Photo: Amy Vedder
Photo: Amy Vedder
The Sanctuary Wildlife Awards were instituted in the year 2000 to recognise and draw national attention to the contribution of individuals working for the protection of wildlife and natural habitats in India.
Each year, we invite nominations and entries from Sanctuary readers, and the wider on-ground and online network of supporters, writers and photographers, as we search for the best and brightest in India’s biodiversity conservation canvas.
Since its inception in 2000, the Sanctuary Wildlife Awards have unearthed and spotlit the inspirational work of thousands of quiet Earth Heroes across the country. After a grueling selection process, 10 winners from all walks of life are selected as the recipients of one of eight prestigious titles: The Lifetime Service Award, Five Wildlife Service Award, A Green Teacher Award, and The Young Naturalist Award.
The Sanctuary Wildlife Service Awards 2020 will be held as a virtual ceremony screened worldwide.
Photo courtesy: Stuart Clarke
Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace, is an iconic voice for holistic, compassionate, and sustainable solutions. Through her global advocacy as an ethologist and environmentalist, she is shaping attitudes and policy on issues ranging from human rights to the climate crisis, and inspiring action through the power of hope.
Jane Goodall was born on April 3rd, 1934, in London, England. At the age of 26, Jane followed her passion for wildlife and Africa to Gombe, Tanzania. There, under the mentorship of paleoanthropologist Dr. Louis Leakey, she began her landmark study of chimpanzees in the wild. Her revelatory observation in 1960 that chimpanzees make and use tools rocked the scientific landscape and forever redefined our understanding of the relationship between humans and other animals.
In 1977, Dr. Goodall established the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI), a global community-led conservation, research, and animal welfare organization to advance her vision of a better future for all. In 1991, Dr. Goodall created Roots & Shoots, JGI's international youth program, now active in more than 60 countries, to develop the compassionate changemakers our world needs.
From scientist to world-renowned activist, Jane has been a leader in the community-led conservation and animal welfare movements for decades.
Born in Kolkata, this warm-hearted conservationist is the Founder and Executive Director of the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI). A dyed-in-the-wool wildlifer, she is a renowned tiger conservationist and wildlife campaigner, who has pioneered investigations into the illegal wildlife trade in India, Nepal, Bhutan and China. he helped discover and expose the trade in shahtoosh and its connection with the tiger bone trade, tracked tiger skins from India to the Tibetan plateau, and has worked to stop the slaughter of sea turtles off the coast of Odisha and the poaching and electrocution of wild elephants. Belinda Wright was a recipient of the Sanctuary Lifetime Service Award in 2012.
An environmentalist, social worker, scholar, author and feminist, Vandana Shiva is indisputably one of India's most powerful voices for eco-feminism and for the long overdue agri-environmental revolution. Over the past four decades, she has dedicated her life to the protection of nature and the defense of peoples rights to natures resources - forests, biodiversity, water and land. She took on the might of GMO goliaths, and went on to found Navdanya in 1991. Through Navdanya, she works with farmers across the country to conserve the diversity of native seeds and promote organic farming practices. Vandana Shiva was a recipient of the Sanctuary Lifetime Service Award in 2018.
An actor, producer and UN Environmental Goodwill Ambassador, Dia Mirza is a true champion of nature. Her footprints go beyond films and fashion, and leave valuable imprints in teh fields of social change, environment an conservation. She has and continues to use every possible platform to contribute to positive social change.
An eternal optimist and inveterate atheist, Dr. Bivash Pandav enjoys working with people and is constantly looking for light at the end of the tunnel. His life has revolved around nature conservation and he says, “as long as I have life in me, I will be working to protect our biosphere. I have immense respect for all religions, but I wish people would go back to the root of all religions, which were inspired by the elements, what we now call the biosphere.” He has spent a lifetime with the Wildlife Institute of India and is the new Director of the Bombay Natural History Society since January 1, 2021. Pandav was a recipient of the Sanctuary Wildlife Service Award in 2000, the very first year the awards were instituted.