Vivek Menon is a wildlife conservationist, environmental commentator, author and photographer. The winner of the 2001 Rufford Award for International Conservation for his work to save the Asian Elephant, he is the founder, executive director and CEO of the Wildlife Trust of India. He is also the author/editor of ten wildlife books, scores of technical reports and more than 200 articles in various scientific and popular publications.Vivek plays a role in advising the Indian government on natural heritage conservation as a part of several committees like the Project Elephant Steering Committee, National Wildlife Action Plan Committee and many more. Internationally, he is the chairperson of the IUCN SSC Asian Elephant Specialist Group, a member of the Species Survival Commission Steering Committee of the IUCN and an advisor of the Marjan Centre of Kings College, London.
Scientist, Nature Conservation Foundation
Aparajita Datta has been involved in research and conservation in Arunachal Pradesh since 1995. While her primary focus has been on hornbills, she has carried out exploration surveys and camera-trapping studies for mammal species, examined the impacts of hunting and logging, and engaged with the government on the management of some tiger reserves and protected areas. She has also worked with communities for conservation, however, she now believes that reconciliation between wildlife and people is not always possible. Aparajita has also written several books for children.
Wildlife Biologist & Conservation Scientist
Ravi Chellam has been involved with wildlife research, education and conservation since the early 1980s. During his career, he has worked with numerous institutions including the Wildlife Institute of India, United Nations Development Programme, Wildlife Conservation Society - India Program and Greenpeace India.Ravi's current interests include conservation of large carnivores, conservation and management of wildlife and biodiversity outside protected areas, restoration of wildlife habitats and the use of information technology to enable public participation in research, conservation and public health. He also serves on the Governing Council of the Bombay Natural History Society, on the Board of Advisors of the Nature Conservation Foundation, and as a member of the expert committee appointed by the Government of India to guide the translocation of Asiatic Lions.
Joanna Van Gruisen
Joanna Van Gruisen grew up in the Northumberland countryside but has lived in the subcontinent since the late 1970s. She came to India in 1981 to make wildlife documentaries and has lived here ever since. An early pioneer of wildlife photography in India (winner of BBC Wildlife Photography awards) she has been part of the conservation scene for several decades - filming, photographing, writing, researching and editing. Joanna presently lives in Madhya Pradesh where she co-runs a small eco-lodge and is active in sustainable tourism fields and local nature projects.
Wildlife Photographer and Conservationist
Dr Anish Andheria is the President of the Wildlife Conservation Trust (WCT), a not-for-profit set up to preserve, protect and conserve forests and wildlife. He is also a member of government committees like the National Tiger Conservation Authority and many more. He was awarded the prestigious Carl Zeiss Conservation Award in 2008 and the UAA-Institute of Chemical Technology Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2017.A wildlife photographer of repute, he has photographed in some of the most remote wildlife reserves in India. His collection of over 350,000 images serves as a veritable archival record of the wildlife and wildernesses of India. He has also co-authored two books on Indian wildlife and has contributed to several other books and publications, including scientific papers. A natural communicator, he is also one of India's leading motivational speakers and has introduced thousands of young people to the joys of nature and the rationale for nature conservation.
Founder-Director, Dusty Foot Production
Rita Banerji is one of the leading environmental filmmakers in the country. Her work is grounded in the clever use of communication as a tool for conservation action. In 2017 Rita was awarded the National Geographic-CMS Prithvi Ratna Award for her contribution to the environment and the RBS Earth Heroes award in 2018. She has been part of three Panda Award-winning films, also known as the Green Oscar at Wildscreen, UK. Her core work is in engaging and empowering the youth, especially from indigenous and grassroots communities, in conservation through the use of the visual medium.
Dhritiman Mukherjee is as elusive as the animals he photographs. His photographs have appeared on The New York Times, National Geographic Traveller, Lonely Planet, WWF, UNESCO, and Birdlife.
Harini Nagendra is a professor of sustainability at Azim Premji University. She has conducted research on the interaction between people and nature in forests and cities for over twenty-five years. In addition to research publications, she writes widely for the public in newspapers, magazines and other venues. Her books include Cities and Canopies: Trees in Indian Cities (2019), and Nature in the City: Bengaluru in the Past, Present and Future (2016).
