Meet Shashank Srinivasan

First published in Sanctuary Cub, Vol. 41 No. 9, September 2021

Meet Shashank Srinivasan, 35, cartographer, drone pilot, conservation technologist and founder, Technology for Wildlife.

What inspired you?

Reading books by James Herriot, Gerald Durrell and Enid Blyton, among other authors, inspired my childhood love for animals and the natural world. As an adult, reading a wide range of material convinced me that wildlife and environmental conservation is critically important, both to me as an individual as well as for the continued survival of humanity.

Tell us about your work…

I currently run an organisation called Technology for Wildlife; we help organisations and individuals working in conservation with mapping, data analysis and robot operations. While these services are essential for conservation, the high costs and technical skills required put these out of reach of most small organisations. Our model of operation allows them to use these services, letting them do their conservation work more effectively.

Watch This! Documentaries/films by David Attenborough, My Octopus Teacher (Netflix), Born Free (Amazon Prime), Princess Mononoke (HBO Max/YouTube), Avatar: The Last Airbender (the Nickelodeon show, not the movie!) and Captain Planet (iTunes, Google Play).

What do you consider your biggest achievement?

One of the things I’m most proud of is that I accurately identified a gap in conservation action, and have been able to set up an organisation to address it. The need for my organisation’s existence has been validated over the past few years, and that is an excellent feeling.

A book that influenced you?

All of Gerald Durrell’s books, about both his childhood and his adult working life, have influenced me immensely. As an adult, working in the conservation technology space, the book Geek Heresy by Kentaro Toyama has been a useful guide. I am also an avid reader of science fiction, and thinking about the many potential futures mankind and the Earth could face has helped me structure my work.

The last movie you watched?

I recently watched ‘The Last Dance’, a 10-part documentary about Michael Jordan. It was very inspiring; aside from learning about his intense drive for success, I have also been motivated to go back to shooting hoops!

A favourite quote?

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” by Arthur C. Clarke.

What gives you hope?

Working with people genuinely fighting against difficult odds for the environment, and all our planet’s living beings, is joyous. The best example I know of this are Claude and Norma Alvares at the Goa Foundation, who are role models; they are able to suffer the disappointment of losing individual battles gracefully, and can work through it to achieve significant stunning victories.

Advice for young people?

Try and work with people you like for places you love. Being able to work for Planet Earth is a privilege and you should not settle for collaborators who do not allow you to work to your full potential.

Where can we find you?

Instagram/Twitter: @techforwildlife 
Facebook: Technology for Wildlife

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