Mumbai-based conservation group appoints WII professor as director
Conservation research group Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) on Thursday appointed Bivash Pandav, currently professor at the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) in Dehradun, as the new director. Pandav will replace Deepak Apte whose term ended on July 31. However, Apte was appointed as interim director till the latest announcement was made.
With 30 years of experience, Pandav is involved in teaching herpetology, mangrove and wetland ecology to post-graduate students and is a wildlife management specialist. His efforts contributed to the discovery of sea turtle mass-nesting along Odisha beaches as early as 1994.
Pandav was appointed by an interview panel consisting of BNHS office-bearers under the governing council (GC) president Bittu Sahgal and external panel of wildlife biologists. “We are happy to get a dynamic and outstanding scientist on board who will be able to strengthen BNHS’s research and conservation activities both in the corridors of power and on ground,” said Debi Goenka, secretary, BNHS.
Some governing council members said they were surprised with the decision. “Some of us were not aware of who the current BNHS office-bearers were. We were surprised that a new director was appointed immediately after the lockdown. There was a notice for the new director’s post on the website but we were informed that it was only procedural,” a lifetime member said.
Pandav will take charge on January 1, 2021. Till then naturalist and GC member Isaac Kehimkar would be the interim director. “It is appalling for an organisation where an elected GC member is made an interim director with executive powers,” said another member.