From hospitality to wildlife- Meet Prathamesh Desai

January 2, 2014 | By dw
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By Amanjeet Kaur

“I’ve wanted to work with wildlife since childhood. Transforming passion for wildlife into a career felt like I was creating a new world for myself, a world I had only dreamt of till now. Thankfully this dream came true, when I was offered a job at Wildlife SOS as a naturalist and communication officer. This opportunity made me realize how much I wanted to switch from being hospitality personnel to a “wild-lifer”. I can’t deny that it was tough to choose between my educational qualifications and my passion. My parents and my brother are my support system and helped me take this important, life- changing decision. Today, as I live my dream, I am so happy to be a part of Wildlife SOS.”

We caught up with 23-year-old Prathamesh Desai, our communication officer at the Agra Bear Rescue Facility (ABRF), as he shared with us his story.

Why Wildlife SOS?

As a bird-watcher, I would hear about the constant bird rescue operations by Wildlife SOS. Continuous praise about these operations from my friends made me curious about Wildlife SOS. My research into their activities brought up an amazing variety of wildlife that they worked with, and I was amazed at the success of the organization to stop the barbaric practice of “dancing bears” in India as well as their efforts to provide alternate means of livelihood to the Kalandar community. This made me want to work with Wildlife SOS. Here I am today enjoying every minute of my work.

How is a typical day for you at the Agra Bear Rescue Facility?

Since Agra Bear Rescue Facility is Asia’s largest rescue rehabilitation centre for Asiatic sloth bears, we get a lot of visitors- both local as well as foreigners. My day begins with updating the visitors’ database, followed by attending to guests and even volunteers. I then write updates on the bears in the facility and on our rescue operations and this defines my work profile at Wildlife SOS. Since sloth bears are more active early in the mornings and late in the evenings, I try capturing them at their best at these times of the day. All the data that I gather, I then send out to my team in Delhi, where the head office is.

Describe your best day at Wildlife SOS

Well, every day is the best when I am working with animals! But I recall the release of a crocodile at the Chambal Sanctuary as my most memorable day till date. Apart from that, the arrival of newly rescued bears at the rescue facility always creates a great feeling.

What do you like doing when you are not a communication associate at ABRF?

I grew up in the city of Mumbai- a city that never sleeps. I’m juggling between work and home, but watching birds is what drives me. When I am not working, I am busy bird-watching and have been doing that since the last four years. Since ABRF is located on the banks of Yamuna on one side and Keetham lake on the other, I am lucky to have many different species of birds around me all the time. I spend most of my day tracking their migration movements and clicking photographs. On my day off, I explore the local areas and understand the lifestyle of people in Agra. Savouring the street food here and shopping in the flea markets are all new experiences for me.

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