Vipul Maurya looks even younger in his 30s with most of his friends recall him in his typical attire of a winter jacket, trek-shoes, rucksack and ofcourse DSLR and lens. Extremely polite and soft spoken Vipul has been a wildlife lover right from his childhood days. But unlike many of us, he has not ignored his passion for wildlife as some young age infatuation; rather he understand the strong and genuine urge to devote in the area, identified his options to make it a career and how to excel. A few of his long list of contribution include being involved in the Turtle Anti-Poaching operation with Uttarakhand Forest Department (Haldwani Tarai-east division), which included the rescue of 158 Turtle individuals, habitat and species identification, followed by its release in the wild, Seizure of Migratory Birds with Uttarakhand Forest Department (Haldwani Tarai-east Division), being an active member of National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) for Organizing Ganga Prahari Kumbh Programme during Kumbh Mela, at Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh and many more.
Tell us About your core areas of work :
I have been involved with different areas of wildlife preservation, research and conservation for decades now. Presently I am working on Community Based Conservation Programmes for Species Restoration in Ganga River as a research associate. A few major components of the program includes eestablishing Ganga Aqualife Conservation Monitoring Centre at WII Dehra Dun for science based conservation planning and dissemination of information and also, to develop capacity of Forest Department and other stakeholders of the Ganga River States in monitoring of identified species of conservation significance.
I have also been actively involved with the research on snow leopard in parts of “Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve”, Uttarakhand
How it all started? How did you develop your interest in wildlife and conservation from childhood?
I have developed my passion for wildlife as a career in Conservation during my M.Sc. Forestry. I started my work in wildlife conservation by working with U.P/ Uttarakhand Forest Department and various other organizations like Snow Leopard Conservancy, Wildlife Trust of India, Wildlife Research and Conservation Society and Turtle Survival Alliance in the conservation field. During these years I experienced a wide spectrum of conservation activities from Indo-Nepal cross border tourism, Snow leopards, Hyenas, Tigers, Leopards, Elephants and Reptiles. The multi-faceted experience of these years encouraged me to put my potential into work for the Rejuvenated Ganga (The Mother of our Civilization).
How do you manage your time balancing the other roles in life?
Luckily for me, I have been able to decide and chose a subject for my higher education that goes both with my childhood passion as well as career ambition. I have never been a sincere student in my school days and was a regular back bencher. But, I could feel it in a very early stage that my passion for wildlife is something that engages me more than anything else. My parents were concerned with my studies but have been supportive with my interest and choice. Today, my work forces me to stay outside my home for the most part of the year. But, when u know you are not only doing something meaningful for the mother earth but also, making a profession out of your passion, the smaller difficulties in life can be compromised.
Share with us some of your memorable experiences
It is very difficult to single out any. Every experience in the wildlife and every encounter with wild animals have been enriching and memorable for me. My time spent behind the trail of snow leopard in Uttarakhand , my expedition to Pindari and sunderdunga glacier (Kumaun) along with forest officials where we reported photographic evidence of snow leopard and Tibetan wolf are a few memories going to stay with me forever.
Who have been your greatest influence/ support in the work that you do?
There are a few names that I must mention in this context. One of them is Dr. Parag M Dhakate who is currently the CCF and special secretary to Hon’ble Chief Minister, Uttarakhand. He has been the main officer who trained me in Corbett Tiger reserve. Also, there is Mr Param Jit Singh (Former PCCF, Uttarakhand) someone who never sits too long at his desk. Mr. Singh is one of those officers, who actually enjoy the rigours of the field. An anti-poaching mastermind, Mr Singh is also instrumental in a series of wildlife contraband seizures in Uttarakhand, including a crackdown on the late Sansar Chand in the early 90s.