Photograph by Bittu Sahgal.
Month Year: December 2004
Young Naturalist Of The Year
He is writing two books on the birds of Kaziranga and Assam. Maan also works with young persons to promote tourism that is sensitive to wildlife and to develop in them natural history skills they could use to defend Assam’s wildlife.
He is a 22-year-old naturalist who has virtually grown up in and around Kaziranga. He is already acknowledged to be one of India’s most promising ornithologists with an impressive list of contributions and collaborations on bird studies to his credit.
He has been part of teams that have studied Galliformes in Arunachal Pradesh, raptors such as the Golden Eagle in Ladakh and has undertaken ornithological surveys of many poorly-known parts of the northeast such as the Mishmi hills in Arunachal and the Garo hills in Meghalaya. He has also worked as a field expert for international film crews, including the BBC’s Natural History Unit filming in Namdapha for the serial Land of the Tiger.
He is presently working on a book on the birds of Kaziranga and is also studying the butterflies of the park. Also under preparation are the text and illustrations for Common Birds of Assam, a book which aims at popularising birdwatching in Assam. Maan is also part of an important effort to involve people from Kaziranga’s fringe villages in tourism activities. He has devised and imparted training to youth from these villages, helping them develop field-identification skills and basic ecology, so that they are able to act as guides to tourists and birdwatchers visiting Kaziranga.
First published in: Sanctuary Asia, Vol XXIV No. 6, December 2004.