Two Indians namely Dr Ananda Kumar and Dr Pramod Patil on 29 April 2015 won the prestigious Whitley Awards (also known as Green Oscar) for their contribution to wildlife conservation.
The awards were presented at a ceremony in Royal Geographical Society, London. The winners of the award received a Whitley prize worth 35000 pound.
Kumar was honoured for his work of using innovative communication systems to enable human-elephant co-existence in Southern India. Patil, on the other hand, was honoured for his work to protect the iconic great Indian bustard in the Thar Desert, Rajasthan.
They are among the seven conservationists who were awarded the Whitley Awards for their efforts to protect wildlife in developing countries. Other winners of the 2015 Whitley Award are
• Panut Hadisiswoyo: Honoured for his efforts to protect Sumatran orangutans in Indonesia's Leuser Ecosystem
• Rosamira Guillen: Honoured for cotton-top tamarin conservation in northern Colombia
• Arnaud Desbiez: Honoured for giant armadillo protection in the Brazilian Cerrado
• Inaoyom Imong: Honoured for protecting Cross River gorillas in Nigeria's Mbe Mountains;
• Jayson Ibanez: Honoured for helping protect the Philippine eagle on Mindanao Island
Work of Dr. Ananda Kumar
To minimise negative human-elephant interactions and increase people’s tolerance towards elephants, Kumar developed an Elephant Information Network (EIN). This network acts as an early warning mechanism to alert people when elephants are nearby.
Under the network, a trained conflict response team tracks movement of elephants and conveys the information to people via text messages, calls and mobile-operated red light indicators which are placed in strategic locations.
The success of the warning system helped Ananda to encourage his project to the Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve.
Work of Dr. Pramod Patil
Patil, a doctor by profession, in 2003 made a decision to leave medicine as a profession and devote his life to conservation of the great Indian bustard (Ardeotis nigriceps), the population of which is declining at a high speed due to poaching, loss of grassland habitat and lack of community involvement.
Patil and his team at the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) started working with State Forest Department in the Thar Desert helped people to change their opinions and develop positive relationships between authorities and local people, and enable better management of the land on which both community livelihoods and bustards depend.
His work is collecting crucial information about the species, and engaging people with anti-poaching activities.
The Whitley Awards is an annual award given by the Whitley Fund for Nature (WFN). The award recognises and celebrates effective national and regional conservation leaders across the globe. The awards are amongst the most high profile of conservation prizes - they have been called the Green Oscars.
Edward Whitley founded the Whitley awards in 1994 in memory of William Brake.
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What: Won Whitley Awards
When: 29 April 2015
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