Memoirs of the blogger during herping, species accounts, reviews, articles, photographs, subjective writings, interpretations and everything associated with amphibians and reptiles.
Sunday, June 11, 2017
10 Questions w/h The Eastern Herpetologist, Dr Kalu Ram Rai, Professor, Mechi Multiple Campus, Jhapa, Nepal
Dr Kalu Ram Rai
Prof Dr Kalu Ram Rai from Mechi Multiple Campus, Jhapa, is a name you’d come across when things are concerned about herpetology of Nepal. With nearly three decade long experience in the study of amphibians and reptiles of Nepal, especially in the eastern part of the country, Prof Dr. Rai has made remarkable discovery of three frogs, one caecilian, one turtle and two reptiles new for Nepal. He is the author of ‘Field Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles of Nepal’ published in 2013, handful of children’s book on herpetology of Nepal and an honorary member of the non-profits, Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Society of Nepal.
I never had the privilege to meet Dr
Rai in person but read about his contribution to the herpetology across the
country. Let’s hear straightly from him what he plans forth!
Namaste Dr Rai! What are you up to these days? Any specific research plans in
Thank you very much for your nice question! These days I am busy in my own study,
reading and writing. In addition, I am looking after the Turtle Rescue and
Conservation Centre which is running in the collaboration of ARCO-Nepal and
SUMMEF-Nepal at Budhoholi within the
premises of Sukani Martyr’s Memorial Park, at Salbari, Shanischare (Jhapa).
What groups of animal excites you the most?
Whom should we call a Herpetologist - one who studies herps or someone who
handles it or even someone who breeds it for commercial purpose?
prefer to call a Herpetologist who does study, research and publish scientific
paper on it with some new findings. It should be more academically professional
rather than that of commercial purposes.
How and when did the love for herpetology evolve in you?
I didn’t understand this question clearly!
Herpetology in Nepal is the least preferred subject and less prioritized even
from the academic sector when preliminary collections started very early,
during Hodgson’s period (100 years before). What could have caused the delay?
this is an interesting question in context to Nepal. our history of
educational development is not long in our country specially, the science
education in Nepal that started only 45 years back. So our society is still
suffering from different superstition and false concepts. So, we have learnt to love
beautiful animal such butterfly and birds, but not herpetofauna (amphibians and reptiles). Because they may
look ugly and disgusted. So, our traditional concepts are responsible to be a
least choice subject even in our Universities.
You’ve devoted your life as a herpetologist with a doctoral degree, travelling
many remotest locations of Nepal. Tell me what places are best for
Yes I have completed herpetological research survey
journey from east to far-west region of Nepal. I had surveyed the herpetofauna
from the Himalayan region to the lowland Terai region. Among the surveyed Districts
of Nepal, Ilam is an ideal place for complete herpetological study. Likely,
SankhawaSabha District for highland, Dadeldhura District for midland and
Bardiya district for lowland district are marked on my priority basis.
What was the most significant moment of your career?
PhD rewarding ceremony of TU convocation was my significant moment in my life.
Q8. Only 53 species of amphibians are
documented in the literature. Does this reflect a truer picture of amphibians’
diversity when countries like Panama and Costa Rica, smaller than Nepal harbors
hundreds of frogs? Also, isn’t it a high time that we should go for genetics
rather than visual based morphological identification?
why not! If we could afford for such latest technology to identify genetically,
it might be done. But so far I know, we could not conduct at microlevel right
now. But let’s chap like you initiate it and make possible in your
What fields of science need to be integrated so as to promote herpetology in
What suggestion do you have for newbie
in this field; pursuing career, research and conservation endeavor?
like to say one proverb-‘Where there is will, there is way!’ So if you are
really interested in the field of herpetological study, you may have greater
and greater opportunity in your life. But you mustn’t be afraid of any hardship
and difficulty because you have to overcome so many obstacles during
the fieldwork of amphibians and reptiles as they are living not in easily
reachable places. Regarding it, you may a little bit feel about fieldwork if
you read my book ‘Mero Anusandhan Yatra’. This book always encourage for not to
be defeated but to be conqueror.