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The Team

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Sanjay Gubbi

Programme Head

A passionate wildlife biologist and conservationist, Sanjay works extensively on the conservation of large carnivores like tigers and leopards, understanding their population biology, proposing conservation policies for their protection, and minimising human-wildlife conflict. He holds a PhD in Leopard Ecology and Conservation. 

 

Equipped with several years of on-ground knowledge, he works closely with different cross-sections of the society to provide alternatives for forest-based resources to local communities, conduct outreach programmes to improve awareness on wildlife conservation, and mitigating human-wildlife conflict. His collaborations with the Karnataka Forest Department included the expansion of protected areas, and improving social security measures for the frontline staff and those affected by human-wildlife conflict.

Sanjay was awarded the Whitley Award (Green Oscars) in 2017 as well as the Co-Existence Award (2019) among several others for his work, and has authored several books and articles in English and Kannada.

Brij Kumar Singh

Trustee Former Principal Chief
Conservator of Forests, Karnataka

B.K. Singh has worked on different aspects of wildlife and conservation within the state of Karnataka at different levels for nearly 38 years. After his retirement from the Indian Forest Services in 2013, he worked as Chairman of Committee  for the Management Effectiveness Evaluation (MEE) of tiger reserves in Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and several north-eastern states.

 

As a current Global Reviewer for Conservation Assured |Tiger Standard (CA | TS), B.K. Singh is responsible for the review of registered tiger sites and for examining the management status of tiger sites registered in Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh. He is also an active writer, as well as a supporter of several wildlife NGOs that work with wildlife.

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Aparna Kolekar

Trustee

Aparna completed her Master's with the University of Exeter in Wildlife Science and Conservation in 2019 through Chevening scholarship. She has been working in the field of wildlife conservation since 2014 with Nature Conservation Foundation, India, and is now a crucial part of Holématthi Nature Foundation. As a wildlife researcher, she works on corridor ecology, studying human-leopard conflict, and the impact of roadways on wildlife movement.  


Aparna is interested in identifying strategies for biodiversity conservation through integrating methods from statistics, GIS, and remote sensing towards understanding anthropogenic threats to large mammals.

H C Poornesha

Programme Manager

Poornesha holds a Master’s degree in Wildlife and Management. His interests lie in landscape ecology, large mammal conservation, and conservation policies. His analyses and mapping products have formed the core of numerous conservation planning efforts.  He is skilled at developing outreach material and implementing outreach and capacity building activities specifically targeting different stakeholder groups like villagers, policymakers, government and forest officials, and media personnel. He has valuable experience in dealing with human-wildlife conflict situations and is adept at providing training to people on how to deal with the situation.

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Annapoorna Daithota

Project Assistant 

Annapoorna holds a Bachelors degree in Arts. She was working in a production house before joining the wildlife conservation sector. 

 

She loves trekking, travelling and reading books. She adores, respects and loves nature and the forests, and came into wildlife conservation as a full-time profession to serve her bit of responsibility to the natural world we live in.

Joshika Komarla

Project Assistant

Having completed her undergraduate studies in zoology, chemistry, and botany, Joshika got her start in ecology working as a field assistant for an urban ecology project with Azim Premji University. She has also worked as a project intern with IISER Tirupati's Sciurid Lab to help curate a  database of squirrel distribution and occurrence in South Asia. Alongside her ecological pursuits, she's an avid science writer and a regular features contributor to numerous popular science publications. In her free time, you can catch her spending quality time with her dog. 

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Abhilash Pavuluri

Communication Officer 

Abhilash has been an ardent lover of the wild ever since he first picked up a book on Indian butterflies as a student in middle school. He then got his start in birdwatching during 2012, and fell in love with Kenneth Anderson's writing subsequently. This soon translated into working part-time as a naturalist, and eventually gaining experience on the field studying human-elephant interactions in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

Abhilash uses his knowledge of wildlife, landscapes and ecology, in tandem with his love of writing, to talk about the wild in a language and context that reaches the masses.

Kaveri Girish

Visual Designer

Driven by an innate inclination towards the natural world, Kaveri Girish embarked on a journey initially rooted in architectural design. However, a profound passion for the environment and guidance from mentors throughout her practice steered her path towards ecological conservation. 

Transitioning from the drafting table to being a visual designer in the conservation frontier, Kaveri channels her deep-rooted love for nature into design. 

