Balipara Foundation Awards - 2014


Introduction-BFA 14

The fragmentation of Wildlife Habitats resulting in fast disappearing Wildlife Corridors that connect these habitats is widely acknowledged as a major menace to biodiversity conservation. Therefore an understanding of this issue is critical for the cause of conservation. The 2nd edition of the Balipara Foundation Awards seeks to bring this matter to the forefront. Carrying forward the legacy of the Inaugural Awards, BFA 14 will honor 10 outstanding efforts towards "biodiversity conservation in the Eastern Himalayan Region". The awards will also include the Mark Shand Mahout Award, in memory of the Late Mark Shand, one of the greatest "wildlife" personalities of his generation. The event, besides throwing light on successful and inspiring conservation stories, will serve as a platform for like-minded people to share their views & ideas and raise awareness on some of the critical environmental issues of the day. But most importantly the Awards will set an example of what can be achieved through passion.


  • 7th of November 2014
Chief Event Host
  • Guwahati, Assam, India
  • Recognizing best practices in Natural Habitat & Wildlife Corridor Conservation.
Award Categories
  • Balipara Foundation Wild Life Conservation Award
  • Balipara Foundation Habitat Conservation Award
  • Balipara Foundation Riverine Conservation Award
  • Balipara Foundation Annual Award.
  • Balipara Foundation NaturenomicsTM Award.
  • Balipara Foundation Nature Activist Award.
  • Balipara Foundation Young Naturalist Award
  • Balipara Foundation Innovation Award.
  • Balipara Young Entrepreneur Award
  • Balipara Foundation Lifetime Service Award
  • Balipara Foundation Young Entrepreneur Award
Special Award
  • Mahout Mark Shand Recognition for Elephant Management
Late Rabindra
Nath Barthakur
Memorial Lecture
  • Restoring Natural Wildlife Habitats & Corridors through Transboundary Conservationk
Special Announcements
  • The Balipara Foundation Research Scholarship.
  • The Balipara Foundation Indo-Myan Biodiversity Park Project.
Jury Panel
  • Mr. Ranjit Barthakur. Chairman - Balipara Foundation
  • Mr. Bittu Shagal. Chief Editor - Sanctuary Asia.
  • Mr. Bibhab Talukdar. General Secretary - Aaranyak
  • Mrs. Radhika Barthakur. Trustee - Balipara Foundation
  • Mr. Dhiraj Kakati. Managing Trustee - APPL Foundation


Annexure 1: Award Categories and Description BFA 14:

Sr No Award Category Description
1 Balipara Foundation Wild Life Conservation Award.
  • Diversity is the Soul of Planet Earth. This award will be presented to an individual or organization that has helped in Enhancing biodiversity and/or ecosystem functioning e.g. projects that deliver significant enhancement or creation of biodiversity assets by going 'above and beyond' what is required.
2 Balipara Foundation Habitat Conservation Award
  • Natural habitats are critical to natural diversity. This award will be presented to an individual or organization that has spearheaded efforts to conserve critical ecosystems
3 Balipara Foundation Riverine Conservation Award
  • Rivers are nurseries for civilizations. Any individual, community or organization that has contributed significantly and successfully to protect the Riverine eco-system of the Eastern Himalaya shall be conferred the Riverine Conservation Award
4 Balipara Foundation Annual Award.
  • The Inter-disciplinary Annual Award will be presented to a government or non-government organization, whose contribution to the protection of wild nature has gone beyond the call of duty and which has displayed demonstrable success in the arena of nature conservation.
5 Balipara Foundation NaturenomicsTM Award.
  • The NaturenomicsTM Award will be offered to an individual that practically epitomizes the spirit of NaturenomicsTM, thereby creating an example of 'inter-dependence between Nature and Economics.
6 Balipara Foundation Nature Activist Award
  • The Award will be presented to an individual that has demanded change & tirelessly campaigned to bring forth issues and raise questions that are deemed critical to biodiversity conservation.
7 Balipara Foundation Young Naturalist Award
  • The award will be presented to an individual whose curiosity is stimulated by the mystics of our natural surroundings. Someone between the age group of 18-30 with particular interest in documenting the biodiversity of a particular region.
8 Balipara Foundation Innovation Award.
  • This award will be presented to an individual that exemplifies the spirit of "innovation as a fuel for change"
9 Balipara Foundation Lifetime Service Award
  • The Lifetime Service Award is for an individual of legendry proportions. Someone who has inspired a generation of aspiring legends. We are looking for a wise individual renowned as an encyclopedia of natural knowledge.
10 Balipara Foundation Young Entrepreneur Award
  • This award will be presented to an individual who seeks to develop leadership potential through community based sustainability projects. His venture will be judged on the work in the areas of environmental, education, natural resource management.
Special Award Balipara Foundation Special Award Mark Shand Mahout Award.
  • Instituted in memory of the Late Mark Shand, the award will be presented to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution towards the well-being of the Asiatic Elephant population


