Darjeeling Zoo wins International Earth Heroes Award
The Darjeeling Zoo won an award at the International Earth Heroes Awards. It is the first Indian zoo to have received this prestigious honour. Apart from being the only specialized zoo in India, it is internationally recognized for its conservation breeding programmes of endangered animals of Eastern Himalayas. The Zoo is also well-known for its efforts in educating, motivating and initiating awareness about the importance of conservation of Himalayan eco-system.
The ceremony for the RBS Earth Heroes Awards 2014 was announced at an awards function held at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA) in New Delhi on 4th November.
The finalists for each award were selected by a jury comprising of experts from the field of conservation, bio-diversity, science, government, media, The Royal Bank of Scotland, the National Biodiversity Authority and the Bombay Natural History Society.
Award Winners of the 2014 Prize
The recipients of the RBS Earth Heroes Award, 2014 are as follows:-
- RBS Earth Hero Award – Dr. Erach Bharucha
- RBS Earth Guardian Award – The Kenneth Anderson Nature Society (KANS)
- RBS Save The Species Award – Pangti Village Council & Dr. Goutam Narayan
- RBS Inspire Award – Mr. Dhritiman Mukherjee
- RBS Green Warrior Award – Mr Sujoy Banerjee & Shri. P. S Somashekhar
- Special Mention was given to the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park or the Darjeeling Zoo.
Earth Heroes Award
The Earth Heroes Awards is an Award that ‘recognises and honours individuals and institutions who work exceptionally hard to preserve and protect critical eco-systems.’ The Awards were instituted by the Royal Bank of Scotland in association with WAZA (World Association of Zoos and Aquariums) in 2011.
The categories for the RBS Earth Heroes awards include:-
- RBS Earth Hero Award (Felicitation) to be awarded to an Individual
- RBS Earth Guardian Award with Prize money of INR 1,50,000 that is to be awarded to an Institution
- RBS Save The Species Award with Prize money of INR 1,50,000 that is to be awarded to 2 Individuals
- RBS Inspire Award for Prize money with Prize money of INR 1,50,000 that is to be awarded to an Individual or Institution
- RBS Green Warrior Award with Prize money of INR 1,50,000 each that is to be awarded to 2 individuals
About Darjeeling Zoo
The Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park is India’s largest high altitude zoo. It was established on 14th August 1958. Some other details about the zoo are as follows:-
- The zoo is named after Padmaja Naidu, who is the daughter of Sarojini Naidu
- It was established in 1958 by the Department of Education of the Government of West Bengal. It became a registered society in 1972. And in May 1993, it was transferred to the West Bengal Department of Forests.
- Its first Director and Founder was Dilip Kumar Dey, an officer of the Indian Forest Service
- It is a 56 acre zoo located in Darjeeling, West Bengal, and falls under the ‘small zoo’ classification of the Zoo Authority of India
- It has an average elevation of 7,000 feet or 2,134 m
- It was initially established with the goal of studying and preserving Himalayan fauna. The zoo now specializes in breeding animals adapted to alpine conditions, and has successfulcaptive breeding programs for the snow leopard, the critically endangered Himalayan wolf, Himalayan salamander and the red panda. It also provides a home to gorals (mountain goats), Siberian tigers and many endangered birds.
- Additionally, the zoo serves as the central hub for the Zoo Authority of India’s red panda program and is a member of WAZA
- The zoo attracts about 300,000 visitors every year.