Published: 17th July 2019
This AP photographer's love for wildlife has helped in conservation and awareness projects. Here's how
He has made seven quick videos for the Forest Department and is looking forward for their support for conservation and awareness projects
You know how, growing up, all of us had posters of our favourite movie or sports stars? Srikanth Mannepuri had a life-size photo of Asiatic lion. This and many other factors — like the fact that he has attended several workshops across India on biodiversity, climate change and other topics as a student of PR Government College in Kakinada, "which really was an awesome college as our professors motivated us a lot," he says; in 2015, he worked with the United Nations Development Programme's DRIP project in Kakinada; last year, he interned with the Fishing Cat Estimation Project for six months and is currently working with Fishing Cat Conservancy, a community-based conservation initiative — have made the Bhimavaram-based youngster a nature lover, more specifically, an admirer of the glorious flora and fauna which is Andhra Pradesh's best kept secret. "I spotted a blackbuck 90 km from Rajahmundry. Who could have imagined?," says the 27-year-old, sounding fascinated by the fact himself. He goes on to inform us that there are 250 plus bird species in East Godavari district alone. Then there are the 11 different types of different sharks who land frequently, several crocodiles, hornbills and so much more. He even has the chance to photograph an Indian fox in Jaggampeta with the help of a local botanist Jimmy Carter.
Andhra Pradesh Forest Department supported him a lot and he is seeking their support for the current documentary he is shooting too
Srikanth is currently working on a documentary, in collaboration with Pallavi Laveti, an Andhraite based in Mumbai, to capture through their lens the beauty of this coastal state, with a focus on the East Godavari district. Expect sweeping drone shots and beautiful pan shots in this 30 to 40-minute long feature. "There is no promotion of our diversity. There are articles in scientific journals, yes, but people are still not aware of the natural beauty that can be found in Andhra Pradesh," says Srikanth, who aspires to do his bit through his documentary.
What a shot: Drone shot of fishermen village and sea waves | (Pic: Srikanth Mannepuri)
Ask him what his favourite part of the state is and pat comes the reply, mangroves! In fact, Srikanth and few of his friends have even visited various colleges in Andhra Pradesh in a bid to explain to students about the importance of mangrove conservation. "Mangroves are literally in our backyards, but we hardly understand their importance. Biodiversity is everyone's responsibility," says Srikanth. Indian fox in Jaggannapeta, smooth-coated otter, "who people mistake for a mongoose," he informs and laughs, and so much to see and document, sighs the youngster.
Apart from birds there are many other endangered species like fishing cats, Olive Ridley sea turtles, whale sharks, smooth-coated otters, mugger crocodiles who live in East Godavari District
Srikanth has even presented his work A Visual Ethnographic Study of Fishing Cats in Andhra Pradesh in Cleveland, thanks to a grant by Wildlife Society's Conference and Fishing Cat Conservancy. His US dreams don't end there as he wants to pursue a Master's degree in Conservation Biology there. All the years of silently observing fishing cats, clicking unexpected pictures of jackals and tracking otters has made him love nature more and he intends to spread his love far and wide through his work.
Snaps by Srikanth
Small and cute: These are small shorebirds who eat insects. They have long legs and narrow wings | (Pic: Srikanth Mannepuri)
Perched prettily: With black feathers and white belly, they usually dwell in evergreen forests | (Pic: Srikanth Mannepuri)
Dwell on: They are medium-sized cats and are found mostly in wetlands | (Pic: Srikanth Mannepuri)
Head tilt: This wolf-like animal is a social species and adapts to the surroundings well | (Pic: Srikanth Mannepuri)
Up above: Pallam village surrounded by mangroves in East Godavari district | (Pic: Srikanth Mannepuri)
For more on him, check out instagram.com/srikanthwildlife