Green Guard awards given to unsung heroes of wild

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Kolkata, Mar 5 (UNI) Ram Dayal Srivas and P D Majhi may not be alive anymore, but amid the dense foliage of Palpur Kuno forest and uncharted paths of Pakke Sanctuary their names are whispered in reverence.

Both were posthumously awarded by an NGO, The Junglees, with the individual Fourth Green Guard Award.

Ram Dayal Srivas, a forest guard, at Palpur Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary, along with his team, accosted a deadly poaching gang of Kardu Singh Mongia from Setakhera beat of the sanctuary one December night in 2004 and successfully put the poachers behind the bars. On being released after two years, the poachers came back to torment the lions in the sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh.

On being challenged, the gang fled only to return in the dead of the night and kill Ram Dayal.

P D Majhi, a boatman with Pakke Wildlife Sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh, gave up his life challenging armed poachers, but not before killing one of them.

Their widows were given a medallion each and cash award of Rs 25,000.

The Green Guard Team Awards went to Pakke Wild Life Sanctuary and Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary for Anti-Poaching Operations, Barnawapara Wildlife Sanctuary for Natural Habitat Conservation and Nalsarovar Wildlife Sanctuary for best Protected Wildlife Reserve.

Speaking on the occasion, secretary of The Junglees Raja Chatterjee said, ''Creating awareness is the most important thing.

Once that is done, its half the job done.'' ''The motto of this award was to honour the unsung heroes who gave their lives in saving our nature,'' he added.

Speaking on the occasion, Ms Belinda Wright, Executive Director Wildlife Protection Society of India, who was present on the occasion said, ''The move that the Indian government has taken to protect tigers by allocating a separate fund in the annual budget is a welcome move as tigers are being regularly killed to the extent that some sanctuaries have no tigers at all.'' UNI BA DPM DB1928

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