Experiencing the Last Wilderness: IRS Officer’s Insightful Antarctica Expedition
- Bhakti Kothari
- Published on 25 Nov 2023, 4:00 pm IST
- 4 minutes read
- Ankur Rapria's journey from receiving a camera at the age of 13 to becoming a dedicated wildlife photographer reflects a passionate evolution.
- Beyond the breathtaking visuals captured during the Antarctica expedition, he emerges as an advocate for environmental awareness.
- As the Antarctic Treaty's 2041 expiration approaches, his voice becomes a rallying cry for renewed policies to safeguard the continent from commercial and military exploitation.
In the annals of wildlife photography, IRS officer Ankur Rapria stands as a passionate explorer whose journey from the tiger capital of India, Nagpur, to the icy expanse of Antarctica showcases an unwavering commitment to his craft. Guided by the mentorship of Mr. Shaurya Shaswat Shukla, Additional Commissioner of Income Tax, Mr. Rapria’s odyssey began with a camera gifted by his father at the tender age of 13. Little did he know that this cherished possession would set the stage for a remarkable adventure.
Indian Masterminds exclusively spoke with Mr. Rapria to know more about his adventure.
A PHOTOGRAPHER’S EVOLUTION
As the tiger roared around Nagpur, so did Mr. Rapria’s fascination with wildlife photography. His training in NADT Nagpur became a crucible for honing his skills, a period during which his passion for capturing the beauty of nature burgeoned.
With a penchant for exploring offbeat locales, his lens became a window into the enchanting worlds of wildlife and landscapes, fuelled by a perpetual quest for improvement through documentaries and literature.
“Ever since, the passion has grown stronger. I have been particularly fond of travelling to offbeat places with natural beauty, which has eventually developed into a penchant for wildlife and landscape photography,” he shared.
A dedicated wildlife photographer dreams not only of capturing local fauna but of traversing the globe to witness the last untamed wilderness – Antarctica.
Mr. Rapria’s dream metamorphosed into reality on 17 March 2022, spurred by his discovery of the Climate Force Antarctica Expedition initiated by Sir Robert Swan. The journey, originally slated for November 2021, underwent a pandemic-induced postponement, presenting Mr. Rapria with a myriad of challenges in securing sponsorships and visas.
“To my dismay, the expedition was postponed to March 2022 because of the pandemic. The procedural clearance was a tough journey in itself and I had to make many efforts for sponsorship and visa. Sometimes it felt that the dream was so near and yet so far. However, my passion was stronger than my obstacles and I ended up getting all the necessary permissions just a week before the departure date,” he told Indian Masterminds.
TO THE FROZEN CONTINENT
An arduous selection process culminated in Mr. Rapria being one of the fortunate 150 global participants representing diverse fields like policymaking, entrepreneurship, climatology, and environmentalism.
Embarking from Ushuaia, the southernmost city on Earth, Mr. Rapria’s journey involved multiple layovers and challenges, including the daunting Drake Passage. The expedition unfolded against a backdrop of breathtaking landscapes, offering glimpses of penguin colonies, humpback whales, and the awe-inspiring Antarctic ecosystem.
Moments of adversity, such as the scare of exposure to the Omicron variant, added layers of complexity to the adventure.
Beyond capturing visually stunning moments, the Antarctica expedition became an immersive learning experience for the officer. The fragility of the Antarctic environment, the impact of climate change on its ice sheets, and the delicate balance of its ecosystem emerged as poignant lessons.
“It was an eye-opening experience, and the knowledge sharing among the participants provided me with great exposure,” stated Mr. Rapria.
A CALL TO ACTION
The officer returned from Antarctica not just as a wildlife photographer but as a messenger, calling for coordinated global efforts to safeguard Earth’s last wilderness.
As the Antarctic Treaty approaches its 2041 expiration, he emphasizes the need for renewed policies prohibiting commercial and military use of the continent. The expedition has become a rallying cry, urging individuals to shed the notion that others will fight against climate change on their behalf.
In the wake of his transformative journey, the IRS officer has emerged not only as a skilled photographer but as a dedicated advocate for environmental stewardship. The lessons learned in Antarctica echo a universal truth: the survival of this pristine wilderness is a shared responsibility.
As Mr. Rapria contemplates the imminent renegotiation of the Antarctic Treaty and the pressing challenges of climate change, his expedition has illuminated the path ahead – the urgent need for global citizens to unite in defence of our planet’s last refuge.
END OF THE ARTICLE