Team

Dr. Anish Andheria
(President)

A Carl Zeiss Conservation Awardee (2008), Dr. Anish Andheria is a Fellow of LEAD and has helped set up Kids for Tigers, a nation-wide conservation education programme which currently reaches out to over half a million school children. After completing his Ph.D. from Institute of Chemical Technology, he went on to pursue a Masters Degree in Wildlife Biology and Conservation at the National Center for Biological Sciences, Bangalore. He is a large carnivore specialist with field knowledge on predator-prey relationships. A wildlife photographer of repute, he has photographed some of the most remote wildlife reserves of India. He has co-authored two books on Indian wildlife and contributed to several other national and international publications. He runs a wildlife rescue center in Mumbai and is a Trustee of The Climate Reality Project India. A natural communicator, he is one of India’s leading motivational speakers, and has introduced thousands of people to the joys of nature and the rationale for nature conservation.

Dr. Sandeep Deshmukh

Dr. Sandeep Deshmukh is a Ph.D. in Education (Interdisciplinary), with aM.Phil in the same subject. He has a Master’s degree in Anthropology, an MBA in Finance and a Diploma in Business Administration. His career spans over 29 years with stints in reputed academic, government and non-government organizations. His core competence is development and management of educational portfolios, organization development, development of educational curricula and content, training and catalysing integrated development projects.

Sandeep leads WCT’s national level education programme, which reaches out to over 600 government schools in 11 tiger reserves spread across five States. The multi-component programme addresses the shortfall of quality inputs and inefficiency in utilizing limited resources in the school clusters. Over the past one year, the programme has moved onto a deeper engagement with government institutions such as Cluster Resource Centres (CRC), Block Resource Centres (BRC) and District Institutes of Education & Training (DIET). This has been marked by upgrading academic facilities such as laboratories and libraries.

Rushikesh Chavan

Rushikesh is an ecosystems conservationist who has been working in the field for the past two decades. His work spans across various landscapes such as forest ecosystems, mangroves, and coral reefs. He has been part of various committees such as Maharashtra State Wildlife Advisory Board, Special Task Force for conservation of Central Indian Wild Buffalo constituted by the Supreme Court, and Committee to assess implementation of Forest Rights Act in Maharashtra. He is advisor to Conservation Beyond Borders and the Lakshadweep Marine Research and Conservation Centre. He has authored several popular articles and has a column in a leading newspaper.

At WCT, Rushikesh leads the Conservation Behaviour division that provides technical inputs for designing conservation interventions using tools of behavioural economics, psychology and big data frameworks.Additionally, Rushikesh is involved in various management functions of the organisation.

Milind Pariwakam

Milind’s deep rooted passion for wildlife encouraged him to give up a corporate job for a Masters in Wildlife Biology & Conservation from NCBS, Bengaluru, where he worked extensively on developing a photographic population estimation technique for spotted deer. He has also participated in a training programme on tiger conservation at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and at the Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University. Milind earlier worked for WTI and has been a part of several projects including CITES, tiger population estimation, human tiger conflict mitigation and programme management.

As a part of WCT, Milind works in the Central Indian Tiger Landscape since 2011, with a focus on large carnivore population estimation, policy aspects of tiger corridor conservation and various management functions. He is also a member of the IUCN's Connectivity Conservation Specialist Group (CCWG) andthe World Commission on Protected Areas.

Punam Sah

Punam is an ardent development practitioner. For 20 years, she has worked across wide ranging terrains and communities to tackle the challenges of rural livelihoods. She regularly swivels between working with grassroots organisations to carry out experiments, as well as premiere policy organisations such as TISS, CII and The World Bank to better inform policy processes. Noteworthy projects spearheaded by her include a) Project RUDRA, her own rural livelihood initiative, a futuristic idea developed back in 2003, where she devised and tested methods to reliably identify vulnerable households and ways of addressing their livelihood challenges jointly with the engagement of government departments and corporate philanthropists, and b) setting up the unique CII Skills Centre in Chhindwara, Madhya Pradesh that skills rural youth in mainstream industry trades with assistance from premiere companies.

