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WWF announces names of conservation prize winners



KATHMANDU: WWF Nepal has decided to honour five individuals and an organisation for their ‘exemplary contribution’ to biodiversity conservation in Nepal.

Announcing the names through a press event today, the NGO dedicated to nature conservation said it will hand over the awards in Kathmandu on September 23 on the occasion of National Conservation Day.

Amarapuri-based Sundari Community Forest Users’ Group in Nawalparasi will get Abraham Conservation Awards under the organisation category, whereas Indra Prasad Sapkota, planning officer at the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation, and Prakash BK, a social mobiliser, will get the prize under the individual category. Pitamber Sigdel, a journalist with Annapurna Post, will get the WWF Media in Conservation Award, while Bikash Pathak Chhetri, coordinator of the Community-Based Anti-Poaching Unit under Kerunga Buffer Zone Users’ Committee in Chitwan, will receive the Matthew Preece & Yeshi Choden Lama Young Conservation Leader Award. Chandra Kala Budha, treasurer at Taranga-Siddhachuli Buffer Zone Users’ Community in Bardia, will get a Special Conservation Award.

“While I am honored to receive this award, I must mention that all my efforts in conservation would have been incomplete without support of local communities, which have shown tremendous commitment towards protecting Nepal’s rich biodiversity,” said Sapkota, one of the awardees. “It is all the more important to address the needs of local communities, especially in the context of human-wildlife conflict, which is one of our immediate challenges.”

WWF gives away conservation awards to organisations and individuals in honour of their outstanding feats in the field of conservation in areas such as natural resource management, biodiversity protection, social mobilisation and journalism.

WWF Nepal invites nominations for the awards each year through mass media. It shortlists awardees from a list of nominees that an independent panel of judges comprising eminent personalities from the government, conservation, academic, social and private sectors forwards. The award consists of a citation and Rs 25,000 for individuals, and Rs 50,000 for organisations. “For conservation efforts to succeed, leadership of individuals and organisations right at the grassroots is an imperative. This is where energies need to be focused as well as harnessed for greater conservation impact,” said Anil Manandhar, country representative of WWF Nepal. “The Conservation Awards, now in their 19th year, celebrate the power of the human spirit to create change for the sake of a living planet.”

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