Sanjeeta Sharma Pokharel

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Post Doc
Name: Sanjeeta Sharma Pokharel

Research interests: Wildlife endocrinology, Conservation physiology and Elephant biology

My research mainly focuses on understanding the stress physiology and how multiple ecological stressors influence the physiological health of free-ranging Asian elephants.

PhD project (2011-2017):

"Stress Physiology of Free-ranging Asian Elephants (Elephas maximus): Influence of Ecological and Anthropogenic Stressors."

Supervisors: Prof. Raman Sukumar (CES, IISc) and Prof. P.B. Seshagiri (MRDG, IISc)

Current project:
Assessment of stress-response in free-ranging Asian elephants dwelling in high elephant-human conflict areas.

Media coverage:

The Down to Earth Magazine (2019) Elephants' conflict of diet. Link:

The Ken Magazine (2019) When chemistry meets life: Searching for signals in elephant dung.

The Hindu (2019) Rich diet lowers stress in crop-eating elephants.

The Hindu (2017) Elephant dung shows stress levels.

The New Indian Express (2017) Stress affects wild Asian elephants too, reveals study by IISc student.

The BBC News (2017) Freeze-dried dung gives clue to Asian elephant stress.

Outreach initiatives:
Bhunte the baby elephant (


Selected Publications: 

Pokharel SS, Seshagiri PB, Sukumar R.(2017) Assessment of season-dependent body condition scores in relation to faecal glucocorticoid metabolites in free-ranging Asian elephants. Conservation Physiology 5: cox039

Pokharel SS, Seshagiri PB, Sukumar R.(2018) Lower levels of glucocorticoids in crop-raiders: Diet quality as a potential ‘pacifier’ against stress in free-ranging Asian elephants in a human-production habitat. Animal Conservation.


1. Presidential Medal ‘Nepal Vidya Bhushan’ Category A by President of Nepal (Government of Nepal) for PhD work (September, 2018)
2. International Arbor Assays and International Society of Wildlife Endocrinology Travel Grant Award (August, 2017)
3. International PhD Fellowship by International Relations Cell, Indian Institute of Science and Central Government of India, from 2011-2017 (July, 2011)
4. University Gold Medal for ranking first in Master of Environmental Science (2008-2010)
5. Silver Jubilee Scholarship by Government of India and Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) for Master degree (2008)
6. The Bahini Fund Scholarship-USA for meritorious girl students (2002)

Raman Sukumar
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