Hornbill Project listed for Green Oscar?

ITANAGAR, ARUNACHAL PRADESH: A project to save the hornbills of Arunachal Pradesh has been short-listed for the Green Oscars [Whitley Awards].

London based Whitley fund for nature on Thursday announced the shortlist of seven finalists for the Whitley awards, a prestigious annual international prize that honours exceptional individuals working in grassroots nature conservation, in what are often conflict-torn and under-resourced developing countries.

Aparajita Datta’s project, “threatened hornbills as icons for the conservation of the Himalayan forests of Arunachal Pradesh, India” is among the seven finalists for the Rs 2 crore (£245,000) prize.

Tribal Hornbill Hunter of Arunachal

Tribal Hornbill Hunter of Arunachal

The state is home to five species of hornbills including the globally endangered rufous-necked hornbill and the brown hornbill.

Arunachal Pradesh is home to 26 different tribes and most of them attribute differential values to different hornbill body parts including the beak, meat, feathers (mostly tail and on occasions primary feathers of the wing) and fat.

The charity’s patron ‘the princess royal’ will announce the final results at a special evening ceremony on May 2 at the Royal Geographical Society, London.

The princess royal will also present an additional prize, the Whitley gold award worth £50,000, to a past award winner who has used his grant money to particularly outstanding effect in supporting Turkey’s first ever wildlife corridor.

Other finalists include Zahirul Islam for community based sea turtle conservation in Bangladesh, Ekwoge Enang Abwe for protection of the endangered great apes of Ebo Forest, Cameroon, Daniel Lejaroi Letoiye for restoring grasslands for the coexistence of Grevy’s Zebra and free-ranging livestock, Kenya.

It has also short-listed John Kahekwa Munihuzi for saving Congo’s last eastern lowland gorillas and Eugene Simonov for the protection of the Amur River basin and wetlands in China, Russia and Mongolia.

This year, which marks the 20th anniversary of the Whitley awards, saw a surge in applicants, with the highest number of entries yet to the scheme.

Rohit Naniwadekar from Ruffor foundation says Arunachal Pradesh is home to five species of hornbills. With more than 80% of its geographic area under forest cover, the state is most important for hornbill conservation in India. The species face significant levels of threats from hunting and habitat degradation/loss.

In various sites, excessive hunting has resulted in local extinction of species like the great hornbill which is the most preferred by many tribes for its beak, tail feathers and fat.

First awarded in 1994, the Whitley awards are presented annually to outstanding grassroots leaders in nature conservation across the developing world. Over the past two decades, the Whitley fund for nature has given almost £10 million to conservation and recognised 160 conservation leaders in more than 70 countries.

Share Button
Posted by on April 22, 2013. Filed under Arunachal,EARTH,Wildlife. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login