Finally we are here !
Hume Centre for Ecology and Wildlife Biology www.humcentre.in is a research institute established in 2005 by a team of wildlife conservationists and researchers and Educationists and is located in Kalpetta, in the Wayanad district of Kerala. We operate in one of the most biodiverse regions of the Western Ghats, and we’re dedicated to protecting and preserving the ecosystems and wildlife in this area. We also work closely with local communities and government agencies to develop conservation strategies and promote sustainable practices.
Our work is centred around four main program areas, which are Climate Change, Ecosystem and Wildlife, School Science Program, and Food System.
We believe that climate change is one of the most pressing issues facing our planet today, and that it requires immediate action from everyone. That’s why we’re working closely with local communities in Wayanad to establish a monitoring system that will help us better understand the impacts of climate change in the region. This initiative is aimed at enhancing the region’s capacity to address the challenges of climate change, and we hope to benefit vulnerable communities through our research, advocacy, and actions.
During the last three years the Centre has established a science based system for monitoring the extreme rainfall and floods in Wayanad. The Climate Action programme started immediately after the great floods of 2018. Hume centre mapped all the landslide locations of Wayanad and came out with a landslide susceptibility map of Wayand with pre-marked high landslide susceptibility areas of the region.
With the Collaboration of Rainmatter Foundation, Hume Centre will expand the work in the region reaching out to students through a climate cadet programme, establishing community climate managers in panchayath, mapping human-animal conflicts in the region and to more famer of neighbouring districts. The following are the programme components in which the Rainmatter Foundation support will be used.
Micro-level Weather Forecast
Predicting rainfall on a local scale is the only viable solution to identify the spatial distribution and intensity of rainfall enabling to give early warning about landslides to the people of Wayanad. This is why we started Weather Forecasting for Wayanad District in collaboration with the Atmospheric Advanced Centre for Atmospheric Radar Research of the Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT). We formed a Whatsapp group called Wayanad Weather Forecast to provide a daily rainfall forecast map to the public. We generate rainfall forecasts for the prior two days for each of the 108 grids within the district, which cover an area of 25 sq. km each. To ensure the accuracy of our predictions, we cross-check this forecast with the actual rainfall data collected from manual rain gauges established by farmers within each grid at multiple locations in Wayanad. As we progressed in our work, we realised that we needed more rain gauges to cover the entire district and collect consistent rainfall data on a daily basis. Therefore, we installed a total of 130 rain gauges across the district, out of which 70-90 locations provide consistent rainfall data. The accuracy of the forecast is about 50 - 60%. The district disaster management authority and farmers use the data we collect to plan for potential disasters and agricultural activities. This data is crucial in helping us accurately predict rainfall and give early warnings about landslides to the people of Wayanad.
Community Weather Monitoring Systems
We also collect daily rainfall data from 150 rain gauges installed in various farmlands of Wayanad by using a grided approach. For this Wayanad is divided into grids of 25 square kilometres each. This helps us to identify the difference between actual and predicted data, allowing us to modify our prediction system to provide more accurate data.
We provide this prediction information to a group of farmers and key decision-makers, including the District collector and District Disaster Management Agency(DDMA) in order to give early warning to the people about extreme weather events in Wayanad. This proved to be particularly useful during the extreme rainfall that occurred during the monsoon of 2020, where our warning system was used by the district administration to evacuate people from potential landslide locations prior to a massive landslide.
Our current focus is on forecasting daily rainfall, daily maximum temperature, and daily minimum temperature to keep people informed during extreme weather events.
Establishing a climate lab
A Climate lab is being installed with the support from Rain matter Foundation in Hume Centre where daily global weather models are observed and given information to the local public in the local language. The lab will act as a technical hub of science, technology, data pooling, synthesis, training and capacity building of local people.
Climate managers are volunteers who serve as the leaders responsible for monitoring all climate parameters, as well as coordinating disaster management in the panchayat. Two volunteers are selected from each panchayat as climate managers. They collect data, ensure its accuracy, and educate people on climate change issues and participatory data collection. Climate managers also share information to raise awareness of global and local climate change and disseminate data and information to the public.
Students Climate Cadet Program
The Climate Cadet program aims to educate and inspire children to take action on climate change. 25 schools have been selected to participate, and students will receive training on climate science, mitigation measures, and sustainability. Rain gauges and data collection instruments will be installed in schools. Students will participate in activities like Mazha Arivu, visiting landslide locations, flood mapping, stream and river flow monitoring, and documenting how villages manage disasters. An annual meeting for Student Climate Cadets will also be held. The program empowers children to take action on climate change at individual, household, and community levels.
Climate Change and Diseases
One of the research we’ve been doing is mapping human-animal interface zones to better understand where and how possible transmission of diseases can occur from animals to humans. We’re also conducting a sample survey of potential hosts of spillover diseases. To support these efforts, we are also building a comprehensive database on zoonotic diseases as well as details on their transmission, symptoms, and potential treatments. Of course, all of this work is only effective if people are aware of the risks that climate change poses to human health. That’s why we’re also working on public awareness campaigns to help people understand how climate change can induce the spread of diseases. Moreover, we’re putting together a policy document on the One Health approach, which emphasises the interconnectedness of human, animal, and environmental health.
Human Animal Interfaces
The problem of human-animal conflict incidents in Wayanad district has been a cause for concern for a while. But we have come up with a new program called LENS to tackle this issue. With the help of local farmers, will be able to map out where animals are and where conflicts occur in all 108 grids in the district. We’re hoping that by sharing this database with the Panchayath and Forest department, we can help them plan and take action and identify potential hotspots of conflicts.