This year’s Whitley wildlife conservation awards have been given to two Indians — Dr Ananda Kumar and Dr Pramod Patil.
Anand kumar was known for his innovative communication systems to enable human-elephant coexistence, while Pramod Patil was awarded the prize for his yeoman service to protect Indian Bustard in the Thar desert.
The Whitley Award, also called “Green Oscar” was presented with a cash prize of £35,000 at a ceremony in London on Wednesday at the Royal Geographical Society, London, hosted by television naturalist Kate Humble.
Praising Dr Anand Kumar’s early warning about the elephants, thus saving nearly 400 people and about 100 elephants from conflict every year, won acclaim at the awards ceremony.
Ananda Kumar’s Elephant Information Network (EIN) helps send out early warning alerts to people when elephants are nearby. The message goes to people via SMS, phone calles and mobile-operated red light indicators placed in strategic locations. He has extended this network in south India, including the Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve.
Another saviour was Pramod Patil, who left his medical profession and took upon himself the drive to protect the Great Indian Bustard (Ardeotis nigriceps) which has been on the wane due to poaching.
Involving some communities in the Thar Desert of Rajasthan and the State Forest Department, Pramod and his team at the Bombay Natural History Society have brought together concerted efforts to save the species from poaching.
Dr Pramod and Dr Ananda are among 7 conservationists given the recognition at the Whitley Awards 2015 ceremony.