Range Forest Officer in Karnataka, bags the “Green Warrior” Award at NatWest Group Earth Heroes Awards 2021
Bengaluru/Chikkamagaluru: NatWest Group India, (formerly RBS India) the global capability centre of the NatWest Group, today announced the winners of the 11th edition of the NatWest Group Earth Heroes Awards. Ms. Shilpa SL, a Range Forest Officer in the Chikkamagaluru district of Karnataka, won the award under the “Green Warrior” category for her dedicated work towards leopard conservation. Celebrating efforts in “Biodiversity A resilient nature is the foundation on which all climate mitigation and adaptation efforts must be raised”, theme for the 2021 awards, the eight winners were felicitated via a virtual ceremony that was graced by the Chief Guest, Ms. Ivonne Higuero, Secretary-General, Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), UN.
The annual awards are a national initiative that recognises efforts of individuals and institutions across India who are working tirelessly to subvert climate change by conserving and preserving the rich biodiversity of the country for a better relationship between the society and nature.
Passionate, dedicated, and fearless, Ms. Shilpa is the first woman officer ever to be posted in the biggest range in Chikkamagaluru. She is a 2020 Chief Minister’s Medal winner, awarded by the Government of Karnataka for her relentless efforts in saving wildlife.
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As a Range Officer, she has acted against many illegal crushers, timber loggers, wildlife traders etc., and in less than three years, she has registered nearly 180 forest and wildlife offence cases and rescued over 100 wild animals, birds, and reptiles. She has also worked closely with the communities to address human-leopard conflict. With such an exceptional work, she has set a high standard for many officers, particularly women, to draw inspiration from her passion to work for wildlife conservation.
Elated by this achievement, Ms. Shilpa SL said, “I am happy to be recognised as a ‘Green Warrior’ and thank the NatWest Group, NatWest India Foundation, directors, and jury members for this honor. Forest and wildlife protection demands commitment and hard work. I would like to thank my senior officers and colleagues at the Karnataka Forest Department, the media, public and NGOs, particularly WildCAT-C, for their support. Awards like these make you feel appreciated and motivated to keep going.”
On the occasion, the honourable Chief Guest, Ms. Ivonne Higuero, said, “I am delighted to be a part of NatWest Group India’s initiative and to present the awards to all the winners for their dedication and hardwork to advance biodiversity protection in the country. As we continue to fight challenges posed by the global pandemic, it is important to remember the individuals and institutions that continue to strive in order to secure a future for wildlife and communities they support.”
Speaking on the occasion, N Sunil Kumar, Head of Sustainable Banking India & Head of NatWest India Foundation, said, “The recent report from Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), ‘Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis’ which signalled irreversible impacts of climate crisis, is a worrying sign for all the policy makers in the world. The world, and India in particular, needs to step up efforts when it comes to mitigating global warming and climate risks. It has become imperative for us to protect nature, heritage, and the wildlife ecosystem around us in order to bring a positive change. The Earth Heroes Awards are a way to celebrate, recognise, and further inspire and motivate the leaders of tomorrow for their outstanding work in preserving India’s biodiversity and critical natural ecosystems. I wholeheartedly congratulate the 2021 winners and look forward to more Indians taking up this cause.”
Winners of the 2021 NatWest Group Earth Heroes Awards:
|Nitish Kumar||Odisha||Green Warrior|
|Shilpa SL||Karnataka||Green Warrior|
|Satpura Tiger Reserve||Madhya Pradesh||Earth Guardian|
|Parambikulam Tiger Conservation Foundation||Kerala||Earth Guardian|
|Arunima Singh||Uttar Pradesh||Save the Species|
|Anil Bishnoi||Rajasthan||Save the Species|
|Brij Mohan Singh Rathore||Madhya Pradesh||Lifetime Achievement|
Commenting on the initiative, Punit Sood, Head of India, NatWest Group, said, “We at NatWest Group recognise the need for urgent action to tackle climate change. As a global organisation, we are committed to addressing conservation and sustainability challenges and the Earth Heroes Awards are a testimony of our support of the exemplary individuals and institutions who have dedicated themselves to such a great cause. We hope to encourage further efforts in contributing towards biodiversity and conservation.”
Institutionalised in 2011, the NatWest Group Earth Heroes Awards (formerly RBS Earth Heroes Awards) is in its 11th year and continues to provide a national platform to champions who have walked the extra mile to protect and conserve India’s rich biodiversity. The award winners were selected by an independent jury comprising of eminent personalities from conservation science and management, media, and the government.
In 2007, NatWest Group (formerly RBS Group) set up the NatWest India Foundation (formerly RBS Foundation India) to contribute to India’s UN Sustainable Development Goals (then Millennium Development Goals) with a focus at the intersection of critical natural ecosystems and excluded communities. Working on improving livelihoods and sustainable use/conservation of natural resources, the Foundation has impacted over 1,82,000 families across 2,100 villages in 13 states through 23 ongoing projects, some of which have been recognised by the United Nations Development Programme and UN World Tourism Organization awards besides the national awards.