At WCT, Punam is rolling out innovative plans for engaging communities in regenerating forests and strengthening efforts for conservation.

 

Sheetal Navgire

Sheetal is a graduate in Zoology from Mumbai University and a post graduate in Psychotherapy and Counselling from the Institute of Psychotherapy and Management Sciences, Mumbai. She started her career in the field of telecommunication but her love for wildlife compelled her to pursue a career in conservation. This took her to the WTI, where she coordinated the photo/video documentation of various projects and subsequently handle monitoring and evaluation of several field projects.

Sheetal plays multiple roles at WCT. She coordinates with the forest department and various partners to facilitate WCT's donations, focuses on project management and handles several other processes of the organisation. She also manages the GIS & Remote sensing division of the organisation, which aims at understanding the changing land use patterns in multiple use forests. Sheetal is also the Presiding Officer of the internal committee for POSH.

Kiran Rahalkar

A wildlife biologist, Kiran Rahalkar received his Master’s degree in Wildlife Biology & Conservation from NCBS, Bengaluru. His Master’s project focused on the socio-economic impact of human-leopard conflicts in the human dominated landscapes of Western Maharashtra. Kiran has previously worked on telemetry and population estimation of leopards in sugarcane-dominated agriculture landscapes. He has also worked on the parasite ecology of the tiger and other large carnivores in the Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve. Additionally, he has worked with several schools and colleges on environmental awareness programmes.

Kiran currently leads the Wildlife Law Enforcement training programme at WCT and conducts training for forest guards. He also conducts Site Security training for frontline forest staff which provides a hands-on approach to tackling poaching and other illegal activities inside India’s Protected Areas.

Prasenjeet Navgire

Currently pursuing a Master’s in Multilateral Environmental Agreements from the International University of Andulasia, Spain; Prasenjeet routinely assists Indian enforcement authorities in conducting seizures of live animals and wildlife products. He compiled and analysed the national wild elephant mortality database and international ivory seizure database for the Wildlife Trust of India. The latter was used to supplement policy documents passed at various international forums on regulating ivory sales. Prasenjeet was instrumental in the creation of the CITES cell of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, India and has represented the Global Tiger Forum (GTF) at international conferences. In addition, he compiled and revised GTF’s second edition of the National Tiger Action Plans of 13 tiger range countries and authored the first ever state Bear Conservation and Welfare Action Plan for Maharashtra.

Kavita Diwan

Kavita has a Bachelor’s Degree in Science and Music and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. She started her career as an educator and worked as a soft skill trainer with various corporates. Her initial engagement with schools and children in different environment motivated her to work with the public education system and she now possesses nearly a decade long experience of working in the education sector.

In her present role with the Education vertical, Kavita primarily focuses on designing and developing project monitoring systems. Kavita also carries out monitoring of current projects to achieve better results.

Aditya Joshi

Aditya Joshi is a trained wildlife biologist from the National Centre for Biological Sciences. As part of his master’s thesis, he has carried out one of the first studies on the connectivity of tiger populations using a combination of conservation genetics and landscape ecology, substantiating long range dispersal by tigers. He is a recipient of the Karanth J. Paul Getty Award 2010 for academic and conservation excellence. He has worked extensively on occupancy surveys of tiger corridors and tiger monitoring outside Protected Areas. Aditya is interested in creating short documentaries to increase awareness about wildlife conservation and has produced one on the vultures at Ramnagara.

Dr.Vishal Gadre

Dr.Vishal has completed his B.A.M.S. from Maharashtra University of Health Sciences, Nasik and Masters of Public Health from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. He has worked with Aarogyasri Health Care Trust, Hyderabad as Deputy Executive Officer and assisted in the budgeting and monitoring activities of the Rajiv Aarogyasri Scheme implemented by the Trust in the state of Andhra Pradesh. Inspired by the diversity he enjoys in books, movies and places visited; he wishes to help conserve the world’s biodiversity through his work.

As Programme Officer for the Health team,Dr. Vishal helps conceptualize, design and coordinate with various stakeholders to implement health interventions for forest staff placed at protected areas. This includes setting up systems for supervision and monitoring of health programmes, data compilation, analysis and reporting and research into the health status and health-needs of the forest staff.

