Newswise — Conservationists and partners with the Bengaluru-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) -India received multiple awards at the Sanctuary Wildlife Awards event held in Mumbai yesterday. The awardees included Mr. Jayachandran S, Mr. Shashank Dalvi, Mr. Nikit Surve and Ms. Vaishali Rawat.
Founded in 1981, Sanctuary Asia was created to promote public awareness of the loss of India’s natural heritage. It is India’s first and most well-known wildlife magazine.
The Sanctuary Wildlife Awards were created in the year 2000 by Sanctuary Asia to shine a spotlight on unsung heroes defending wilderness on the Indian subcontinent.
Mr. Jayachandran S, Winner of the Wildlife Service Award : Mr. Jayachandran S, an Ooty-based conservation activist and long-term conservation partner of WCS-India, won the prestigious ‘Wildlife Service Award’ presented by the Sanctuary Nature Foundation on the 18th edition of the Sanctuary Wildlife Awards.
Over the past 30 years, Mr. Jayachandran S has been a key conservation leader in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve and surrounding areas. In 1990, he started the Tamil Nadu Green Movement (TNGM) which actively assists the forest department in law enforcement and advocacy.
In 2010, based on his intervention as the Honorary Secretary of the Nilgiris Wildlife and Environment Association, the Chennai High Court issued a landmark judgment that ejected illegal tourism infrastructure from the Sigur Elephant Corridor. Mr. Jayachandran S has been instrumental in stopping several road and tourism infrastructures in ecologically important forest areas including Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserves in Tamil Nadu, and the Biligiri Ranganatha Temple Tiger Reserve in Karnataka. He has persistently worked with the Tamil Nadu Government and Forest Departments to consolidate key wildlife habitats in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. Mr. Jayachandran is also assisting residents of Mudumalai Tiger Reserve in availing fair relocation packages from the government.
In addition, Mr. Jayachandran S assisted Tamil Nadu and Kerala Forest Departments in breaking up poaching rings, including the arrest of Kerala-based poachers linked to an international trader of illegal ivory in 2015. Often facing great risk unflinchingly, he has assisted the forest departments in the southern States in apprehending hardened poachers and participated in several seizures. Thanks to the initiatives of Mr. Jayachandran S, many ex-poachers of Theni District are now transformed and are currently engaged in conservation activities in the Nilgiris.
Dr. K. Ullas Karanth, WCS Director for Science in Asia said, “Mr. Jayachandran is a true conservation warrior. He has helped agencies catch poachers and at the same time convinced poachers to give up trade. He has fought court cases to prevent tourist resorts and industrial projects intruding into sensitive habitats of tigers and elephants. In retaliation, he has been harassed by commercial lobbies and complicit, corrupt officials. But he has fought on. This award is a long overdue recognition of his life-time work for wildlife and wild land conservation.”
Mr. Shashank Dalvi, Wildlife Service Award: For using his vast knowledge, commitment to science, and love for gruelling expeditions in pursuit of his long-term goal of pioneering a nationwide conservation programme for birds outside protected areas.
Mr. Nikit Surve, Young Naturalist Award: For working with dedication and passion on a complex and burning conservation issue – that of sharing space with our wild cat neighbours.
Ms. Vaishali Rawat, Young Naturalist Award: For striving to popularise conservation and create a groundswell of public support for the natural landscapes on which we all depend.
Wildlife Conservation Society India Program.
WCS India Program, based in Bengaluru, has combined cutting-edge research on tigers and other wildlife, with national capacity building and, effective site-based conservation through constructive collaborations with governmental and non-governmental partners. WCS India Program is committed to saving wildlife and wild lands, nurturing and inspiring positive attitudes towards nature in people through its scientific and conservation endeavors.
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