Nature Conservation Foundation, Bombay Environmental Action group, Association for Social and Environmental Development and Ayushi Jain have been chosen for the Habitats Trust Grants 2021. The Habitats Trust Grants is an annual initiative founded by HCL Technologies Chairperson Roshni Nadar Malhotra. The initiative is aimed at securing India’s biodiversity by bolstering the efforts of conservationists on-ground by bridging the resource gap and providing critical support to make their work more sustainable.
The Nature Conservation Foundation, a non-governmental wildlife conservation and research organisation has been granted Rs.35 lakh under Strategic Partnership Grant. Bombay Environmental Action group, under Lesser-known Habitats Grant, has Rs.30 lakh grant. Association for Social and Environmental Development has received Rs.25 lakh under Lesser-known Species Grant. Ayushi Jain, who works for the conservation of Pelochelys cantorii, has received Rs.15 lakh Conservation Hero Grant.
The Nature Conservation Foundation has been selected for the implementation of mobile-based early warning systems to help people avoid fatal encounters with elephants and co-exists in the Valparai region. Bombay Environmental Action Group’s project aims to prepare Conservation Management Plans (CMPs) for 11 Sada sites in Rajapur, Lanja and Ratangiri tehsil of Ratanagiri district of Maharashtra. The project area spreads over 200 sq. km of Sada habitat supporting undistributed populations of endemic herbs rarely seen anywhere else in Konkan. Association for Social and Environmental Development is working towards a fishing cat conservation and habitat management project which will help monitor the species’ population, identify threats and adopt mitigation strategies. The species, Pelochelys cantorii, commonly known as the Cantor’s Giant Softshell turtle, one of the largest freshwater turtles in the world, is highly threatened due to many anthropogenic activities like poaching and habitat destruction and is at the risk of extinction.
Roshni Nadar Malhotra said, “The Habitats Trust Grants is our effort to partner with some outstanding organisations and individuals who are doing laudable work in conserving threatened ecosystems and species. The grants not only support these breakthrough conservation efforts, but our teams continuously work with the recipients to help capacity build and set up governance structures, making them ready to secure future funding,” she further added.
“At the recently concluded COP26 in Glasgow, world leaders recognised the interlinked relationship between biodiversity and climate crises. Protecting, conserving, better managing, and restoring our world’s critical flora and fauna is a key to securing human existence and requires concerted efforts from all stakeholders. Passionate conservationists in our country have been doing this work despite the many challenges triggered by the pandemic – including rising cases of poaching and shrinking funding.”
While The Habitats Trust awarded full financial grants to one recipient in each category, other finalists were also awarded 10 percent of the grant amount in their respective categories, to ensure that their efforts and work is recognised. The four recipients of the grants were chosen from a total of 10 finalists by an eminent jury that included Bahar Dutt, wildlife biologist, author and environmental journalist; Brian Heath, Founder and CEO for the Mara Triangle Conservation Area, Kenya; Dr M. K. Ranjitsinh, wildlife expert and architect of the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972, and Roshni Nadar Malhotra, Chairperson HCL Technologies and Founder and Trustee, The Habitats Trust.