I am originally not a Goan, being a native of the neighbouring district of Sindhudurg and born in Kolhapur.
I was always lovingly referred to as Ghanti by my friends, only to have realized over time that the Goa that I know, and have grown up to love, is far different from theirs. And I am more a Goenkar than many of my Goan friends who claim to be (with no ill will to them!!)
Having been brought up here, and traversed through the most remote nooks and corners of the State, very often on foot, I have grown to admire and love the incredible range of floral and faunal diversity more than anything else. It is a very special component of our heritage, which unfortunately is not appreciated as it should be. Worse, it is neglected.
Goa is unique in its geographic position, lying at the confluence of the Northern and the Southern Western Ghats. It exhibits floral and faunal assemblage that are distinctive of the both. Unlike the British, who conducted extensive studies on the biodiversity all around the rest of India, natural history was a neglected subject under the four and a half centuries of Portuguese rule, and has remained neglected since then except for a few sporadic studies.
I have had the opportunity to closely observe and study the faunal components, especially the lesser-known fauna. My emphasis has been on Avifauna, Butterflies and Odonates (dragonflies)
I have had to face very difficult odds, with very few experts in the field in Goa, and further very few interested in the subject.
More recently, there are more youngsters are taking to the field, and we are already seeing promising results. Lot more needs to be done, though.
Ultimately, the knowledge we earn through field studies needs to be made user friendly so that we can communicate with a broad audience. Education and awareness will always be the key to conservation success.