Mangalajodi Ecotourism Trust Won India Biodiversity Awards 2014

Bhubaneswar, 4 June-2014: Mangalajodi Ecotourism, being promoted by Indian Grameen Services since 2010 and supported by RBS Foundation India has been awarded the prestigious India Biodiversity Awards 2014, initiated by GoI and UNDP under Community Stewardship category (Runner Up).

Mangalajodi Ecotourism Trust Won India Biodiversity Awards 2014

Mangalajodi Ecotourism Trust Won India Biodiversity Awards 2014

The grand award ceremony was recently held at Portblair, the Andaman on 22nd May 2014. The Awards were presented by Lt General(Retd.) A.K. Singh, the Lt Governor of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Mr. Hem Pande, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Chairman, National Biodiversity Authority and the UNDP Country Director, Mr Jorn Sorensen in Port Blair on the occasion of International day for Biological Diversity. Shri Niranjan Prasad Behera and Shri Purna Chandra Behera received the award on behalf of Mangalajodi Ecotourism Trust. The award includes a Citation, a Trophy and a cheque worth INR 50,000.

Announced by the Ministry of Environment and Forests and the United Nations Development Programme, the India Biodiversity Awards recognize excellence in biodiversity governance across the country.

It is estimated that nearly 275 million people in India are dependent on forests for subsistence and livelihoods. This dependence is particularly acute for around half of India’s 89 million tribal people who reside in forests or on the fringe of forests. Across India people, communities, governments and conservation agencies are demonstrating ways to conserve biodiversity sustain livelihoods and secure the futures of local communities.

“Winners of the 2014 India Biodiversity Awards represent outstanding examples of cooperation between state and civil society in safeguarding India’s rich biodiversity heritage while ensuring a secure future for millions.”

Mangalajodi is a small picturesque village on north-western fringe of Chilika Lake in Odisha, known for its marshes and water fowl congregations. It is just 75 km from the State capital Bhubaneswar.

The unique site it represents in terms of the bio-diversity, the wilderness its offers to the outsiders and the potential to generate a harmonious co-existence between humans and nature. This has caught the fancy of many people including wild life lovers, researchers, bird watchers and tourists. In Mangalajodi, the communities are playing a key role in protection and management of the wetland for a quite some time. These initiatives and partnerships offer excellent opportunities for development of eco-tourism in the area.

The distinguishing feature of eco-tourism at Mangalajodi is that it emphasizes the ecological fragility, carrying capacity and biodiversity conservation of the region, while acting as a liaison between local communities and the tourism industry. Way back, Mangalajodi was known as bird poacher’s village. The villagers were involved in poaching the birds and earned money by selling it. Lot of facilitations by many has reversed the situation. The efforts by various government and private agencies like; BNHS,WWF India, CDA, Forest Department, RBS Foundation, Wild Orissa, CPSW, IGS and many others including OWL are quite commendable. The impact is quite visible, since the biodiversity of Mangalajodi wetland ecosystem has been revived significantly with the fact by creating alternate livelihood options for the poachers turned conservators.

The conservation of Mangalajodi wetland ecosystem and Eco-tourism, being promoted by Indian Grameen Services (IGS) since 2010 with generous funding support by Royal Bank of Scotland(RBS) Foundation, India. Now, Mangalajodi has been recognized as one of the perfect eco-destination and every year the tourist inflow has been increasing with an impact of revenue generated for the local communities from tourism services. In coming days, conservation works will be strengthened with low impact tourism practices and the ecotourism enterprise will take to the next level of institutional collaborations with government and private agencies, said Shri Sanjib Sarangi, State Head IGS.

To ensure the biodiversity conservation of the bird protected area of Mangalajodi, all support will be extended from forest department and joint patrolling will be done effectively with the coordination among the ground level staffs and Ecotourism Trust, said Shri Bimal Prasana Acharya, DFO Chilika Wildelife Division.

To acknowledge, Mangalajodi Ecotourism already bagged many awards and recognitions including RBS Earth Hero Award 2012 under Earth Guardian Category and Runner’s up award for TOFT Wildlife Tourism Award 2010.

Mangalajodi ecotourism Trust is committed to provide quality services to the tourists visited there with the handholding support by IGS, said Shri Shashanka Sekhar Dash, Team Leader. The Board of Trustee’s and other trust members were present during the press meet.

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