Pallavi Gandhalikar

Pallavi, a trainer for Experiential and Outdoor Education, plunged into the social sector after completing her Masters in Communications Media from Mumbai University. Her deep passion for youth empowerment resulted in the creation of a community named E.E.E. (Education, Environment and Experience). She has over five years of experience in working with children and is the regional ambassador for Asia’s W.Y.S.E. Leadership Institute. Prior to joining WCT, she was Programme Director at the Masoom Education Foundation.

Ankur Kali

An extraordinary naturalist, Ankur has over 15 years of field experience in natural history and wildlife conservation. He has assisted the forest department and NGOs in several surveys and conservation initiatives in Navegaon, Nagzira, Bor, the Tadoba landscape and Gadchiroli and has helped in the preparation of the checklist of birds and reptiles of Gondia. He has also participated in devising a conservation strategy for the highly endangered Great Indian Bustard in Chandrapur. He has rescued thousands of reptiles and participated in rescue operations involving three tigers, 11 deer and two leopards. He was instrumental in the preparation of the management plan of Navegaon National Park and also in formulating the proposal for upgrading the Navegaon Bandh Lake to sanctuary status. Currently, he is acting as a research assistant for WCT’s field programmes in the Central Indian Landscape.

Vivek Tumsare

Vivek has a Master’s degree in Environmental Science. Fuelled by his deep-rooted passion for wildlife, he has carried out extensive tiger and prey-base monitoring work in central India. He has also trained innumerable frontline forest staff in wildlife population estimation techniques. His belief in people’s participation in conservation encourages him to conduct awareness programs for local communities residing in and around protected areas.

Prakash Kamath

With a degree in Social Work, Prakash has spent the last two decades working in the field of education, child rights and community engagement. He was a part of the National Institute of Advanced Studies team that developed an education resource centre in Chamarajanagara, Karnataka with the support of the Sir Ratan Tata Trust. Prakash also holds a diploma in Personnel Management and Industrial Relations and he has completed a course in Research Methodology from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. Prakash is an integral part of the education vertical of WCT.

Atul Mukne

An integral part of the WCT accounts team, Atul has over 20 years of experience helping NGOs with fund management and accounting. Prior to joining WCT, he worked with Child Rights and You(CRY) as a Senior Manager for Finance and Accounts and with the Unit Trust of India. He has a Master's degree in commerce from Mumbai University and is deeply passionate about environmental issues.

Atul plays an instrumental role at WCT, overseeingaccounting, audits, statutory compliance, financial planning and monitoring WCT’s financial activities.

Harsh Kothari

Harsh Kothari is a passionate wildlife enthusiast and photographer, supporting the cause of nature and wildlife conservation in several ways. He is Senior Vice President at DSP BlackRock Investment Managers Pvt. Ltd., overseeing Fund Administration and Finance. He began his career as a practicing Chartered Accountant in 1997. In 2000, he joined S. R. Batliboi and Company in their Audit function. An ace Chartered Accountant, he plays an important role as technical advisor to the WCT accounts team.

 

Prashant Deshmukh

Prashant graduated with a Bachelors of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry from Krantisinh Nana Patil College at the Maharashtra Animal and Fishery Sciences University, Nagpur. He started his career as a research assistant at the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, U.S.A. where he worked on estimating the prevalence of gastrointestinal parasites in white-tailed deer. As an emergency relief veterinarian at the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), Prashant responded to human-tiger conflict situations in the Terai landscape and managed the WTI Captive Elephant Care programme. Prashant also has experience in satellite telemetry data management and hand-rearing wild mammals. He is part of the Rapid Response Team at WCT.

Dr. Narendra Khumbhare

Dr. Narendra Khumbhare is a B.M.H.S. graduate and has received his Master’s degree in public health from Tata Institute of Health Science (TISS), Mumbai. He has worked with the Directorate of Health Sciences, Maharashtra for evaluation of various government health programmes with a special focus on malaria control programme evaluation and an assessment of the motivation and performance levels of employees of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM). He has assisted various NGOs working in the tribal areas of Maharashtra by preparing health programmes for tribal communities and also refining the administrative processes of these NGOs.

