Assam’s conservationist Bibhuti Lahkar has been shortlisted for the prestigious Whitley Awards 2021. Bibhuti Prasad Lahkar is an Indian Conservationist and Ecologist who has researched grassland ecosystems in the Indian state of Assam. He did his Ph.D. on the grasslands of Manas National Park with special reference to Pygmy hog.

Guwahati-based conservationist Bibhuti Lahkar, who had contributed immensely towards Manas National Park, a World Heritage Site on the Indo-Bhutan border, remove its “in danger” tag in 2011. Not only this, Bibhuti was voted IUCN’s Heritage Hero, a global recognition that also made him the only Asian so far to win that People’s Choice award.

Lahkar has intensively studied the grasslands of Manas National Park and is now recognised globally as an expert for the threatened flora and fauna of the Terai region along the southern foothills of the Himalayas.


Bibhuti Lahkar is a senior scientist at Aaranyak, a society for biodiversity conservation in Northeast India, and has spent his life. Bibhuti started working in the site in 1999 as part of his Ph.D., focusing on the management of grasslands of Manas with particular reference to the Critically Endangered pygmy hog, which is found nowhere else in the world.

He was the receipt of the prestigious grants from Rufford’s Foundation for his work on community conservation at Manas World Heritage site and conservation of Hoolock Gibbon at Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary.

Every year Whitley Awards recognize six grassroots conservationists with prestigious prizes providing funding, training, and profile. This year they received 106 applications of an exceptionally high standard, representing diverse approaches across a broad range of countries, habitats, and species in the global south.

Here are the top 15 candidates have been identified, all doing incredible work with communities to safeguard wildlife, habitats, and the future of society:

  • Risper Oteke in Kenya: Empowering women to partake in ocean governance through sustainable livelihood opportunities
  • Bibhuti Lahkar in India: Building bridges between people and Asian elephants
  • Sammy Saafari in Kenya: Alleviating poverty to ensure a stainable future for communities and marine ecosystems
  • Carlos Roesler in Argentina: Helping the Hooded Grebe – guardian of the Patagonian steppes
  • Iroro Tanshi in Nigeria: Collaborative action to conserve critical bat habitat and boost local livelihoods
  • Tatiana Arias in Colombia: Orchid conservation in the cloud forests of Colombia
  • Tulsi Subedi in Nepal: Community conservation of the Himalayan Bearded Vulture
  • Nuklu Phom in India: Establishing a biodiversity peace corridor
  • Rita Ratsisetraina in Madagascar: Bringing the red-ruffed lemur back from the brink
  • Joseph Onoja in Nigeria: Developing plant-based alternatives to vulture body parts in traditional medicine
  • Lucy Kemp in South Africa: Working with communities to restore the population of Southern Ground-Hornbill
  • Reynante Ramilo in the Philippines: Establishing a community-managed dugong Conservation Area Network in the Calamianes Island Group
  • Ransford Agyei in Ghana: Scaling up pangolin protection
  • Wahdi Azmi in Indonesia: Saving Sumatran elephants and their habitat
  • Pedro Fruet in Brazil: Bridging the gap through integrated conservation of the lahille’s bottlenose dolphin.



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