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The Andaman & Nicobar Islands attracted the attention of researchers and naturalists long before they appeared on the pages of guidebooks and travel magazines. By virtue of its isolation and distance from mainland India, the island chain’s healthy ecosystems display a robust biological diversity with a high level of endemism. This unique attribute attracted many working in the field of natural/wildlife research on the mainland. Added to this attribute is the presence of indigenous and settled islanders who face the onslaught of colonization and market oriented economic growth amidst their livelihood strategies of foraging and agriculture. ANET is one among a slew of individuals and institutions interested in the equitable and ecologically appropriate development of these islands.

In the mid 1970s, Romulus Whitaker along with a few colleagues began crocodile and herpetofaunal surveys on the islands. Sea turtle expert Satish Bhaskar commenced his study of the island’s turtle populations in 1977. This small fraternity of herpetologists realized the value of this natural heritage and the pressing need for its study and attempts towards conservation.
In the late 1980s, Romulus Whitaker, Satish Bhaskar and Alok Mallick set up a research base in Wandoor, South Andaman for herpetological and other ecological studies on islands. Following this, The Andaman and Nicobar Islands Environmental Team (ANET), a division of the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust, was constituted in 1990. In 1993, with grants from Conservation International and the Royal Netherlands Embassy, five acres of land was purchased at Wandoor on the southern tip of the South Andaman Island. Further grants enabled the construction & establishment of a base for conservation, research, and education.

Since then, ANET has undertaken extensive studies on the islands’ flora, terrestrial and marine reptiles, marine turtles, herpetofaunal biogeography, bats, other small mammals, resource and land use, coral reefs and the various socio-economic factors impacting them.
Surveys by Indraneil Das were instrumental in the discovery of eight species and several new records within the region.
Several seasonal field camps have been set up over the years at key sea turtle nesting beaches in the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago to monitor nesting dynamics.

ANET also works extensively with the Forest Department; helping devise ecologically sound management plans for Protected Areas. Additionally, it has an ongoing environment education program. ANET’s collaboration with Kalpavriksh Pune and the Centre for Environmental Education, produced a teacher-training manual ( ‘Treasured Islands’ ) in English and Hindi, for the schools in the region.

Today ANET remains the primary active environmental NGO and the only research base of its kind in the islands.
By virtue of its twenty-year-old research and education base, experienced staff and its good relationship with local communities and various government bodies, ANET is uniquely positioned to undertake, encourage and facilitate further tangible contributions to conservation efforts within the archipelago.





The development of effective conservation strategies for the Andaman Islands depends on a sound understanding of the diversity of the islands flora & fauna, its abundance and distribution, and its connection to the needs of indigenous tribes and settlers inhabiting this land.

The aim of ANET is to advance such an understanding of the islands’ terrestrial, coastal and marine habitats and to actively contribute towards their conservation through education and development of sustainable resource utilization programs.

ANET promotes an interdisciplinary understanding within the islands by involving organizations with similar visions and goals - thereby creating a centre for the mutual exchange of information, and a base station accessible to visiting scientists and students from institutions around the world.





The ANET team comprises of a number of individuals with varying interests, talents and backgrounds who have contributed to our growing understanding of the islands ecology and social fabric over the past 20 years.


tasneemTasneem Khan, Assistant Director

Committed, passionate, untiring and an eternal optimist, Tasneem sees no end to the possibilities and scope of ANET. She is a photographer and diver, with a background in zoology.
Prone to long hysterical fits of laughter, and sudden bursts of inspiration, Tasneem is known for her powers of persuasion and her great love of sugar. Visitors beware – you may never leave.



saw johnSaw John, Base Manager

Saw John, joined the ANET team in 1994 and has been with us through thick and thin. Genial, unfazed, calm and wise John can deal with any situation at hand. Self taught and extremely well read, he is the ‘go to’ person for much that happens both in the field and at the base. He has been managing the Base station all these years through a variety of tasks from accounting, provisioning the kitchen, and organizing field trips and surveys for over 15 years. Our best field guide and an excellent cook, known for his exquisite Karen delicacies, Saw John is as much in demand for a mean beef curry or a crab soup as he is for a night walk through the mangroves.

saw johnAnita Prasad, Operations Manager

Officially diagnosed with “foot in mouth” disease, Anita spends some of her time causing Tasneem’s bouts of maniacal laughter in addition to imparting a South Indian culinary education to all those willing to learn. Known (and mocked) for her phobia of gecko’s, but still entirely dedicated to their conservation and protection, Anita is quite the ironic addition to our team, bringing with her; a background in NGO administration and management, positive energy, an organized and focused approach and excellent social skills.

