Young Naturalist Awards (2012)
Tiger protector, crusader, wilderness activist
Roheet Karoo is still haunted by the gruesome image of the dead tiger he saw outside the Government Veterinarian Hospital in Umred, near Tadoba in Maharashtra when he was a young student in class seven. At that very moment, he decided that his life would be spent in defending this magnificent cat. His connections with nature were honed during school camps, wildlife trips and conservation talks that he would purposefully attend. By 2004, young Roheet had already begun to receive calls to rescue snakes and other wild animals that ran foul of humans.
Subsequent interactions with mentors, including Suhas Bokade, Pravin Nagdeote and Nitin Desai (a Sanctuary Wildlife Service Award winner), provided him the depth and horizons he needed to throw himself into fulltime wildlife conservation. The surveys and studies he has undertaken resulted in the declaration of the Umred-Karhandla Wildlife Sanctuary, which has given the Tadoba Tiger Reserve a much needed boost. A sober young man, driven by a deeper purpose, he has found support and approval from such prominent wildlife policy makers as Principal Secretary, Forests, Maharashtra, Praveen Pardeshi, and Minister of State for Maharashtra, Rajendra Mulak. Roheet has only one dream – of protecting tigers and their habitats. He is able to identify over 20 individual tigers in the Tadoba landscape. His drive, purpose, single-minded devotion will certainly give the tigers of Tadoba an extra edge on life.
For this, we honour him.