The Importance of Wildlife and its Conservation: A talk with Urvashi Parmar

Published by weekendtrivia on

The natural wonders of our world which maintain our ecological balance and helps the world to thrive is on a crisis. Humanity and its elements have destroyed nature and wildlife in such a heinous way that a 16-Year-old girl, who should be enjoying her teens is instead in a global fight against world leaders to save the future generation. Alarming data and reports are pouring in every day and the numbers look seriously bad for the planet Earth.

Today we provide some hopes, solutions for the future of Wildlife. We are providing links from The World Wildlife Fund, which you can go through and do your bit for conserving the essential parts of this planet.

To know more about the threats that Our Planet faces, it is highly recommended that you watch the documentary Our Planet made by WWF and Netflix together and narrated by David Attenborough.

Our Planet | Official Trailer

On this note, we are trying to do a series of talking more about Wildlife Conservation by interviewing Wildlife Photographers who are making a difference with their work.

Today we are talking with Urvashi Parmar. A clinical pharmacist by profession and a conservationist and wildlife enthusiast by passion. It is very rare to find someone with so much knowledge and compassion for conserving wildlife at so young an age. She works for the reduction of the human-leopard conflict project in south Gujarat and takes active part many conservation activities. She is also actively vocal about adopting ethical methods in Wildlife and nature photography. Read on to know more.

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P.S. All the pictures and videos are owned by ©Urvashi Parmar and reproduction in any form, without prior permission, is prohibited

Urvashi Parmar

Q: Would you kindly introduce yourself to our reader? On which project are you working currently? 

A: Myself, Urvashi Parmar from Vadodara, Gujarat. A Clinical Pharmacist by profession and photographer by passion. Started my journey to this segment 2 years back.

Apart from job, I’m working on Human – Leopard conflict mitigation project in South Gujarat with Forest Department. Also launching Backyard bird count next month in my city.

Q: What attracts you to your genre? Whose work has influenced you most in your early days? What inspired you to choose wildlife photography in particular?

A: I’ve believed in capturing moments since the start, so Camera and Photography helped me as a medium in presenting the Nature as I see, to the world. Wildlife photography has specifically attracted me because of the challenges it brings. It’s all about capturing a split second when the light and the animal behaviour come together to create an emotional image. One cannot change the weather, neither the light; where the wild animals want to go, what they want to do, or when special things happen to them.

Late Shri Suleman Patel from Gujarat has been a great influence to me. He was a great man who clicked picture of 9 Asiatic Lions in one frame using a basic Kodak camera model back when there were no technologies or processing. He wasn’t scared of those 9 lions, neither was he scared of the crocodile in the lake where he was documenting all this.

Q: What do you consider your greatest achievement?

A: It feels great to get appreciated by various photography enthusiasts and it’s always motivating. But my greatest achievement would be to have got over my fear of Carnivorous or Venomous species, to be able to communicate with wild animals in their respective habitats without disturbing them, approaching and spending time with them, learning their behaviours, without which the pictures I clicked was not possible.

Q: Is it important to have any professional training to be a photographer? Did you have any at the time you set of your journey?

A: Initially a basic tutorial in operating camera is definitely required. Other than that it totally depends upon which field you choose.

I learnt by myself without any professional training. In Wildlife Photography, professional training isn’t needed, you just need to understand the species. For Photographing Wild, I would rather prefer to spend time with the locals or tribes gathering information in order to know the species better, than getting trained by professional photographers.

Q: Which is your preferred lens and why?

A: I’ve never used anything except Canon 18-55 for Macro + Canon 70-300 for other Wildlife, and these are great lenses! So can’t speak about preferences.

Q: What are the main challenges that you face as a wildlife photographer? How do you plan a shoot?

A: Not only Wildlife Photography, Being a female in this field is itself a challenge I consider. Firstly to get permission from parents for the trips and outdoors that we plan, female health-related issues, often staying without food and water for hours. Getting adjusted with places we travel, we don’t always get facilities and accommodations. Being a Conservationist, other challenges on field are communicating with wild, carnivorous and venomous species. But I consider all this as a part of field and enjoy this as an adventure and every effort is worth for a good capture!

There aren’t any planned trips but we choose our locations keeping climatic changes in mind and seasonal observations, like Monsoons are for reptile photography and Winter for Birds.

Q: What are your views on ethical methods for photography, when it comes to photographing animals in their natural habitats?

