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HISTORY

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.

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VISION

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.

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The TEAM

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.


 

ADMINISTRATIVE COMMITTEE

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


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ANET BASE and FACILITIES


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 : info@anetindia.org
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Tasneem Khan & Umeed Mistry