YOUNG NATURALIST AWARD
Artist. Conservation biologist. Researcher.
Photo Courtesy: Arjun Srivathsa.
With a Masters in Conservation Biology in one hand and a paintbrush in the other, science meets art meets heart in the work of Arjun Srivathsa. A school trip to the Bandipur National Park in December 2002 gave this young crusader his first taste of the wilds, and ignited a passion that led to a series of volunteer stints during his undergraduate years. From herpetology workshops at the Madras Crocodile Bank in Chennai to assisting with a radio-telemetry study of king cobras in Agumbe, and surveying gharial populations in the Chambal river, he acquired a wide range of experiences. In 2009, under the guidance of Dr. Krithi Karanth, Arjun entered the field of conservation-oriented research and carried out extensive surveys on wildlife conflict and tourism in six of India’s Protected Areas. Just one year later, he was awarded a fellowship to examine forest degradation around the Kanha Tiger Reserve and spent several weeks scouting these central Indian forests. Eager to expand his horizons, Arjun was accepted into the prestigious postgraduate course in wildlife biology and conservation at the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore, and by 2012, he was studying dholes back in Bandipur- where it all started for him. Today, Arjun is a Research Associate with the Wildlife Conservation Society – India, and under the mentorship of Dr. Ullas Karanth, carries out studies on dholes, leopards, tigers and other mammals of the Western Ghats landscape. While not analysing data, Arjun’s intellect is channeled into the arts, and hisworks – ranging from witty caricatures to evocative line drawings – all related to conservation have been widely published. His outstanding work ethic and his determination to stay the course and work towards the protection of the wilds that he loves makes him a young leader on whom the hopes of India rest.
For this, we honour him.
First published in: Sanctuary Asia, Vol. XXXIV No. 6, December 2014.