Tuesday, December 8, 2020

The Habitats Trust Grants, Founded by Roshni Nadar Malhotra Announces Conservation Champions for 2020

The Habitats Trust, founded by Roshni Nadar Malhotra, Chairperson of HCL Technologies, today announced the recipients of The Habitats Trust Grants 2020.The Habitats Trust Grants is an annual initiative aimed at securing India’s biodiversity by bolstering efforts of conservationists on-ground by bridging the resource gap along and providing critical support to make their work more sustainable.

Bat Conservation India Trust received the Lesser-known Species Grant (Rs. 15 Lakh) for its Research and conservation efforts to prevent extinction of the Kolar-leaf Nosed Bat in Bettagerahalli and Hanumanahalli villages in the Kolar district.  Bats play a major role in sustenance of the eco system in multitude ways like seed dispersals, pollination and pest control. Hence it becomes important that these flying mammals and their natural habitats are protected.

Classified as Critically Endangered species as per IUCN Red List, the Kolar-leaf Nosed Bat is on the oblivion with an estimated population of only 150-200 in the last remaining single roost.Bat Conservation India Trust, with support from the Habitats Trust Grants, will work towardsmaintenance and recovery of the Kolar Leaf-Nosed Bat population, increase the area of the recently declared Kolar Leaf-Nosed Bat Conservation Reserve, educate and influence the farmers in surrounding region to adopt organic farming and work towards preventing bat hunting activities.

Congratulating the winners, Ms.Roshni Nadar Malhotra, Founder & Trustee, The Habitats Trust said, “The global pandemic set off ripple effects across nations as it upended every aspect of human life. While to many it may have appearedthat the slow-down of human activity benefited nature, the reality was different, as the pandemic adversely affected natural habitats and wildlife on account of our National Parks and Reserves being left exposed and vulnerable. India saw an increase of 151% in poaching cases during the lockdown as per a report by TRAFFIC. However, we’ve seen conservationists, surmounting numerous hurdles and make heroic efforts to continue pushing ahead with their mission of protecting vulnerable biodiversity even in these difficult times. As part of our commitment, we are honoured to extend our support to them and their projects that are aimed at restoring and protecting critical ecosystems to help better preserve our natural biodiversity.”

The Habitats Trust Grants’ recipients were selected through a rigorous five-stage process that took into account the expected impact, relevance and scalability of the project; the applicants’ capacity to deliver and finally the long-term sustainability of their proposed work post the one year grant period. The Trust received over 4300 registrations this year and chose 12 finalists after conducting a thorough evaluation and due diligence by an external auditor. The Habitats Trust Grants team also visitedthe finalists’ project sites across the country to assess the scope and potential conservation impact of the applicants’ proposed projects.

The four recipientsof the Grants were chosen from a total of 12 finalists (four in each category) by an eminent jury that included Dr. M. K. Ranjitsinh,Wildlife Expert and the prime architect of the Wild Life (Protection) Act of 1972 (the first central legislation on wildlife conservation in India); Bahar Dutt, Wildlife Biologist, Authorand Environmental Journalist; Brian Heath – Founder and CEO for the Mara Triangle Conservation Area, Kenya and Roshni Nadar Malhotra, Chairperson of HCL Technologies, Founder and Trustee of The Habitats Trust.

While The Habitats Trust awarded full financial grants to one recipient in each category, other finalists were also awarded 10 percent of the grant amount in their respective categories, to ensure that their efforts and work is recognized. The total grants awarded by The Habitats Trust Grants 2020 is Rs. 84 lakhs.

About The Habitats Trust

Founded in 2018 by Roshni Nadar Malhotra, the Chairperson of HCL Technologies and Trustee of the Shiv Nadar Foundation, and Shikhar Malhotra, the Vice Chairman of HCL Healthcare and Trustee, Shiv Nadar Foundation, The Habitats Trust is working towards protecting natural habitats and their indigenous species of flora and fauna through strategic partnerships, sustainable on-ground efforts, engaging technology for conservation and generating conservation awareness. The Trust envisions a world where our natural habitats are secured for future generations, and humans live in harmony with the wildlife that share our planet.

About The Habitats Trust Grants

India is a megadiverse country, with only 2.4% of the world's land area, it accounts for 7% -8% of all recorded species, including over 45,000 species of plants and over 91,000 species of animals. Four of the 34 globally identified biodiversity hotspots: The Himalayas, the Western Ghats, the North-East, and the Nicobar Islands, are found in India. However, rampant habitat loss and fragmentation, increasing biotic pressures on forests, and poaching and the illegal trade in wildlife and its parts, pose a grave threat to India’s biodiversity. In 2018, the annual Grants was conceptualised to recognize, and support committed conservationists who have dedicated their lives to securing the country’s vibrant flora and fauna.

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