Coexistence Fellowship Programme

Why this project is important

Coexistence is an attempt to rethink the dominant conservation paradigm – not just protecting wild animals locked away in far-off pockets of forests, but also coexisting and living well with animals and nature around us. Sharing lives with other creatures is difficult, especially with those whose close presence we do not desire. Coexistence means that we must stop permanently eliminating other lifeforms from our lives. This would require us to learn to live less comfortably and share more – whether it’s with fungi, insects, and macaques in our cities, or leopards and elephants in peri-urban areas. Integrating coexistence into the conservation discourse and practice would need drastic changes in how shared spaces between people and wildlife are managed. The changes are also required at different levels, right from policy to grassroots interventions.

Project Partner:   University of Trans-Disciplinary Health Sciences and Technology (TDU) & Coexistence Consortium  

Duration: 2023 – 2025

Project goals

To facilitate the coexistence paradigm in conservation through the use of experimental and evidence-based approaches to catalyse a range of context-specific human-wildlife coexistence projects across different landscapes in India.

What we are doing

The Coexistence Fellowship Program will enable researchers and conservationists to study, understand, implement, and facilitate the coexistence paradigm in conservation. The philosophy of building local partnerships and capacity building is embedded in the structure of the program where the fellowship will be awarded to a team for a period of two years. Each team will have two fellows comprised of one non-local fellow and one local fellow or two local fellows.

The fellowship will include a training component where the fellows will be exposed to modules on different aspects of conservation and coexistence. Following the training period, the fellows will be assigned mentors (from within the consortium) who will guide the fellows throughout their fellowship. The fellowship program team will support the fellows throughout the fellowship period.

About the fellows

Twelve talented and passionate young fellows from across India are undertaking diverse projects on human-wildlife coexistence ranging from how people and sarus cranes co-adapt in agricultural landscapes to how livestock herders navigate large carnivores like wolves and snow leopards in the remote Changthang plateau of Ladakh. Other projects include fostering coexistence between people and elephants in the tea plantations and forest landscapes of West Bengal; conserving the critical biodiversity of the Aravalli’s with the leopard and hyena as flagships; understanding coexistence between the Tiwa community and wildlife at Pobitora, Assam; and studying the relationships between local people and damage causing mammals in the hills of Darjeeling, Assam and Sikkim. We are currently finalising the second cohort.

Detailed profile of the Fellows are available here: