Counter Wildlife Trafficking

Sahila Kudalkar
Conservation Director

Sahila leads the Counter Wildlife Trafficking program at WCS-India. She has been associated with the WCS-India since 2013. After an undergraduate education in Electronics Engineering, she obtained her Masters degree in Conservation Biology from the State University of New York in 2016. Over the past seven years her work has focused upon research and conservation of several endangered and/or lesser known species such as the White-backed vulture (Gyps bengalensis), Olive ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea), and the Chestnut white-bellied rat (Niviventer fulvescens), as well as on diverse issues such as human-wildlife conflict, voluntary resettlement, and community-based conservation.

Her primary interest lies in the design and evaluation of interventions to ensure long-term success against illegal wildlife hunting and trade in India. She seeks to employ a multidisciplinary approach that borrows from social sciences, economics, biology, and criminology, simultaneously engaging with both national and local institutions to tackle wildlife trade. Sahila’s long-term goal is to promote the integration of conservation science not just into policy, but also into the daily governance of Indian institutions.




Aathira Vasudevan

Aathira’s primary area of interest is environmental policy research and she strongly believes that sustainability and conservation must be mainstreamed into all aspects of governance. She’s passionate about climate action and using community-based and participatory approaches to sustainable resource management. She enjoy going on hikes or being outdoors in general, cooking and reading. 





Aditi Patil

Aditi has a Post Graduate Diploma in Management in Development Studies. She works as the Political Economy Analyst-Illegal Wildlife Trade for the Counter Wildlife Trafficking Program.


 

Anirban Chaudhuri

He takes interest in reptile ethology and has been part of various reptile breeding and rehabilitation programs. With over two decades of field experience, he has been providing support in building up community awareness in reptile-human conflict zones in parts of West Bengal, through awareness campaigns, snake bite mitigation programs and rescue-rehabilitation of animals in distress. He is working as a Project consultant providing support to the counter wildlife trafficking program.   


 


Anushri Karve

Anushri is the Technical Assistant in the Counter Wildlife Trafficking program. She has a Masters in Geoinformatics from BVIEER, Pune. She has previously worked at Pitney Bowes, India as a Data Scientist for two years. Her broad areas of interest are Machine Learning and AI. Apart from work, she is also a seasonal marathon runner.

 


 



Aristo Mendis

Aristo works as the Lead Wildlife Crime Analyst with the Counter Wildlife Trafficking Program at Wildlife Conservation Society-India. He is interested in wildlife crime-based research, investigative and data-driven journalism, forensic science, and tech-based conservation approaches. He is personally inclined in the conservation of pangolins and other underreported threatened taxa.
Before joining Wildlife Conservation Society, he has worked in Central India, for a project focusing on Conservation of Indian Skimmer Rynchops albicollis in the National Chambal Sanctuary. He completed his masters education in ecology and environmental sciences from Pondicherry University, during which he carried out his dissertation research to study large carnivore livestock predation patterns in Ranthambore Tiger Reserve. He has previously worked in the field of environmental education, corporate social responsibility, and search engine optimization. 
He believes in the idea of collaborative conservation, especially to deal with environmental problems such as wildlife trafficking. He likes maps, infographics, and OSINT (open-source intelligence). Outside of work, he enjoys thrift shopping, exploring new cuisines and crowded markets.


 



Biraj Dutta
Biraj works as an Administrative Intern in the Counter Wildlife Trafficking program.


 

Debasish Sarma

Debasish Sarma is an Administrative Assistant, Guwahati in the Counter Wildlife Trafficking (CWT) Program. Debasish has completed his post graduation diploma in Banking Services from Manipal Academy of Higher Education (Formerly known as Manipal University). He has worked in Uber India Systems Pvt Ltd, Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (MoYAS, GOI) previously. 

 

He is interested in reading autobiography, travelling and playing cricket in his free time.



Gargi Sharma

Gargi works as the Deputy Programme Manager for the Counter Wildlife Trafficking unit. In her free time she enjoys reading about the the nexus of culture and wildlife, and writing about her experiences with animals.




Jessica Luis

Jessica Luis is a Design Assistant with the Counter Wildlife Trafficking program. She obtained her Masters degree in Ecology and Environmental Sciences from Pondicherry University in 2016. She also has a diploma in Social Communications Media from Sophia Polytechnic, Mumbai. Her work so far has focused on Smooth-coated Otter ecology and interaction with fisheries in Goa, Indian Skimmer breeding ecology along the Chambal, citizen science initiatives to document urban tree biodiversity and intertidal ecology, wildlife illustration and science communication.


