The young biologist worked to remove the prejudice from among villagers to save the nesting places for this very important scavenger bird
THE Kamrup district of Assam, Dadara Pacharia is now a very special place for conservationists. The sound of flutterings of more than 600 Greater Adjutant Storks or ‘hargilla’ is an amazing moment for them. Scavenger bird - Greater Adjutant Stork is listed in the red list of endangered species. Scavenger storks feed on carcasses, the prime reason why villagers consider them dirty and cut
the trees where these birds nest. This change came only by the untiring efforts of a young woman biologist, Purnima Devi Barman. Purnima is a very strong woman
who is breaking many a stereotype in rural Assam. She won many accolades for her single-minded focus on saving Storks. For saving the lives of Storks Purnima started working with Aaranyak, a top-bracket nature conservation organization. She set all women hargilla army of around 250-foot soldiers. Along with Purnima, her women soldiers started sensitising villagers, explaining them the importance of the winged species for the mankind. Now, the villagers fondly call Purnima ‘hargilla baideu’. Point to
be noted that hardly 1,200 of these storks have survived in
India and Cambodia. Assam accounts for 75% of the birds’ population — Kamrup district alone accounting for 600 of them. In recognition of her decade-long conservation efforts with the involvement of the community, Purnima was chosen for this year’s Whitley Award, popularly called the Green Oscar, along with five other globally acclaimed conservation workers.
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