Zoo Outreach Organization &
Wildlife Information Liaison Development


 ZOO/WILD's 2013 Activities . . .

Conservation Beyond Research: Invertebrate Pollinator Conservation and Education Training Workshop

Dr. Eric Mader introducing Pollinator Habitat Assessent Guideline

The IUCN SSC South Asian Invertebrate Specialist Group SAsISG and Zoo Outreach Organization in partnership with the Department of Agricultural Entomology, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore and The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, USA organized a three-day training workshop to promote pollinator conservation in India. Thirty-one participants from different states of India took part in this event, conducted at the TNAU campus from 3-5 June 2013. Chester Zoo, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, and CBSG sponsored the entire event. Participants for this workshop were selected based on their contribution for pollinator research and through invitation. Dr. B.A. Daniel, Chair, South Asian Invertebrate Specialist Group and Dr. M.R. Srinivasan, Professor, Department of Agricultural Entomology, TNAU organized the programme.

Classroom session
A growing body of evidence has demonstrated that pollinators are in serious decline, due to habitat loss, modification, and/or fragmentation, excessive pesticide use, diseases, and introduction of alien species. The decline in pollinators must be reversed now, as even current loss suggests an impending crisis. In South Asian context, very little is known about the status of invertebrate pollinators in the wild and their populations, pollinator interactions with other elements of crop and crop associated biodiversity, the ecology of pollinators, or the ultimate consequences of their decline. There is also a lack of information and knowledge on the enabling environment that contributes to the decline of pollinator numbers.

Demonstration on Cubital Index calculation of honey bees
A realistic way to ensure pollinator conservation is to promote and enhance its value to society. Apart from understanding the need of the multiple goods and services provided by pollinators, it is necessary to promote conservation of pollinators by creating awareness among farmers, students, policy makers and the general public, i.e. civil society at all levels. Considering the importance of pollinators and their decline, it is critical that the decline is slowed down. One of the ways is to increase capacity of entomologists and field biologists to recognize the forces that are depleting pollinators and address them with appropriate means. With this in mind a three-day training programme was planned for the pollinator researchers in India under the banner of IUCN SSC South Asian Invertebrate Specialist Group and Zoo Outreach Organization in collaboration with TNAU and Xerces Society.

Dr. Isaiarasu and
participants observing bee visits in Sun flower
The main objectives of the workshop are i) to convey practical field techniques for use for pollinator studies; ii) to highlight what has become a crisis of pollinators and the role of invertebrate as pollinators; iii) to teach current best practice in survey, identification, land use management etc. and to reinforce their commitment; iv) to imbibe a short training in education of laypersons about the need to conserve invertebrate pollinators and; v) to create a network of committed pollinator conservation researchers in India for future conservation action.

Dr. Sajan Jose handling bee colonly while Dr. M.R. Srinivasan explaining details
The main resource person Dr. Eric Mader, The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, delivered a series of talks and demonstrations. Some topic include habitat evaluation: Field observation and land-use discussion; Rapid field habitat assessment and pollinator monitoring techniques; Applied Habitat Restoration for Pollinators; Wild (non-Apis) Bee Ecology. Role of solitary bees, bumble bees and carpenter bees; Managing Stem and Wood Nesting Bees for Crop Pollination; Selection, development, and propagation of native plants for the restoration of pollinator habitat; Bee-Friendly Farming Practices.

Drs. E.I. Jonathan and Eric Mader issueing participant certificates-
Dr. M.R. Srinivasan delivered talks on National pollinator trend and status; honey bee diversity, visit to Sun flower field and pollinator visitation observation and analysis, Demo on apiculture; Basics of identification - Bee identification; Insect pollinators in selected crops – sunflower, cotton, ornamentals, trees and weed plants - pollinators on crop yield and quality increase in different crops; Bee diseases and bee enemies.

Dr. Sanjay Molur gave a detailed talk on the Status of Indian Invertebrate Pollinators: Checklist, Status of pollinators: Species assessment process; IUCN Red List Criteria. Followed by this B.A. Daniel and Sanjay Molur conducted a discussion to develop a short list to prioritize pollinator groups that can be considered for rapid species assessments in the near future.

For detailed report about this workshop

Participants of the three day workshop