Odisha-born IFS officer Anshu Pragnyan Das has bagged NatWest’s prestigious Green Warrior Award for her significant work in conservation of wildlife and habitats and welfare of communities therein.
Ms Das received the award from Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Assistant Secretary General of United Nations and Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity at a special function in New Delhi on Thursday evening.
A Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of Mahanadi Wildlife Division in Satkosia Tiger Reserve of Odisha, Ms Das has made a difference in this difficult protected area. She has extensively worked for five years in the tiger reserve playing a crucial role in the revival of the southern part of Satkosia Tiger Reserve (Mahanadi WL Divison) in the face of hostile communities and the presence of left-wing extremist activity. Her community engagement initiatives succeeded in enlisting the support of the local community towards wildlife which played a crucial role in strengthening protection and brought a control over the indiscriminate poaching that had prevailed.
Ms Das also successfully put a stop to the illegal fishing that used to prevail in the core zone of Satkosia Tiger Reserve which was a threat to the survival of Gharials in the habitat.
Strategically, she created an area for prey species populations and through a series of confidence building measures, such as solutions to human-wildlife conflict and introduction of many eco development activities, she was able to restore the Baisipalli sanctuary as a thriving habitat.
She also mobilized the local community to create Odisha’s first Eco-Village named Muduligadia, which is self-sustaining and without any dependence on forest. The Ecotourism project called ‘Satkosia Sands Resort and Nature Camp’ run by 34 community members has generated revenue of Rs 3 crore in the past four years.
“It’s a great recognition for me. It would inspire me to work with more responsibility to protect India’s biodiversity and critical natural ecosystems,” said Ms Das.