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  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.

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Dr. Nikhil Gaitonde (Projects Manager)

Dr. Nikhil Gaitonde is a broadly trained evolutionary ecologist. He obtained his PhD from the Manipal Academy of Higher Education and has worked as a bridging-postdoc at the National Center for Biological Sciences, Bangalore. He has completed his masters in Zoology and Bachelors in Microbiology from Pune University. Nikhil has studied the behavioral ecology of many species of butterflies and frogs. He has also performed numerous biodiversity surveys across India and described two species of geckos. He has published 8 research articles in scientific journals and a couple of popular science articles. He is interested in restoration ecology, biodiversity conservation, sustainable livelihoods, and reversing climate change. 

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. Ravi Bandekar (Project Officer)

Ravi Bandekar is a diploma holder in agriculture faculty and has substantial work experience with local communities in Davengere in Karnataka. Ravi has been working with students and farmers in villages in Karnataka teaching them about enhancing education skills and livelihood securities. He is skilled in establishing communication and network with people from all walks of life. Ravi is associated as a Project Officer and Researcher with WRCS's elephant project in North Kanara district. He is interested in conflict management and establishing novel ideas for elephant conservation.

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Mr. Sharath Sadanand Anchatageri (Project Officer)

Sharath have completed his  Masters in Wildlife Conservation Action from Bharati Vidyapeeth Institute of Environment Education and Research. He have complete his Bachelors in Anthropology, Zoology and Forensic Science from Karnatak University, Dharwad. He is interested in Wildlife Conservation mainly focusing on community conservation, ornithological aspects and human wildlife conflict concerns.

He  have successfully carried out research in Ethno-ornithological study of Hakki-Pikkis of Karnataka, India and Nutritional study of Siddhi children in Yellapur, Karnataka, India. He have also interned with WWF-India, in Raptor Conservation Programme in Central India Landscapes mainly focusing on Vultures.

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. Shubham Giri (Research Biologist)

Shubham Giri is a science graduate from Amaravati and is an accomplished birder. Shubham Giri is working on the Owl Ecology Project at Melghat. Shubham has deep interest in ornithology and is quick in detecting them by sight and sound. Shubham Giri is a good photogapher too. Shubham Giri has recorded a few new distributional records for birds in and around Melghat.

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Ms. Sonal Pawar  (Office Administrator)

Sonal Pawar is an nature enthusiast, who has completed  her Master's in Biodiversity and also has a Bachelors Microbiology. She has done her internship in Zoological Survey of India on different taxa and can identify Moths, Butterflies and Dung beetles. Her current interest is to spread awareness among people about climate change and sustainable lifestyle. Sonal is working as an Office Administrator at WRCS. Currently, She is designing all the handicraft products. She is interested in birds and  effects of anthropological activity on birds. She is a recipient of an award on sustainability and woman entrepreneurship. 

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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 in wild.

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Mr. Kamaran 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.

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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.

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. Jitendra  Dhikar (Field Assistant)
Jitendra has been working with WRCS at Melghat since 2016. He is a versatile person and excels at field and camp management. Currently he is working on WRCS's conservation project. 

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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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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.  

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