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It's a jungle out here...

... and not just a concrete jungle. A book by well-known environmentalist and naturalist Sunjoy Monga talks about wildlife habitats near Mumbai

On a city safari

The corporate world with its development mantra and environmentalists with their preservation credo, often seem to be on opposing teams.

The photographer stumbled upon the leopard (l) and below high on a forest tree on a hot summer evening in the Karjat area in the foothills of the Sahyadri Hills
The photographer stumbled upon the leopard (l) and below high on a forest tree on a hot summer evening in the Karjat area in the foothills of the Sahyadri Hills

So it was quite an eye-brow raising moment, or two hours to be specific, as the twain met at the launch of naturalist Sunjoy Monga’s book, Mumbai Safari recently.

Mumbai-based Monga, well-known naturalist and environmentalist released the book, his 12th book, at a function held at the Poonam Chambers in Worli on a wet Wednesday (July 16) evening.


The Muntjac or Barking deer is a more elusive forest creature getting its name from its distinctive bark-like cry

The book is supported by USV and there were a large number of bankers in the audience, plus other persons from the corporate world.


Below is the jackal at a marsh-edge in Uran. This is the only widespread member of the dog family surviving in the region

What one learnt though was that nature and stature (in the pecking order of the corporate world) do mix as there were many people who claimed to be committed to preservation of green spaces, and, nature enthusiasts amongst the audience.


The Chittal or the spotted deer is very easily sighted at the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP)

Monga claimed that his early fascination with nature began where he grew up, in chaotic, crowded Masjid Bunder in Mumbai, equated more with frenzy rather than flora and fauna. His initial fascination began with lizards and rodents(!) though the latter did give him some terrifying moments.


The biggest deer or the Sambar prefers more rugged areas but routinely emerges around damp areas

Mumbai Safari is a book about how flora and fauna exist near dense urban infrastructure. It also tells us that though it is a perennial fight, it is not all pessimism when it comes to preserving ecology in urban areas, and how nature is a fairly accessible distance away if we care to find it.


The book cover and writer Sunjoy Monga

Book: Mumbai Safari; Price: Rs 2400; Supported by: USV. Available at bookstores

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