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Obituary: K. Ramkumar (4th August 1978 to 1st June 2021), Conservation Legend

1st June 2021: It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our colleague and wildlife conservationist Dr Kalyansundaram Ramkumar on 1st June 2021 due to Covid-19 at a hospital in Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu, India. He was 43 years of age and leaves behind his wife and two very young children.

While his colleagues are yet to come to terms with this sudden loss, AsESG and Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) stands in grief and support with his young family who were waiting for his hospital discharge permissions as he was on the road to recovery.

Ramkumar hails from Thittai village near Sirkazhi in Mayiladuthurai district, Tamil Nadu. He completed his graduation in Zoology from Poompuhar College, Tamil Nadu; Master’s degree in Wildlife Biology from A.V.C. College, Mayiladuthurai and PhD from Bharathidasan University, Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu. Ramkumar was working for the research and conservation on diverse wild species, including Asian elephants and Nilgiri Thar for the past two decades in India. He joined WTI in 2007-08 and added value with his in-depth knowledge on looking at wildlife and connectivity at the landscape level, especially for elephants. Ramkumar was instrumental in mapping the elephant corridors in India and was the co-editor of the publication ‘Right of Passage: Elephant Corridors of India (2nd Edition).

He played a key role in securing the Wayanad corridor over seven years and was also working to secure another corridor in BRT- Sathyamangalam landscape. He has authored several research reports, papers and popular articles. He was also a great mentor and guided many young professionals. His work will remain eternal and will not be forgotten. He joined AsESG in 2017.

Ramkumar was a person of diverse interest. While his colleagues knew him as a dedicated field professional, he was Ram to the ones who worked closest with him. He was a fun loving person- enjoyed music, dance and cooking and his friends remember him as a very caring and affectionate person.

The sudden passing of a person with whom one has worked for more than a decade is not just sad but also a grim reminder of the reality of this pandemic around us. His passing is a great loss to elephant conservation and his passing is deeply mourned by Wildlife Trust of India and the IUCN Asian Elephant Specialist Group. Rest in Peace, friend.


The Asian Elephant Specialist Group (AsESG) is a global network of specialists concerned with the study, monitoring, management, and conservation of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) in its 13 range states