Dr Raghu Chundawat started his career as a conservation biologist more than thirty years ago, with his research on Snow Leopards in Ladakh. Later, he worked as the Regional Science and Conservation Director for the International Snow Leopard Trust. He was also a member of the teaching faculty of the Wildlife Institute of India. Raghu is very closely involved with tiger conservation and research in central India and recently published a book based on his ten-year study there, “The Rise and Fall of The Emerald Tigers”. A recipient of several conservation awards, his work with Panna’s tigers, was made into an award-winning wildlife documentary film by BBC/Animal Planet.
Nandini Velho completed her Earth Institute Fellowship from Columbia University. Over the last decade, her work has focused on the human dimensions of wildlife management. She works with local forest managers, artists and designers to engage in-depth with on-ground outreach, including healthcare and logistical support of front-line forest staff, and extensive writing in popular medium.
Director, Riverbank Studios
A National Award winner, Gautam Pandey is one of India’s most accomplished wildlife filmmakers. He studied film in Canada and has several national and international awards to his name. Beyond awards, Gautam is someone who lives with a passion for the wild.Born into a family of nature-enthusiasts, his passion for filmmaking started at an early age and he focused it on using the visual medium to bring about awareness about wildlife and document unique animal behaviour in the wild. Gautam has also produced and directed several episodes of the TV series Earth Matters, which is India’s longest running environmental series on National TV 3.
Chetana Purushotham is an alumnus of the WCS-India Master's program at NCBS-TIFR, Bangalore. Her journey initially began with her assisting scientists on ecological projects in the Western Ghats. Thanks to a keen interest in studying animal communities, followed by a series of fortunate events, she found herself diving in the Andamans Islands - studying coral reefs in the aftermath of the mass bleaching episode in 2010.While she never left the Andamans, her focus over the years gradually transitioned from diving for research to diving to educate. Chetana now heads the marine conservation and education wing at DIVEIndia, the oldest dive school in the Andamans.
Saurabh worked as a planning engineer at Larsen & Toubro for seven years before he quit to become a full-time photographer. He has now established his own media production house, 50mm Media Productions, and has published a coffee table book named 'Visual Poetries - Fine Art Nature Photography'.He has won numerous national and international accolades and has had his work published on platforms like SAEVUS, Sanctuary Asia and National Geographic. Saurabh's main forte is nature photography, and he hopes to help people fall in love with nature and thereby create a collective consciousness of conservation.
Purva Variyar is a science communicator and conservation writer and is currently the Assistant Editor at Sanctuary Asia magazine. Previously, she interned with the Bombay Natural History Society. She has a Masters degree in Biological Photography and Imaging from the University of Nottingham, U.K, and is obsessed with photomicrography.
Yashpal Rathore is a naturalist and a photography mentor. He specializes in DSLR-based camera trap photography, capturing images of rare species in their natural habitat.
Writer, Rock Climber
Kiran Khalap first went for a hike with his sister’s college trekking group in 1976. He climbed Mt Kalsubai, the highest peak in the Sahyadris mountain range; which became the start of a life-long passion. Since then he has regularly trekked the Sahyadris, notching up a list of 100 different forts. Like most trekkers, he later graduated to the sport of rock climbing. In 2016, Kiran facilitated the hosting of the IFSC (International Federation of Sport Climbing) Bouldering World Cup in Navi Mumbai for two successive years. He continues to trek in the monsoons and rock climb during the non-monsoon months.
Shatabdi Chakrabarti has been a media professional for the past 14 years. She started her career with NDTV and has worked extensively in both the advertisement and documentary space. Her passion for photography has won her a number of accolades; she won the Conservation Issues category at the NiF Photography Awards 2018 and her work was exhibited at the India Art Fair 2019.Shatabdi writes for Tattoo Cultr, India’s only online tattoo magazine and has been researching the vanishing culture of traditional tattooing of Indian tribes. Documenting wildlife and ethnographic stories is where her interest lies. She is now an independent filmmaker, working on stories around wildlife and conservation in the country.
Avijan Saha hails from the town of Siliguri in West Bengal. It was only once his father bought him a point and shoot that he started photographing and documenting the wildlife around him. By late 2010, he gave up his job in the media sector and committed himself to a career in photography. His work was focused on human-wildlife conflict, particularly human-elephant conflict, that was prevalent in the region.In 2015, one of his pictures got published in the National Geographic magazine, after which he spent time working on human-elephant conflict issues in the Indo-Nepal border. Soon after, Avijan joined an NGO called Aaranyak where he dedicated all his efforts in conservation photography. He has published a book, 'Identification of Solitary Elephants', which he distributed to local villagers, tea garden authorities and forest officials to help spread awareness and educate the communities on the ground.