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The Ground Beneath the Waves - Vol2
Published by R. Sankaran, Harry Andrews, Allen Vaughan, 01 Sep 2005
Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), along with their collaborators conducted rapid assessment surveys in the coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to review the ground situation in the tsunami hit areas. Each volume of this Conservation Action Report documents several useful recommendations for ecological restoration and re-construction activities on the mainland and the islands, respectively.
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The tsunami that followed Christmas last year was the single largest natural calamity to have hit south and south eastern Asia in the recent past. While much of the following days and months have been focused on  alleviating the human tragedy, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) pitched in with ecological and animal-related work. IFAW and WTI combined to provide limited veterinary support in India, Sri Lanka and Thailand. The support was limited only because the human tragedy was so great that animal rescue and veterinary work could only take a back seat.

This report presented in two volumes (The Mainland and The Islands) documents habitat impact and ecological systems damage as well as impacts on wildlife species, such as marine turtles, blackbucks and megapodes. Luckily, it seems that most species have escaped great disaster. However, the habitat has been affected in  some way positively (new islands and reefs have emerged) and in some way negatively (a lot of coastal habitats have been inundated or submerged). What is important now is what we do to restore human and non-human habitat. It looks like even though large-scale habitat interventions are not necessary, we must monitor over a longer time scale. Even more importantly, we must rebuild human habitats with care so that further damage is not caused to natural habitats. These studies, conducted by our partner organizations and eminent scientists therein, are a first cut in understanding the science that should dictate habitat reconstruction efforts.

WTI and IFAW both, believe in holistic conservation where the developmental needs of the local commuity, the conservation of endangered species and habitats and the welfare of individual living beings are all met. We hope that these reports serve the purpose of being the catalyst for such a scenario.

Vivek Menon
Executive Director, WTI
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