India’s foremost conservationist and an ornithologist, Asad Rahmani was born on 30 July 1950. He spent early life in Uttar Pradesh as his father was a district judge there. His childhood was surrounded with books, developing his passion for writing and sending letters expressing his interest in birds to Salim Ali, a leading ornithologist. Later, he obtained a doctorate degree from AMU, with his thesis on Fish’s Olfactory Organ. His obsession with the natural world and childhood interest in birds and bird habitats solidified after he joined his first job at Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) in Bombay as a project scientist in 1981.
For almost a decade, he worked exhaustively on endangered species, bird migration, and the Great Indian bustard, shuttling across field stations throughout the country and exploring India’s biodiversity. For few years in the nineties, he joined AMU as a faculty, but his passion for the conservation forced him to swap his desk work for field work that was facilitated by his re-joining the BNHS in 1997. In a career spanning 40 years at BNHS he served as the Director from 1997- 2015 and later Senior Scientific Adviser from August 2015 to July 2017. Dr. Rahmani has to his credit many major and numerous minor projects executed during his tenure at BNHS.
Asad Rahmani was Chairman, Department of Wildlife Sciences for six years and also Scientific Consultant to the Corbett Foundation and Hem Chandra Mahindra Trust. He was also part of various MoEF committees from time to time.
Rahmani also served as Global Council member of Bird Life International, UK and Chairman, Birdlife Asia Council (2006-2013). He has been awarded Lifetime Achievement Award by Vasundhara, Pune, and Member of Honour by Birdlife International, UK.
Dr. Rahmani’s main interest is in grassland and wetland birds, and to highlight the plight of lesser known species and habitats. He is also a member of Governing Body of Wetlands International South Asia. He regularly conducts awareness workshops around the country.