Narendra works as programme coordinator for WCT’s Health vertical, where he is responsible for the on-field execution, monitoring and coordination of all forest staff health programmes. Additionally, he works on GIS-based mapping and assessment of health facilities around tiger reserves to identify the best available facilities for the forest staff.

Subbaiah K.S.

Having grown up surrounded by forests in Coorg, SubbaiahKalimada has always been enchanted by wildlife. Although from a traditional Kodava family, which occasionally hunt for wild meat, Subbaiah channelled his energy towards wildlife conservation. After completing his Bachelors in Engineering, Subbaiah worked with the WCS-India for about three years, where he worked on the metapopulational dynamics of tigers, co-predators and their prey in the Western Ghats region of Karnataka, Kerala and Goa, gaining rigorous field training in carnivore and herbivore population monitoring techniques. He also enjoys birdwatching and hiking.

Subbaiah is part of the Wildlife Research team at WCT and is currently working on wildlife population monitoring in protected and territorial areas of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.

Sanjay Thakur

Sanjay has two decades of experience in wildlife conservation with a special focus on the Central Indian Landscape. After receiving a diploma in Ecological Restoration and Wildlife Management from the Ecological Society in Pune, he studied human-leopard conflict in the Northern Western Ghats, snake charmers in Madhya Pradesh for a project with the Indian Institute of Forest Management, Bhopal and the Pardhi tribe’s involvement in wildlife hunts for TRAFFIC-India. As a Senior Project Officer with WWF-India’s tiger conservation program, he headed their office in the Kanha-Pench corridor. During this time, he initiated trainings for frontline forest staff on wildlife law enforcement and designed a first-of-its-kind mobile awareness vehicle for the Satpuda-Maikal Landscape. He received the Sarpa Mitra Puraskar by the Indian Herpetological Society for his extensive work in reptile conservation and has authored seventeen scientific papers in national and international journals.

Aniket Bhatkhande

Aniket holds a Master’s degree in Economics from Mumbai University and has previously worked as a finance journalist for Moneylife. A history buff, Aniket worked on a coffee table book on the history of RamnarianRuiacollege, and also archived the history of its economics department. He is an avid cyclist and can be spotted cycling late in the night on the city’s empty roads, at times opting to sleep by the roadside. A footballer and a coach, Aniket has been a member of the Mumbai District Football Association for the past 12 years.

As a member of the Conservation Behaviour team, Aniket works on designing studies to understand behavioural aspects with the goal of coming up with incentive structures to aid conservation.

Adwait Keole

Adwait Keole has volunteered at the Agumbe Rainforest Research Station (ARRS) where he focused on a radio telemetry project for King Cobras and with the Satpuda Foundation. He worked with the Snow Leopard Conservancy India Trust and has been assisting WCT’s research and tiger monitoring team since February 2014. He has conducted over 150 camps on environment education for school and college students in Amravati.

Aniket Sayam

Aniket Sayam has a Bachelor’s degree in science from Amravati University. He has interned with several environmental organsations including Sanctuary Asia, where he helped build a database of images for use in two publications and several websites. As a travel executive with the Western Routes, he organised custom heritage tours for visitors to Pune city. He has been assisting WCT since 2014 and has helped our research and monitoring team with camera trapping and line transect surveys in the Bor Tiger Reserve and Umred-Karhandla Wildlife Sanctuary.

Rovhin Todankar

Rovhin is currently interning with WCT. He has a Master's in Zoology from Mumbai University and is a member of Ecopersona, an NGO focused on leadership development for young people. He was part of an Al Gore Climate Leadership training in 2015 and has attended courses at the Conservation Education Centre at the Bombay Natural History Society. For the last four years, he has volunteered at the Sanjay Gandhi National Park leading nature trails and introducing young people to the magic of nature.

Akshay Dandekar

Akshay is a Management graduate from Mumbai University and has spent over 10 years in the corporate sector, handling diverse roles in Human Resources, Training and Development and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). His experience spans programme, process and operations management and he has worked extensively on the scale-up of development sector organisations across domains including livelihood, clean energy and new technologies.

