Dr. Nishant Kumar
Assistant Professor , School of Human Ecology
D.Phil. (Zoology): 2014-19
University of Oxford, U.K.
M.Sc. (Wildlife Science): 2011-13
Wildlife Institute of India
B.Sc.(Hons.) Zoology: 2008-11
University of Delhi
(Sri Venkateswara College)
2023 - 27
People, Animals & Waste Systems Web (PAWS Web) Project: DBT (Government of India)/Wellcome Trust UK - India Alliance Fellowship Research Grant - www.thinkpaws.org
2022 - ongoing
Urban wildlife management for aerospace safety:Ecological Solutions for birdstrike hazards; Seed-funding from the Department of Forest & Wildlife, Govt. of NCT of Delhi (DoFW) and Indian Air Force (IAF)
Eco-Transitions in the Anthropocene (PAWS-Web kickstart conference at the University of Oxford): India Oxford Initiative& Oxford India Centre for Sustainable Development-www.thinkpaws.org
2020 - 23
PAWS Web pilot project: India-Oxford Initiative (Street Smartness in Humans and Stray Dogs)- www.thinkpaws.org
2014 - 19
Black Kite Project, Somerville College (University of Oxford) discretionary grant(s)
2017 - 19
Black Kite Project, Felix Scholarship Trust (University of Oxford) research grant(s)
2012 - ongoing
Black Kite Project, funded by Raptor Research &Conservation Foundation, Mumbai(Phase - I to VI):www.delhikites.wixsite.com/121212
Raptor Research & Conservation Foundation:
Assistant Professor (Ecology & Conservation Biology); School of Human Ecology, Dr. B R Ambedkar University Delhi
2023 - 27
DBT/Wellcome Trust UK - India Alliance Fellow(PAWS - Web Project)
Wildlife Institute of India (Host Institution)University of Oxford (Overseas Host)
2019 - 22
Visiting Fellow (PAWS-Web Project), University of Oxford.
2019 - 22
Project Scientist - I & Postdoc (Black Kite Project), Wildlife Institute of India (WII).
2014 - 19
D.Phil. Candidate, University of Oxford
2016 - 19
Senior Research Fellow (Black Kite Project), (WII).
2014 - 15
Junior Research Fellow (Black Kite Project), (WII).
2013 - 14
Project Biologist (Black Kite Project), (WII).
Wildlife biologist Dr. Nishant Kumar has conducted research on the complex interactions between humans and animals in urbanising environments across Asia, Africa, South America, and Europe. His transdisciplinary approach offers a nuanced view of the future of ecosystems in the developing world. Through a trans-institutional group that he founded in 2020, PAWS-Web (People, Animals & Waste Systems’ Web www.thinkpaws.org), a series of long-term studies on black kites, rhesus macaques, street/feral dogs, livestock (pigs, goats, cows), poultry, and rodents are being conducted in Delhi. This research team seeks to understand the precise junctures, spaces, and behaviours where human-animal dynamics and potential zoonotic disease transmission intersect.
PAWS-Web is contributing to the Science of tropical urbanisation by utilising transdisciplinary approaches to understand ecosystem integrity amid rapid urban metamorphosis. This research is guided by the One Health approach, which recognises the interconnectedness of human, animal, and environmental health. It delves into the intricacies of behavioural and movement ecology, unravelling the complex links between animal populations, disease pathways, and public health. A cherished thread interwoven throughout this research concerns the age-old cultural practices that have long celebrated the care and nourishment of our non-human companions. Dr. Kumar's research unit fervently strives to bridge the realms of tradition and science, casting a revealing light on this vital facet of human-animal coexistence that echoes through generations and spans continents.
Dr.Kumar is also exploring innovative teaching methodologies tailored to the unique developmental challenges in tropical regions, such as South Asia. He believes that education can be a powerful tool for social change, and he is committed to developing new ways of teaching that will help students develop the skills they need to address the challenges of their communities. Through PAWS-Web, he advocates for the convergence of knowledge from the natural and social sciences, and humanities. He believes that this convergence is essential to understanding the complex problems facing our world, and he is working to create a platform where experts from different disciplines can come together to share ideas and collaborate on solutions. His goal is to foster cross-disciplinary learning among seasoned experts, budding scholars, and curious minds from all walks of life. He believes that this type of learning is essential to developing the innovative solutions that are needed to address the challenges of the 21st century.
“Paws-Web”: People, Animals and Waste Systems’ Web at the University of Oxford (25 members, 8 countries) |
Black Kite Project (Wildlife Institute of India)
Executive Board member
“India Oxford Initiative”: a cross-divisional academic platform at the University of Oxford to share, promote and build on the university's diverse range of collaborations and partnerships with India.
“ECHO-Network” (80 Global Changemakers for India’s Development): a national cross-disciplinary program, under the aegis of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Prime Minister of India.
“Global Anthropause Raptor Research Network'' (with Petra Sumasgutner, Christian Rutz, Ralph Buij, Christopher J.W. McClure, Phil Shaw, and Cheryl Dykstra)
“Chicken Journal Club”: a transdisciplinary network to unpack the food security/safety concerns associated with human-assisted global avian conquest.
