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Purnima Devi Barman Wins the 2024 Whitley Gold Award

Facts for Prelims (FFP)


Source: whitely-award

 Context: Dr Purnima Devi Barman from India has been awarded the 2024 Whitley Gold Award (dubbed ‘Green Oscar’) by the UK charity Whitley Fund for Nature (WFN) for her efforts to save the Greater Adjutant Stork (Hargila).


Conservation Efforts:

Barman’s campaign has increased the stork population in Assam from 450 to over 1,800. She has mobilized 10,000 rural women, known as “stork sisters,” to protect nesting sites and rebrand the stork from a bad omen to a cultural symbol.  The project has planted 45,000 saplings and rescued over 500 chicks. The global population of the stork has increased to approximately 3,180 birds.


About Greater Adjutant Stork

  1. Distribution: Known as ‘Hargila,’ primarily found in Assam (80%) and Bihar, India, and Cambodia.
  2. Habitat: Wetlands, nests in tall trees with closed canopies and bamboo clumps.
  3. Threats: Hunting, habitat destruction, felling of nest trees, and wetland degradation.
  4. Conservation Status: IUCN: Nearly Threatened (NT).
  5. Significance: The Greater Adjutant Stork plays a vital role in nutrient recycling and maintaining ecosystem health.