Bibhuti Lahkar (left) and Nuklu Phom

Two grassroots conservationists from Northeast India have been shortlisted for the prestigious Whitley Awards 2021.

Bibhuti Lahkar is shortlisted for the Whitley Award for building bridges between people and Asian elephants, while Nuklu Phom is shortlisted for establishing a biodiversity peace corridor.

Every year, six grassroots conservationists from across the world are recognised and honoured with the 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. 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,” said Whitley Fund for Nature (WFN) on their website.

Bibhuti Lahkar is a senior scientist at Aaranyak, a society for biodiversity conservation in Northeast India, and is renowned for his research into the grassland ecosystems in Assam.

Lahkar has done his PhD on the grasslands of Manas National Park with special reference to Pygmy hog. Also, his research work covered the man-elephant conflicts in diverse grassland ecosystems of Manas National Park and Kaziranga National Park in Assam.

Nuklu Phom is a leading conservationist from Nagaland who is the team leader of Lemsachenlok, an organisation that has been working for biodiversity conservation since 2007.

The Lemsachenlok organisation, led by Phom, was also honoured with India Biodiversity Awards in 2018 for their work in the conservation of wild species.

The winners of this year’s Whitley Awards will be announced on May 12. The other shortlisted conservationists for the award include Risper Oteke from Kenya, Sammy Saafari from Kenya, Carlos Roesler from Argentina among others.

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