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‘Green Oscar’ for Indian biologist

world Updated: May 15, 2009 00:22 IST

PTI
Highlight Story

A noted Indian wildlife biologist has won the Whitley Award, considered the Green Oscar, for his effort to reduce human-wildlife conflict in the Western Ghats in Karnataka.

MD Madhusudan, director of non-government organisation Nature Conservation Foundation, and his team try to combine science with practical conservation action to resolve man-animal conflict.

Madhusudhan, a science graduate from the Yuvaraja College, Mysore, is also working with farmers around the Bandipur Tiger Reserve, Mysore on a pilot community-based conflict resolving project.

His work focuses on the Western Ghats, the world's most densely populated biodiversity hotspot, supporting 350 people per sq km.

It is also home to an estimated 350 to 500 tigers, 15,000 elephants and a host of other endangered wildlife.

His team developed solar-powered electric fences to protect crops. Before the fence went up a year ago, families were losing about a quarter of their crops to elephants and this year, they have lost none.

Madhusudan received a trophy and a cash prize of £30,000 (around Rs 22.6 lakh) from Princess Anne at a ceremony held at the Royal Geographical Society here Wednesday night.

Two other Indian conservationists received associate awards. Sudipto Chatterjee received £10,000 (around Rs 7.45 lakh) to develop an action plan to conserve wild rhododendrons in the Eastern Himalayas.

Supraja Dharini received an equal amount for a community-based initiative to protect sea turtles and dolphins in Kancheepuram in Tamil Nadu.