Raman Sukumar received BSc (1977) and MSc (1979) degrees, majoring in Botany, from the University of Madras, and PhD (1985) from Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore for his study on the ecology of Asian elephants. He joined the Faculty, Centre for Ecological Sciences, IISc (1986), where he continues to be Professor and Chairman. He was also a Fulbright Fellow at Princeton University and Adjunct Faculty at Columbia University.
Academic and Research Achievements: Sukumar has pursued research on: Asian elephants and other wildlife, and tropical forest ecology and climate. His doctoral research on the ecology of the Asian elephants and their interactions with humans in southern India is recognized as a pioneering contribution to the new discipline of wildlife-human conflicts. In 1986, he undertook a long-term ecological research programme in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve in southern India, where his research team worked on the population dynamics of elephants and other large mammals, plant community ecology in relation to environmental variability, and Late Quaternary climate change. Since then, his research has been extended to other parts of the country and includes a radio-telemetry study of elephants in West Bengal and modeling future climate change impacts on forests of India. His has authored three books on Science and Conservation (Cambridge University Press/Oxford University Press) and over 75 scholarly papers in the areas of elephant biology, tropical forest ecology, climate change and nature conservation, in addition to popular articles on ecology and conservation. He has also mentored 15 PhD students.
Other Contributions: Sukumar contributed actively to nature conservation by serving as Chair of the Asian Elephant Specialist Group of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) (1997-2003); setting up the Asian Nature Conservation Foundation (1997); and serving as Member, Indian Board for Wildlife, Project Elephant Steering Committee, National Tiger Conservation Authority, and Expert Panel on Climate Change of the Government of India. He also served on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (1995- ).
Awards and Honours: Professor Sukumar won the Presidential Award of the Chicago Zoological Society (1991), Order of the Golden Ark, The Netherlands (1997), Whitley Gold Award for International Nature Conservation (2003), TN Khoshoo Memorial Award for Conservation Science (2004), International Cosmos Prize, Japan (2006), Swami Pranavananda Saraswati Award in Environmental Science by UGC (2006), BP Pal National Environment Fellowship (2007) and Commendation from the Prime Minister for contribution to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that shared the Nobel Peace Prize (2007). He was also elected Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore.