Raseela Vadher: In wild territory

Salil Panchal
Published: Mar 15, 2017 07:20:44 AM IST
Updated: Mar 14, 2017 03:35:01 PM IST

Life is not a template and neither is mine. Like several who have worked as journalists, I am a generalist in my over two decade experience across print, global news wires and dotcom firms. But there has been one underlying theme in each phase; life gave me the chance to observe and tell a story -- from early days tracking a securities scam to terror attacks and some of India's most significant court trials. Besides writing, I have jumped fences to become an entrepreneur, as an investment advisor -- and also taught the finer aspects of business journalism to young minds. At Forbes India, I also keep an eye on some of its proprietary specials like the Rich list, GenNext and Celebrity lists. An alumnus of Xavier Institute of Communications and H.R College of Commerce and Economics in Mumbai, I have worked for organisations such as Agence France-Presse, Business Standard, The Financial Express and The Times of India prior to this.

Raseela Vadher, Forester, Forests and Environment Department, Gujarat

Raseela Vadher, 31, has achieved what few women have in India: In 2007, she became one of the first batch of women to be recruited by Gujarat’s Forests and Environment Department in the Gir National Park, home of the endangered Asiatic Lion.

When the department began recruitments in 2007—with a new unit for women—Vadher, from Gujarat’s Junagadh district, went along with her brother. And although he failed the fitness tests, she got through.

“Women had worked in the administrative departments, and at check-post security duties. I did not want to do this. When the opening was for the animal rescue team, I thought why not try it,” says Vadher.

Vadher has been involved in more than 900 animal rescues: 300 involving lions, 515 involving leopards, and the rest involving crocodiles, pythons and other wildlife. Now a forester, she works in anti-poaching operations, and raises awareness among neighbouring villages.

“Vadher, like other women in the forest service, has proved that nothing is impossible. They are fearless and extremely hard-working, sometimes more than the men,” says Dr AP Singh, the chief conservator of forests (Wildlife Circle) in Junagadh.

They are fearless, sometimes more than the men.

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(This story appears in the 17 March, 2017 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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