Whitley Awards, the Oscar of nature conservation

The constant alarm messages from the natural environment are now a clear sign of the critical current situation, undeniable even by fervent opponents.

The Whitley Awards, launched in 1994, are a testament to the crisis facing the ecosystem, and the efforts to counter it. These prestigious prizes are awarded by the Whitley Fund for Nature (WFN), a UK-based conservation charity.

Also known as the Green Oscars, these awards recognize environmental projects in the southern countries of the world, that protect biodiversity and habitat, safeguard endangered species, and promote sustainable development and environmental education.

In order to effectively communicate their work to an international audience and exploit the media, the winners receive training in public relations, social media consulting and speech coaching.

Whitley Awards 2024

On 1st of May, at the Royal Geographical Society in London, Purnima Devi Barman was awarded the Whitley Gold Award for her defence of the Greater Adjutant in India.

Their project, which has increased the number of birds from 450 to over 1,800, has changed the attitude of the local community.

The other winners of the 2024 edition were:

  • Leroy Ignacio, Guyana, to protect the Red Siskin. The project includes a management plan for 150,000 hectares, doubling the protected area to conserve the environment and provide economic benefits to indigenous communities.

  • Naomi Longa, Papua New Guinea, for her work on water and reef management and control in Kimbe Bay, shaping a sustainable future for the region’s rich biodiversity;

  • Kuenzang Dorji, Bhutan, for his efforts to safeguard the Gee’s golden langur, one of India’s most endangered primate species. The work focuses on the relationship between these sacred animals and the local people.

  • Aristide Kamla, Cameroon, for his work to control Salvinia adnata in Lake Ossa by exploiting the voracity of a particular beetle, helping to preserve the lake’s ecosystem and supporting local activities.

  • Raju Acharya, Nepal, for the project to protect the owl, which is often subject to illegal hunting or trade.

  • Fernanda Abra, Brazil, for her Reconecta wildlife conservation project along the BR-174 highway in Brazil.

These awards celebrate the courage and dedication of those fighting for our planet, highlighting resilience and social-environmental commitment. At a time when the ecosystem needs urgent action, such projects provide inspiration and motivation for all.