Event Photographs

BFA 14 Group photo.jpgBFA 14 Group photo.jpg
Shyam Saran 67,is a former Foreign Secretary and has served as the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Nuclear Affairs and Climate Change. He is currently Chairman of the National Security Advisory Board and Research and Information System for Developing Countries. He is a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Policy Research. Saran was awarded the Padma Bhushan, the third highest National Award, in January 2011, for his contributions to Civil Service. He writes and speaks regularly on foreign policy, climate change, energy security and national and international security related issues.India's Chief Negotiator on Climate Change, Padam Bhushan, Shyam Saran, delivers the 2nd RNB Lecture.jpg
Mr. Ranjit Barthakur Speaking with Benji and CM of Assam - Tarun Gogoi...jpgMr. Ranjit Barthakur Speaking with Benji and CM of Assam - Tarun Gogoi...jpg
Mr. Ranjit Barthakur Speaking with Benji and CM of Assam - Tarun Gogoi.jpgMr. Ranjit Barthakur Speaking with Benji and CM of Assam - Tarun Gogoi.jpg
The Stage is shining bright, the stars are ready to explode!.jpgThe Stage is shining bright, the stars are ready to explode!.jpg
She has been tirelessly and actively involved in the field of conservation since 2004, and since then has gone on to earn a PhD for her research on the ecology and biology of Annandale’s frog Clinotarsus alticola. Passionate about herbs, she is presently studying the effect of pesticides on the development of Fejervarya sp. In the East Khasi Hills of Meghalaya as the Principal Investigator of the project.Saipari Sailo : Winner of Balipara Foundation Nature Activist Award in 2014
Prof. Raman Sukumar is the chairman of the Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science (IISc.) His field of specialization is Ecology and Conservation Biology with a focus on Asian elephant ecology, population dynamics, wild life-human conflict and tropical forest ecologyProf. Raman Sukumar Awarding Saipari Sailo with Balipara Foundation Nature Activist Award
Bano Haralu is a ground breaking television journalist from North east India. She has been involved with conservation issues in Nagaland since she returned to her home state in 2010. Bano pioneered a bird and wild life survey for the government that led to the publishing of the ‘Birds of Nagaland’. She also formed the Nagaland Wild life Biodiversity Conservation Trust (NWBCT) in 2013 and serves as its managing trustee.Bano Haralu : Winner of Balipara Foundation Young Entrepreneur Award in 2014
Mr. Kandal is the Managing Director of Amalgamated Plantations Pvt. Ltd. With 30 years of experience in the tea industry, Mr. Singh is a Tea Expert with extensive experience in all operations of the Tea business including – field, factory, quality control, sales & marketing, buying, business development, key account management, sustainability and compliance.Mr Jagjeet Singh Kandal Awarding Bano Haralu with Balipara Foundation Young Entrepreneur Award
Tongam Rina is currently the Associate Editor of The Arunachal Times, the largest selling daily in the State. Despite her youth, she has already achieved much. In a chequered career, Tongam has been a school teacher, led the Hunger Project’s State Unit and worked on issues of local self -governance and gender and taught communication in the State’s University. As a journalist, she has written about the prevalent corruption among local authorities, the questionable construction of dams, and numerous environment scandals. In 2012, she was near -fatally shot, in what is believed to be attempted murder in connection to her journalistic work. Tongam received the 2014 Prize for the Freedom and Future of Media awarded by the Media Foundation of Leipzig, Germany. More recently, she received the “Courageous Journalism” Popular Choice Award in Arunachal Pradesh.Tongam Rina : Winner of Balipara Foundation Young Naturalist Award in 2014
Award - winning actress, Director, and Radio personality, Malaya Goswami is also a tireless Advocate for women and children. She is the Founder and Secretary of Arptia, a Socio-Cultural organization that is dedicated to helping women and children in distress. She is also a member of the Media Management Group for Literacy & Development, a Delhi -based NGO that assists with comprehensive development efforts involving human resource development, social improvement and environmental issues.Mrs Malaya Goswami Awarding Tongam Rina (Received by Ms Chinu Brahma on her Behalf) with Balipara Foundation Young Naturalist Award