Akshay’s drive to contribute and to make a sustainable impact on conservation practices in India led him to the Wildlife Conservation Trust where he focuses on strengthening organisational processes, human resources, strategic fundraising and donor management.

Vinni Munjal

Vinni has an engineering degree in Electronics and Communications from Kurukshetra University, Haryana and a Post Graduate Diploma in Youth Development and Social Change from TISS, Mumbai. Her passion for wildlife inspired her to quit her job in the IT industry and explore options in the field of conservation, where she commenced work on projects concerning environmental protection and social upliftmentinfor-profit and not-for-profit organizations. She is determined to carve out a future for herself in the field of nature and wildlife conservation.

Vinni handles a variety of tasks at WCT, overseeing the WCT-Small Grants programme, coordinatingwith various partners to facilitateWCT’s donations and is also an integral part of the Livelihoods team.

Ashish Sakpal

After completing his graduation in Commerce from Mumbai University, Ashish started his career as an Accounts and Audit Assistant and has previously handled export documentation, securitization audit, payment process and various accounting functions. Having spent three years in audit and nine in accounts and operations, he has prepared and managed cash flow, MIS, budget, service tax returns, TDS returns of various companies on a monthly and quarterly basis. Apart from reading magazines and travelling, it is the day to day environmental issues and the beauty of nature that capture Ashish’s interest.

As part of the WCT team, Ashish monitors all financial transactions and project documents and maintainsaccounting payable and receivable activities.

Vikrant Wankhade

Vikrant Wankhade received his Master’s degree in Environmental Science from the Institute of Environment Education and research, Bharati Vidyapeeth, Pune. He started his career as a programme officer with the same institute and worked in the Western Ghats on environment education and sustainable development. His next assignment was with the Forest Department of Bramhapuri, Maharashtra as a wildlife biologist for one year, where Tiger Monitoring was his key responsibility. He was involved in the reintroduction of a tigress in Chaprala Wildlife Sanctury from Bramhapuri Territorial Forest. Vikrant was also involved in radio telemetry efforts, camera trapping, human-wildlife conflict management, along with rescue operations wherein he rescued two tigers, three leopards and one sloth bear. His Master’s project focused on the ecological assessment of wetland on Ujjani reservoir.

Vikrant Jathar

After completing a Post Graduate degree in Zoology from Mumbai University, Vikrant worked as a JRF at the Foundation for Ecological Research Advocacy and Learning (FERAL) for two years, before joining WCT. At FERAL, he studied effects of restoration on biodiversity in different land use types, using butterflies as indicators. He was also part of the camera trapping teams studying, a) Effects of linear barriers on movement of wildlife across Shenkottai Gap in the Western Ghats and b) Demography and movement of elephants across Banerghatta and Hosur landscape. He is deeply interested in butterflies and their distribution.

Prof Chetan R Trivedy
BDS FDS RCS (Eng) MBBS PhD FRCEM MFMLM

Chetan has a dual dental and medical qualification and holds fellowships from the Royal College of Surgeons and the Royal College of Emergency Medicine. He currently holds the position of Honorary Associate Professor in Medicine at Warwick Medical School and a consultant in Emergency Medicine at the University Hospital of Coventry and Warwick. He has an interest in pre-hospital medicine and has held the post of the crowd doctor at the Kia Oval one of the most renowned cricket stadiums across the globe for the last 10 years. He has published 18 peer reviewed publications and two textbooks on emergency medicine and been involved in undergraduate and postgraduate education for over a decade. He holds a PhD from King’s College London. He has had a life long passion for wildlife and set up the Tulsi Foundation with the sole focus on improving the health of rural communities living and working around conservation areas. To date he has been working in collaboration with WCT to provide medical emergency and trauma training to both WCT staff and front line rangers which has resulted in training over 400 staff in six tiger reserves in the Central Indian landscape. With his academic background and expertise in emergency medicine he will support WCT to develop evidence based and sustainable strategies to improve the health and safety of conservation staff working in the field as well promote ranger health in rural conservation areas with the vision that this will have a positive impact on conservation efforts.

