Four Conservation Trailblazers Receive the Habitats Trust Grants 2021

Business Wire IndiaThe Habitats Trust, founded by Roshni Nadar Malhotra, Chairperson of HCL Technologies, today announced the recipients of The Habitats Trust Grants 2021. 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 and providing critical support to make their work more sustainable.  
Congratulating the winners, Ms. Roshni Nadar Malhotra, Founder & Trustee, The Habitats Trust said, “At the recently concluded COP-26 in Glasgow, world leaders recognized the interlinked relationship between biodiversity and climate crises. Protecting, conserving, better managing, and restoring our world’s critical flora and fauna is a key to securing human existence and requires concerted efforts from all stakeholders. Passionate conservationists in our country have been doing this work despite the many challenges triggered by the pandemic – including rising cases of poaching and shrinking funding.”
“The Habitats Trust Grants is our effort to partner with some outstanding organizations and individuals who are doing laudable work in conserving threatened ecosystems and species. The Grants not only support these breakthrough conservation efforts, but our teams continuously work with the recipients to help capacity build and set up governance structures, making them ready to secure future funding,” she further added.     
Winners for The Habitats Trust Grants 2021 are:

Grant Category About the Category Grant received Grant Winner About the winner
Strategic Partnership Grant This grant reaches out to mid to large sized field-work oriented organisations to create a two-way partnership for the common cause of conservation. Rs. 35 lakhs Nature Conservation Foundation The Nature Conservation Foundation is a non-governmental wildlife conservation and research organisation The organization has been selected for implementation of mobile-based early warning systems to help people avoid fatal encounters with elephants and co-exists in the Valparai region.
Lesser-known Habitats Grant This Grant is open to organisations working to secure and regenerate the overlooked and unaddressed habitats of the country that are in urgent need of conservation attention. Rs. 30 lakhs Bombay Environmental Action group Bombay Environmental Action Group’s project aims to prepare Conservation Management Plans (CMPs) for 11 Sada sites in Rajapur, Lanja and Ratangiri Tehsil of Ratanagiri district of Maharashtra. The project area spreads over 200 sq.kms of ‘Sada’ habitat supporting undistributed populations of endemic herbs rarely seen anywhere else in Konkan.
Lesser-known Species Grant This grant aims to support organizations working to secure a future for our lesser-known endangered species, which have not been awarded the same level of protection as our more charismatic species such as tigers, leopards, elephants and rhinos. Rs. 25 lakhs Association for Social and Environmental Development Association for Social and Environmental Development is working towards a fishing cat conservation and habitat management project which will help monitor the species’ population, identify threats and adopt mitigation strategies
Conservation Hero Grant Across the country there are grassroots conservationists working dedicatedly with little or no support, to protect our biodiversity. The work they do in their individual capacity has a huge positive impact on conservation in the country. This grant aims to recognize these conservation heroes and provide them a platform to expand their activities and garner further support for their work. Rs. 15 lakhs Ayushi Jain Ayushi Jain aims to work for the conservation of Pelochelys cantorii, commonly known as the Cantor’s Giant Softshell turtle – one of the largest freshwater turtles in the world. The species is highly threatened due to many anthropogenic activities like poaching and habitat destruction and is at the risk of extinction

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 four recipients of the Grants were chosen from a total of 10 finalists by an eminent jury that included – Bahar Dutt, Wildlife Biologist, Author and Environmental Journalist; Brian Heath, Founder and CEO for the Mara Triangle Conservation Area, Kenya; Dr. M. K. Ranjitsinh, Wildlife Expert and architect of the WildLife (Protection) Act of 1972, and Roshni Nadar Malhotra, Chairperson HCL Technologies and Founder and Trustee, The Habitats Trust.
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 two-year grant period. The Trust received over 4200 registrations this year and chose 10 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.