Keepers of the Flora’s Faith; Sunita Raghu; New Indian Express

India – Western Ghats

A surgeon-ecologist duo lead conservation efforts in the Kaas plateau.

Some 25 km away from Satara in Maharashtra is a place which is as unique as it is beautiful. Locals call it Kas Pathar, while others know it as Kaas plateau. Kaas showcases nature in its magnificent glory, but this precious ecosystem is a fragile one, with heightened tourism in the last few years disturbing its ecology. NGOs, the government and locals have now chipped in to conserve Kaas.

Leading the conservation efforts are Satara-based gastrointestinal surgeon Dr Sandeep Shrotri and Dr Aparna Watve, an ecologist with Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Maharashtra’s Tuljapur. Their efforts proved fruitful when in 2012 Kaas was included among UNESCO’s 39 World Natural Heritage Sites along the Western Ghats.

Growing up in Satara, Shrotri’s love for nature manifested itself in cycling trips to nearby vales and mountains with school buddies, with him setting up the NGO Ranwata Nature and Environment Conservation Society in 2002.

Ayurvedic doctor Dr Sanjay Limaye sparked Shrotri’s interest in Kaas.

Source: Keepers of the Flora’s Faith

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