Youth who got Nagpur area declared wildlife sanctuary gets award

Financial institutions, bureaucrats and environmentalists involved in wildlife conservation came together to celebrate heroes who protect ecological heritage of the country at the announcement of Sanctuary Wildlife Awards 2012 Wednesday.

Started in 2000 by Sanctuary Asia magazine and supported by Deutsche Bank and DSP Blackrock, the awards recognise individuals/organisations safeguarding wildlife and natural wealth.

The 12 awards in five categories will be given away Friday evening. The winners have been chosen by readers and supporters of the magazine.

Roheet Karoo, a wildlife crusader in his 20s because of whose study Umred-Karhandla, an area about 40 km from Nagpur, was declared a wildlife sanctuary in June this year, gets Young Naturalist Award. Roheet studied 400 square km, of which 190 are now a sanctuary, and found a population of 21 tigers.

"Areas outside protected ones have great wildlife wealth. These are the areas we need to protect," he said.

Other winners in this category are writer and animal rights activist Cara Tejpal and 25-year-old Rohan Chakravarty, whose cartoons highlight climate change.

Among the winners of Wildlife Service Awards is cowherd Jadav Payeng, who single-handedly converted a family-owned sandbar on the banks of the Brahmaputra into a green haven.

By planting bamboo and other saplings and releasing different species of ants, he turned his island into a forest which is now home to animals such as elephants and tigers.

Other winners in this category are P Dhanesh Kumar, a forester from South Wayanad division, Kerala, and his farmer friend N Badusha of Wayanad Prakruthi Samrakshana Samithi. They fight timber and wildlife mafia.

Lifetime Service Award will be given to Belinda Wright, founder of Wildlife Protection Society of India and an anti-poaching activist.

Maharashtra was conferred the special Best Tiger State Award for its pro-tiger measures in the past year such as rising tiger numbers from 169 in 2010 to 200 this year and strengthening tiger corridors.

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