Green heroes awarded

Honour for those who overcame resistance to their effort to protect the environment


Geetanjali Minhas | December 9, 2017 | Mumbai

#Environment   #forest   #natural habitat   #Sanctuary   #green heroes   #awards  
Photo courtesy:
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 People working for the protection of wildlife and natural habitats in India were honoured by the Sanctuary Nature Foundation.

The 18th Sanctuary Wildlife Awards were held in Mumbai where the brave hearts who are selflessly working to protect our species and habitats were honoured.
Out of the fourteen award winners, we list out a few here.  
The Lifetime Service Award was given to Valmik Thapar for spending four decades tracking and protecting tigers. Thapar has served on 150 central and state government committees. Though today he works almost exclusively in Rajasthan with the state  government, he has been instrumental in the revitalization of other parks including  Maharashtra’s  Tadoba Tiger Reserve.  
Wildlife Service Award was given to Nagpur based lawyer Kartik Shukul, who has been instrumental in proving the effectiveness of Wild Life Protection Act 1972. Wildlife criminals have been equated with petty crimes so far. Shukul is ensuring that bail should not be given casually. He is now fighting cases for relocation and rehabilitation of villages inside tiger reserves.  Shukul also devotes time for capacity building within members of lower judiciary, police officers, forest department  and fellow lawyers  using the Wild life Protection Act.
Another Wildlife Service Award Winner is Ramesh Pratap Singh who served in the forest service of Madhya Pradesh for more than three decades. His profound understanding of wildlife conservation, forest management, administration and law and his sensitivity to local communities led to landmark developments across various protected areas. From voluntary relocations to wildlife crime control, Singh displayed  exemplary management capability. Between 2011-2015  Singh not only relocated but also rehabilitated 40 villages. He  not only held camps to educate villagers on various government welfare schemes for relocation that provided them with houses, electricity, schools, roads etc. but ensured they  received benefits . Singh will now work as an advisor to government of MP for relocation of villages from forests.
Wings Under the Wings Award was given to Arunachal Times associate editor Tongan Rina who has consistently reported on environmental issues and illegal activities in the name of development. Her articles throw light on environment unviability of hydro projects in Dibang Valley, Tawang  and  Siang Basin. She has also reported on illegal logging in and outside Pakke Tiger Reserve. In 2012, she was shot at outside her office. Before the attack, her office was ransacked and she received multiple death threats.
The recipient of  Special Sanctuary Tiger Awards was Pandurang  Pakhale, also called the iron man of Maharashtra forest department. Pakhale is a former banker turned forest officer who is responsible for the arrest of more than a dozen tiger poachers. Within three years he has registered nearly 14 cases and has been responsible for the arrest of more than a dozen tiger poachers. Presently posted at Pench Tiger Reserve, Nagpur as a Range Forest Officer of East Pench Range, a buffer zone with 22 villages. He has continued investigations despite strong protests and police complaints. 



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