Himalayan Langur Project Team
Himani Nautiyal M.Sc & D.Sc
Founder & Director
Himani is a Biological Anthropologist working as a postdoctoral researcher with Howard University, Washington DC, USA, and the National Institute of Advanced Studies, India. It is a well-known fact that habitat loss, due to anthropogenic activity, is a key factor driving the decline of many wildlife across the globe. The conservation of such species is possible only with the coexistence of people and wildlife. In the past seven years of her field research in the higher Himalayas, she strived towards developing a multidisciplinary approach as a means to identify and predict the critical factors driving distinct threats to biodiversity as well as to local communities. This helped her devise a one-of-a-kind paradigm for animal-human coexistence using primates (Himalayan Langur, which is a virtually unknown species) as a model since they are the ideal species for behavior studies. Based on her research, she has already started mitigation practices to facilitate the coexistence of locals and wild animals.
Virendra Mathur M.S, PhD Student
John Muir wrote to her sister in 1873 “Mountains are calling and I must go, and I will work on while I can, studying incessantly.” The phrase, abbreviated to its first seven words, signifies a plethora of emotions for adventure lovers. Virendra is one of them, but he looked at the full phrase. Virendra completed his BS-MS degree from IISER Mohali with a biology major. He studied the sleeping site choice of the Central Himalayan Langurs (Semnopithecus schistaceus) for his masters thesis. This project also became the stepping stone for his understanding of the vital parts that regulate the nexus of human habitation, wildlife habitats, and conservation of the Himalayan ecosystem. He also carried an exploratory study on the ecology of Chamba Sacred Langur (Semnopithecus ajax) where he learnt more about human-wildlife interaction. He is currently pursuing his doctoral degree from the University of Toronto, under the supervision of Prof Julie Teichroeb. While studying the sleeping site pattern, he figured that there is a predictability in the travel patterns of langurs and the routes they choose. The aim of his doctoral project is to investigate the movement strategies of Himalayan langurs, naturally – as governed by the seasonality in the distribution of resources in their home range, and experimentally with the use of feeding arrays. He is interested in building bottom-up measures to promote wildlife-human coexistence (broadly) and human-primate coexistence (specifically) by focusing on the movement ecology of the wild animal species. He joined the Himalayan Langur Project in 2018 as a masters student and has since collaborated with Dr. Nautiyal, and joined forces with her to conduct community outreach activities as a part of their research goals. They have carried on regular classes for the children of the local community, and engaged in plantation activities with the local kids.
Elizabeth M.C. Coggeshall M.Sc, PhD Student
Elizabeth is a Bioanthropology PhD Candidate at Indiana University in the PEEL Lab. Elizabeth has studied and worked with a variety of alloprimate species for 10 years and consequentially developed an interest in studying health and development. Moreover, she has grown a particular love for folivores and Asian monkey species, who are considerably understudied in comparison to their African and South American counterparts. She also focuses her energy towards understanding alternative narratives and utilizes bioethical and ethnoprimatological theory within her research. These interests and experiences have led her to the Himalayan Langur Project, where she will conduct her PhD research on the behavioral and physiological development and variation of S. schistaceus in anthropogenic landscapes, and explore community narratives.
Amish Dua, M.S Student
Pastoralism Studies Coordinator
Amish is a master’s student at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Mohali, India. His interests lie broadly in Ethnobotany and Primatology. He is currently exploring the ethnoveterinary practices of the Palsi shepherd community of Chamoli district of Uttarakhand and the parasite ecology in the migratory herds of the Palsi shepherd community. He is also involved in projects assessing the ecological damage in the alpine meadows and challenges in education in the rural landscape of Uttrakhand.
Diganta Mandal, M.Sc
Being interested in the untold stories of the wild during my self expeditions on “the road less taken”, accompanied by my Nikon D5300 and music playlist, led me to pursue my Masters’ degree in ecology and evolutionary biology. For my dissertation, I was fortunate enough to work with the gentle giants of the wild, the Asian elephant, and focused on their population genetic diversity in Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh. I was stoked to be a part of the Himalayan Langur Project under the supervision of Dr. Himani Nautiyal. I am looking forward to learning about langurs and experiencing a new realm of rich fieldwork alongside my outstanding teammates and guides.
Soumalya Ghorui, M.Sc
Soumalya is a 23 year old post-grad in Biotechnology from St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata. His love for the nature and ecological sciences had compelled him to do his master’s dissertation on Community Ecology which he synthesised in his thesis named Variation in Functional Traits in Tropical Dry Forests of Eastern Ghats from LaCONES-CCMB. But it was always his desire to work in the midst of the Himalayas and to work on primate behavior going forward. The Himalyan Langur Project is like a dream design for him which covers everything starting from exploring the rich and diverse world of Central Himalyan Langurs and at the same time working alongside the local community with its rich culture and unique way of life.
Professor, George Washington University
Associate Professor, Howard University
Assistant Professor, Carleton University
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, The University of Hong Kong
Professor, National Institute of Advanced Studies
Associate Professor, University of Toronto Scarborough
Associate Professor, Indiana University