Our carefully appointed team comprises professionals in the fields of wildlife research, ecotourism and all important members with safety and logistics backgrounds. We are young enough to still have a measure of wanderlust running through our veins, but combined we have over a century of wildlife study and conservation between us.
Dr Ruchira Somaweera
Co-founder | Scientific Director
Ru is a herpetologist with research interests centred around the ecology and conservation of tropical reptiles. This has led him to undertake extensive research in remote areas of tropical Australia and Asia. Ru is also a National Geographic Explorer and has authored over 30 research papers on the ecology and conservation of reptiles and four field guides to reptiles of Sri Lanka and Indonesia. Read more Ru's work at www.ruchira-somaweera.net.
A local from the island of Flores in Indonesia and a senior guide of Komodo NP for over 25 years, Ajis is among the most experienced field herpetologists the region offers. He's a co-author of the field guide to herpetofauna of Komodo NP and has successfully led hundreds of tours in the region. Ajis leads Aaranya's herping tours in the Komodo NP.
Co-founder | Operations Director
With a strong background in environmental management, Thum is also an experienced explorer with a special interest in caving and mountaineering. His career background in sustainable waste management adds an additional dimension to our tours as we focus on the human impact on the environment. Formally trained in remote area first-aid and emergency responses, Thum will also be the expedition safety officer and the logistic organizer.
With over 7 years of field experience in the Komodo NP, Agus is one of the most experienced and knowledgeable naturalist guides operating in the region. Agus has catered for clientele with a wide range of ethnical and cultural backgrounds and will be the local naturalist during the Komodo expeditions. He's also a co-author of the field guide to herpetofauna of Komodo NP.
Dr Varad Giri
Researcher | Taxonomist
Varad is a Director of the Foundation for Biodiversity Conservation in India, and previously worked with the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS). He is a renowned taxonomist and have described over 50 new species of amphibians and reptiles from India. Varad conducts various field-based training programs and is a strong supporter of citizen science. Read more on Varad's work at www.varadgiri.net.
Ni Wayan Sumadi
With over 20 years of natural history guiding experience under her belt, Su is one of the most experienced experts on birds and butterflies of central Bali. Her work has been featured in numerous local and international print media. Su will be our local collaborator for the Ubud and Batukaru region and will be leading our expeditions.
Dr Ishan Agarwal
Ishan has a particular interest in systematics and biogeography of lizards and snakes. He has worked across India and Angola and has described 19 new species so far and conducted some of the first broad-scale studies on diversification in the Indian subcontinent. Ishan has written a number of scientific papers and loves food. He is leading Aaranya's tours in India and dares anyone to spot more geckos than him.
A leading field herpetologist in Bali, Agus is also a professional bird trainer at the Bali Bird Park and a senior member of the Bali Reptile Rescue. He has authored several publications on snakes of Bali and their conservation. Agus will add his knowledge and experience to our night-time spotlighting sessions in Bali.
Dr Bayu Wirayudha
Bayu is the Founder and Director of the Friends of the National Parks Foundation on Nusa Penida, and is the on-the-ground consultant for your time on the island. He worked for many years as a veterinarian and assistant curator at the Bali Bird Park, and at Ubud’s Thread of Life organization and Begawan Foundation.
With a strong background in wildlife research, consultancy and guiding, Serin is also the Co-founder of the Herpetological Society of Singapore. Serin has been studying and working in the forests of Singapore, Peninsula Malaysia and Borneo for the better part of a decade. Being ex-military, his forestry skills and navigation are on point.