Nandini Velho's thesis will examine the impacts of hunting in different protection regimes in northeastern India, a region that spans two global biodiversity hotspots. Northeastern India has witnessed the local extiction of several animal species of global conservation importance. Her study seeks to address how hunting intensities of mammals differ across three borad protection regimes. Northeastern India, with high species diversity, great heterogeneity in cultural practices and economic contexts, and relatively open bushmeat markets is well-suited to implement data-driven conservation at multiple levels.
As a researcher who has already done field work in remote areas in north-east India, Nandini's prior work has focused on rainforest tree dynamics and interactions between plants and animals in tropical forests. She has won awards for her Master's work and also for the action-based research projects that she undertook later. Given a chance, she'd be happy to not collect data and just walk around the forest- watching hornbills at their nests, searching for seeds dispersed in the rainforest or looking out for flying squirrels by the moonlight. Nevertheless, her field experience has enabled her to implement research projects and help resolve conservation issues in a complex socio-economic context, on tight deadlines and limited budgets.
In parallel, Nandini has engaged with on-ground outreach and conservation activities, including healthcare and logistical support of front-line forest staff. She had the unique opportunity of engaging with policy makers at the highest level while she worked in the office of Mr. Jairam Ramesh, the Minister of State for Environment and Forests of India. She is extremely passionate about writing in the popular medium, and wishes to retire to a life of word games and popular writing.
Nandini enjoys watching cryptic films and conning people to watch them with her. She loves cooking meat, and has tried her hand at selling food stuff and jewellery at flea markets. She does water related activities such swimming and kayaking, and usually makes sure that there is chilled beer and a fish-curry rice meal with it. She adores kids that are not her own – loves to teach, write for books for them, and just know their minds. She loves watching soccer, does her two bit soccer of coaching and lots of shouting at her M.Sc. classmates, organises betting pools and big screen shows of important soccer matches. She plans to be ready with her Ph.D. submission by the next soccer world cup in 2014.