Expedition Leader, Wildlife Photographer and Naturalist
A multifaceted naturalist, Vedant Thite has led a life close to nature and his passion has introduced hundreds to the beauty of the wilds of India.
While his love for animals developed in the hills on the outskirts of Pune, India. Vedant has had a career spanning 14 years, in conservation, research, wildlife rehabilitation and responsible tourism.
On a visit to Ranthambore National Park, he became aware about the dire state of biodiversity in India and the damage that habitat destruction and poaching is doing to the native fauna. These experiences sowed in him the seeds of compassion to help protect the wilds. To this effect, he worked towards using his love for the wilderness, to firstly better understand the natural world scientifically, by volunteering for a zoo in Pune and becoming a tour leader for an excursion company that inculcated values of conservation and wildlife protection in young adults.
Conservation outreach and education introduced him to the academic side of natural history. He went on to contribute to multiple studies on biodiversity and behavioural studies of animals. Most noteworthy among these is the study of herpetofauna at Talle WLS, Arunachal Pradesh under Dr. Ramana Athreya of IISER, where he was a part of the first survey of the sanctuary that studied the altitudinal variation of reptiles and taxonomically identifying reptile species of the region.
With multiple scientific publications and reports (click here) under his belt his future in academia was a given. However, the nature enthusiast in him beckoned Vedant to leave the laboratory and move into a world of exploration via a career in tourism. He worked at Tadoba National Park for 2 years and developed a great love for big cats. He specialised in tracking, observing, understanding the behaviours of Tigers, Leopards, Sloth bears and Indian Wild Dogs (Dhole) while also assisting in the lodge management.
During his stint at Tadoba, Vedant realized that the restrictions on movement in a tiger reserve was a speed bump creating an obstacle to truly understand the animal behavior and ecology. He yearned for a space where he could move about free of restriction. It was at this opportune moment that he received a call from the prestigious SUJÁN JAWAI (www.thesujanlife.com), a luxury camping experience in south west Rajasthan. He was stationed in an area known for its brilliant leopard sightings and is the world’s foremost places to observe a leopard in its natural habitat.
It was at this institution that Vedant really came into his own, starting off as a naturalist leading excursions and managing teams. He set multiple projects in motion which aided in the promotion of biodiversity and rewilding of the reserve. He also participated in education and training of the locals to minimize human-wildlife conflicts.
With complete freedom to explore the various sites, he created multiple experiences for the guests. He also was instrumental in developing a research wing for SUJÁN JAWAI where he studied animal movement patterns through camera traps and logs to understand leopard behavior better and to aid better sighting opportunities for their guests. The studies conducted during this period are now a part of a first of its kind study of the big cat.
He has also made invaluable contributions to the re-wilding and conservation efforts of the site. Liasoning with the locals and the forest department of Rajasthan for rescue and rehabilitation of animals in need, as well as reporting on the findings in the field. He undertook training of teams and built awareness among locals to promote a holistic camping experience for the guests and a safe space for the animals as well as provide livelihood opportunities for the locals.
Vedant is a PADI certified advanced and rescue diver, has a bachelors in tourism studies and acted as an emissary of SUJÁN which culminated in a partnership with Swarovski Optics, Austria. He worked with Dr. Koustubh Sharma, Dr. Dharmendra Khandal and Valmik Thapar for collating and analyzing the behavioral data of Leopards, Striped Hyena, Rusty spotted cat, Asiatic wild cat, Indian Hedgehog and herpetofauna at SUJÁN.
His skills as a photographer have also garnered a lot of praise by way of bagging multiple awards and getting featured in prestigious global magazines such as Condé Nast Traveller, VOGUE, Travel and Leisure, The Times UK among others as a part of covering SUJÁN. He got an opportunity to work with the Discovery Channel team in the creation of ‘JAWAI - India’s Leopard hills’. He also maintains a log of his pictures on his Instagram which is a source of discussion within the community of wildlife enthusiasts.
In 2022 Vedant decided to level up his profile and has started offering personalized excursions as a expedition leader to travel companies, groups and individuals who are looking for an in-depth, yet luxurious experience of the rich flora and fauna India has to offer. The trips stand out in way of each experience being personalized and curated to create the best possible opportunity to enjoy the beauty and sheer magnificence of our wilderness spaces.