Whitley Awards 2021

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 16, 2022, 8:06

Nuklu Phom, an environmentalist from Nagaland's rural Longleng area, received the Whitley Award 2021, often referred to as the Green Oscar, this year. Nuklu Phom's name was recently released, along with the names of five other people, at an online award ceremony hosted by the 'Whitley Fund for Nature' in the United Kingdom. Nuklu and his colleagues hope to use the Amur falcon as a model for engaging communities in conservation.

What are the Whitley awards?

  • The Whitley Fund for Nature presents the Whitley Awards every year. It is given to honour environmental leaders at the grassroots level.
  • It entails a recommendation, registration, and interview procedure.
  • Edward Whitley founded the 'Whitley Fund for Nature' in 1994. It has contributed £16 million so far to assist the efforts of 200 climate heroes.

Nature Funding by Whitely

  • It aims to locate local environmentalists in resource-poor yet biodiversity-rich nations
  • It backs projects that are based on research and include the community
  • It also aims to support national and international awardees who solve ecological concerns across the world
  • The prize money is 40,000 pounds for the champions

Whitley Awards 2021 - Overview

A man from Nagaland has been awarded the prestigious Whitley Awards 2021, commonly known as the 'Green Oscar,' for his endeavours to construct a connection of community-owned woods in Nagaland and safeguard the rare Amur falcon. Nagaland is known as the "World's Falcon Capital."

In his early 40s, Nuklu Phom is the only Indian conservationist to win this prominent award. The Whitley Award and also known as the Green Oscar has been given annually since 1994 by charity organization WFN to individuals who are active in working towards the conservation of nature.

Phom has worked for years to establish a "Biodiversity Peace Corridor," a chain of villages covering 4 districts in Nagaland that promotes community conservation. The concept is based on the "Yaongyimchen Community Biodiversity Region," a ten-square-kilometre area in Phom's native hamlet of Yaongyimchen in Longleng province, where he established a community-based conservation strategy.

Nuklu Phom's work in Yaongyimchen is mostly centred on wildlife conservation and environmental protection, but it also includes education, wellness, and microfinance.

Nuklu Phom formed the Lemsachenlok Club to educate villagers about the endangered 'Amur falcons,' the world's biggest migratory raptors that roost in Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, and Nagaland after hatching in northern China and southeastern Siberia. Once arbitrarily killed, falcons have experienced an effective conservation history in the Northeast in past years, largely dictated by local people.

Phom has been educating villagers about the Amur falcon for many years. Ever since the project's inception in 2007, a massive 800-hectare sanctuary has been set aside just for the birds, and the population of nesting falcons has also increased substantially.

According to Nuklu Phom, The Amur falcon signifies a free life without boundaries; they don't simply sleep in the woods throughout their migration. They also migrate across continents. They bring together many groups, clans, languages, researchers, and nations as they migrate.

What are Amur falcons?

  • Siberia and Northern China are the breeding grounds for the Amur Falcon.
  • The Amur Falcon, during the winter, migrates to India and then to Southern Africa through the Arabian Sea.
  • Hunters have been attacking the Amur Falcon, which is causing great alarm. Every year, almost 14,000 Amur Falcons are hunted in India. The hunting of Amur Falcons has been prohibited by the state governments. Despite the restriction, Amur Falcon poaching is on the rise.

The Whitley Awards 2021 recognizes Nuklu Phom's efforts to construct a new wildlife peace corridor, which has changed the destiny of Species like Amur Falcons, which travel to perch in Nagaland every year and are attacked by locals. The funding, worth £40,000, is for the establishment of a new infrastructure of community-owned woods in Nagaland to safeguard Amur Falcons and boost biodiversity.

FAQs on Whitley Awards 2021

Q1. Who has won the Whitley Awards 2021?

Nuklu Phom, from Nagaland, won the Whitley Awards 2021.

Q2. Who hosts the Whitley Awards?

The Whitley Fund for Nature (WFN) hosts the Whitley Awards each year to honour and reward excellent local conservation leaders from across the world.

Q3. Which award is given for environmental protection in India?

In 1987, The IGPP Award was established by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, and is presently given to an institution and an individual each year on November 19th for major services to the environment.

Q4. Who became the first Indian to win the Whitley Award?

Nuklu Phom, 48 years old, a conservationist from Nagaland's Longleng area, is the only Indian to earn the prize.