Romulus Whitaker: Conservationist and Writer
Photo credit: Adam Britton

Romulus Whitaker is among the foremost wildlife conservationists in India. He set up the Madras Snake Park, the Madras Crocodile Bank, the Andaman Islands Environmental Trust, and the Agumbe Rainforest Research Station. In 1978 he established the Irula Snake-catchers’ Cooperative, which supplies the venom used to make life-saving antivenom for India. As a wildlife management consultant for the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, he has set up crocodile ranches in Mozambique, Bangladesh, West Papua, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea. He is a recipient of the Whitley Award, the Rolex Award for Enterprise, the Peter Scott Conservation Award, Salim Ali Award for Nature Conservation, and the Padma Shri.

His books include the definitive Snakes of India: The Field Guide, co-authored with Ashok Captan, (Draco/Westland), plus many scientific papers and popular articles. He has produced and presented two dozen films, one of which, King Cobra received an Emmy. For his documentaries, he has wrestled with king cobras, been cave-diving in icy water for Slovenian olms, climbed trees in pursuit of flying lizards in the Western Ghats, and busted the myths about Komodo dragons in Indonesia.

He is co-author with Janaki Lenin of the forthcoming Snakes, Drugs and Rock and Roll.