Ph.D Students Registered in 2018


Arpita Singh
E-mail: arpita [at] wii [dot] gov [dot] in

I have always been inspired by the natural world and the surprises it holds. I have spent my childhood in eastern Madhya Pradesh around the Satpuras. I also love travelling and tribal and landscape photography.

During my Post-Graduation in Environmental Studies (University of Delhi) I did dissertation in National Chambal Sanctuary, studying the human animal coexistence there. Later on, I have been working around central India under various projects, where wildlife shares its habitat with human communities.

Conservation values are changing around the country with planning, development and conservation are in direct conflict with each other. As WII’s researcher I wish to study conservation at the very grass root level where its core values lie.


Bhawna Dhawan
bhawna [at] wii [dot] gov [dot] in, bhawna.dhwn [at] gmail [dot] com

I was born and brought up in Jammu region of Jammu & Kashmir. I have done my graduation in Zoology (H) and Post-graduation in Zoology from Hindu College, University of Delhi. I have chosen Fish Biology as specialization in masters. In continuation to this, I have done Masters in Philosophy from University of Delhi and worked on Gut-Microbiome of the carps to study microbial-diversity, its molecular and biochemical characterization. Golden Mahseer, the name that made me to come to this world of wildlife. I did my masters’ specialization on golden mahseer and since then I was much attracted to this spectacular and beautiful fish species and the fresh water river systems. Currently, I am working in a project as Junior Research Fellow and doing my PhD to study ecology, movement and migratory patterns of golden mahseer in rivers of Uttarakhand by using Radio-telemetry techniques with Dr. J.A. Johnson and Dr. K, Sivakumar as my guide. My PhD is acutely focused to study ecology of different life-history stages of golden mahseer and their natural fresh water habitats and to document their natural migratory routes that the species take for spawning by using radio-telemetry tags. Apart from this, I love to learn Indian traditional art. I like to visit and explore new places, do photography and creating memories.


Bhim Singh
E-mail: bhim1992singh [at] gmail [dot] com

After my Post graduation in Biotechnology, I’ve joined Wildlife Institute of India in 2016. Currently, I am working in Wildlife Forensic and Conservation Genetic Cell, where I deal with wildlife crime cases from all over India.For my doctoral research, I am studying the Molecular Phylogenetic and evolutionary aspect of Indian Muntjac commonaly known as Barking deer. My research interest is to understand the phylogenetic, phylogeographic and evolutionary genetics of Indian ungulates.


Bipin C.M.
E-mail: bipin wii [dot] gov [dot] in

Born and raised in the cradle of nature called Kodagu, dabbled as an engineer in the corporate sector for a while in Bangalore, jumped to the wild side at the first chance to dedicate my life for the conservation of wildlife and wildlands. Started as research assistant in 2004 on tiger population dynamics in Southern Karnataka at Centre for Wildlife Studies. Completed my Masters in Wildlife Biology and Conservation in 2010 from National Centre for Biological Sciences and for dissertation, investigated the influence of land-use change on human elephant conflict in Western Ghats, Karnataka. Joined Wildlife Institute of India in 2011 as a Project biologist for reintroduction of Cheetah in India. Currently working on the Bustard Recovery project at Wildlife Institute of India as a Project Associate from 2016. Doctoral research involves examining the behavior and habitat use of the great Indian bustard in Thar Desert, Rajasthan on the only viable population. My mission is to work for the conservation of this country’s severely neglected grassland ecosystem. On this journey, music, books and movies keep me company.


Chinmaya Deepak Ghanekar
E-mail: chinmayaghanekar
 [at] gmail [dot] com

Being always interested in the natural world, I always wanted to pursue a carrier related to nature only. With the same intent, I have done my masters in Biodiversity from Pune University in 2017. Coming from a native coastal village in Maharashtra, oceans are always close to my heart. With this special interest in Marine ecosystems, I have worked for previously worked regarding coastal creeper Ipomoea pes-caprae and Olive Ridley Turtle nesting at Maharashtra west coastI am currently working as DST-INSPIRE Fellow in CAMPA-Dugong Recovery Programme. I am currently my doctoral degree studying ‘Ecology of Seagrass associated fish and conservation perspectives on Seagrass ecosystems in Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar, Tamil Nadu’. 



