Kohima: Nagaland conservationist Y Nuklu Phom has won the prestigious ‘Whitley Awards 2021‘, alongside six other awardees from South Africa, Argentina, Brazil and Kenya. He is the only Indian to receive the award this year, after a gap of three years.
According to the Whitley Awards, there are about 50,000 Amur Falcons roosted in 2010 which increased to around 1,000,000 in 2019 due to Phom’s initiatives.
With the Whitley Award, Phom and his team at Lemsachenlok Society will create a network of community-owned forests to fortify the rich biodiversity and culture of Nagaland.
It said that Phom and his team want to offer alternatives that engage communities in conservation using the Amur Falcon as a flagship, informing that since the project began in 2007, three reserves have been set aside and the number of roosting falcons has risen dramatically.
As per reports, 15 names out of 105 were initially shortlisted and identified for doing incredible work with communities that safeguard wildlife, habitats and the future of society. Phom made it to the top six who were recognised with the award.
The Whitley Awards said that Phom’s expanded Biodiversity Peace Corridor will incorporate 16 villages across four districts. By switching to sustainable, non-extractive land-use practices, the team can ensure that the area supports both biodiversity and livelihoods, uniting some of India’s economically-constrained communities through a common cause.
This is besides the initiative to revive the tribal education system and enable elders to teach traditional knowledge to the younger generation.
Sixteen community conservation areas as part of a Biodiversity Peace Corridor spanning 200km will also be established.
Phom and his team will also discourage hunting, dynamite fishing, logging and slash-and-burn cultivation in the reserves and provide eco-friendly alternatives to allow forest regeneration.
Further, it will train villagers in sustainable land-use including fruit orchards, piggeries and ginger production, benefitting 4,000 households and initiate conservation efforts for the Amur Falcon as a flagship species, monitor its roosts and document the area’s biodiversity.