Counter Wildlife Trafficking

Uttara Mendiratta
Lead - Counter Wildlife Trafficking

Uttara leads the Counter Wildlife Trafficking programme at WCS-India. She obtained a Masters in Wildlife Biology and Conservation from Wildlife Conservation Society – India Program and National Centre for Biological Sciences in 2006. Much of her work over the past 20 years has centred on conducting research to understand illegal wildlife trade (IWT) and working with various partners to develop strategies and build capacity for counter-IWT. She recognizes that IWT is a highly complex problem and solutions must bring on board a variety of stakeholders in addition to enforcement agencies. She is keen to explore new paradigms for counter-IWT that draw from the fields of criminology and evidence-based conservation. 


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.   


Aristo Mendis

Aristo works with the WCS-India and WCS Regional Counter Wildlife Trafficking teams.


Debasish Sarma

Debasish Sarma is the Administrative Manager - NER in the Counter Wildlife Trafficking (CWT) Programme. 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.


Devika Rathore

Devika works with the Counter Wildlife Trafficking programme at WCS-India. Her interests predominantly lie in understanding human-animal interactions along with communicating behaviour change for conservation. Since she grew up in different parts of the country, she has spent most of her formative years using photography and art to capture the biodiversity around her. This enthusiasm culminated into her overall aim, which is to work towards wildlife conservation through scientific research. Eventually, she was trained as a geographer in her Bachelors, moved on to specialize as an ecologist through her Masters in Environmental Studies and Resource Management from TERI University. For the past few years, she has worked on snow leopards and their prey, extensively, in the Trans-Himalayan region of India. She says, she is constantly awestruck by the species and people that adapt to such altitudes and share the same space in such extreme climatic conditions.


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. 


Nirmal U Kulkarni

Nirmal is a Senior Consultant at WCS-India. A graduate in Applied Art and a postgraduate in Environment and Ecology, Nirmal has over two and half decades of experience and expertise as an ecologist, field herpetologist and conservation photographer. He serves on the Goa State Biodiversity Board as Expert Member and is a Member, Viper Specialist Group IUCN besides having served on various state and national committees and institutional boards. As a herpetologist he has discovered five species of amphibians, led field expeditions on herpetofauna and established two field stations in the Northern Western Ghats of India. Nirmal harbors a deep interest in understanding the illegal wildlife trade and trafficking in lesser known species and finding focused mechanisms to curb it. He also spends considerable time helping strategize and secure large mammal habitats in key biodiversity hotspots that are outside the PA network in the country. When not in the field, Nirmal divides time between creating art works, reading Indian history books and finding new ways to instill love for snakes amongst people!


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.


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. 

Rishik Gupta

Rishik has completed graduation in English literature from Kolkata. He has more than 6 years of experience in conservation education and fundraising. He is presently working as a Training Coordinator in the Counter Wildlife Trafficking team in West Bengal. His interest includes wildlife trafficking, cultural significance of wildlife and human-wildlife interaction.







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Contact Information
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