Taukeer Alam

Self-taught bird expert, community leader, citizen scientist

As a child of the nomadic Van Gujjar community, Taukeer Alam grew up within the palm of Nature, around the Rajaji National Park in Uttarakhand. When he dropped out of school after the 8th grade, his profound interest in wildlife found him a chance to apprentice, first as a cook and then as an assistant, with a group of researchers from the Centre for Ecological Sciences, who were working in Rajaji. Under their tutelage, Alam learnt how to conduct surveys, and how to identify and monitor birds. He later received training from scientists of Dehradun’s Nature Science Initiative on collaring birds and tracking their movements. His perseverance and patience soon saw him become one of the top birdwatchers of Uttarakhand on e-bird, an online database of bird observations from around the world.

Now a field assistant with the Nature Science Initiative, Dehradun, Alam loves to share his immense knowledge of avian species with birdwatchers who visit the state from across the globe. He also believes that rural children deserve to be exposed to nature conservation from a young age, and so he conducts educational awareness activities for schools and the children of his community. Alam’s motivation to learn about nature is both technically and emotionally driven, a rewarding combination that sets him apart as a
remarkable young birder and budding conservationist.