The Habitats Trust Grants Announces Conservation Champions for 2020

Chennai: 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.

SEEDS Trust received the Lesser-known Habitats Grant (Rs. 20 Lakh) for its conservation project in the Ayyalur forest region in Tamil Nadu, home to the Grey Slender Loris. The Ayyalur habitat is degrading fast due to constantly increasing human pressure, which depend on this forest for livelihood needs. SEEDS Trust, with support from the Habitats Trust Grants, will work towards development of a model to demonstrate sustainable regeneration methods of degraded habitats. It will train and support women forest gatherers in sustainable harvest methods and also train forest cattle grazers in sustainable grazing methods as well as for on-site fodder cultivation within village farms. The project will also look at promoting soil and water conservation, food and safe habitat for the endemic fauna, by growing bio fences of native species along development of forest boundaries.

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 appeared that 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 visited the finalists’ project sites across the country to assess the scope and potential conservation impact of the applicants’ proposed projects.

The four recipients of 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, Author and 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.