Manchester University
Oak Leaves

March 11, 2016

FADING STRIPES Students will visit preserves in India to see endangered tigers during January Session 2017.

Sree Organizes Jan. Trip to India

Erin Fralick

Next January session, students can venture to India and see one of the most endangered species on the planet for the class growth as sustainability. While in India, the students will visit several nature reserves and see India’s dwindling tiger population first hand.

The focus of the class is learning about how economic development damages the ecosystem and how to promote growth that is sustainable.  In addition to catching a glimpse of the almost extinct tigers, students will also get to meet local people and learn how their lives are affected by environmental laws and economic growth. Sreenath Majumder, associate professor of economics and professor for this class, described the course as “looking at the environment, looking at the people, and looking at biodiversity.”

Since the tiger population is so low, with only around 3,200 tigers left in the wild, the classes will be going to several specific tiger reserves that have high populations of the creature. One of these reserves is the Bandhabgarh reserve, which was a private hunting reserve turned tiger reserve in 1968 when it became an offense to hunt tigers.

Another stop for this trip includes the Kanha reserve. The Kanha reserve officially became a nature sanctuary in 1933. Kanha is home to the tribes of the Baigas and the Gonds. People from the Baigas tribe act as guides for the reserve. 

One more notable reserve on the itinerary is the Jim Corbett reserve, which was established in 1936 under a different name. Jim Corbett reserve also began “Project Tiger,” a movement to protect the endangered species.

Majumder says the class won’t just be about seeing tigers; the students will also get a chance to learn about a culture that is completely different than the one they are accustomed to. The object of the class is, as Majumder says, to “learn economic growth doesn’t just have benefits, it has costs as well, especially to biodiversity and indigenous people.” 

This January session class will not be Manchester University’s first trip to India in a search for endangered big cats. The last trip took 11 students to western India to see the only Asiatic land with lions. Majumder noted that the upcoming trip was between tigers and leopards, as it only made sense to continue the trend of large cats. The previous class, entitled economic development and innovation, took place during January session of 2012.