Himanshu Joshi

An ardent veterinarian with zest for wild, Himanshu is a promising alumni of Bombay Veterinary College, with Ph.D. in Wildlife Health Management from Centre for Wildlife Forensic and Forensic (CWFH), NDVSU. During the academic course of his Masters and Ph.D. research, he investigated the causes of mortalities in gharial hatchlings, used various molecular tools and conducted field surveys to study kinships in gharials in National Chambal Sanctuary, a research which was first of its kind. As a veterinarian he has taken to resolving human-leopard conflict situations in Mumbai. Started his career as a Research Associate at CWFH where he assisted in developing techniques and processing samples for species identification and disease diagnosis using molecular markers. Himanshu was a part of team of vets that visited various protected areas in Central India for health examination, disease surveillance, translocation and treatment of free ranging wild animals. When not working he loves reading and listening to classical instrumental music, at times switching to fusion.

Pooja Patki

Pooja is a post graduate in Economics with a specialisation in Quantitative Techniques fromMumbai School of Economics and Public Policy. While pursuing her Masters, Pooja interned with the Reserve Bank of India and authored a paper on measuring the degree of price convergence among different states in India using time series analysis. Fluent in French, she continues to explore her penchant for foreign languages and is currently studying German.

As a part of Conservation Behaviour team, Pooja works on providing data driven insights that help align conservation practices to economic theory.

Harshal Shetye

A new convert to the cause of conservation, Harshal holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Media from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai. Harshal has previously worked with Social Access, an advertising agency where he created advertising campaigns and short films for several NGOs. An avid reader, he spends his free time visiting lesser-known bookstores and foraging for books.

As part of the Communications team, Harshaldevelops communication strategies that reiterate the cause of conservation and convey WCT’s beliefs, objectives and impact.

C Samyukta

Samyukta is a post graduate in Forensic Science from Amity University, Noida. She has over 10 years of experience in designing, organizing and delivering training programmes for diverse audiences from across government, corporate and education sectors in India. She has worked on several successful campaigns for policy change at both national and international levels which have impacted the welfare and illegal trade of wildlife, such as the anti-shark finning campaign and the CITES Appendix I listing of pangolins.

As part of the Wildlife Law Enforcement Training team at WCT, Samyukta seeks to marry her skills in forensics and training with her passion for wildlife conservation to create effective and sustainable mechanisms for wildlife crime detection and enforcement.

Maithili Madhusudanan

Maithili Madhusudanan graduated as a communication designer from DJ Academy of Design, Coimbatore. Innately passionate about illustration and typography, some of her previous projects include branding and identity for Vilfresh Agro, Rave - a stop motion animated film for a social campaign and illustrated ads for Zoho Corp's business apps. She recently published an illustrated travel monologue on the Kolis of Mumbai. She strongly believes in the fundamentals of design process with 'form follows function' as her motto. In times when design has gone beyond the simple sheet of paper, she still finds the print medium to be a fascinating segment of communication.

As a part of the Communications team, Maithili provides insightful design inputs to all of WCT’s communication and outreach exercises, internal as well as external.

Hemlata Gehlot

Hemlata is a Diploma holder from Frankfinn Institute of Air Hostess Training, Mumbai and started her career working in the pharmaceutical industry in the Administration department. She has extensive experience in leading administration functions and in her professional career she has handled a range of critical administration responsibilities including front desk, travel, vendor, and facility management.

At WCT, Hema leads the front desk operations and administrative functions including facility management

Deepti Murali

Deepti completed her Masters in Media and Cultural Studies from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. She is an aspiring independent filmmaker and has a keen interest in topics related to ethnography and the great big outdoors. Using the visual medium, she likes to capture quirky people, places and situations that warrant a larger audience. When not peeling her eyes over edits, she can be found scrambling about the interweb for compelling content or pestering neighbourhood cats for a quick conversation.

As a part of the communications team, Deepti uses her experience as a film-maker and editor to find innovative ways to visually represent WCT’s beliefs and interventions.