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Aditya Ghoshal

Senior Research Coordinator

Aditya completed his Ph.D. on the mating ecology of zebrafish from IISER Kolkata following which he continued his post-doctoral research career in foraging ecology and group dynamics of social spiders from IISER Thiruvananthapuram. He joined HNF to combine his love for ecology with his passion for conservation.

 

He is responsible for analyzing the data collected from the various field projects.Outside research, he spent over a decade working for rescue and rehabilitation of stray dogs and loves spending time with his eight rescues.

Vanya Joseph 

Artist

Vanya holds Master’s degrees in Biological and Medical Anthropology. She is as passionate about exploring the natural world as she is about sketching and painting, and her associations with the Nature Conservation Foundation and Holématthi Nature Foundation have brought her closer to the fascinating worlds of wildlife conservation and wildlife art. She hopes that her work contributes to ongoing efforts to bring greater awareness on and respect for nature, wildlife and the need for their conservation. 

 

Vanya also volunteers her time to help people and organisations that offer care to stray animals and associates with Group Relations India which offers various learning platforms based on the Group Relations Methodology, to understand individual and organisational behaviour. 

 

Reading, watching old movies, day-dreaming and exchanging pleasantries with stray dogs are some of her other favourite things to do.

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Ashritha Anoop

Field Coordinator, Community Initiatives

Ashritha hails from North Kodagu of the Western Ghats, blessed with abundant wildlife and nature, which became an added advantage to her pursuing her career in Environment Science. She joined the Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF) in 2014 under the Western Ghats programme as an Intern, and worked as a Research Associate under the project "The Secret Lives of Leopards" which gave her more insight into wildlife research

 

With HNF, she works as a Project Coordinator involved in community-based conservation work in the beautiful landscape of MM Hills and Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuaries of Southern Karnataka, a programme which aims in the recovery of wildlife and wild spaces through direct community-based interventions geared to help both, people and wildlife. Her keen interest is in wildlife and riparian ecology, wildlife conservation, and the factors influencing a community’s perceptions towards protected areas. 

She enjoys birding, documenting biodiversity, trekking, reading biographies, collecting old coins, and spending time with family and friends.

Ganesh

Community Outreach Team

Ganesh was born in a village at the foot hills of MM Hills WS, resulting in a love for the outdoors since his childhood. It is the same fascination for the wild that fuelled in him the desire to work in MM Hills-Cauvery landscape. Before joining HNF, he worked under the under head priest of the Malai Mahadeshwara temple for two years, and also taught at a high school run by the Salur Mutt in Ponnachi village. He also worked as a Farmer Facilitator with the Raitha Sampark Kendra under the Karnataka Department of Agriculture for four years.

At HNF, his work involves interacting with the local villagers, helping them understand the need for conservation, distributing firewood alternatives (LPG cookstoves) to people who are dependent on forest-derived firewood, and provide solar-powered lights to them to reduce human-wildlife conflict.

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Abhishek

Community Outreach Team

Abhishek coordinates awareness efforts and events as the person managing the Holématthi Nature Information Centre. He comes from a village bordering the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary and has always been fascinated with wildlife. He used to volunteer with Vanajagruthi, a wildlife conservation NGO that engages with people through outreach activities.

 

With time, his fascination grew into a passion. Through Holématthi, he strives to share his knowledge on the local flora and fauna with as many people as possible, because he believes it’s our responsibility to ensure the conservation of our natural world for our future generations.

Prabhu

Community Outreach Team

Prabhu is also one of the team members who has grown up in the vicinity of the region we work in, making him deeply aware of the need for conservation in the area. He has been assisting the team in the community-based conservation interventions for five years now. Having grown up surrounded by nature, very close to the MM Hills Wildlife Sanctuary, it gives him immense satisfaction to be able to play a role in the conservation of forests and wildlife.

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Shravan Suthar

Senior Research Assistant 

Shravan started his journey in the wildlife space at Kuvempu University where he completed his Master's in Wildlife and Management. Being passionate about nature, he was inclined towards studying the ecology of carnivores, human-wildlife conflict, and GIS techniques. Apart from research, he love photography and watching documentaries.

Kiran Prabhu

Field Coordinator, Research Team

Kiran's connection to forests was forged when he was still a teenager. While he didn’t have access to a traditional training in ecology or environmental sciences, he picked up whatever knowledge he could by spending hours in the company of forests. He volunteered for outreach, snare combing, and formed a volunteering group which conducted various activities along with the Forest Department.

