Nature should win: how NatWin organises wildlife tours, photo exhibitions, and monitoring of poachers’ snaresMadanmohan Rao
In this two-part photo essay, we showcase NatWin’s recent nature photo exhibition along with insights from its activist co-founder Navin Raj.
PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 280 posts, we featured an art festival, cartoon gallery. world music festival, telecom expo, millets fair, climate change expo, wildlife conference, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, and jazz festival.
Dozens of animal species have become extinct over the past few decades, and nature lovers around the world are rallying to increase awareness about wildlife conservation. For example, Bengaluru-based NatWin (‘nature wins’) organises wildlife tours, photography exhibitions, and snare-monitoring services.
Navin Raj, a former customer relations officer at Indigo Airlines, decided to go full-time with his twin passions of wildlife conservation and photography, and founded NatWin in 2015. The travel company organises around 25 wildlife trips each month, to nature parks across India and Africa.
The NatWin team includes Shiva Dhanush (co-founder), Koushik Bharadwaj (travel coordinator), and Prabhakar (marketing head). Tour costs range from Rs 2,500 (Bandipur) to Rs 95,000 (Masai Mara); Sri Lanka tours are around Rs 25,000.
“Photography can be not just a passion, but an important medium for documenting our precious wildlife,” said Navin, in a chat with YourStory. NatWin has organised three annual photography exhibitions as well, such as the recent one at Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath.
Photographs were priced at Rs. 1,300 each. A number of the photographers were at the exhibition, displaying their pictures and sharing the stories behind them. In Part II of our photo essay, we share insights from one of the photographers, Jerry Martin, along with more pictures.
Navin encourages more people to take up the cause of nature awareness through photography, but also cautions aspiring photographers to respect the birds and animals. “Understand your subject’s behaviours, and don’t intrude or disturb their activities,” he advises.
Wildlife photography also calls for lots of patience. Navin explains that the lion cub photograph in this photo essay took an hour and a half of planning and waiting, early in the morning of 21 August this year. “This cub was very special, it seemed as if it was laughing and coming toward us,” he recalls.
Over the years, NatWin has organised tours and photo camps in Bandhavgarh, Pench, Tadoba, Agumbe, Kabini, and Bandipur. Amateur and professional photographers benefit from specialised tours such as tiger safaris. NatWin offers mentorship for aspiring photographers, and also sells merchandise such as T-shirts and covers for lenses and cameras.
One of NatWin’s recent initiatives is forming the Indian Anti-Snare Combing Force. “We monitor locations to spot where poachers place snares. We remove the snares and notify forest authorities and estate owners about these snares,” says Navin.
“Nature is something we need to relish but also protect and conserve,” Navin signs off.
Now what have you done today to become involved in preserving and protecting our precious natural resources?
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