Conservationist D.V. Girish has received the prestigious “Protect the Tiger” Award for his efforts to protect the Bhadra Tiger Reserve and the surrounding Western Ghats region of India, one of the last strongholds of the world’s largest cat.
The “Protect the Tiger Award” is one among five, created by the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) Foundation to recognize individuals who have been directly or indirectly involved in protecting endangered species and have made contributions to education, awareness programs, capacity building and resolving human-animal conflict.
RBS Foundation India instituted the ‘Earth Heroes Awards’ from 2011. This is an effort to recognize and honor individuals and institutions who work exceptionally hard to preserve and protect our critical eco-systems.
“We congratulate our colleague for his lifelong commitment to protecting tigers from a wide variety of threats, each of which requires a complex array of solutions,” said Dr. Ullas Karanth, WCS’s Director for Science in Asia. “Among his many achievements, Girish has helped build a local constituency to support tigers and wildlife and played a key role in improving protection, combating environmental threats and generating win-win solutions by promoting voluntary village relocation away from tiger habitats”
For more than two decades, Girish—a conservation partner for WCS—has worked to protect the remaining tigers of the Western Ghats region and played a key role in the government-sponsored voluntary relocation of more than 450 families from the Bhadra Tiger Reserve in 2001-2002. The WCS conservationist has also helped lobby for the removal of dams, mining operations, poorly run tourist resorts, and other environmentally harmful projects from the region.
Education has been another critical part of Girish’s conservation efforts. He has mentored hundreds of young people in the cause of conservation and has helped educate thousands of people on the importance of tigers in the Bhadra-Kudremukh landscape. Girish also helped establish the National Conservation Guild and Wild Cat-C, two conservation advocacy groups that play a vital role in local conservation efforts.
Girish’s “Protect the Tiger” award is one of several given to him over the years in recognition of his contributions to conservation. His previous awards include the WCS Service Award in 1998, the Karnataka Rajyotsaya District Award in 2001, the Carl Zeiss Wildlife Conservation Award in 2002, and the Tiger Gold Award in 2004.