Commons:WikiProject Nature and conservation in India

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Welcome to WikiProject Nature and conservation in India, an interactive and collaborative WikiProject, initiated on 5 September 2016, to gather relevant content and contribute to improving Wikipedia's articles and coverage about topics related to nature and conservation within the geographical scope of India.

This project's scope includes:

  • Contributing to the repository of images and other media on Wikimedia Commons relevant to nature and conservation in India
  • Contributing to and expanding Wikipedia pages on Indian wildlife and nature topics using rich media
  • Providing a smooth workflow and platform to encourage Indian nature/conservation organisations to move their media collections onto Wikimedia Commons; making their contributions available to wider community as well as retrievable to these donor organisations in a categorised way



Having openly accessible images, information, data, and other media can greatly support participatory nature documentation and conservation efforts in biologically diverse countries like India.[1][2] In India, a lot of media (including photographs, videos, and sound recordings) are routinely collected by field biologists, social scientists, and nature/wildlife photographers in course of their work. Although these may be of wide interest and relevance, the files often tend to remain within institutional repositories and/or individual storage devices. Often, there is no explicit intention either by individuals or by institutions to keep these restricted either because of institutional policy or for copyright reasons. However, they remain inaccessible merely due to lack of robust, tested and long-term platforms for making them available with due credits to individual uploaders/institutions. As indicated in this Wikipedia Signpost suggestion, "...contributing to Wikimedia Commons helps... learn and remember plant identification while also helping others including researchers needing images for their publications; and avoiding catastrophes from hard-disk failures.". Through this project, we aim to identify individuals within institutions who can facilitate transfer of useful and educational media held within researcher/photographer or institutional collections onto Wikimedia Commons. This is valuable in itself and can in addition be used to develop better content on Wikipedia on nature and conservation in India.



Creating the category hierarchy for this WikiProject


To help locate images and other media and ensure that they appear in the category hierarchy for this Wikiproject, we offer a short guide for (a) individual users and (b) users who are also contributing collectively as an institution or other group. See Commons:Categories for general guidance on how to use categories so that your contributions are indexed in the best possible way.

Individual users: Create a category for your images such as "Photos by Username" or "Media by Username" replacing 'Username' with your desired name/nickname/initials or username. Once the category is created (or if you already have such a category), edit the Category page to add this text at the end of the page: [[Category:WikiProject Nature and conservation in India]] This will make your media a sub-category and it should then appear under the subcategories here Category:WikiProject Nature and conservation in India

Institutional contributors: Create a category for your images such as "Photos contributed by Institutionname" or "Media contributed by Institutionname" replacing 'Institutionname' with the institution's name/nickname/initials or username. Once the category is created (or if you already have such a category), edit the Category page to add this text at the end of the page:
[[Category:WikiProject Nature and conservation in India]]
Individual users within an institution whose contributions are being aggregated for the institution could add the following text at the end of their personal user category page:
[[Category:Media contributed by Institutionname]]
This will create a category hierarchy like "Photos by username" → "Media contributed by Institutionname" → Category:WikiProject Nature and conservation in India

Making your images appear as thumbnails on higher category pages


Note that creating categories and sub-categories as above automatically creates the hierarchy but does not automatically make your images appear as thumbnails under the relevant category pages such as Category:WikiProject Nature and conservation in India. To do this, for each image that you wish to contribute to this WikiProject, you must also add the relevant higher category to the image file such as:

  • for individual users: add the Category "WikiProject Nature and conservation in India"
  • for institutional contributors: add the Category "Media contributed by Institutionname" and the Category "WikiProject Nature and conservation in India"

Ideally, only files you wish to contribute to the Wikiproject need to be categorised as above (all files in your "Photos by username" user category may not be relevant). You can add these categories for multiple files at once using available edit/batch process Wikimedia tools. If you need help with assigning categories to multiple files, see the Gadget Cat-a-lot which you can activate in your user preferences (Or see help page).

