Vineith Mahadev grew up in India's Western Ghats, which is dotted with some of the richest biodiversity hotspots in the world. From an early age he lived with his family in Mysore, where he spent most of his childhood birdwatching around the lakes within the city. The natural environment around Mysore, filled with parks, sanctuaries and wetlands, formed Vineith's first encounters with nature, immersing him in the beauty and wonder of the natural world. Mysore is also one of the cultural capitals of India, known for its long heritage of poets, playwrights and musicians. Vineith found a bond with the natural world through poetry, taking inspiration from the birds, trees and natural history connections around him. Deeply drawn to art and literature, he has been active in theater and music groups, although his professional pursuits were originally in the direction of technology. After pursuing a degree in computer science engineering in Bangalore, he tried his hand at corporate jobs, but a growing interest in understanding snake ecology—inspired by snake handlers and biologists working in the Western Ghats—drew him back to his first love, nature, to work in the rain forests.
His naturalist career began as a tracker for the King Cobra radio telemetry project in the rain forest, which soon morphed to guiding in South Indian national parks. He went on to work in top ecolodges across India and now lives "on the job" in Satpura Tiger Reserve in Central India, where he continues to build his considerable expertise as a naturalist guide. Vineith loves to initiate projects that bring together science and community in the diverse and untamed landscapes of the Central Indian Highlands.
Vineith enjoys personal travel, too, and has backpacked across Africa and the tropics of South Asia. Traveling has only enhanced his storytelling skills, and his favorite thing to do on safari with guests is to watch people’s amazement and wonder as they listen to the exceptional wildlife stories he has collected.