 

Even while training as a mechanical engineer, he was most likely to be found looking for wildlife, walking line transects or deploying camera traps. Career opportunities led him to spend four years abroad, but the lure of the forests and the wildlife of Karnataka were such that he couldn’t stay away. During the pandemic of 2020, he found his way back to research in wildlife conservation. Helping in a variety of research studies, that included radio-collaring a leopard made him aware of the vulnerability of these beautiful big cats. Kiran believes he is entrapped by the wild - that every tree, bird and animal holds his place in the world, and therefore he is personally invested in the global efforts to save our wild spaces.

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The Field Team

Sandesh Appu Naik

Field Technician

Sandesha comes from Kiravatti village which is situated inside the Kali Tiger Reserve in Karnataka and he has been a part of the field team for several years.  He spends many months across the year collecting scientific data from our various field sites. His knowledge of the wildlife in the region is almost unmatched and he is one of the most experienced members of the team.
 

His keen interest in wildlife photography has helped us document some of the most elusive wildlife species in our field sites.

Eshwara Prasad G

Field Assistant

Eshwara Prasad lives in the forest fringes of Nelluru village located at the edge of MM Hills Wildlife Sanctuary.  He has completed his M.A from the University of Mysore.

 

At HNF, he works with the community-based conservation team and is also involved in nature education initiatives and outreach activities. In his free time he likes to travel and is also a skilled electrician.

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Ruma Krishna Kandurkar

Field Technician

Hailing from Dandeli, Ruma has worked closely with veterinary groups, conservation organizations and the forest department, before joining us in 2019. His love and connect with animals is so special, that at whichever camp we ever set up, some animal is drawn close to him and is cared for by him. Although he may seem reserved when you meet him, his sense of even the smallest species would leave you amazed! Maybe it’s the same reason he is the luckiest when it comes to spotting some of our elusive animals. His eye for identifying the most obscure signs of the wild, and the ability to gauge their behaviour based on it is fascinating.

 

On field, Ruma, along with the team is instrumental in collecting data through scientific surveys and also helps out with conducting night patrol with the FD, camera trapping at conflict locations and in fire line preparations. 
 

At the end of a long day, Ruma is the person lightening the mood at the camp with his humour, and on stressful days, keeping his head calm and composed, he ensures the work gets done.

Mayur M Mirashi

Field Assistant

Mayur M Mirashi grew up in the coastal town of Karwar in Karnataka and  completed his master's degree in Zoology in 2020. In the same year he began his journey in wildlife by interning with Kalinga Centre for Rainforest Ecology in Agumbe.

 

In the following year he interned with WWF INDIA's  'MAPPING CETACEANS OCCURRENCE AND BYCATCH IN INDIAN WATERS' project. His love for big cats led him to join our research team and he is currently involved in camera trapping and collection of scientific data on leopards.

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Suraj Gowda

Narmada Sandesh Naik

Field Assistant

Narmada hails from a small village called Kiravatti located within the Kali Tiger Reserve. She is someone who has lived in close proximity to forests since her childhood and currently a part of our community- based conservation team. 

 

Prior to joining our team she has worked at various places like Goa where she worked as Fish and Sea Processing Technician, Bengaluru and Mumbai which has helped her gain confidence in communicating with others. 

 

At Holematti Nature Foundation, her work involves interacting with local communities, helping them reduce their dependence on forests by providing alternatives to forest derived-firewood.  She plays a key role in helping the communities understand the importance of wildlife conservation. She loves to travel and her hobbies are stitching, gardening and making crafts out of paper.

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Ravichandra Velip

Field Technician

Ravi’s journey has been deeply connected with the lush expanse of the thick jungles of Dandeli, with its rich biodiversity and pristine ecosystems. His conservation journey started with the Centre for Wildlife studies (CWS) where he could learn the scientific approach of understanding wildlife through camera trapping and line transect surveys. This journey allowed him to translate his adoration for the wild into meaningful actions, which introduced him to the intricacies of wildlife rescue, snare walks and vigilant patrols and engaging in fire control operations. He then moved on to work with the WIldlife Trust of India (WTI) before finding a place in HNF as a field technician!

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Chandrashekhar

Office Staff

Chandrashekar is the go-to person for anyone who needs anything in the office. He is curious about our work, and always up for learning a new skill. 

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