Scientists or Spies? Ecology in a Climate of Cold War Suspicion

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Lewis looks at the effects of Cold War tensions on ecology in third world countries, focusing on the Bharatpur bird-banding project in India in the late 1960s. Coordinated by Indian ornithologist Sálim Ali, the project included his close colleague, Smithsonian Secretary S. Dillon Ripley. Ignoring Cold War implications, the pair used funding from a variety of sources, included the US Department of Defense. When questions arose about how the DOD was using bird migration information, the autonomy of ecologists in India was severely restricted.


  • Ali, Sálim 1896-1987
  • Ripley, Sidney Dillon 1913-2001
  • United States Dept. of Defense


Smithsonian History Bibliography

Contained within

Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 37, No. 2 (Journal)

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,


June 15-21, 2002


  • Bird banding
  • Espionage
  • Cold War, 1945-1989
  • Ecology
  • Animal migration
  • Biodiversity
  • Biological diversity
  • Cold War


  • Bharatpur District (India)
  • India

Physical description

Number of pages: 10; Page numbers: 2323-2332

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