Meet this year’s great conservation champions

The ‘Green Oscars’ celebrate the vital work of six conservationists.

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Ximena Velez-Liendo from Bolivia undertaking fieldwork

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The winners of the Whitley Awards have been announced in London.

From 166 applicants, six people have been selected for their outstanding efforts to protect the natural world. 

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Indira Lacerna-Widmann from the Philippines examining a Philippine Cockatoo hatchling © Whitley Fund for Nature

Their work includes enabling the coexistence of Andean bears and farmers in the Bolivian mountains, reducing deforestation in Karnataka’s tiger corridors and partnering with prisoners to safeguard the Critically Endangered Philippine cockatoo.

They have all been chosen for strong science, community engagement, and the skills and tenacity to highlight and combat challenges such as the exploitation of natural resources and human-wildlife conflict. 

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Alexander Blanco from Venezuela undertaking fieldwork © Whitley Fund for Nature

Each champion will receive £35,000 in funding to continue their efforts in protecting some of the world’s most precious species and habitats.

Each year a previous Whitley Award winner is selected to receive the Whitley Gold Award in recognition of their outstanding contribution to conservation. The award is worth up to £50,000 in project funding over one year.

The winners of the Whitley Awards 2017:

Purnima Barman (India) –  Inspiring women to protect Assam’s greater adjutant and its habitat

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Purnima Barman speaking to local women © Whitley Fund for Nature

Alexander Blanco (Venezuela) –  Conserving Venezuela’s magnificent harpy eagles as a rainforest flagship (pictured above)

Sanjay Gubbi (India) – Reducing deforestation in Karnataka’s tiger corridors

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Sanjay Gubbi undertaking fieldwork © Whitley Fund for Nature

Indira Lacerna-Widmann (Philippines) – Partnering with prisoners to safeguard the Critically Endangered Philippine cockatoo (pictured above)

Ian Little (South Africa) – Custodians of South Africa’s threatened grassland biodiversity

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Ian Little undertaking fieldwork © Whitley Fund for Nature

Ximena Velez-Liendo (Bolivia) – Enabling coexistence of Andean bears and farmers in the Bolivian mountains (pictured above)

2017 Whitley Gold Award

Zafer Kizilkaya (Turkey) – Securing and expanding marine reserves along the Turkish coastline

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Zafer Kizilkaya with a work team © Whitley Fund for Nature

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