Mr. Madhav Ganesh Gogate - An Officer and a Gentleman 

Madhav Ganesh Gogate was born in Mumbai. He completed his primary education at Goregaonkar English School.  In 1964, he completed his B.Sc. in Botany and Zoology from the Institute of Science.  He also did his M.Sc. from Taraporewala Aquarium, Mumbai. His father Mr. Ganesh Gogate was well versed of the art of taxidermy.  That is how Madhav learnt to handle birds and animals from his childhood. His love for forests and wildlife came from his childhood days.

In 1972, when Mr. Gogate was serving in Yavatmal, there was a severe drought in Maharashtra.  During the drought, he realized that forest fodder was severely depleted by drought, and farmers are forced to sell their cattle to butchers. He did an in-depth study on grassland management and recommended good grassland management practices. His research showed that livestock can survive drought if we managed grasslands sustainably using scientific management practices. He also worked to protect grasslands from fire and controlling unsustainable grazing. 

Due to his work on grassland management, the Forest Department could provide adequate fodder to the farmers of Western Maharashtra during the drought of 1986-87.  Recognizing the importance of his work, the Government of India, through the National Wasteland Development Corporation, published the book 'Management of Grasslands in Nashik: A Success Story'.

From 1980 to 1984, Mr. Gogate worked as a Researcher Director at the Forest Research Institute in Dehradun. This experience was later useful to him during his tenure at the Melghat Tiger Reserve. While serving at FRI he published several research papers.

From 1987 to 1991, he served as Field Director of Melghat Tiger Reserve.  During this tenure he studied the biodiversity of Melghat intensively, including plants, birds, animals and their relationship with tribal community. Tourism was hitherto a neglected subject in Melghat Tiger Reserve. Mr. Gogate took on the job of developing tourism in Melghat Tiger Reserve, by establishing the necessary infrastructure. His efforts were fruitful in drawing tourists to Melghat.  For this important contribution, Madhav Gogte was honoured by the Government of India in 1992-1993 with the Meritorious Service for Tiger Conservation award. In 1992, Madhav Gogte was given honorary membership in IUCN's Cat Specialist Group, for his significant work documentation work on tigers.

From 1991 to 1995, while working as Conservator of Forests in Pune, Gogate conducted scientific research on the topic Ecological Audit of Teak Plantations. For this research, he was awarded the prestigious Brandis Award in the field of forestry.  He also researched sago production and its profitability.  For this work, he was honoured with the Chaturvedi Award  by the Indian Forester, in 1994.

 

Mr. Gogate was the Chief Conservator Forests (Wildlife) of Maharashtra State from 1997 to 2000.  In this position he was the head of all the sanctuaries and national parks in Maharashtra.

 

He served as the Director of Social Forestry from 2000 to 2002 in Pune.  Following this he was again appointed as Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife). In this position, he tried to bridge the gap between the Forest Department and the public. He was much loved for his warm and open communication and willingness to engage with the public. He was one of the most known and recognized forest officers from Maharashtra. Mr. Madhav Gogate retired from a meritorious career in the Indian Forest Service in 2003.

After retirement, Mr. Gogate settled in Pune. He began writing in newspapers about forestry and research.  He ran a year-long series of articles on agroforestry in the newspaper Agrovan. From 2004 to 2007, he was the President of the retired forest officer’s association.  During these three years, he wrote many articles and organized workshops to create awareness about forests among the common people. Till date he has published more than 300 scientific and popular articles, on forest management and research, in scientific journals, newspapers and magazines. In 2019 he received the Vasantrao Naik award from the State Government for his contribution in the sector of agriculture, social forestry and biodiversity conservation.

From 2007 to 2010 Mr. Gogate served as Chief Consultant with Nippon Koika, to advise the Orissa government on JICA-aided forestry project in Orissa.

Throughout his career, Mr. Gogate was regarded highly as an upright forest officer. He was a down to earth and considerate person. He always promoted his subordinates and gave opportunity to them to come in the limelight. He shared an excellent rapport with the public. During his career and after retirement he continually strived for conservation of forests and biodiversity.

 

Mr. Gogate passed away on 25th of September, 2020 due to Covid infection. He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Madhuri Gogate, his son Dr. Parikshit Gogate and daughter Mrs. Radhika Gogate.

Mr. Gogate was the president of the society from its establishment till his demise. He was a mentor and guiding force for the society's activities. He always gave encouragement to all and was a source of support during crises.

You will be sorely missed Sir!

© Wildlife Research and Conservation Society 2017