Film-maker and elephant researcher Prajna Chowta was recently appointed Chevalier de l'Ordre National du Mérite (Knight in the National Order of Merit) by the French Government.
The official ceremony is expected to be held later in 2016 in Bengaluru.
The appointment of Chowta by the President of the French Republic comes in recognition of a life devoted to caring for wild Asian elephants.
Who is Prajna Chowta?
• Chowta is the founder of Aane Mane Foundation.
• The Foundation has been researching and conserving wild Asian elephants.
• She has also authored the Elephant Code Book on captive elephant management as well as the French book Enfant d’Elephant (Elephant’s Child) in 2014. The book is based on the sketches of tribals and their relationship with elephants.
• As a researcher, she was also instrumental in developing an online monitoring system and one of the first GPS collars for elephants in India.
• She is among the few Indian women to be appointed a Knight.
• Earlier in 2016, businesswoman Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw and actor Kamal Hassan were recognised under the French government’s Legion of Honour award.
About National Order of Merit
• The National Order of Merit is a French order of merit with membership awarded by the President of the French Republic.
• It was founded on 3 December 1963 by President Charles de Gaulle.
• The reason for the order’s establishment was twofold: to replace the large number of ministerial orders previously awarded by the ministries; and to create an award that can be awarded at a lower level than the Legion of Honour, which is generally reserved for French citizens.
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