Wildlife Service Award 2021
Naturalist, researcher and conservationist
Usha Lachungpa’s life is a testament to the wondrous ways in which the Himalaya can move human hearts.
Starting out with the Bombay Natural History Society as a student member, she was groomed as a field biologist by the likes of Sálim Ali, J. C. Daniel and Asad Rahmani. In 1989-90, she topped the post graduate diploma course in Advanced Wildlife Management and Research with the Wildlife Institute of India, blazing a trail for others by being the first woman and first non-forester to complete the rigorous course. Her research findings have been published in scientific journals, social and electronic media.
A naturalist in every sense of the word, she spent the last three decades working with and for the Sikkim Forest, Environment and Wildlife Management Department. Her research has helped add more species to those included in Salim Ali’s, Birds of Sikkim. Now retired, she is currently a State Coordinator for the Indian Bird Conservation Network (IBCN) the co-author of the Important Bird Areas of Sikkim and a founder member of two NGOs.
Over the last four decades, through her rich years of service, she has woven strong and lasting links between the state government and NGO networks to the advantage of biodiversity protection of the Sikkim Himalaya.