My name is Aditya Swami. I am from Mumbai, India, and my love for the ocean and all of its inhabitants began in a very unconventional way.
Animals were always a part of my life. I have fostered young animals throughout my school years. I have been an active participant in multiple TNR drives in my neighbourhood. Through my volunteer work with animal shelters, I have been a part of feral animal vaccination drives in rural India as well. Though growing up in metropolitan Mumbai did not give me the opportunity to experience diverse wildlife on a daily basis, watching the wildebeest prod along the Serengeti or watching a Great White thrust out of the water with a sea lion in its grasp on National Geographic always made up for it.
Just as the Great Whites have, over 400 million years of existence, my interests in the animal kingdom have also evolved over 20 years. My arc of fascination has moved from the gargantuan prehistoric dinosaurs, to snakes and reptiles, to the big cats, and finally to the sharks. Through this entire journey, one thing has remained constant, the fact that I have always wanted to research and be an active voice in wildlife conservation in the future. A huge part of me has always dreamed of having my own TV-show on National Geographic, so that I could follow in the footsteps of my idol, Steve Irwin, to convey the urgency of wildlife and marine conservation in this day and age to a broader audience through mass media.
Great whites first captured my fascination when a 5-year-old me picked up his first introduction to sharks for kids book. But no amount of stunning pictures could have done the great whites enough justice. I had to see one in the flesh, through my own eyes. There have been very few moments in my life that can compare to the time I saw 12 different great whites while out Shark Cage Diving with Marine Dynamics in the summer of 2015. From that time, I knew that I had to come back to Marine Dynamics, come back to Gansbaai, sometime in the future.
In the meanwhile, I finished my undergrads in Zoology with a minor in Theatre from the University of British Columbia in Canada where I was privileged enough to receive a full scholarship throughout the 4 years of my degree. Now, I am on my gap year, which I have decided to spend pursuing conservation internship opportunities around the world. I worked with a cetacean research and conservation organization called DMAD Marine Mammals Research Organization in Montenegro. Life then took me back to South Africa to work with the terrestrial big 5 in the fynbos biome at the Gondwana Game Reserve in Mosselbay. Finally, I made my way back to Marine Dynamics where I will spend 2 months completing the scientific internship and working with catshark population dynamics.
In the future, my first step towards a career in Marine Biology is to start my masters next year studying the marine sciences with a specialization in elasmobranch research and conservation. Post that, hopefully a PhD. My dream is to hopefully pioneer some research surrounding one of the most elusive sharks known to us, the Greenland Shark.