Chandra Maya Sharma and Avantika Thapa
Chandra Maya Sharma and Avantika Thapa hail from Sikkim and Darjeeling, an area rich in culture knitted with stories of wild animals and their encounters with people. Growing up, they began to feel very deeply and compassionately for the wildlife. But as the years passed, they started to take notice of the mismatch between the stories their forefathers told and the events that were taking place around them. They also noticed a change in the attitude of peoples’ behaviour towards some species in a positive manner such as birds, and the increase in rage and hatred towards others such as wild boars. This drove them to document the factors, especially the human behaviour and their practices, that enable people and large animals to live in the shared landscape of Darjeeling and Sikkim.
Avantika Thapa is pursuing her Ph.D. and has studied the ecology of wildlife in the Himalayas. During her four years of field work she realised that humans are an integral part of any wild species’ ecology. So now she aims to undertake inclusive and inter-disciplinary research to understand and facilitate human wildlife coexistence.
Chandra Maya Sharma is a research scholar who has worked as a wildlife researcher for the past seven years in the field of conservation and monitoring of mammals and human-wildlife interaction in the Indian Himalayan region. She has a strong interest in biodiversity and wildlife conservation involving the local community, human-wildlife interaction, and their coexistence in the Himalayan region.