Meet the real-life heroes behind the critically-acclaimed Poacher

A graphic of the reel-to-real characters in Poacher. Photo: Moe’s Art

Since its global premiere on February 23 on Amazon Prime Video, the Original series Poacher has captivated both critics’ and viewers’ attention worldwide with its authenticity and compelling performances. Set amidst the lush forests of Kerala and the concrete jungle of Delhi, the series unfolds as an eye-opening eco-thriller crafted by Emmy Award-winner Richie Mehta. This crime drama reveals the intricate investigation that went behind India’s largest ivory-poaching syndicate in 2015. Based on true events, Poacher serves as a poignant reminder of the plight of our majestic elephants.

In the crime series, the spotlight shines on wildlife crime fighters—Jose Louies, Amit Mallick, Manu Sathyan, Surendra Kumar and Vivek Menon. The characters played by Roshan Mathew, Dibyendu Bhattacharya,  Nimisha Sajayan, Vinod Sharawat and Sudhanva Deshpande are inspired by real-life officers who have devoted themselves to environmental conservation and wildlife protection.

Roshan Mathew portrays Alan Joseph, a tech-savvy conservationist and wildlife crime fighter at Wildlife Trust of India. Skilled in data analysis, he plays a key role in tracing poachers. His portrayal is inspired by Jose Louies, Chief of Wildlife Crime Control Division at Wildlife Trust of India, who leads wildlife trade control and litigation efforts.

Dibyendu Bhattacharya plays Neel Banerjee, inspired by the real-life Amit Mallick, the driving force behind the real-life operations, who ensured the execution of the mission with clinical precision.

Nimisha Sajayan plays Mala Jogi, a range officer from the Kerala Forest Department, who leads the field investigation. While the character represents several individuals Richie met during the series research, it’s mainly modeled on Manu Sathyan of the Kerala Forest Department, who played a pivotal role in the real-life operation to tackle India’s largest ivory-poaching ring. Nimisha had the privilege of meeting the real-life counterparts of her character, gaining valuable insights into the depth and emotional commitment embodied by the role.

Vinod Sharawat portrays Kishore Kumar, the Additional Principal Conservator of Forests (Vigilance), Kerala Forest Department, inspired by Surendra Kumar, IFS, then the additional Principal Conservator of Forests (Vigilance) Kerala, who was one of the primary investigators during “Operation Shaker.” He later retired as Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) & Chief Wildlife Warden, Kerala Forest Department.

Sudhanva Deshpande plays Vishal, Alan’s mentor and founder of the Wildlife Trust of India. He spearheaded efforts against the illegal wildlife trade in the ‘90s and played a key role in Asian elephant conservation. This character is inspired by Vivek Menon, founder of the Wildlife Trust of India, a prominent conservationist currently serving as Deputy Chair of IUCN-SSC and Chair of the Asian Elephant Specialist Group.



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