Adding other directly relevant categories


Wherever possible, add directly relevant categories for each uploaded image/media besides the user categories indicated above. This will help index your contribution in the best possible places across Wikimedia Commons. Here are some suggestions for categories:

Usually higher-level categories are not needed as it may be against Commons:Categories#Over-categorization guidelines.



Some of the main kinds of images relevant to this WikiProject (focus: India) are listed below.

  • Images of species
    • Individual species portraits
    • Groups and assemblages of species
    • Plant-animal interactions and other inter-species connections
  • Images of landscapes, habitats, vegetation types, ecosystems (terrestrial and aquatic)
  • Images of human interface and interactions with nature
    • Farming, livestock grazing, forest produce collection, traditional uses
    • Habitat destruction, fragmentation, degradation, impacts of industry, infrastructure growth, mining etc
    • Conservation efforts by communities, habitat protection, restoration
  • Artist renderings, posters, cartoons, educational material etc (check license before sharing)
  • Photographs of people related to nature and conservation in India (see guidelines Commons:Photographs_of_identifiable_people)

Videos and audio


Videos need to be saved in the ogg format which technically means that content is in an ogg container file with the video compressed using the Theora compression algorithm while audio needs to be in oga/ogg with Vorbis compression (since mp3 and mp4 are proprietary). The open source software Audacity can be used for manipulating and saving sound recordings in the ogg format. For handling videos of any format make use of this

Pages adopted by Wikiproject for improvement using media/content


Sample pages improved using Wikiproject media/content




Wikidata is another project within the framework of Wikipedia, Commons etc. that acts as a semantic database that maps entries across languages and describes them in ways that allow for querying. It too needs work and updates. Do check this query that lists all the protected areas of India that have proper coordinates and other required statements in Wikidata. Click the "try-it" link below and run the query to show a map. Hopefully this can be made up-to-date.

SELECT ?itemLabel ?itemDescription ?coord WHERE {
  ?item (wdt:P31/wdt:P279*) wd:Q473972.
  ?item wdt:P17 wd:Q668.
  ?item wdt:P625 ?coord.
  OPTIONAL { ?item wdt:P18 ?image. }
  SERVICE wikibase:label { bd:serviceParam wikibase:language "[AUTO_LANGUAGE],en". }

Try it!



Checklist for workshops

  1. Make an announcement on the Events page below
  2. Assess expectations of participants, how wiki-literate are they? Do they need "convincing" to contribute nature/biodiversity material? If yes, assess existing presentations. This one by User:Shyamal is excellent.
  3. If participants are ready for a direct hands-on demo, then start with:
    1. Intro to Commons (distinguish from Wikipedia), basic structure of Commons (talk, watchlist, history)
    2. Choosing images appropriate for Commons, Licensing
    3. Categorisation and how it works, cat hierarchies in this wikiproject, user and hidden categories
    4. Create accounts, choosing gadgets and editors in preferences (Cat-a-lot for example)
    5. How to use images they upload into Wikipedia pages
    6. General discussion on broader integration with other repos such as IBP, eBird India portal
  4. Downloadable workshop resources
    1. Step-by-step guide for uploading photos on Wikimedia Commons. PDF



All those who wish to join, please feel free to edit this and add your names and interests at the bottom.

Requesting others to contribute in same categories.