S. Deepan Chackaravarthy

E-mail: smdeepan84  [at] gmail [dot] com

I was born and brought up in significant antiquity regions of east costs of India from Tamilnadu. I did my UG & PG in Microbiology from Bharathidasan and Bharathiyar University respectively. Then I got into a job as a Quality Control Officer in a Corporate Food Industry. I was always  inspired towards Nature and Natural history by Sir David Attenborough’s documentary, I harboured my desire towards Wildlife, for that I attain one more Master of Science in Wildlife Biology from Bharathidasan University by 2010. For my dissertations, I worked on Chiroptera, and keen towards chronobiology. For some time I was working as an individual researcher on behaviour of bats. When I shifted to be a professional researcher, I joined as Wildlife Biologist with Coimbatore Forest Division of Tamilnadu Forest Department to study Ecology and movement pattern of Elephants and Human-Elephant Conflict of the division and did the job for almost 3 years. It was elephants of coimbatore brought my heedfulness towards research and conservation of large mammals and its habitat. In between, I have been engaged on few studies on arboreal mammals, large carnivores, Eco-Tourism. Then I joined Wildlife Institute of India through All India Tiger Monitoring Project as a Research Biologist (Field Component). From then I was associated with WII and worked in various projects. As my keen interest is on Mammals and also being inspired to research in biodiversity of North-Eastern India through my Research Supervisor Dr.Gopi G V, Scientist E, WII. I am now working for my doctoral studies on Mammalian assemblage in an Eastern Himalayan Landscape.


D.P. Srivastava

E-mail: dps.kvtkd [at] gmail [dot] com

I was born and brought up in the concrete jungles of Delhi. I was always fascinated by birds and animals seen in Delhi as well as in my maternal village in UP. My interests in environment and wildlife took concrete shape in the third year of graduation from Kirori Mal College, University of Delhi.  

I completed my master’s degree in Environmental Studies from the Department of Environmental Studies, University of Delhi. During the Master’s I volunteered on many wildlife research projects and developed a passion for different aspects of Human-Wildlife Interactions.

After, master’s I joined BNHS Nagpur Centre and later, CEMDE, the University of Delhi to work as Nature Education Officer for environmental education to students and teachers. During the course, I also worked to restore degraded landscapes into full-fledged ecosystems. The experience, later utilized to provide freelance consulting to design, conduct assessment and provide conservation mitigations to several developmental projects including highways, green energies, and tourism initiatives.

I am working on “Understanding presence of Tigers and Human-Tiger interactions around the urban landscape of Bhopal, MP” under the mentorship of Dr. B.S. Adhikari and supported by Rufford Foundation, UK and MP State Biodiversity Board, Bhopal.  The study is using Bio-social approach to investigate the potential of tiger conservation in urban landscapes. 


Kunal Arekar
E-mail: kunal.cyan  [at] gmail [dot] com

"I have done my masters in Biodiversity from Pune. I am interested in studying the phenomenon of speciation and the underlying evolutionary processes as well as the biogeography and phylogeography of the Indian biota. For my PhD, I am trying to resolve the systematics of the Himalayan langurs. These langurs have a distribution in the Himalayas ranging from Pakistan to Bhutan. The species and subspecies status of the Himalayan langurs remains controversial. I will integrate data from multiple sources viz. molecular, morphological and ecological data to obtain robust taxonomy of the Himalayan langurs. I am also trying to understand if the different river valleys in the Himalayas act as a barrier to gene flow among different populations of Himalayan langurs. I will be using molecular phylogenetic and population genetics tools to address this question."



