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.
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 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 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.
He graduated in Zoology and Bio-Tech course from Loyola college, Chennai and went on to pursue his Masters in Forestry from Forest Research Institute, Dehradun. For his Masters dissertation he attempted to study the cases on man-animal conflict in the villages situated in Palamau Tiger Reserve and Betla National Park, Jharkhand. He has worked with elephants and sloth bears previously. From his few years of working in the conservation sector, Benjamin believes that inter-disciplinary approaches for conservation have far reaching impacts. Mindful nature education programmes are another key component he aspires to continue working on. He enjoys sports and music along with playing drums.
Biraj works as an Administrative Intern in the Counter Wildlife Trafficking program.
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.
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.
Gargi works as the Deputy Programme Manager, and co-leads the Research cell within the Counter Wildlife Trafficking program. In her free time she enjoys reading about the the nexus of culture and wildlife, and writing about her experiences with animals.
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 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.
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 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.
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 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 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 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.
Shama works as a Technical Associate with the Counter Wildlife Trafficking Program at WCS-India. She has a Bachelors in Engineering in Computer Science. Worked as a Data Engineer for four plus years in the corporate before joining WCS-India.
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 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.