Date Place Total participants New accounts created Remarks
15/01/2011 Valparai 11 6 During 10 years of WP celebrations globally. The 11 participants includes an endemic thrush. One of the early introduction and discussion on Commons for biologists and editing. Report available on
21/01/2017 Valparai 6 3 Image upload demo, improved Hill Swallow page, discussed WikiProject
30/01/2017 NCF North Bangalore office 14 7 Created new accounts, uploaded images, edited Wikipedia, discussed WikiProject
28/02/2017 NCBS Bangalore 18 12 With MSc Wildlife students: created new accounts, individual user categories and the higher-level group category NCBS WL7 photos to categorise and organise uploaded images as part of WikiProject, edited Wikipedia pages to insert media, enter content, and citations
17/09/2017 College of Forestry, Vellanikkara, Thrissur 50 20 One-day workshop on "Wikipedia editing on Western Ghats biodiversity". The purpose of the workshop was to enrich the content in the Wikimedia on Biodiversity of Western Ghats. The Students Union of College of Forestry has come forward to support and take it up as a voluntary activity, considering it as their social responsibility.
23/09/2017 SCCS Bangalore Conference 12 6 A half-day hands-on session introducing conference participants (largely biology students at Masters and early PhD level), to Wikipedia editing and media uploads on Wiki Commons. Few photos were uploaded and some articles corrected. See more details about sccs-bangalore here - workshop details (Wikipedia for Conservationists. Why and how?) here -
27/01/2018 Post-graduate Research Institute in Animal Sciences (PGRIAS), Potheri 15 7 Part of two-day Wikipedia workshop for bird enthusiasts, to Wikipedia editing and media uploads on Wiki Commons. Few photos were uploaded and articles in English and Tamil edited. See more details here. Organised by Madras Naturalists' Society and PGRIAS, Potheri.
16/05/2021 Online Event. Wikipedia Workshop for Biology students mainly from Assam 16 13 Two hours online workshop on importance of contributing for wiki projects. Step by step demo on how to create account/upload images in wiki commons (also via digiKam software). Discussed Commons:WikiProject Nature and conservation in India. Conducted by User:PJeganathan, Organized by User:Jaywithdev. More details (list of participants and their usernames) here.
13/07/2022 Hybrid Event. Wiki Wednesday event for staff of Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF) 6 - Wiki Wednesday is an inhouse online session for one hour every Wednesday 16:30-17:30 IST for interested people at NCF who contribute/edit Wikipedia/Wiki commons. Initiated by Shankar Ramanan since Jan 2022. During this period we connect via google meet and do things of our interest (such as uploading images/edit/create page and clarify doubts etc. This is the first time NCF staff met in person at Bangalore office. User:PJeganathan joined online from Tiruppur. During this meet we discussed Commons:WikiProject Nature and conservation in India. Given an introduction about wikipedia and creative commons. We have also demonstrated how to create a page during this event. Conducted by User:Bangal Priti,User:Shankar Raman User:PJeganathan.

To Do

  1. Create Category:Media contributed by NCF and a hidden category Category:NCF photos ✓ Done
  2. Create a Commons page Commons:Nature Conservation Foundation ✓ Done
  3. Category hierarchy such that all media in Category:NCF photos is collated under Category:Media contributed by NCF & displayed on the Commons:Nature Conservation Foundation page ✓ Done
  4. Briefly write up all the sections above on this page ✓ Done
  5. User:Shankar Raman & User:PJeganathan to add appropriate categories to their images ✓ Done
  6. Revise the WikiProject definition box at the top of the page, to clarify the scope of project. Could borrow from 'Overview' section and scope.✓ Done
  7. Add a slideshow or a dashboard to occupy the blank area to the right side of the contents box? Maybe showcase some media? ✓ Done
  8. Begin using contributed media on a couple of adopted pages listed above ✓ Done
  9. User:Kalyanvarma has committed about a 1000 photos. Need to pursue and help with batch upload/categorisation if needed ✓ Done
  10. Clarify/work on some sections more to add more resources/details. Perhaps borrow images/illustrations showing some of the steps from other projects in Commons ✓ Done
  11. New members need to list themselves. Especially the ones from the Valparai workshop ✓ Done
  12. Send out an announcement to other potential participants/contributors/institutions on Wikipedia/Wikimedia and elsewhere about this WikiProject to pull more people/organisations in
  13. Adding photos to Wikidata taxon items lacking one
  14. Add a screencast of batch-uploading using Digikam or any photo-editor to help biologists batch-upload images


  1. Gadgil, Madhav and C. S. Rathore, "Why India needs a Wikipedia-like website on environment",, 13 September 2016
  2. Gadgil, Madhav, "Why aren't Indians using Wikipedia to hold the government to account?",, 6 February 2016