In Defense of Wildlife

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

Wildlifers enjoy a break from the intense academic schedule

An air of excitement and apprehension filled LH1 on the 5th and 6th of August 2010. The defense of their theses was the final hurdle between students of the 2008-2010 Masters in Wildlife Biology and Conservation Program, and their graduation. A rousing introductory speech and introduction of the ‘dreaded’ examiners on Day 1 was followed by presentation of studies about how different saç ekimi species use the habitats they live in.

Starting with research on grizzled giant squirrels by Ipsita Herlekar, presenters like Girish Punjabi, who worked on the den preferences of Indian foxes, Nishant S. and Bipin C. who studied human-elephant conflict at different scales, the presentations set the bar high with excellent delivery saç ekimi and detailed descriptions. After a much needed tea break had restored both audience and presenter, studies on tigers and their prey, by Killivalavan and Imran, mouse deer by Sachin and lion-tailed macaques by Meghna, brought the day to a close.

Having raised the expectations on Day 1, Day 2 had presenters giving it their best with Jayendra, Shivani and Aditya blowing the audience away with their well-thought out studies on bonnet macaques, blackbuck antelopes and tiger genetics respectively. Nisarg, Tarun, Rajat and Mayuresh brought up the rear having visited exotic, remote and conflict-ridden landscapes ranging from the heights of the Western Ghats to the dacoit-ridden Chambal and the Gulf of Mannar, separating India from Sri Lanka. But the festivities were just beginning, as the scheduled water-polo and football matches left participant and spectator alike gasping for breath. Ridden by rumours of match-fixing, biased referees and foul play, teams consisting of students, alumni and faculty battled it out to reign supreme, both by winning games and by scoring injuries over members of the opposing teams.

Ending the festivities in high spirits (pun intended), students of the course both past and present, had an opportunity to mingle and discuss the upcoming alumni association. The intent of the association was to create opportunities for alumni to meet as well as to contribute, both to the course and for the cause of wildlife conservation in India. At the first meeting held on the 7th of August 2010, the association - its name still a matter of intense debate - came into being. We hope that we will see more of this association in action, both within NCBS and around the country. Until then, we say cheers to all the students, faculty and alumni that helped create the magic of the last few days.

Killivalan Rayar’s Summary of ‘THE GAMES’

After a practice game on the 5th the stage was set for the real games on the next day.
Water Polo team names: 1) Occupancy Punters 2) Rest of population estimation 3) Behaviour 4) Plotters

1st Semi-final

Occupancy Punters beat Rest of Population - Rest of Population were the pre-tournament favorites with a strong team on paper with Anish, Jignasu, Umesh, Varun on that team. But a determined defense and crisp passing by the Occupancy Punters proved too good for them. It was a joy to watch Geoff, Kiran, Rongon and Ashwin operate for the Occupancy Punters.

2nd Semi-final

Plotters beat Behaviours -  Very controversial match with rumors about background lobbying to get preferred players on their teams. Investigations are still on to unearth corruption and match-fixing involvement. However, the match started with the goalkeepers playing a key role for both teams. Imran for Plotters and Anup for Behaviours did not let in a goal for quite some time. Rana was solid in the defense for the Behaviours but some great play by Kulbushan, Nandini, Karthik, Divya Karnad, Mahesh and Dharmaveer broke the shackles and eventually won the game for the Plotters. Even a late entry by the injured Jagdish could not save the Behaviours from defeat.

The Final

Plotters beat Occupancy Punters - With the viva just completed, Ajith was stuck with the external examiners. After a lot of discussion by the organizers it was decided to go ahead with the finals without the main motivator for this tournament not present to witness what he had been dreaming for a long time. The Occupancy Punters took an early lead with two goals within 5 mins. The deadly combination of Kullu, Karthik, Mahesh and Dharma in the offense got their act together and snatched the lead for the Plotters. Divya Karnad's defense kept Geoff at bay for most of the game. With the score tied at 4-4 and just 2 mins left it was anybody's game. Amidst this tension the referee (Umesh) red carded Kiran, apparently for some rough play. Fierce protests from the Occupancy Punters managed to overturn the decision. Some neat passing by the plotters found Dharmaveer in a good position who scored the winner. The 50 odd spectators cheering loudly for both teams were indeed treated with a classic nail bitter.

Rest of NCBS vs Best of Wildlife:

With arguably the best ever wildlife team, the spirits were high (quite literally from all the drinking from the previous night's party). Our coach (Nandini) started off by making us do some stretching exercises with the wildlife cheering squad arriving in large numbers, completely outnumbering the few supporters for the opponents. Ajith and Ravi walked in with umbrellas even as the rain was trying to play spoil sport. Jagdish still nursing his back injury was on pain killers but seemed okay during warm up. After a briefing by the referee (Adil) the stage was set for the most anticipated game of the year at NCBS.

Killi leads a ferocious rendition of the haka before the football game

The wildlife team owner (Ajith) jumped in just before the kick-off to intimidate the opponents with the Haka (see photo). It was a cracker of a start. Ashwin scored a super header with a perfect free kick from Killi, just few mins into the game. But a cruel deflection and some defensive errors meant we were trailing 1-3 at half time. But thanks to some spectacular saves from our goalie (Tarun) we were still very much in the game.

The showers did not help us much with guys playing without studs slipping crazily. Soon we were trailing 1-5 with goals scored by the opponents due to refereeing errors. We were passing much better now and were seeing more of the ball with excellent play by Ashwin, Girish and Robert with some display of aggression by Mayuresh. Ashwin scored again followed by a neat goal from Mayuresh. A great lob from Ashwin found Robert and he buried it into their goal to make it 4-6. Game on. Meanwhile, Jagdish like in the water polo game made a late entry and effected a super save. We scored a goal and never conceded after his appearance (Coach...please make a note). After trailing 1-5 we made a fantastic recovery and finally managed to draw the match at 6-6. We scored 4 goals, broke an opponents tooth and inflicted a black eye to another opponent, to get a score of 6 :-). Our team doctor (Meghna) had a lot of work to do for both teams with a few curses thrown at the referee for not calling the fouls. "I am really happy that we played very well and had a great chance of actually winning it" said the coach during the post match interview. "At least you guys scored 4 goals" said Siddharth (Mahesh's son), a die-hard fan of the wildlife team seen cheering sporting the new wildlife t-shirt. "Hooray I captured Ashwin scoring the first goal (look for a picture with Ashwin in mid air with the ball heading towards the goal)" said an elated Rajat who captured these wonderful moments for us.

Three cheers to the livedominas wildlifers ... Hip hip ..... Hooray......hip hip ..... hooray......hip hip ....... hoooooooooorrrraaayyyy!


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