This birder has been almost insanely passionate about wildlife since early childhood. His professional roles now span natural history, research, conservation and tourism. Shashank has an MSc in Wildlife Biology and Conservation from National Centre Biological Sciences and Wildlife Conservation Society-India. He was instrumental in starting the Amur Falcon conservation program in Nagaland to save the species from severe hunting pressures. With almost 2 decades of experience working on multiple research and conservation projects across India, Shashank has extensive knowledge about India's wildlife. He was the first person to complete a Big Year in India for birds and finished with a total of 1128 species. In 2016, he became the second Indian to describe a new species of bird to science in India, the Himalayan Forest Thrush. Shashank wants to continue focusing on understanding and saving India's feathered denizens.
She is in her element while walking along little streams in the rainforests of India and is deeply passionate about amphibians, reptiles and fish. Vishnu graduated with an MSc in Wildlife Biology and Conservation from the National Centre Biological Sciences and Wildlife Conservation Society-India run program in 2012. Her Masters dissertation explored the impact of fishing on hill stream fish in Pakke Tiger Reserve, Arunachal Pradesh. She has been associated with the Centre for Wildlife Studies and Wildlife Conservation Society-India on various research projects since 2009. Vishnupriya is about to start her PhD at Penn State University on understanding amphibian communities in the Western Ghats. Her long-term objective is to work towards the conservation of freshwater ecosystems in India.
A trained and promising boxer, Yogesh Patel is an emerging naturalist and photographer with a special interest in birds and reptiles. A state champion in boxing (junior category), his passion for the natural world led him to a different path. Since his college years, he started working closely with the Maharashtra forest department to mitigate conflict and spread awareness by actively participating in snake rescue and nature interpretation. He has volunteered in numerous programs including ‘Rescuing snakes from charmers’ with the Madhya Pradesh Forest Department, ‘Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) citizen bird survey’ by the Maharashtra Forest Department, and the 'Great Indian Bustard assessment survey’ at the Thar Desert by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII). He was recognised for his photography skills at the prestigious Sanctuary Wildlife Photography Awards in 2017. He now leads bird tours in and around Mumbai and is an integral part of team Vannya.