Sarang Kulkarni

Wildlife Service Awards (2003)

A self-taught scuba diver, Sarang Kulkarni would probably fit himself with gills if he could. He loves the sea and is one of India’s upcoming marine biologists, with an abiding interest in sharks. He is currently doing his Ph.D on coral reefs in the Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park, in the Andamans and is employed by Reef Watch Marine Conservation. Working with the Andaman and Nicobar Forest Department, Kulkarni undertook a series of line transects and dives, and these helped identify several new species of corals. He was a research fellow with the National Institute of Oceanography and the Wildlife Institute of India and represents an ideal mix of science and activism. Not only has he generated accurate data on the diversity of seas around the Lakshadweep and Andaman islands, but he has also lobbied with the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Members of Parliament and members of the Supreme Court appointed committees. Kulkarni believes in children and has made it part of his mission in life to plant seeds of appreciation and love for the sea in the next generation. This he does by taking children snorkelling so that they can see for themselves the beauty of the undersea world. His efforts in 2001 helped put scores of marine species including the whale shark, giant grouper, corals and sea cucumbers on the highest level of protection by the Government of India, a milestone in the history of marine conservation.