The founder of the Nature Education & Awareness Initiative "NINOX - Owl about Nature", Abhishek is a Delhi-based Naturalist and birdwatcher, specialising in nature trails around the city. The goal of his organisation is to bring citizens closer to nature and sensitise them towards the environment. He formerly led a programme called Eco Trails at WWF-India as a naturalist and is also the Delhi-NCR reviewer for Ebird, a Cornell University initiative, monitoring rare and unusual sightings of birds in the region.
Abhishek Jamalabad is a marine biologist with a Masters degree on the subject from Karnataka University. He is currently studying mammals and fisheries of Indian Waters and neighbouring seas, supported by the Rufford Foundation. He sees the ocean as a different world full of unsolved mysteries and undiscovered secrets. One of Abhishek’s main interests is to understand the perception of the people towards the sea and marine biodiversity and how they interact with it. To facilitate this, Abhishek has started a voluntary initiative called marine walks. This allows interested citizens of Mumbai city to walk along beaches with Abhishek to record intertidal biodiversity. However, it’s not just the marine life that have his attention. He also fancies birdwatching whenever he has an opportunity to do so. Abhishek also recorded the first sighting of White-eyed Gull in Karwar, a new addition to Indian bird list.
Alka Vaidya’s interest in wildlife started much later in her life. However that didn’t stop her from chasing her passion. Her expertise are not just confined to birds but moths and butterflies as well. She has seen nearly 1100 species of birds in India, a feat which not many can claim. Her wildlife ventures has taken her to literally every continent in the world. In her spare time she works on moths and travels extensively to northeast India.
Aparajita Datta is a household name in wildlife circles for her years of research and conservation efforts among several local communities in northeast India. She is one of the pioneering female wildlife biologist to work in some of the most remote forests of the country. Her projects have led to the description of a new species of macaque and first records of Black Muntjac and Leaf Deer in India. She obtained her Master's degree from Wildlife Institute of India and conducted doctorate research on the importance of hornbills as seed dispersers in the state of Arunachal Pradesh. The Hornbill Nest Adoption Program is a one of a kind project led by Aparajita, which engages local communities in conserving hornbill nests with funding provided by urban wildlife enthusiasts. She has won the Whitley Award for Conservation for spearheading this project.
Having been born and raised in Jamnagar, Gujarat, Arpit’s deep interest in marine biology, fishes and birds was inevitable. Since he also possessed an analytical mind, Arpit chose a career that helped him integrate technology and wildlife by pursuing quantitative research. He has worked with NGOs like Wildlife Trust of India and Foundation for Ecological Security as a Spatial Ecologist. Arpit was instrumental in creating the Indian Biodiversity Information System (IBIS), a group of web-based portals that provide detailed and reliable information on the country’s biodiversity. He has been awarded the Carl Zeiss Award for Wildlife Conservation in 2012 for this contribution. Arpit is currently pursuing a PhD at WWF-India on understanding effects of climate change on Himalayan bird distributions using GIS tools.
Internationally acclaimed wildlife photographer, Dhritiman Mukherjee can be rightly credited for reinventing wildlife photography in India. Respected and loved for not just his work, but also his humble nature and dedication. Dhritiman is known to dive into below freezing waters, rock climb and paraglide in search of perfect shots. Self taught, his stint with wildlife photography began after a trip to Bharatpur and Kanha. Today, he works globally on photographing the rare and endangered species of the planet and this has earned him a host of global recognitions and awards. His work has been published by brands like BBC, WWF, National Geographic Traveller, Lonely planet and the list goes on. He has received the Carl Zeiss Conservation Award 2013 for his contribution towards conservation of wildlife in India.
Gaurav Kataria was born and brought up in Delhi. However he has spent several years travelling extensively across India and the Tibetan plateau for wildlife and cultural heritage. His core belief is that tourism can play a fundamental role in conservation of wildlife. He is the director of AE travels Private Limited, an eco-tourism company. He has extensive knowledge of birds and fishes of India and an immense collection of photographs of the birds of northeast India.
Gururaj Moorching was a successful Bangalore-based business man. However, his interest in wildlife was sparked after a trip to Kaziranga. On another trip to the Greater Rann of Kutch he came across two books titled ‘Birding on Borrowed time’ and ‘Lifelist’. Since he was going through a rough patch in his health at that time, these books gave him a deeper meaning to life and to bird photography. Ever since, Gururaj has been an avid bird photographer and has travelled across India to experience the diversity of the country. He has been out capturing bird photographs on nearly every single day in the last year. His work has been published in many magazines across the world.
