Saving the White-bellied Heron in Arunachal Pradesh, India
This project aims to conserve a rare and threatened bird species — the critically endangered White-bellied Heron. Not much is known about this 4.2-feet tall bird. India is estimated to have the highest number of this rare heron, but much of its potential habitat, and its distribution and numbers remain unexplored. Studies and opportunistic sightings lead experts to believe that the species’ overall population is insufficient for long-term survival. In India, the bird is largely found in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. Namdapha Tiger Reserve, in Arunachal Pradesh, is considered a stronghold for the species with 5-6 individuals found there. With rapid development in the Northeast, the White-Bellied Heron is facing a dangerous loss of habitat — including habitats that are undiscovered. Apart from monitoring known sites, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE) plans to extensively search and survey potential habitats in Arunachal Pradesh along key river valleys. ATREE will also involve the locals into the conversation — by creating awareness about its critical status, and also by creating tourism opportunities around this beautiful bird.
| Project objectives:
The overarching goal of this project is to secure the population and habitat of the White-bellied Heron in India and lower the risk of its local extinction.
|Highlights from field:
This flagship grant will primarily reach out to mid to large sized field work oriented organisations to create a two-way partnership for our common cause of conservation. This grant is directed towards the running costs of on-ground projects. The grant should enable the creation of a sustainable and replicable conservation model to address some of the key conservation issues in India.
This first of its kind initiative aims to secure and regenerate the overlooked and unaddressed habitats of the country that are in urgent need of conservation attention. These lesser-known habitats are home to an array of biodiversity, and serve as important connections between key wildlife landscapes and as havens for dispersal populations from the "celebrity" parks. Through the lesser-known habitats grant, we hope to secure and bring into the limelight these vital habitats.
In recent years, a great deal of attention has been given to the "glamour" species of the country such as tigers, leopards, elephants and rhinos. Unfortunately, several of our equally endangered species have not received the same level of conservation support. This unique grant aims to support conservationists working to secure a future for our lesser-known endangered species.
Across the country there are grassroots conservationists working dedicatedly, with little to 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.
Successfully submitted applications and projects will be screened for eligibility, relevance of answers and authenticity of information. A team of experts, including sector specialists and external auditors, evaluate successful entries on the following parameters:
• Applicant Profile: Based on past performance and credentials, capacity to deliver, financial management, program management and other such criteria.
• Project Profile: Based on statement of need, clarity of objectives, measurability of impact, innovation, strategy and approaches, replicability, stakeholder participation, scalability and sustainability.
At the end of the First Level Screening and Shortlisting round 24 applications, 6 in each category, will move forward for Field Level Verification.
The Habitats Trust team will visit the proposed project locations to verify if details provided by the applicant are true to fact. Along with a Sub-Jury, The Habitats Trust team will shortlist twelve proposals, three in each category, move to the Jury Round. The work of all the applicants shortlisted for the Jury round will be published in The Habitats Trust Grants compendium, as a tribute to their efforts and achievements. Disseminated widely by HCL, this provides national and international visibility to the applicants.
The twelve shortlisted applicants, three in each category, will be invited to present their proposed projects in person to our Jury of eminent conservationists at the Jury Round. Recipients of The Habitats Trust Grants will be announced at a Felicitation Event the next day.