While there are many crusaders, here are five women who have dedicated their lives in saving our forests and wild animals for a greener future.
Latika Nath: Known as India’s tiger princess, Latika is the country’s first wildlife biologist to hold a doctorate on tigers. She is just a tiger conservationist, and a wildlife photographer who, at seven, knew that she wanted to be an ecologist. Latika’s work has been featured in a documentary called The Tiger Princess and another programme called Wild Things. She has also contributed to films like Sita’s Story and A Tale of Two Tigers.
Prerna Singh Bindra: A conservationist, journalist, author and activist, Prerna works with forest officials, rangers and NGOs in the creation of Protected Areas for wildlife such as Uttarakhand’s Nandhaur Wildlife Sanctuary and Naina Devi Himalayan Bird Conservation Reserve, a forest close to Nainital. There are many other species and habitats that she continues to battle for, and she has recently been in the news for filing a Public Interest Litigation in the Supreme Court to stop the inhumane handling of the human-animal conflict and to grant elephants the right of passage between adjoining territories.
Ridhima Pandey: This 11-year-old climate activist was one of the petitioners along with Greta Thunberg to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child on government inaction on the climate crisis. Ridhima who is a resident of Uttrakhand believes in the power of collective protests by children for climate issues.
Purnima Devi Barman: Assam’s renowned environmentalist has been working towards saving the Greater Adjutant Stork, or the hargilla from extinction. Only about a thousand of them remain today, with the majority situated in Assam. Besides many awards, Purnima now runs a ‘hargilla army’ to promote the conservation of the bird.
Kriti Karanth: Kriti is a leading wildlife conversationalist who has been conducting research on the patterns of species distributions and extinctions, impacts of wildlife tourism, consequences of voluntary resettlement, land-use change, and human-wildlife interactions. She is currently working on a project called Wildseve, which has helped over 7,000 families file wildlife-compensation claims and receive their rightful benefits.