Sanjay Gubbi of Karnataka and Purnima Barman of Assam have won the prestigious Whitley Award for their contributions in wildlife conservation. Whitley awards are popularly known as Green Oscars. The two Indians were among the six selected out of 169 applicants from 66 countries.
Purnima Devi Burman has been selected for her efforts for the conservation of greater adjutant storks and its habitat. She created an all female network in three villages of Kamrup district to save the adjutant storks and their habitats. The global population of adjutant storks is 1200-1800. Around 800 of them are found in Assam and 150 in Bihar.
Sanjay Gubbi has been selected for his contribution to protect tiger corridors in Karnataka. Gubbi who is wildlife biologist and scientist works with the Mysuru-based Nature Conservation Foundation. Gubbi is also a member of the State Board for Wildlife and works actively to mitigate conflict issues. In 2012, he was instrumental in securing the largest expansion of protected areas in India since 1970. He helped to increase the size of protected areas in Karnataka by 37%.
Whitley Awards are instituted by the U.K.-registered charity Whitley Fund for Nature. These awards are given annually to recognise national and regional conservationists and supports them in their endeavour to conserve wildlife and nature. The awards are worth £35,000 and particularly seeks to recognise wildlife conservationists from outside the developed world.