Aparajita is a wild life biologist with the Nature Conservation Foundation in Mysore and has established a community -based conservation program for Namdapha that addresses the needs of the region's indigenous Lisu people. She has spent many years in the rain forests of Arunachal Pradesh, studying hornbills for her doctoral thesis and has also been involved in wild life surveys that resulted in finds of mammal species in India not known before. Having earned her PhD. in Wild life Ecology, she has worked with the likes of National Geographic as a wild life biologist.Aparajita Dutta : Winner of Balipara Foundation Wild Life Conservation Award in 2014
Shri Jitesh Khosla, an IAS officer is the Chief Secretary to the Government of Assam. Prior to his appointment as the chief secretary, Shri Khosla served as additional chief secretary of welfare of Plains Tribe and Backward Classes, Power, Public Works and Water Resources department.Shri Jitesh Khosla Awarding Aparajita Dutta with Balipara Foundation Wild Life Conservation Award
Dr. Kashmira Kakati is a distinguished wildlife biologist with over 17 years of research experience. Her doctoral thesis was on the hoolock gibbon and for this she primarily worked in the rainforests of Upper Assam. She has since then been committed to the protection of these forests. It is her untiring work that led to the Jeypore-Dehing rainforests gaining international recognition as a place with the world’s largest diversity of cat species living in a single remote rainforest. She is currently facilitating an anti-poaching patrolling programme in these forests and is also assessing mammal presence in Meghalaya, amongst much else.Dr Kashmira Kakati : Winner of Balipara Foundation Ecological Restoration Award in 2014
Mr. Ravi Singh is the Secretary General & CEO of WWF - India since 2003. Mr. Singh has an abiding purpose towards the conservation of nature and working for India. As the head of WWF -India, the country’s largest conservation organization, Mr. Singh participates in national fora on several areas in relation to his work. WWF India's initiatives on biodiversity conservation and reduction of human footprint are led through wild life conservation, education, sustainability practices, climate adaptation, water and river basins, marine and policy. Some of the priorities areas of his work are to provide strategic direction to the conservation work of WWF - India and to help achieve organizational goals for India’s ecological security.Mr Ravi Singh Awarding Dr Kashmira Kakati (Received by her Mother) with Balipara Foundation Ecological Restoration Award
In 2007, Neihunuo Sorhie received a national award for tribal textiles and deservedly so. With 60 tribal weavers under her guidance, Neihunuo has developed a vast range of products, including shawls and purses that show case exquisite Naga craftsmanship. Not only does she provide the yarn and the designs to the weavers, she actually does the finishing of the products herself. All together her works have been showcased in 90 different exhibitions in India and abroad and she continues to develop her craft.Ms Neihunuo Sorhie : Winner of Balipara Foundation Naturenomics Award in 2014
As Chairman of DSP Black Rock Investment Managers Private Limited. Mr.Kothari heads one of the leading asset management firms in India. Mr. Hemendra Kothari is also the Founder, Chairman & Managing Trustee of the Wild life Conservation Trust (WCT), a non-religious and non-political, not-for-profit trust. WCT endeavours to strengthen the protection of forest ecosystems and mitigate climate change.
He is also a Member of the State Board for Wild life of Maharashtra and Rajasthan under the Chairmanship of the respective Chief Ministers.Mr Hemendra Kothari Awarding Ms Neihunuo Sorhie with Balipara Foundation Naturenomics Award
Over the past couple of years, the Pangti Village Council from Nagaland has been instrumental in leading its villagers towards a conservation oriented lifestyle. Most recently they have been involved with the conservation of the Amur Falcons that arrive at their village in the thousands. The Council has also assisted the Forest Department in implementing a multi-pronged strategy of conservation awareness creation, strict enforcement of laws and alternate livelihood opportunities for people in the village. All this was achieved and wouldn’t have been possible without the support and dedication of the Forest department of Nagaland. 

