Our Staff

Gauri Mallapur is the Director of Biocultural Diversity at Aaranyaa. She has a B.Sc. in Botany and has a Masters in Professional Studies in migration and resettlement. Her Ph.D research focuses on sustainable development. She has initiated sustainable livelihood projects for marginalised communities in drought-stricken areas of Andhra Pradesh in India. She has also conducted similar projects in the state of Karnataka, India and has expertise in skill-development and product development towards building capacity for alternative income-generation. Gauri will use her knowledge and experience to identify indigenous/local communities living in and around our project sites to initiate preliminary assessments that will help identify their levels of dependence on the park. Further skills and resource mapping will be conducted to identify local skills (eg weaving, pottery, painting, jewellery etc) and resources that could be developed into likely sustainable livelihood programmes.

Avanti Mallapur is the Director  of Biodiversity Conservation at Aaranyaa. She is a Conservation Biologist with a B.Sc in Zoology and Environmental Sciences, M.Sc. in Wildlife Sciences and a Ph.D in Animal Behaviour. Her Ph.D research focused on the Lion-tailed conservation breeding program. She is well versed on the lion-tailed macaques’ distributional range, their diet, biology and behaviour, and most importantly environmental factors adversely influencing their population numbers in the wild and in captivity. Her knowledge and passion of lion-tailed macaques helped us initiate conservation projects in the Western Ghats rainforest in Uttara Kannada. She has conducted several conservation awareness programmes in zoos, schools and universities over the last 10 years and is interested in developing field-based education programmes for local communities. She will lead our scientific research programmes in biodiversity conservation and animal behaviour. She will use her expertise in research design and scientific method to manage all publications and presentations organised by Aaranyaa.

Shyama Pagad is the Bio-diversity and Information Coordinator at Aaranyaa. She has qualifications in Horticulture (B. Hort.) and in Geographic Information Systems (M.Sc.). Shyama has worked extensively in Social Forestry in south Bangalore for the Lab-to-Land program at the Indian Council of Agricultural Research. She received an award from the government for her invaluable efforts. Her research interest is in the area of assessing the impact of biological invasions on threatened species and vulnerable habitats Shyama’s experience in Social Forestry will help us manage our reforestation programmes. She will direct the collation of information on threatened and endangered wildlife of the Western Ghats, India.

Sidharth Pagad is Aaranyaa’s Communications Manager and Facilitator. He graduated in 2011 from the University of Auckland with majors in Anthropology and Psychology. He is interested in culture and behaviour, how cultural norms grow, change and become reinforced within societies. Sidharth facilitates Aaranyaa’s meetings, manages the design of Aaranyaa’s publications, and maintains its website and Facebook page.