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 H. C. 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.

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Tanmayi Gidh

Project Assistant - Communications

Tanmayi is the Communications person for the organisation. Her work revolves around communicating the conservation work across different verticals to the various stakeholders, and she works closely with the different teams. 

Her interest lies in understanding the intricacies of community engagement and conservation, human-wildlife conflict mitigation, and the power of communication as a means of conservation. 

She is passionate about capturing and telling stories that can make a difference, loves the outdoors, and is curious about exploring a sustainable lifestyle. 

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Julieanne Prabhakar 

Communication Officer 

Julieanne grew up in diverse cultural network. Encouraged in the arts, taught to appreciate the natural values and rooted in her beliefs found herself drawn to make the world a better place. An enthusiastic visual designer with a keen passion for exploring the social and ecological patterns that influence her surroundings. 

 

She is a combination of diverse educational experiences, insightful social networking perspectives and skills in a range of creativity tools which she hopes to use to encourage the next generation of environmental enthusiasts. 

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. 

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 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.

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Santosh Kumar (Alumni)

Field Coordinator, Community Outreach

Santhosh is the on-field coordinator at HNF. Santosh has pursued his Masters at the Indian Institute of Forest Management. Over the last four years he has been working on various aspects of community based conservation in the Malai Mahadeshwara and Cauvery landscape as a part of the team working to reduce human-wildlife conflict through awareness generation and the solar initiative, developing alternative livelihoods for communities dependent on forest produce, and conducting outreach and education programmes through Holématthi Nature Information Center

Ganesh

Community Outreach Team

Ganesh was born in a village at the foot hills of MM Hills WS, so he had loved 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 Holématthi, 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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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 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.

Amrita Menon (Alumni)

Research Coordinator 

Over the years has worked across diverse landscapes in the field of conservation biology and population ecology.

 

She worked on golden frogs (Hylarana Aurantiaca) at Agumbe Rainforest Research Station for her bachelor thesis. After graduation, she worked on a long term olive ridley turtle conservation program at Centre for Ecological Sciences, IISc, Bangalore. In 2017, she graduated with a Master's in Applied Ecology. For her master thesis, she worked on neotropical bats of Brasilia National Park in Brazil, where they were testing the reliability of automated software to identify species with their echolocation calls.

 

With HNF she works on the leopard population monitoring project in Karnataka. She is also actively working on improving the current ecological data processing by implementing new and innovative technological solutions.

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Vinod 

Senior Programme Manager

Vinod’s love for the outdoors fuelled a keen interest in wildlife which eventually led him to work in the field of wildlife conservation. His professional journey began in 2015 with Nature Conservation Foundation where his  work focussed on minimising human-elephant conflict by implementing technology-based early warning systems in collaboration with the Karnataka Forest Department in the Hassan region of Karnataka. Besides working with stakeholders such as farmers, coffee planters and other government agencies, it gave him the chance to observe elephants more closely, and their interactions with people in a human-dominated landscape. At HNF, he continues his journey of understanding the different facets of human-wildlife interactions in the MM Hills and Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary region. 

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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.

Malaika Mathew Chawla

Research Assistant 

Malaika is interested in the ecology and conservation of small mammals in unprotected, human-use areas. Her favourite wildlife are jackals, foxes, civets and mongooses. She has previously worked on human-jackal interactions in a semi-urban landscape in Goa. Besides ecological research, Malaika also volunteers with the Save Mollem campaign— a citizen's movement to protect Mollem National Park from large infrastructure projects.

 

In the future, she would like to teach children about wildlife, along with continuing her work in scientific research. 

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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.

The Field Team

Rajesh, Sandesh, Ruma and Praveen are part of the field team led by Kiran. This is the team responsible for bringing accurate, scientific data first-hand, that forms the basis of all our research. They spend months throughout the year braving arduous conditions to keep the work going. They share a close, amicable relationship with the forest frontline staff, have an impeccable understanding of our wild spaces, and share a deep love for the environment. 

Suraj Gowda