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Posted at: Sep 25, 2015, 3:31 PM; last updated: Sep 25, 2015, 3:31 PM (IST)

Assam conservationist first Indian to get Harry Messel Award

Guwahati, September 25

Conservationist Goutam Narayan has become the first Indian to get Harry Messel Award for Conservation Leadership in recognition of his pivotal role in leading the Pygmy Hog Conservation programme in the North-East.

The award was announced during the IUCN Species Survival Commission Leaders’ meeting held in Abu Dhabi last week, a release issued by the Pygmy Hog Conservation Programme (PHCP) said today.

The award citation mentions that Narayan has been awarded “in recognition of his pivotal role in leading the Pygmy Hog Conservation Programme in north eastern India since 1995, thus saving a whole genus from extinction and his long service to the Wild Pig Specialist Group.”

The Harry Messel Award recognises exemplary service to IUCN Species Survival Commission, especially from individuals who have made a specific contribution to species conservation on the ground or through their leadership.

The award, instituted since 2004, is usually given at an interval of two to four years with 18 individuals and an organisation receiving the award so far.

The Pygmy Hog Conservation Programme (PHCP) is a collaborative project of the Assam Forest Department, the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, IUCN-SSC Wild Pig Specialist Group (WPSG), and the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and is administered by Eco Systems-India, a local trust for biodiversity conservation.

Dr Narayan began his career in 1980 at Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) under eminent ornithologist Dr Sálim Ali and in 1995, joined Durrell Wildlife and established PHCP in Assam with the then WPSG chair William Oliver to save the critically endangered pygmy hogs that were reduced to a single population and were on the verge of extinction. — PTI

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