At first glance, an issue on pre-independence mammalogists seems neither current nor about conservation. But it is the work and passion of these early naturalists that provides the foundation for our research in ecology and inspires us towards our conservation goals.
This issue originated with a series of essays written by the fourth batch (2010-2012) of students of the Post-graduate Programme in Wildlife Biology and Conservation, WCS-India and National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore. Bhanu Sridharan, one of the students of that batch, played a significant role in both editing and coordinating the collection. John Mathew, who recently completed his Ph.D. (a second one) at Harvard University on the history of science, specifically late eighteenth to early twentieth century naturalists in India, wrote an introduction to the collection and edited the essays. Ajith Kumar, the coordinator of the programme since its inception in 2004, must be credited with the idea of the essays and of turning them into publishable articles. The take home message of this collection is that student research and assignments
often have value beyond the courses for which they are produced. With a little effort and editing, they can be publishable articles that provide important knowledge about otherwise little known topics. In fact, our section ‘Research in Translation’ is
designed not only to communicate about recent findings in conservation science, but also to serve as a platform for young researchers to learn to write for the public.
Editor’s Note: Kartik Shanker