Rajiv Gandhi Wildife Award for this year's Magsaysay awardee

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New Delhi, Oct 6 (UNI) This year's Magsaysay Award winner for community work Dr Prakash Baba Amte, who manages an 'animal orphanage' at Gadchiroli in Maharashtra, was today conferred the Rajiv Gandhi Wildlife Conservation Award, 2006.

The award is in recognition of his work towards raising awareness about the importance of wildlife among tribals in Maharashtra's Gadchiroli district.

Dr Amte runs an "animal orphanage" at his Lok Biradari health project in Hemalkasa at Gadchiroli. He successfully convince tribals to refrain from killing animals for food, and bring them to him instead.

He shares the honour with Mr Aseem Srivastava, a noted conservationists. Both of them were noted by the award jury for their special effort to save the wildlife and sensitise the people towards the need of caring for animals.

The Rajiv Gandhi Wildlife Conservation Award is given every year on the occasion of the Wildlife Week for significant contribution in the field of wildlife connservation and protection.

Two awards of Rs 1,00,000 each in cash, along with medallions trophy and citations, are given to education and research institutions and organisations, and Forests and Wildlife Officers/research scholars or scientists/wildlife conservationists.

A medallion is awarded in the individual category and a trophy in the institutional category.

Manas Maozigendri Ecotourism Society, Assam received the prestigious Amrita Devi Bishnoi Wildlife Protection Award.

The volunteers of this organisation have shown exemplary courage in saving the lives of numerous species of wildlife from the clutches of poachers in Manas National Park. This has helped sustainability in the recovery of the park.

The Amrita Devi Bishnoi Wildlife Protection Award is given for significant contribution in the field of wildlife protection. The award of Rs One lakh cash, along with a medallion and citation is given to an individual / institution pertaining to rural communities involved in wildlife protection or to the community-based organisation from rural areas, including Gram Sabha showing great courage or valor for protection of wildlife.

Speaking on the occason, Minister of State for Environment and Forests S Regupathy said the focus of the celebration was to highlight the need for participation and cooperation from all strata of society in attaining the sustainable development.

Referring to India's distinct and unique position regarding its natural heritage and biodiversity, he said 45,000 species of plants and 81 thousand of animal species were found in the country.

''It is a matter of pride and satisfaction that the traditions and cultural ethos had contributed to conservation, preservation and sustenance of wildlife, he said.

Highlighting Ministry's efforts for protection and preservation of wild flora and fauna, Mr Regupathy said a comprehensive wildlife conservation strategy and national wildlife action plan had been formulated. Technical and financial assistance was provided to states under various schemes to facilitate their efforts in protecting their wildlife habitats.

To accomplish the mammoth task of protecting and preserving the wildlife, the Minister appealed for participation and support of people, NGOs, local communities and other stakeholders.

UNI NAZ GT KN1513

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