Two grassland conservationists from Northeast India have been shortlisted for the prestigious Whitley Awards 2021.
The only Indians, who have been able to get their names on the shortlist for this year’s Whitley Awards, are the grassland conservationists, Assam’s Bibhuti Lahkar and Nagaland’s Nuklu Phom.
Bibhuti Lahkar is a senior scientist at Aaranyak, a society for biodiversity conservation in Northeast India.
He has researched grassland ecosystems in Assam.
Lahkar did his PhD on the grasslands of Manas National Park with special reference to Pygmy hog.
His research work covered diverse areas of grassland ecosystems of Manas National Park and Kaziranga National Park in Assam.
Nuklu Phom, a leading conservationist in Nagaland, is the team leader of Lemsachenlok, an organization that has been working for bio-diversity conservation since 2007.
The Lemsachenlok organization, led by Phom, was honoured with India Biodiversity Awards in 2018 for their work in the conservation of wild species.
Every year six grassroots conservationists are honoured with Whitley Awards.
“This year we received 106 applications of an exceptionally high standard, representing diverse approaches across a broad range of countries, habitats and species in the global south,” Whitley Fund for Nature (WFN) said on its website.
“Following a comprehensive assessment the top 15 candidates have been identified, all doing incredible work with communities to safeguard wildlife, habitats and the future of society,” it said.
Bibhuti Lahkar has been shortlisted for the award for “Building bridges between people and Asian elephants”.
Nuklu Phom has been shortlisted for “Establishing a biodiversity peace corridor.”
The other shortlisted conservationists include Risper Oteke from Kenya, Sammy Saafari from Kenya, Carlos Roesler from Argentina, Iroro Tanshi from Nigeria, Tatiana Arias from Colombia, Tulsi Subedi from Nepal, Rita Ratsisetraina from Madagascar, Joseph Onoja from Nigeria, Lucy Kemp from South Africa, Reynante Ramilo from the Philippines, Ransford Agyei from Ghana, Wahdi Azmi from Indonesia and Pedro Fruet from Brazil.
“We are currently going back to the candidates with questions, taking up references, carrying out financial screening and conducting rigorous due diligence,” WFN said.
“Our expert judging panel, made up of individuals from some of the UK’s leading conservation organisations, will then select finalists to be invited for interview,” it said.
The winners of this year’s Whitley Awards will be announced on May 12 (Wednesday).