Prasenjeet Yadav
Prasenjeet photographing endemic frogs of western ghats streams Author: Shashank Dalvi

Prasenjeet Yadav

molecular ecologist & science communicator

lessons from fungi

meet prasenjeet

Prasenjeet Yadav is an Indian molecular ecologist turned National Geographic photographer focusing on natural history and science stories. He combines his experience in research with his photography skills to popularize ecological and conservation sciences in wider society. In his short career, he has worked on very diverse projects, including evolution in India’s sky-islands, climate change in eastern Himalayas, impacts of sustainable energy on reptiles, living root bridges of northeast India, Human-Snow Leopard relationships, and ecology of Narcondam Island. He has also initiated a program that helps scientists learn storytelling and scientific communication skills in India. His work has been featured in National Geographic Magazine, The New York Times, National Public Radio, and more.

lessons from fungi
Nominated by: Anand Varma FN'23
Class of 2024 Location India
Follow prasenjeet's work:
Prasenjeet exploring the western ghats of India for a story on endemic species
Prasenjeet exploring the western ghats of India for a story on endemic species Author: Shashank Dalvi

“We must find better ways to bridge the empathy gap between humans and the natural world, a way that will help us accept that each and every species on Earth is playing a role in the workings of this planet. A small blue-eyed frog is as beautiful, magnificent and important as a Tiger, Snow Leopard or human — and we need to accept this as humans, that we just one of the species living on this planet.”

- Prasenjeet Yadav

I developed a passion for nature through my upbringing, immersed in nature documentaries and magazine stories, particularly those documented in India by publications such as National Geographic. These narratives, featuring scientists and filmmakers, fueled my desire to pursue a similar path. However, as I got older, I also realized that these documentaries and stories were told mainly from a Western perspective, and although entertaining, they invariably missed a local perspective. I wanted to change that and I have been working towards this change ever since, first as a researcher and later as a visual science communicator and storyteller.

This journey has been challenging, with lots of hurdles, such as language and financial barriers, societal pressures, lack of mentors, and all the uncertainties involved, so it all seemed undoable. But some of these hurdles became motivations as I figured them out and started helping others around me jump over those hoops. Today, I get to work with some of the biggest media houses in the world, telling stories from my perspective, but honestly, growing up at my father’s farm in the middle of a jungle in central India, even my wildest dreams were not as fantastic as my life today.

India, with its 1.4 billion people and a projected population of 1.66 billion by 2050, harbors a wealth of untold stories. Amidst this populous nation, diverse wildlife, including tigers, leopards, and elephants, coexists harmoniously with humans. India stands as a remarkable example of cohabitation with nature, and it is crucial to convey these narratives to the global audience. I envision a community of science communicators and visual storytellers in India becoming local champions, emphasizing native species as symbols of global issues like climate change and fostering a deeper connection with the natural world.

The paramount challenge facing our planet today is a lack of environmental awareness, demanding urgent attention. Understanding the interconnectedness of our lives with nature is imperative, and we must recognize that humans are just one species among many on this planet. Bridging the empathy gap between humans and the natural world is essential. Every species, from a small blue-eyed frog to a majestic tiger or snow leopard, plays a vital role in the intricate balance of our planet. Through my work, I aim to introduce people to various species and their habitats, illustrating how a seemingly insignificant frog on a distant mountain can directly impact urban lives in places like New Delhi or New York.

never stop exploring