Home / Lifestyle / X-Ray

Elephantine zeal

By Raymond Zhou | China Daily | Updated: 2015-04-03 07:56

Elephantine zeal

Wild elephants enjoy fun in the water in the forest in Yunnan province, one of the few habitats of the endangered species in China. Photo provided to China Daily

Natarajan Ishwaran has a special affinity for the Asian elephant. It roams wild in his country, Sri Lanka, where domesticated ones are used to take tourists around. He studied the animal through his doctoral program. Now he uses state-of-the-art technology to promote the conservation of natural habitats for them and other creatures.

All this from his Beijing office at International Centre on Space Technologies for Natural and Cultural Heritage, a United Nations agency, where he is a visiting professor.

Ishwaran served in UNESCO from 1986 to 2012. He is an expert on wildlife that also includes "small and less-known animals and plants", he says.

But he does not hide his preference for "the big ones" because they "give the inspiration for a much broader range of life to be conserved".

The Asian elephant is "a symbolic animal" and "an iconic species" just like the giant panda in China, Ishwaran says, adding that big animals are more difficult to keep than smaller ones whose spatial requirements are more modest.

Although China has many nature reserves, some aren't well protected while others have "intervening areas" that are used for farming and forestry and even include small towns. The requirements of people often become major challenges to biodiversity and the protection of big animals in particular.

Previous 1 2 3 4 Next