Shri Vijay Singh is a former officer from the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) from the 1970 batch.
Served as Chief Secretary, Government of Madhya Pradesh between 2004-2006,Transport Secretary Government of India during 2006-2007 and Defence Secretary Government of India from 2007-2009.Was appointed Member, Union Public Service Commission in 2009 and served in that capacity till April 2013.Has been a director on the board of Tata Sons since June 2013Shri Vijay Singh Awarding Pangti Village Community And Forest Department Of Nagaland with Balipara Foundation Annual Award
Kiron Rabha was born in to a family with a legacy of capturing wild elephants and has an inherent understanding of these giants. He grew up in an environment where he learned all tricks of mela shikar, traditional medicines and training of wild elephants. Kiron joined the Forest Department as grass cutter on December 1, 1990 and was later promoted to the rank of mahout in 1999. For the last two decades he has been in charge of an elephant named “Kartik” who is impossible to handle without Rabha.Mr Kiron Rabha : Winner of Balipara Foundation Mahout Mark Shand Award in 2014
A photographer and a wildlife philanthropist, Aditya Patankar is also the Former Director of Photography at Elephant Family and a seasoned film maker and Author of award winning short movie titled “In the Wild – Asian Elephants” with Goldie Hawn. His stories of Mark are second to none and we are privileged to have his Royal Highness Aditya Patankar with us tonight.Aditya Patankar Awarding Mr Kiron Rabha with Balipara Foundation Mahout Mark Shand Award
Purna Chandra Rabha’s life as a mahout began in 1945. The then young Purna began his service as an assistant to a trainer mahout and had a passion for learning the art of handling and interacting with elephants. Since then he has been a dedicated and passionate mahout and has contributed immensely to the conservation of the Asiatic elephants by serving the Assam Forest Department and Department of Environment and Forests, Assam.Mr Purna Chandra Rabha : Winner of Balipara Foundation Mahout Mark Shand Award in 2014
Parbati Baruah affectionately known as The Queen of Elephants, is the daughter of the legendary Prakhitish Chandra Baruah (Lalji) known for his knowledge and passion for elephants. She was initiated in to the field of elephant management by her father and has earned recognition by Governments across the country for her knowledge of elephant conflict management and her skills at handling both captive and wild elephants. The Assam Government appointed her the ‘Honorary Chief Elephant Warden of Assam ’and the West Bengal Government appointed her the Course Director. She is also a member of the Asian Elephants Special Group of ICUN and a Member of the ‘Man-Elephant Conflict Task Force’ of the Government of Assam.Ms Parbati Baruah Awarding Mr Purna Chandra Rabha with Balipara Foundation Mahout Mark Shand Award
Bhumidhar Deka, a skilled forest worker, has been serving as a mahout in the Pabitora Wild life Sanctuary since 2011. Deka, who is an expert in reading rhino behaviour, started working in Pabitora Wildlife in 1993. During this period, he recovered three rhino horns from the sanctuary premises and handed them over to the field office. He has greatly contributed to rhino protection and maintains a very good rapport with the community people and has helped in returning many a strayed rhino back to the Protected Areas from where they may have wandered.Bhumindhar Deka : Winner of Balipara Foundation Mahout Mark Shand Award in 2014
