Taej Mundkur finished his Masters in Microbiology from Pune University in India. He then switched to his real passion of birds and completed a PhD in waterbird ecology from Saurashtra University, Rajkot in west India.
He started his career with Wetlands International in Malaysia (then Asian Wetland Bureau) in 1991 where he was responsible for coordination of the Asian Waterbird Census, involving thousands of volunteers across the region. Taej has spearheaded the development and coordination of the Asia-Pacific Migratory Waterbird Conservation Strategy – the largest international cooperation framework for migratory waterbirds and their habitats in the region between 1996 and 2006. He served as Regional Director of Asian Wetland Bureau, managing its offices for several years.
Taej has advised the development of the East Asian - Australasian Flyway Partnership that involves governments, the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), the Ramsar Convention, NGOs, technical experts and others. In the mid 2000s, working out of India, he led development of a conservation framework for migratory waterbirds in the Central Asian Flyway under the CMS.
Beginning in 2005, he pushed for establishment of the UN led Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza, and has actively promoted an integrated approach to understanding the conservation impact of the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus on migratory birds and interactions with poultry and people. This led him to shift gears and help the UN FAO in Rome to build a wildlife programme to raise awareness and strengthen the capacity of veterinarians and wildlife staff in wild bird disease surveillance and monitoring in Africa, Europe and Asia. His contributions in this field were recognised when he was nominated as a CMS Champion in 2008.
Taej was appointed Councillor for Asiatic Fauna to the CMS Scientific Council, and he currently serves as Chair of the CMS Flyways Working Group. He also serves on various committees that promote migratory bird conservation.
Since 2009, he has served as Programme Manager – Flyways, based in the Netherlands, developing our flyway programme in Africa-Eurasia, the Americas and the Asia-Pacific, in partnership with conventions, NGOs, governments and others.
He has assisted in development of management plans for internationally important wetlands including Ramsar sites. He is working to reduce impacts of industrial developments on wetlands and to promote benefits for people, biodiversity and development.
An active networker, he works closely with governments, technical experts, corporations and people on the ground and in the media. He has authored and edited a number of books, scientific and popular articles.