Stork Sister Purnima Devi Barman Bags 'Green Oscar' Whitley Gold Award 2024

The award, considered the "Green Oscar" or the highest global honour for conservative efforts sees Dr Purnima Devi Barman bag one of the highest-ever global accolades for Assam.
Stork Sister Purnima Devi Barman Bags 'Green Oscar' Whitley Gold Award 2024
Stork Sister Purnima Devi Barman Bags 'Green Oscar' Whitley Gold Award 2024

In a remarkable recognition of conservation efforts, Dr. Purnima Devi Barman has been awarded the 2024 Whitley Gold Award, often referred to as the 'Green Oscar,' for her exceptional work in wildlife and habitat conservation in Assam, India.

The award ceremony, conducted by the Whitley Fund for Nature (WFN), highlighted Dr. Barman's leadership in the "Stork Sisters" initiative, which has successfully mobilized over 10,000 women to protect the endangered greater adjutant stork and its vital wetland habitats.

The Whitley Awards, celebrating grassroots conservation leaders annually, has this year bestowed its highest honor, along with a £100,000 prize (approximately Rs 1 crore), to Dr. Barman. Her pioneering efforts have not only helped safeguard the greater adjutant stork, a species once on the brink of extinction, but have also empowered local women, turning them into pivotal conservation leaders within their communities.

Dr. Barman's approach combines ecological conservation with socio-economic upliftment, transforming the conservation landscape in northeastern India. Under her guidance, the "Stork Sisters" have become a formidable force in environmental advocacy, promoting sustainable practices and educating their communities about the importance of biodiversity.

The 2024 Whitley Awards also celebrated other conservationists from Brazil, Bhutan, Papua New Guinea, Guyana, Cameroon, and Nepal, each awarded for their unique contributions to environmental preservation. These awards come with funding designed to help the winners scale up their efforts and achieve a global impact in their respective fields.

Dr. Barman's recognition at this international platform not only underscores the global importance of the biodiversity found in Assam but also shines a spotlight on the innovative and community-driven methods that can lead to successful conservation.

After the award was announced, she also appeared on the BBC Radio 4's Today show and spoke to Martha Kearney to speak about her work and journey.

Previously, she has seen many accolades come her way. In 2022, Dr. Purnima Devi Barman received the UN Environment Champions of the Earth Award for her conservative efforts.

Known as a conservationist, an enterprise, an economist, a women’s rights activist, and a wildlife biologist for their transformative action to prevent, halt and reverse ecosystem degradation, Dr Barman was also a dignitary at Pratidin Time's The Conclave 2023 where she spoke at length on the need to conserve the dwindling greater adjutant numbers.

The live stream of the award ceremony began at 7:30 pm (BST), that is around 12:00 am in India. It can be watched here.

Stork Sister Purnima Devi Barman Bags 'Green Oscar' Whitley Gold Award 2024
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