GUWAHATI, Sept 4 - Assam ecologist Dr Bibhuti Lahkar – a pioneer in community conservation in the fringe areas of Manas National Park – has become the first Asian to be honoured with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)’s prestigious ‘Heritage Heroes Award, 2016’. Dr Lahkar received the award in the World Conservation Congress of IUCN in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, today.
The award recognises Dr Lahkar’s untiring efforts in saving the grasslands, and flora and fauna of Manas besides boosting community conservation and development in the fringe areas of the protected area for nearly 18 years.
IUCN is the global authority on the conservation status of natural heritage and provides measures to safeguard it. The Heritage Heroes Award is aimed at recognising the “outstanding efforts” around the world in making a difference in the conservation of World Heritage Sites in challenging situations.
Acknowledging his enduring association with Manas as a definitive factor that has helped him gain the honour, Dr Lahkar dedicated the award to Manas World Heritage Site and the local communities living around Manas.
“I feel humbled and honoured by the recognition. I dedicate this award to Manas World Heritage Site and local communities living around Manas. The award has put the focus on community-based conservation in Manas,” he said.
The other nominees for the award were Bantu Lukambo and Josue Kambasu Mukura of Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Yulia Naberezhnaya and Andrey Rudomahka of Western Caucasus in the Russian Federation.
Formed in 1948, IUCN is the global authority on the conservation status of natural heritage sites and provides measures to safeguard them.