Purnima Devi Barman, an Assamese wildlife biologist and conservationist, whose efforts have earned her the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) Earth Heroes Award 2016.
‘It is indeed an honour for me to be here and receive this award. I think it will motivate those who are working to save the environment. I am grateful to the RBS Foundation and jury members’, told Purnima Devi Barman.
When the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) assessed the state the Greater Adjutant Stork was in, the picture was grim. The species went on to be evaluated as ‘endangered’ on the IUCN Red List of threatened species.
The Royal Bank of Scotland instituted the award in 2011 in an attempt to recognize and honour individuals and institutions who work to preserve and protect the ecosystem.
Purnima Devi Barman has been working with women in Dadara and Pachariya villages of Kamrup district to save the Greater Adjutant Stork. She dedicated her award, given under ‘Save the Species’, to the two village committees, the Sankardev Sishi Niketan in Dadara, Kamrup district administration and the Assam State Zoo, besides her team members.
‘I am happy our work has been recognized. It was only made possible with cooperation from everyone. I want to share my happiness with everybody associated with the work,’ said Purnima Devi Barman, who is associated with Aaranyak, a Guwahati based NGO which works for wildlife conservation. Aaranyak had won the Earth Guardian Award given by the RBS in 2011. Another conservationist of Assam, Jadav Payeng, had won the RBS Green Warrior Award in 2013.
According to the IUCN, the total population of the Greater Adjutant Stork is estimated to be between 1,200 and 1,800. The IUCN, which is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental network, further said that around 800 birds are found in Assam and at least 156 birds in Bihar.