A: Ethical Photography is one in which you capture a subject in its natural habitat without disturbing its moment, location or position. One should explore, observe, collect information on the subject and then capture, making sure that you don’t affect the subject.

I’ve seen many famous photographers who have captured a species brilliantly but unethically, Like capturing a ground-dwelling snake on tree, setting up a studio for birds, putting baits or feeding, artificial shelters, picturing rescued or injured species, is totally unethical according to me.

Q. Kindly enlighten our readers on the importance and your views on the conservation of Wildlife. Why is it important, how does it impact climate change? 

A: Wildlife conservation begins with the thought that we all are similar species, not to differentiate them than us. We just need to stay away from them and the only effort we need to do for their conservation is not to disturb their habitats or life cycles, because they’re capable enough to protect or conserve themselves and they don’t need us to save them. All they need is an undisturbed habitat.

Conservation of the Wild is indeed an important matter as it directly impacts food chains. Species that balance these food chains indirectly affect climate change; because the biodiversity, ecosystem, green cover, carbon footprints and food pyramid is maintained by wild animals. And humans aren’t capable of reversing the devastation once done.

Q. Can you say about the current trends/status of conservation of any particular animal that you love photographing or have photographed extensively?

A: Be it Photographer or a Conservationist, big cats have always fascinated me, especially Tigers.

Tiger is symbol of wilderness and well-being of the ecosystem. The year 2020 has, unfortunately, begun on a shocking note for tigers and tiger conservation efforts in India. Habitat destructions and fragmentation are only fuelling the conditions on which conflicts thrive, including illegal wildlife trade. Even escalated protection and monitoring efforts by the Forest Dept. are being rendered inadequate. Protecting forests outside national parks and sanctuaries are extremely crucial, and so is identifying & restoring forest corridors.

The current conservation policies on tigers really need our attention and improvisation, as figures of Tigers dying due to humans are more compared to their noted increase in population.

Q: What is your favourite picture that you have clicked and why? Could you explain the background story behind it?

A: All the pictures are equally favourite as all have got different experiences and stories behind them. But I’d like to share 2 of my most bewildering moments.

First was documenting a massive Sloth Bear during Ranthambore Tiger Reserve buffer Safari, where it gave us some amazingly memorable moments. It was during Summers at a scorching 45°c that we spotted the giant. It got out of the greens, raised its head in pride, paused next to our gypsy at a breathtaking distance of 5fts when we noticed it had a ’tilak’ aka ‘sindur’ on its forehead as it was wandering around a temple. Later it stretched and descended down the bridge.

Also recently capturing a shy and elusive male Leopard on its rocky hill-top habitat during Sunset was an incredible moment that I totally cherish. As it gave us some really rare moments and posed for about 10 mins in front of us bewildering everyone. The habitat was itself very uncommon and fascinating and to top it all we spotted the huge cat!

Q: How important is editing in wildlife photography? Which post processing software you use for your pictures? 

A: Different people present Wildlife in different ways, be it artistic, abstract or fine-art which requires maximum use of editing. But if you’re aware of the climate and ambience, you can even capture the moment artistically and avoid post processing. Adjusting exposure, noise reductions or any minor tools to make the picture better are mandatory. But I believe in presenting nature as it is and presenting a picture which has minor editing.

Lightroom and Snapseed are the applications that I use.

Q: What advice would you give to young photographers who are just starting out and considering pursuing a career in wildlife photography?

A: Just stay away from unethical photography, Be it any genre. Explore, Observe, Collect information on the subject and then capture, making sure that you don’t disturb the moment or subject. Have patience for the right moment and the right location, do not rush or break any rules of Ethical Photography.

Also considering the genre, making arrangements or requirements while in the field, carrying protective equipment according to the weather, Being prepared with medical aids for emergencies, Blending with the locals, Field observation and gaining maximum knowledge from the experienced professionals, are necessary IMO.

And lastly being satisfied and not getting disheartened, even if you miss to capture any rare moment or sighting, just be grateful for at least being able to witness it with your eyes and always self-motivate yourself for next similar moment.

Q: Lastly, any message for our blog? Thank you for your time!

A: Found it really impressive and it’s a great platform for showcasing the talents. Keep up the good work!

Thank you, Urvashi, for such valuable guidelines and knowledgeable information on various aspects of wildlife photography and conservation of nature. We look forward to your projects and wish you all the best for the future.


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