Our journey and the team

Wild Otters Research is an entrepreneurship founded in 2018, with three core verticals in mind: wildlife research, education and outreach.

We are committed to understanding ecosystem dynamics and community ecology, with current emphasis on meso mammals and humans, in various habitat types and landscapes in Goa and Karnataka states of India. Our projects aim to fill data deficiencies in the current knowledge of various species, in terms of their habitat requirements, ecology, biology, behaviour, threats and adaptations to anthropogenic influence. We primarily work outside of protected areas in semi urban, human modified/dominated landscapes.

We develop educational curriculums to facilitate professional training and development, university internships/courses and other workshops for students from various backgrounds, both in India and internationally.

Collaborations with local communities and authorities to facilitate better understanding of our environment and the importance of conservation efforts are part of our priorities. Projects such as The Otter Collective were created to integrate art and conservation while raising public awareness to a regional burning issue.

We are a diverse team of individuals from different parts of the world with varied backgrounds and interests. We are members of the IUCN SSC Otter Specialist Group, an international community of researchers supporting otter conservation efforts around the world.

If you'd like to speak to us, please feel free to reach out on kshitij(at)wildotters(dot)com.


Dr. Katrina Fernandez

Ecologist & Director

Katrina is interested in various aspects of conservation biology, including community ecology, population dynamics and population viability of small carnivores. She also has a strong interest in communicating conservation issues and science to the public and engaging people in participatory approaches to conservation, including habitat restoration, wildlife monitoring, and awareness raising. She has experience working as an ecologist in Africa, Asia and Australia and is a Full Member of the IUCN/SSC Otter Specialist Group.

Kshitij Garg

Director & Chief of Communications

Kshitij handles communication strategy at Wild Otters. He follows politics with a keen eye and studies questions of law and physics. One fine day, he has a wish to write the screenplay of a webseries!

Alexandra Kahler

Research Associate

Alexandra has an extensive background in veterinary medicine, but it was a volunteer experience to South Africa that brought her to the conservation world. There she was exposed to the devastating rhino horn trade and it inspired her to go back to school. She graduated from Washington State University with a degree in wildlife conservation and ecology and continued to work with African wildlife. She has worked on rhino monitoring and carnivore research projects in Malawi. Her goal is to bring awareness of the conservation of species through research and education.

Kilian Hughes

Senior Research Associate & Additional Director

Kilian is a recent master’s graduate in conservation biology from Manchester Metropolitan University. Passionate about conserving and protecting our natural world, he has extensive experience working on nature reserves in South Africa as a veterinary assistant and researcher, as well as in Honduras as a marine biologist working on coral reef degradation. After having worked in the tourism industry for a short while as a marine wildlife guide in Scotland, Kilian made the move back to research with Wild Otters in order to further his skills in habitat restoration, ecology and conservation biology. He is currently pursuing his PhD at the University of Aberdeen.

Shiri Lev

Wildlife Trade Analyst

An animal lover concerned about the otter pet trade that's been going on in South East Asia/Japan, Shiri is currently focusing on acquiring new field/research skills, deeply intrigued about what's it like for a smooth-coated otter to be living in the wild. Meanwhile she's exploring not only otters but various wildlife on Chorao, and trying to help out with social media strategies, as online advertising management is her official profession in Israel. Her main goal is to try and find out-of-the-box ideas to deal with the SE Asia otters pet trade.