People of India Project – Eric D’Cunha

Eric majored in botany and zoology from Mysore University and has a long-standing association with the Mangalore Wildlife Trust and the Bombay Natural History Society. He took up the job of a Senior Naturalist with Indian Adventures at Kanha in 1986 and became the resort manager in 1987. Ever since, he has lived in Central India. He was elected as President of the Jungle lodges Association of Kanha and was appointed by the Madhya Pradesh Government as a member of the Tiger steering Committee.

I first met Eric when I was living in Kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh. He truly is a man of the jungles, with a passion for the region and its wildlife and is incredibly generous with his knowledge, hospitality and incredibly humble too. He was a mine of information and never once grumbled at the hundreds of questions I bombarded him with when fact checking for my book.

  1. Who you are (naturally!)

I strongly believe that I was born to live with nature.

  1. What inspired you to create/join your business?

A strong desire to pursue my passion inspired me to be a naturalist/manager of a wildlife lodge.

  1. An anecdote which epitomizes your India?

Unparalleled diversity in every aspect. Be it people, religion, culture, food, attire and most importantly the biodiversity.

  1. One thing that you can’t live without?

Can’t live without natural greenery and bird calls around me.

  1. One thing that you hate?

Crowds and polluted cities.

  1. If you could change one thing about India what would it be?

Measure to bring down the exploding population and stop overexploitation of our natural resources. Try to improve the degraded land. Overall improvement/restoration of India’s natural world.

  1. Who is your greatest inspiration?

My parents.

  1. What is your favourite quote?

Consume only as much is needed.

  1. I have noticed huge changes in India over the last few years but what is the biggest change you have noticed in India over the last 10 years?

Almost a revolution in telecommunications. The social media has reached even rural areas. But unfortunately, the standard of education in rural areas has not reached the desired levels.

 

  1. What do you think are the biggest challenges India faces over the next ten years?

The huge and ever growing populations primarily of our urban areas will emerge as a big challenge to before our governments in providing appropriate infrastructure and safeguarding the ecosystems. The air quality and the health of our river systems also will remain a challenge.

  1. Which is the destination at the top of your bucket list?

Andaman and Nicobar islands. To explore and not visit as a tourist.

  1. What is the one place you visited that you have NO desire to return to?

Can’t think of really.

  1. Book or Movie?

Book

  1. Just for fun! I am doing a survey to find India’s most popular breakfast, what is yours?

South Indian any day !

15.In retrospect, what is the one thing you wish you could have told your 20 year-old self?

Time flies faster than we imagine.

Eric can usually be found in Kanha National Park where he manages Bagh Tola a wonderful lodge with just 8 rooms, wonderful food and of course, with Eric on tap to answer all your questions about the jungle, the people and the wildlife.

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