Mr. Jayant Kulkarni (Executive Director, Conservation)
Jayant Kulkarni has a B.Tech and an M.Tech degree in Chemical Engineering from IIT (Mumbai). Although an engineer by qualification, his passion has always been for wilderness and nature. To pursue his interest, he joined the Indian Forest Service (IFS) from Maharashtra cadre. He was trained in wildlife management at Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun and was awarded silver medal for his performance. Jayant served as an IFS officer in Maharashtra and was posted in Melghat Tiger Reserve. He resigned from IFS and to work for nature conservation from the NGO sector. Jayant’s main interest is participatory nature conservation. He is particularly interested in conservation of private forests and sustinable forest management as a conservation tool. Jayant is the Executive Director of Conservation Programs. He is a keen bird watcher and photographer. He loves to trek, be in the wild, and is a foodie at heart.
Dr. Prachi Mehta (Executive Director, Research)
Prachi Mehta has a Ph.D in Wildlife Biology from Wildlife Institute of India working as Executive Director, Research with WRCS. Prachi has been actively involved in wildlife and nature conservation since her college days. To pursue her interest further, she joined Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun. For her Ph.D. degree, she studied the impact of forestry practices on bird communities of Satpura Hills in Bori Wildlife Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh, and Melghat Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra. Prachi’s main interest is in ecological research on birds and large mammals. She is working actively on community-based mitigation of human elephant conflict. Her current passion is study of the critically endangered Forest Owlet and sympatric owls in Central India. Prachi enjoys bird-watching, trekking and photography.
Mr. Sunil Kale (Project Officer)
Sunil Kale has an MBA degree in Environmental Management and a bachelor’s degree in Zoology. He is working with WRCS as a project officer on Private Forests Conservation Project, since 2012. As a project office, he is implementing activities like eco-restoration of private forests, eco-friendly income-generating activities for the local community and incentive-based conservation agreements. He is a strong believer of the holistic approach for conservation along with community participation for long-term sustainability. His current interest is to enhance financial and leadership skills for developing innovative community projects to maximize conservation impact. Sunil is fond of biking, travelling, reading and cricket.
Mr. Rakesh Kalva (Research Associate)
Rakesh is an alumnus of the Masters course in Wildlife Biology and Conservation conducted by WCS-India, NCBS, and TIFR. For his master’s dissertation, he looked at how large herbivore populations change with various conservation and ecological factors in Kawal Tiger Reserve, India. His immediate priority is the conservation of the Eastern Ghats landscape by combining applied research and a flagship species approach. He is presently working with WRCS in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh, with a particular focus on elephants. Other than the Eastern Ghats, he has a fascination for the Honey Badger (Mellivora capensis) and hopes to study and understand various aspects of the species’ ecology. Apart for this he works with local animal welfare NGOs and helps in rescues and fostering of animals.
Mr. Nitish Kumar (Research Officer)
Nitish Kumar has an MSc in Ecology from the Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences at Pondicherry University. Living in close proximity to wildlife since childhood has ignited his passion for wildlife conservation. He had previously worked in Northern West Bengal on human-elephant conflict mitigation and involved the local communities in stakeholder capacity-building programs.
For his master's dissertation, he worked on the Habitat selection and niche overlap of two sympatric small cat species (Jungle cat and Leopard cat) by deploying camera traps in North Bengal human-forest mosaic landscape. He is well versed in RS-GIS and scientific writing.
Mr. Digvijay Pattnaik (Project Officer)
Digvijay is from Berahmpur city, Ganjam, Odisha. From the land of Olive Ridley’s & Blackbucks. Hegrew up exploring Eastern Ghats and coasts of Odisha. He has a degree in BSc. (Hons.) Zoology fromKhallikote University and postgraduate degree in MSc. Wildlife Biology from A.V.C. College(Autonomous), Tamil Nadu. He did his master’s dissertation on Blackbucks of Ganjam. Hisdissertation shed light on density, population structure, factors influencing distribution of blackbucksand farmer’s perception on Blackbucks.He is interested in studying mammal ecology, human-wildlife interactions and ornithology especiallyin the Eastern Ghats landscape. Having a defense family background and travelled all around Indiahe knows several Indian languages. In his spare time, he likes to do bird watching, photography,practicing martial arts, trekking and rescuing animals.
Mr. Hrishikesh Karandikar (Research Officer)
Hrishikesh has completed his Master's in Ecology from Pondicherry University and BSc in Zoology from Modern College, Shivajinagar, Pune. He has been an avid bird watcher since he was 14 and has always been fascinated by nature. During his graduation, he took several professional certificate courses in Ornithology, Entomology, Herpetology, and Limnology to engage his curiosity. His love for travelling and wildlife took him into the wildlife tourism industry, where he worked as a Naturalist in different wildlife tourism companies. For his MSc dissertation, he used bird communities and birds as bio-indicators to assess the ecological status of mixed-native and monoculture plantations. Recently he worked as a Research Assistant to study pastoralists and their dependence on Savannas and pastoralist-wolf interactions. He is interested mainly in socio-ecological systems, ornithology, restoration biology and myrmecology. He loves taking photos of birds and insects and documenting his on-field experiences in his free time.
