Two Indian activists Sanjay Gubbi and Purnima Barman on 18 May 2017 won the annual Whitley Awards, popularly known as the 'Green Oscars', for their works in the field of animal and bird conservation in India.
These two Indians are among six global winners of the award shortlisted from 166 entries. The other winners of this year’s awards include
• Indira Lacerna-Widmann from the Philippines
• Ian Little from South Africa
• Alexander Blanco from Venezuela
• Ximena Velez-Liendo from Bolivia
Each winner will receive 35000 pounds prize money in project funding over one year. The Whitley Awards or Green Oscars are organised by UK-based Whitley Fund for Nature to highlight grassroots leaders in nature conservation across the developing world.
Why was Sanjay Gubbi chosen for Green Oscar?
Wildlife activist Sanjay Gubbi won the award for his work to protect Karnataka's tiger corridors. Gubbi left his job as an electrical engineer to work with nature. In 2012, he secured the largest expansion of protected areas for conservation of tigers in state while working with Karnataka government.
Karnataka is home to the highest number of Bengal tigers in India. With this award money, Gubbi aims to reduce deforestation in two wildlife sanctuaries which connect several protected areas and act as corridors for tigers, allowing them to move between territories.
Why was Purnima Barman chosen for Green Oscar?
Barman won this award for creating an all-female network to save the Greater Adjutant stork Hargila and its wetland habitat in Assam.
The Hargila storks are large scavenger birds with a global population of just 1200, 75 per cent of which are found in Assam.
Through her NGO Aaranyak, Barman mobilised her all- female local network towards sustainable livelihoods through weaving traditional Assamese scarves and saris which were then sold to raise funds for the conservation project.
What: Won Whitley Awards 2017
When: 18 May 2017