Madan Raj
E-mail: madhanraj0316  [at] gmail [dot] com

"I am currently working with Wildlife Forensic & Conservation Genetics Cell, Wildlife Institute of India (WII). Involved with Molecular Identification of species using and upholding high-end equipment for undertaking research and analysis in forensics and conservation genetics. I have done my Post-graduation in Plant biology and Post M.Sc. Diploma in Molecular Diagnostics. I was previously engaged in forestry research experience from the Institute of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding under ICFRE. My doctoral study will deal with developing molecular identification protocols for orchids involved in illegal wildlife trade and to prepare a reference DNA sequence database for authentic identification of orchids."


Moumita Chakraborty
E-mail: moumitachakraborty1.9.1993  [at] gmail [dot] com

I was born and brought up in a small town near Kolkata. I have done my graduation in Zoology from West Bengal State University and completed MSc. In Environment management from Kalyani University. I have developed interest in Wildlife and Conservation during the early collage days , to be specific ecology and conservation biology.

I always wanted to study on the endangered Red Panda and got an opportunity to work on Red Pandas of Sikkim landscape under WWF- India  for a year, which helped to explore the landscape and find my research objective.

Currently I am doing my independent research project entitled 'Spatial Prioritization for the conservation of endangered Red Panda in Sikkim Himalaya' , supported by Zoological Society of London EDGE Of Existence Programme and National Geographic Society which aims to conserve Red Pandas and its prior habitats.

In my doctoral research programme, I am  looking forward to create a concrete database of Red Pandas inside and outside of the protected area of Sikkim, to understand species-habitat relationships, seasonal food habits, conservation aspects and people perception towards Red Panda conservation.

Apart from this, I love to sing, explore new places, people and their cultures.


Pankaj Raina
E-mail: pankaj.acf  [at] llive [dot] com


Rahul Kumar
Email: rkbrks wii [dot] gov [dot] in, rkbrks0071  [at] gmail [dot] com

Research Interest: I am form small mountain town of Lansdowne, Uttarakhand. As a kid I was always curious about plants and used to spend a lot of time in Pine forests of my village which got me interested into plant behaviour and ecology.

I did my Masters in Forestry from Forest Research Institute (FRI) University, Dehradun, where I did my dissertation on Global Vegetation Models. I started my research carrier in HNB Garhwal University as Junior Research Fellow. My interests in research led me to join WII, Dehradun in 2017. My interests include plant ecology and monitoring. For my Ph.D. I will be looking into snow influence on structure and function of herbaceous plant communities in alpine meadows of Tungnath, Uttarakhand


Rajesh Gupta
rajswa21 [at] gmail [dot] com

I am an Indian Forest Service Officer of Rajasthan Cadre (1997). A PG Diploma in Wildlife from WII and an avid wildlifer, my sheer interest in wildlife has earned me postings in all the three most important PA’s of Rajasthan,viz., as Dy.Director- Sariska Tiger Reserve (2005-2008), Director- Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur (2008-2009) and Field Director, Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve (2011-2012). My greatest contribution to wildlife has been my assiduous efforts in Rebuilding Sariska by reintroducing two tigers in 2008. Wildlife is my passion and I hope to pursue my interests keenly. Having relocated the village Bhagani in Sariska in 2007 from Sariska, for my Ph.D, I have chosen the topic  “ Relocation as a Conservation tool- A study of Sariska Tiger Reserve”. I intend to compare the livelihoods of the villagers after relocation and also try to calculate the happiness index of the villagers.

I have a special interest in Behavioral Ecology of Animals and document my observations on wildlife behaviours for the readers.