Mr. Dhiraj Das (Research Biologist)
Dhiraj is a Masters degree graduate in Environmental Biology and Wildlife Sciences from Cotton University, Guwahati. He is an avid wildlife enthusiast and loves spending time in the forests. For his master's dissertation he studied the livelihood sustainability of the fishermen community on the Deepor Beel Ramsar site in Assam. He is currently studying Forest Owlet in Madhya Pradesh with WRCS. Previously he has also worked on Amur falcons in Nagaland and Manipur. He has also worked on Pikas in the trans-himalayan landscape in Ladakh.
His areas of interest include habitat ecology and conservation ecology. His hobbies include wildlife photography, mountain cycling and fish keeping.
Ms. Savani Wagh ( Communication Officer)
Savani Wagh graduated in Zoology from Modern College of Art, Commerce and Science. Her interest in wildlife grew at a very young age. This influenced her into doing various courses like limnology, ornithology, and bio acoustic workshops. She also did a diploma in photography from MIT World Peace University. She is getting her masters in Conservation Biology from Manchester Metropolitan University where for dissertation she worked on defining the functionality of syringeal bulla, a vocal adaptation found in the males of family Anatidea.
Mr. Anand D. Tulankar (Research Officer)
Anand Tulankar has a Masters degree of Science in Botany. He has done a workshop on Digitalisation of Herbarium conducted by Botanical Survey of India. He is working on “The Climate Resilience: Trees and Sustainable Mobility". This project is being implemented in collaboration with “PUNE KNOWLEDGE CLUSTER”. He has very good knowledge of plant taxonomy. He is monitoring and measuring the growth of trees in Pune city. He is also working on Carbon sink of Pune city. Anand enjoys treaking and travelling in wild.
Mr. Kamran Husain (Research Officer)
Kamran Husain has a Master’s degree in Biodiversity Studies and Management from Aligarh Muslim University and he is working as research biologist in WRCS in Forest Owlet Conservation Project in Madhya Pradesh. He has a keen interest in wildlife since he was a child. He has worked on Bird Community in Ranikhet, Himalayas in his Master’s dissertation. After his Masters he joined Department of Wildlife Sciences AMU as Junior Research Fellow in Gir Wildlife Sanctuary. He was also associated with Wildlife Institute of India in Panna Tiger Reserve. He has a good photography skills and he love to trekking and exploring different places and of course he is a birder by heart.
Mr. Ajinkya Bagal (Project Officer)
Ajinkya Bagal has Master's degree in Wildlife Conservation Action from Pune. . He has worked on Gaur in Western ghats in Kolhapur district for his masters dissertation. He has done internship in Wildlife Trust of India on the project of Greater Manas recovery program in Assam. He has also worked upon some software such as Arc GIS, Q GIS, PRESENCE, MS Office, and Statistical analysis. He loves to explore new places and likes to travel. He works with local NGO's for animal resue operation. He has a keen interest in Ecology
Mr. Bhavuk Vijay (Project Officer)
Bhavuk Vijay is a Masters’ graduate who is a keen environmentalist and wildlife enthusiast. He wasthe sole recipient of the ‘Uma Ramakrishnan Scholarship’ in 2016 granted by the Field ProjectInternational for their course on ‘Primates and Predators’ in Kerala. Since then, he has gained severalrelevant experiences in the field of wildlife with WII, IISc, ANCF and SFRI. With that, he likes to writeblogs and poems about the natural ecosystems and the challenges faced by its participants intoday’s world.
Mr. Rajendra Dheple (Accountant)
Rajendra has a B.Com. degree and over 10 years of accounting experience in retail industry. Rajendra manages accounts department of WRCS. He is an excellent administrator and manages audits, purchases, payments and logistics. He has very good communication skills. He always supports in arranging exhibitions, stalls and managing the cash counter for our community initiative programs. He is a big cricket fan and a foodie on a diet!
Mr. Amol Dheple (Office Assistant)
Amol is trained as architectural draftsman at ITI Aundh. He is helping in office administration and managing the handicraft programme. He is an expert at managing the inventory of handicrafts. He expertly provides the finishing touch to handicrafts and manages the handicraft stalls at exhibitions.
Mr. Ashok Bethekar (Project Assistant)
Ashok is working on Owl Ecology Project in Melghat Tiger Reserve. He has been trained in assist in Owl Project and working with WRCS from longtime. He manages field work and helps in locating and monitoring owl nest.
Mr. Ram L. Kasdekar (Project Assistant)
Ram is working in Melghat Tiger Reserve on Owl Ecology. He has been trained in assist in Owl Project and working with WRCS from longtime. He manages field work and helps in locating and monitoring owl nest.
Mr. Jabbar Chauhan (Field Assistant)
Jabbar is an accomplished tracker and an immense help on field and off-field. He lives at Awaliya and works with WRCS at the Forest Owlet study site at East Kalibhit in Madhya Pradesh.
Mr. Balkrushna Bhomkar (Field Assistant)
Bunty has been working with WRCS on the Koyna project since 2015. He is an expert at managing plantations. His hard work has helped to make a success of the Koyna plantations.
Mr. Sambhaji Chalke (Field Assistant)
Sambhaji has been working with WRCS on the Koyna project since 2019. He is a graduate in Agricultural Science. He has experience in teaching and social work. He is interested in organic farming, and community development.