[270 members, 10 countries, 26 Institutions]
“NATURA Network” Early Career Researchers: NATURA (Nature-based solutions for Urban Resilience in the Anthropocene: The NATURA project links networks in Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, North and Latin America)
2023 - 27
DBT/Wellcome Trust UK India Alliance Fellowship
Project Scientist - I (Black Kite Project) (WII)
2021 - 24
Malviya Fellowship- Institute of Eminence Scheme, (BHU) ⇞
2019 - 21
Raptor Research Fellow (WII) Funded by RRCF ⇞
2016 - 23
Christiane Howey Rising Scholar Award-Microwave Telemetry USA
2014 - 19
Junior & Senior Research Fellowship, WII
2014 - 19
Felix Scholarship (University of Oxford) for the D.Phil. course
2014 - 19
Govt. of India, GATE Fellowship, Ecology and Evolution; AIR 8 ⇞
2013 - 18
Govt. of India, CSIR Fellowship, Life Science; AIR 76 ⇞
2013 - 14
II & III Prize for Talk & Poster: Annual Research Seminar (WII)
2011 - 16
National Brain Research Centre, Integrated Ph.D. Grant; AIR 2 ⇞
2011 - 13
Government of India fellowship for the M.Sc. at WII (AIR 2)
Summer Research Fellowship (Indian Academy of Sciences) ⇞
Best talk award (National Symposium on Ecology) at Delhi University
Academic Distinction Award for All India Secondary School Exam
⇞Award / Fellowship Not availed due to alternative opportunities; AIR: All India Rank
Editorial Board: Frontiers for Conservation Science, Handling and Review editor (2022-)
Grant Reviewer: India Oxford Initiative, University of Oxford, U.K.
Peer Reviewer for:
Journal of Avian Biology
Journal of Raptor Research
Frontiers in Zoology
Contemporary Social Science
Environment, Development and Sustainability
The European Zoological Journal
African Journal of Ecology
Global Ecology & Conservation
Frontiers for Conservation Science
Journal of Animal Ecology
Manuscript in preparation, or in review
** for inclusion in a spl. issue on ethno-ornithology in the Journal Ornithological Applications: Out in 2023
Conference Proceedings (Selected)
Technical Reports / White Papers / Articles / Comic booklets for Science Communication
Invited speaker; New Networks for Nature, Stamford; United Kingdom
Expert Panel Member; North-South latitudinal migration of raptors, from Central Asia to India International conference on wetlands and migratory waterbirds of the Asian Flyways
Plenary speaker; India Policy day conference: Oxford India Society
Chief Guest; Annual day, Dept. of Zoology (Sri Venkateswara College, Delhi University)
Can we Chicken out from responsible poultry management? Crash course series- I, Chicken Journal Club.
Wildlife Science Program, Amity University, India.
Black Kite Project. Indian Institute of Science Education & Research, Tirupati, India.
Ecology and ethno-ornithology of Black Kites Milvus migrans in Delhi, India. Graduate Induction Special Seminar to showcase achievements during a DPhil program. Department of Zoology (University of Oxford).
A bird’s eye-view of urban sustainability in South Asia, The University of Calcutta, India.
Progress & Prospects in Biology; University of Calcutta, India.
Biodiversity and Conservation, Doon Business School, School of Forestry.
Sustainable urban future in South Asia, The Living Earth Foundation.
Urban ecosystems and the future generation: what to preserve and why?, Biodiversity Conservation Foundation.
Challenges in writing Research Proposal writing to funding agencies in India & Abroad, Vellore Institute of Technology University.
Challenges involved in writing a research paper for peer-reviewed journals. Vellore Institute of Technology University.
Conservation and management of animals in urban areas, Kottayam Nature Society.
The inside story of Black Kites Milvus migrans, Delhi Bird Foundation.
Indigenous Urbanism - Exploring Climate Justice in Resilient Cities, UNESCO-WII India.
Animal-networks shaped by commensalism in tropical megacities: One Health consequences, University of East Anglia, UK.
Commensalism in tropical megacities: patterns and consequences, Royal Veterinary College, London. UK.
The breeding ecology of Black Kites Milvus migrans in Delhi, Cornell University (USA).
Human dimensions of urban niche of Black Kites Milvus migrans in Delhi, Wildlife Institute of India.
Filth, cultural attitudes and urban architecture shape the breeding ecology of urban raptors, Wildlife Institute of India.
Living in the city. Society for Conservation Biology- India Chapter, Amity University Noida, India.
Appreciating the urban commons; Successful synurbization of Milvus migrans. Society for Conservation Biology- India Chapter, Amity University Noida, India.
Speaker, George Institute of Global Health, University of Oxford.
Passive ‘Nature’ in anthropologically-architectured environments, India Policy Day, University of Oxford, UK.
Black Kites of Delhi Uttarakhand Bird Festival Seminar, Corbett National Park, India.
Invited speaker, Delhi Green Circle: city managers’ Conference, India International Centre.
Breeding Ecology of Black Kites Milvus migransgovinda in the city of Delhi (India), Annual Research Seminar, Wildlife Institute of India.Breeding Ecology of Black Kites Milvus migransgovinda in the city of Delhi (India), Annual Research Seminar, Wildlife Institute of India.
Conference Presentations (Selected)
Life in cities: human-animal interface, perceptions, and co-existence. Student Conference in Conservation Science, New-York.
Being a large raptor in a rapidly changing megacity of Delhi Student Conference on Conservation Science, Bangalore.
Kites in the Capital. Young Ecologists Talk and Interact Conference, Delhi.
Urban Ecology of Black Kites Milvus migransgovinda in the city of Delhi (India). Student Conference in Conservation Science.
National Conference on Ecology and Environment (Delhi University)