The second edition of the prestigious Machhli Award and Vanya Prani Mitra Award to promote wildlife conservation was held today in a virtual ceremony. The awards are jointly instituted by Prabha Khaitan Foundation (PKF) and WWF India.
This year’s recipients of the Machhli Award are Mahesh Kumar Sharma (forest ranger – WL), Premendra Singh (forester), Mukesh Kumar (forest guard), Pappu Singh (forest guard), Virendra Singh (forest guard) and Man Singh (pump operator), Lakhan Singh (forest Ranger), Umesh Jat (assistant forester), and Ramveer Singh Gurjar (forest guard).
The Vanya Prani Mitra Award was won by Ms Prem Kanwar Shaktawat (Assistant Forester) and Dwarka Prasad Sharma (assistant forester).
The Machhli Award carries a cash/in-kind equivalent award of Rs one lakh and a citation. Named after the legendary tigress of Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve, the award aims to recognise exceptional contribution by the field staff of the Rajasthan Forest Department, local community member, an individual or a group in conserving wildlife and their habitats across the length and breadth of the state.
The Vanya Prani Mitra Award is for outstanding contribution to management of human wildlife conflict in Rajasthan. This award carries a cash/in-kind equivalent award of Rs two lakhs and a citation.
The awardees were selected by an eminent committee chaired by the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife), Rajasthan and senior forest official of the Rajasthan Forest Department, renowned personality with interest in environment and nature conservation, representatives of Prabha Khaitan Foundation and WWF India. Present at the event is Areendam Tomar, PCCF & HoFF Rajasthan Forest Department as Chief Guest, Mr Bittu Sahgal, Founder of Sanctuary Nature Foundation; Mr Ravi Singh, Secretary General and CEO, WWF India as Special Guests; Ms Apra Kuchhal, Honorary Convenor of Rajasthan & Central India Affairs, PKF; Mr R.G. Soni ; and Mr Rajpal Singh.
Ms. Apra Kuchhal, Honorary Convenor of Rajasthan & Central India Affairs, Prabha Khaitan Foundation said: “The second edition of the awards recognizes the commendable efforts of the awardees to protect our precious wildlife in Rajasthan. We hope that this recognition will encourage forest and wildlife officials and activists to strengthen their commitment to community-led conservation of wildlife against mounting odds.”
Dr. Dipankar Ghose, Director, Wildlife and Habitats Programme, WWF India said “We are thankful to the Prabha Khaitan Foundation for partnering with WWF India to constitute these awards. Such recognition will go a long way in encouraging the field staff of the Rajasthan Forest Department who protect and conserve the state’s wild animals and their habitats often at great peril to themselves.”