Conservation Expert/Wildlife Biologist & Ecologist Aparajita Datta engaged in long-term protection of threatened wildlife with local communities in northeast India. She has discovered two species of little-known muntjacs (deer) in Arunachal's forests, and a new species of monkey (the Arunachal macaque Macaca munzala Mammal) during her yearly exploration surveys in western & eastern Arunachal, India.
Hometown: Kolkata, India, (Lusaka, Zambia as a child)
Education: PhD in Wildlife Ecology
Occupation: Wildlife biologist (Senior Scientist at the Nature Conservation Foundation, Mysore, India)
Expeditions: Mammal exploration surveys in western & eastern Arunachal in 2002, 2003, yearly treks into eastern Arunachal’s forests (2004 onwards)
Favorite Place to Be: Namdapha’s magical forests and a remote Lisu tribal village in Arunachal Pradesh, NE India
Best Discovery: Every day in the forest is full of small discoveries! Understanding a bit about the intricate connections between plants and animals in a forest, finding two species of little-known muntjacs (deer) in Arunachal’s forests and a new species of monkey (the Arunachal macaque Macaca munzala) with NCF colleagues in 2004.
Favorite Items to Have in the Field: Camera, binoculars, field notebook, water, leech-proof socks!
Personal Hero: My grandfather for his courage, Gerald Durrell, David Attenborough for introducing me to the world of animals as a child, Dr. AJT Johnsingh (my teacher) for inspiring a generation of Indian wildlife biologists.
Hobbies: Reading, swimming, travel, cooking, walking the forests, watching my cats
Advice: Don’t ever lose your curiosity and sense of wonder.
I love what Don Juan, a Yaqui Indian said: “For me there is only the traveling on the paths that have heart, on any path that may have heart. There I travel, and the only worthwhile challenge for me is to traverse its full length. And there I travel—looking, looking, breathlessly."