Ruchika Sah
E-mail: ruchika
wii [dot] gov [dot] in

My journey from being an organic chemist and toxicologist to doing a PhD in Wildlife Science is quite interesting. High school was where I picked up my interest in chemistry, the chemical structures and practical applications had always fascinated me but getting to know the theory behind it was even more exciting. Thus choosing chemistry, at Kumaon University Nainital, for my undergraduate and master studies was the easiest or most obvious path. However, after the end of my master studies, my career path completely changed following my research projects with CSIR & ICMR labs that covered many interdisciplinary areas including environmental/public health, toxicology, policy and analytical chemistry. During this course of my research work, I developed a profound interest to understand the fate of complex contaminants into the environment and their ability to affect human/ecological health. A deep desire to broaden my scientific knowledge and my predilection for interdisciplinary studies led me to pursue a degree in Environmental Toxicology (MS) at the Chulabhorn Royal Academy, a WHO Collaborating Centre for Research in Environmental Health Sciences and Toxicology, Thailand. After completion of my MS, I joined WII-NMCG project in 2017 wherein my work involves understanding the toxicological effects of contaminants on survival of aquatic species. My first field visit to middle stretch of Ganga was a real eye-opener for me, it helped me to understand the severity of environmental pollution problems faced by the river and its freshwater ecosystem. After coming back and reading lot of literature, I realised that for maintaining the biodiversity fitness of freshwater ecosystem of Ganga River it is imperative to do an appropriate ecotoxicological risk assessment and risk mapping of toxic contaminants. Thus in the course of my PhD studies, I aspire to develop a deep understanding of fate & toxicology of endocrine disrupting compounds in Ganga River and then translate this information to the policy-makers to help drive policies that are protective of ecological health I like free time, but I don’t have it much, especially recently after joining PHD but when I have spare time I love spending it with my kids (dog son & cat daughter), Netflix or movies, and chi


Sayli Suresh Sawant
E-mail: saylisawant2248
[at] gmail [dot] com

Myself Sayli, I did my masters in Environment  Management from Forest research institute, Dehradun. For my masters dissertation I looked at “Occurrence of Serpent eagles in North and middle Andaman Islands”. Currently working as a project fellow in “National mission on Himalayan Studies-Human wildlife conflict project” I am enrolled as a PhD scholar from Saurashtra University Rajkot . For my doctoral thesis I am looking at Social organisation and resource utilisation in Rhesus macaques.


Shah Nawaz Zelil
E-mail: shahnawazjelil [at] gmail [dot] com

I presently work as a Project Fellow in a tiger recovery project in the Sahyadri Tiger Reserve located in western Maharashtra. Apart from project objectives, my PhD research focuses on understanding terrestrial mammal assemblages at the interface of terrestrial and freshwater realms. I have completed my masters in Animal Ecology and Wildlife Biology from Gauhati University in 2015. Before joining WII, I worked at the Assam State Biodiversity Board as a Biodiversity Research Associate Program (BRAP) fellow and later as a Research Affiliate in a local conservation NGO called ENVIRON based in Guwahati



Shiv Kumari Patel
E-mail: shivpatel0487
[at] gmail [dot] com

Adventure with purpose has always appealed to me. PhD in Wildlife sciences has provided me with the opportunity to blend two of my best interest that is wildlife and endocrinology. Earlier I did my bachelors and masters in zoology from University of Delhi with specialization in molecular endocrinology and reproduction. To learn basic techniques of wildlife sciences I worked to generate baseline data on distribution and abundance of Andaman Serpent-Eagle, endemic to Andaman group of Islands. There after I joined Wildlife Institute of India where through my research work using non-invasive endocrine methods I am trying to understand impact of human induced disturbance on stress physiology of tigers in their natural habitat. In future I would continue to explore more aspects of wildlife behaviour and physiology using tools in molecular endocrinology.


