Like all children, I was naturally attracted to animals, but more than others. I lived in a semi-urban environment and we had free-ranging backyard poultry. I would stand at the entrance when the door is opened to get my favourite hen in hand before she darts off for foraging! Thus began my contact with animals, with chicken first and then cats.
How did you initially become involved with IWRC and why did you choose to become involved on a board level?
(i) to act as an ambassador to bridge the gap between rehabilitators of Indian subcontinent and the west
(ii) to bring science into wildlife rehabilitation for wildlife conservation and welfare worldwide
(iii) to work towards bring into focus the wildlife rehabilitation efforts of tropical Asian countries
(iv) to consider introduction of one or two new courses in IWRC run rehab courses, like conflict animal management and orphan large mammal hand rearing, especially for participants from the tropics
Describe a specific area of interest or a particular passion within the scope of IWRC's mission.
IWRC’s mission matches with Wildlife Trust of India’s (the organization I work for) ‘Wild Rescue’ division’s goal of “improving the welfare of displaced animals while enhancing conservation and pioneering science based rehabilitation, conflict mitigation and wildlife health.” To get involved with IWRC’s activities in every possible way to achieve its mission of providing science based education and resources on wildlife rehab,
Describe a skill that you have that has been surprisingly useful to your work as a wildlife rehabilitator? (or as an IWRC board member?)
One skill (natural and nurtured) that stands out is designing animal enclosures based on their behavioural needs and the manager’s managerial requirements.
Describe a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.
Being the leader of the team that brought science-based wildlife rehabilitation program to India. The Asiatic black bear rehabilitation project, being the first successful one, stands tall among all the achievements in the field of wildlife rehabilitation.
If you could choose, who would you have as a mentor?
I can’t name anyone in particular, but someone like my uncle Mr. Abdullah (who is no more) who inspired me to study well during my school days. He was the person who turned my life around!
If you were to do something else professionally, what would it be
Architecture. Actually my skills during school days was on designing buildings, parks, mosques. I was good at drawing as well, but there was no one to spot this talent and suggest Architecture as a profession. In India, even now, most people can’t think of any profession, besides medicine and engineering!
If you could be a wild animal, which would you be?
A squid in the Antarctic waters!
What excites you so much that it keeps you awake the night before?
So many things, but the most exciting of all could be an important cricket match involving India!
Describe any companion animals that you share your home and life with.
As said earlier, I love cats. I had few of them during my childhood, but not now because my wife does not like cats. Unfortunate, but true! Needless to say that this is the biggest sacrifice I have made in my life for her sake!