James is a British birder with an incredible talent for his chosen field. He has travelled extensively across Asia and has seen over 2700 bird species in oriental Asia alone. James has authored the Book on 'Birds of Indonesian Archipelago: Greater Sundas and Wallacea’, an outstanding field guide for the region. He is the founder and director of Birdtour Asia, the best in the business in this continent. Apart from birds, he also has a particular interest in primates, and has an amazing collection of photographs of this group. James holds a doctoral degree from Oxford University on cryptic bird species and their conservation status.
Mohan has been photographing birds since early 2000's. He is an engineer by profession. He has one of the best collections of bird photographs across the world. His work has been displayed in books like The World's Rarest Birds, A Photographic Field Guide to the Birds of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan and Oriental bird image database.
Nilkamal has been exploring wilderness since the year 2000. He has travelled extensively across length and breadth of the country and beyond. He has also travelled to plenty of places in Southeast Asia and many US wildlife protected areas. He is interested in shooting everything from ants to mammals.
Nitin Srinivasamurthy is Chartered Accountant by profession and has been passionate about wildlife. He has travelled across India and contributed heavily to the oriental bird images database. His work has been published in books like, ‘Birds New to Science: Fifty Years of Avian Discoveries’, and ‘A Photographic Field Guide to the Birds of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan’.
Omkar Dharwadkar is a 'species' of naturalist that has become rare in recent times. His knowledge about nature encompasses the gamut of damselflies, butterflies, amphibians, reptiles and birds. A passionate wildlife workaholic, he is one of the partners and founders of Mrugaya Xpeditions, a founding member of the Goa Bird Conservation network, and an eBird reviewer. While on the field, he is focused and totally immersed in his job of studying the wildlife around him. There isn’t a plain, hillside or beach in Goa that has not been visited and documented by this man. Along with other birders of the region, Omkar has published a checklist of the Birds of Goa.
Porag Jyoti Phukan
Porag is a self-taught wildlife photographer from Dibrugarh, Assam. Although he is a physics graduate working in Oil India Limited - Duliajan, being surrounded by nature from early childhood has had a major impact on his life. Incredible birding destinations like Maguri Beel, Dibru-Saikhowa and Dehing-Patkai are a stone’s throw from his home, allowing Porag to indulge his passion in watching and photographing birds. Porag also holds the first recorded photograph of White-browed Crake in India.
Prasenjeet grew up in Nagpur and has spent his childhood with tigers as backdoor neighbors. He holds a master’s degree in molecular biology and has pursued research in molecular ecology for several years at the National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bangalore. He is an avid photographer with a deep love for nature and story-telling. As a scientist-turned photographer he finds creative ways to convey complex research findings into popular and easily accessible stories. Prasen received the National Geographic Young Explorer Grant with which he worked on a Shola Sky-islands project in the Western Ghats. A photostory of this work was exhibited at Telluride, Banff Film Festival. His recent work involves extensive travel across Himalayas and Central Asian Highlands. Prasen’s international collaborations continue to grow widely and he is currently represented by National Geographic Creative.
A very talented young birder, Ramit grew up in Australia and Delhi, and was introduced to wildlife and bird-watching at an early age by his father. He went on to study engineering at Manipal University and fell in love with the place. He carried out several intensive bird surveys in and around Manipal and has enthused several batches of students in the University to actively start bird-watching. His favorite groups of birds are pipits and wagtails which are notoriously difficult to identify in the field. He has also published a field guide for the birds of Manipal. Ramit's interest also began to grow towards the amphibian diversity of the Western Ghats and he helped record, compile and publish frog calls of the region into the public domain. The discovery of a new species called Laterite narrow-mouthed frog from the rocky outcrops of Manipal was another milestone for him. Ramit is one of the youngest birders of the country to receive the Carl Zeiss award for his contribution to wildlife and conservation.
