Assam biologist gets prestigious RBS Award for her conservation efforts

Purnima Devi Barman receives the RBS Save the Species Award at a function in New Delhi

Wildlife biologist and conservationist from Assam, Purnima Devi Barman was awarded with the prestigious RBS Save The Species Award 2016 for her tireless efforts for protecting eco-system.

Barman has been instrumental in conservation of Greater Adjutant Stork, evaluated as endangered on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) Red list of threatened species.

Barman was given the award for being ‘a guardian angel for the bird’ by the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), a subsidiary of the RBS Group. Her efforts of motivating groups of women in villages under Kamrup district for the conservation of the species has been widely applauded by the award committee.

Receiving the award, Barman termed it as an honour and said this should motivate her and people like her to work towards conservation. “It’s indeed been an honour for me to be here and receive the award. I think it will motivate the people who are working for the cause of environment. I’m grateful to the RBS Foundation and jury members for choosing me for the recognition,” Barman said after receiving her award in New Delhi on Friday.

Barman dedicated her award to the village committees of Dadara and Pachariya village in Kamrup district who have been working with her for conservation of Greater Adjutant Stork, Sankardev Sishu Niketan at Dadara, the police and administration of Kamrup district and Assam State Zoo and conservation programme besides her team members.

Purnima Devi Barman along with her team and villagers, in support of conservation of Greater Adjutant Stork
Purnima Devi Barman along with her team and villagers, in support of conservation of Greater Adjutant Stork

“I’m so happy today that our efforts have been recognized and it’s only possible with the co-operation from all and everyone. So, I want to share my happiness with everybody associated with the work,” Barman said. She is also associated with Aaranyak, a Guwahati based NGO which works for wildlife conservation.

Barman has been working in various parts of Kamrup district for the last several years, encouraging the village women towards conservation.

According to the IUCN, the total population of Greater Adjutant Stork is estimated to be around 1,200 to 1,800. The IUCN, which is world’s oldest and largest global environmental network, further stated that around 800 birds are found in Assam and at least 156 birds in Bihar. Besides, around 200 such birds are in Cambodia.

Endangered Greater Adjutant Stork
Endangered Greater Adjutant Stork

Aaranyak had won the ‘Earth Guardian Award’ given by the RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland) in 2011. Another conservationist from Assam, Jadav Payeng, won the RBS Green Warrior Award in 2013.

The RBS has institutionalized the RBS ‘Earth Heroes’ Awards from 2011 which is organised annually in an attempt to bring recognition and honour to individuals and institutions who work exceptionally hard to preserve and protect our critical ecosystems.

The jury panel, comprising active wildlife enthusiasts, environmentalists and conservationists, reviewed nominations received from across the country. Pankaj Phatarphod, managing director country head of services; India chairperson – RBS Foundation India, said, “Over the years, through the Earth Heroes Awards, we at RBS have had the privilege to recognise individuals and institutions for their exemplary work in bringing about a positive change in the environmental landscape of the country. It remains an honour to encourage the unstinting dedication of these nominees towards environment sustainability.”

The sixth edition of RBS Earth Heroes Awards saw chairman, Wildlife Trust of India and also a member of National board for wildlife; National Tiger Conservation Authority, MK Ranjitsinh hand over award citations and a cash prizes to the winners, at the awards ceremony in New Delhi.

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