“I caught my first when I was 13, it was during the monsoons and we had built a new house in the outskirts of Bangalore near KR Puram. Civilisation would end somewhere near Ulsoor and KR Puram was nothing but paddy fields when we started living there. A lot of keelbacks would come into the houses around and I would see people killing them. When one of these came into my house, my first instinct was to not kill it. So, I captured it gently and helped relocate”
“I always wondered why people were trying to kill the snakes. Can’t we save them? These questions made me curious and I started to think in a different perspective. All I wanted to do was observe their natural behavior. But by the time I would reach the location where the snake was, the adults would have killed it. As I grew older, I became a rebel and grew bolder, I started rescuing them and shouting at people who tried to kill them.” Says Gowri Shankar
At what stage did you think that this was your career?
“Right from my school days, I always knew I wanted to be in the forests, doing what I do best. In the school when teachers asked,” What do you want to do after 10th grade? Everybody laughed at my career choice. Recently a friend of mine wrote on my Facebook wall, ‘Gowri Shankar and Vinod were the only 2 guys from our batch who knew exactly what they wanted to do as a career!’.
What is true happiness to you?
“The freedom to do what you want to do, using it in a right way and enjoying it to the fullest! When I see a snake about to be killed, to rescue it, release and watch it go back into the wild, makes me very satisfied. Taking his passion to the next level of research, education and conservation is what makes my day and I feel I’m in the best profession” he says with a lot of happiness.
What is this fad of every naturalist or wildlife’r to be on NatGeo?
“Yes, a lot of people ask me how to be on NatGeo”. I say “That will follow you after years of hardwork and dedication of being in the wild. I am on TV after being like me for so many years. In any case it is not as necessary to be on TV as much as your association with the people you work around. If a person in the UK sees your show but the people in the area where the species are endangered, don’t, then what is the point of being on TV?”
Wildlife was always my passion and I always wanted to be in the wild. What I do is my hobby, passion and profession. People take extra efforts to fulfill their hobby/passion on weekends. But for me every day is an adventure and everyday is never the same day. Meet the need, not the greed. I am Gowri Shankar.