Last call from P. M. Lad

Kishor Rithe

Newsroom24x7 joins Kishor Rithe in paying homage to P.M. Lad, a great and committed conservationist, wildlife expert and birder

P.M. Lad at Kharmor (Lesser Florican) Sanctuary at Sailana in Ratlam District (western Madhya Pradesh)
A rare picture of P.M. Lad and J.J.Dutta, together in Mukki range of Kanha Tiger Reserve. Others in the photo are Guruwani, then SDO, Nishikant Kale and Mrs. Lad, conducting field exercise

I used to get phone calls regularly from P.M.Lad. Many of these calls were meant for saving the forest land in Sailana, He would mainly discuss how the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF and Climate Change) or the Madhya Pradesh Government had issued some letter that was against the interest of the highly endangered Lesser Florican or point out how the capture of Forest owlet by researchers would go against the conservation of Forest Owlet.

I was busy in last two months and could not speak to him. My last discussion with him was in November 2017 regarding leopard safari in SGNP. Later I regularly received likes and comments to my posts on facebook.
But this morning I got the shocking news that this “parindoka massiha” (messiha of birds) has left me alone. Actually left the entire bird life alone.

For me, he was no less than Dr.Salim Ali.He was awarded Vasundhara Samman in 2013 at Amravati. He was always available for expert advise and detailed comment. His guidance was helpful to Dr.Asad Rahmani, Late Dr.Ravi Sankaran and so many birders.

After retirement, he bought a tele-lens and an ambulance to carry that huge lens. He always preferred to drive it on his own. On several occasions, I had accompanied him in expeditions including Pujari Kanker, Indrawati, Pamed in Bastar, Sailana and Sardarpur sactuaries in Madhya Pradesh, Navegaon National Park, Pench in Maharashtra and in Melghat for forest owlet. He used to inject insulin every evening while in the jungle as he was a diabetic. Still till 2016 he travelled a lot right from Tamilnadu in the south to Jaisalmer in Rajasthan and the Northeastern States, just in search of birds and their habitat. He was a legend. He worked on wild buffalo in Bastar, traveled as a Chief Wildlife Warden in undivided Madhya Pradesh (before the partition of the State and creation of Chattisgarh in the year 2000).He reared a tiger cub at home when there were no facilities in Madhya Pradesh and later established Van Vihar National Park in Bhopal, which is a rescue facility for wild animals. Dr.Salim Ali used to call him and request to fix up his travel programme in Madhya Pradesh. He also worked closely with Dr.M.K. Ranjitsinghji for creating National Parks and sanctuaries in Madhya Pradesh.

I had requested him to write a book when he just laughed. Without him, I feel like I am in a lost world. I Will live with his wonderful memories which he gifted me.


The author, Kishor Rithe is Kishor Rithe is President Satpuda Foundation, Member, Maharashtra state Board for Wildlife, Former Member, Maharashtra state Biodiversity Board, Former Member, Standing Committee of National Board for Wildlife

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