- 1 A brief about your childhood, academics, and your role as Dr Priyansha.
- 2 A story of you to get into the wild, what pulled you in.
- 3 How do you manage to find time to get into the wild? Does your job help you stay connected with wilderness?
- 4 Which is your favourite forest and what makes it special?
- 5 Being a Solo Woman Traveler, what challenges do you face?
- 6 Do you organize Photography Tours or Safaris? What kind of experience one can expect from your tour and how can one join you?
- 7 What is your major contribution to wildlife conservation and what else are you planning to do?
- 8 What challenges/blockers, you face while doing conservation activities? How do you handle them?
- 9 Describe a lesson that you have learned from Wilderness.
A brief about your childhood, academics, and your role as Dr Priyansha.
I was born in Shillong. My father was a scientist, so he had a transferable job hence brought up in Shillong, Sikkim and then in Varanasi, where I spent most of the time. After I graduated from Banaras Hindu University, I moved for post-graduation to Delhi. Since 2010 I have been a part of Delhi University as I completed my M.sc and PhD in Genetics and later joined as Research Associate in the same department. My research had been on Mustard, in which I have tried to map essential gene/genes contributing to the increase of the yield and stem strength of the plant (research papers available online). I could also find the gene responsible for leaf serration in Chinese Mustard (research paper yet to be submitted).
A story of you to get into the wild, what pulled you in.
My uncle was DFO. He used to have a family gathering of three brothers and their family once a year to the places he was posted to. When I was in 5th standard, he was posted in Ramnagar, so my first Corbett experience was magical. Back then, there was no gypsy system, and very few people used to visit. Similarly, we went to Dudhwa when he posted in Lakhimpur Khiri. After I finished my schooling, I had to stop going to jungles because of study pressure and various reasons. So it was a long gap of many years. However, I had been making mini solo backpack trips to different places but not to jungles. In May 2019, the day I submitted my thesis, I packed my back and straightaway went to Bandhavgarh and Kanha solo for the first time. I didn’t even have a camera. On that trip, I saw 13 different tigers in Bandhavgarh alone. I went in June again, no camera, sighted nine tigers in one day. That was the turning point where I decided to buy one camera and start clicking what I see. The jungle opened again in October, and this time I had my camera. I started clicking since then and am learning from every field experience since then.
How do you manage to find time to get into the wild? Does your job help you stay connected with wilderness?
No, my job doesn’t allow so, but my passion for travelling and photography makes me take some time out every month and sneak to my favourite places.
Also Read: Tapan Sheth and his love for Asiatic Lions
Which is your favourite forest and what makes it special?
My first sighting in Bandhavgarh was special. I saw a tigress named Kajari stalking the buffaloes and getting chased by them in return. Ever since, it had been my favourite place as it feels like home.
Being a Solo Woman Traveler, what challenges do you face?
Being a solo traveller has never been challenging for me. I plan my trip well before I start, and people around have always been supportive.
Do you organize Photography Tours or Safaris? What kind of experience one can expect from your tour and how can one join you?
I visit Bandhavgarh very frequently and also have been providing Safari tours by the name of ‘Junglee Traveller’. The family is eventually growing big. For joining ping me on Instagram ID @junglee_traveller or mail me at Priyansha@jungleetraveller.com
What is your major contribution to wildlife conservation and what else are you planning to do?
Creating awareness among the people is also one of the many ways to contribute to wildlife conservation. Also, my friends and I, with the local support and initiation of Ravi Pathak, helped through our contributions to install three solar panel driven pumps for the waterholes in the core zones of Bandhavgarh. Permanent waterholes get dried up in the summer season and need to be filled through water pumps, which is crucial for wildlife.
What challenges/blockers, you face while doing conservation activities? How do you handle them?
The biggest challenge faced by conservation activities is the animal-human conflict. Instead of expanding, humans are trying to confine nature and wildlife to a small restricted area. As a result, the Tiger counting increases with passing time, and the habitat decreases due to human invasion and expansion. Another serious threat to Tiger conservation is inbreeding depression. The shuffling of the gene pool is essential to keep the Tigers safe from recessive genetic disorders in the long future. It’s time that we all should think about the expansion of forest along with conservation.
Describe a lesson that you have learned from Wilderness.
Life is unpredictable. Use this life to live your passion, spread happiness and contribute to the betterment of the environment.