Ramki Sreenivasan is a Bangalore-based photographer and conservationist. He began his career in business and later became the co-founder and CEO of Marketics Technologies India Pvt Ltd. However Ramki loved wildlife and bird-watching from a young age and has dedicated much of his time to this passion since 2009. He has travelled across the country and is the first Indian photographer to capture over 1000 species of Indian birds. However, he decided to break away from the race of numbers and contribute to the conservation of these species. Along with his partner Shekar Dattatri, he started a portal called ‘Conservation India’, which provides extensive information through expert articles, media links, photo stories and toolkits for wildlife conservation. The website is also designed to run targeted campaigns for the conservation of wild lands and species. Ramki was instrumental in launching the campaign to save Amur falcons, which led to complete ban in hunting of the species in Nagaland.
Rohit Naniwadekar is a scientist at Nature Conservation Foundation, India. He spent his childhood growing up in the state of Gujarat and in the city of Mumbai. An academically brilliant student, Rohit had the choice of any career to pick from, but passion drove him towards wildlife. He obtained a Masters degree from Wildlife Institute of India, during which he conducted one of the earliest biogeographic studies on amphibian distributions along elevation gradients in Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve. His PhD and Post-doctoral work has focused on frugivory and seed dispersal, population and conservation status of hornbills in northeast India. His research work has resulted in several publications in international peer-reviewed journals. Rohit continues to play a very integral part of NCF’s Eastern Himalaya Program.
Sandip Das hails from Dankuni, West Bengal. He works at Lupin ltd as a Sales and Marketing executive. He loves to travel, trek and watch birds. He is interested in studying bird behaviour. He is also notorious for finding and photographing difficult to see species. He was instrumental in finding species like Red-breasted Merganser (only 2nd sighting in recent times), Asian Stubtail (one of the very few recent records) and Red Knot among many others.
Naturalist par excellence, a wildlife photographer and a film-maker. With a keen interest in studying natural history with a focus on odonates, birds and amphibians, he now also leads wildlife research and conservation projects for different organizations and forest departments across the country. He widely shares his knowledge and experience through training, workshops and seminars and is an approachable mentor for many aspiring naturalists. He has won many prestigious awards including the Sanctuary Asia Photography Award, the Prestigious Carl Zeiss Wildlife Conservation Award, 2015 and the Sanjay Gandhi National park Photography Awards. His work has been published on various platforms such as National Geographic Traveller, Sanctuary Asia, various NEWS agencies, BNHS scientific publications and other popular reading publications.
Sara began her career with a master’s degree in Fashion, until she stumbled upon a documentary – ‘The True Cost’ by Andrew Morgan, 2015. It gave her a push to pursue something totally different and enlightened her about the damage caused to the environment because of human consumption. Being a competitive swimmer gave her enough motivation to enter the world of diving. Her aim was to care, learn and effectively communicate with people about the functions and plight of our oceans. With a mission to spread awareness and educate people about environmental conservation, Sara often finds herself organising huddles, raising dissent and spearheading discussions about a circular economy. She is currently working on environmental advocacy and awareness at the injunction of biodiversity, economics and climate change with the Sanctuary Nature Foundation.
Siddhesh Brahmankar is a software engineer from Pune with a penchant for wildlife biology and photography. While he spends his week at a desk, Siddhesh is generally out in the field on weekends. He has travelled widely in the drylands and grasslands of India and has photographed over 700 species of birds across the country. He has also spent the last seven years studying and documenting nine wolf pack populations and their behaviour in the outskirts of Pune city. In this process, he has also made observations on other canids such as hyenas and foxes.
WildArt was put together by five individuals starting with Kunan Naik and Mital Patel who put forth the idea in 2009. Kunan is a lawyer by profession with a love for bird watching. He has been watching and studying birds in depth for over two decades now. He was joined by Mital who had developed a love for birds in the year 2009. Mital is a professional photographer and with their combined love for birds, they began their project which is known as ‘Team WildArt’. In the year 2012 they were joined by Manjeet and Yograj Jadeja. Manjeet and Yograj were interested in birds ever since 2005. Manjeet is a medical representative and Yograj works at the Crossword. Later on, they were joined by Esha Munshi whose interest had begun in 2013. She is an architect by profession. These five people from diverse backgrounds are united by their common passion for wildlife. The idea behind team WildArt is to capture photographs of birds in their natural.
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 lead him to a different path. He started working closely since his college years, with the Maharashtra forest department to mitigate conflict and spread awareness by actively participating in snake rescue and nature interpretation. He has volunteered with numerous programs including ‘Snake rescuing from charmers’ with the Madhya Pradesh Forest Department, ‘Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) citizen bird survey’ by the Maharashtra Forest Department, ’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.