Experienced Wildlife Naturalist

& Photographic Guide


Originally from Nepal, Butch Lama has been a Wildlife Naturalist in Bandhavgarh NP since 1990.  For 18 months, Butch was part of the team that assisted Nick Nichols and Roy Toft while they photographed Sita and her cubs for the December 1997 cover story of National Geographic.  Other photographers, filmmakers, artists, dignitaries, and countless tourists would soon follow.  Until National Geographic highlighted ßandhavgarh’s tigers, the park was unknown, except to a handful of people, as perhaps the best place in the world to see tigers in the wild. 

Among those who Butch was privileged to work with in his capacity as naturalist were cameraman Alfonce Roy and producer Claire Fisher (Partridge Films); professional photographer Wolfgang Kaehler; wildlife artists Simon Combes and Robert Fuller; former British Foreign Minister Robin Cook; former US Senator and presidential candidate Robert Dole; Chris Packham, photographer and BBC presenter, on holiday with his daughter; and Neville and Pamela Isdell, former Chairman/CEO of Coca-Cola.

Working with National Geographic gave Butch the rare opportunity to explore inaccessible parts of the park where photographers, guides, and mahouts do not go because these areas require special permission and are only accessible on foot. He spent many long, hot hours and days in hides near water holes, on the hills where only the resident animals go.  During each game drive, Butch uses this knowledge to track tigers in their territories by anticipating every aspect of their behavior.

Butch is also deeply acquainted with Nepal’s National Parks, especially Chitwan.  Within India, he has a good knowledge of the wildlife and habitats in Panna, Kanha, Pench, Nagarhole, and Kaziranga.  In each of these parks, not all guides have the language skills to convey what they know to park visitors.  Butch draws out their knowledge, working with them in the same way he works with park guides in Bandhavgarh. 


What ties this together is Butch’s ability to work with all who either build their professional lives around wildlife or pursue it as a personal passion. 

Susi’s skills complement Butch’s naturalist skills and her background couldn’t be more different than his.  Raised in a military family, her home was where her pillow was.  In 1998, Susi walked away from a robust business career to stretch her comfort zone.  Shortly thereafter, she met Butch while visiting India.

Susi loves crossing cultures.  She finds it stimulating to meet people with backgrounds different from her own and  can’t get enough of India’s people and places (wild and otherwise).   Having traveled to or lived in nearly 30 countries, she thrives on new experiences.   

If you want to learn more about how we met, here’s our story...

Susi & Butch


Advice from Neville and Pamela Isdell after their March 2008 visit to Bandhavgarh:

  1. Do not visit the tigers in India without Butch Lama!  Not only is he the tiger expert, he is also able to organize your best opportunity to see tigers truly in the wild.  He has amazing knowledge and sympathy for the tigers and almost seems to be in tune with them, he holds them so dear!  Ask him to arrange tiger viewing on the back of an elephant, a magical experience and maybe you will be as lucky as ourselves, we saw tigers in amazing situations on all but one of our twice daily trips into the park over 5 days!

Excerpt from a letter written by Chris Packham, BBC Broadcaster, following his April 2006 visit to Bandhavgarh:

  1. We would just like to write to say how very much we have enjoyed exploring B’garh with you.  We really appreciate how hard you have worked for us and it has been a real privilege to be guided by yourself.  Pole position every time, a real understanding of a photographer’s needs and of course we have learned so much.

  2. Most of all though it has been an absolute treat to spend time with a great naturalist -- just like photographers, there are ... few with that intuitive instinct, genuine curiosity and keen sense of observation, and you have all of these.

  3. It has been a fabulous 10 days.

To read what others have said about their Wild India LLC Expedition with Butch & Susi - click here