a cookie-cutter approach: How the uses and trade of giraffe parts vary across Africa’ highlights the importance of understanding illegal hunting and trade within the local/national context, in order to develop appropriate conservation management plans.

Photo Essay: Entomophagy is the age-old practice of eating insects. In ‘Asian giant hornets: More than a delicacy’, Thejavikho Chase takes us on a visual journey through the process of rearing these insects and harvesting their delicious, expensive and highly sought-after larvae in Nagaland, India.

For Better or Verse:Go by Shanks’ pony’, an acrostic poem about slowing down to appreciate nature, the third such one for CC by Mike Mesterton-Gibbons, a professor of Mathematics.

Bookshelf: Bijal Vachharajani wrote a most delightful review of Janaki Lenin’s recent book ‘Every creature has a story: What science reveals about animal behaviour’.

We have also been busy expanding our Editorial and Advisory Boards, with eight new members from across the world so far, many of whom came to us via our partnership with the Society for Conservation Biology. Speaking of partnerships, we’re happy to have Technology for Wildlife and Voices for Biodiversity on board.

Finally, our social media has been as vibrant as ever. We hit 16.5K followers on Instagram by the end of 2021, which is a direct result of the massive effort that goes into it. We introduced some diverse and interesting segments. Some of the highlights include the ecosystem series that helped to break down the characteristics and the importance of various ecosystems; the Nature’s Architect series, where we showcased various animal homes; and CC leaflet, where we look at some interesting botanical characters. We have received an amazing response for some of the practical posts like Backyard Blunders, which illustrates how simple, well-intentioned actions can cause severe harm to wildlife and ecosystems. To increase engagement with the audience, we held a Comic Contest in collaboration with Rohan Chakravarty aka Green Humour on the theme “The tables have turned: Animals & plants are now the conservationists”, organised CCInktober 2021 and started an open discussion segment, which provides a platform to put forth different perspectives on hot conservation topics. We are also super glad to have conducted our first ever virtual workshop on conceptualizing artistic creations by our super talented illustrator, Karunya Baskar.

Phew! All this is very exciting, but considering we are a tiny team of three full-time staff, it would have been impossible without the support of several interns who joined us during this period. They helped with design, illustrations (thanks to which several online-only articles have wonderful artworks), research and content for social media posts. It truly does take a village, and we are immensely grateful.  

P.S. We have a newsletter! Sign up here for curated artwork and articles, as well as CC updates.

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