 

Kritika Balaji

Kritika Balaji joined WCS-India in 2019, and currently leads the Counter Wildlife Trafficking team’s Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning unit. Her work involves developing and implementing strategies to understand the programs overall impact on reducing wildlife trade. Through her work, she enjoys interacting with trainee officers, tracking wildlife crime cases from arrest to conviction, and looking for trends in species trafficked. She is keen to analyse feedback and knowledge gained from her work to suggest and implement sustainable policy changes. She has also worked on monitoring tiger populations and mitigating the human-elephant conflict in South Indian landscapes. She has a background in microbiology and genetics, and has previously worked on researching maize pathogens and gene mutations in Neurospora crassa. She is passionate about animals and all things nature.






Namrata Sarma
A graduate in Social Sciences and a post - graduate in Environment & Development, always keen on studying the environment and it's elements from a socio-ecological point of view along with traveling and food being other vested interests. 


Nazneen Sultan

Nazneen completed her bachelor’s in Forestry in 2017 and her master's in Wildlife Biology in 2019. She started working with WCS-India in the same year. As a part of her master's, she has worked on Avian Toxicology where she looked on Diet Composition, Heavy Metal Contamination and Conservation perception of Owls in Cauvery Delta Zone of Southern India. She has also done an Assessment on Activity Budget and Time Activity Pattern of One-horned Rhinoceros. Prior to this, she has also received formal training in Territorial and Wildlife Division under Government of Assam.  Her interests lies in studying animal behavior, ecological modelling, human-wildlife interactions and its intricacies and in community conservation. Currently she works as a Wildlife Crime Analyst with the Counter Wildlife Trafficking program, where she focuses on identifying and analyzing trends and patterns in wildlife crimes. She is also interested in database research techniques to analytically identify and predict wildlife crimes and provide actionable intelligence information.


 

Nikita Mohan

Nikita is a Database Analyst with the Counter Wildlife Trafficking Program. Nikita has completed her Bachelor's in Statistics & Economics from St Xavier's College, Mumbai. She is interested in Mathematics, Statistics, Computation and most importantly, Wildlife Ecology and Conservation. She has worked in the Western Ghats previously on a project that aimed to study the elusive Lorises - which are feared to be threatened by a number of existential risks. She is learning Genomic Data Science and Bioinformatics offered by John Hopkins and UC San Diego.



Priya Poonia

Priya Poonia is currently working as a Deputy Project Manager for Counter Wildlife Trafficking program at WCS-India. Her fascination for natural landscapes and wildlife led Priya to pursue a career in wildlife conservation. She is a post graduate in Wildlife Science from Amity University, Noida. Her overarching interest is in translating research outcomes to implementable conservation strategies to encourage coexistence between humans and wildlife. Before joining WCS-India she was working as a Junior Technical Expert for the Human Wildlife Conflict Mitigation in India project with GIZ-India.


 

Ramya Roopa

Ramya works as the Analyst Co-Lead with the Counter Wildlife Trafficking program. She completed her Masters from the Erasmus Mundus - International Master in Applied Ecology program. As part of her Master thesis, she worked on the occupancy and habitat preference of a sand lizard in the coast of Southern Brazil. Her research prior to that has involved studying the ecology of aquatic insect communities in the streams around Agumbe and in the lakes of Pune city. With an overarching interest in both wildlife and environmental science, she is interested in answering ecological questions that can direct conservation efforts, application of technology for conservation and conservation education. She has lived and worked in three countries abroad, enjoys exploring new cultures and languages, and has currently taken to exploring programming languages.



Rebecca Lewis

Rebecca Lewis is a Marine Analyst in the Counter Marine Wildlife Trafficking Program. Rebecca has completed her Master's in Biodiversity, Wildlife Conservation and Management from Bhavans College-Andheri, Mumbai, and before joining WCS-India she has worked as a research assistant with the Blackkite project with the Wildlife Institute of India. Her broad interests are in wildlife trafficking, marine ecosystems and urban wildlife and in future she would like to work on issues related to biodiversity conservation. 




Shivira Shukla


She has completed her Master of Science in Wildlife Biology and Conservation from Edinburgh Napier University, and has previously worked with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and the Wildlife Institute of India.


Trishanti Paul

Trishanti Paul is the Technical Assistant-MEL in Counter Wildlife Trafficking Program at WCS-India. Trishanti completed her Masters in Ecology, Environment and Sustainable Development (EESD) from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Guwahati. She did her Bachelor's in Geography from Miranda House, University of Delhi. 
Trishanti has a keen interest in research and exploration and want to contribute in the field of Conservation of Wildlife. Prior to joining WCS-India she was associated Wildlife Institute of India (WII) as an Intern in their Amur Falcon Project in Nagaland where she had to assess the effectiveness of the Amur Falcon Project in creating awareness on Conservation. She Masters dissertation was on Uses of Non-Timber Forest Products among the Karbis of Garbhanga Reserve Forest, Assam. Outside of work she enjoys bird watching and trekking in the mountains. 



 

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