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WRCS Team

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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.

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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.

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Mr. Sibashish Sahoo (Research Officer)

He is a passionate conservation biologist and researcher currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Wildlife Sciences and working as a Project Officer at WRCS in Odisha Elephant Project. His research interest lies in the human dimensions of wildlife conservation, focusing on the complex interactions between humans and wildlife. His aim is to find sustainable solutions by understanding the socio-economic aspects that influence conservation outcomes. He is an avid wildlife observer.  Through his diverse experiences, he aim to deepen his understanding of the natural world and its interconnectedness with communities. 

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Mr. Ameya Deshpande (Research Biologist)

Ameya is  an avid bird watcher and enjoy exploring various habitats to look for birds, to learn more about them and to document them in their natural habitat. Although, he is  graduated in Commerce, his passion for wildlife led him to pursue a career in wildlife studies immediately after graduation. He has been involved in a number of research projects as a field expert, conducting extensive field surveys to contribute data to the better understanding of the natural world. To gain a deeper understanding of wildlife ecology, He has pursued a postgraduate degree in Environmental Science at MIT-WPU, Pune. He is now working as Research Biologist and is working on Ujjani wetland project.

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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.

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Mr. Shrihari Hegde (Project Officer)

Shrihari Hegde completed a master's in Environmental Science from Mangalore University, India. He is native to the North Canara district of Karnataka. He had worked on honeybees and Biodiversity of western ghats and west coast regains for his master thesis. He also has some experience working in QGIS software and statistical analysis. Being a keen nature enthusiast, he loves to work in the North Canara landscape on elephants.

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 Ms. Sonal Pawar ( Communication Officer)

Sonal holds a master's degree in Biodiversity from MES Abasaheb Garware College-Pune. She is an avid wildlife enthusiast and loves to spend time and observe natures creation. For her master's dissertation she was exploring the microbial diversity of floral nectar. She has also volunteered for several wildlife survey in India. She is working with WRCS as Communication Officer as managing social media ,website and community initiative project. 

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Mr. Azim Mujawar (Project Manager)

Azim Mujawar has a master’s degree in Zoology from University of Pune. Wildlife and nature have fascinated him since he was a child;hence he chose to become a wildlife biologist. Most of his work was on tigers and large mammals while he was engaged with Wildlife Institute of India, Sahyadri Tiger Conservation Foundation of Kolhapur Wildlife Division. He has also worked with IIFM Bhopal and BVIEER Pune. His interest lies in studying large mammals and their conservation through habitat restoration programs. Presently he is engaged with WRCS in Elephant Project as a Project Manager. He loves to travel and enjoys spending time in wilderness.

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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

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Mr. Bhavuk Vijay  (Project Officer)

Bhavuk Vijay is a Masters’ graduate who is a keen environmentalist and wildlife enthusiast. He was the sole recipient of the ‘Uma Ramakrishnan Scholarship’ in 2016 granted by the Field Project International for their course on ‘Primates and Predators’ in Kerala. Since then, he has gained several relevant experiences in the field of wildlife with WII, IISc, ANCF and SFRI. With that, he likes to write blogs and poems about the natural ecosystems and the challenges faced by its participants in today’s world.

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Ms. Megha Rani  (Project Coordinator)

Megha completed her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Zoology from the Nilamber Pitamber University of Daltonganj, Jharkhand, in 2016 and 2018, respectively. Later, she joined Amity Institute of Forestry and Wildlife, Amity University as a Ph.D. Scholar in July, 2019. Her research focused on spatio-temporal pattern and drivers influencing human-wildlife conflict (Elephant and Leopard) in the Terai Arc region, Rajaji-Corbett landscape, Uttarakhand. Her research interests are human-carnivores-Megaherbivores interaction. She also worked as Sociologist in Terai Tiger Project in the Katerniaghat-Pilibhit landscape with Wildlife Trust of India. She is also interested in spatial ecology, species interaction etc. Apart from exploring the wild and photographing, 

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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