Manish ChandiManish Chandi, Researcher

Manish came to ANET as a volunteer in 1995 and never left the islands.
He has seen ANET develop in many aspects, from planting the trees on our property, helping with cottage and dungi designs to scientific research, surveys and liasoning with the locals as well as the administration .



saw johnUmeed Mistry

A PADI dive instructor and award winning photographer with a background in Marine Sciences, Umeed has spent the last 15 years doing everything possible to stay as close to the ocean and it’s inhabitants. His energy and drive to educate and spread awareness about the oceans along with his vast knowledge of the natural world, inspires in others the enthusiasm to learn. Umeed has been closely associated with ANET since 2008 helping in the design of educational material and the education model for ANET. A partner with Lacadives , he has been one of the key members in the planning and facilitation of our courses in Island Ecology and Marine Sciences with school students.

Naveen Ekka, Cook and Base Assistant

Naveen joined ANET when he volunteered to work at one of our sea turtle camps ten years ago and has turned out to be a jack of all trades. Apart from being an excellent cook, Naveen is a great guide to the flora and fauna around the base. Eager to try and learn everything from Poi to knife throwing, to making macramé bracelets and baking bread, one learns to expect the unexpected from Naveen! Visitors from all over the world rave and fantasize about his chai (which seems to go up in quality when served to women).


Saw Thesero, Base Assistant

Shy and unassuming, Thesero is a jack of all trades. Fishing, building, carpentry, electrics, cooking and playing the guitar, are all things that come easy to Thesero. Full of humour, Thesero isn’t afraid to laugh at himself. Inseparable from Naveen, the two of them can fight crime together – they make the perfect team.

sawaguSaw Agu, Base and Boats Maintenance

Quiet and unobtrusive, hardworking and brave, Agu is another one of our team who has been with ANET primarily on sea turtle surveys and monitoring programs. His association with sea turtle research as an islander is unique, with his ability to distinguish among species even with the faintest of turtle tracks. One of the lone survivors of the Tsunami, it is a rare and precious moment to listen to and be enthralled by his tale. Breaking out into a toothy and dimpled smile when amused or content, he potters around unobtrusively. In recognition for his unstinted contribution to sea turtle research, Saw Agu was presented with the Award, during the 2010 International Sea turtle symposium in Goa.


montuMontu Bhowmik, Base maintenance

Our longest serving staff member, Montu joined ANET in 1990. Famous for his Tsunami rotis and Bengali chicken curry which he never tastes before serving, Montu is known for being a perfectionist. Diligent and fastidious, Montu goes on cleaning spells that last hours, and is full of little proverbs and adages as he goes about his regular tasks.
His advice is sought out and he shares much humour and tom foolery with the younger staff – mostly Naveen and Thesoro.
Famous also for his love of practical jokes, one can never really predict what the day will bring with Montu around.




MCBTCurrently ANET is under the supervision of the Administrative Committee of the
Madras Crocodile Bank Trust.

Romulus Whitaker, Founder and Managing Trustee

Colin Stevenson, Director

Dr. Ravi Chellam, Director - Research

Dr. Gowri Mallapur, Asst. Director and Resident Veterinarian

Mr. Mohan, Accounts Manager






The ANET base is located in North Wandoor, on the southern tip of the South Andaman Island. Twenty-six kilometers by road from Port Blair, and three kilometers from the entrance to the Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park, ANET is tucked away on a small, forested incline fringed by fields and mangrove swamp. The immediate surroundings include forested hillsides, mangrove swamps, and a variety of littoral habitats and coral reefs.

The large, two-storied wooden structure of the library-cum-office forms the heart of the ANET base. Bookshelves and filing cabinets filled with a variety of literature on the islands’ flora, fauna and people line its windowed walls. A balcony provides the ideal reading space with a view of the tree-line and the numerous winged guests that visit the property. The library is equipped with 220V power outlets, computers, printer, scanner and plenty of workspace for laptops and camera equipment.

Tucked away amidst the trees that surround the library, 10 wooden cottages provide clean and airy living spaces for visitors at ANET. The centrally located dining area with its charming views and varied animal visitors inevitably becomes a venue for tea-time presentations and dinner-time debates.

At ANET we harvest rainwater and this is our only source of fresh water. We attempt to combine living within a forested ecosystem that we have raised with minimal comforts in our attempt to enable the coexistence of native species of wildlife in our premises. The kitchen, equipped with wood and gas stoves and a refrigerator, provides simple, fresh Indian food made from locally available ingredients.






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© Andaman and Nicobar Islands Environmental Team - Centre for Island Ecology
Post Bag- 1, Junglighat P.O., Port Blair – 744 103, Andaman Islands. INDIA | Phone No: +91- 03192 280081 | email :
Designed and Developed by ACID Designs | Images Courtesy
Tasneem Khan & Umeed Mistry