Shuvendu Das
shuvendu.das13 [at] gmail [dot] com, shuvendu wii [dot] gov [dot] in


I pursued my graduation from Calcutta University in Environmental Science in 2013 and post-graduation from Visva Bharati, Santiniketan, in Environmental Science (Ecotoxicology) in 2015. During my graduation, I was associated with the Biodiversity Board of West Bengal, where I worked as a volunteer on the Study of Synthetic Chemical Inputs in West Bengal's Agro-ecosystem, Finding Patterns and Ecological Footprints of Tribal Communities in West Bengal, etc. For my master’s thesis, I worked on, “Diversity, distribution, behavior and trace metal accumulation pattern in Insect: Odonata nymph” in semi-arid landscape of western West Bengal and later on joined Wildlife Institute of India as a field volunteer in a project entitled Moths of Nandadevi Biosphere Reserve, Uttarakhand in 2015.

Currently, I am associated with the DST-NMHSE project, where I will examine the impact of climate change on Odonates, commonly known as Dragonfly and Damselfly diversity along the Himalayas. My broad research interests are insect systematics and conservation and understanding their ecological dimensions. I'll be studying systematics, diversity, and distribution of Odonates in the Himalayas for my Ph.D. work.

Apart from exploring wild in a terrestrial system with my team, currently, ventures underwater marine system and being certified as PADI Scuba diver and will continue the journey of exploring the essence of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems through my lens and look forward to encouraging young enthusiast on nature trails. Apart from fieldwork enjoying cycling, outdoor sports, listen to Indian and western instrumentals.


Surender Mehra
E-mail: surenmehra
[at] gmail [dot] com

Mr. Surender Mehra is a member of Indian Forest Service of 1999 batch. He graduated as Bachelor of Technology in Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering from Regional Engineering College, Kurukshetra in 1995 and in the same year he was selected in Indian Engineering Services. In 1999 he joined IFS. He received Uttaranchal State Forestry Award in 2003 for ‘Excellence in Civil Services Reforms’. He received PG Diploma in Wild Life Management form Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun in 2006-07.  He also holds a PG Diploma in Environmental Law from National Law School, Bengalore. He has worked as Deputy Conservator of Forests Haldwani (Nandhaur Wildlife Sanctuary), Corbett Tiger Reserve and Rajaji National Park & Rudraprayag. He has also worked as faculty in Central Academy for State Forest Service, Dehradun. In recent years he worked as Conservator of Forests, Western Circle, Haldwani and Chief Conservator of Forests and Field Director, Corbett Tiger Reserve. He has written First Managemnet Plan of Nandhaur Wildlife Sanctuary. He successfully conducted the Wild Life Monitoring study in Western Circle and also authored its report titled ‘Status of Tigers, Habitats and Corridors in Western Circle, Uttarakhand. His fields of interest are Wildlife Management, Legal issues in Forest and Wild Life, Information Technology, GIS & Remote Sensing and Wildlife Photography. He has also authored two books titled “Legal Forestry”  (2004) & “Study and practice of wild Life Laws in India” (2010). He is presently posted as Deputy Inspector General, National Tiger Conservation Authority, New Delhi and also pursuing his Ph.D in Wildlife Sciences from Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun.


Tista Ghosh
Email: tistag
wii [dot] gov [dot] in 

Like every other kid I was always mesmerized by beauty of Nature and adventure associated with it. Pursuing my passion I did my Bachelors in Zoology, subsequently followed by Biological Sciences in Masters. There I grew interest towards population genetics and inter disciplinary approach towards wildlife science. After completing masters I joined WII as intern to get better understanding of the subject. Currently I am working on a greater one horned rhinoceros where my aim is to generate a DNA database for the species  with two broad objectives. One is to counter rhino horn poaching. This database will be used to know the origin of rhino horn seizures thus finding out trading routes and poaching hotspots. The second objective is to use the genetic data to give information like inbreeding status, relatedness, genetic clusters and factors influencing these parameteres. This information will help in taking better management plans like reintroduction, translocations or breeding programmes.

In future I would like work more on behavioural genetics where one can go in depth that how and to what extent our genes can be selfish!.. Besides academics, I am fond of travelling, trekking, food and movies.