Month Year: December 2004
Young Naturalist Award
In 2002, he travelled to Thailand to learn how to handle king cobras. He now rescues snakes from human habitations. These incidents resulted in a second book ‘The Call of the Snake’ in 2003. He is currently back at school, doing his M.Sc. in ecology and the environment, while writing on wildlife and snake awareness issues for local newspapers. Snakes are still his main pre-occupation.
Brought up by two of India’s most dedicated conservationists, mother Norma and father Claude, those who knew the family were not surprised when Rahul began to take an interest in conservation issues. What is surprising however are the giant strides Rahul has made, at such a young age. After completing his 10th standard, Rahul took a year’s break from schooling, working at the Madras Crocodile Bank and Pune’s Snake Park, learning the basics of snake-handling and identification.
His experiences led to the publication of his first book, Free From School, when he was just 17 years old. On his return to Goa, Rahul took part in the turtle conservation programme at Morjim, aside from conducting snake talks in schools and colleges. In 2002, he travelled to Thailand to study king cobra handling. With the skills he had acquired, Rahul began to rescue snakes that strayed too close to humans in Goa. As more people learned of this ‘crazy boy’ he began to receive snake calls every other day. His snake-catching experiences were soon jotted down and compiled into another book, The Call of the Snake, published in 2003, and accompanied by factual information about snakes and how to deal with them. He is currently doing his M.Sc. in Ecology and the Environment.
First published in: Sanctuary Asia, Vol XXIV No. 6, December 2004.