Samir Kumar Sinha

Samir has been working in the Tiger Recovery Project in Valmiki Tiger Reserve, Bihar, since 2003 when he joined Wildlife Trust of India (WTI). He is responsible for the on-site implementation of the project which aims for long-term recovery of tiger population in this once-neglected reserve.

“When we started, the law and order situation in the reserve was pathetic,” recalls Samir. “However, we could successfully implement the project as we had active support of the local daily-wage workers of the forest department.”

Over the last five years, Samir has explored every corner of Valmiki, collecting data on habitat quality, abundance and distribution of major predators and their prey. He has also conducted surveys in more than 100 neighbouring villages to assess the socio-economic condition, dependence and conservation aspiration of the villagers.

“Wildlife conservation efforts will not be successful without pro-active participation of local communities,” says Samir, who is currently working on the human dimensions of wildlife management in the tiger reserve for his PhD research. The focus of his research is on attitude, needs and problems related to human – wildlife conflict of the communities settled close to the core area of the Reserve.

“People here exploit forest and wildlife as it serves them direct benefits (through forest resources, meat etc). It is necessary to change their perception and make them realise that their lives can be improved by conserving wildlife and forest (through indirect benefits). They are now aware that hunting and habitat destruction are offences, but still a lot needs to be done, by government as well as NGOs,” adds Samir.

A post graduate in environmental sciences, Samir began his career in the Ganga Pollution Monitoring Project. As a research fellow, he then worked for more than three years in the Gangetic Dolphin Conservation Project of the Zoology department of Patna University, sponsored by the wildlife division of the Ministry of Environment and Forests; he studied ecology and behavior of Ganges River Dolphin in River Ganga and its tributaries in Bihar.

“My earlier jobs were mainly research-oriented,” says Samir. “Here in WTI, I am directly involved in implementing conservation activities with inputs from various departments of the organisation. Such support, especially to young people, is really hard to come by in academic organisations involved in research.”

Samir is a prolific writer and has contributed articles to local, national as well as international publications. His articles have appeared in popular publications such as the Hindustan Times, Patna Ed, Down to Earth, Sanctuary Asia, Science Reporter, ZOOS’ Print, Himal Southasia among others.

He is a talented cook and especially loves rustling up local dishes. He is also interested in collecting and studying scientific literature on every aspect of ecology and environment.