Monday December 4, 2017   |   Shivang Mehta

‘The book has stories of love, romance and motherhood in the world of tigers. These stories help you to peep into their mysterious world’ Shivang

I was told get hold of him before he disappears into some forest, so I contacted him as soon it was possible and you know what- he was already in a Malaysian rainforest with very weak signals. Even then Shivang responded. Like a true professional. This exclusive interview comes straight from the depths of Malaysian rainforests…

Shivang Mehta, is a formal journalist and PR professional. He left his corporate job to pursue his passion for wildlife and photography. Based out of Delhi, he now teaches young amateur photographers and hones their wildlife photography skills. He has conducted more than 200 field programs across the forests of India, Africa and Sri Lanka in collaboration with brands like Canon, SanDisk, National Geographic-to name a few under the umbrella of his company ‘Nature Wanderers’. He talks about nature, wildlife and photography at leading forums in India and internationally.

In 2010, he conceptualized Wild Clicks - India's only live photography contest - which gave amateur photographers of India to showcase their photographic skills in a unique competition with a live format. The event has had a successful run since then and has become an annual competition held in popular forests including Corbett National Park, Ranthambhore National Park, Kanha National Park, Pench National Park. Leading edge film-makers and photographers like Mike Pandey, S. Nalla Muthu and Ganesh H Shankar have been the jury for this event over the past years.

Shivang has won wildlife photography awards and is a regular contributor to some of the leading publications on wildlife and travel. He has recently launched his book on tigers titled ‘A Decade with Tigers’ - that showcases the life of prominent tiger characters of India in the past decade.

How did you get attracted to forests, wild life and most importantly tigers?

I was always a keen nature and adventure guy. However it started around 14 years ago when I visited Corbett National Park as a tourist,  it was a glimpse of a tiger during a routine game drive that made me fall in love with the cats. Life changed after that. 

The national parks covered in the book

I have covered Jim Corbett National Park, Ranthambore National Park,  Bandhavgarh Nationla Park, Kanha National Park, Pench National Park and Tadoba National Park.

You have followed tigers...which tiger was the most difficult to track? But you continued as it was a challenge

The Vijaya story of Bandhavgarh was the toughest because her life was so fragile and always hanging down the wire. A lot of times I wanted to give up but somehow managed to keep up my spirits. I was emotionally into the story that times and when the cubs and the tigress eventually died it was more like a family mishap for me. Bandhavgarh for me is never the same without her. 

Which tiger was your favourite? Tell us an interesting anecdote

Vijaya has been my favorite. The incident of me shaving of my hair to please the deities which I have mentioned in the book as an anecdote is memorable. 

It is said if you save a tiger, you save an ecosystem...your take

Tiger is at the apex of the food chain. It's a cycle: you save the tiger you save an ecosystem. You save the ecosystem and tigers will also survive.

What have you learnt from these striped beauties? What can we learn from them?

Patience, perseverance, ability to survive in toughest of conditions. The world of tigers is full of emotions and if we as humans are able to understand them there is a lot to learn and imbibe. 

Finally, tell us why should anyone pick up your book?

Because the book is not just about a collection of images. These are stories of love, romance and motherhood in the world of tigers. These stories help you to peep into their mysterious world. 

Bookaholicanonymous wishes Shivang Mehta all the very best, so that he continues to bring us stories from the heart of jungles!

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