As a trained vet, Dr. Khyne has spent years studying captive working elephants through out South east Asia. Her work is dedicated to helping find ways to improve the breeding rates and survival of the world's largest captive population of elephants. Currently she is affiliated to the University of Sheffield as a Post doctoral Research Associate. Popularly known as the Elephant Lady of Myanmar, the major aim of her research project is to provide Myanmar Government with better strategies to conserve the endangered wild population of elephants in Myanmar.Dr Khyne U Mar Awarding Bhumindhar Deka with Balipara Foundation Mahout Mark Shand Award
Sukla Das, Nameri, presently working as mahout in Nameri National Park Sukla Das was born and brought up in Potasali Forest village of Balipara Reserve Forest, adjacent to the beautiful Jia-Bharoli river. He is not merely a mahout, but also a repository of traditional knowledge. Sukla Das knows the ins and outs of the Nameri National Park like none other and is an expert boatman, guide and story teller.Mr Sukla Das : Winner of Balipara Foundation Mahout Mark Shand Award in 2014
Gautam Barua Former Director of Indian Institute of Technology has graduated from IIT Bombay with B.Tech and M.Tech degrees in Electrical Engineering. He obtained a PhD degree in Computer Science from the University of California, Santa Barbara, USA in 1981. He was at IIT Kanpur from 1982 till 1995 when he shifted to IIT Guwahati where he was also a Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. He is an IT consultant to the Govt. of Assam and a number of public enterprises.Dr Gautam Barua Awarding Mr Sukla Das with Balipara Foundation Mahout Mark Shand Award
Though now retired, Mongal Ghatowal is still highly respected and known for his love of elephants. He started off working as a grass cutter with the Forest Department, but his passion and talents saw him being appointed as a mahout. His courage and knack of taking charge of“ difficult” elephants have been much applauded.Mr Mongal Ghatowal : Winner of Balipara Foundation Mahout Mark Shand Award in 2014
A great Champion for the cause of Elephants, Richard Leitch was born in Calcutta and was brought to Assam when he was just three weeks old. He spent most of his early childhood in Assam and Darjeeling until he was sent to a boarding school in U.K at the age of eight but continued to return to Assam on holidays until the age of 15. It was during this time that he met Bijli Prasad the great tusker and still shares a special bond with her.Mr Richard Leitch Awarding Mr Mongal Ghatowal with Balipara Foundation Mahout Mark Shand Award
J.Dorji, popularly known as ‘Benji’ has served the Royal Government of Bhutan in a number of capacities. Currently he is the Special Advisor, National Environment Commission, Royal Government of Bhutan. He has been involved in or initiated most of Bhutan’s Environmental programs and is the Founder of the Royal Society for the Protection of Nature in Bhutan (RSPN), Bhutan’s First Environmental NGO and is the Founder President of the Bhutan Ornithological Society as well as the Bhutan Ecological Society.Mr Dasho Paljor J Dorji Benji : Winner of Balipara Foundation Lifetime Service Award in 2014
Shri Tarun Gogoi is the longest serving chief minister of the state, having held the seat since 2001. Shri Gogoi assumed the office of Chief Minister, Assam on May 18, 2001. He was also elected as a Member of the Assam Legislative Assembly. He studied Law and received a LLB Degree from Guwahati University. Shri Gogoi started his career as a lawyer and simultaneously engaged himself in socio-political activities.Hon. Chief Minister Assam Shri Tarun Gogoi Awarding Mr Dasho Paljor J Dorji Benji with Balipara Foundation Lifetime Service Award

Nature Video Highlight

Eastern Himalayan Naturenomics™ Forum 2016: Balipara Foundation Awards 2016
Eastern Himalayan Naturenomics™ Forum 2016: Balipara Foundation Awards 2016
Dia Mirza speech on Environment || The Annual IAA Olive Crown Awards || NOIX TV Bollywood
Dia Mirza speech on Environment || The Annual IAA Olive Crown Awards || NOIX TV Bollywood
Back to Top

For the latest in the Eastern Himalayas

Latest Event